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Lifestyle, Motherhood, Reviews

Mental Health Awareness – Keep Being You

Charity, Dorset Mind, kindly gifted me a ‘Keep Being You’ box, to help promote the importance of Mental Health. Something very close to my heart.

Keep Being You - Dorset Mind Mental Health Awareness
I absolutely love my ‘Keep Being You’ box from Dorset Mind

Local Charity, Dorset Mind and their charity partner The Stable launched their ‘Keep Being You’ campaign back in January. They started gifting ‘Keep Being You’ boxes throughout Dorset to give locals a boost and to support better wellbeing  within ourselves and those around us too.

I was delighted to be given one of these boxes, as mental health is a subject very close to my heart. In the past I have suffered from depression and I feel it is so important to speak to the people you love and let them know how you feel. This campaign is so impactful as it also promotes how we need to take time out for ourselves and to love who we are. You don’t have to change to fit in. You are you, and you are great!

It is always lovely receiving a gift and so I couldn’t wait to see what was inside my gift box, each one hand-packed by a member of Dorset Mind and The Stable. After opening the tissue paper, I slowly took out each item in turn and I immediately felt better. The box, hand-packed with care by Rob, contained a lovely recycled candle, a motivational calendar and Dorset Tea to enjoy with a friend or loved-one – a great way to encourage people to speak up and connect with people around us. One of my favourite items were the affirmations. Little cards with motivational statements such as ‘Make Today Ridiculously Amazing’, ‘Reach For The Stars. Believe in Yourself. You Can Do It’ and ‘It’s OK Not To Be OK. But Please Reach Out and Tell Someone.’ I will put these affirmations on my desk and whenever I am feeling low I will say them out loud. It may sound silly, but when you say things out loud and hear yourself saying them, it really does ignite something within you and make you feel better. I encourage you to try it. It works.

I am a new mum to my now 15 month old and it hasn’t been plain sailing. Motherhood is absolutely amazing and the best thing I have ever done but it is also the hardest. There have been times when my husband came home and found me crying. There have been times I have questioned whether I am a good mum to my son and why things don’t come naturally to me. I am lucky that I have a good support network – great friends and family and an extremely caring husband, who have got me through the tough times. My advice to anyone feeling down is to talk. Whether you pick up the phone, send a text, or speak to a charity like Dorset Mind. A problem shared really is a problem halved and no one will think any less of you for speaking up and expressing how you’re feeling. Also don’t doubt yourself. It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, whether it’s to other mums, colleagues, friends or people on social media. But you are unique. You are special. There is no-one else like you, so please don’t change and ‘Keep Being You’, because you are awesome!

These ‘Keep Being You’ boxes are a lovely way of bringing the Dorset community together. Small acts of kindness go a long way and so does positive thinking. I hope that all receivers of a box get as much out of them as I have mine. My box has lifted my spirits and I wouldn’t be writing this now if it hadn’t made an impact. So thank you, Dorset Mind and The Stable.



Fame – The Musical 30th Anniversary Tour – Review

Fame The Musical comes to Bournemouth and is guaranteed to have you up on your feet dancing!

Fame The Musical – 30th Anniversary Tour

I was lucky enough to be invited to the press night of Fame at the Bournemouth Pavilion for its 30th Anniversary tour and what a night it was!

For those of you that haven’t heard of Fame, set in the 80s, it follows the lives of students at the highly acclaimed New York’s High School of the Performing Arts. Over four years we see them grow up and follow their highs and lows, romance and heartbreak.

The show has a great cast including Keith Jack as Nick Piazza (BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do), Mica Paris (Broadcaster and Presenter who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2006) as Miss Sherman and Jorgie Porter (Theresa McQueen in Hollyoaks and contestant om I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Dancing on Ice) as Iris Kelly.

For me the standout performance of the night was one of the lesser known cast members, Stephanie Rojas, who plays the fame-obsessed, troubled, Carmen Diaz who dreams of a career in LA and will do whatever it takes to get there. You really feel her pain in the song ‘In L.A and her rendition of ‘Fame’, which she performs with the other students is guaranteed to have you up on your feet dancing!

Mica Paris also shone in her role as Miss Sherman with her powerful voice and strong stage presence. Her passionate performance of ‘These are My Children’ resulted in a roar of applause and cheers from the audience. Hayley Johnston was very funny as Mabel, a dancer who can’t seem to make it through a class without eating, swearing by the Seafood Diet – “I see food, and then I eat it!”.

Jorgie Porter doesn’t sing in her role as Iris Kelly, but her dancing is amazing. She dances with grace and when she is on stage you can’t take your eyes off her. In fact, the whole ensemble are extremely vocally and physically talented.

I also loved the set design, which has the back wall covered by colorfully lit headshots, which light up during the musical numbers.

The show certainly is action-packed and the theatre was buzzing from the moment I entered (with my complimentary and very tasty press cupcake), to the moment I left. The final rendition of ‘Fame’ had the audience on their feet, dancing in the aisles and I left the Bournemouth Pavilion wanting to put on some leg warmers and boogie into the night! As a young girl I dreamed of performing in London’s West End and Fame made me reminisce fondly of all the theatre productions I used to take part in at school and when I got home I started looking for the next musical I could go and see.

Fame has been running for 30 years and you can see why – I do think this show will ‘live forever’ …!

Food, Lifestyle, Reviews

Chewton Glen Hotel Afternoon Tea & Spa Treatment – Review

A delicious afternoon tea and luxurious spa treatment in a 5* luxury country house hotel

Traditional Afternoon Tea Chewton Glen

I was lucky enough to be treated by my husband to afternoon tea and a 60 minute spa treatment at Chewton Glen to celebrate my first Mother’s Day, and what a treat it was!

The country house hotel is set in the New Forest and boasts luxurious spa facilities and award-winning dining. My first tip would be to give yourself enough time to discover and enjoy this beautiful hotel. Take a moment to explore the inside dining areas and wander round the stunning, manicured gardens. Don’t miss The Kitchen Garden either. Giant pumpkins, grape vines, kale, tomatoes and herbs are just a few of the many things you’ll find, along with gorgeous flowers.

My first trip was to the spa and I couldn’t wait! I hadn’t had a massage since I was pregnant and so it was certainly needed. I enjoyed a 60 minute warm oil massage and it was truly divine. My therapist tailored the experience to focus on my trouble areas and it felt amazing. The massage focused on my whole body and my favourite part was the hand and feet. I also got to enjoy a face mask during the front massage and I could literally feel my aches and worries leaving my body. After the massage I was left to let the oils soak into my body while enjoying a delicious passion fruit sorbet – a wonderful end to 60 minutes of pure bliss! At £105 per person for an hour massage it isn’t cheap, but for a one-off, or special occasion it really is fantastic.

Next it was afternoon tea in The Dining Room. The room itself is beautiful. Bright and airy, with stunning decor it really does make for a special occasion. We were lucky enough to enjoy a window seat, which overlooked the beautiful gardens and outdoor pool.

The afternoon tea did not disappoint. Using local, fresh ingredients we tucked into a selection of finger sandwiches (smoked salmon with dill, brie with pear chutney, beef and horseradish and egg and cress). My favourite was the egg and cress and so when our waitress asked if we wanted anything else, I asked for some more – it was a special occasion after all and I was very hungry after my massage! The plain and fruit scones were delicious and I particularly enjoyed the homemade strawberry jam. We were also treated to an array of cakes and pastries including lemon drizzle, fruit tart, cupcake and passion fruit profiterole, and all this was washed down nicely with a lovely cappuccino. There was not a crumb left in sight on either of our plates – it really was delicious. Chewton Glen’s traditional afternoon tea is £29.50 per person and so isn’t the cheapest in the area, but if you’re looking to book somewhere for a real treat, I’d definitely recommend it.

P.S. If you have time, follow the signs from the grounds to the beach. It’s a lovely woodland walk past the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, that only takes 15 minutes, and you won’t be disappointed when you get there as you’ll get to witness gorgeous views of the the Needles rising from the sea in the distance.

I hope to visit again some day…My rating… 4 out of 5