Sunday, 28 February 2016

Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2016


*Firstly I'd like to say ignore the 2015 in the link, I made a typo and it will not change even though I've changed the actual post title!! Yes it is 2 days before March and I am still writing 2015....... go me!

So a few weeks ago now, I went to the Strictly Come Dancing Live show at Metro Radio Arena.
If you know me, you know that I am a big fan of Strictly, and have watched it for years.
I had never actually been to any of the live shows, but it just so happened that we got late tickets for the show. I didn't really know what to expect but I knew it would be like the TV programme except in show form for the benefit of the arena.

Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani
Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton
Jake Wood and Janette Manrara
Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice
Ainsley Harriott and Karen Clifton (originally meant to be Natalie Lowe but she had to pull out due to injury)
Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko
Helen George and Aljaz Skorjanec

Here were the dancers which were the main couples in the show. I loved the setlist to be honest, as there was a lot of my favourite couples and individuals which I was excited to see. I was particularly excited to see Frankie Bridge, as I've mentioned I'm a huge fan of The Saturdays. It was another chance to see her live, except this time dancing not singing! She and Jake Wood were the only couples from last year's series.

I can honestly say I LOVED the show. It was so light-hearted and a lot of the comedy although at some times must have been scripted, was all natural and didn't seem to be put on.
The celebrities and dancers themselves looked to be having a great time and I have to say a special shout out to Janette and Giovanni for being so interactive with the crowds, they definitely seemed to spend a lot of time waving and taking note of the crowd in particular, although everyone I would say were very appreciative of the crowds and made their own effort.

I had already had a sneaky peak at which two dances the couples would be performing, but I've got to say I enjoyed Anita and Gleb's Paso Doble, Jay and Aliona's Jive, Frankie and Kevin's Tango, Ainsley and Karen's Salsa, Georgia and Giovanni's Charleston and Jake and Janette's Samba & their salsa the most.

As well as being excited to see Frankie perform, I was also particularly excited to see Jay and Aliona's extremely memorable jive as well as Anita and Gleb's Paso Doble and Georgia and Giovanni's charleston! These were the main dances I came really excited for! I also knew Jake and Janette would be a great couple as they were amazing together and Janette is an extraordinary dancer!

The show ran exactly how the TV programme would, with each couples coming out to begin with, followedy by a video recapping their Strictly story before their overall performance. The judges would give their opinions and vote. Each couple performed two dances and there was a break halfway through which was a great opportunity to vote for your favourite, by texting the appropriate number for your chosen pair to win. The money from the votes went to Sports Relief which I think was a great bonus as we were donating to charity whilst taking part in the show! After the break the couples returned to perform their second dance with a few group dances throughout the show also which was great to see! The show then ended with the winners revealed and the couples got to do one mini dance more as everyone took to the stage to be thanked. In our show, which was the evening one, the winners were Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani, with Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko finishing in 2nd place.

My one negative thing to say would be that Pasha Kovalev wasn't on the tour, him being one of my favourite professional dancers! I did already know he wasn't part of it, but I think he would have been a great addition to it and would have brought along a lot of his fanbase I'm sure! It would have been even better if he had been there. It would have also been nice to see Ola Jordan and Kristina Rihanoff, considering they have been long-term dancers on the programme and aren't returning. I would have liked to see them dance in person!

I absolutely loved the Strictly tour and it's made me love Strictly more than I already thought I did! And also means I'm seriously so excited for the next series as I love the Autumn time with the great TV programmes such as Strictly and the build up to Christmas! Sorry I know I just mentioned Christmas in March but I'm just saying! I felt like I didn't really appreciate it as much last year because I wasn't in a great way but Strictly was definitely a big part of keeping smiles on my face! The show was absolutely hilarious and Mel Giedroyc was a great presenter and host of the show. There was also a lot of various merchandise which I had to try not to overspend on, including t shirts, mugs, 10 paddles, tote bags, pens and more.

Love & hugs
Claire xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 7 February 2016

January 2016 Favourites

Hiya everybody!

So here are my January Favourites! The first Favourite post of 2016! Let me know some of your Favourites from the last month in the comments! And if you have any post suggestions you'd like to see me do!

L'Oreal Elvive Smooth Intense Anti-Frizz Shampoo
Not sure why but my hair has not been co-operating much this month and wasn't looking or feeling its best! However I used this shampoo and my hair did feel a lot more refreshed. I don't tend to use this all the time as a shampoo, I go for other ones targeted to preventing grease as that is where my hair tends to need the most care, however this is great for frizzy hair! I use it about every 2 weeks or so (as I have quite a few shampoos now and I have to alternate) and whenever I use it after a gap, it makes my hair feel so refreshed and just lighter and less tangly. I love it so much, it is a bit more expensive than the other shampoos I use, but definitely worth it!

Carmex Lipbalm
This lipbalm has been a real saviour this month, my lips and skin around has finally given in to winter's coldness and been dry and not in great condition. However Carmex has definitely helped with the problem and treated them well. It's a little pricier than the standard lipbalms, but it's definitely a good one to have in your collection as it does do wonders! You may take a little time to get used to the smell/taste of the original one, as the menthol is strong but you can choose the cherry flavour if you wish to avoid that. I've not used the cherry one myself, but I would presume it does the same! Don't quote me on that though! I also would have taken a photo but I appear to have lost it as I write this. I've misplaced it somewhere!

Heart is a YouTuber I've known of for quite a few years now ever since she appeared in one of JLovesMac1's videos. I've really been enjoying watching her content lately, new and old! She's a very funny and adorable lady and you cannot help but be engaged with what she is talking about. She is very upbeat and fabulous to be honest. She has an infectious personality.

Patricia Bright
I've been watching quite a few of Patricia's videos lately, she is a British youtuber with a lot of personality!
I always feel like after watching Patricia's videos, I feel refreshed. She is a very wise lady and I feel like what she says and the advice she gives is very credible and valuable. I definitely have a lot of time for her and her videos and thoroughly enjoy them. I also wish her a speedy recovery for her broken hand!

Raleigh Ritchie - Bloodsport
I have been really loving this track lately, I don't know a lot about Raleigh but this track is definitely very fresh and current and I'm sensing a bit of an Ed Sheeran vibe too?
Although I don't understand the clip in the video when he's trying to flush his ex's stilettos down the toilet? They don't flush and you're going to have to fish them out at some point aren't you? Oh well haha!

Zayn - Pillowtalk
Obviously I was highly anticipating this single, when it was first announced Zayn was releasing his own material. I am so impressed with this, it's such a current and fresh track. I love the R&B tones to it and I think I'm really going to love his music, mostly because R&B does have a huge place in my heart! I love how artistic the music video is and I have always loved Zayn's voice even when he was in One Direction so it's a definite love for me!

One Direction - Wolves
I'm not 100% sure what made me love this song so much recently, but I've been listening to it loads and it is definitely become one of my favourites from Made in the AM. I'm really going to miss One Direction while they are on the break, there is nothing like the excitement of anticipation of a new album release. And their music was always evolving and maturing.

Craig David and Big Narstie - When The Bassline Drops
THIS SONG. Gives me such early 00s feels. It makes me feel really nostalgic and I honestly feel like it has such a timeless, classic vibe to it. I hope it is as successful as it deserves to be and totally reminds me of how smooth Craig David's vocals are! It's seriously my absolute jam at the moment.

Celebrity Big Brother's Bit on The Side
Now I'm going to admit I've never been a Celebrity Big Brother viewer at all, but I've seen a few eps of CBBOTS because Ricky Norwood was on them so I watched and have been watching some of the actual episodes. I don't know what's come over me cos I never normally do. I thought either Scotty T or Darren would win. Possibly Tiffany. And Scotty T did win in the end.

Lacey Turner
Lacey Turner is an actress who plays Stacey Slater in Eastenders and I just feel like I should shine some recognition to this amazing lady this month. Her acting has been absolutely beyond amazing as she portrays Stacey's struggle with post partum psychosis. I feel like Lacey is definitely one of the best actresses in the show and when given a storyline like this, shines so much. She and Steve McFadden are doing so well right now and I hope they both get recognised at the British Soap Awards in May, Steve McFadden literally is so underrated at award programmes and needs to win some awards!!

Thank you for reading this blog post and please also be sure to check out my blog post for Time To Talk Day, it is linked here:
Please take the time to read and share it. It is a really important cause!

Love & hugs
Claire xxxxxxxx

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time To Talk Day 2016

Hi everyone!

So seeing as today is Time to Talk Day, which is a day encouraging us to talk about mental health, both our experiences and everything there is to know, I thought I'd write a little post about it! It's a subject which is very close to me and I couldn't miss this opportunity. I feel like this day is very important as it can encourage everybody from any age to get talking about the subject of mental health and the stigmas it can be attached to.

I know from personal experience how difficult it is to talk about things like this, but I also know how important it is to do! One of the main reasons that mental health is such a "taboo" subject is that it's not talked about very much and therefore a lot of generations are not educated on how some of these illnesses work and tend to "assume" things which are totally wrong. Not much time is actually taken to understand how tiring and exhausting a mental illness is and how difficult it really is have on a daily basis! It is something which really annoys me as I feel like it does nothing for the stigma and the people suffering as if they feel they cannot be taken seriously, it just adds to the pressure and their illness could be potentially made worse.

I only really began to even slightly open up about anxiety issues I face last year and that was after around 3/4 years of dealing with them. And I can tell you, it's really difficult when you feel like you don't be understood or that it's weird or whatever. I also worry that people will be dismissive or unsupportive over symptoms I may face or if I'm having a panic attack. It may not be a physical illness from the start, but it can turn into physical, if it's like a panic attack. But even so, it doesn't mean it isn't any less difficult or any less painful, going through something like this. It can ruin lives and stop you doing the things you want to, and the things you need to. It can seriously damage your self-esteem and it can control you. For a lot of people, it can be hugely deliberating and horrendous.

And 1 in 4 people will suffer with a mental illness anytime during their life. But the fact is some of these illnesses are really hard and a lot of the time yes it might be 'all in my head' but that is exactly what mental health is right? I fear the lack of education and understanding will leave hundreds and thousands of younger people struggling and being unable to get help. It tends to be some of the older generation that are more dismissive and maybe it's because they never learned about it, or had that knowledge of what the affects of some of these problems are, so that is why it definitely needs to be spoken about more. I feel like if some of the people in the older generations such as parents and grandparents took more care with what they are saying and actually maybe do a bit of research and generally learn a bit more about some of these awful illnesses, they would hopefully be more open to taking better care of not just their loved ones who may be suffering but anybody they may know. If the children or teenagers of these people felt like they could speak up about it without feeling even more isolated, the world would be a better place and treatment could be given earlier.

Schools definitely need to reach out more and teach more about mental health because then maybe these children and teenagers won't feel so confused at what they are going through. If we can make future generations more understanding then think about how many more future generations will be coming into the world and feeling like they can talk about their struggles? We need to do something to allow this!

I know for a fact if I'd managed to sort out my issues when I was younger, like say a few years ago when they first started getting bad, it wouldn't have gotten half as bad. But the fact is I felt like I couldn't speak up about it and to be honest, I still find it hard now, even when I have to talk about it or when I'm writing blog posts about it, I still feel a sense of worry as I write them because I know some people won't understand or have something negative to say about it all.

And let me just say. Mental illnesses are REAL. Just because you can't see them don't make them any less of anything, and doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken less seriously.

So let's end mental health discrimination and stigma! Let's make attempts at understanding the struggles and
Just because you can't see something, doesn't mean it's not there! If you feel someone may need to talk about something they are going through, make every effort to listen! You never know how much help you could be potentially giving.

Please visit for more information, and don't forget to continue spreading the hashtag #timetotalk on Twitter!
There is also an article about 10 Common Misconceptions about Mental Health which you can find here:

Love & hugs
Claire xxxxxxxxxx