Of Kith and Kin - Sheffield Crucible

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I was invited along to the production of Kith and Kin at the Crucible Theatre Studio in Sheffield and I jumped at the chance. I had been to the theatre only a handful of times and loved the experience on each occasion. The immersion of the theatre leaves me with a warm feeling. I always come out feeling rather sophisticated and wishing that I went more often, to take in more culture in this medium and definitely more of Sheffield Theatres' great productions.

Of Kith and Kin is a black comedy, with a slightly dark and insightful edge to the story line... it is a co production between Sheffield Theatres and London's Bush Theatre. I won't go into too much detail regarding the story line as I am conscious about giving too much away, and nobody likes spoilers these days! The play is centred around a married gay couple, Daniel and Oliver, in the process of having a baby through a surrogate, Priya, who also happens to be a good friend to them both. The play focuses on the dynamics of the couple's relationship, and how past and present societal perceptions of families and same sex marriage can have a great effect, not always positive, even if on the outside it seems that hard-won rights signal a move closer to equality. I felt this storyline was up to date with the changing patterns of modern families and households, yet the influence of a child on a relationship is a story with echoes coming from well in the past. It was a refreshing contemporary take on it all.

Every part of the production had been thought about in detail, from the video games being played on the television, the music, and Daniel and Oliver's relationship with Priya the surrogate mother of their child. This all allowed me to relate this to society today.
The production is being shown at the Studio in the Crucible. I felt this was a perfect setting for this, as it is a more intimate feeling setting, where you as the audience really feel in touch with the characters' emotions throughout. The play then moves to the Bush Theatre in London on October 18th for a run taking the show well into November. 

Easy Frosé Recipe

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Unless you've been living under a rock, and not checked Twitter or Instagram lately, you will have seen Frosé. It is basically frozen Rosé wine, made into a cocktail with splash of vodka and some strawberry syrup. I have seen a few recipes but I have put together my own simple recpie for you try out.

Depending on how many people you are making this for, and now boozy you want it, you can aways add more or less vodka... depending on what kind of occasion you are looking for. I think with my recipe it is fairly boozy but not in a paint thinner kind of way, just so you can taste the flavours and not feel like you are drinking an overly sweet smoothie.

I am not the world's biggest rose fan, as I am more of white or red drinker, but this combination does work really well together and I think it's perfect for a summers day, letting you sit back and pretend that you are on a hot sunny beach somewhere exotic.

First things first, you'll need to get a bottle of rose. I used a Blossom Hill one, you don't need to splash out on a £10-15 bottle as you are going to be adding things to it, so you won't be able to notice the more subtle tastes of a better quality bottle anyway.

Tip the rose into a plastic tub and leave in the freezer for at least 8 hours, I did this overnight but it needs to be at least 8 so it starts to crystallise. It won't freeze completely as it contains alcohol but will almost look like boozy slush puppies when you are done.

Then its time to make the syrup! I chopped into small pieces a handful of strawberries and covered them with around 100g of sugar. I then put this on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Be careful not to have the heat too high as the sugar will burn and you will need to start over again. Once this has turned into a pink liquid with a syrup texture, leave it to cool down. Ideally put into the fridge until your guests arrive or until you make your drink. If you are impatient, you could cool this down by placing the pan in cold water with ice cubes. Don't add water to the syrup as this will dilute the sugar and won't taste as sweet.

Once the syrup is cooled down pour it into a sieve and push the syrup through with a wooden spoon. This is to stop any pips getting into your drink, otherwise it will be a lumpy smoothie texture and won't be very nice when you come to drink it.

Finally combine the syrup and two to three shots of vodka with the frozen rose in a food processor or blender. This only takes a few seconds as you are only looking to mix the ingredients together, so be careful not over do it as it could go really watery.

Once your cocktail has been mixed, add it to your favourite cocktail glass and a strawberry to garnish. Then the only thing to do is to sit back and enjoy.

How to pack for camping

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I have just arrived back from a week camping in the Scottish Highlands, and I thought that I would share with you a list of camping tips that will help any newcomers to outdoor living. Particularly if you are struggling to find a guide, or just looking for some tips. I was pretty new to camping before this trip, so I just didn't know where to start when packing. What to take and what not to take.. it is a tough decision and I tweeted and googled but I just could find a guide or some tips to help someone like me out (I like my home comforts, and still want to look good, even when living in the woods!).

Well, here is my guide...

Plan your outfits for each day; figure out tops that would go with different jumpers or jackets so you can mix and match, and layer up in case you do get a little chilly in the evenings. Take a few thin jackets, that you can wear together, rather than one big coat, as this will take up less room in your bag and will be handy incase one gets a little dirty.

Check the weather forecast so you can plan for sun, wind or rain. I would always take a waterproof coat just in case it does rain, so that you aren't left too soggy and waiting to dry. You will then know how many jumpers or trousers to take depending on how hot it is going to be. Take this bit of advice at your own risk though, as who knows what the British weather will throw at you!

Comfy outdoor shoes are a must. Take a few pairs if you are unsure how comfy your current pair are. I would take some walking boots so you know they are going to be sturdy, and they are usually waterproof too. Some comfy trainers that you don't mind getting a little dirty, and some flip flops for the communal showers are also good suggestions, particularly if you aren't straying too far from the roads.

For toiletries, pack some of your miniatures or your samples; they will take up less room in your bag. I think this a good way to use up samples that you have been meaning to try out, especially if you don't have any minatures to use. You can pick up small empty bottles for a couple of pounds and fill these up with your favourites and then can you re-use these again, for when you go on your travels.

I found taking different bags super handy. I had one bag for clothes that I could keep in the tent or nearby and another bigger bag that I left in the car, with my dirty clothes and jumpers. This then meant I had more room in the tent and my clothes would stay fresh. I packed a canvas bag for my shower bits and bobs, this is useful as you wan't drop anything on the way to the shower.

Don't overpack! I know this is a lot easier to say than to do... I am guilty of this every time, as I like to have options, but you don't need to pack for every occasion and eventuality as if there are shops nearby you can always pick something up, if you need it.

Do you have any other camping tips?

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