Lists You'll Love, Lists You'll Love, Music, My Pick

10 Songs To Help You Through Heartache

We’ve all been there, broken hearted after a painful break up and needing some consolation. Luckily, every music artist creates music about making up and breaking up, so here’s some music to help you through what you think is the worst thing to happen in your life- but believe me, it isn’t.

  1. Elton John- I’m still standing

2. Aretha Franklin- Respect

3.  Adele- Someone like you

4.  Gloria Gaynor- I will survive

5. Gabrielle- Rise

6. Tina Turner- When the heartache is over

7.  Sigrid- Don’t kill my vibe

8. Alma- Karma

9. Coax- Over it

10.  Kanye West- Stronger

These songs are my own personal favourites, although there are so many out there for you to choose from!

All sources of audio and video are not my property and belong to YouTube and Soundcloud.

 

Latest Projects, Lists You'll Love, Travel

My Favourite Place in Europe To Cycle

Here is an article I wrote for Probe Around The Globe about my favourite place to cycle in Europe, Amsterdam! It is quite challenging for someone who isn’t used to cycling as Dutch people are so good at it, but boy what an awesome way to see the incredible city of Amsterdam!

Creative Arts, Creative Arts, Lists You'll Love, Lists You'll Love

Top Ten Theatre Performances

Being an avid fan of theatre and studying drama from GCSE level all the way up to University, I was urged and enthused to see drama, in all its various forms. This meant I had seen many classical texts come to life, experimental theatre, and numerous fellow student plays. I love seeing theatre, whether a traditional naturalistic play, an immersive performance that makes you think or even a piece of theatre that is unexplainable. All interest, entertain and educate me- although some performances I have seen have really been strange to say the least! In this list I choose my favourite top ten performances.

1. Women in Black

The most powerful and terrifying piece of theatre I have ever seen, this adaptation of the novel by Susan Hill is brought to life at Fortune Theatre. Firstly, the text is powerful and filled with tense scenes and emotive twist and turns that terrifies the reader; however the stage adaptation creates the performance to be even more eerie and spellbinding. With the use of minimal staging, viewers are transported into the action themselves, and with just two actors, the actors multi role, dipping in and out of various characters with the use of accents and body language, which makes the minimal changes within the text and performance even more dramatic. An incredible performance highlighted through the storytelling by the actors and the adaptation choices made by the stage director.

2. A Thousand Pieces by Paperbirds Theatre Company

This Theatre Company came to my school as a Theatre in Education group, where they use drama as a medium to educate others on a certain topic or theme. This was the first time I was introduced to Applied Theatre in one of its forms and boy did I love it. In fact this was the very performance that inspired me to explore Applied Theatre more, further taking it at University, gaining experience as a workshop facilitator and becoming a professional workshop facilitator, which I am this present day.  It highlighted to me, that drama is a powerful tool and can be used for other reasons, rather than just to entertain. This performance uses the elements of physical and verbatim theatre to highlight the atrocities behind sex trafficking. The use of props and repeated actions, as well all actors in the piece performing en masse rather than having individual characters, created this performance to be even more of an emotional journey for those who viewed it.

3. War Horse

Whatever performance that the National Theatre runs, it’s normally a good one. But this performance is extraordinary.  Combining puppetry from the South Africa Handspring Puppet Company with a moving narrative about a young boy and his horse during World War One, the performance is a physically challenging piece and an emotionally moving one.  Using the traditional text of War Horse by Micheal Morpurgo as a platform for performance theatre, War horse is staged with the use of life size puppet horses. This is done by actors using the element of physical theatre to realistically imitate every part of the horse, even using their own body language and orchestrating sounds. The stage is minimal with just the use of a few props to illustrate scene changes, and the element of song is used as an emotional motif as well as a way to change scenes smoothly and effectively. The performance is stunning and one to make you cry (guilty!)

4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I am a big fan of Shakespeare, I love the imaginative characters and plots he came up with, the hidden motifs and themes, as well as the beautiful yet complex language that rhymes off your tongue. It is no surprise that my favourite play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has made it onto this list. There is something magical about seeing one of your favourite plays in action, but what made this performance even more magical was the setting where it was performed, the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park. Showing on a summer evening, the use of natural scenery and rolling hills really made the play come to life, and the magic element even more real. The theatre was in the shape of the round so actors used all different exits and entrances, placing the audience in the action themselves, as if seeing the performance by accident, a mere coincidence that we were able to see the happenings of fairies one evening in the woods ourselves- which makes it all a little bit more mystical and memorable.

5. Mental Health Play

This play shook me to my very core. I wasn’t expecting it to affect me in such a way, just a recommendation from our drama lecturers to highlight how complex mental health is. The performance is a site specific theatre, where viewers were welcomed into the person’s bedroom and to sit on the floor whilst he blankly told us the story. This piece of theatre was immersive, symbolist,  and documentary told in a naturalistic style, where were told the story of someone who suffered from severe mental health and had problems with the police because of it, using factual information such as visitor records, birth certificates and so on, showed onto a projector. The piece broke the boundaries of traditional theatre and what to expect. It was dark, deep, and most importantly, true.

6. Beautiful, Carole King

I am not really a fan of musicals, I get frustrated with musical theatre performances (why don’t they just say it rather than sing it?) although, if there are a number of good well known songs, I don’t’ have a problem with it- hence why this musical Beautiful has made it onto my list. Watching it on Broadway in New York, I was blown away by the performance that combined Carol King’s personal narrative with so many fantastic songs, quick scene changes, and detailed staging which highlighted each era of the performance so well. Forget blue wigs and over acting, this performance managed to show Carole King’s life with intrinsic emotional attention to detail as well as show stopping performances of wonderful classics- a genuine fantastic performance.

7. Hamlet

Another wonderful place to see any Shakespeare performance is in the very birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon. I had the luck and fortune to see Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The performance was set in a thrust staging, which was perfect for the numerous monologues which many of the characters have, working as an effective place to talk aloud, as well as connect with the audience. Only essential staging was used which was lavish and suited the performance style well.  The main reason why this performance really stood out to me, was the actor who played Hamlet, David Tenant- he understood and played the character wonderfully.

8. Billy Elliot

Another unexpected musical that I loved. Maybe it was because I was overwhelmed by the swearing in it, or the heart warming plot which intermingled with dance sequences, catchy songs or maybe it was  the revolving stage that wowed me. Either way, this story of a young boy wanting to be a ballet dancer in the North of England and being faced with social class struggles and stereotypical  gender roles is not only a delight to watch, but also an enjoyable narrative to get lost in.

9. Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes

Dawn French, otherwise known as “the Vicar of Dibley” lays her heart out for all to examine in this autobiographical piece of documentary theatre. Forever the comedian, Dawn French tells her personal story and narrative through different chapters of her life, fragmenting areas and states of mind she had at the time. The result? A truthful account of what it’s like to be an overweight woman working in the media industry. Her frank manner of speaking and comedic overacting of certain memories highlights to the audience how hilarious- and sometimes hard, her life has been. Dawn uses audio, video clips and photographic material to drive her performance. It is a wonderful and inspiring account of the difficulties a woman can face in the media industry.

10. Stomp

This performance is purely a physical piece of theatre, no acting or speech is included, unlike a traditional piece of theatre. Stomp is a musical concoction of sounds and movement created by a troupe using elements of dance and percussion with ordinary items like kitchen sinks, hose pipes and bin lids. The end result is a fantastic hybrid of sounds that continually interest and stupefy the viewer, its a wonderful perspective on the use of ordinary items and traditional theatre.

All pictures used are copyright to YouTube.com and Wikipedia

Asia, Lists You'll Love, Lists You'll Love, Travel

Ten Things You Should Know Before Visiting SE Asia

South East Asia is a common destination for many. Speaking from experience of visiting the popular haunts of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos four or five years ago, statistics show that visitors have drastically increased since then, making this area of the world, the hottest destination for backpackers and holiday makers (bar Australia).

But there are other countries in South East Asia which are as equally as stunning or even more so (I vote even more so… Indonesia is one!) and so I urge you to explore the path which isn’t as well trodden as others. I have compiled a list of things any visitor should know before exploring this area of the world.

10 Things You Should Know, SE Asia

1. Each Country is Different

Each country in South East Asia is wonderfully unique. Some visitors expect countries to be the same because they are all in the same part of the world, fortunately, this is not the case. Each country has its own personal history which will take you on a journey; a culture that will immerse you into their life, traditions that will dazzle you, a religion that’ll silence you in admiration, delicious food which will tempt you and make you fat (it’s the truth lets face it), natural beauty that’ll send shivers down your spine and people who will warm your heart. Stop looking for similarities between the countries you visit and focus on each country individually, taking in everything as you go. There is a reason why I am so in love with Asia, that is because each country is different.

Bohol

2. Bartering Is Key

Bartering is part of the culture in many areas of the world and South East Asia is one of them. It shows skill, wit and is a way for tourists to connect with locals. Just be careful when bartering, do remember not to offend someone and think about how much that price difference would mean to them in relation to you.

Chinatown

3. Be Wary Of The Tricks of The Trade

Now this is very cheeky. There are many scams that are in place throughout Asia and unfortunately travelling is not all sunshine and rainbows. Be wary of new friends you make as soon as they start talking about their product or shop, and when visiting any recommended accommodation or shops by a passer by, keep in mind you may be paying a commission if they have taken you there. Other common scams are: being taken to a gem shop or a government shop for free petrol or rice for the driver, “religious” bracelets or marks given who will then demand payment after, tour guides who are “not tour guides” and being told your ticket is invalid or your hostel is burnt down. Always follow your intuition.

4. The Art of Padlocks

These bad boys are the best thing to have whilst travelling. Bring 3 or 4 as each can be used for different things. Locking your belongings away whilst travelling on any public transport is a no brainer, and using your own personal lock on a locker in your hostel or even on your hotel room door is advisable. Always bring a padlock with you when you are out and about, you never know when you might need it.

Cologne Locks

5. Is it Really Suncream?

Before you gallivant around the globe on an incredible adventure, do make sure you have your necessary and beloved items from home you want to take with you (as well as a photocopy of your passport and insurance in a hidden section of your bag and some emergency American dollars- which is widely accepted throughout Asia). I unfortunately bought some “local” sun cream in Sri Lanka, which consisted of milk, thus I ended up with painful sunburnt legs on some of the nicest beaches in Asia. Not an enjoyable time, believe me. Although with some countries like Thailand and Malaysia, it is easy to communicate your needs and to find your desires, but a remote village in India will not have the same flexibility. Keep this in mind when travelling (running out of my birth control pill in Indonesia was a frightful experience, especially as areas of the country are strictly Muslim, luckily I found some American exported drugs in the Gili Islands!).

6. Learn The Lingo

As I said before, Asia has numerous visitors from all over the world who flock to the sandy shores to soak up the sun, explore ancient jungle covered ruins, hike through luminous layered rice terraces and whisper in awe at glittering golden temples. What local people always appreciate, is visitors making an effort at immersing themselves into the culture and the way of life, not being a tourist but a traveller. You can do this by learning a few simple key phrases to use when interacting with local people, this breaks the barrier of difference between the both of you, provides a point of conversation and communication, and highlights that you respect and understand their culture.

The Royal Dutch Cafe

7. Free for All On Roads

Everything and anything can and will be on the roads in Asia. Cows and other farmyard animals are to be expected, grinding their jaws on odd bits of plastic as they wander past you, rickety buses jam packed with families overflowing out of doors is a regular occurrence, as well as cars, tuk tuks, rickshaws, motorbikes and cyclists. India definitely has the most dangerous roads with their relaxed attitude to lane control and accidents, however Vietnam is an incredibly difficult place to cross the road. When crossing the road, do so confidently, always keeping an eye on the traffic, even stopping and starting in the middle of the road according to the flow. When driving on the roads yourself, always remember: the bigger the vehicle the more right of way they have.

Travelling in style

8. How To Check A Room Well

Always make time to check a room out before you choose to stay there and pay, although it can be a tiring routine when you have travelled far, it is worth it if it means avoiding places that will cause you problems. First, check if the door closes and locks, or if your own personal lock fits. Second check the beds for any bed bugs by seeing if there are any black dots in the corners of your mattress (they are an absolute nightmare once you have them and are irritating as hell), following this, see if the beds are comfy themselves. Then, check for curtains, storage space (any which you can lock is a bonus) as well as flushing the toilet and turning on the shower to see if it works. Once done, look around the accommodation for any roads or construction sites which might potentially disturb your sleep.

9. Act Local

No matter what job or lifestyle you had before arriving in South East Asia, you will most likely adopt the uniform which all backpackers immediately clad when arriving here. Cue baggy Aladdin trousers, loosely fitted baggy wife beater esque style tops for men and patterned belly bearing tops for women. Although seemingly stylish, remember that some of this attire may attract unwanted attention. In most places in Asia, women cover the entirety of their body, paying attention to their shoulders and legs to cover.  Adhere to local custom so you are respectful and remember to adopt the attitude of their culture by focusing on local personal experiences and unique independent businesses with home stays and restaurants, to help support the local community and gain a more authentic experience.

The tomb

10. Be Respectful

Countries in South East Asia are extremely religious and an incredible sight you will get to see often, is ornately decorated temples and stunning mosques that are hidden behind every street corner, or stand magnificently over a town. Adjust to seeing pictures of gods hanging on walls or above shop doors, by being respectful and mindful of their religion and beliefs, and always wait for your local companion to eat first. They might want to pray before their meal which during so, you should pay your respects by sitting and waiting patiently, looking down at your meal.

A celebration

I hope these tips help you on your new and exciting adventure! If you are going to the specific country of India, read through my Reflections of The Country to prepare you, as well as my Top Ten List of Things You Should Know, before you go! If not, have a look at a specific country by checking out my travel destinations 🙂