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Last Monday I was lucky enough to take a trip to Wimbledon in the beautiful sunshine. So often I focus on the weather in this blog, because sunshine does just make you happy. But at Wimbledon the weather is essential, we had Court One tickets and if it rains you simply don’t see any tennis. Ever since, it’s been the wettest Wimbledon in years! But Lady Luck looked down on us and we bathed in sunshine, even accidentally burning a little.

Despite living just down the road, I’ve never been to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships before. I’ve tried for many years but it is so hard to get hold of tickets. This year I got a call the Friday before Wimbledon began, it was my Gran who had two Court One tickets but could no longer go along. Me and the boyfriend jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait. I thought a lot about what to wear, I had no idea of the dress code. But decided ultimately to go a little bit special, Wimbledon is a good excuse and wore this Very co-ord which I bought for a wedding a few years ago. It turned out to be perfect in the sunshine and it really was a mixed bag – some wore jeans and some ball gowns!

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We started our day with a picnic on Murray Mount/Henman Hill (whatever you like to call it!), and then we had a wander around all the grounds with a Pimms in hand. If you just have ground tickets, you can still sit and watch matches on all the outer courts. And at the start of the first week, there are lots of amazing matches and players playing all over the place so it’s definitely worth it.

At 1pm, we headed on to Court One. The atmosphere was immediately amazing, it’s such a big court with so many seats but you still feel like a part of the action. We bought strawberries and cream and became a proper Wimbledon cliche. They were only £2.50, I was surprised they weren’t more expensive! We saw Venus Williams, she played with real style and gave a sassy little spin in celebration when she won. Then we saw male sixth seed Nishikori destroy his Australian opponent. There were so many Japanese and Australian fans in the crowd, and they were all getting so into the game which really dragged us along. Finally we got all fired up for British Laura Robson, who sadly lost, but the crowd were massively behind her.

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During the breaks, we headed off for a wander around, taking in the excitement and the atmosphere. Wimbledon is like it’s own little city, with hundreds of people thrown in. It was fun to go and explore the outer practice courts too, watching some future players hit a ball around casually.

If you can get tickets, and trust me I know it’s hard, do! I’m going to be trying every year from now on.

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My job as a celebrity journalist offers me a lot of perks: freebies, events, interviews with the rich and famous. But one of my very favourite is press nights in the West End. Before I had this job, I absolutely loved the theatre. It feels so special, going to a musical, dancing your way through the night. But, as I’m sure most of you are thinking right now, it’s just so expensive. Prices for theatre tickets can just be ridiculous, and even worse if you want to treat your friends or family to a night out – you can quickly reach four figures!

When I was first told I could go to the theatre for free, I thought they were kidding. It seems so unfair that someone like me is just allowed to do that. And then when I’m there, I get treated so well – free drinks, free food, the best seats in the house. I’m honestly not writing this post to my brag, I agree that it’s one of the most unfair things in the world!

But lucky as I am, I had to write this post because the other week I saw a show I would happily have paid any price for. And it’s one I’m not sure many of you will know about. It’s the Carole King musical called ‘Beautiful’. I really didn’t know much about Carole King before, but after watching this show, she even made my sunny summary last month! The musical is a jukebox of all of her amazing hits, and there’s probably far more than you’ve heard of. The song writer turned singer belts out classics including Natural Woman, The Locomotion and a very emotional You’ve got a Friend. It’ll make you laugh and cry and everything in between, it’s honestly magical. I won’t give too much away but it’s fair to say that the music means a whole lot more set as the backdrop to her turbulent life. I loved the moments of joy and dance, as much as the moments where I felt the world was just so unfair. And throughout, you get a picture that Carole King is the nicest, most talented woman.

Since watching the musical, I’ve had her album Tapestry on replay. Have a listen and I promise you won’t regret it. It has high and low moments and it’s one of those albums that actually tells a story, like the Beatles and all those other amazing artists used to give us. I miss those albums, I think that’s why I loved the show so much. The music told the story rather than the story having to be written around the music like you get with Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You (though don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen and loved them both too). It’s nice to see someone different celebrated, someone who didn’t have the traditional route into music and who actually seems kind of normal. Carole, I think I’ve become one of your biggest fans.

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In my last post, I mentioned that I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. That’s not to say I’m not a big fan of love, hearts and my boyfriend. And Valentine’s Day seemed like the most appropriate day to post this, I love a good cliche. Last weekend, to escape the PDA crush to be expected today, me and the boyfriend were in Brighton and thought we’d go for a meal out. I added to the cliche by wearing hearts and we took some photos (with slightly dodgy light).

We headed to Indian Summer in Brighton, a restaurant I’d never even heard of. I have to confess that we’d first wanted to go to our favourite Food For Friends, but it was fully booked. If you’re ever in Brighton, I can not recommend that place enough. It’s vegetarian but even my committed meat-eating boyfriend loves it.

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Anyway back to Indian Summer. It’s a gorgeous Indian (surprise surprise) restaurant, a little on the pricey side but perfect for a special occasion. The place had a really nice atmosphere and there were lots of extra touches. There was mango sorbet to cleanse your pallet and a spicy tomato soup before the starter. Both me and the boyfriend went for a Thali, which is a platter of many different things, mine was veggie and his meat. It included all sorts, a selection of mini currys, rice, naan, dips and chutney, popadoms. I’d definitely reccomend it because you get to try out a bit of everything. And there’s plenty that isn’t quite so spicy, I’m not the best with hot food!

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Back to this outfit, I adore this heart patterned H&M dress. It’s perfect for work and date night. I had to layer it up with a black jumper because this February weather is not very accepting of sleeveless dresses! Then my trusty camel coat completed the line up. So often, after being in a relationship for four years especially, people don’t bother dressing up and making an effort for date night. I LOVE getting dressed up, it makes it an event. We’re aiming to make it monthly, Valentine’s Day really means nothing.

 

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This was something 15-year-old me would not have imagined I’d be doing on a Friday night in ten years time. Exploring the science museum and, in particular, an exhibition about space? No thanks! To be honest, I’m really not the biggest space fan, whenever I hear about it I always just think that we’ll never hear all the answers so it’s frustrating just to hear some. I know this is a bad attitude, but physics was always my least favourite subject at school. My boyfriend on the other hand LOVES space. Like verging on obsession loves it. So when I saw this special Cosmonauts exhibition pop up, I knew it would make a perfect Christmas present.

To say I was dreading it would be a lie, we’d planned a lovely date night and dinner so I knew I’d have a great time. I just wasn’t looking forward to the learning about space bit. How wrong could I be?

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Above are some of my favourite bits from the exhibition. First off, I had to learn that cosmonauts are the Russian version of astronauts. How much better does being a cosmonaut sound? If I wanted to explore space, I’d be heading to Russia. Then I learnt how really the Russians laid all the groundwork for getting Neil Armstrong on the moon. They got the first living being in space, the first man in space (closely followed by woman, go Russia), even did the first space walk. Then America came along and stole their thunder.

Behind the glass screens they even had the actual space rocket that took the first humans into space. And it doesn’t much look like a rocket, for a start it’s round. It was so tiny too, I can’t believe they spent so much time in there, I have no idea how they even moved their legs. There were real spacesuits, real launchers, even a space toilet to see! The first thing I did when I left was follow Tim Peake on Twitter.

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You forget that, if you live in London, all these amazing free museums are literally on your doorstep. I was late meeting the boyfriend because I was held back at work. In that time, he’d had a go at an earthquake simulator in the science museum, visited the dinosaurs in the natural history museum and even taken a turn around the V&A. And that was all free and all explored in half an hour. We’re so lucky and yet so few of us bother. One day we’ll probably all move out to the suburbs and have to plan a three hour, £60 train ticket round trip to get to pop into the museums. I am determined to make more use of them.

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The Cosmonauts exhibition included films, music, even an inspirational quote here and there which I loved. It all ended with ‘Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever’. Thought-provoking, hey? Although, don’t worry, I won’t be signing up to live on Mars anytime soon!

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I recently changed my Twitter bio and wanted to put a few of my favourite things in there. It got me thinking, what do I love most in the world? Apart from the obvious family and friends, writing, a cup of tea, one thing stood out to me – I love the sea. I love being by it, I love the sound of it, I even love swimming in it. As this blog is just figuring out its way into the world this year, minus all my challenges, I thought I might try out writing a love letter to my favourite things and the sea was the first I thought of.

I spent a lot of time by the sea in that strange limbo period between Christmas and New Year and it was the happiest time I’ve had in a while. I think I needed a break, some space to think and reflect and being by the sea allows me to do that (I apologise in advance for the amount of times I write the word sea in this post!) It doesn’t have to be hot and I don’t have to be sunbathing, in fact I think some of my favourite times have been in the winter. There’s something about wrapping up warm and heading for a beach walk, having to pull your scarf up over your nose and wearing your favourite wellies. The wildness of the sea in the wind, the freedom and peacefulness it seems to contain. It blows out the cobwebs and you come home longing for the fire but feeling fresh and thinking clearly.

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When I was younger I would have done anything to avoid the beach walks my family made me go on. It was too cold, I’d say. Too windy. Too far to walk. How I’ve changed since then. Even if it’s raining and blowing a howling gale, I’m happy to be out there. Now, I wish I’d embraced that time more. I can’t count the number of sand constructions we built as a team with my grandparents. I can’t call them sandcastles, they were simply too grand for that name. All we needed was a couple of spades and we’d dig huge excavations, with passages from the sea and flags made out of leaves. It would always be after Christmas so the beach would be almost completely empty. It felt like a family mission, like something so important.

The beach is such a great place to people watch too, summer or winter. Last time I went, I witnessed dog walkers arguing over a board game they’d played the night before. I saw a surfer preparing to brave the wild winter sea. I saw children attempting to build a moat, whilst their Dad begged them not to go any closer to the water. I saw an old couple holding hands and staring into the horizon. Ourselves, we had three generations and a dog. We were throwing balls, posing for photographs, talking about what we’d bought in the seaside sales.

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But time alone by the sea is also a favourite of mine and one day I long to live closer to it. It feels peaceful, particularly in the winter. You can walk and not be interrupted, you can stare as far as the eye can see and you can really think. I decided to start this blog whilst on a rather long beach walk, I decided to quit my job on another. You think more clearly with that whistling, lapping sound in your ear and sniffing sea salt through your nose. I think those Victorians may just have been right about beach holidays having healing properties. I feel that little bit better about whatever I’m worrying about if I just visit the sea.

One day, whatever I’m doing and wherever my life happens to be, I long to live so that I can see the sea out of my window. If you’ve got something to mull over, I recommend taking a quick trip to the coast.