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AskHerFriends gift selection (1)

I have been having a browse around the AskHerFriends website recently, picking out gift ideas mainly for myself but also bookmarking some unusual bits for my daughter's birthday and some sneaky little purchases for friends.  Of course my love for all things Union Jack shines through in this selection but I thought the Humpty Dumpty egg cup was a genius idea and the elephant dress was really cute.

AskHerFriends gift selection (2)

The lovely thing about the AskHerFriends website is that it is a crowd-sourced gift marketplace focusing on products for women.  They stock ideas from handbags to homeware to holidays so there's always something to treat yourself with or to find an unusual gift for a friend, relative or partner in various price ranges.  Ben Blomerley, founder of AskHerFriends, tells me that the Idea Map is a great place to start with your gift selection.


AskHerFriends has provided my readers with a 5% discount code which is valid for the month of February 2014.  Please use the code TYPE5 when prompted during the payment process on the website.


Win a £50 voucher for AskHerFriends.com (now closed)

If you love this shopping concept you can win one of two £50 vouchers for the AskHerFriends website.  To enter you must sign up to the AskHerFriend's newsletter using the Rafflecopter widget although you are free to unsubscribe at any time.  There are also additional entry options available in the Rafflecopter widget below.  If you are using a mobile device or an RSS reader you may need to click through to the web version of this post to enter.  If you are a new visitor here for the giveaway, it would be great if you could stick around.  There are some subscription options in the sidebar.

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS * This giveaway will begin at 00:01 on 31st January 2014 and will close at 23:59 on 7th February 2014 * This giveaway is open to any of my readers aged 18 or above who reside in the UK. * There is no cash alternative to the giveaway * To enter you must sign up to the AskHerFriends newsletter.  You can gain additional entries using the options in the Rafflecopter widget * There are (2) prizes in total * The prizes have been provided by AskHerFriends.  The prize winners will be asked to provide their email address so that the prize can be delivered to them electronically * Entries will only be accepted as instructed and any entrant that does not complete the qualifying requirements will be disqualified * The winner will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided within five (5) days of the draw.  If the winner does not respond within seven (7) days a new winner will be drawn.  

Please see my disclosure policy for further details.

My 18th Birthday Trip To London

After reminiscing about meeting Peter Bowles during my 18th birthday celebrations all the memories of that weekend came flooding back.  It really was my first 'adult' (not in that way *tut*) holiday away from my parents.  I drove myself and my best friend, Karen, down to London in my Austin Metro and we had made plans to "do London" in two-and-a-half days.  I found all the photographs from that weekend and have uploaded my favourite few.  Here is the story behind each one.

Piccadilly Circus in 1990

After we had booked into our hotel and parked the car up for the weekend, as mentioned in my other blog post, we headed over to Shaftsbury Avenue to book a West End show.  This was my first glimpse of Piccadilly Circus and the true hustle and bustle of London hit me.  I stood next to the statue of Eros and breathed it all in.  

Peter Bowles Jerry Hall

After watching the show that we had booked we partook in a bit of stage door hopping and we met Peter Bowles (he was truly lovely and such a gentleman) and caught Jerry Hall signing some autographs a little further down the road.  Yes, she is very beautiful.  Yes, she is very tall.  Yes, she drawls perfectly.  

Street entertainment in Covent Garden, London, 1990

On Saturday, we shopped!  We just went were the mood took us (and I can't remember which order we did everything in) but I can still smell and hear Covent Garden.  This photograph of a street artist just totally captures 'performance art' for me.  He had the biggest crowd, engaged his audience with comedy magic and I often wonder if he ever made the big time.  We moved on to Harrods, then Sloane Square and the Kings Road in Chelsea.  I also love that this little shop (whose name made us giggle, obviously) is still in existence today.

R. Soles, Kings Road, Chelsea, London

We headed back to our hotel to get ready for an evening on the town.  We had planned to partake in some London atmosphere (go for a drink in a pub) and then hit Stringfellows.  The queue at Stringfellows was huge so we went straight to the door and asked what the chances of getting in were.  The reply was, "None, unless you are on the guest list," so we abandoned that idea and headed to the Hippodrome.  This was the best move ever even if it did cost £15 to get in (that was just over double the cost of local nightclub entry)!  I had never seen a club like it before.  There were five bars on five different levels, all looking down onto the dance floor.  Part way through the night, the DJ asked everyone to, "Stand behind the green lights on the floor."  The dance floor then raised into a stage and 80s/90s favourite, Betty Boo, burst out and sang her two hits "Hey DJ, I Can't Dance" and "Doin' The Do".

Betty Boo, Alison Clarkson, Doin' The Do, Hippodrome, 1990

Twenty 4 Seven, Hippodrome, May 1990   outside the Hippodrome, London

Shortly after, we were introduced to a new dance/pop group from Holland called Twenty 4 Seven (the picture on the left).  Karen and myself came back to Lancashire raving about them, convinced they were going to be the next big thing. They hit the charts in October with their song, "I Can't Stand It" and then melted into oblivion.  The picture on the right was taken outside the Hippodrome at about 3am.  I have no idea who the two guys are nor who used my camera to take the photo. I was a trusting soul, wasn't I?

The Sunday was our chill-out day to prepare for the drive home.  We decided to get our photos developed at one of those 1-hour places so we could wow our friends when we got home and then we took a trip up to the Hard Rock Cafe which was the only one in the UK at the time.  We then traveled home and arrived just in time for a swift half in our local where we waved our photos in front of anyone who was around.

Hard Rock Cafe, London, 1990

This weekend holds so many memories as it was the first grown-up thing I'd done; you know, paying for my own hotel, making my own way there and being totally responsible for myself.  There are a few more photographs of random people in random places, lopsided views of semi-famous roads and buildings and a couple of pictures of adult shops in Soho.  But, mainly, for me, it was another opportunity to fall in love with the city and share that love with my best mate.  


The Gallery - Rewind

For my 18th birthday, I was determined to celebrate in style. After much discussion it was decided that myself and my best friend, Karen, would go to London for the weekend.  I celebrated my actual real birthday on the Thursday with family and friends (including my first legal trip to the village pub) and then set off on Friday morning in my blue Austin Metro to drive the 250-ish miles to a hotel in Paddington.  

Being Northern and not escaping to The Big Smoke very often, we had an itinerary to end all itineraries!
  • Friday - drive to London, book a West End Show
  • Saturday daytime - Shopping: Covent Gardens, Slone Square, Harrods, etc.
  • Saturday nighttime - Stringfellows
  • Sunday - a bit of sightseeing, drive home

We did it all and more!  We managed the drive down to London in just over four hours and booked in to the hotel.  We jumped on the Tube and landed in Piccadilly Circus ready to scour Shaftsbury Avenue for a show worth seeing.  Karen had recently seen Bus Stop, staring Jerry Hall so that was our first port of call but it was sadly fully booked.  An Ayckbourn play, Man Of The Moment, was being shown at The Globe (now the Gielgud Theatre) starring Peter Bowles, Michael Gambon and Samantha Bond so we booked tickets in "the Gods" (the upper circle) for the grand sum of £7.00 each.

The play was amazing - so much better than I could ever have imagined.  The additional staging (a real swimming pool on stage, for example) that could be afforded in the West End made all the difference.  After the curtain came down, we headed off round to the stage door for some obligatory celeb-spotting.  The stage door manager informed us that Michael Gambon had already left but Peter Bowles was on his way down shortly.  

I had been brought up on an 80s television diet of Only When I Laugh and To The Manor Born so I 'knew' Peter Bowles better than the rest of the cast.  We waited and I was rewarded with this picture. Happy 18th Birthday, Nickie!

Peter Bowles

Writing this post has brought back so many memories of this weekend that I think I might continue the story (if you want to hear it?).  I know exactly where all the photographs are and it really was a defining moment in my life.  Six weeks after this weekend away, I met my (now) husband and that completely changed my life in another way.

STOP PRESS:  I wrote about the rest of my 18th birthday weekend!  Enjoy.

If you want to read more "Rewind" posts, they are linked on Tara's blog in her weekly Gallery series.


The Time of Year We All Spring Into Life

Spring TimeA lot of my family was born around Easter; my mum, uncle, grandfather and cousin were all born within a two-week period. Do you want to know what makes this even stranger? They are all from my mum’s side of the family. Freaky indeed. On the plus side this has always meant that Easter is a great time in my house. Lots of celebration and of course lots of chocolate. I feel like the joy should be passed on. So here it goes, 5 (other) reasons why Easter is great:


Need I say more? No, but I will. The reason we eat chocolate at Easter time is due to Lent, the period of time Jesus is meant to have spent in seclusion. Easter marks the end of this period and so all of those delicious foods that were given up were enjoyed in abundance. This has manifest itself today in us eating large eggs of chocolate, those tasty goo filled eggs and of course the bunny shaped chocolates.

New Life

It is a period of regrowth and rebirth. The lambs are bleating in the field, the frosts have receded and daffodils are spreading across our parks. What is there not to like? The air is thick with pollen and the scent of flowers. It really is a magical time of the year.

The clocks have sprung forward

And the days are just getting longer. Great if you are anything like me and worship the Vitamin D on your skin. The lengthening of the days is just teasing you with the taste of summer.

The Food

Some of the greatest produce is freshest and tastiest in Easter. To name but a few asparagus, crab and lamb all come into season around Easter. I am a big proponent of eating seasonal, fresh produce. If readily available and reasonably priced.


With three bank holidays in quick succession there is plenty of opportunity to get away and leave the stresses of everyday life behind. A spring clean of the mind I like to think. For the last few years my Easter holiday has been spent with the extended family at Center Parcs. It really is quite magical at this time of the year. Everyone is loving the weather and it can be seen in the faces of staff and guests alike.

What more can I say? Spring rocks. It’s like summer but with the excitement of what is to come. The days are getting longer, the air is fresh and the sun is shining. What is your favourite season and why? Let me know in the comments below.

This is a featured post. You can find out more in my disclosure policy.

Soundtrack To My Life - Carly

Soundtrack To My Life
It's not often that someone drops a reference to climbing Kilimanjaro in their Soundtrack To My Life story so when I read Carly's first song choice, we agreed to use the photo video from her trip - it's very emotional (AND she's been to Everest Base Camp recently too).  The usual links will be at the end of the post (her blog header is absolutely perfect) but, for now, it's over to Carly...


Hoobastank - The Reason 

After I did Kilimanjaro in 2011, the song was used in a YouTube video highlighting the trip.  It gives me goosebumps and takes me right back to the mountain every time I hear it.  It also makes me want to go back and climb it all over again.

System of a Down - Sugar 

Just an awesome gig at Reading Festival this year, being stuck between 2 mosh pits and just letting yourself go with the flow... literally!

Marina and the Diamonds – I Am Not A Robot 

I’m constantly told that I show no emotions, I keep it all hidden away.  Whenever people say that, I always think of this song.

LMFAO - Sexy And I Know It 

This is my boy's favourite song.  They do a hilarious dance to it and always puts a smile on my face if I’m feeling low.

Green Day – Good Riddance 

This song was quite pivotal during my teenage years at school.  I was going through the normal motions of being a teenager and this song kind of sums up certain parts of those years.


Soundtrack To My Life

Carly blogs at Adventure Mummy and you can find her on Twitter as @carlymorson.  You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

My Planescapes

I caught an article recently which showcased a style of photography that has been dubbed "Planescape" - taking a picture of the scenery from the window of an aeroplane *be still my geeky heart*.  

This is something that I've already attempted and whilst they are not the clearest of photographs (taken on either a mobile phone or a cheap digital camera) they represent a glimpse of our world that not many people have the chance to see. Here are my favourite four:

© Nickie O'Hara 2009, planescape, portugal
Portugal - taken in March 2009

© Nickie O'Hara 2009, planescape, Spain
Spain - taken in July 2010

© Nickie O'Hara 2009, planescape, France, England
The French (top right) and English (bottom left) coastlines - taken in July 2011

© Nickie O'Hara 2009, planescape, London
London - taken in July 2011
Planescape - Tunisia 2014
Tunisia - taken in July 2014

Planescape - Sardinia 2014
Sardinia - July 2014

Planescape - Corsica 2014
Corsica - July 2014

Planescape - South Coast of England 2014
England - August 2014
(flying over Folkstone looking over the 
Dungeness National Nature Reserve)

You can see a few more (original) pictures in my Facebook album.


Photo Canvas by Marler Haley

With over 65 years of experience, Marler Haley have been helping businesses to catch people’s attention through displays for years. Founded during the baby boom of 1946 by two entrepreneurial spirits, Sid Marler and Jim Haley have created a lasting legacy that is now seen by many as a trusted worldwide supplier of portable displays. Constantly evolving, they continue to expand their product range for a modern market, which now also includes large-format canvas printing.  I adore seeing my favourite pictures on canvas and have a few displayed around the house.  


What Can We Learn From Dance Scenes In Movies?

If a movie includes a non-relevant dance scene then it's usually got me hooked.  These include the unrelated-to-the-story-line dance-off scenes in White Chicks and American Pie (The Wedding) through to Ferris Bueller taking over a parade to sing Twist and Shout and ending with the fact that the 'One Night Only' dance in The Full Monty doesn't bear any resemblance to anything that the guys have been learning previously.  My ultimate goal is to get my husband to replicate the dance from Pulp Fiction on our 25th wedding anniversary - but it's probably never going to happen.

Pulp Fiction Dance

But sometimes, dance scenes from movies can teach us a whole lot more if we look at them from a slightly different angle.  Here are my five but what can you add?  Hit me up with your choices in the comments.

Strictly Ballroom 

You don't need music to dance.  Dance to the music in your head... or your heart.  Remember Johnny in Dirty Dancing using the beat of his heart as the rhythm of the music (ga-gung, ga gung)?  Sometimes, you are so in tune with another person, you don't need the music.

People from different walks of life, of varying abilities and who would never normally interact with each other can occasionally come together and change each other's life. This sounds so much like a cliche but it actually happened at work last month and it was a privilege to be a part of it.


There are times when we should forget our inhibitions and act like a child.  Children don't understand fear in the same way that adults do; they attempt everything full pelt.  They run as fast as they can, they use their imaginations and if you ask them to draw a tree they draw a tree.  It's only when we learn how people judge you that we find The Fear.


Teach a friend a new skill.  My mother-in-law taught me to crochet properly a few weeks ago and it's now something I love.

Always Fair Weather 

Just when everyone thinks they've seen everything you've got to give, pull out that stunt you have in reserve. Oh, and act totally natural whilst doing it.

If  you enjoyed this, I think you'll love this other dance-related article : LET'S DANCE!!


There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about

It's been a lovely day for online mentions today and a great start to a new era of blogging for me (more on that at a later date - I can't be giving too many secrets away).

Cision UK logo
Firstly you can hop on over to Cision UK and read my 'Speedy Spotlight'.  Cision is a leading global provider of PR software and services and to be featured by them is complete honour.  I'm talking about my off-centre journey through life, t'other blog (Geekalicious) and the opportunities that writing this blog has brought. I also recommend some blogs I enjoy to read too.

Next, a recommendation that totally blew me away.  Philofaxy (everything Filofax-related that you could ever need in a blog) are nominated in the Shorty Awards.  Part way through their interview, this happens...
Who's your role model on social media?  @nickie72 Great sense of humour and a great grounding in a lot of areas on Social Media.
...which took me completely by surprise and made me blush slightly.

And all this spurs me on to do more of the same.  Onwards and upwards.

Title based on an Oscar Wilde quote

Soundtrack To My Life - Leanne

Soundtrack To My Life
I have been looking for an excuse to feature a certain song from Moulin Rouge for ages and today Leanne's Soundtrack To My Life gives me that reason.  Leanne has been blogging for just over four years and started out talking honestly about pregnancy and then moved onto all things parenting, days out, general humourous antics from family life and a bit of fashion advice.  The usual links will be at the end of the post but, for now, it's over to Leanne...


Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners

Apparently this song was played constantly on the radio towards the end of my mums pregnancy. It was even on the hospital radio when my mum went in to give birth to me. She says she ALMOST called me Eileen because she thought it was a sign. Luckily (no offense to anyone called Eileen) I was named Leanne instead. To this day whenever we hear it we have to pick up the phone and call each other - which does prove expensive if your on holiday and very drunk #justsayin

Wig Wam Bam - Sweet 

I'm laughing just thinking of this one! Back in the 80s (when I was about 6 or 7) we used to go on static caravan holidays with my auntie, uncle and cousins. This usually consisted of fun days for the kids and VERY drunken nights out with the parents. One night in particular my mum bought me a tinsel wig the a disco which I wore all night(!). I remember there being a competition for two men to gather items of clothing from the women in the audience to turn them in to women. My mum kindly donated her bra (dad was fuming!) and my auntie did the guys make up. I remember this song being played by the DJ about 6 times that night and every time I hear it I get transported back to that holiday and the many many memories!

Feels Like I'm In Love - Kelly Marie 

My mum is a huge music fan and growing up she always THE best tapes on in the car. This was one of my favourite songs ever from her collection and this has been my signature track even I was 18 I would request the DJ played it EVERY time.

It feels like... feels like Im in love.. Boom boom.... boom boom

Come What May - Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman 

My husband and I LOVE the film Moulin Rouge so when we decided to get married last year we talked about which song we should have for our first dance. There are so many songs that represent the different stages of our lives together but the lyrics from this one in particular felt perfect for our wedding day. So on 14th April 2013 in a top secret - no guest - ceremony on the island of Phuket we did it and danced alone to this song.

She Makes Me Wanna - JLS 

My children absolutely adore JLS (they're 6 and 3). Every Friday night we have a little party and have some quality family time together. This track has us all dancing - even Daddy! I smile every time I hear it and I always will - sooooooooo many memories.


Soundtrack To My Life
Leanne blogs at Second Time Mummy and can be found on Twitter as @second_time_mum. You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

Where Shall I Holiday This Year?

avenue of trees, park
When I was 11 my parents took me on my first holiday abroad.  We went on a caravan holiday to France. It was a catalogue of disasters including dad forgetting to disconnect the fridge from the car battery during the ferry crossing, a completely bizarre trip to see the Baueux Tapestry and some entertainment from drunk parents.  

We stayed in Granville, Normandy for two weeks, in the grounds of a beautiful chateau  We attempted to immerse ourselves into a French holiday experience from the get-go; trying local cuisine in traditional settings which included purchasing fresh croissants and baguettes from the on-site bakery first thing in the morning and dining at a local restaurant where we retained the same plate all evening, cleaning it with a small piece of bread in between courses.  I'm also sure that my parents sampled plenty of the local plonk too.

Nowadays, we're not a caravan family (although we tried it when the children were younger) but if we wanted a similar experience then we might try Alfresco Holidays.  In recent years we have ventured a little further afield (Ibiza, Tunisia and Turkey) experiencing the all-inclusive package holiday but maybe we need a halfway point between this and 'back to basics'?

The holiday websites are currently among the more popular tabs in my browser at the moment.  It's so cold in the UK at the moment that anywhere with a bit of sun, a beach and local places of interest is favourite.  I'll let you know where we decide upon.  But in the meantime, you can read all about my first holiday to France because I wrote about it a few years ago.  I'm still traumatised so be gentle with me!

This post contains a featured link.  Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

There's Juice Loose Aboot This Hoose

I'm back at work this week and can usually be found drinking apples or oranges that I juiced first thing in the morning.  It's all part of the New Me regime that I'm punishing myself with after asking for (and receiving) a juicer for Christmas.

I didn't really juice Christmas Dinner, by the way.  Just in case you were wondering...

Juicing hasn't been easy to get to grips with. Everything is frothy and is usually an unappetising shade of green, orange or grey.  It's like not only having to detox and cleanse but also to wean yourself off moving your jaw up and down. I need something to munch on.  Maybe I'll just talk more?  Won't my colleagues be impressed?

Some flavours work together and some taste like something you'd be given during a trial in I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. Nothing is properly sweet enough (I have three sugars in my tea) and I can't find "stevia" anywhere (a natural liquid (?) sweetener according to fellow juicers) but, to be fair, I've only asked in one supermarket and they looked at me like I'd grown two heads or suggested they cartwheel down the centre aisle.

Anyway, I had to use up the slowly rotting fruit and vegetables I bought with 'new juicer' enthusiasm between Christmas and New Year and made up my own recipe which apparently has to be served (or at least photographed) in a mason jar surrounded by lovely coloured food.  Feel free to try it out and let me know what you think...

1-2-3-4-TEN (I made up that name.  Impressed?)

orange juice in a mason jar

1 apple
2 sticks of celery 
3 carrots 
1/4 of a lemon  (EDIT:  peel the lemon! And if anyone knows how to easily peel a lemon please let me know in the comments)
TEN grapes

1.  Juice it all. 
2.  Drink it all.

And finally, I'm always prepared to share my discoveries and impart wisdom so here are some top tips:
  • One beetroot and two carrots yields approximately half a pint of juice which is really quite impressive. 
  • One beetroot and two carrots create a juice that looks like a blood transfusion.
  • It is wise to wash your beetroot before juicing it because, if you don't, you can still taste soil nine hours later each time you burp. 

Let me know your favourite juice recipes and top tips!  I'm determined to crack this!


Soundtrack To My Life - Glenn

Soundtrack To My Life
Soundtrack To My Life makes a welcome return in 2014 and open with choices from Glenn. I'm rather excited about this one too because it's the first time that I've been able to feature a guest author's own band (see song choice number five). As well as having his own band, Glenn is a feature writer (alongside myself) over at The High Tea Cast. The usual links are at the end of the post.


 Smashing Pumpkins - Stand Inside Your Love 

I fell asleep once on a plane home from Los Angeles when I was about 15 with this song playing on my iPod. During that sleep, my head conjured up a dream which fit hand in hand with the song in terms of atmosphere and lyrical content. Basically it was set in a very old looking stone building where I think schools were visiting this place, and I was there wondering about on my own. Then, a girl with beeaauuttiiffuull purple coloured eyes walked by me, and instantly fell head over heels! I spent the rest of the dream trying to find her again, but no such luck. Since then, I now think purple coloured irises should exist.

AFI - Summer Shudder 

AFI's Decemberunderground album was brought out during the outbreak of emo rock bands around 2006, and my word did it stick out amazingly. I still listen to this album and it takes me back to when I thought summers never ended and the large circle of friends I associated myself with would always hang out. Nowadays, summers seem unbelievably shorter and, out of the enormous circle of friends, I stay in constant contact with about two. This song is one of my favourites from the album, I weirdly prefer listening to it when I'm driving home at night. The simplistic vocal melody in the chorus still gives me goosebumps. I love it!
Ironically though, the song itself is about dealing with suicide. 

Not to worry, I never related myself with the lyrics!

The Cure - Close To Me 

Never have I walked around the gloomy abyss of Gravesend streets with a song feeding my ears through my headphones, changing the atmosphere of my surroundings quite as well as this song has. I'm quite thankful The Cure exist, to be honest. I turn to these guys when I'm down, with this song especially. The silly trumpets fit so relentlessly well, they make me smile every time. The point is that I work in Gravesend, and these guys make my commute so much more enjoyable.

Massive Attack - Teardrop 

I wont go in to detail as to what happened, but I spent the lowest two weeks of my life constantly listening to this song. It's neither that happy, nor particularly sad. It's a feel good song in a way, but I found it as a pallet cleanser for my mind. And that's all you need to know.

Go-Zilla - Throwdown 

So, admittedly, this is my own band, but the release of the album a couple of years back and the music video to go with it has been a truly memorable part of my life. It's built my confidence and skill as a writer, a performer, a musician and at just having some balls to try and contribute to the already thriving underground music scene. This song has been with me from 18 - 20.


Soundtrack To My Life
Glenn writes for The High Tea Cast - mainly about music but there's plenty more articles he's written too - and you can find him on Twitter as @glenngloverice.  You can view all previous Soundtrack To My Life entries by clicking on the mix tape to the right.  If you want to participate in 2014 please complete this form and I'll be in touch very soon.  

[Infographic] Behind The Scenes of the #myfamilymytime Centre Parcs Advert

Here's how Center Parcs created their most recent television advert. It always amazes me how much work goes into making 50 seconds of visual, including the amount of advanced planning, the sheer number of people involved and the finished edit which keeps you engaged right until the last second. You can see the advert in full by clicking "SEE IT HERE" at the bottom of the infographic.

This is a featured post.  Please see my disclosure policy for more details.


7 Life Lessons From Pretty Woman

Last time Pretty Woman was on the television, almost everyone on my Twitter timeline was watching it. Favourite quotes were being shared and a there was a general air of nostalgia.  In my opinion, this film isn't about glorifying prostitution, finding your perfect partner without looking for them and dressing up in expensive clothes - it is so much more than that.  It is about dealing with the crap, looking out for your friends, being true to yourself and treating others how you want to be treated.  So, here are my seven life lessons taken from Pretty Woman. Feel free to add your own (or your favourite quote from the film) at the end.

"Some dreams come true, some don't.  But keep on dreamin'.  
This is Hollywood.  Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin'."

1.  You may be in a job you hate but it's all part of your journey through life. 

julia roberts, pretty woman
"I can do anything I want, baby. I ain't lost"
I am a great believe in experience and fate. Everything happens for a reason and you're in charge of your own destiny.  You may need to work in some awful jobs and people will take advantage of you but it is all part of the learning process.

2.  You always need friends.

julia roberts, pretty woman, kit and vivian
"Take care of you"
As the old saying goes, you can't choose your family but you can choose your friends. Talk to people, be interested in who they are and what they have to say. Have friends that you can trust and rely on. Have friends that will challenge your ideas. Have friends who are your equal. 

3.  Sing like no-one is listening, even if it's out of tune.

julia roberts, bath, pretty woman,
"I just want your extra time and your... kiss"
Stick your favourite tune(s) on your mp3 player, crank it up and SING!  Because of the deep breaths you take when you sing, you increase the oxygen in the blood stream and exercise muscle groups in the upper body.  It also has psychological benefits because of links to emotional well-being.

4.  Never judge someone by the clothes they wear.

julia roberts, shopping, commission, rodeo drive, pretty woman,
"You work on commission, right? Big mistake. Big. Huge!"
So what if someone wears a jumper that cost £4.00 or owns a handbag that costs £899.00? What matters is the person inside! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find out if you talk to someone.

5.  Remember your manners and pay compliments.

julia roberts, red dress, pretty woman, richard gere
"If I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight."
Manners are free and are the basis of rubbing along together nicely in society. Open doors for people, smile at strangers, say "please" and "thank you" and tell someone they look amazing.  Appreciate a gift no matter how small or large.  As Dean Jackson said on Live Life In The Now:  
"When a child gives you a gift, even if it is a rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It might be the only thing they have to give and they have chosen to give it to you."

6.  Don't be afraid to show affection.

julia roberts, pretty woman, kit and vivian
"I was afraid to hug you up there, I might wrinkle you."
A kind word or a hug is something that we all need from time to time. We don't need to act like squealing fifteen-year olds on the return to school after the half-term break however just letting someone know that you're there for them can be a weight off their shoulders.  Or a lifeline...

7.  Rescue someone.

julia roberts, richard gere, pretty woman,
"So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?"  "She rescues him right back."
We only find out the true value of something (or someone) when we no longer have it. We take people and possessions for granted sometimes and become complacent. Maybe we need to be without for a while to realise the true worth?

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