This weekend just gone, I took the plunge and finally attended Secret Cinema who, were of course, doing 28 Days Later. I already blogged about the marketing that has gone into promoting the event, and mentioned I’d do just a short post after the event as there is little point me blogging about everything that went on – the whole point is that it’s supposed to be secret.

So instead I’m going to do a tips post for if you’re attending or thinking about taking part and haven’t quite made your mind up yet…

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DRESS UP
It is 100% worth getting into costume for. Some people have complained about having to pay extra on top of a ticket but although this is encouraged, it isn’t compulsory. I would definitely recommend dressing up in some way though because you’ll only feel like the odd one out if you do. It’s not the type of thing where ‘just some’ people dress up – pretty much everyone does so it is worth it. If you don’t want to splash out an extra £20, just order a cheap pair of scrubs on ebay. Everything additional that came with the kit ordered officially was fun to own but wasn’t at all needed. A pair of scrubs and maybe a mask covering your mouth will be more then enough.

TAKE PART BEFOREHAND
Do take part in the build up to the event. You have to sign up to the website to get details anyway, but I’d also recommend chatting to others attending and watching all the videos and reports being released in advance.

ZOMBIELAND RULE #1 – CARDIO

Be prepared to run and get your adrenaline pumping. It isn’t a ridiculous amount of running but it really gets you in the right frame of mind. Despite knowing none of it was real, I totally felt like it was real. I was genuinely scared and it just added to the excitement all the more.

EXPLORE

I know everyone says this, but to get the most of your experience, do be willing to explore, poke around at the set and talk to characters. We were told to find a particular character at one point, and upon asking someone, this led to us being paraded around the whole set in that particular section, looking pretty bemused. We even got told off for walking too slow and not catching up! It’s definitely a lot of fun to participate but again, if that’s not your thing, don’t feel you have to.

BRING A COAT

…or alternatively a coat stuffed into a backpack. You will get hot running around, so just bring one with you for later on or for the journey there and back. There’s not a cloakroom there (that I saw, anyway) so it’s useful to have a backpack with you for during the event so you’re not carrying stuff around whilst running and such. Also, during the viewing of the movie, you may get a bit chilly (but the premise of where and how you’re watching it makes it more than worth it).

DON’T BE AFRAID TO GO IT ALONE

If you don’t have friends to go with – go anyway! I went totally alone and made friends with two girls there, and you get split into groups there anyway (obviously if you’re with friends you’ll get put into a group with them). Basically, it’s the type of thing where friends aren’t necessary because you’ll be having so much fun and will be encouraged to talk to other people anyway.

KEEP IT SECRET

Finally, if you do go, don’t spoil it for anyone else. I’ve just touched upon things that are general knowledge now and have been mentioned on Facebook and stuff anyway. I was a little disappointed to know some stuff already but found there was also so much there to see and do that was a surprise.

EMBRACE THE FEAR

Oh and also, you will get scared, but in a good way. I cannot explain enough how amazing it feels and how much attention they’ve put into the detail. You honestly really do 100% feel like you’re in a zombie apocalypse and I can’t imagine creating this feeling was easy – but they did it.

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Well done Secret Cinema, you’ve got yourself a new fan and I’ve already committed myself to attend the next one.

What do you think? Would you ever attend Secret Cinema? Let me know.

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As I mentioned recently, I decided to take on another foodie challenge and this time around, it was to take on the Fry’s Family Food challenge of eating seven days of meat-free dinners. I’m happy to say that I succeeded! It was actually super easy thanks to the goodies I got sent, making the transition a whole lot easier than I thought it would be.

Here’s my food diary for the week.

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DAY ONE -FRY’S COUNTRY MUSHROOM PIES
Now, what I forgot to remember when I placed this pie in the oven on my first day of going meat free, was how rank Linda McCartney’s vegan pies are (just the pies – the rest of the range is nice). But I persevered and had the pie with some rocket salad and some chips. The mushroom pie was actually filled with tons of flavour and the mushrooms were super yummy. I don’t know why there was a substitute meat in there, as a veggie pie would have been just as nice without, and I don’t know what it is exactly but it was the same thing used in Linda McCartney’s. Though it wasn’t as bad with all the flavour, it still left a bit of an aftertaste but overall the pie was nice.

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DAY TWO – FRY’S TRADITIONAL SAUSAGES

These sausages were super super delicious and I honestly didn’t notice the difference between these and normal sausages. I made hot dogs out of them with onion, cheese and tomato sauce and was pleasantly surprised. I think they would have been just as nice on there own or without additional flavour, like in a fry up, which I’m definitely debating for this weekend. This is one product that amazes me – switching from normal sausages to veggie ones makes literally no difference whatsoever with taste or texture, but is for a good cause. This is something I’ll continue to buy in future. 

Note – I had a look online and realized they do actually do specific hot dog sausages but never mind. 

DAY THREE – FRY’S FAMILY FOODS RICE PROTEIN AND CHIA NUGGETS
I’d had a long day today and also went to the gym after work, so decided to cheat a bit and get some chips from the chip shop on the way home, calling my dad ahead of time and asking him to put the nuggets on for me. It probably wasn’t the healthiest option, but was still healthier then eating meat. This again ties in with the fact that without proper meal planning, after a long day at work, I don’t want to spend ages working out what will and won’t go with certain foods. As I’ve said before, I’m definitely not the type of person to throw things together, hence why half the week was spent eaten chips.

Still, despite the fact that I used lashings of salt and vinegar, and generous dollops of tomato sauce, these ‘chicken’ nuggets were pretty nice and I barely noticed the difference.

DAY FOUR – FRY’S SCHNITZELS
Confession
– I don’t even know what schnitzels are – vegan or otherwise. I assume
they’re maybe some kind of sausage? Anyway, whatever these vegan
alternatives were, they were delicious. I love anything breaded
too and found the crumbled…ness had lots of flavour. Still, I wasn’t
too sure what would go with them so I searched the #FrysSchnitzles
hashtag on Instagram and found tons of ideas. Mushroom sauce seemed to
be a popular choice and I love mushrooms, so naturally I went for that. I
actually used mushroom soup as a sauce, with every intention to add
some flour to thicken it up, but as it goes it was quite thick
naturally. So I chopped up some additional mushrooms and added some thin
chips along with it – delicious.

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DAYS FIVE & SIX
These two days, I wasn’t actually home for dinner as I had dates. Although I wasn’t home to eat any of the Fry’s family foods, I did stick to my veggie guns, even when grabbing fries from Five Guys and drooling unnecessarily (not really, I wouldn’t dream of drooling on a date) over their burgers. Friday was a bit hit and miss because I went straight from work and didn’t have the motivation for a proper meal so just grabbed something on the go. I found being veggie much easier then being vegan in this sense because it’s pretty damn obvious what foods do and don’t have meat in them.

Saturday me and my other date (I know, I’m a hussy) stayed in and ordered veggie pizza which is quite possibly the first time in my whole entire life I’ve ordered a) pizza that isn’t pepperoni and b) pizza from Pizza Hut as opposed to Dominoes. It was lush though. I am (maybe) a changed woman when it comes to my pizza habits.

DAY SEVEN – FRY’S TRADITIONAL BURGERS
On my seventh and final day of being veggie, I got back into the flow of cooking things again, since I had the whole day free and not just, y’know, the evening after work. I took an old favourite with the veggie alternative and made burgers – simple, filling and a nice end to the week.

Overall, I found going veggie for the week super easy and I don’t think that’s just because I know how hard it is going vegan. I think when I went vegan, I was harder on myself and was determined to not substitute things, whereas having an introduction to meat alternatives that week has definitely helped. It made me realize that it’s still super healthy because it’s an alternative so although you’re not full on choosing super healthy completely vegetable based meals and nothing else, you’re still not having meat.

The veggie range from Fry’s Family Foods definitely made the whole thing a lot easier and I think for anyone considering just trying out giving up meat, this is definitely the way to go. It can be the perfect way to detox, if even just for a week, and a really easy introduction into giving up meat for good. I also feel like for those wanting to go a step further, perhaps committing yourself to being veggie with Fry’s Family Foods for a while before going vegan, this is the perfect ‘stepping stone’ into that. I certainly wish I had done the same! 
 

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In my line of work, I’m quite lucky in that we get a lot of invites to things like theatre shows, garden events, manor house tours etc – basically, anything you’d definitely love if you were retired and travelling as a group, and most likely love no matter what age you are anyway.
I mean, I freakin’ love gardens, thanks to my nan and my mum. There was once a time where I couldn’t actually go to a garden centre on a weekend without bumping into my nan/aunt/sister. Once, my mum bumped into my nan in the loo at the garden centre, and we later found out my aunt had been wandering around there too.
But anyway.
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Last week I had the opportunity to head down to the West End to see Guys and Dolls! Guys and Dolls is a total classic and, actually, one I have never seen or knew anything about up until recently (I’m sorry!). So I didn’t really know what to expect.
I loved it, naturally.
Guys and Dolls tells the story, of, well, guys and dolls. The main storyline focuses on two couples – Nathan Detroit and the long suffering Miss Adelaide, who puts up with her fiances gambling in the hopes that he’ll turn around and one day actually marry her, and Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown, who I believe are a very early version of the ‘guy takes bet to win girl over, girl doesn’t know’ storyline, that we know so well from teen movies such as She’s All That.
Naturally, I loved Sky and Sarah’s storyline. Sky was the original bad boy, but not the bad boy (*cough* f*ckboy *cough*) we know today. He’s never been in love and he doesn’t mess with girls heads or cheat. In fact, his bad side comes from his gambling yet he still has that overly confident blase attitude which is what seems to attract us to the bad boys in the first place.

As a character, Sarah Brown didn’t really seem particularly memorable to me but I think perhaps that is the point – she is meant to come across as quiet and reserved, coming out of her shell the closer she gets to Sky.
I loved their relationship and although it wasn’t groundbreakingly romantic, it was rather lovely and probably closer to true romance then what we see in movies these days.
My favourite character was without a doubt Miss Adelaide. I really felt for her, putting up with Nathan Detroit, but I loved that despite the fact that she was willing to wait for him, not once did she come across as desperate or pathetic. In this day and age, we would probably feed her the classic lines of ‘he’s not worth it, move on’. But she believed in true love. She waited it out, patiently and often humorously, and in the end, it was worth it.

Nathan Detroit was a bit of a typical commitaphobe, but his character was still lovable and not too annoying.

My favourite scene was without a doubt the Havana scene, where Sarah gets drunk and jealously rears it’s head when a pretty exotic dancer takes a liking to Sky. Cue a funny scene where Sarah tries to fight said girl – as another dancer tries to get Sarah – Sky tries to warn off the dancer’s advantages whilst keeping an eye on Sarah, and lots of upbeat dancing in the process.

There was so much to watch and laugh at.

I also liked the upbeat and final dance number, Sit down, You’re rocking the boat. The audience loved it so much and clapped for so long that one of the poor characters, Nicely-Nicely Johnson wavered from his stance high on a chair. He checked his watch. We clapped more. He wiped sweat from his forehead. We laughed and continued to clap.

It was a unique interactive moment in the show which I loved.

All in all, I found Guys and Dolls was a total classic – it was romantic, endearing and definitely now a firm favourite musical for me.

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I have had an epiphany.

Sharing wishlist’s on my blog isn’t just a way to share new content or show what I’m lusting after this month. Putting together a short wishlist can help me budget and make sure when I’m cracking down on saving (which I am, lately) I still treat myself at the end of the month – within reason. It can be a little treat to myself after sticking to a weekly budget and then rather then going over the top on a big shopping spree so all my hard work has gone down the drain, by looking for things throughout the month I can see if I still actually really want them by the time payday arrives. If I do, I can then treat myself to just one or two things.
Smart thinking, right?!
Anyway. Here’s what I’ve been lusting after this month.

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Firstly, is this gorgeous Spring Box Of Lame from my favourite new brand, That Lame Company (who actually aren’t that lame at all). They fulfil my crack-like-addiction to stationary, or at least will, as I can see into the future and my future tells me that I’ll be buying from this company a lot. I love their little motto’s and such, and the spring box just has a bit of everything really, including cute post-it notes and notebooks. I likely don’t need anymore stationary, but to be honest, can a girl ever have enough stationary?
Up next is this edgy but classy elephant plate from H&M. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about slowly researching into buying my own place aka moving out (it’s time) and so home stuff has been on my radar this month. It’s way too early to be thinking about that type of thing (aka the fun part which is furnishing and buying cute accessories) but I’ll definitely be popping this in my shopping basket for a later date.

Another definitely-not-lame product from That Lame Company (did I mention how much I love them after discovering the website just yesterday?!) is this nice little iPhone case, which is much needed now that I have a new phone. Not much else to say really, except the design is really sweet and stylish without being too ‘in-your-face’.

I swear I don”t want this book just because of the cover. Even if it’s super cute. This book is described as being the book for those who think Eat, Pray, Love was
way too mainstream, but still want a fix of romance and Italian
lushness. It tells the story of four different English ladies who hire a
castle on the Italian Rivera, to escape their very different lives.
Emerald Street recommends it, so it must be good. Plus, yes, the cover
is super cute.

Finally, THIS TOP. This top is perfect for me as I’ve been relying on zombie apocalypse-esque apps to help push me in my fitness lately and it’s working – I finally feel like I’m starting to find a balance of eating 75% healthy and doing some sort of exercise. I mean, I still spend most of my week sat on my arse watching Netflix. But I try to work out at least three times a week now, so, this top would help and look awesome.

So there you have it – my little April wishlist. What products do you think I should treat myself to on payday? Let me know!

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Guest post by Rosie Watts.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog | Guest Post | Being a bridesmaid in 2016
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The classic saying ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ makes being a bridesmaid seem like a negative. Chances are, many of you have had that excitable phone call from a friend; she’s calling from the other side of the world and doesn’t care for the large time gap between the two of you. She’s ringing because she’s got the most incredible news – she got engaged last night beside the pool of her swanky hotel after years of waiting patiently. As you process the news, rubbing your head and wiping your tired eyes, your first thought is ‘oh my goodness, here we go again’. After your beloved friend is asked one question and ecstatically says yes, you will soon be asked another – and with that question comes responsibility. You’ll soon be playing a huge role in your loved one’s special day. Of course you are over the moon and love nothing more than a chance to dress up and organise parties. But you can’t help but see your summer quickly fill up with a full agenda along with the copious amounts of cash withdrawing from your bank account.
It’s not all tears and tantrums though, there are plenty of tips and tricks for ensuring the process is both fun, fair and purse friendly. We all want to support those closest to us and undoubtedly you’ll go through the motions. You’ll be by your friend throughout the very highs and lows of wedding planning. You’ll see her wedding day jitters and hold her hand when the nervous smile kicks in.
The absolute honour of being by her side as she says those oh so important vows is the greatest privilege a friend can have. So follow these top fashion tips and you will look and feel the part of bridesmaid to your friend. To get you excited and ready for your duties, 2016 offers a whole new stance on playful and delicate bridesmaid trends.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog | Guest Post | Being a bridesmaid in 2016
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ONE SHOULDER
Bridesmaid dresses are fast becoming more modern and fashion-forward in their design, shadowing what we see on the runway. This means they’re no longer a ‘one off’ wear – if you needed or wanted to re-wear it after the big day, you can.
Strapless dresses allow you to show off just the right amount of skin without feeling like you’re over doing it. Traditionally, the strapless dress is a go-to choice for both brides and bridesmaids. However, they can lack sufficient support. Say hello to the one shoulder dress. This style works perfectly for a varied female figure and the elegant and classic look is the perfect compromise for those wary of braving no straps.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog | Guest Post | Being a bridesmaid in 2016
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BELOW THE KNEE
Otherwise known as the ‘tea dress’ – falling just below the knee and brushing the lower calf. This fun and feminine style is making a big appearance for bridesmaids in 2016. The relaxed, semi-formal dress is making a comeback from the 40s and you can find ones in both new and retro designs. This is perfect if you want vintage bridesmaid dresses for your vintage-chic wedding (a trend predicted to grow even more in 2016). The nature of this style allows for movement and texture. They’re typically found in airy fabrics such as tulle or chiffon, which gives the cutest tutu effect.

Last summer saw the revival of bohemian inspired headbands and I’m confident they are going nowhere for summer 2016. They are so versatile and suit a multitude of different outfits and occasions, weddings certainly being one of them. Find a simple shimmering gold headband to suit your retro inspired tea dress and you’ll be fit for the trendiest wedding of the season.

2016 and is all about being comfortable and confident. Less is more and simple is certainly the new sophisticated. Break away from tradition and know that there are many options available for a modern day wedding. Traditional is no longer a must. Embrace your bridesmaid duties and indulge in all things fashion and beauty. Louise recently wrote about her experience at the fabulous Derma Spa – I’m thinking ‘hen party heaven’! Treat yourself ladies, you deserve it.

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