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Friday, 19 January 2018

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

You’ve no doubt heard and read so much about the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. It was the talk of the year when it launched, and even now, people are flocking to go and see the play. Myself included in those people.

I purchased my tickets in November 2016. I finally watched the show on 17 January 2018. They were so hard to get – I think I waited in the online queue for 6 hours just to secure the tickets. I purchased them as a surprised for my brother Ryan and I decided to finally surprise him with them this year on his 24th Birthday. Keeping it secret has never been so hard.

On the day:
We arrived into London at 11:45AM the first show wasn’t until 2PM but we had to go and collect the tickets from the box office. We went from London Waterloo so we had to jump on the tube - Northern line to Tottenham Court Road.

It was easy to find, 5 minute walk from the tube station. There is a number of food courts surrounding the theatre so you would never be stuck for options.

We collected our tickets early and then went to grab a bite to eat. We had to be back at the theatre one hour prior to the show starting to be searched by security. They advised on the website that you’re not allowed food or drink but you’re in fact allowed to take sweets and water. We made the mistake of buying in the theatre and it cost a ridiculous amount of money.

Part one:
The first show is 2 hours and 35 minutes. There is a 20 minute interval mid way through and then it's back to the action. I wasn't sure what I was expecting. I can't say I have been to that many theatre productions. I've watched the Harry Potter films hundreds of times and when the production first started I can honestly say I was a little bit taken aback. I think I was expecting more. Of course the show is never going to be the same as the movies and that's definitely something you need to bear in mind. However, after about 10 minutes into the show you can really see the detail and hard work that has gone into creating such an amazing production. It's not as high-tech but there are some real magical moments (pardon the pun).

Part two: 
The second part of the show started at 19:30 and lasted 2 hours 30 minutes. It's action packed and full of great surprises. We were sat in the Grand circle and I think for elements of the production, if we were sat closer to the stage we would have been even more excited because there are some amazing things that happen. Although, our view was pretty great.

If you're going to see the show, I would recommend not reading the script. Myself and Ryan have both got the book but haven't read it yet and the surprised in store were so exciting. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend seeing the show. I laughed, felt sad and even a little on edge at times. You definitely get all the feels and the cast did an exceptional job. 
It's a long day and if you're travelling a long distance, be sure to book a hotel close by because we travelled home late and it was exhausting. I know that there is also an option to watch part two on a different day on part one. This isn't something we wanted to do as travelling into London can be expensive so we chose to watch the entire production in one sitting rather than split the days. Do what's best for you.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Reflection and understanding personal space

I'm not sure if this blog is going to make an ounce of sense but I have felt the urge to write it for the last week. I wanted to discuss the importance of personal space. 

The term 'Personal Space' in the dictionary refers to the physical space immediately surrounding someone, into which encroachment can feel threatening or uncomfortable. 

Although the general definition discusses physical space, I also think personal space can now take many forms. Not only is it physical - in the sense where it's someone in your face, but it's also digital and for me it's a mental state as well. The reason that I am writing this is because lately, I have been struggling with this issue. 

I am a friendly and a somewhat social person. As a YouTuber and Blogger I have allowed myself to be on social platforms where I share certain aspects of my life. Yes, this is a personal choice and for the most part I absolutely love it. However, by doing this, it has opened up the door to people who do not consider the importance of backing off at times or knowing when to give me space. 

I think many people struggle with this but cannot formulate the right words to express how they are feeling. Which is also why I wanted to write this piece. To tell you that it's okay. 

It's not selfish to want personal time. It's not selfish to want people to leave you alone so you can just have 5 minutes of silence to re-energise. I'm not sure if it's a lack of awareness or understanding but for me people need to learn when enough is enough. When they need to back off and be respectful of someone else and their personal space and you have every right to tell them. 

There are times where we all like to be in our own little bubble where we can find peace and reflect. We all need our own time and that's okay.

There are a number of ways I take time to reflect. Whether that's having time to myself or being with Gary. He is like my anchor. He is the only person a part from my dad who can calm me. His presence is just relaxing. I think everyone needs someone like that, who can just make you forget your situation even for 10 minutes to help you to re-balance. I also like to take time away from my phone and people in general. It's not to be rude but it's just to take a break from everything. It really does help. 

I rarely get stressed or bothered by these sorts of things, but lately I have. Getting space has helped me to cope and focus. If you're ever feeling like things are getting too much, be sure to reach out to people who you know have got your back. who will help you to get back up and carry on. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

KathleenLightsXColourPop Dream St Palette

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably have heard, seen and drooled over the new ColourPop collaboration with Kathleen Lights. This collection contained not only a 12 shade eyeshadow palette, but also three unique lip products. All of which are so stunning there are no words. 

As soon as I knew this was coming out I waited for ages to get my hands on it when it was released on the ColourPop website. I live in the UK so it took forever for this palette to come - 30 days to be exact which is late even for normal ColourPop shipping standards. 

The collection cost $34 in total and then I had to pay a £23 customs charge on top of that. 

ColourPop prices are crazy. They are amazingly affordable and really great to work with, especially if you're new to makeup. You can't really go wrong. 

I've been playing around with this palette since it arrived. My first creation was this gorgeous golden look which I absolutely loved. You can watch my makeup tutorial here.

I like natural shades as they are so easy to work with. What's great about this palette is that there are so many diverse shades both natural and more daring and you can create so many looks with them.

The eye shadows are really easy to work with. They blend out nicely and they are very pigmented. Some shadows don't show up well on my skin tone - the lighter shadows - but I think if you have a lighter or darker complexion to mine they will be beautiful on you.

Overall, it's a great palette. 

There is a little fall out when using the shades which you get with most palettes. The pans are quite small but the overall price is unbeatable so you really do get what you pay for. I will do a separate review on the liquid lipsticks but they are stunning colours which compliment the palette as well. 

Definitely recommended if you can get your hands on it. I cannot wait to share more looks with you.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness

When I tell people that I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness I get a variety of comments. Some shocked but mostly sympathetic. Now, I'm not after pity or sympathy and nor am I writing this post to disrespect a religion that so many people choose to follow. I do however want to share my experience with you. 

It's taken me some time to write this post. I wasn't sure how it would come across. Religion is a choice and whichever religion you choose to believe in - if any - is your own personal choice and I would never speak disrespectfully of it. 

This is my own personal view point and experience. 

What is a Jehovah's Witness?
This is quite difficult to explain so I did a little googling to find the right terminology. You might be surprised to know that they actually have a website. According to their website here's how to sum up what a Jehovah's Witness is:
Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to adhere to the form of Christianity that Jesus taught and that his apostles practiced. 

You can research their website if you wish to discover more. It's not something that I am comfortable with sharing on my blog.

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness
I was in the Jehovah's Witness religion from the age of 2 - 15 years old. Both my parents have been baptised into the religion and myself and my brothers/sister attended their church (otherwise known as a Kingdom Hall) twice per week on Sunday and Tuesday. Then we would attend someones house on a Thursday which was sort of a bible study group. 

As a Jehovah's Witness you're not allowed to celebrate your birthday or Christmas. 
I would say that growing up in this religion wasn't easy. It's quite isolating. I do personally feel like I missed out on so much. I cannot remember a time where I was excited for Christmas day or my birthday. Although we never went without anything, I think that excitement for Christmas is something that all kids remember. 

To be honest, I didn't know anything better. But over time I can honestly say I detested the religion completely. I don't blame my parents, they had a belief and I think they thought they were doing what was best for us. 

What do Jehovah's Witnesses believe?
It's been quite some time since I was a part of the religion but from what I recall, they believe that the end of days is coming. That those who believe in Jehovah are going to paradise where they will essentially be reborn and live a perfect life. Those who do not believe will perish. In their opinion, when they reach paradise they will live forever without suffering and pain. They also believe that 144,000 people from earth will rise and become one of Jehovah's angels. 

What they don't tell you
I witnessed a fair bit when I was in the religion. Hearing stories of men cheating on their wives and I know people who have been sent to prison for horrific crimes. You're shunned if you lose your faith. You're not allowed to dress in anything that is deemed as inappropriate, have tattoos or piercings. Men are seen as more important than women. You have to act a certain way. You can only be friends with people who are in the religion. You have to be escorted if you want to go on a date with another Jehovah's Witness - you're of course only allowed to date another Jehovah's Witness. No sex before marriage. They also do not accept blood transfusions. 

They are also an extremely wealthy religion. Every week people within the church would give donations. This in turn funds the Jehovah's Witness empire. I think like all religions, it's essentially a money maker. Which is ironic as they do not believe in being materialistic. 

Why I stopped being a Jehovah's Witness
My dad was the first to stop going. The main reason they joined the religion in the first place is because of my mum. However, my dad stopped going when my niece passed away. I think he never really shared the same faith and when my sisters daughter passed, it was not just a huge blow to the family but also an eye opener to all of us. We all pretty much stopped attending their church after that. I had my first Christmas at 16. 

How this religion has impacted my life
To be honest, it never really leaves you. It's always in the back of my mind. I do not believe in this religion, I do not share their faith but it's still very much a part of me even now after 13 years. I think I act a certain way due to my experiences and a large chunk of my life was spent attending church and being very much a part of this religion. 

Overall thoughts
I personally feel that this religion is like a cult. For those who are in it, they are ruled by their faith. They are prohibited from doing so many things and expected to abide by so many rules. Personally, I feel that having faith shouldn't be so restrictive. 

I will never get my childhood back and I do feel that I have missed out on so many great memories with my family. I'm envious of those Christmas or Birthday stories that my friends have. I cannot wait to have a child so I can experience that excitement first hand. 

Although I would never be a part of that religion again, it wasn't all bad. I think it did make me a more respectful person. I appreciate things in life a lot more than most. However, I think I would have lived more freely if it was never a part of my life - I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. 

Saturday, 30 December 2017

My New Year's Resolutions

2017 has been an interesting year, both in a good and bad way. There have been some incredible moments and some stressful ones too. I guess this is the same for everyone. The reality is, life can be difficult. However, I'm really pleased to say that I'm going into 2018 with a positive attitude. There's a lot to look forward to and I plan on enjoying every moment. 

Each year I set myself goals for the New Year - some rather unrealistic. So therefore, this year I have decided to set 5 targets that I want to reach by 31 December 2018. 
  1. Save more - I'm currently saving for my wedding which is a challenge in itself. However, my plan is to continue to save more than I have been. I need to live within my means and also budget better. 
  2. Reach 3K subscribers on YouTube - I have had a great year on YouTube so far and I am hoping to do even better in 2018. I have created a more consistent filming schedule and I'm determined to stick to it. Keep your fingers crossed and make sure you subscribe to support my channel. 
  3. Have the best wedding ever - I get married in 2018 and I always hear how brides tend to be bridezillas during this process. That's not me at all. The mind-set that I have is to really enjoy the planning of everything. It's one day and then I enter into the next phase of my life which is very exciting and unbelievably scary. I want to have the best wedding. One that both myself and those who are coming will remember.
  4. Take better care of my health - In 2017, I went through a great phase of hitting the gym every week. However, it's so expensive to keep it up. I do really want to be healthy, so my plan is to start walking more. It's a free, I can do this on my lunch break at work and it doesn't interfere with my evenings - which I am going to need for wedding planning. 
  5. Spend more time with my close friends and family - I live quite far away from my friends and family, so in 2018 I need to do more to see them. I don't want to have any regrets when I'm older that I didn't make more of an effort. 
Life can be difficult and some things happen that are out of your control. However, you lead your own life. If you want to make change, don't wait around for things to just happen, you need to be proactive and make your own luck. I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you all. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Boxing Day Glam

It was a known tradition of mine when I was in my early twenties to enjoy a girls night out on Boxing Day. Although my Boxing Day traditions are very different now, my choice of makeup isn't. 

I thought I would share my latest Boxing Day Glam look using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Prism Palette which is super easy to create for any of you makeup beginners. 

Here's how you create this look:
  1. Prime your eyes using either concealer or a general makeup primer (I use the Benefit Cosmetics Porefessional primer.)
  2. Base your eye using a light neutral shade. 
  3. Take Saturn or a similar pink/coral shade and blend this into your crease. First apply lightly using a blending brush and deepen this shade further. 
  4. Once you're happy, grab your fix plus and a flat eyeshadow brush and go into Osiris - the gorgeous deep blue shimmer shade. Start patting this onto your eyelid. Once you have your first layer, go back into this shade and apply again. 
  5. Then take your blending brush you used to apply Saturn and blend out any harsh lines between Saturn and Osiris. 
  6. That's the your eyelid done, now you need to take a small flat brush and apply Saturn underneath your lower lashes - ensure you blend this out to create a more smokey appearance. 
  7. Once this is done, grab your favourite mascara - and fake lashes if you want some extra glam - and you're good to go! 
You can always watch my tutorial here if you need some extra guidance! 

I hope you enjoyed creating this look! I would love to see how yours turned out. Make sure you tag me into your looks on Instagram @spruce.news. 

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Primark Insta Girl Satin Lipsticks

I was completely taken by surprise by how large the beauty section is in Primark. Not just the amount of products you can get but the cheap price tag against them as well. When I saw that Primark launched their own lipstick range I just had to grab a few to review for you. 

I selected the four shades I would wear on a day-to-day basis. 

My initial thoughts were how stunning the packaging was. The simplicity was really quite beautiful. I like the clean look and I think it really works to make these £2.50 lipsticks look more high-end. The shades themselves were really beautiful. 

The shades I purchased were:
  • Like that
  • It Girl
  • Incognito
  • Post this 
When I tried them for the first time, they went on like a dream. Very smooth and silky. They had an almost lip balm texture even though they were very pigmented. Needless to say, I was impressed. 

Application was easy and they looked great on. They also lasted a reasonable amount of time - approximately four hours to be exact.

They are a million times better than the liquid lipsticks. 

Overall, I'm really impressed and would definitely recommend them. Cheap, cheerful and look fabulous on. 

I hope you find this blog useful! You can watch my swatch and review video here
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