Thursday, 30 November 2017

Photo Diary | Freetown Christiania | Copenhagen

Freetown Christiania is a truly fascinating place. It is a neighbourhood in the heart of Copenhagen and is best known for it's inhabitants unusual way of life. It was established in 1971 by a group of hippies who established their own set of society rules, totally independent of the Danish Government. 

My boyfriend and I visited Copenhagen at the beginning of October. Before we went, we were advised that there were certain areas of Christiania whereby you should not take photos (due to hash dealing) so I have not captured everything Christiania has to offer in these photos due to our own safety! The neighbourhood feels pretty safe when you're there, just totally out of this world. 

What struck me the most when we were there was the amount of graffiti art everywhere, it made the place so colourful and unlike anything I had ever seen before. The picture below features artwork made out of paint and recycled skateboards. 

Christiania is a combination of homemade houses, art galleries, music venues, low cost and organic eateries, and beautiful nature. It is a society within a society, for  instance, you can't buy a house in Christiania. You have to apply for it, and if successful, it is given to you.

The neighbourhood is known to be a green and car-free neighbourhood, with bikes everywhere! Though there are bikes everywhere all across Copenhagen so it wasn't too different to that. 

If you're looking for somewhere full of culture, art and out of this world then I would recommend a visit to Freetown Christiania whilst visiting Copenhagen. There is so much to look at and the place is inspirational from an artists perspective. It offers a look in to a different way of life that is far more liberal than most societies today. 


Monday, 27 November 2017

REVIEW | Phantom of the Opera | Her Majesty's Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera has been casting it's magical spell on audiences in the West End since 1986, leading it to be the longest running show of Her Majesty's Theatre. The plot is about a beautiful soprano, Christine DaaĆ©, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, musical genius living beneath the Opera Populaire. I love everything about the production from the music to the story, and this was my second time seeing a live performance of it.

In my view, Andrew Lloyd Webber has captured a tragically romantic love story with both powerful and emotive music and lyrics. The music, lyrics, set design, costume and story marry each other perfectly. The production flows seamlessly from scene to scene depicting the Phantom's Layer to the Grand Staircase for Masquerade, this gives the performance a cinematic feel. The current cast and crew deserve much praise for the current show as it was a delight to watch again. I would recommend this show to anyone that enjoyed the film adaptation as it is really brought to life in the West End.

The only drawback I had of the performance was my seat. I was sat in the stalls towards the back on the left-hand side. I would suggest paying the extra money for a central seat, near to the front of the stalls as I felt taken away from the performance slightly and couldn't quite get lost in it like I usually do. I struggled to see the iconic chandelier drop scene and think it would be well worth the money for a slightly better seat. The circle may even be a better option for this performance due to the different levels of the stage being used.

Have you seen a live performance of Phantom of the Opera? What were your thoughts on the performance?

| Where to eat? |

Byron - Haymarket
A very short walk from Her Majesty's Theatre, Byron's offers delicious burgers and shakes to fill up on before or after the show. I was blown away by how much food was served and definitely didn't need any snacks in the theatre! They also offer options for vegetarians.

Steak & Co - Haymarket
Again, just a short walk from the Theatre, Steak & Co is a restaurant chain that has popped up across London, offering you steak on a sizzling hot steak stone for you to cook the steak just how you like it. The food was served extremely quickly and I had the best sweet potato fries I've ever had at this restaurant. 


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Why I am Doing Blogmas

This year I have decided to participate in Blogmas for the first time ever. The main reason behind it is that I am throwing myself in to my creative work as it is my passion and what I love in life and my blog forms a part of that. I figured, it's now or never when it comes to putting yourself out there and seeking a career in what you love. Don't get me  wrong, I don't think it'll take off overnight and is going to take a lot of hard work a persistence which I why I am being sensible and am on the hunt for a part time job that I will enjoy whilst working on the creative side.

I also blumin' love Christmas. I am so excited for it this year as it's my first year with Stu and we are getting a Dachshund puppy called Pepper next week which makes things all the more exciting. You can read more about her here. We have bought and wrapped most of our Christmas presents already (I know, prepared right?!) and have been super organised this year. Not sure if we will be putting up a Christmas tree this year though as I think Pepper might destroy it or pee up it as dogs do. Means photography might be a little difficult as I won't have a tree... I'm gona have to get creative.

 I am even contemplating YouTube and vlogging for the 476th time but might play around with insta stories first to test the waters! I think what I find scary about it is that my blog isn't a secret from people in my life and when I go to job interviews they always say 'I had a quick look at your blog'. I am sort of afraid how I will come across, whether my life is interesting enough and whether I am interesting enough. I think that this may resonate with some of you so if you have similar thoughts please do let me know.

The other part to my creative work is an illustration business I am currently developing which you can follow on Facebook here. This will offer prints and greeting cards on an Etsy store to begin with. I am in talks with a local printer that I am seeking to help print my illustrations professionally before investing in a printer myself. I am also touching up my final designs to be sent to print, ready for the Christmas period! So please keep me in mind if you are looking to support a developing small business.

I have so many ideas for Blogmas and have already started preparing the content so that it's of decent quality for my readers. I can't wait to get back into blogging on a regular basis and am excited to share this journey with you all. I also want to invest a lot more of my time in supporting other bloggers, commenting on their posts and sharing the blog love as it's so important to support one another. So if you've read this far please leave me a link to your blog and your favourite bloggers out there so I can share the love.

Love Amber x

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

We Are Getting A Puppy!

We are getting a puppy! On the 28th November, we will be bringing little Pepper, the long-haired Dachshund, back to our humble abode which will turn our two-some into a three-some and I couldn't be more excited! I have dreamt of having a Dachshund for years now and finally my dreams are coming true.

I have decided on a very big decision to go part-time and put my all into my creative work such as my blog and illustration business (currently a work in progress but all will be revealed very soon) which means I will be spending a lot of time at home to take care of a puppy. We met her last week and instantly fell in love with her and are really excited to bring her home next Tuesday.

My parents own two dogs and I was living with them at the time they got both of them so have experienced how dedicated you have to be in training a puppy and the initial costs involved. I thought I would compile a bit of a list just in case you were thinking of getting your own little four-legged friend or just wanted to have a nose at what we've been buying for our pup.

Puppy Essentials

Did you know that it is now a legal requirement for a dog to wear a tag and be micro-chipped? We opted for a Pets at Home 'Find my VIP' tag which doesn't have the puppy's name on or our contact details to avoid her being stolen. It costs around £10.00 per year and was only launched in June apparently but has been a huge success. How it works is you download an app on your phone, enter the unique ID number on the tag which then allocates the tag to your details. If your puppy goes missing then you can send out an alert to VIP members. If your puppy is hurt, Pets at Home pay out instantly so the finder of the dog can go to the vets straight away, saving precious time. The finder just calls the number on the tag which then alerts the owner of the dog. I think it's great and would recommend all dog owners get this as it offers more than a micro-chip!

Dogs are prone to accidents. This is something myself and my family learnt first hand with their Toy Poodle Toby. When he was just months old, he ran into a concrete step in the garden and shattered his front leg. He had to have a few operations and a nut and bolt fitted in his leg which would have been insanely costly if we didn't have pet insurance. (I'm talking £5k plus) We have gone for one that offers Lifetime cover, so if Pepper gets a new illness or injury, she will still be covered. It costs a little extra but is well worth it as unfortunately, there is no NHS for animals and most of us would be distraught if something went wrong and we couldn't afford to pay for it.

As Pepper is on the small side of dog breeds and has an elongated back, giving her the iconic 'sausage' look, we have to think about protecting that. We have bought her a small harness so that when we walk her, we won't be damaging her bone development.

We have bought a medium sized bed which I am sure is going to swamp her initially but it's for her to grow into. In my experience, puppies grow very attached to their beds so it's best to start them off in one big enough for them when they are fully grown. We have gone for a bed that's machine washable too so that it shouldn't need replacing for a long time. Make sure you buy a bed big enough for your puppy to stretch out in when they're small and for when they are fully grown.

We have gone for stainless steel puppy bowls as they don't collect as much bacteria as plastic bowls. We have bought an anti slip mat to sit them on so she doesn't struggle eating/drinking with the bowl moving too much.

| CAGE |
We have a very large cage for Pepper which is to be used throughout her puppy training. Dacshunds are notorious for slow toilet training so we will be keeping her in there whilst she's in training! Ensure you kit it out with lots of toys, a cosy bed, water and a puppy training pad as puppies will not do their business in their beds.

An absolute essential as this will save your carpet! When puppies are very young, they tend to have accidents when they are being trained to do their business outside, especially over night when you are sleeping. I intend to lay one out in a large cage away from my puppies bed so she can do her business.

I have been recommended to buy two different types of dog treats, doesn't matter what they are really, though I try to go for something that doesn't contain cereals. One treat should be used for toilet training only to avoid confusion and the other for generic treats for good behaviour.

| TOYS |
Get your puppy a range of toys. We have got Pepper soft toys, balls, squeaky toys, rope toys and a teething bone. Puppies are very active and will want to play a lot so this will ensure she won't eat/destroy the furniture/garden. We have also tied some toys to the side of her cage so that she feels safe and comfortable in there.

Pretty self explanatory, and an essential. You will need plenty of these for cleaning up after your pup!

Do you have anything to add to my list of puppy essentials? If you have a dog or are getting one soon I would love to hear about it so please do drop me a comment below.

Love Amber x


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately

I find that autumn is the perfect time to settle down, light some candles and open an enjoyable book in my favourite, snuggly reading nook. Recently, I have been reaching for romantic comedies full of twist and turns which have turned out to be real page turners. In the past, I would not usually have gone for this sort of genre of book as I prefer historical fiction or thrillers; suffice to say, I have been well and truly converted.

Wilde Like Me | Louise Pentland

I LOVE Louise. I think the way she comes across is so fun and down to earth on her popular YouTube channel and across her other social media, so I was really looking forward to reading her book. She has truly written what she knows in her new book Wilde Like Me as it is about a mother and daughter duo that we follow through their day-to-day life journey. The book is great and strikes moments of comedy gold when narrating about contemporary issues such as dating apps. I found the book relatable, funny and am looking forward to reading the second book of the series and would recommend for a light-hearted read.

My Not So Perfect Life | Sophie Kinsella

This book is contemporary, fun and creative. Kinsella has addressed the issue of what lies behind our ‘Not So’ perfect lives that we are all guilty of displaying on our Instagram feeds. It’s easy to admire and long for a person’s life when all you are seeing are the ‘good bits’ as most people don’t tend to share the bad on social media. I really enjoyed the story of the book which is about a graduate marketing student from the country that is attempting to make it in London; she is thrown all sorts of obstacles and has the chance to get her own back on the people that stand in her way. I liked how the book made me take a step back and remind me that nothing in life is perfect.

Miss You | Kate Eberlen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is cleverly written as we follow two people’s stories – Tess and Gus that are perfect for each other but haven’t quite met one another properly yet. Eberlen addresses so many different issues in this book such as death, grief, autism, marriage, affairs and many more which makes it a meaty read with a very fast pace. I could not put this book down and will be reading more of Eberlen in the future.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? I’d love to hear about it so leave me a comment below or find me on social media. Also, do you have any recommendations for me to read? I have a few on my bookshelf to read next but I always have my head stuck in a book so I welcome recommendations from any genre. 

Love Amber x
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