S-21

Vacancy in a place once filled with thousands of people. The rooms a are bare and yet they hold so much. From photographs of prisoners; to empty torture chambers, this compound tells the story of its weighted past. Empty cells fill the rooms, leaving space for only imagination as to just what exactly it was like.

4 buildings, 1 winner: Death.
Otherwise known as Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia’s most famous prison during the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

The biggest enemy of humanity is ourselves.

Time at a standstill

Time.

A convention brought about to track the progress of our lives. Are we doing too much or are we not doing enough? Time is always there but we sometimes find ourselves losing track of time and asking where did it all go? And why so fast?

I’m prone to asking these questions and since returning home for the summer break I find myself asking the reverse. I’m now showered with an abundance of time. Maybe it’s because I’m allowing myself to have more time to do the things that I actually want to do.

Summer for me has always been long and somewhat unproductive, I find myself only ever searching for that break I deserve. I longed for my summers to be like how they used to be. Spent with friends and family everyday having fun, going on adventures and losing myself in the world that I’m glad to call mine. But somewhere in the middle of that I grew up and lost my way. I was more focussed on earning the money. I lost touch with friends and I was forever feeling guilty for not making them a priority. Or myself for that matter.

So this summer I set myself a challenge: To do the things that make me the happiest.

I said goodbye to the constant work ethic I enroll into whenever I come home because “I need the money”.

I’ve compromised, settling for only 3 shifts a week instead of the many more I usually do. I requested my weekends off and so far they’ve been accepted. I took time off to help myself out.

It’s long needed.

I wanted my days to be free so that I could see the people I’ve missed whilst away and get to do the things I set my heart on doing. Like Snowdon for example, after getting a bad case of envy after seeing my brothers instagram post of him hiking Mount Snowdon, I made a special request to embark on the expedition for myself.

And guess what. I did it.

This is because I made it a priority. I planned and I accomplished. It was just another reminder that if you start listening to your thoughts and acknowledge what you truly want you get your life sorted and you change yourself for the better.

My life in london is constantly on ‘play.’ I find it quite hard to escape the world I live in and I find sanctuary in my writing and alone time. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore my life there but there are some days where I just wish everything could be paused for a few seconds for me to take my breather and then carry on. I do love the fast nature of the city and my degree and it definitely keeps me on my feet but every once in a while I think everybody needs a break.

Going from a sky rocketing lifestyle to a more relaxed system has definitely took some time to get used to.

8 days in and it’s only just settling into my body. In the first few days everything seemed warped. Time had slowed down.

Time was at a standstill.

I was greeted with hours of emptiness and plentiful opportunities. It felt different. Not what I was used to at all. Work helped relieve the hollowness of my schedule but it just felt abnormal to me.

But I liked this abnormal approach.

I’ve spent my days catching up with friends and family. I’ve done things I wanted to do and I’ve planned my days in accordance to my goals and objectives. I think it’s because I know in less than a weeks time I’ll be setting off on my adventures in South East Asia .

My time is limited and I intend on spending it wisely. Not wasting it worrying about finances and doing absolutely nothing. I want this summer to last and I want it to be great.

I have a feeling it will be.

13 things you probably didn’t know about me

We all have our secrets and superstitions in life and I’ve decided to confess a few of mine. Our quirks are what make us unique, you can tell an awful lot about a person just by becoming aware of a few things they do each day. With my readership ever-expanding I figured I needed to let you guys know a little bit more about me.

Here’s a list of my top 13 things that you may or may not know about me.

1. I’m a twin

Jason (far left)

I have a twin brother called Jason. I’m older than him by 36 minutes and I dont ever let him forget that. We have always been close growing up; we played football together, swam together and boxed together (I was actually quite good) and we have had our fair share of  fights in the past. What he succeeds in strength I make up for in my winning streak of arguments.

He once threw a tennis ball at me and damaged my cornea. Both him and my sister Courtney chased me head first into a wall and I had to get my head glued open for the second time. The first time jason put a nectarine pip in front of my bike tyre and I went head first into a lamppost. He also threw me in mud back in year 9 on our walk to school and he gave me a bruised neck.

Apparently I drunkenly started a brawl with him. I’m not entirely sure what exactly happened.

It’s all fun and games really and it was all part of my growing up. I love him and I wouldn’t ever change him for the world even if he is an arrogant bastard sometimes. We both seem to have mellowed over the years but that doesn’t stop me from winding him up at every given chance. I’m the annoying twin but my annoyance is infectious – the household wouldn’t be the same without me. I know it and they know it. Jason likes to think he’s the smart one and whilst grades may prove that (except your college grades, just saying) I would have to disagree.

He mocks my subjects saying “they’re not proper subjects” unlike his Physics orientated degree of some kind or another. But I like to think my intelligence branches out in many forms. They’re not all in one basket so to speak and thats the way I like it. I’m constantly growing and expanding my path/s in life. As is he, he’s done so well for himself and I never ever tell him this but I’m very proud of the man he has become and is continuing to be.

2. I was bitten by a dog, TWICE.

Meet Holly, my beautiful 13 year old dog (staff crossed with a border collie)

Yes thats right. Twice.

I’ve been a survivor since the moment I was conceived. In the womb I was dying, Jason was eating all of the food and he squished me against the womb lining. He’s always been a bit of a bully, jokes. But I stayed strong and I stood my ground, coming out weighing 1 pound heavier than him at 5.13lbs.

There is a fire within me thats not about to blow out anytime soon.

So my first incident with the canine creatures was when I was 4 years old (I think). My nan and grandad had recently bought a dog and left my family to mind it whilst they went on holiday. My mum had just finished bathing me and told me to go and get dried in the bedroom. But I had something else on my mind. My Homer Simpson toy. It was in the room where the dog was sleeping. Being the mischievous boy that I was, I crept into the other bedroom and went under the bed to find my toy. Bingo, I had found it. Making my way out from under the cave I accidentally nudged the dog in its sleep. It woke up and latched onto my face. There was blood everywhere. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Escaping its lair I ran down the hall way.

Next thing I know I was waking up in a hospital bed after just undergoing emergency surgery. My whole face was open and I now have scars that tell my story. They’re my battle wounds so to speak. I was to face many more over the duration of my life. The next time happened whilst I  was on my paper round. I was just minding my business and I approached a house that had a little Jack Russel occupying its garden. This dog was always yapping. But the dog went inside the house and I thought this is your time to go and deliver it safely. I pushed it through the letterbox and was on my way back to the gate. The dog came running after me and bit me behind my knee. The owner came out and apologised profusely but I told her not to worry, I just wanted to get the hell out of that garden.

After these attacks my love for dogs still hasn’t changed. My dog, Holly (border collie and staff crossbreed), is the most protective dog ever. Sometimes too protective. She loves people but she’s just not a big fan of other dogs, probably due to herself being attacked by a Rottweiler when she was younger. But nonetheless less she is a beautiful soul and I love her unconditionally. She’s 13 years old and still acts like a big puppy.

3. I’m actually shy deep down 

I’m a secret introvert and I’m not afraid to admit it. As outgoing as I am there’s nothing I love more than being by myself. In my own company. I can sit there for hours just entertaining myself and finding myself hilarious – pathetic I know. I like my inner social circles quite small but my outer circles expansive. I am a social butterfly, I will talk to anyone in that sense as long as I kind of know you before hand. I get awkward almost all the time and the more I tell myself you’re being awkward the worse it gets. I start stumbling on my words and just making one big embarrassment of myself. But its all part of my character and it makes me laugh so I just roll with it. You’d think being in the industry that I am I’d have heaps of confidence – WRONG. I get nervous asking for little things like food in a restaurant or finding out information from people in stores. Sometimes just walking down the street, I use my water bottle as a distraction to get me through it. Maybe it’s a defence thing; I don’t really know. I like to be in my room at my desk writing away, or singing some songs and reading a book or an article online. That’s just the way I am. That is until vodka is involved and then I’m all up for the party.

 

4. I light incense before I go to sleep


This has been a habit of mine more so in the past few years. It’s more like a ritual now for me, it helps me sleep. It sets the mood for peacefulness and I love the smell of it. It makes me calm and channel zen vibes. It’s the time when I can say to myself, right now its. Time to unwind, slow down, take a break and allow yourself to relax.

5. My favourite colour is yellow.

Yellow to me emulates happiness. It’s bright, its airy and its cheery. It gives me so much warmth and joy. Whilst i must admit it is not my favourite colour to wear it is my favourite colour to see. It’s radiating and glows all around. It’s just one of them colours that captivates you and makes you smile whenever you see it.

6. I check my horoscope and angel cards very often.

I’ve been following my horoscope for years, I’ve got it set up on my twitter so that I can check my horoscope daily. I follow way too many astrology accounts and I can easily spend hours going through their posts. Many people say its just a load of bullshit but they interest me so much. But you do have to take it wth a pinch of salt.

 It gives me insight and I can relate myself a lot to my findings. I’m a Virgo and I feel like I resemble everything that a Virgo is in every sense.

Angel cards are relatively new to me and they were introduced to me since moving to uni in September. That’s all down to my dear friend and future flat mate Nikki. She’s a spiritual goddess and she brought these wonderful cards to my attention whenever I needed guidance and comfort throughout the year. It sounds bizarre but without fail in every single reading all my questions have been answered or they have played themselves out in the future. They have really helped me out over the past yea giving me both clarity and enlightenment in terms of where I’m a right now and what I want to achieve.

7. I leave myself notes around the house.

This is just a cute thing I do for myself. I leave myself reminders to take care of myself, emotionally, mentally and physically. They’re on my mirrors my walls and my noticeboard. They’re just little reminders that can quickly get me out of a bad spell or remind myself thatI  need to prioritise myself. It may sound selfish or self-indulgent but Idont care, it helps me keep my head straight and I think we should all love ourselves a little bit more. You’ve got to find love within yourself before you can find it in others. Once you find it in yourself you will be at your happiest. My big thing is stay happy and stay YOU.

8. I won the standing long jump for my year.

Who knew I was an athlete right? Well not quite but in the summer of year 10 I competed against all the houses in my year for the standing long jump. I cant remember my exact measurements but I ended up coming first place for red house. Which was an upgrade from the last years Bismarck performance in the 800m coming last. My long distance running has drastically improved now I must say.

9. My favourite book is To Kill A Mockingbird

I first picked up this novel in my GCSE years in English. No matter how much analysing we did for our exam I still adored this book. I loved its story, I’m always quite passionate about these kind of tales. I like books that take me to a new world that I can learn so much from. It’s through literature that we learn and Harper Lee captured this so perfectly. She taught me a lot about life and about growing up. She opened my eyes to what is right and what is wrong through her tale that was relevant and is still very relevant today!


10. I’ve been struggling with weight gain throughout my life.

My main thing is this “learn to love the skin you’re in.”

It’s been a struggle. I think the only time I ever had a bit of meat on me was when I was a toddler. Since then Ive morphed somewhat into a skeleton. I’ve been around the same weight since I was 13/14 years old.

9 stone.

I just can never seem to put on any weight. It’s not that I dont eat, because my appetite is huge. I’m a big snacker though and I dont always eat the right types of food. Shoot me. My life is honestly what you could describe as hectic. From 7am I dont stop. I’m up and out ready to start my day at Uni. This includes several dance lessons, physical acting lessons and singing lessons. Ive built my metabolism up and so no matter what I eat its out of my system before my next meal.

Okay, so a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture. At uni I started taking protein as an extra way to get the nutrients I needed because there were days where it would be hours until my next meal. Protein acted as a quick fix for that before I had my next meal to fill in the gap. I felt a lot stronger within myself as well.

Hopefully in the future I see a rise in my weight gain. Whilst I know for my skeletal figure I am toned it just doesnt suit my ideal image right now.

11. I hardly ever get enough sleep.

Even if I go to bed at 8pm I find myself laying there until 2am every night without fail before my mind even considers falling to sleep.  Guess you could say I’ve gotten into a routine.

 A BAD one.

However I do have my own little routine that I enjoy doing before I fall asleep. They are my night rituals. My night rituals include lighting incense (my favourite is lavender), reading a book, my sleepy tea and soothing sounds promoting self-love and letting go of fear playlists on YouTube. Usually I’ll play a sleep hypnosis/meditation session as well to help aid my slumber.

This all comes after I’ve done about a thousand things before bed. I’m a night owl so my mind is constantly on play. I do try and take moments throughout the day for it to be on pause though otherwise I find myself becoming absolutely exhausted.

I’m a Virgo, organisation is my goal, I can’t settle until EVERYTHING is sorted out.


12. I saw Dolly Parton live in concert.

8th June 2014. What a night! I took my Nan and Mother to see Dolly Parton on her Blue Smoke World Tour in Liverpool Echo Arena. We all adore her music and it was such a great night. At 71 years old shes definitely still got it. When I saw her I couldn’t believe how tiny she was but her voice still captivated the arena. She put on such a good show, playing a variety of different instruments as well. She sang all her hits as well as her new music. The whole arena was smiling. I’ve grown up with her music all my life and it was great to finally see her live. As a trio we also got to see Whitney Houston live before her passing.

 

13. I stick by the 2 grid, 3 grid rule.


This is my weird habit. Although I dont think its weird at all. Basically whenever Imwalking and there’s 3 grids on the pavement I have to manoeuvre myself around the grids so I dont stand on them for fear of bad luck. If ever I do unfortunately step on 3 grids I find myself searchingendlesslessly for the next 2 grids. For 2 grids bring you good luck. I swear by it. I get so annoyed at myself for stepping on 3 grids and its the same for walking underneath signs. It causes me so much grief. This quirk affects me daily but it helps make my morning walks a bit more enjoyable and stepping on 2 grids a day uplifts my mood dramatically.

Snowdon

Sunday 2nd July – Mount Snowdon completed.

What a perfect Sunday it was. The sun glistened and the views were incredible. We set off at around 9.15am from Chester and arrived at 10:45am. I was thrilled and excited for the day ahead. I had no hangover from the wine the night before and I was ready to get my hike on.

Snowdon has a great mix of steepness and comfort on its path. We chose the popular Llanberis path for our route as it was my first time hiking the mountain. It was so peaceful being in the heart of nature. There was a slight breeze that made the journey very comfortable and you could hear the sound of sheep baa’ing throughout the course.

There was a cute halfway house where we stopped off for slush puppies because of the heat but on we went with the accompaniment of haribo’s and toffee crisps for that extra bit of rush. I went through stages of slow paces to sudden rushes of energy and that came at one of the steepest bits of the trek. I said to myself you can do this and my body responded in the best way possible. The hike didn’t seem as daunting as I first preempted.

I think I’ve always been attracted to a sense of adventure and it’s always been in my life in small forms but as I grow older I’m finding myself being more and more adventurous and it’s something I want to keep up. Mind, my orienteering skills are still as crap as ever but I don’t exactly mind getting lost along the way. It wouldn’t be the same otherwise.

Of course no trip could be complete without me posing for pictures along the way.

THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC 🎶
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3,2,1 SMILE 😁

On top of the world 🌍
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SNOWDONIA 2017, it’s been great!



Just like anything in life, if you set your mind to it you can do it. You’ll achieve those goals that once seemed so impossible just to even start. If you stick at it and you put your energy into it you’ll see the results and climbing this mountain was a much needed reminder to love the life I’m living and that absolutely anything is possible.

How to make a Dream Board: The Power of Visualisation

Recently I made myself a Dream board and so far its working wonders. Some people may think I’m stupid creating a board but really the jokes on them.

Dream boards do work and here’s why.

When you’re able to create a sacred space for your thoughts to manifest it actually starts to happen. This shrine of what you want and your hopes for the futures starts to come to life. What we focus on starts to expand. The key is to put your board in a place where you will see it everyday. This acts as a constant reminder for your daily visualisations.

Visualisation has worked for centuries but not everyone tunes in to their success. Visualisation is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do each day and it’s actually really simple to do. I first learnt about visualisation in a book my friend Phoebe borrowed me called ‘The Secret.’ The book teaches you the importance manifestation and how your output into the universe really determines what you get back from the universe. It says that your thoughts emit a powerful frequency so its important to train your thoughts to suit your ideal world and how you want to feel in it.

From my experience this does speak a lot of truth. Whenever I’m feeling down and I tell myself again and again how much of a bad day I’m having or when I’m feeling tired and tell myself I’m knackered the situation just gets worse. But when I’m in these situations and tell myself everything is ok or that I feel energised it starts to actually take effect on my body. As stupid as it sounds this tiny change in mind perspective really can help your day run more smoothly.

Feeling inspired yet?

Well here’s how you do in just 5 simple steps.

 

1. First you must decide on your boards purpose.

What is most important to you right now? Your Career? Your Relationships? Your Travel? Your Happiness? Or is it a combination of all those things? Whatever the verdict is, focus your board on what you want and how you want to feel.

 

2. Then you must purchase your board and accessories.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on this board. It’s actually really cheap to put together.

I bought my board from here. Jazz it up however you like.

What you’ll need is:

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White-tac/Blue-tac
  • Card (Any colours you wish)
  • Trimmings (ribbons etc if you wish)
  • Pins


3. Now collect your sources of inspiration.

This is where the fun begins. It’s time for your very own treasure hunt of inspiration.

Collect all your favourite magazines that make you happy and rummage through them for images that say a lot about who you are, wo you want to become or just find things that you adore.

If magazines ain’t your thing search the web. Pinterest is great for finding those images that just speak so much resonance to you. Find your favourite quotes and print them out. Find your dream house or dream husband. Find anything and everything.

If there’s a certain smell you like or flower you like add it on there or if you have a favourite restaurant or coffee shop find cute trinkets from each place and incorporate them onto your board. They don’t have to be things you want in the future, your dream board can simply act to maintain your happiness and uplift your spirits when you’re not feeling so good.

But most importantly cater it to you. Remember that these are what your re going to be looking at every morning when you wake up so make sure they ave an effect on you and get you inspired to achieve those goals and make it all happen. The key to having it all is believing you have it all.

 

4. Next, arrange your board in a style that suits you.

This is where the magic happens. This is when your creativity levels go into overdrive. I like to give my sources of inspiration a bit more support so I glues them onto pieces of white card to make them stand out more and be a little bit more sturdy when placing on the board.

How you arrange your board totally depends on you. Some people like it cluttered whereas others can’t stand clutter and have to have it methodically spaced out. Whatever the case is, make it work for you. You want to keep looking at your board each day so if there is a section that is causing you eyesore or a bit of a headache rearrange it.

 

5. Put it somewhere you will see it everyday.

This last step is the most important. In order for this to work, first of all you have to believe in its power and second of all you need to see it for yourself. And that means everyday. The more you open your eyes to something the more it starts to happen for you in your life. So start putting it into action and make the choices that suit your goals and ideal world. Let go of all of your fears and just make things happen (even in your head, if you beleive it so will everybody else.)

I spend a lot of time at my desk and so I thought it would be a great location for my board.

I happen to like clutter. It resembles my life and my want for growth in all directions.

I wish you all the best possible chances in life. But always remember you have the power to change your life at any given moment.

Imagine it. Do it.

End of year one @ Trinity Laban

It’s finally time to say Adios to year one and hello to year 2. It has been one hell of a year – both good and bad. We started off as a bunch of strangers and now we’re a bunch of friends, family almost. We’ve been through it all and yet there is SO much more to come.

We entered the world of Laban back in September where our social lives took priority as we mingled our way through Freshers getting to know each other more and more. A few nights it ended up being just me and Beth partying with the other years which was great fun. We did an array of things like dressing up as pirates, glamming out at the boat party, gender-bendering musical theatre style and much, much more.

Is my Sandy giving you ALL the chills?

Sadly party time eventually came to an end and it was time for us to get straight into our training. I remember in those first few weeks my legs were so sore I could barely walk. Training had killed me off. But as the weeks went on, the pain got easier and I was soon flourishing in what life was really like at Trinity Laban.

In our first term we began working on Naturalism in Acting with Helen Evans, a woman who has broke me but in the best possible way. She’s been a huge support for all of us this year. I worked on a scene from Love and Money by Dennis Kelly. In Dance we were introduced to Dollie Henry and her regime of work – a bit daunting at first but once you get accustomed to it you realise it’s preparing you for the future and its like she always says “it comes from a place of love.” We also worked on technique and performance with our programme leader Vicki Stretton who also took our tap lessons – a skill I am slowly but surely getting comfortable with. She’s been amazing support throughout this year for me. We also had Shannon Hudson, teaching us jazz and style taking us back on a tour of history through her lessons. In the first term we focussed on the time period of black face and other forms of jazz origins. I’ve learnt so much from her and respect her completely for all her work, love and support. In ballet we were working on technique with both Liesel Dowsett and Kim Amundsen. Both have very different approaches towards their teaching. Kim incorporates barre à terre technique in his lessons which has been fun to put into practice. In singing we very much focussed on pre 1900’s Legit styles of voice with Bryan Husband, Tony Castro and my singing teacher Peter Knapp. It’s been a challenge but I got through the early years even if it killed me.

Our second term consisted of Colab and Shakespeare as far as acting was concerned. My Colab was called The Tempest and we created a contemporary dance piece based on Shakespeare’s tale. It was such a good week and I met so many new friendly faces in the process. Then it was into the wonderful world of Shakespeare in which I starred as Silvius in As You Like It.  We worked on Shakespeare with Nina Zendejas our voice coach. I love Nina! In Dance we continued enhancing our technique with all of our teachers and were taught by two lovely gentlemen Jason Pennycooke and Omar Okai. Both of whom have had a vast career in the industry. We workshopped West Side Story and Cats with Jason and had heaps of fun learning technique and performance with Omar. I respect him a lot! In Shannon’s classes we progressed along the history timeline into the world of Charleston and Fosse which was really fun to do. In singing we also progressed through time bringing us more into the early 1900’s. This was a bit more easier for me to grasp.

Next came our final term – show term. Our end of year show was The Dreaming. A show I grew to love in the end. It was an interesting 5 weeks but I’ve learnt a lot about myself from it and about my classmates. In my experience, everyone has been so supportive of each other and it’s honestly so nice to see and be a part of. I don’t think I’d be able to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face knowing people are out to get each other. It would honestly be dreadful. We’ve all had so much fun, even if a few of us injured ourselves along the way. Jenny Coates I’m looking at you. She survived and was a trooper throughout – kudos to you and thankyou for being my amazing waltz partner, what a ball we had.

It’s the little things that happen everyday that really count. From Jake always holding the door for me in the corridor like the true northern gent he is to Alessia cheering me up with her sarcastic/sassy comebacks and her beautiful heart. I adore her completely. Truly an amazing friend. Just like Jenny who is always there to have absurd conversations with me about Sondheim being her dad and how we role-play together creating magic in the making. And Barney taking my abuse everyday (I adore him) and rolling with it. It’s all so much fun. And then there’s BFF NIKKI KELLY putting up with me day in day out (thankyou) and having our cute weekly sleepovers and Qureshi, Mac and Amy for giving me abuse back and being the gal group I need and love. Qureshi is the cutest she’s always there to brighten my day except when we bully each other. Mac is adorable, even when we wind each other up we can’t help but love each other. Our chill out sessions in her room are amazing and so is her music taste. Amy you’re just fabulous and whacky and fearless all wrapped into one. You’re beautiful to be around. Moving on to Brendan who is the best person to go to when you’re feeling your worst as he’ll snap you right back out of it with his one-liners that can make the whole room go silent. I’m talking about the boat. If you know, you know. I love you and respect you so much. Then there’s flat 5, each very different – Fran is crazy and I love it, she’s a beautiful human being and has the most amazing eyes. Florence exuberates sophistication even when she has a cigarette in her hand and walks in in pyjamas and then there’s Emily, I only have to listen to the sound of her voice and I’m instantly cheered up. She’s such a laugh especially when she gets angry. I love angry Emily!!! Let’s not forget Ciara, YouTube sensation from Essex ish. I’ve had some right old laughs with her and she keeps me up to date with the Kardashian Kingdom. Speaking of social media let’s all meet Ellie – the girl to document EVERYTHING. From signature poses for venue to singing videos of her insane vocals. She’s got a great heart and soul! Then there’s Kate. Kate’s always one for the take me out jokes and if she’s not on that show one day I will protest. Chats with Kate give me life. Amy Hayes’ fashion sense also gives me life and she’s always smiling! Also don’t ever lose the bun!!! Bobby is a sweetheart. He’s my go to for help and he super talented, especially on the keys! Our banter is becoming more and more amazing!  Speaking of banter, Becca comes out with some of the most ridiculously great tales I think I’ve ever heard. I’m always the one to catch every word she says and I’m so glad I do! Michael aka gossip girl literally knows everything about everyone and I’m so glad I got to know him more and more! On the topic of insider information meet Tom Ball we’re convinced he’s a secret spy with all the gadgets he’s got. He’s such a lovely boy and has a heart of gold. Then there’s the lads. Callum and Harry. It’d be wrong not to pair them together as they’re practically discusssing wedding vows as we speak. They’re a great duo and they’re another two I’m glad I’ve gotten to know a bit more. Both extremely talented and I’m glad they got to showcase that in our show – you both worked hard in that and the results were profound.

Writing all of this takes me back to a moment in Term 2. We all entered the space with a pen in our hands. Laid out in front of us where pieces of paper with each persons name on it. It was our job to fill these papers with things we love about that person. I came out crying, which is a rarity because I don’t like crying in front of people. It was such an amazing moment for us all and it made me love my cohort even more.

Am I really that sassy?

I have the best people in my year, they’re all honestly amazing. We are a year who constantly put ourselves down despite the good work we do. We don’t always know how much of a good job we’re doing until it’s over which I kind of like and think is actually quite humble of us. What’s important is that we’re real. We’ve all walked a way of life different to each other prior to this and over the past year we’ve managed to merge paths. It’s been a rocky road to say the least but we made it in the end. I’m so glad I got to know all of you guys (I hope you’re reading this) and it’s honestly been an honour watching you all blossom and fly along the way. We’ve lost 2 comrades – Alana I will remember you forever – what a sweetheart! Thankyou for everything. Beth it was great getting to know your fun soul for the time you were here. I’ll always remember our down to earth chats! Stay happy! Good luck for the future I’m sure you will both grab it with all you’ve got!

On that note, 3rd years I wish you all the luck and success in the world. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over this year. You made my transition here a lot easier than I first anticipated with your warmth and kindness and truthful talks. So thankyou and break a leg in your run of Made in Dagenham!

This year I’ve learnt that I do indeed have a little bit of anxiety in certain situations, even if it is in minor form, it is still present. This is something I’m working on. This year I have been graced with plenty of opportunities and amazing new friends. This year has been a whirlwind but I guess you could say I’m attracted to the storm.

Year 2 I’m coming for you!

Radiate.  (1 minute read)

Today is glowing. I am glowing. Everything about today is radiating warmth. The sun is shining and so is the inferno from within. My flames are dancing in the wind – they are joyous. I emulate everything that is great to be alive right now. I am happy. I am warm. I am me.

Life is a journey, a never ending road and as cliché as it sounds I’m ready for the adventure. Who knows where it might lead but the mystery awaits. Live for right now because right now is great!

My struggle with Acting.

Yesterday I reached breaking point.

I completely broke down. If there’s one thing I hate doing its crying in front of people. It’s a problem I’ve been learning to deal with ever since my Dad passed away. I built up this foundation of strength in saying everything was ok when it really wasnt.

This has stuck with me.

It’s not that I’m shut off emotionally, it’s just that I have a resilience in showing my more sensitive emotions to others. I’m completely open about this and those who know me know I’m the most emotional person they know in isolation. I’m very much in tune with my emotions and similarly know when its my time of the month so to speak despite the genitalia differences.

But yesterday was different.

Yesterday took me by complete surprise. I was feeling absolutely fine within myself and was having quite a good day. Show week was over and it was time for 2 weeks of relaxing lessons.

Or so I thought.

So we were given a task to bring to life this externalised/heightened character and this is the type of stuff that freaks me out because I always believe I do a bad job doing it. Which is a normal for me in acting anyway, I never believe in myself and its been like this for about 3 years now. Deep down I know I’m good enough but I always have this internal conflict that’s tells me I’m not nor never will be any good.

I’m a mess I know.

In our lives we all have weaknesses or things you believe to be your weaknesses and you view them completely different to your strengths. They give you the most anxiety and fears and they can either break you or make you depending on how you utilise this feeling.

I didn’t exactly use the 10 minutes we had to prep very well. I spent the time fighting myself and taking constant blows to my self-confidence. Steve Peters would say my chimp had won. I think he would be right on this occasion. After the ten minutes was up, we each had to perform back our material to the class. I happened to be last.

Big mistake.

The whole time I sat there in a state of panic. My palms were sweating I was not ok. But, I got up there and I proceeded with the task. I ran into a web of failure. Everything was going wrong and the more I told myself this, the more it got worse. I felt everyone’s eyes on me and I suddenly felt like the smallest person in the biggest room. My acting teacher persisted and kept me going in the attempt to grasp at this task. It just wasnt working and I felt myself getting more and more worked up. I was unable to produce the work.

This all stemmed from my own self-doubt. 

Yesterday it completely got in my way and clouded my outlook and emotions for that matter. After being pushed and pushed and then pushed some more (all out of love) I was unfortunately swallowed by it all. I guess I was just extremely disappointed with myself. What seemed like a simple task proved to be so difficult to me. But everyone else in the room was feeling the exact same, they were just better at managing their mind on this occasion. Whereas I succumbed to defeat so to speak.

But I don’t exactly see this as failure. I see it as progress. I needed this. It was a reminder, that there are things I need to be working on and it has given me a much clearer vision on things relating to myself and my training here at Trinity Laban. It was also nice to feel secure enough to be allowed to have my breakdown in front of my friends in such a warm and open environment. Everyone there was rooting for me and was there to pick me back up again and I really felt that and appreciated it at the time even if I was drowning in my own tears.

No matter how many people you have in your life believing in you its never going to make a difference until you start to believe in yourself and thats exactly what we all need to do.

And fast.

Maya Angelou paints it perfectly “But still, like air, I’ll rise.” 

And rise from it I will. In the future, when faced with difficulties I’ll look back on this moment and I’ll know I never want to feel like that EVER again.

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Rehearsals: Week 4

It’s the weekend and after over a month of not drinking, it’s finally time to crack open the bottle and get swigging. The main reasons I was partaking in a Dry May was because a) I wanted to save money and b) I wanted my skin to clear up.

In recent weeks, my skin has indeed felt a lot smoother – which is more than I can say about my finances. All the budgeting I’ve mastered by cutting out alcohol has basically been for nothing after a midnight splurge on new clothes and a new pair of trainers – they are beautiful though. But I figured its been a long time since I treated myself and after the last few weeks I was in need of some materialistic loving.

To say this process has all gone smooth and dandy would be an inaccurate lie; one I wouldn’t be able to say with truth.

I think that’s quite normal though with any production when you’re putting things on its feet. For the most part it has been enjoyable but on the whole, I haven’t exactly loved the process and I don’t quite know why. This is unusual for me because I usually love putting on a show and being creative.

There have been times where I’ve absolutely hated it and myself for that matter, often having to make the most of my lunchtime by getting out of the building and into the fresh air for a bit of normalisation and reassurance before going back in and trying again. This time round with a more positive outlook in my bounce. 

It has been a strange journey, I think a lot of my peers would agree with me on that one.

BUT 

There have been times where I’ve loved every second of it. So I guess you could say I’ve been going back and forth from one extreme to the other. What has helped me ‘pull through’ is the support from my friends. We’ve all had our bad days and we’ve all been there to pick each other back up again and laugh at ourselves. Meditation has also been my saviour during rehearsals. It has cleared my mind and helped me remain focussed on the task ahead.

This week has been a week of cleaning things up and glueing everything together to make the piece work. It’s also had a further 2 choreography days in which we completed more numbers and improved those that were already existent. On Friday we also had our first dress rehearsal and this went quite smoothly – obviously there are still sections that need changing but on the whole it went quite well. We now have Monday as a spare day to perfect our work before heading into a whirlwind of tech and dress runs starting at 9:30am and finishing 12 hours later.

Next week will kill me. Emotionally, physically and mentally. But that’s what show week is like.

As a class we’ve all decided to pick a person to look after during the show to keep their spirits up. I’m a big fan of quotes – they always brighten my day. I think a lesson to be learnt from this experience would have to be that in life, what you give power to has power over you. Whilst at times its been a struggle to escape the spiralling negativity that has been quite prevalent in both myself and the outside exterior it has been a reminder for me not to succumb to this and let it cloud my vision for what is to come.

It has been a rollercoaster. But I’m determined to make the highs outlive the lows. In a weeks time this will all be over and I will have to say goodbye to my ‘woodlandish’ roots and mechanical madness. In months to come I’ll look back on this experience and begin to miss the fun I’ve had creating the roles.

Adios for now but be sure to check out my earlier posts on our production.

The DreamingRehearsals: Week 2Rehearsals: Week 3

Adventures in Bristol 

Saturday
After 2 weeks of rehearsals I decided it was time for a bit of ME time, so when the offer to visit a friend in Bristol came up, I jumped at the opportunity to go. And I’m very glad I did. The journey involved a train to London Victoria and then a coach to bristol with National Express. The journey took longer than expected however it was nice knowing that in 2.5 hours time I would be in a new city exploring all it has to offer. 

Upon entering Bristol, I was greeted by artwork urging the people of bristol to vote in the next election (June 8th)  – amen to that! I was also greeted by people asking me for spare change towards a bus fair or a hostel for the night – I soon noticed homelessness is a big problem here. I saw numerous flyers campaigning for homeless peoples rights and help towards them getting by during my time here. Jon finally arrived and we decided to please our appetites by heading to the markets to indulge in the food they had to offer. Jon opted for a very traditional pie whereas I opted for something a bit further out – a Mediterranean veg, chicken and mozzarella baguette. It was delicious.


We explored the markets some more and stopped off at both the sweet shop and the incense stall. Bouncing back onto the streets of bristol we decided to head on over to more of the old bristol before making our way to the harbourside part of town. Having looked at more than enough ships on our last trip together we decided, or more so Idecided that the SS Great Britain was definitely not an option for this trips itinerary. Instead we strolled casually along embracing the peacefulness of the surroundings. With my backpack on like the typical tourist I am. I did however leave my shades at home but that was okay because it started to rain quite a fair bit on this particular Saturday.

It was here that I found my Amsterdam in Bristol. The day was filled with exploring and I felt the same happiness that I felt sight-seeing in Amsterdam. I was just happy to be in a new city having fun. If my time permitted i would happily board a train and go out exploring new places all the time but sadly due to the nature of my musical theatre degree I just dont have that much time to be doing so. When I got to the harbourside I was amazed to have found the lineup of bicycles on the railings against the waterfront. It teleported me back to Amsterdam immediately surrounded by canals and a bicycles everywhere I turned. It was very nostalgic.

“It was here that I found my Amsterdam in Bristol”


Exploring some more we headed on over to the cathedral. Inside it was beautiful, simple but grande in its design. An external choir of boys from Oxford were busy rehearsing for their evening performance when we entered. It was angelic. Whilst I’m not exactly a religious person it was nice to view the building and how much it means to the people who worship there. There was a box for writing down a prayer you want read in the next service and i caught a glimpse of one persons prayer (because I’m nosey) and it was very endearing.

Cabot Tower was next on our list. It was a steep climb for my sore legs that have been used to their limits through both rehearsals and gym time. I clearly can’t hack the both of them.  After several pit stops, with Jon seeking shelter from the rain under the trees, we finally made it to the top. The tower was in sight. Like a knight rescuing his princess from the dragon I raised up the many steep steps to reach the top. It was here we got to see the whole of Bristol.

Not the best of skylines I must admit but alas we had succeeded in our mission.

Tired and thirsty we decided to unwind over a coffee in the city centre; or in my case an Iced Green Tea with Lemon. With our rest period over we migrated over to the bus stop to catch our bus back to Jon’s place. We proceeded down Gloucester Road before reaching home. It was quite an interesting road. It looked as though there was an event going on as there were groups of people queuing and drinking in the streets – there was something quite grungy-esque about this. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was cool and I liked it!

I’ve probably just sounded exactly like your 65 year old grandad trying to get down with the kids in writing that…

MUD-tastic 😜


Nando’s was the choice of delicacy for tonight evening meal and by the time we left I was beyond full. On our way home we stopped off at Asda for the morning’s breakfast – quite the efficient pair aren’t we.

Sunday

Awaking from our slumber we were ready to start the day. That is after a shower and breakfast. Can’t be skipping breakfast now can we kids. Driving along the more ‘scenic’ route we reached our destination – The Wild Place Project. It was such a beautiful day for it, the sun was out and the rain was nowhere to be seen, unlike yesterday. Being Bristol Zoo’s sister site I was excited for our day out. We were given a leaflet containing a map and a trail for the ‘explorers’ where we had to tick off all the missions we had completed. I embraced my inner 5-year-old once more and had the most amazing time. I was the one doing the activities might I say, Jon watched and ticked off. Here at the farm we met everything from the Madagascan lemurs to the European grey wolves. Each exhibit had their own story to tell and I really enjoyed the different sections to this place. If you’ve got kids and our looking for a fabulous day out in Bristol I’d highly reckoned this place. Or if your like me and you love animals then take your friends and partners and have a blast. I sure did. My favourite part of the day was the ‘Barefoot Trail’ it was a route in which I got more connected with nature through feeling the ground beneath my feet as i walked through the trail – it was beautiful, even the mud section at the end. Thank God for the hose at the finish line.

Here’s the highlights of the day.

 

 

I even got a chance to sit down and do some blogging of my own on this typewriter in the jungle.


Sadly this was all we had time for due to me having to catch the coach back to London. But after a day of exploring the realms of Africa, Europe and Madagascar I was fully worn out. After a late lunch i was happy to be resting on the coach journey home. Bristol was beautiful and it was the escape I needed. Get yourself out there and go explore, wherever it may be. Have fun and filly your life with happiness. Forget about the worries and stresses of your day to day life. Leave the work behind and take time for yourselves. Every once in a while you deserve it! Stay happy.