Sunday, 15 December 2013

ApplauseStore X Factor Semi-Finals

For those of you who do not know, is one of the websites that issue television and radio audience tickets around the world.  For anyone living in London, there are masses of shows which you can apply for such as Britain's Got Talent, Celebrity Juice, TopGear and many many more.  The best thing about the audience tickets is that they are free.  Yes you heard me correctly, absolutely and completely free.  I applied for the X Factor Semi-Finals a few weeks ago (not really expecting anything to come from it), which made me pleasantly surprised when an email popped into my inbox informing me that I had successfully secured two standby tickets for the X Factor Semi-Finals on Saturday 7th December 2013.  Standby tickets mean that if they have room (after priority tickets) then you are allowed entry.  I decided to take my boyfriend with me and when I say take that pretty much means forced.  We took the mindset that if we were allowed entry, super! and if not then we would go to the movies for a date night.  However I was still very excited about the prospect of seeing Nicole Scherzinger's face.

The doors where due to open at 18:45, but I read some reviews about people being turned away due to full capacity even though they arrived 3 or 4 hours early.  This concerned me so I made sure we left in plenty of time, but sadly this meant queuing for a couple of hours in the freezing cold.  It wasn't raining so this did lift my spirits, but I couldn't feel my toes for the majority of the evening!  We had no issues securing a seat and the stage was much smaller then I anticipated but this made it feel quite intimate.  The actual event was very staged i.e. we were told when to dance, when to clap, when to cheer, when to boo etc, but I pretty much expected that going into it.  It was a really nice evening if you fancy something a little different to usual.  Definitely a must do activity when you are living in London!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Christmas at Kew Gardens

I have recently moved to London and I am slowly working my way through the typical London activities that a tourist should do... The London Eye, Big Ben, Oxford Street etc.  One of my favourite activities is Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.  For those of you who haven't been, it is a beautiful public garden situated in central London near Richmond.  Now that the weather is colder and Winter is definitely nipping at your toes, the thought of walking around outside doesn't really appeal; until I saw an advertisement for Christmas at Kew Gardens 2013.  It promises illuminated trails, carol singers and a festive christmas village/shop area.

It mostly lived up to its promise.  Tickets cost £12.50 for an adult, but after you have added on booking fees and surcharges it is more around the £15 mark.  I booked my tickets for the late evening, but a lot of other people decided to do that too!  The bustling atmosphere only enhanced my curiosity at what was to come.  The illuminated trail took approximately an hour and a half to walk around and this was at a very casual evening stroll pace.  The trail was scattered with paper lanterns, beautiful scenery and interactive break stations.  I wouldn't say "as twilight falls, the magic begins..." but it was certainly nice.  I am not an avid photographer (unless you count my iPhone snaps!), but there was ample opportunity to take unusual scenic shots of illuminated trees.  Exhibit A.

The whole experience was enjoyable for a nice Winter's evening tourist activity, even if it did lack christmas trees and carol singers.  At least it wasn't raining!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Etsy Christmas Snowman Ornament

I am trying to start a tradition with the boyfriend where each year we buy one new christmas decoration.  The aim is to build up a lovely eclectic mix of meaningful decorations and it creates a bit of 'us' personality on the tree and around the flat.  With this thought in mind, I found myself browsing Etsy and ogling at all of the hand made goodies.  This is one of my favourite online places to shop when I am trying to find something unusual, creative and basically not on the high street.  I came across a little shop called SoftTear which specialises in needle felt and immediately fell in love with the miniature pieces of cuteness.  They do a wide range of holiday themed items from Valentines to Easter and Christmas.  I opted to make my one new item a three piece set, and settled on purchasing the snowmen tree decorations.

The snowmen were shipped from Hong Kong, however to my surprise arrived very speedily (a couple of weeks).  They were beautifully packaged and even came with an adorable handwritten note from Keris the shop owner.  I love nice presentation and personal features as this just demonstrates how much time and love has gone into something.  This nice touch obviously received a huge thumbs up from me!  The snowmen themselves are very good quality and exceeded my expectations.  They cost £16.00 with a £3.00 shipping fee giving a total of just under £20.  Typically I would find this quite expensive just for a christmas decoration, however the fact that there is three and they are handmade with love won me over.  If you are looking for any christmas decorations or stocking fillers then I highly recommend SoftTear as you won't be disappointed.

Now I just need a tree to hang them on!