Shakespeare's Globe exterior, LondonKing Lear Review, Shakespeare’s Globe

The story of King Lear is a classic tale of familial love, betrayal and madness – a true tragedy in all its elements that will have you questioning humanity.

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is currently running the show as a highlight of their Summer of Love 2017 season – and it is a play that should not be missed.

A production of Nancy Meckler, this tumultuous performance is a true work of magic, in the midst of tragedy you are presented also with a night of incredible and sometimes crude comedy, quick retorts and clever wit. The crowd bellowing with hearty laughter and the sound and light effects encouraging wonderful chaos.

It makes for an eclectic atmosphere on a darkening summer evening and is presented by a stellar cast of skilled and fascinating actors. Kevin McNally, who plays King Lear makes for fantastic viewing, emulating the deteriorating King in such a way it makes you feel as if he was an older relative slowly descending into madness.

The King is propped up by his loyal Fool (played by the incredible Loren O’Dair) throughout, who appears far wiser with jibes, clever tricks and incredible humour and sorrow as you make your way through the story.

The acting brings to the forefront an array of emotions, as you relate with the erratic King, pitying him, willing for it not to end in tragedy. Alas, this is Shakespeare and we all know the end to this tale.

Shakespeare's Globe interior, London

Summer of Love season 2017, London

The performance is a well-rounded affair of joy and sorrow, tragedy remains at its core and this comes to a head, as expected, during the second half. The entire cast are passionate, some doting and others truly villainous, presenting themselves in role as perfect examples of their at times questionable traits.

I must say, my only vice was the costuming, which was presented in a half-hearted combination of period costumes and modern sportswear shoes. Quite peculiar to say the least but the show must go on.

King Lear is the perfect date night treat, suited for a more adult audience. I would thoroughly recommend the evening performance to experience the full spectacle of the accompanying light and sound effects. I would also recommend standing for a truly authentic experience.

King Lear is running until the 14th October, 2017. You can buy tickets to the event from £5 here. For a sneak preview of the themes within the play, take a look here.

Are you a fan of King Lear? Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe?

Stephanie xox

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Hokusai The Great Wave Exhibition, British Museum, London

Hokusai exhibition, London

The Hokusai Beyond the Great Wave exhibition at the British Museum is a spectacular affair of oriental art, colour and history. The exhibition illustrates the work of one of Japan’s most famed artists, Kasushika Hokusai.

Hokusai (1760-1849), lived and worked in Japan throughout his lifetime, producing some of his most famed artwork in his later life, a firm believer that with age would come artistic excellence.

During his 90 years, he produced a spectacular creative spectrum of beautiful art, including famed print collections, illustrated books and a variety of intricate paintings.

The Hokusai Beyond the Great Wave exhibition illustrates the last 30 years of the extraordinary artists life and showcases many of his masterpieces, including the celebrated Great Wave (an iconic highlight for many).

Hokusai The Great Wave Exhibition, British Museum, London

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave exhibition

In his later life, Hokusai became to become influenced by European techniques and artforms, integrating this knowledge into developed art styles, perfectly illustrated throughout the exhibition.

Discover works depicting enchanting landscapes, wonderful portraits, vibrant communal scenes, mystical creatures and delicate illustrations of nature.

The exhibition is open until the 13th August, 2017 and offers a rare oppurtunity to see these great works collectively, as well as the oppurtunity to explore the context of influence for one of Japan’s most exceptional artists. I can highly recommend it for any fan of Japanese culture or art.

You can buy tickets to the event here for £12. For a sneak preview of the event, take a look here.

Are you a fan of Hokusai? Which piece of artwork is your favourite?

Stephanie xox

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Healthy fruit and nut bars

How to make healthy nut and fruit bars at home

Healthy nut and fruit bar ingredients:

  • 90g of cashew nuts
  • 90g of dates
  • A drop of vanilla eccense
  • 30g of cranberries
  • 30g of raisins

Preperation time: 5 mins

Healthy nut and fruit bar recipe

These delicious Nakd inspired homemade fruit and nut bars are a healthy, easy and cheap alternative to store-bought products. All you need, are a few simple natural ingredients and a food processor – it can’t get any easier than that!

Firstly, whizz up your cashew nuts in your food processor till they have a thoroughly chopped texture. Add the dates to the mix and blend till you have what resembles an almost rubble like mixture as illustrated in the picture below.

Healthy fruit and nut bars

Add the vanilla essence (opt out if you prefer) and whizz in the 30g of cranberries and raisins. Without the additional fruit, you have the perfect Nakd Cashew Cookie replica! By now, you should have a squidgy mixture, clumping together when squished by hand.

Line a dish with cling film and spoon in the mixture, wrapping it in the cling film and pressing it to set.

Leave your dish in the fridge for a few hours to set and you are good to go!

Healthy fruit and nut bars

This recipe creates around 4 Nakd sized bars. For more, just double up the ingredients. These can even be frozen to enjoy later, it’s a win win really!

These homemade fruit and nut bars are just perfect for on the go or to enjoy as a healthy snack to compliment your lunch. They are calories friendly and packed full of delicious nutrients.

What do you think of these healthy fruit and nut bars? Which ingredients would you experiment with?

Stephanie xox

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How to make creme egg brownies

Creme Egg brownies ingredients and recipe

Creme Egg brownies have kind of been dominating my Instagram feed for the last few weeks now. So, with Easter fast approaching, I had to have some of the delicious treats for myself. Saying this, my boyfriend beat me to it and whipped up this incredible batch of brownies for me last week.

Take a peek at our quick and easy Creme Egg brownie recipe, here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 300g of milk and white chocolate (chocolate chips or pieces)
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 300g soft brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Four eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 Cadbury Creme Egg’s

How to make creme egg brownies

Method: How to make Creme Egg Brownies

  1. Add the chocolate, butter, sugar and salt to a large pan
  2. Heat the mixture on a low heat until it is melted and smooth
  3. Place this aside and beat the four eggs into the mixture, following with the flour and cocoa powder
  4. Add the mixture to a lined and greased baking tin
  5. Cut your Creme Eggs in half and place them ‘sunny side up’ within the mixture
  6. Bake in the centre of a preheated 180C oven for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on your preference
  7. Allow to cool slightly before devouring these delicious easter treats

We’re naughty so add a combination to white and milk chocolate chips, put it is entirely up to you how you adapt this recipe. Do be warned, the Creme Eggs will melt during baking, and this gives a wonderful fondant flavour to the brownies.

What do you think of this recipe? What are your favourtie types of brownies? 

Stephanie xox

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Scones at Patisserie Valerie Oxford, Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie review

A Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea review

Afternoon tea is one of the numerous pastimes that makes me rather proud to be British – it is a fabulous tradition. After a busy week at work, what better way to unwind than with good company, deliciously quaint sandwiches, and a selection of delicious treats?

The best thing about Patisserie Valerie is that it offers quality afternoon tea for two, nationwide – they are literally everywhere. Being my thrifty self, I indulged in a Groupon voucher (please, stop presenting me with so many good offers) and saved myself over 20% off the original price!

What is included in the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

So, what did we get in our Patisserie Valerie afternoon tea for two? Check out the menu below:

  • A selection of finger sandwiches: cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cress, ham, spinach and mustard and chicken, pesto and sunblazed tomatoes
  • Two mini vegetable quiches
  • A selection of mini cakes: mini Victoria sponge, 2 mini chocolate éclairs, mini carrot and walnut cake, mini mixed berry mousse slice and mini chocolate mousse slice
  • Four homemade scones (two plain and two fruit), clotted cream and a selection of preserves
  • A pot of tea or two hot drinks of your choice

Cakes at Patisserie Valerie Oxford, Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie review(1)

So, what did I think of the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea?

My initial reaction was how wonderfully it was all presented, there is such an array of food on offer so it is all pretty indulgent. A nice touch is that sandwiches are made to order and there is also vegetarian options available.

However, I will truly be impressed if you manage to finish it all. There was far too much there for us to eat, and our lovely selection of mini pastries were beautifully packaged and taken home with us to indulge in later.

I found the staff to be a little brash, but this may have just been the Oxford branch. Some venues even cater to bubbly-fanatics and offer a glass of prosecco alongside your afternoon tea – go on, treat yourself.

Have you tried the Patisserie Valerie Afternoon Tea? Where is your favourite place to have afternoon tea?

Stephanie xox

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