Staying Fresh this Season

Life gets hectic around the holiday season as almost everything that qualifies as normal routine takes a back seat. There are shopping, decorations, parties, family, guests… the list goes on. With so much going on its normal to feel stressed out and just sit there wondering how a ‘celebration’ can get so worrisome. Here are ways to stay healthy and fresh, just a few simple pointers that will stop you from going down the vicious cycle of a holiday-burnout:

  1. Eat healthy-

From Christmas to New Year with numerous parties lined up and people to see, no wonder you couldn’t say no to that extra glass of champagne. Or a chocolate bar perhaps? How about some more eggnog?

Whatever it was that you regret eating, make sure you use a healthy substitute for it the next time. Also, it is okay to take a slice of that lavish chocolate cake, just make sure you don’t have those slices repeatedly!


  1. Relax-

With so much to do and so many places to be at, it gets difficult to take some time out for relaxation. No matter how crammed your schedule may be, make sure you take out at least half an hour to be by yourself. Pursue your hobbies during this time, or if you want some entertainment, play a game of bingo at GameVillage, one of the best websites for playing online bingo. To know more click on GameVillage.

  1. Have fun-

The holidays aren’t all about perfect pictures and flawless outfits. They are about having fun and sharing with your loved ones. So keep that in mind as you cruise your way through this winter. Express gratitude and become a reason for someone’s happiness. Spread some smiles and you are bound to make these holidays much more memorable!


Debby Reynolds and Carrie Fisher RIP

We all know that 2016 as been a terrible year when it comes to our idols and icons. From the start of the year when it devastated with the death of David Bowie, right up until Christmas day, when one of my 80s childhood icons George Michael shockingly died in his sleep at the age of just 53, 2016 will long be remembered as the year many of the heroes died.  Today we have woken with the news that Hollywood legend Debby Reynolds has died after suffering a stroke, just a day after the death of her daughter, Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher. It is shocking that two ladies, who defined just how magical Hollywood could be, as well as how cruel it could be too, could be gone just like that, and heartbreaking that Debby went so soon after her daughter, with whom she had a volatile relationship.


Debby Reynolds

Both women hold very special memories for me. My own mother is obsessed with musicals, they played a very big part of my life growing up, and ‘Singin in the Rain’ was one of the best, an absolute classic that was both poignant and hilarious. No film shows better the reality of the beginning of the talking pictures, and how stars like Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan – hilarious) were suddenly out in the cold. Debby was just wonderful as Kathy, the new kind of star – pert, pretty, full of talent and personality. I watched it again on Christmas day, and her chemistry with Gene Kelly is just beautiful.


Debby found notoriety when her husband (Carrie’s father) Eddie Fisher, abandoned her for the widowed Elizabeth Taylor. Carrie hated the saintly persona that was then attached to her by America’s press, the America’s Sweetheart tag was far from true about the woman or her marriage, and she later reconciled with Taylor, who had once been her best friend.  Her second husband left her heavily in debt. But Reynolds was nothing if not a survivor, and Hollywood has lost one of the true greats with her passing.




Carrie Fisher

One of the first films I ever saw at the cinema was ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and I was instantly fascinated by Princess Leia. Princesses in my very narrow view were beautiful and needed saving. This lady was anything but. She was kick ass, intelligent, a leader, and as much a part of the action as any of the men. How could I fail to love her. Plus her hair and that white frock were divine. Dad had to go out and buy me a Leia doll there and then. (and a Chewbacca come to think of it…but that’s another story).



Carrie Fisher was a total original, only an actress of her drive and determination could’ve made Leia such an icon, one that she found it very hard to move away from. Like her mother in many ways, she was defined by that one, standout characterisation, although she made other fine films including ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and, one of my personal faves, ‘Soapdish’. But Carrie suffered from problems, a shortlived marriage to Paul Simon, drink and drug dependency and mental illness. She chronicled many of these issues in ‘Postcards from the Edge’, made into a film with Meryl Streep that showed just how volatile her relationship with her mother had been. It was a brilliant, brutal story, all the more harrowing for being true.




With Princess Margaret

With Princess Margaret

Carrie packed a lot of life into those 60 years, she was one of a kind, a unique brilliant woman who never conformed to a Hollywood stereotype. That is why she will be so, so missed.

Further Reading

The Princess Diarist

Postcards from the Edge

Wishful Drinking

Make ‘Em laugh:Short-term memories of long-time friends

Unsinkable:A memoir


What the Ladybird heard at Birmingham Town Hall

Every year at Christmas, Birmingham Town Hall stages a family show that is based on a children’s classic story. In the past this has seen great adaptations of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’ and ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.’ This year they have turned their attention to Julia Donaldson with a dramatisation of ‘What the Ladybird Heard’. And whilst it is bright and colourful, and generally good fun, I don’t think it has the same appeal as recent productions.


The main reason for this is the star of the show, the ladybird. My eight year old Joe said, I think the ladybird should’ve been much bigger, maybe someone in costume. And whilst this may have been the biggest ladybird in the world, I can sort of see his point of view. From our seats in the balcony, the ladybird, which was created as a hologram, was quite hard to spot at times, especially for my three year niece – we had to keep pointing it out, which sort of defeats the object.  The same is true of the cute talking cats in the windows and the tractor and vehicles seen in the distance – they are just too small for such a visual play.

But there are plenty of other things to recommend the show.  The characters are fresh and funny, with Raymond being the standout favourite for the children. The creation of the farmyard animals from things like bicycles and wheelbarrows is magical, the hog in particular is brilliant and made the children laugh and gasp, and there are some good songs, including the one about the burglars, which help to set the scene well, although I do think that most songs are overlong for the age of the audience.

Ultimately, ‘What the Ladybird heard’ is a good introduction to theatre for young children, particularly if they love the original Julia Donaldson story. At just under an hour in length, it is probably the right amount of time for young children to sit through. And there are moments of magic, but, to me, it just isn’t magical enough.


Click here for ticket information