Why you should put London's West End on your trip itinerary


When you're planning a trip to a capital city like London it can be hard to choose what to put in your itinerary. It's such a sprawling place, full of great little neighbourhoods. I've been coming into London for 26 years and I still haven't even scratched the surface! But one thing you should most definitely put in your itinerary is a trip to see a play or a musical at the West End. I may be biased here but the London theatre scene is one of the best in the world. I've been lucky enough to see a musical on Broadway and it was fantastic. But it didn't quite have the magic of the capital's West end.

Where to get tickets
Whether you're after seeing a musical for fun escapism or a hard-hitting play to make you think, it's difficult to know where to start to choose the right show for you. Head to Official London Theatre* to find endless tickets available for the West End. You'll also find news about the upcoming shows due to begin their run so you can pop it in your diary. There's also some great deals where kids eat for free to help keep the cost of the day out down. Going to the theatre can soon add up! They very kindly offered me two tickets to catch SWEAT before it is due to finish it's run next week. The politically-charged play is set in Pennsylvania amidst simmering racial tensions. It felt unbelievably current, exploring the anger and resentment currently directly towards immigrants and people of colour today. It really left a lasting impression after it ended.


My favourite theatres
My favourite theatres to see a play at the National Theatre on the Southbank and Barbican theatre. The Barbican is quite small so it feels so intimate when you see a play. You really get caught up the action! I was really lucky to get tickets to see Cillian Murphy in Grief Is The Thing With Feathers earlier this year (twice!) in front row seats. It was probably one of my favourite theatre experiences.

For musicals I love catching them at Apollo Victoria and the London Palladium. I have fond memories of the Palladium as it's where my nan took me to see my first musical at the age of 7. It was Oliver and I remember being mesmerised. It's been the home of the annual pantomime the last few years. My mum and I went last and it was incredible. Absolutely hilarious.

Musicals to look out for
One of my favourite musicals in recent years is The Lion King. The costumes are out of this world. You immediately forget you're watching humans dressed up, it feels like you're watching real animals gliding across the stage. I'd also recommend Wicked - which I'm actually seeing for the third time next week - and 9-5, the Dolly Parton musical.

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Tips for learning that work life balance - and why it is so hard to get right




Outfit:
Orange and black floral maxi dress: Fashion World*
Black crossover bag: Kate Spade (similar)
Nude midi heeled sandals: Fashion world*

Are you even a millennial if you don't moan about how much you work? Our generation works such long hours and often has a hefty commute to boot. By the time the working day is over it's easy to feel exhausted. You feel like you spend your life either in an office or in a mode of transport getting to said office. Monday to Friday your life can become a bit of a blur and a waste. Here a few things to ensure I try to get work life balance some of the time!

Always take at least a 30 minutes lunch break
The British seem to have this working culture where they eat lunch at their desk and spend all their working day glued to their computer screens. Luckily I work on a desk where they actively encourage you to take time out and get away from your screen. I find even just 30 minutes away from my desk aimlessly walking down the high street, in and out of a few shops, can help me come back much more refreshed for the rest of the day. The fresh air does a world of good especially during the winter. If you have a long commute it can sometimes feel like you haven't seen day light as you leave in the dark and get home in the dark!

Learn to stay in at least one day over the weekend
If you work long hours during the week it can be easy to make frantic plans at the weekend so you feel like you're making 'the most' out of your free time. But come the time when the alarm screeches on a Monday morning you can end up feeling exhausted because you literally haven't stopped all week. Instead choose either the Saturday or Sunday to have no plans and take the day off to truly relax. Catch up on that Netflix series you keep meaning to start, bake that cake that you saw in your recipe book or potter around the house doing jobs that make you feel better.

Stop being that person who flakes
It can be all too easy to become a hermit when you spend a huge chunk of time working. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is leave your house and socialise when all you want is to have some 'you' time. But sometimes you need to force yourself to go out. Nine times out of ten you'll come home feeling glad you made an effort to catch up with friends.

Give yourself a break as soon as you walk through the door at home
Sometimes I spend my whole 90 minute commuter home thinking about work. I think about those emails I didn't have time to reply too, what I need to add to my to-do list the next day and I dwell on things if I've had a particular bad day. This really isn't healthy. If I really have to then I do think about the work I've left behind but as soon as I open my front door I completely clear it from my mind. The best way to do this is to walk straight into the kitchen and start cooking dinner. Following a recipe helps me to switch off as that's all I can concentrate on at the time. Then once Ive eaten I find it so much easier to put the woes of the day behind me.
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#52recipes: 11-16


If you want to keep up with my recipe challenge on Instagram, check out my highlights where I've been posting everything I've been trying. I'd love to know what you've been cooking recently for some inspiration! You can see that from what I'm posting about, just how obsessed I am with Diana Henry's cookbook Simple. It is such an incredible book and I've loved everything I've made. It's definitely become my go-to book in the kitchen.


Diana Henry's chicken, cauliflower and parmesan bake from Simple
The first thing I cooked from Diana Henry's Simple was this traybake. For something so simple, it was unbelievably delicious. Definitely one for a weekday meal as it's nice and quick. You simply bung everything in a roasting dish then leave it alone in the oven to cook. I'm rarely make the same thing twice but this is good enough that I'm going to add it my monthly rotation!


Ottolenghi's honey, thyme and yogurt cheese cake from Simple
Loved the combination of thyme and honey but feel it needed a bit longer in the fridge to set. I'd recommend to leave it overnight if you make it. The hobnob biscuit base was a game changer and I'm going to use it in my future cheesecakes. So much nicer than the normal digestive biscuit.


Diana Henry's spiced Turkish chicken from Simple
Another Diana recipe that I LOVED. If I'm going to cook meat at home, chicken thighs are one of my favourite pieces to cook. They taste so flavoursome and are really the best part of the chicken in my opinion. The spice blend of this dish was so delicious. I served it with my signature salt and pepper wedges along with the salsa Diana recommends.


Gouda, spring onion and spinach quiche (loosely based on a Mary Berry recipe)
Quiche is one of my favourite ways to use up veg. It's the ideal summer dish in my opinion. I base it on a Mary Berry recipe which allows for lots of chopping and changing depending on what you have on hand. I had some gouda in the fridge and I think it might have become my favourite cheese to use in a quiche. It was fab! I suppose using basically a whole block helped...



Diana Henry's Huevos Roots from Simple
Gosh I'm still so obsessed with this book and can't wait until her next one comes out. This is a dish we've made quite a few times now when we don't want to go shopping. All you need is paprika, eggs and potatoes - three staples we always have in the house at any time. It's a dish that will work well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A true all-rounder!

Ottolenghi's whole roasted cauliflower with green Tahini sauce from Simple
I did this dish when I hosted a Sunday roast for my blogger girls. Who knew a simple green tahini sauce could be so addictive! This was absolutely delicious and the whole cauliflower was a great showpiece for the middle of the table. It's one I'm going to keep on making for when I'm entertaining.
(Picture taken from Michelle's blog)
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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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