6 things that have made me happy this week

Back in April, I uploaded a post where I wrote a few paragraphs on what had made me happy across the course of ten days. Of course, the whole idea of the original challenge is to do it over 100 days but imagine just how long a blog post to that extent would be! I feel like todays post is going to be a long one, and perhaps that shows the extent of how happy I am beginning to feel at this point in time. My life is so full of happiness I had to cut it down to writing about 6 days because the post was getting ridiculously long!

the panorama skills of beth challice
Today, I returned to a place in Devon that I absolutely love, called Clovelly. I found it very weird because almost exactly a year ago I was doing the exact same things there with my family from Newcastle yet it seemed today that in the space of a year I have grown so much more as a person. It may not be visible to the public eye, but inside I feel like my outlook on life has changed so much more into something so much better over this previous year. Whether that's because of the books I've been reading, the positivity people I follow have been sharing or just spending a lot of time more openly talking about life recently, I don't know. I just feel like I love life so much more. Whilst I was thinking about how much happier I felt this year around with who I am, I thought why not add another instalment to my previous 100 days of Happiness post because I've never been as happy with life than now.

Reading my previous post (you can view this by clicking here) I started off by saying "I've always noticed I can get down right moody". In the space of around 3 months I feel like this is definitely not the case anymore. In fact I feel I'm quite the opposite. Getting off electronical items a lot more (other than the occasional few hours a week to blog of course, because blogging is something I love and is not something I ever want to give up) and leaving the house to do things outdoors has seemed to ignite something inside me. I have now switched an afternoon after school on my laptop scrolling through endless tweets a biscuit in each hand, for an evening quay jumping with people that make me happy.

Off we go.

Day 11:
Mya, Sunsets and Insects of every form.
After our final day of school and a quick pop into town to get Mya's nose pierced we were left with the endless possibilities of how to spend the night. Eventually, we arrived at the decision of inviting over a few friends and having a night that consisted of walks in the dusk and the weirdest range of movies you could think of. What could be more magical than watching the sun go down in a field full of ladybirds. I made many friends that night and most of them weren't humans. At one point I had a ladybird crawling across one hand and a butterfly land in the other. It was also a night where I felt I truly shone in the confidence department if that even makes sense. I just felt like I was somewhat closer to understanding who I am.

Day 12:
Peach iced lemonade.
This paragraph is much shorter than the others, yet shows how really the smallest thing can make my day a whole lot better. Those who know me know that I drink an awful lot of Peach ice tea. It's been an obsession of mine for just over a year now and to think of how many I've drunk in my lifetime is ridiculous. So you can imagine the look on my face to discover that Costa had a peach iced lemonade on the menu. Peach is a flavour that takes me right back to all my favourite holidays as I always seem to spend my holidays with either peach juice in my hand if I'm in Greece or peach iced tea when I'm in London.

Day 13:
The hunt for chicken and surprise roast potatoes.
On Sunday, Ella was in one of her chicken moods. Down Appledore Quay in the Summer we would be lucky to get a table due to the increasing amount of tourists let alone in somewhere that had any chicken left. But we were fortunate, not only did we get a table outside, a massive chicken sandwich and an incredible raspberry banana and mango smoothie but with the lunch we got two massive roast potatoes. You could probably see me and Ella's eyes lit up as our food was brought to us. Trust me, you will never find anyone who shares a love for roast potatoes to the extent we do. It is a love that will last until we find the perfect roast potato and that day is yet to come.

Day 14:
Spontaneous adventures with Lucy, Beth and Amy

Happiness is a special aspect of life for me. Monday was day one of the summer holidays and it was one of those days where spontaneity was key and one of those days that makes you appreciate your friends for just being there. Obviously any day that involves the sea is bound to be super but with the added aspect of spending a day surrounded by friends and the sights of the world gives me such a feeling of luck. Half of the day was spent in Beths garden, and what a better way to celebrate Lucy's Birthday and Amys return from Africa than with sausages, chocolate covered strawberries and cake. The afternoon came with a last minute decision to get on the bus and go down to the beach where some massive waves kept me and Beth occupied whilst Amy surfed alongside her dad. Of course no trip to the beach would be complete without a Raspberry lolly courtesy of Beth. Finally, another spontaneous decision left me and Beth camping in her garden, where we spent the night watching some very bright stars and admiring the large stretch of countryside before us to the sound of Nina Nesbitt, the sheep and some incredibly loud crickets. It was a day that made me appreciate what I have all the more.

Day 15:
A very photogenic village and the most loveable donkeys.
As aforementioned, Clovelly is one of my favourite places in Devon. If you can walk through Clovelly without taking a single picture then hats off to you. Hearing that Beth had never been there horrified me, and of course any excuse to go to Clovelly is useful. We spent the day looking around, taking hundreds of pictures and stroking the donkeys. Donkeys are my favourite animals, and I could have stayed with them for hours. One donkey (as you can see up the top) became very fond of me- little did I know my mint choc chunk ice cream was the real thing it cared about not my friendship! For me it was a day of appreciating what Devon really had to offer, but also Clovelly is a place that holds many memories for me as a child and growing up and they become so much clearer when I can see exactly where it all began.

Day 16:
A day with Brogan and the best double chocolate cookie.
So far it looks like my summer has been pretty full to the birm with things to do but the reason for this is that previous years I've spent all my time inside bored. This year I decided that it's my last summer at school so I'm really making it one I want to remember. On the last week of school Brogan was in Paris, so we spent the day in the park catching up on everything again. For lunch where else are you supposed to go than Subway?! I rarely buy anything at subway and mostly just sit in there with the boys on the bus after school and watch them scoff there foot long sandwiches. To buy a subway and a cookie I was really treating myself. Let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed that cookie. It was double chocolate and it was crunchy around the edge but the inside was really soft and the chocolate was melting inside it mmm. My mouth is watering just talking about it.
Everything was topped off by some amazing sunburn on Brogans leg and I came home with some cracking tan lines where my shoes were that will be fun evening out.

So, that's what made me happy these last few days. Tomorrow I'm going into Exeter with Ella for shopping and I never visit Exeter without making a stop at my absolute favourite place. No, it's not a clothes shop or anything like that but a quirky little cafe called the Giraffe cafe. A day in Exeter without one of the Giraffe cafes smoothies truly isn't worth having.

I also wrote this little post on my tumblr (rooftop-groove.tumblr.com) about three things in life that have made me happy recently and I feel it fits in with the whole idea of this:

3 things that made me happy today:
1. learning that opening up to people can have a much nicer effect on you and make you feel better as a person
2. I’m learning how to turn negatives into a positive and although the rain can be so glum it adds life and colour and without it flowers would cease to grow
3. the sea. the sea is beautiful.

REVIEW: 99% Proof - The Queens Theatre 17/07/14

Anyone who was in the audience of 99% Proof the other night is most likely still singing the songs now. It has been 4 days yet I can not get these songs out of my head! After being kindly invited to experience one of the previous rehearsals I was already aware that they were a cast full of strong voices, but you don't quite realise how strong until you encounter them completely filling up the whole theatre.

99% Proof tells the story of Judin Job, a Jewish boy who's only way through life is to live in the gutter. He has no family left, no job and is left under a tarpaulin with nobody to turn to but his room mate C.J. Turning to the Services for help he gets nothing but grief and it is made clear that his apparent only prospects are murder.

The show was full of songs that, as I've already mentioned, are some of the catchiest songs I've ever heard and I sort of wish there was a soundtrack so I could continue to listen to them at home. A personal favourite of mine, my mums and by the sound of it a large majority of the audiences was the 999 song, sung by Alexandra Martin about her longing for a man in uniform to set her free. It obviously had us in fits of laughter, and she continued to get us laughing throughout the show with her drunken behaviour.

The performance focused on very realistic subjects that are so common today yet rarely touched upon. Judin is stripped of his basic rights as a human being and humiliated about his religion; being forced to wear the yellow star of David on his chest being told "the only star you'll ever win is stuck to your chest with a jagged pin". The cruel words of Guard (Morton Tooley) and Commander Go Bells (Stacey Green) leave his dream of becoming a singer in the gutter alongside him.

Fortunately, life turns to his advantage and whilst Judin is left singing for his supper he finds love with Astro (Angela Elswood)- a single mother with guts and attitude and is eventually scouted in the street. Judin and Astro in a new found relationship alongside friends CJ and traumatised soldier Capability rise in the public eye and become stars.

Alex Rushton, Angela Elswood, Andy Cosgrave and Zack Hazell playing the parts of Judin, Astro, CJ and Capability are four very strong voices. There were some great harmonies from Angela and such a variety of voices complemented each other to create a sound that was clear and filled up the room with ease.

The life of Guard also turns around but not for the better like Judins. After turning away so many plees for help during his job with the services, he is then caught striking down a man and is sent down for murder. Yet when he is desperate for help and all he wants now in his life is water it is Judin who turns around and helps him showing the audience what's morally right in the world.

99% Proof is a story of love, friendship, morals and pain and is written so well by Jennifer Wilkin-Shaw. Unfortunately for some life isn't as on your side as it is for Judin and his friends. Yet, it showed the audience that no matter what people have done to you, and what's gone on in your life, it's never the wrong thing to be a good person.

99% Proof is among a variety of
plays performed 
at North Devon Theatres and are all well worth
the watch. (Website)

REVIEW: War Horse - London 23/06/14

I can't vouch for the whole audience, but I can certainly vouch for the likes of me and my friend India when it comes to admitting the plenty of tears that were shed over War Horse. Whether they were tears of laughter, sadness, and happiness we certainly had our fair share of crying into my jumper.

This adaptation of War Horse does exclude the twist of Morphurgos novel, and the play is inevitably no longer in the horses perspective. However, we still learn about the story of young Albert, who's drunken father ends up splashing their remaining money on a horse in order to get one over his brother. Albert falls into a deep friendship with the horse, which he names Joey. After raising Joey from a foal and into adulthood we see Albert teach him how to plough, before having to let Joey aid on the battlefields of the 1914 to 1918 war grounds. The story revolves around Albert and his longing to become reunited with Joey, signing up to fight for his country in pursuit of his horse.

Albert and Joey go for a run

Of course, the first thing I thought of when it came to War Horse was how on earth would they re-create the horses on stage? I'm sure many of you have heard, as I had, how striking these puppets were but I wondered whether it would be realistic with the puppeteers alongside them throughout.
The puppeteers movements throughout the stage adaptation of Michael Morphurgo's War Horse could so easily be overlooked with how well they did in fact blend in; but in reality they were the real stars of the show. Without the sharp choreography and movement of the horses, the play wouldn't be the spectacle it is. Each puppateer gave the structure of the horses it's own life and through a simple twitch of the ear or a swipe of a tail it wasn't long before it felt like I really was watching animals in their life form.

Though, the horses weren't the only things given life on the stage. As the play goes on puppeteers create birds that fly out above the audience, a very likeable goose, and a jaw-dropping battle tank which seems to roar across the stage- the monochrome lights creating a scene that was almost art as it towered above the room.

Throughout the performance we encounter some very harrowing war scenes, the war themed atmosphere making the story of a boys fight for his friend even more emotive and hard hitting. The view of war was not biased at all, and their was a very warming scene where two men of opposite sides decided on who would keep Joey through a game of heads or tails rather than violence. You saw how the men felt no anger to those they were killing, and had just been forced into inhuman situations out of duty to their country.

War Horse was a swift yet breath-taking production which was brought to life through the simple movement of a horse. Other than the odd traditional war song sung by a young woman, there was no big musical number or dance performance. We were there to see acting that brought sadness, joy and delight along with it and that is exactly what we were presented with.