20 May 2017

Hollywood Bowl Portsmouth Grand Opening!

On Thursday night I went to the newly refurbished Hollywood Bowl in Gunwarf Quays, Portsmouth with my BFF/housemate Sarah. It used to be Bowlplex for anyone local who remembers awkward first dates there. It was lovely to step out from the pouring rain into a busy evening, with lots of local businesses trying out the newly launched bowling allies.



The event was launched by a Marilyn Monroe look-alike who cut a ribbon to the VIP section. The VIP section was pretty cool - we had curtains around us and the incredible "princess Beth" kept popping in to see if we were ok. She was lovely, and I love they made her name badge say Princess (she's the one next to me in pink)




 So Sarah and I got down to bowling! Turns out I'm pretty poor at it!

Interesting technique Lauren...


Turns out fanning my arms around doesn't make the ball curve and do what I want. Look at me jumping around like a silly 

 

Sarah was much better at bowling and got two strikes! However the more wine she drank, the more I caught up (the pink wine is amazing). I also love that we didn't have to wear bowling shoes - no more stinky second hand shoes. Unless you're wearing stilettos, they are happy for you to wear whatever shoes you like. 

They still have the arcade area with pool tables, although we didn't venture that far. They've also built an American diner with loads of retro food. We tried out lots of it, including popcorn chicken, hot dogs, and the DELICIOUS veggie burgers which were better than the regular ones. 


They also did milkshakes and the oreo ones were just amazing. Here's me trying to pose like Audrey Hepburn in the background. The VIP lanes have Hollywood celebrity themes, and I love that I was paired with Audrey.


Obviously being me, I took the time to pose. I got a sticker for trying, and Sarah got some for being a winner. I'm wearing my favourite new top - this gingham Primark peplum blouse, with my ASOS Ridley jeans 




It was a really fun night! I can't believe I hadn't been bowling in 10 years! I really enjoyed the experience, it was a real laugh. I also remembered that I used to not enjoy it because it wasn't cool to enjoy bowling when I was younger. I'm pretty sure at 16 it wasn't cool to enjoy anything (just like the super-cool T4 presenters who thought everything was lame).

If you're planning a visit, remember under 18s can't go in alone in the late evenings due to the alcohol. The bowling is fairly disability friendly, and I'm told they're trying to find time to create an autism friendly bowling slot.
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14 May 2017

Long Tall Sally weekend outfit #StyleHasNoRules

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Long Tall Sally. They have a new campaign where they found 80% of children wear what makes them happy, but for some reason as adults we don't feel this way. They got a group of 6-8 year olds to style some adults and the results were so cute! Check it out here

In the spirit of this, I chose an outfit I think my 8 year old self would have picked. I was mad into the Spice Girls when I was 8 and would wear anything denim. I often dressed as sporty spice in leggings and a crop top, and would try to steal anything faux fur to be scary spice. This weekend I went to Point Clear in Essex to a family beach house and decided to dress in my 90s favourites



I chose a denim button through midi dress - £65 and the Sash leather slip on sandals - £35. The relaxed but flattering dress is made of a super soft denim (trust me, my post-prosecco nap was very comfortable) and has a drawstring waist and pockets! It reaches my calves but has a cheeky little split to the knee which makes it modern and gorgeous. Plus the adjustable straps allow you to make as much cleavage as you want. 


The sandals were also really comfortable. The large soft band of leather was really comfortable for wondering on the beach with Teddy dog.



I think 8 year old me would have liked this outfit - cool enough to look like a trendy adult who knew what they were doing, but fun enough to feel like I was in Spice Girls or B*Witched! Maybe even Misteeq.


Having a weekend away in the beach house with little to do except hanging out with family and drinking prosecco is the dream. We've not done much, but sometimes doing nothing at the weekend in different surroundings is exactly what I need to do!


Sadly today is back to real life and work, but I'm going to try and make the most of lying in a different bed in the morning, walking on the beach and staring out the window at the sea!
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4 May 2017

Starting Netball as an Adult

I thought I'd write a mini series of posts on hobbies and starting hobbies as an adult. I know for me, when I finished studying and moved back in with my parents after university, I was a bit lost. I was trying to get a job and move out, my friends weren't around anymore as we'd all gone off to all over the country for uni. I started exploring new ways to make friends as an adult which is surprisingly hard. I thought I'd share some of my ideas for hobbies I've developed over the past 6 years. The first one is getting into netball!



Getting into my late 20s, I've started playing netball for the first time ever! After I had my spine fused  at 16, I was really scared to do exercise in case I damaged myself. However this time last year I finally joined a gym. I was finally doing exercise and actually enjoying it. In Autumn last year, one of my friends, Marie, told me about her netball team.

I'd played a little netball in school back when I was about 10 years old, but not really done much after that. Once I'd had my back operation, I thought organised sport was off the table for me. However, Marie introduced me to her netball team and I went along to a couple of practices. It was SO nerve-wracking to go along and meet all the girls, who had mostly been playing continuously since leaving school and were amazing. However they were really lovely and supportive and really helped coach me gently into learning the rules and remembering how to play. This is me after a training session!



I signed up to the team after a few practices with trepidation. We play for a Royal Navy affiliated team, and started going along to matches thinking I would be watching. The team were short of players, so I was thrown into the deep end of competing almost straight away. Luckily with their kindness and shouting at me from the sides, I managed to get by and quickly learnt how to play. I think playing matches really helped me learn on the go. I also felt less guilty that I wasn't great, because they reminded me that without me there, they were a player short! A rubbish player has to be better than none at all!

Through their training and matches I've learnt to "be more mean" (that's what I get shouted at me each week!). At 5'9" I'm pretty tall, so I tend to play in the goal ends where there is a bit more shoving, defending, attacking... you have to be tough. Initially I felt really uncomfortable pressing my body into a goal shooter to keep them away from the goal post, or pressuring the goal attack out of the half circle. Now I'm slowly getting more attacking and enjoy learning how to play each position (except centre and any of the wings... I'm too gangly and slow for those!)


All in all, I love it. I still get a little nervous before matches but I absolutely love it. It's so exciting to go down and play, even when we're on a losing streak. We have a little whatsapp group and so much chat goes on there. We also have in-jokes and all the other aspects of "belonging" which I love about the team. I look forward to meeting the girls on the court each week, and going out together outside of matches


Now I'm an affiliated England Netball player, I've discovered it's a thriving network, with clubs in most towns and leagues of adult women wanting to play. They are hugely passionate about promoting the game and getting more women into playing beyond school years. You can start with the Back to Netball scheme as a gentle re-introduction, or you can go to one off coaching sessions with Netball Now. Beyond that, google for your local netball league and see if you can join a team, or help out teams without enough players as a floater. Finally, older people with less athletic ability can start Walking Netball. Give it a go!
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