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    Experiencing Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre London

    Yep, I finally got down to London and watched Cursed Child. Was also pretty happy just to be visiting London as well to be fair!

    CursedChildTheatre

    When Cursed Child came out, everyone in the Potterverse was pretty much split I think. Especially when it came to reading the script. I for one really didn’t want to read it before seeing the play. I managed to avoid it for a couple of months, and then I just did it to stop the chance of any spoilers. Well. Even up to today, I haven’t once seen a spoiler about the story line anywhere on social media. I mean, that’s pretty impressive! (And kind of annoying because I could have just waited for the show…)

    Reading the script, my first thought was that yes it was very fanfic-esque. It’s a bit of a wild story, not gonna lie. Many people had the argument of just leaving the world alone, it was finished. For me, I just loved being immersed back into the Potter world. Into magic and Hogwarts and things inevitably going wrong. I just love it all.

    So when we managed to snag tickets, albeit ones right at the top with a bit of a restricted view, I was so happy to finally have the chance to see the play come to life. It was a long wait. 11 months in fact. And you know, it was so worth the wait.

    CursedChildTicket

    I’m not going to get into the story, obviously, (keep the secrets, right?) but I felt like I needed to write my thoughts down. We decided to go for a Saturday with both shows in one day. This meant it was a really long day, and we were all pretty knackered by the end of it. This wasn’t helped with the fact that we’d unknowingly chosen to go on the same weekend as Gay Pride, and as amazing as this event is (and the atmosphere was fab!), it meant Soho and everywhere in the surrounding areas were jam packed with people. Great if you’re there enjoying the parade and day out, but not so great if you just want a quiet sit down and food after a few hours crammed into tiny theatre seats!

    Nevertheless, it’s still London. London is always busy right? I don’t mind the crowds and it was great to see all the pride costumes, signs and the shops getting involved. Cursed Child is shown at Palace Theatre so we tried to stay very close to that both before and during the break between the shows. We ate, we drank and we relaxed – a little. All was well.

    Now the actual show? Oh it was incredible. When people say that the script does not translate well, they’re telling the truth. You just cannot really appreciate the play without all the effects that are used and just the way things are said as well. The story has it’s faults, not going to lie, but you’ve just got to take it as an extension to the Potter world. Not like a direct follow up – because it isn’t. It isn’t J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece.

    The magic itself was done really well, and I was impressed at how they managed to do everything and it not seem completely unrealistic. Some of the things were like actual magic, not even kidding. In fact, right in the first scene I was like woah, wait what?! The wonders of stage work! Honestly though, some of the things they did were amazing, and made it feel more interactive. I’m dying to describe things but it would just ruin the surprises for those who haven’t seen them yet.

    Credit to all those behind the scenes and not just the ones doing the acting on stage, because the show ran seamlessly and there was a lot to it. More than any other show I’ve seen.

    All of the cast were brilliant, and really brought their character to life. The crowd was in stitches at times, and although the story line is a little daft I wasn’t expecting so much humour to it. I also might have shed a tear at one point. But hey, that’s how you know they’re doing their jobs! There were a few characters that annoyed me when they probably shouldn’t have, but on the whole I was really impressed with them. They seemed to have a lot of chemistry on stage together.

    CursedChildTheatreFull

    I’d love to see it again, in better seats. Our view was slightly restricted as I mentioned above, and that was by the handrail that was stopping people from falling over the edge. We were right in the top balcony but on the second row. I mean I still enjoyed it, and could see most of the stage anyway so it didn’t really hinder me. But you know, it’d be nice to be lower down!

    If you want to go and haven’t had the chance, then I’d urge you to save and attempt to get tickets! If you love Harry Potter then it is worth it. Just bear in mind that the cheap tickets right at the top are almost getting to vertical, so not for someone with a fear of heights. Oh and you have to climb a lot of steps to get up there.

    Seen it yet? Plans to go?

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    Fitness, Reviews

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    I got the Garmin Forerunner 230 last Christmas, and as we’re 6 months down the line, I guess it’s time to share my thoughts. Right? I actually intended to review it much sooner, but just never got round to it!

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    Now when I got my first running watch (the Garmin Forerunner 10 way back in 2013!) I just chose the cheapest option that had the GPS tracking and things that I wanted. I’ve since had a Fitbit Flex and a Withings Activite, but I still used my Garmin for all running tracking because general activity trackers just don’t do that.

    Forerunner 230 Tracking Capabilities

    The Garmin Forerunner 230 is a good mixture of everything. It tracks my running distance/time/calories/pace etc (and also does indoor running without GPS, and cycling) and also tracks my steps for the day. You can actually turn this activity tracking option off, and it will save even more battery. One thing that I really like is that your daily step count changes. It basically sees what you’re doing, and sets a target that fits to your average but still giving a little push. In all honestly, my target has been horrendous lately, and staying around 5000 because I often struggle to even get over 3000! That’s something I’m trying to work on…

    Now the battery – I think it’s good. If you’re using the regular clock face, daily activity tracking and running 3x per week it can definitely last a few weeks before needing charging. I’ve recently changed clock face to one of the user downloads and I’ve noticed that the battery drains a lot quicker using this. This clock face includes a countdown timer (like you can see in the top photo), so it’s understandable that it uses more battery. I love it, so I can deal with that. Overall, the battery is way better than I imagined it would be on this kind of tracking watch.

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    One of the cool things about it is the apps. There are a couple built in, like the weather and if your phone is linked up you can see a calendar and notifications too. You can’t actually do anything with them on the watch, but it’s still cool. I don’t generally use this function though. Through the Connect app, you can browse other widgets/apps to download, and I believe these are user generated and designed. I have a little kitty one that reacts to my step count, and I have a weather one that tells me how likely it is to rain in the next 30 minutes. Perfect for runners, right?!

    The Design And Feel

    As for the look and design, it is quite a big watch. I have small wrists, and the face pretty much covers them but honestly I don’t mind. At work I’ve had quite a few compliments from customers actually who’ve spotted it and said it was fancy! I chose the purple design pretty much for the white clock bit. I believe you can buy different straps, which I may look into soon. As it is that plastic-y kind of material, it has started to look a little grubby.

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    At the time I couldn’t really afford the 235 which included a heart rate monitor on the watch itself, but the 230 can still be linked up with a heart rate monitor that you wear around your chest. I don’t have that so can’t comment on it’s reliability, but I’m sure it’s the same with any.

    Overall, I’m super happy with the Garmin Forerunner 230 and I’m glad I finally upgraded from the Forerunner 10! This one includes so much more than just GPS running, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this watch is a useful tool for tracking runs. I would recommend Garmin watches to anyone, as I’ve had good experiences myself, though I have never tried another brand of running watch.

    What do you use? GPS tracking or solely an activity tracker?

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    For When Photos Just Don’t Cut It: A Papercut by Twenty Fingers

    I do not hide the fact that I am a Crazy Cat Lady. Nope, I definitely do not. When this collaboration from Twenty Fingers popped into my email, how could I say no?! (Spoiler: I couldn’t)

    Papercut by Twenty Fingers

    When I saw the word ‘papercut’ I was a little confused if I’m completely honest! What on earth was a papercut when it didn’t include slicing your finger and crying for days? A quick look on the TwentyFingers website and well, it became obvious! A papercut is basically a cut of an image, sort of like an outline. They print out the cut of paper and then sandwich it between two sheets of glass.

    Choosing A Papercut

    I browsed through all the different kinds, but I pretty much knew straight away I’d be going for the Pet Portrait Papercut one. You get to choose which size you want (mine is the standard 10″ x 12″), which colour you want the frame and which colour you want the papercut. I stuck to a white frame with black image because I am a basic blogger haha. No but really Charlie is a black and white cat, so it only felt right to have her done in black rather than a bright colour, and then I wanted a lighter frame to brighten it up!

    I uploaded the image I had chosen and simply waited for it to be created. Within a day or two an email had come through with a look at the final design. This was great because I got to check that it was okay, and had the option to change things if necessary. I wasn’t expecting this so it was a nice surprise, and really made the whole order feel a lot more personal.

    The frame arrived well wrapped in plenty of bubble wrap within a box. It really didn’t take long at all, which is great because after seeing the proof I was so excited to see the final thing! The pet portrait papercut that I chose is priced at £69, and when you receive the item you can tell just how much has gone into it’s creation. The frame feels so tough and sturdy, and the whole thing is actually a lot heavier than I expected. I mean obviously there is glass in there too, so that contributes! It definitely feels high quality though and also comes with a hanging hook on the back so you don’t have to add anything.

    Papercut by Twenty Fingers

    I’m sure by now all regular followers know what Charlie looks like (if not, where have you been!?) and you can see just how good of a copy this is to the actual photograph! It looks just like her, and I couldn’t be happier. Maybe George should be next on the list? George the tortoise…

    The clever duo behind Twenty Fingers are a husband and wife team, and they really do create amazing personalised gifts. Items for anniversaries, parents, grandparents, new parents, birthdays and more. Prices range from around £49 – £109 depending on the frame/size and style of print being created. They’re perfect for a special gift to someone, and I’ve got a few things already in mind that I want to order.

    Ever ordered something like this before? Where are my other crazy cat ladies at?

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    Learning Spanish with Flash Academy*

    A year ago I posted about Learning Spanish with Flashsticks. I loved the whole concept of the post-it notes. Well now, along with that, they have the Flash Academy app to get a more involved learning experience.

    FlashsticksAcademy

    The Flash Academy app has been out a good while now, and admittedly I completely dropped my learning towards the end of last year. I just couldn’t find the time to do it (even though I had plenty!) and it fizzled out. This year I’ve picked it right back up, and am trying again to learn more of the Spanish language.

    If you looked at my previous review of Flashsticks that the app was actually quite basic when you compared it to something like Duolingo. It had all the tools you needed to learn the language of course, but definitely wasn’t anywhere near as involved as it is now! When Francesco messaged me telling me that the app was now supercharged, he definitely wasn’t lying! (Not that I ever thought he was!)

    What Can You Do on Flash Academy?

    Well, we now have LOADS of lessons, taking you right from the basics up to the advanced words and sentences. You can actually learn so many languages on there (I love that BSL is an option too!) but of course I wanted Spanish so that’s why my focus is on that. They do much more. I imagine each language course is set up the same.

    FlashsticksWordsGrammar

    + Flash cards & Audio Sentences

    Throughout each lesson, and when you’ve completed them you can view flashcards for all the words you have learnt. Through this you can see the Spanish word, click to view the English and also get the audio for it. This means you can quickly skip through a few words to test yourself. There’s also an option to see a few sentences for context, and of course you get the audio for those too!

    + Grammar/Culture Tips

    Throughout each topic that you’re studying, you’ll get random pop up screens. These will have grammar tips (such as words being masculine/feminine) or culture tips (giving more information about native speakers). I especially like the culture tips because it gives you a bit of an insight into what’s more natural for those growing up with this language as a first language.

    FlashsticksGames

    + Word Games

    There is a game within each learning section and this just recaps everything you’ve learnt to see how well you remember everything. They’re quick, snappy games and it’s great trying to up yourself and get a higher score each time.

    + Scanning Items For A Translation

    This is a cool feature. It’s what the post it notes are for – you can scan them and get a translation/audio clip of the word. It also means you can scan a random object in front of you, and the app will search to find out what it is. I scanned one of my shoes, and it came back telling me that is was an unpaired black plimsoll. Pretty damn accurate!

    ScanningItems

    I follow Flashsticks on snapchat and they’re always doing random quick language lessons on there. There’s also plenty of interesting blog posts to read on their blog, my most recent favourites being Best Spanish Novels For Language Learning, 5 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language and How To Use Language Exchange Sites. All good stuff to know!

    You can use the app for free, but if you want premium, it is £6.99 for 1 month, £4.17 per month if you pay for 6, and £3.00 per month if you pay for 12. If you’re serious about language learning, it is worth the money for premium!

    *Disclaimer: I was gifted a premium subscription for 6 months, but I am a big fan of Flashsticks and would not write about something I don’t believe in! Thanks to Francesco for giving me help and advising me on things to try!

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    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets*

    Last week my mum had an operation. We had pretty scary news and I didn’t write about it anywhere because some things you just feel like you need to keep to yourself, you know? Anyway, with perfect timing, Blossoming Gifts kindly sent me a beautiful bouquet – something to cheer my mum up!

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Flowers

    After speaking to the lovely Abby, I settled on the Brighton Rock bouquet and we went for large. There are just so many bouquets on Blossoming Gifts, it’s hard to narrow the selection down! You can filter the results by type of occasion, like Birthday, Romance, Thank You, Sympathy, New Baby and more. That makes it a little easier.

    The Brighton Rock tandard bouquet has exactly the same flowers as the large, but it just has one less of each of the first four. So we got: Pink Oriental Lily x3, Miss Piggy Rose x4, Memory Lane Rose x4, Green Hypericum x4, Tanacetum Single Vegmo x2, Greenbell x2, Parvi Eucalyptus x2. Oh and not forgetting the little box of chocolates! That was a lovely surprise I hadn’t noticed on the list.

    They arrived whilst I was at work, and as the box was addressed to me it wasn’t opened for a good 5 hours or so. When I got home, I let my mum open the bouquet and arrange them (because I think her flower arranging is probably more experienced than mine!) and the first thing she said was oh, these are actually still quite wet! Weird, yes. But what she meant was that the bag holding the bouquet was still quite moist and doing the job of keeping the ends of the flowers hydrated. So I mean yeah, that’s a plus! Apparently the 10 million other bouquets she received didn’t have this.

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Arranging The Flowers

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Chocolates

    How often do you give flowers to someone? It feels like more of a ‘grown up’ thing, and I don’t totally feel grown up haha (still secretly 14) but yeah, I forget services like this exist. The flowers I were sent cost £41 (for large) which yeah, I guess are pricey compared to just buying a bunch from the shops, but you do get what you pay for. It’s all about the service (next day delivery available if you order before 6:30pm!) and the quality of the flowers. Those little touches. The prices did range though from around £20 to over £50 so I guess it just depends on your budget.

    We received the Brighton Rock bouquet on Tuesday morning, and (besides the arranging/chocolate ones) these photos were taken on the 3rd day. They still look fresh! The lilies haven’t opened yet either, so I know they’ll definitely last a good few days more at the minimum. They’re also delivered straight to the doorstep in a sturdy box and with instructions.

    I think most people would be happy to receive a bunch of flowers as a gift, and a service like this makes everything easier. (Except actually selecting a bouquet to send – there’s SO many!) Is it something you could do regularly? Probably not, but they’re fab as a treat or surprise! This was actually my mums third bunch of flowers since having her op (it’s a wonder none of us gained hayfever) and she’s since had a fourth. Each one has made her smile, all because they’ve been sent by different people with different messages alongside them!

    Spring Flowers: Blossoming Gifts Bouquets | Brighton Rock Bouquet

    They’ve brightened up our living room anyway! Ever received or sent flowers like this?

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    The Easy Way To Clean Your Car With Williams Waterless Wash ‘N Wax*

    I’ve had my car for four months now (boy, that went quickly!) and well… I hadn’t washed it until this week. Nope, not once..

    Williams-Waterless-Wash

    Before I got my own car, I pictured myself cleaning it regularly, keeping it nice and tidy inside. In reality, I’ve managed to hit the four months mark without once cleaning the outside of my car. Glamorous.

    I’m just lazy and well, it’s been cold outside. Who wants to stand outside with a bucket of water and wash a car down? Not me! When I saw a post about trying out the Williams Waterless Wash ‘N Wax, well, I jumped at the chance to test it. No water, as easy as squirting the liquid and wiping away. Sounded like my kind of thing…

    Using-The-Wash

    I was gifted a bottle of the Williams Waterless Wash ‘N Wax and two microfibre cloths – both necessary to get the full effect of the product. One cloth to do the cleaning, and one to do the buffing afterwards. To clean your car all you need to do is spray some of the liquid and simply wipe/scrub it away. I was surprised at how well it did work to be honest.

    I mean, just look at the difference in the photo below… Yes my car really was that scruffy looking. I didn’t actually realise how dirty it was until I used this product and could see how clean it could look. The liquid spray was quite thick really, probably because of the wax in there, but it was easy to wipe away and you could see the difference it made straight away.

    The formula contains hydrocarbon ingredients and carnauba wax, giving your car that shiny look as well as giving paint protection too. It’s supposed to help protect your car against the elements and actually when I left for work in the rain the morning after I did notice that the raindrops looked more like they were just sitting on top rather than really wetting the car. That’s hard to explain…

    Anyway, once you’ve wiped all the dirt away (and disgusted yourself at the now dirty cloth), take the second (clean!) cloth and buff your car. Keep buffing until it’s nice and shiny!

    Half-Clean-Side

    Now I’m not gonna lie, this is still hard work. It’s easier than using water and soap because it takes less time, is less messy and you don’t get cold thanks to working with water. However, arm ache is still a thing and by god, I was hot and sweaty after this!

    Thankfully it only took me around 15-20 minutes to do my car, so that’s not bad. And that’s with photo breaks… I could have buffed it a lot better though, let’s be real now. Like I said, arm ache is a thing. And hey look, my car is actually glittery/sparkly. Who knew?! (It actually does have glitter in the body paint… Never noticed that before.)

    Sparkly-Car

    The 1L bottle should fully clean up to 5 medium sized vehicles, so that’s pretty good if you ask me. You’ll most likely only be cleaning your own so depending on how often you clean your car, it should last a while! Even longer if yours is little like mine…

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    *This post contains items that have been sent for review however all opinions are my own.

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    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish*

    With Christmas just round the corner (and it is, you can’t keep pretending guys!) it’s time to start thinking about gifts. Now I usually leave it really late and end up panicking, but when Snapfish got in touch I was given a little kick start. I figured what better way to start right? My mum loves this kind of stuff.

    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    There’s a huge range of gift items that you can choose, and I think they make for brilliant personalised Christmas gifts myself. It’s not something I would usually think of to do to be honest, but they are simple and effective. Perfect for parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and the like. (Oh and I think especially great for new parents. Who wouldn’t love a photo gift with their brand new baby on it eh?!)

    The Desk Calendar

    First on my list was this Desk Calendar. So some of you may know that I studied photography (or Wildlife Media…) at university, and spent most of my time the past few years outside chasing animals. Okay, so not literally. But you know, I have a lot of photographs and I didn’t have anything to show them for. As both parents seem really proud of my photo taking ability, I thought I’d create a cute little calendar with all my work! Mum loved it and quickly claimed it for her works desk. Makes sense really considering she is the only one with a desk…

    Creating the calendar is really simple. You choose which style you want (I chose desk, obviously) and then you’re in an editing ‘program’ of sorts on the Snapfish website. Here you upload your photos, choose which month they’re going in and then embellish to your hearts desire. Each page can be customised with layout, background colour, borders and a variety of embellishments including phrases, objects, banners and more.

    I tried to customise each month so it really reflected that time of year. I think I got it good, right? Anyway, it measures at 10×5 inches and it big enough to read the dates at a glance, but small enough that it doesn’t take up all your desk space. The photos have printed beautifully, and the colours are all bright.

    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    7×5 Table Top Photo Panel

    Then I have the 7×5 inch wooden photo panels. My main idea behind these was to get the family photo that we had taken at a recent wedding printed. We haven’t had a proper family photo for years, and especially not a printed one so I knew this would be well received.

    Now my photo wasn’t brilliant quality – it was taken on a phone – but the image editor told me that it was good enough to be printed and had no problems. I’d lightened it up a little in photoshop first, and I’m glad I did because it has printed quite contrasty. It still looks great, I’m thinking it’s just because of the panel it has been printed on rather than special photo paper. I also grabbed one of me doing the crow pose because you know, motivational and all.

    Both came with four slots cut into the back, and one stand piece as you can see below. It means you can stand it either landscape or portrait depending on your design, which is handy. I just like how different it is to a generic photo in a frame.

    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Colourful Mug

    And, last but not least, the colourful mug. When I spotted this on the Snapfish website, with the splash of red inside, I was immediately hit with inspiration.

    My rugby team won the Grand Final this year and our colour is red (cherry to be exact). With so many great memories from that day and the season as a whole, I figured I needed to make a commemorative mug for the household.

    Originally I tried designing a mug with a really long panoramic style photograph, but I didn’t have a high quality image and the Snapfish editing tool thankfully told me that it probably wouldn’t print so well at that quality. The collage option came into play and well, that was it! Just look at all those photos I managed to fit on! There were quite a few different collage options to choose from so you could choose to suit the photos that you have.

    The colour inside the mug really stands out, and the photos have printed well. It’s also the perfect size for a morning brew. (Or as a pen holder as it is currently being used…)

    Personalised Christmas Gifts with Snapfish | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Feeling creative this Christmas? There are so many choices here for cute little stocking fillers, whether that’s photos, calendars, mugs, phone cases, cushions, christmas decorations, keyrings etc. I was impressed with the level of customisation you had on the website, and delivery only took a few days too! I did receive my calendar a day after the other items though as it was sent separately. I’m not sure why, but it didn’t really matter anyway. Just something to keep in mind maybe!

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    Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity to choose some items as personalised Christmas gifts ideas. All thoughts and views are my own, and as always I would not endorse something I wouldn’t use myself.

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