Caroline’s Kitchen: The Review [AD]

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[AD, Gifted] – I was asked by the Royal & Derngate Theatre Northampton to review Caroline’s Kitchen in return for free tickets to the play – this is my review.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching “Caroline’s Kitchen” a dark domestic comedy from the mind of Torben Betts, produced by Tom Hackney of The Original Theatre Company and directed by Alastair Whatley at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton.

The play follows Caroline Mortimer (played by the fabulous Caroline Langrishe), a beloved celebrity chef who has it all; an amazing career, loving family and a top end kitchen that we could only dream of. Life is good – or so it seems, but once she is away from the lights and the camera’s, a dark cloud begins to appear over her private life. A storm is brewing and it’s about to wreak havoc.


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Set across the course of one day, the whole play is set in the Kitchen – the heart of the home, as we watch Caroline’s life spiral out of control, the set and the kitchen mirrors this. Starting off as a prim and proper, clean set by the end of the play it’s just like Caroline, the Kitchen is a mess – it’s broken and disjointed. Which is a subtle but very clever way of personifying an object or space to represent a characters transition or mental state. Caroline’s perfect life revolves around her work and more importantly her Kitchen, which is a mirror of herself.

For me it started off at a slow pace – I was a bit lost on what was going on and where it was going but halfway through the first act it really got into its stride and by the interval, I was hooked and on the edge of my seat. Eager for the second half to kick off and continue this mini roller coaster.

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The turning point for me was the introduction of Mike (Caroline’s Golf-loving Husband, played by Aden Gillett) a retired banker who is dealing with a form of depression, looking at life in a bleak miserable way – wishing he had gotten more from life instead of working and then being left as an old broken man. Playing the role of a stereotypical upper-middle-class white man, with his casual racist and politically incorrect outlook on life, he resembled a lead from an old Ealing Studios film. Which I found hilarious and couldn’t get enough of. I guess this probably suggests something about my level of humour and old man mentality.

This is also in no disrespect to the rest of the cast, I really enjoyed both Jasmyn Banks and Elizabeth Boag’s performances. As Amanda, Caroline’s Sassy Drugged up PA and Sally a disgruntled visitor with more on her mind than a house viewing. Both of these women in my eyes dominated the play when they were on stage. Drawing focus from the likes of Caroline, Leo or Graham the remaining cast members. There is a clear divide where the cast range from amazing and captivating, to lacklustre and boring. The latter in my eyes was Graham – the carpenter. I couldn’t gauge his accent as it changed from North London to pure Northern at times. His timing wasn’t on par with the other cast mates and when he was on stage I just felt awkward wondering what he was going to say or do next. I’m not sure if it was meant to be intentional and that his character was a bit slow but sadly that is how it came across.

This was my only gripe so let’s move swiftly on and not dwell on the negatives too much.

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Overall I really enjoyed this production, the best way I can describe it is by comparing it to that final episode of season one of Dr Foster. Where the truth is coming out and the repercussions are flying around that family meal. It rolled around nicely and with every comment or quip, I was left on tenterhooks waiting to see how the next character would react. It might leave you thinking what just happened for a moment but then once it has settled in you can really appreciate the tone, themes and dynamic of the play. Questioning Morality, Monogamy, Depression and Mental Health – while spreading a dark twisted sense of humour on top.

I would say this play could engage a younger generation who aren’t as ‘Into’ theatre as other generations and something like this would be a great way to spark that passion. The script is snappy and sassy which I would say would be appealing to a younger audience, but still with enough humour and references to engage a more mature audience. As I saw last night, there was young and old sitting together laughing at the same things, bringing people together.

It is showing at the Derngate Northampton for the rest of this week before moving onto Liverpool, Cheltenham and a few other places until the end of it’s run in April. I would highly recommend watching it if you get a chance. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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I also want to thank the Derngate again for giving me the Opportunity to review this production.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Pick Me Up Playlist.

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They say that Music is the great healer. Music covers every mood and thought, bringing inspiration or motivation to any situation.

This is my Pick Me Up Playlist that the amazingly smart and super funny Elizabeth tagged me in. This is her post and this is her Insta – I strongly recommend following her.


Rules for the Pick Me Up Playlist Challenge:

  • Mention how music helps your Mental Health
  • List 10 songs that you would consider to be a part of your ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ (optional: mention a little bit why each song is on your list)
  • Tag the blogger who nominated you
  • Link back to ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ creator – Laura Spoonie
  • Tag 10 other bloggers to join in with the ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ Challenge

I am a strong believer of music being the cure for everything. The effects it has can be so beneficial to mental health, there is also a song or a band that will help you through any mood or situation. If you cry, they cry. You laugh, they laugh. Music is so pure and fluid it can mean and be anything you want.

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My Pick Me Up Playlist

  • Ballroom Blitz – Sweet.
    • My Ultimate get psyched song. If I am ever in need of a buzz or I’m in a get the day going kind of mood. This gem works wonders.
  • Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf.
    • Well there is Rock Opera Ballard’s and then there is this masterpiece. 6 minutes of life you never regret and are almost half tempted to repeat the song. The song tells the story of a couple at make out point getting it on. It’s very smart and so much fun.
  • I Fought the Law – The Clash.
    • This song always reminds me of sitting in the library at college with my best friend. There is a video somewhere of me miming this song with full air guitar and drums. Just good times really.
  • We Are Young – Fun.
    • I remember this tune being big Summer 2012 as I just started a new job and this was constantly on the radio. It’s an upbeat sing along with heart and passion that always bring a smile to my face.
  • California Soul – Marlena Shaw.
    • This song taps into my southern soul vibe, attempting to cover the accent as I belt it out. It just a happy fun tune.
  • Human – Rag’n’Bone Man.
    • This is a real motivational get pumped tune. They used it for the Jack Ryan trailer and since then has been a boost in my head. A strong voice, stronger lyrics and a kick ass beat.
  • Disco 2000 – Pulp.
    • I am a fan of all ranges of music, but there is something about the older generation of music that really sticks. Modern music doesn’t cut it like this list and Disco 2000 is an amazing sing along song for me.
  • You Make My Dreams Come True – Hall And Oates.
    • Now yes this might remind you of the hyper-real scene from (500) Days of Summer which signifies the couple having sex but that aside it’s still a really upbeat song with a cool rift to jive too.
  • Killer Queen – Queen.
    • I could have picked any Queen song – they are all perfect but I have picked this because my GF loves it and we sing it about her. If this one doesn’t get you pumped I am not sure what will.
  • Give Me Novacaine – Green Day.
    • Green Day for me are THAT band – no matter the mood or time I can always listen to them and there is always a song that is fit for the occasion. They have helped me through a lot and have always been there for me.

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Though this is the part of the post I am not a fan of, tagging people. Cause I have to decide out of the hundreds of you amazing people who to tag. Then I have to take all your details, copy and paste it and then pow. It’s long winded cause I always forget usernames and handles. Wish me luck.

I want to see the following tackle this:

Tiffany. Britt K. Seonaid. Cara. Carly. Kate. Hannah. Johnny. Matt. Siobhan.

An Unbreakable Review.

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With the upcoming film release of “Glass” I wanted to write something about the M Night Shyamalan films – focusing on the trilogy we never knew we needed. – Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.

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When Unbreakable came out in 2000 the world was unknowingly watching the first chapter in a trilogy that took 19 years to put together. 3 years after a 16 year break we saw the second installment come out and now the third is here. From the man who made The Sixth “Friggin” Sense, Unbreakable was just as good if not better (Opinion based, I am team Unbreakable).

I can imagine with the announcement of Glass hitting the big screen sales of Unbreakable shot up – that new generation of film goers that missed it, or who had never even heard of it rushing out to pick up a copy and see what they have missed. Well it’s time to get on it. The first film follows Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson in a strange game of cat and mouse. Playing polar opposites of each other, Willis a man who is somewhat indestructible while Jackson plays a man who is hurt from the slightly gust of wind. Jackson believes that Willis’ character is a superhero having survived a fatal train crash and walking away with not even a scratch. The film follows Willis come to terms with this new findings, testing and trailing his “powers” while also dealing with a troubled home life and Jackson’s character as he becomes more unhinged with the idea of Willis’ power.

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The film is amazing, almost like a comic book movie in a real gritty world. Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong. The twist this film throws at you is shocking and somewhat real as well. Highlighting a deluded mental state of mind and how easy the human mind can be broken, corrupted and tainted.


It’s a masterpiece, a stunning piece of art that can be watched and studied over and over again. Then 2016 rolls around M Night is back at it, bringing out Split. A film somewhat unrelated to Unbreakable as it focuses on Kevin (James McAvoy) a man who suffers from “Dissociative Identity Disorder” with 23 different personalities, each with their own mindset and dark inhibitions, working for the 24th unknown, rumoured personality – The Beast.

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The film holds up and is really enjoyable. It’s like M Night is back to his old ways of making good films – he had a blip in the middle didn’t he but Split bought it back and to top if it there is that final nod to Unbreakable that makes you go “WHATTTTT” – the smallest thing that wasn’t even needed. The film stands alone and works perfectly, but adding this literal seconds to the film changes the whole concept of the movie and makes it bigger than it first thought to be, changing aspects of the original film with the new information from the second instalment. Though in doing so it makes it a sequel, which then lends itself to comparison of the first one. Which in this case can’t compete and becomes another stat in the argument for Second films that aren’t as good as the first.


Well now the third installment is coming out, tickets are booked, going to get the GF to watch Unbreakable this weekend and then we are ready to rock. She was a fan of Split and hopefully will enjoy Unbreakable as well. It’s a worry now days, when you introduce someone to a film that is nearly 20 years old but she, like me is a big Brucie fan and so hopefully she will enjoy it.

I am very interested to see what they do with this film, where they take the story and to see what the characters have been doing in the 16 year gap between Unbreakable and Split. The trailers had me hooked from the off and I also really like Sarah Paulson, so hopefully she will be a good addition to the film. There is a worry it will go too Comic Book Superhero esque and lose the real life thriller aspect that Unbreakable did so well. But we will only know when we see it, also we are left wondering – what could the classic twist be? Hmmm.

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The critics reviews are out and a few headlines suggest mixed reviews. But I don’t like to read them or even trust them – the same with Rotten Tomatoes. I feel both make so many bad calls they are not credible sources. Says the amateur in the professional world I know but that being said I will drop a review next week to let you all know my thoughts.

I hope this has helped you prepare for Glass and if you’ve enjoyed this please give it a like and a share, or some form of feedback so I know how I am doing right and where I can improve. Thank you.

Golden Globes – The Review.

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Award season has truly got under way and last night Beverly Hills hosted the Golden Globes, an award set to praise and recognise talent in both Film & Television. With this in mind it means the Oscars are about 6 weeks away. The only difference really is who decides the winners. The Globes are chosen by the Press office and the Oscars picked by the Academy of Motion Picture, Art and Science.

The Golden Globes don’t have as many categories compared to the Oscars but it hosts the major ones such as; Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor & Actress in both Drama and Musical / Comedy, Best Screenplay, Original Song, Director and many more.


I am going to breakdown a handful of categories and give some feedback on what I think about the selection and the outcome. Please note as much as I am a film buff / geek. There are films mentioned that I have not seen. Which I will try not to let affect my feedback.


Best Motion Picture – Drama. 

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Great start to this, having only seen 3 of the 5 nominated films. I have not seen BlacKKKlansman or If Beale Street Could Talk. Which is a shame. I really wanted to catch BlacKKKlansman and felt it might have been a hidden gem. Which I guess it was. Beale Street I have never heard of so best go find a copy of that. Now the ones I know, As much as I am a BIG MCU fan (What me? Who knew?), I didn’t rate Black Panther as highly as the critics or other fans. It’s a good film but in the running with these I feel like it’s out of its depth.

Now to the big two; A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I loved them both. Even reviewing BoRap which can be found HERE – shamefully I never reviewed A Star is Born which I regret now. Both of these were amazing films and I am happy to see either or win. Though I think deep down A Star is Born deserved the win a tiny bit more, I am not mad at the choice.

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. 

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Across the board I rate all of these Actresses bar Melissa McCarthy. Her brand of comedy and style really annoys me. But that aside the film she is Nominated for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” looks good. Being a true story drama piece it might change my mind of her.

In honesty I have only seen Lady Gaga’s performance, which was breathtaking, so I am slightly disheartened that she did not win. But knowing how talented the competition was I can imagine Close’s performance must have been off the chain and I bet this award is well deserved.

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. 

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I wanted to controversially mention this category as an excuse to air some feelings I have. Which I KNOW will be met with some heat, anger and disapproval. But here we go.

Lin-Manuel Miranda. I don’t know what it is but I don’t like how hyped he is, how you are expected to like and appreciate this man out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong the Moana music was good and I really want to watch Hamilton, but I just feel like he is overrated and I am almost forced to like him for some unknown reason. It might be me subconsciously wanting to not like him because he is the next big thing all of a sudden. Who knows I can’t put my finger one it – Sorry. Rant over.

The category – I am very excited to see both Stan & Ollie and Vice. But all four of the remaining men are brilliant performers in their own right. So I can imagine this one was a tough call. Also I thought Redford was retiring? Maybe I missed something.


  Other Awards.

Rami Malek took the Best Actor (Drama) from Bradley Cooper with his Freddie Mercury portrayal. Which well done – but Cooper was phenomenal. Though the Oscars are on their way Bradders. The same goes for Best Director – as a debut film Cooper nailed it in my eyes but lost it to Alfonso Cuaron who I had to google to see what else he had done . . . not sure I can agree after looking at this IMDB page but what do I know compared to the LA Press.

Olivia Colman took Best Actresses in Musical or Comedy (not sure about this title) for The Favourite which must be well deserved, I have always rated for as an actress.

Richard Madden won for the Bodyguard in Best TV Drama Actor and Sandra Oh won the Actress version for Killing Eve (which I keep meaning to start). Rachel Brosnahan grabbed Best Comedy Actress for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – which if you have not seen I beg you to go home tonight and start. I love it.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung into the top spot for Best Animated Motion Picture (seeing it tomorrow night). Everyone I know that has seen it has urged me to go – saying it’s the best thing ever. The Americans picked up Best TV Drama and The Kominsky Method took Best TV Comedy.

Lastly I want to mention Best Original Song – Shallow from A Star is Born, which won this hands down. And too bloody right. It was the 22nd most downloaded single of 2018 – which to say it only came out in October shows how much it took the world by storm. I can’t not listen to it when it’s on. It’s beautiful.

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Next stop BAFTA’s and then the big boys, the Oscars! The nominations are released at the end of the month where I will do a post placing my bets . . . while maybe placing a bet or two.

What do you think to the Golden Globe results? Do you think someone missed out or was robbed? Like I said I am in mixed emotions, feeling bad for A Star is Born but happy for Bohemian Rhapsody. But let’s see what happens next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary!

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We’ve been together a year now. Started seeing each other in September but October 11th we became official. I told all my friends about you. Share photos of us on Instagram and started to make many memories.

We’ve bought new people into our relationship, met some great friends and loved every minute of things. Even the dark times where we wouldn’t talk for a week or so. We worked through it, we have become stronger and still as much in love as when we first started.


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My main thank you, is to you guys, the readers, the followers, the friends I have made. This year has been amazing and I have loved what we have made here. I can’t wait to see it grow, to get better and even more awesome.

Honestly I never thought when I first started that I would have met such inspirations and amazing people such as: Maud, Abbie, Lauren – and then the #BlogVengers; Colin, Gareth, Elle, Annie. These are to name a few – I could go on forever naming all the gems in this blogging world. Basically if you are reading this, you are one of them! I am so thankful! I also want to thank the brands who have trusted me and given me the chance to work with them to promote their amazing brands. I have loved every chance I have had.

To the next year!

Perfectly Clear – #AlwaysSpring

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With the summer rolling in and the hot streak still going strong across the country you are instantly open to more invites to BBQ’s, garden parties and all those other generic summer style social events.

And so with the help of Perfectly Clear water I am going to share some snazzy recipes for some cocktails and mocktails that are both refreshing and healthier than the usual options – and also SUPER easy to make, I knocked these up in minutes.

Unknown to me, Perfectly Clear is one of the UK’s first flavoured water lines on the market being launched over twenty years ago. With their main goal to provide a healthy alternative to the sugary drinks – priding themselves on being ZERO SUGAR and also they aim to make their water as affordable as possible (39p in Home Bargains) – which is better than paying big bucks for standard water.

After going through a rebranding recently they have a whole new range of bottles, flavours and styles. Offering the standard 500ml bottle which is perfect for personal use, an amazing 1.5litre bottle for sharing and also producing a range for kids in a cute little 330ml bottles. Because the kids are the future and keeping them healthy and refreshed is the goal.

They come in a tasty range of flavours in either Sparkling or Still; Strawberry, Lemon & Lime, Elderflower, Orange, Red Apple, Cherry and Summer Fruits.

Let’s go.


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Cocktail Numero Uno! 

I wanted to make a kind of  “Gin ‘n’ Juice” style drink but instead of loading it with sugar and lemonade I went for a fresh still version. Crushing some ice in a blender, then pour a shot of Gin (or two if you are feeling extra snazzy) then half a of Grapefruit juice and half a cup of Perfectly Clear Lemon & Lime Water.

Quick Stir and Enjoy.


Cocktail Numero Duo! 

Super easy one again – crushed ice, couple of shots of Sour Cherry Vodka topped up with Perfectly Clear Mixed Berries Water and stir. This one was a surprising treat for the GF on a hot Saturday afternoon and that is the point. Just simple but refreshing drinks to enjoy anytime.


Cocktail Numero Tres! 

I thought best to do one for the kids and T-Totalers. So again start with some ice, then super simply, 1/3 Perfectly Clear Strawberry Water, 1/3 Cranberry Juice and 1/3 Sugar Free Soda Water. Stir and pow.


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So the next time you are throwing a party or a BBQ give these cheeky little recipes a go. Enjoy the refreshing taste of a Perfectly Clear water based drink. Stay hydrated and just enjoy the sun.

Check them out on their WebsiteTwitter and Instagram and head out to try the taste of sugar-free refreshing flavoured water.

 

Who puts the “Bra” in Equality

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Today’s post is almost a guest post type of deal. Hopefully it will find it’s legs and get off the ground but as we begin I am just aiming in a direction and preying we get there – Like when you approach a large roundabout and you are not 100% sure on which lane you need. We’ll get there.

My GF suggested blogging about this because and I quote “You have a lot of female followers and it’s just something that really annoys me” – from that you can tell this is going to be a girl orientated post so I ask: Ladies here this cry as I bet it’s going to be relatable and Gents also stick around as no doubt you would have heard similar in the past from the females.

Bras for Big Boobs vs Bras for Small Boobs

We are going on holiday this weekend and so you know what that means, a lot of rushing round, buying sun cream, new clothes and changing money up. Well two out of three isn’t bad but when it came to new clothes the GF really wanted to pick up some new strap-less bras – Can’t have strap line tan marks, that will never do she informed me. So the mission was a foot. Few trips into town with no success, her annoyance was grouping and the holiday countdown was getting closer to the end.

See the problem she has is . . . she has rather big boobs! Yes I know lucky me blah blah blah but when it comes to clothing it’s a royal pain for her because she can’t find nice reasonable priced clothing that fits and for me it’s a pain because I have to hear about it and watch her get upset. The frustration is with retailers and brands, the size selections that are offered usually leaves us stood there looking at a sea of shelves and stacks of A, B, C size Bras, a few D’s, even fewer DD’s and then a poor selection of anything bigger.

The anger grows from here, in a world that is trying so hard to be politically correct, trying to be inclusive of everyone, not offend anyone and overall promote equality. It currently doesn’t look like that when you walk into Primark, New Look or even Tesco.

In fairness I am trying to steer clear from having a rant about Primark altogether – maybe that is for another post on another time.

How the big chains think it’s ok and very acceptable to only provide bra sizing for a limited sizing is bizarre to me and annoyingly frustrating for her. I know it could be said that certain shops don’t stock every size jeans, I mean I don’t shop in H&M because there is no way a 34inch pair of jeans are going round my somewhat chiseled godly belly. And I accept that, I know where to shop and where to avoid – but for something like bra’s I think that should be a different story – they are underwear, supportive, functional pieces of clothing. If the jeans don’t fit, I can pop on joggers or shorts, if the bra doesn’t fit what are the ladies supposed to? Maybe pop on a . . . what ever the alternative is – oh wait there isn’t one. Bra or No Bra that is the question.

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Her rant will continue, imagine this – a sea of lush, sexy, cute styled bras made up of silks, lace and all that nice fancy stuff that makes a bra look as good as it is supportive. There at the back of the rail is a hanger that says 38DD or 40E (something for the fuller bust) so you reach in and imagine the disgust when you pull out a plain beige bra. I for one couldn’t even tell you what beige was, is it cream? Is it nude? Whatever it is it’s not the sexy purple and pink lace thing at the front of the rail. If a shop is going to accommodate for the large boob they think beige, black or white is the only acceptable colours – like are bigger girls not as sexy as the AA breasted ones?

That board meeting must have been a hoot and I think a few people need to start looking for new jobs after making that decision.

Yes I know, she knows, we all know there are stores that do stock the bigger size and some of the ranges are very tasty. But these specific stores come with a premium. £50 for a single bra in Victoria Secret compared to the three for £20 in Primark. So you’ve been blessed with big boobs but the price you pay for that is back pain unless you have a really good supportive bra and then you need a small mortgage to buy enough to keep you going. Is that fair? Does that make sense?

Am I making her point here. Can you relate to this and see what I am talking about?

I hope so.

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So back to boobs and the hunt for a strap-less bra days before our holiday, the shops have not got the selection, so we hit the online shopping looking for a click and collect service; ASDA – No joy, Tesco – again like the store its a no, Debenhams, Peacocks, M&S all no luck. This is a floored system that needs to be addressed surely.

So my lunch break comes around on Tuesday – I head off in the hunt to please my fair maiden. Out of the 4 shops I dashed into only one shop (Yours) had the strap-less style bra she wanted. So £17 late – I know right! I was out of there. There was some funny looks as I hunted around the lingerie sections and even more so when I was buying the bra while holding a box of cat food – bless the girl who was working in the shop. She asked if I had wanted a bag? – Yes please lovely it might look very odd walking around carrying a bra and cat food. We laughed! Thank you “Yours”

So now the holiday is back on track, the GF has what she needs. But it’s a real eye opener when it comes to every day shopping, sizing and the product lines these big go-to high street brands offer.

Now we are at the end, we have ranted, bought bras and got frustrated along the way. But I hope I have done the GF justice in her rant, I hope at least some of you can find this relatable and agree that something surely should be done about this!

Leave your comments below, share this amongst the world, we should make a movement and give the big brands a shout out. Or is that too Anarchist and no very PC?

 

=P