Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Exciting Events at Festival Place, Basingstoke

With the nights drawing in it’s really starting to feel like autumn/winter now, which can only mean one thing – Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas! I must admit I don’t tend to do much for Halloween, but I wanted to share a couple of events coming up at Festival Place, Basingstoke, as I thought they sounded like great fun. I was quite excited when the press releases for these upcoming celebrations dropped into my inbox, so hopefully they will excite you just as much.

First up is a Halloween Spooktacular, suitable for both young and old. This is Festival Place’s two-day long Halloween extravaganza, taking place from Friday October 30th to Saturday October 31st. This fiendish family fun event will have a range of eerie entertainment, 12-6pm, to get customers set for the scary season.

Porchester Square will be transformed into the centre’s very own Spooky Hollow, raising money for Ark Cancer Centre Charity, with scary face painting and a Shear Beauty nail art stand for kids (big kids are welcome too!)

Customers will then have the chance to win a variety of great prizes from Festival Place’s retailers simply by taking a photo in the centre’s custom-built photo booth (including scary props!) and sharing it on social media with the hashtag #spookyfp.

Prizes will go to the spookiest photos, so customers are encouraged to come along in their creepiest costumes and ghoulish gear.

If that wasn’t enough, Festival Place have also organised a massive evening of entertainment for their Christmas Lights Switch On! They will kick off Christmas this year on 13th November with their annual Light Switch On. Starting at 5.30pm, the shopping centre will host a range of family entertainment and transform into your ‘festive place’!

Breeze FM’s Breakfast presenters, Ben Moseby and Lizzie Crow will host the Christmas activities. Santa himself will turn the Christmas lights on, along with this year’s Anvil Panto star Mark Little (aka Neighbours’ Joe Mangle).

Adding to the Christmas entertainment will be The Military Wives Choir, made famous by Gareth Malone’s original BBC TV series, The Choir. Initially set up to help women in the military community to share the enjoyment and pride that comes from singing; the choir’s enormous success has included a number one single and the creation of the Military Wives Choirs Foundation.

The evening will also include performances from ‘Walk like a Man’ Jersey Boys tribute act, featuring West End singers. If that is not enough they have a special Festival Reward Discount Weekender from Friday 13th November across the whole weekend! Customers who have signed up to Festival Rewards via the new Festival Place mobile app will be able to get a whole host of discounts from the likes of the Fragrance Shop, Laura Ashley, Hotel Chocolat, GBK, La Tasca and Paperchase to name but a few.

And to make sure Santa knows exactly what your little ones want this year, Festival Place will be launching their official Christmas Experience. The best way to meet Santa, here children will have to chance to enjoy a Christmas train trip before making a special visit to Santa’s festive grotto.

The Christmas Experience will open at 12pm on 12th November and from 13th November will be open Monday-Thursday – 10.30am-6.30pm, Friday – 10.30am-7.30pm, Saturday – 9am-6pm and Sunday – 11a-6pm. From 14th – 23rd December the Christmas Experience will then be open for an extra hour before closing at 3pm on 24th December as Santa leaves Festival Place to get ready for his busy night! To book your place, just click here.

Throughout the festival season the Festival Place team will be working hard to make sure the Christmas shopping experience is as easy and stress-free for customers as possible – with their special Festival Place ‘Festive Services’ pop-up Christmas shop. Whether a customer is looking for the best gifts to buy, needs help with their shopping bags or just wants some directions, Festival Place’s Christmas dedicated staff will be on hand to assist.

Parking won’t be a problem either this Christmas as Festival Place’s car park has over 2,500 car parking spaces. Customers park for just £1 if you park after 5pm all the way through to 6am.

Photo from here

For anyone that doesn’t know about Festival Place – it is a 1.1m sq ft shopping centre situated in the centre of Basingstoke, just off the M3, housing over 160 big brand stores including Apple, Debenhams, M&S, Zara, Schuh, Pandora, Oasis and Gap.

The shopping facilities are complemented by popular restaurants including; Wagamama, Coal Bar & Grill, La Tasca and Pizza Express, and a 10-screen Vue cinema.

To keep up to date with details of the Halloween Spooktacular, the Christmas Light Switch On and other upcoming events at Festival Place visit their website here or find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For any local bloggers reading this, I am also hosting a meet-up on 9th November, 6pm at Pizza Express, Festival Place. There are still places on the guest list, so please drop me an e-mail on if you’re interested in coming along!

Are you planning to go to any of these events at Festival Place? Or do you have your own plans for Halloween and Christmas?

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sunday Snippets - 25th October 2015

It’s been another busy week and my body is well and truly hating me at the moment! I’m really hoping I can try and allow myself some proper rest over the next few weeks – there just seems to be so much to do at the moment and I’m struggling to cope. I really want to find more time to blog and start making YouTube videos, as I really miss it, but for the time being my health and Uni need to come first.

Last Sunday was pretty quiet thankfully, as I really needed some quality rest time. One of my best friends, Charlotte, popped over in the morning though with my birthday presents – some Laurdrée macarons and a decorative friendship star from Next - she knows me well! It was lovely to have a quick chat with her and we are hoping to organise a proper catch-up very soon.

My Monday was fairly uneventful – I had Uni in the morning and then a quiet afternoon replying to some of the numerous messages I owe people. I also went to see my GP with a rather long list of issues to discuss! She had received my EEG report, which apparently showed some abnormalities but not ones that indicate epilepsy, so we’re going to try and get in contact with my neurologist to find out what happens next. I’m still having a lot of trouble with probable seizures during the night, as I wake up with the same pounding headache and spaced out feeling that I had after my daytime seizure. So we’d really like to get something sorted so I don’t keep feeling like this. She has also asked me to have a full set of bloods done to see if there’s anything specific going on to make me feel more unwell, but thinks it’s probably down to me having a rubbish immune system and the fact that I often have neutropenia. She would also like to investigate my blood sugar levels as they keep dropping. These cute napkins arrived in the post, ready for my party on Saturday.

I also opened this snuggly teddy bear dressing gown from Topshop, which I’m so pleased with. I’ve been trying to get my hands on one for the last couple of years, so when I saw that they were back again for winter I had to treat myself to one!

Tuesday was mainly taken up by medical appointments, which seems to be the story of my life at the moment! In the morning I had my STEPPS group and then in the afternoon I had an appointment with my pain physio, who chatted to me about pacing myself better (which I just cannot seem to do!) He also encouraged me to look at getting an electric wheelchair to give myself some more independence. It’s something we have been considering for quite a while, but because I’m not eligible to have one on the NHS it’s just a lot of work finding the right one, and a lot of money to shell out. On our way back from the hospital, my Dad and I popped into Costco to get a few party supplies, including some amazing looking macarons! When I got home I opened this book that arrived in the post. I really enjoyed Zoe’s first book, so I’m looking forward to giving this one a read soon.

I also opened another parcel, this time from ASOS, which included these awesome unicorn slippers.

On Wednesday I had a workshop at the Pain Clinic, which was quite interesting but I did struggle to keep awake, as I feel so exhausted lately. Thankfully my afternoon was pretty quiet, so I opened some post and did some more planning for the South East BlogCircle meet-up, which is happening on 9th November if you’re interested. I did pop down to our local florist though, to order some flowers for Saturday.

Thursday I spent all day at Uni, so there isn’t much to report there. Friday was equally busy unfortunately. In the morning I had my weekly pain management course, which is hopefully going to be helpful in the long run. I then headed over to Uni and met up with my Learning Mentor, which I always find helpful. Our afternoon lecture was a bit of an improvement on previous weeks, which is always good! When I got home my sister helped me to make up bags of sweets to put in party bags, and I did a few last minute bits of planning, before trying to rest up a bit.

Saturday was party day, and I really don’t think I stopped until everyone left at about 4.30pm! From the minute I woke up I was putting up decorations, laying the table, getting myself ready and then entertaining my guests. I will be doing a separate blog post about the day, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but I just wanted to share a couple of photos with you of my amazing cake and my pretty Alice dress from Chi Chi Clothing.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I just wanted to let you know I recently started a second blog, which will just focus on my health in more depth than I talk about it here. I’ve mainly set it up for friends and family to follow and keep up with what’s going on, but if it’s something you would be interested in reading as well, you are more than welcome to follow me over there. It’s called Unicorns and Floral Crowns and you can find it by clicking here. I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday Snippets - 18th October 2015

Firstly I just wanted to apologise for being rather quiet on my blog recently. I’m finding things a real struggle at the moment and keeping on top of everything just isn’t happening right now. I have so many ideas for posts I’d like to write, but finding the time and energy to take photos and get them written just feels impossible. My health is being a bit of a pain, which in turn makes everything else more difficult, so I have to prioritise things like Uni work at the moment. We also found out this week that we won’t be getting the Reading Week we thought we would, which has really thrown me and I’m pretty worried my body just isn’t going to get me to the end of term without a break. So if you don’t mind just bearing with me for now, I would be very appreciative!

On Monday I decided to try one of the new Taylors of Harrogate teas I bought recently. My bladder nurse had advised me to drink elderflower tea, as it’s meant to help reduce inflammation and infection, but after looking everywhere all I could find was this Blackberry and Elderflower tea, which I thought was better than nothing. It tastes really yummy too, as does the Rose Lemonade flavour, which I drank in my personalised mug from Jilly Jilly Designs. My Monday was fairly uneventful – I had university in the morning, which was very quiet as some of the class were visiting the Magistrates Court. I also had to pop down to the hairdressers to sort out having my hair coloured, so I now have an appointment to get that done.

I tried a couple of these delicious macarons on Tuesday – my parents obviously know me really well, as they went to Betty’s in Harrogate at the weekend and brought these back for me. They have a slightly different texture to the Laudrée ones, but are still really good. I’m determined to go to Betty’s for afternoon tea one day. I’ve been a few times before, but never tried their traditional afternoon tea. Unfortunately the productive day I had planned seemed to go out the window. I got up reasonably early as we had noisy men on the roof fitting solar panels and had plans to get Uni work done. I sat down on the sofa with my laptop and the next thing I knew my Dad was waking me up at 11.30am – not what I had planned! I went to see my CPN, which went OK but the stuff we talked about was pretty superficial, as I seem to be finding it hard to tell her how I’m really feeling. The rest of the afternoon was a little more productive and I managed to get an article written for Uni as well as some planning done for my Mad Hatter’s Tea Party next Saturday.

I didn’t feel too great on Wednesday – my pain levels have shot up recently and I seem to have had a constant cold/virus since the beginning of September. In the morning I went to a workshop at the Pain Clinic, which was quite interesting. Then in the afternoon my Dad took me to the hospital for my appointment at the breast clinic. They were running a bit late, so I managed to get through three chapters of my book, which is a bonus! I saw a lovely doctor, who did my scan, and thankfully she didn’t think the lump was cancerous. It looks like it’s been caused by a problem with the non-fatty tissue not responding normally to hormonal changes. I will have another appointment at the clinic in the next few weeks to discuss things properly, but it’s a relief to know it’s unlikely to be something sinister.

Thursday is the day I’m at university all day, so I often find it difficult to find something to take a photo of. But this Thursday was pretty easy, after we were sent out to do some filming on campus and my friend Nina and I came across these beautiful leaves carpeting the ground. I wish I’d been wearing more attractive shoes though, but that’s a minor detail! In the morning we were sent out into the town to take some photos, so once we’d done that Nina and I crashed out in Starbucks and enjoyed our Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which are fast becoming my new favourite drink.

My Mum bought me these cute little munchkins on Friday, which I’m hoping to use for some blog photography (if I ever find some energy to do it!) I just need to collect some pretty leaves now and I’ll be sorted. I had another fairly busy day, but got to have a lie-in, which is a bit of a novelty these days! In the morning I had an appointment at the hospital with my Urologist, which was quite productive. After much begging and persuading, he has agreed to try doing the operation again that I was meant to have in August. But he wanted me to understand that the stress or the anaesthetic could trigger another daytime seizure, but I decided it’s a risk we need to take, as it really needs to be done. He also said that the scarring on my right kidney could be causing my pain, so it’s good to finally have some sort of answer. I headed over to Uni after that, but to be honest I wish I’d gone home. I wasn’t feeling good anyway, and the lecture was very difficult to relate to again, so I left feeling even worse than I was before.

On Saturday I probably should have had a quiet day to rest, but that’s not how I do things is it?! I’d been planning a birthday shopping trip with my Mum for ages, and this was the only weekend we could do it, so I pushed myself to go. I felt really unwell while we were out and the fact it was so busy and crowded probably didn’t help, but we managed to have a nice time. I treated myself to some winter clothes to keep me warm, some bits and bobs for my party next weekend and some birthday presents for friends. We didn’t get to look in all the shops I wanted to (sadly Topshop, River Island, Office and New Look were just going to be too much) but we did manage to go to Accessorize, Superdry, Primark, Lush and Paperchase, which was probably more than enough for my bank account! We’ve decided we’ll go back another time when I’ve had a chance to recover and just go to the shops we missed, which will hopefully make it a bit more manageable. When I got home I found I’d had this lovely letter in the post from Becca, who is a member of the Letters of Love group I run (click here if you’re interested in joining), which really brightened my day as she wrote some really lovely things.

I don’t normally talk about my Sundays as I don’t tend to post my happy photo for today until a Monday, but I thought I would just summarise what I’m up to today. I had a nice lie-in this morning, which was much needed after yesterday! My friend Charlotte popped over with my birthday present (some Laudrée macarons and a beautiful decorative star hanger) and it was lovely to have a quick catch-up with her. She lives in London so we don’t get to see each other that often, but thankfully her parents still live down the road, so whenever she’s home we make a point of putting something in the diary. The rest of today is set aside for odd jobs – Uni work, admin/paper work and more party planning.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I just wanted to let you know I recently started a second blog, which will just focus on my health in more depth than I talk about it here. I’ve mainly set it up for friends and family to follow and keep up with what’s going on, but if it’s something you would be interested in reading as well, you are more than welcome to follow me over there. It’s called Unicorns and Floral Crowns and you can find it by clicking here. I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sunday Snippets - 11th October 2015

I’m very aware of the fact that I seem to say this every week, but things have been pretty busy again over the last few days! I’m desperate for a few quiet days, just so that I can catch up on sleep, university work and all the other little jobs on my to-do list. But I can’t see any quiet days in my diary in the near future, so I’m going to really have to try harder with learning to pace my activity.

I’m not sure if Leanne will thank me for including this photo on my blog (apologies if you’re reading this sweetie!) but it represents part of my Monday, so I wanted to share it with you. Monday was probably my busiest day – I got up pretty early and my Dad and I headed over to Basingstoke Magistrates Court. I must admit I was pretty nervous when we first arrived, as I had no idea what to expect and was worried I would do something wrong. But once we’d settled down in the public gallery with the rest of the students that came that day I started to feel a bit more relaxed. We had to take notes on each case, which was incredibly difficult as they went through the details so quickly! Overall we saw around 11 cases within 3 hours, which was pretty intense but so interesting. Unfortunately I now have to write them all up, so I’m really hoping I’ve got the right names, addresses and birth dates for everyone! In the afternoon I had a lovely Skype chat with my friend Leanne – we ended up talking for nearly an hour and a half – thank God Skype is free! Then, in the evening, my Dad took me to our local town council meeting, as we have to write up a few of them too.

Tuesday brought my STEPPS group as usual, but before that I had to have an ultrasound, so was at the hospital by 9am. The lady doing my scan was really lovely – she couldn’t see any large stones in my kidneys, which is what we thought might be there (apparently small ones won’t show up) but she did find some scarring on my right kidney, which might explain the pain I’ve been getting. I’m seeing my Urologist next week, so I’m going to have a chat to him about it. After STEPPS we rushed home, just in time to let the man in who was delivering my DSA equipment. He installed a few programmes onto my computer, which should help me with my university work, and he also set up this digital recorder for me, which is going to be massively useful, especially on my course. A bit later on I headed down to the church, as I needed to get an interview with the curate for a story I was putting together.

Wednesday was a really productive day for me, which is pretty unusual so I tried to make the most of it and get lots of things done! We took my cat, Jaffa, to the vets for his annual booster injections, but while we were there we chatted to the vet about how concerned we are by the amount of weight he’s lost. It turns out he’s lost 25% of his body weight over the last year, which isn’t good. They took some blood and we’re changing his feeding regime a bit to see if that will help. For the rest of the day I worked my way through various jobs, writing two blog posts, a personal column and my homework on artivism and caught up on Downton Abbey. I also organised my university planner, colour coding different types of appointment and information so I can see things easily, and adding a post-it note to the end of each week to write my to-do list on. I always feel so relieved once things look pretty and organised!

My full day at university was on Thursday, so there isn’t a huge amount to tell from that really. We did get sent out into Farnham though to try and find a story. Thankfully it was a lovely sunny day, so my support worker pushed me round the town and in the end we popped into the William Cobbett pub and I interviewed the bar manager about their Oktoberfest event, which I plan to make into a story.

Friday was a fairly boring day to be honest. I had my pain course in the morning, which was quite interesting and good to chat about things. I got talking to a lovely lady called Becky, who is a similar age to me, which was nice, finding someone you can relate to. My Dad then whizzed me over to Uni and I caught up with my Learning Mentor, who is always incredibly helpful and supportive, and basically helps me to keep my head screwed on! Our afternoon lecture was a bit hard to follow again, and didn’t bare any resemblance to the topic we were meant to be learning about on our timetable! But it seemed to go by fairly quickly, which meant I was soon heading home for a rest.

Yesterday was really quiet, as my parents are away for the weekend, my sister, Rosiie, was at work, my other sister, Bekkah, was doing homework in her room and my brother, David, was popping in and out. I had been put in charge of caring for my Gran, which I seemed to manage better than I thought I would. Unfortunately, I had a really unproductive day, spending all morning uploading and editing photos off my camera, and all afternoon trying to write a cultural review for university. I do hate those days when you just seem to get nothing done and you can’t understand why a simple task takes you so long. I got a bit frustrated because, after spending all that time on my work, I can’t work out how to submit it and I can’t seem to e-mail it either, so I’m a bit stuck. The highlight of my day was the postman coming to the door with some parcels for me (snail mail never fails to cheer me up and I really need to catch up on writing to my penpals). I received a lovely letter from my friend, Chloe, who is part of the Letters of Love group that I started (click here if you’re interested in joining). I also opened a birthday present - this beautiful Penguin Threads book, Wind in the Willows, from my friend Sarah, which I absolutely love.

After receiving those gorgeous bouquets of flowers for my birthday last week, I thought I would just show you one of my favourite flowers from the arrangement. How beautiful is this rose – it’s opened up nicely and you can really see the varying colours in the petals.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I just wanted to let you know I recently started a second blog, which will just focus on my health in more depth than I talk about it here. I’ve mainly set it up for friends and family to follow and keep up with what’s going on, but if it’s something you would be interested in reading as well, you are more than welcome to follow me over there. It’s called Unicorns and Floral Crowns and you can find it by clicking here. I’m also trying to post on Snapchat a bit more, so if you fancy following me, my username is Jennycole44.

What have you been up to this week? I always enjoy hearing about your news and adventures!

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