Lifestyle Blogger.

The clothes we wear are a showing of our personality. Fashion and style aren’t the same thing however, so we need to follow our personality first if you want to wear clothes that suit your soul. There’s a wonderful saying by Oscar Wilde, and it goes “fashion is so ugly, we have to change it every 6 months”. That hits home to a lot people because ask yourself, how long are you going to follow the crowd? At what point will you truly look and feel how you want to and not how a magazine or Instagram feed tells you to? Accessories are seen as add-ons. You just choose some that go with you outfit to complete it. You may need something that tops off a jacket such as bangles, or you could finish off a bikini look with just the right kind of sunglasses. But have you ever thought that accessories could hold more worth and power in your life than just being add-ons? What if they could become a part of you?

An infinite touch
Have you ever met or known someone that always has one thing as part of their body? You can’t picture them without it, and in fact you can’t remember when you didn’t see them with it. One such accessory option is a pinky ring. This classic small ring, is out of the way and never overshadows any of your other hand or arm accessories. You can easily wear a pinky ring that is purely expressing your personality and meaning and not have it take centre stage over say, your wedding ring or diamond bracelet. A pinky ring isn’t even supposed to be flashy, although mob characters in movies have made them so. Instead, it should be purely sentimental. Rather than a precious stone, how about a subtle stone instead such as marble, pearl or perhaps jade? The ring could be a simple flat metal piece with a message engraved into it. Foreign designs or perhaps including something that you saw on your travels like a mountain or animal into the ring’s design is also a great option.
Marking your body
We only get one body. No matter what happens to it, whether we put on too much weight or have an injury that changes a part of it, we would never want to truly swap it. Well, because it's ours right? There’s only one of us, therefore when something does happen to us we may want to mark ourselves to remind of us of something. Dermal piercings are one of those very subtle styles that don’t show up at first or second glance if they’re not in an obvious place. A dermal piercing behind the ear that places a small jewel or metal design of some kind won’t get spotted unless someone is close or is looking at your from an angle. It's not part of an outfit like an earring would be. It becomes a part of you and is normally used to symbolise something.
Accessories can just be for fun. They don’t have to be serious and can be changed at the drop of a hat. But some, can have great meaning in your life, become part of your image and become normalised.
A weekend away is the perfect chance to relax and unwind away from the stresses and strains of daily life. As the seasons change from summer to autumn, now is a fantastic time to pack your bags and chill for a few days. If you plan on visiting a city, this time of year is likely to be less crowded and if you enjoy a break in the countryside the colours of the changing season will be stunning. Once you have chosen your destination, your next dilemma is choosing what to pack! Read on for inspiration. 

Country break
The perfect break in the countryside conjures up images of long rambles through the woods, followed by a cosy lunch next to a roaring fire. In an ideal world the weather would be pleasant with a slight chill in the evenings, the reality is often the opposite and may  constitute torrential rain accompanied with gale force winds! This opens a whole quandary of what to wear and what to pack in order to cater for all eventualities, especially when space is at a premium.
There are certain items of clothing which are pretty much staple for countryside breaks and these definitely include wellingtons. Don’t consider packing wellingtons that are not “high end” Hunters or Joules fit the bill nicely, as the brand of your wellies really do matter. Stylish wellies look at home as much in a muddy field as they do when eating lunch. Outerwear is also crucial, choose a brand such as Barbour who produce fabulous waterproof, wax jackets. The John Henric UK collection  offers stylish clothing for men which would look perfect for country breaks and city breaks.
Of course country breaks are about more than just muddy rambles - lovely as they are! When the sun sets you may choose to visit the theatre or local restaurants. Add a few pieces of clothing which can easily be dressed up if the occasion requires it. A cashmere jumper, stylish jeans, boots and accessories will all do nicely.   
Pack everything in a good quality leather holdall. A leather holdall may seem an expensive purchase, but they are a great investment which only gets better with age. Versatility is key, so pack clothes which can be dressed up or dressed down according to the occasion. Accessories, if subtle and classic can totally change the look of an outfit. 
City break
City breaks offer a conundrum of packing options. Are you intending on spending the whole weekend relaxing, eating, drinking and sleeping or are you planning an action packed sightseeing itinerary? Another consideration is the weather, in autumn many parts of the world are still warm and sunny, so there’s no point in packing jumpers! Other parts of the world such as reykjavik require a jumper and coat year round, so do your research.
If you are planning a lot of sightseeing comfy shoes are a must for during the day, save heels for a glamourous night out on the town as the sunsets. Take a handbag which will keep valuables safe. Cities often have a problem with pickpockets, so be aware.
If you are travelling overseas for your city break, be aware that you are likely to have a weight restriction on baggage. Take outfits which can easily be transformed from day to evening wear and ensure they are made in  easy care fabrics. Avoid linen unless you want to look crumpled!
A little preparation before you head off on your weekend break will prevent any worries about what to wear once you get there. The purpose of the break is to have fun and relax after all!

If you are fighting a constant battle with your weight or if you feel as though you just can’t seem to keep the weight off for a long period of time then you have nothing to worry about. After all, there are so many things that you can do to try and change the lifestyle that you have and when you are able to do this, you will soon find that keeping the weight off is super easy.

Indulge but Be Smart

Indulgence doesn’t mean that you have to go out there and eat the greasiest, fattiest thing that you can. You have to eat smartly and you also have to satisfy your cravings within reason. For example, if you want to have some fries then make sure that you don’t have a portion all to yourself. You can share them with a friend for example, and this is a fantastic way for you to enjoy a meal without having to worry as much about the calories or the guilt that comes with them. You can even share a bottle of champagne as well if you want, because when you do this you can then half the calories but still indulge.

Don’t be Afraid to Have a Cheat Day

If you have a huge craving for some of your most favourite foods then don’t be afraid to indulge. You do however have to plan it out in advance. If you don’t then you may find that you end up doing it every day. If you plan it in advance then you can stick to the diet that you have right now much more efficiently as well because you know that you have a reward coming up. This will keep you motivated not to cheat and it will also help you to really stay on top of your diet.  If you are not sure how often to have a cheat day then once a week is the most that you should have one. If you work out, you can have more cheat days.

Bank your Calories

When you plan ahead, you will also be able to bank your calories. If you are going out for dinner then try and skimp out on your lunch. If this means that you can save 500 calories then you can have these calories at dinner. This is a great way for you to make sure that you are not always losing out and it also gives you the chance to indulge on a day to day basis as well. If you are not quite sure how to do this then there are so many apps out there that can help you to know how many calories you are consuming in a day and they can also help you to track how many calories you need to have in the day in order to get to your target weight as well and this is a great way for you to stay on top of everything. When you put the work in, you need to be able to reward yourself or you won’t stick to it!

How To Get Fit And Love Every Minute Of It

Let's be honest, getting fit can be a challenge if it's not something you've ever really considered doing before. When you first start out, it'll be such a shock to the system and you'll be amazed at how unfit you actually were without realising it, but this is a good thing, because it means that when you do start improving - you'll not only be able to feel the physical difference in your strength and stamina, but you'll be able to see all those benefits within your body too. 
So if you're thinking about finally getting your butt moving and introducing yourself to a fit and healthy lifestyle, then working out is definitely going to get you on the road to success.
Here are some of the benefits as to why you may enjoy it a lot more than you may have thought.
The compliments
Now let's get one thing straight, you should only ever want to get fit and healthy for you - don't ever let anyone make you feel as though you're not good enough and you need to change. But if you want to make improvements for yourself, then good on you. One of the bonuses that come out of all this sweating and aching, is the compliments you'll find yourself getting. It may not happen right away so be patient, but there will come a time where you walk into work and people will start to ask whether you've lost weight, and how you're glowing so much, and you look so well. And who doesn't like that kind of attention?
The hidden talent
Once you start to really build up your strength and muscle, the routine will become part of your lifestyle, and you'll look forward to waking up and going to the gym for your morning session. You may end up having such a passion for what goes on, that you want to get into Personal Training so that you can help others get to where you are today. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that you have achieved your goals, and you have the potential to guide others on a journey to achieve theirs too. Not only is it rewarding, but it makes all of that long hard effort worthwhile.
The health benefits
Your body only runs on what you give it, so if you make an effort to consume things that your body needs, like fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc, then you're already going to feel a whole lot better about yourself. So then pairing that up with regular exercise to keep your heart pumping and your blood flowing is all that your body asks for. You're in control of doing this, so don't put your body through unnecessary discomfort when you can turn yourself into a lean, mean, fighting machine. (With a great butt!)
So what more are you waiting for? Get out there and be an inspiration to anyone that wants to make a positive change in their lives.

Summer Holiday Press Release

The new stage musical based on the hit 60s film starring Cliff Richard is coming to Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 25 September for one week only.

Enjoy fun and laughter on a Summer Holiday when the stage musical packed with classic Cliff Richard hits comes to Darlington later this month starring Ray Quinn.

Based on the iconic 1960s film starring Cliff Richard and The Shadows, this new stage musical includes all of the number one hits from the movie, plus some additional Cliff classics.

The famous red double-decker bus will be stopping of at Darlington Hippodrome to entertain audiences from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 September.

Summer Holiday tells the story of Don and his fellow London Transport mechanics as they journey together in a red double-decker bus through Paris, the Alps, Italy and Greece. Along the way they pick up a girl singing group and a young American pop star who is on the run from her domineering mother.

Taking the lead role of Don is Ray Quinn whose musical theatre credits include playing Danny Zuko in Grease in the West End), Dirty Dancing also in the West End, the UK Tour of Legally Blonde and most recently the UK Tour of The Wedding Singer.

We caught up with Ray to ask him a few questions about Summer Holiday and also filling the rather big shoes of Cliff Richard:

Tell us a bit more about Summer Holiday?
Summer Holiday the musical is based on the Iconic movie from the ‘60s. I am playing the role of Don, made famous by Sir Cliff Richard. With a group of friends we take a trip round Europe in a big red double decker bus - and along the way the adventure turns into a romance and lots of fun! The audience are in for a huge delight! It’s fast paced and exciting, with iconic songs that everyone will know and want to sing along to. In a nut-shell it’s what I would call good old fashioned entertainment at its best!!

To play the lead part in Summer Holiday, a role made famous by Sir Cliff must be a huge honour?
I’m very excited but also a bit nervous at the same time. When I was offered the role I jumped at the chance and then it hit me! This is my first role as lead male and on a personal note it was my Nan’s favourite movie and she adored Sir Cliff Richard! So big boots to fill and I’m up for the challenge and I know my Nan would be so proud..

Did you watch the film a few times to help you with the role?
Yeah, I have watched the movie several times to get my head around the role. I want to stamp my own identity on the part, but at the same time want to do justice to the original. I have to have a bit of a ‘60s posh London accent, so that’s totally new to me. And those iconic songs, such iconic hits!

How many rehearsals did you have to do for this show?
We had 3 weeks of intense rehearsals in North London studios, followed by a week of tech rehearsal in the theatre before opening in Liverpool. I know this sounds short but everyone in the cast and production team are so committed to making the show great and with my crazy schedule it had to be done!

You are touring all over the country, I'm guessing that must be hard at times, being away from home so much?
Yeah it gets little tough at times. I get to see my fans who have been with me since year dot !! I miss my family and friends, but when I get time off I spend it at home with them, which is always special. 

It seems like a lifetime ago, you finished runner up on the X Factor to Leona Lewis. Can you believe it was 12 years ago now? What was it like to be on the show?
I know, I was reminded about this last week in an interview and it made me gasp… 12 years - wow! It was such an amazing and crazy period a whirlwind of ups and downs and to be in the final with Leona was incredible. X Factor was such a great learning experience for me and will remain one of my career highlights – I loved it!

You won Dancing on Ice in 2009. Did you have much ice skating experience before you went on the show?
I get asked this a lot and when I tell them ‘no’,  they say ‘really?!’ I never set foot on the ice before I was selected to be in DOI. I like a challenge and I am kind of fearless sometimes (a little too much!). Working with Jane & Chris was amazing. I would go to rehearsals each week wanting to take things to the next level and they would always support my ideas for new moves and having them mentor me was such a big part of making those idea come true.

Did you suffer any bad injuries during the show?
Yeah I had a couple of accidents on the Ice, luckily not too bad but you have to expect injuries as it can be a pretty dangerous environment. Luckily I’m still standing!

When you're not working, what do you like to do?
Like most people I like to spend my downtime at home with my Family doing the normal things. I don’t get to do this on a regular basis as I am tour a lot, so its important to me as that’s when I can totally relax and chill and recharge my batteries.

If you hadn't of done the X Factor, what sort of job do you think you would have done?
I wanted to be a copper (police officer) or barber when I was kid. I’ve been known to cut hair when on tour for the guys in the show. However, it all changed when my Mum took me to see my first show and I told her “this is what I want to do Mum!”

Who was your hero growing up?
Sammy Davis Jnr, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jean Kelly Fred Astaire…
Well I could go on for day’s when it comes to this subject. My love for Swing and The Rat Pack comes from my childhood. My Dad is such a massive Fan of this era and he would play his records in the house and I started to sing along. When it comes to singing and dancing there’s no one to touch the great Jean or Fred.

What would be your dream job and why?
Playing James Bond. I’m a massive fan of the Bond Movies. My ultimate Bond was Sean Connery - he is Mister Cool I wanted to be him. I love action Movies and I think this is the ultimate British role..

Do you still get nervous before you go on stage?
Yeah you bet! Opening night is the most intense time for me. Once on stage I’m fine, but those few seconds in the wings…oh boy! I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.

Summer Holiday runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 September.

For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit
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