Visiting Kew

Last weekend friends of Zee's came down and stayed. And oh, oh it was delightful. There's something about being around people who are in the same place as you. Good laughs, games and hilarity and fun times. We went out to Kew Gardens, and even made it into the greenhouses (something we missed last time we went out).

It was a brilliant weekend.


Going Grey

So I went all in and had my hair done in grey.

I've never gone light before, I wasn't sure how it was going to go or whether it would suit me. There was a lot of fear. While the in between steps had me worried (think: beige wigs and Barbie yellow) the final result works, I think. Enough that I didn't want to dye it dark immediately.

People keep telling me how brave it was, but it's not really. The worst that could have happened is that I hated it and changed it back. Changing something as temporary as hair isn't brave. Worrying what people might think shouldn't define your actions, not as much as trying new things that might make you happy should. 

Pixie cuts and extreme colour - it's a pretty fun phase to be in at the moment.

How to save mobile assets for multiple densities for iOS and Android

I know that I don't often post about 'work' stuff here, but I've just discovered Photoshop's Generate Image Asset tool and it's saved me a ridiculous amount of time. Designing for mobile used to be simple. I designed for iOS, which meant I'd design at retina sizes (@2x) and save everything out at 50% for non-retina (@1x).

But then came Android with their multi density devices (LDPI, MDPI, HDPI, XHDPI, XXHDIP, XXXHDPI) and iOS 6 and 6+ (@3x).

Suddenly saving out assets for 8 different versions was a massive time suck. Figuring out how things fit together, and updating several assets every time we made a change was painful.

Turns out some clever person at Adobe was also suffering, and they built this amazing tool into Photoshop CC.

Step 1 - Turn it on.

File > Generate > Image Assets

Step 2 - Figure out your file structure and sizes.

This is where you figure out your file structure, and how you want the asset sized in comparison to your psd.

First, you need to understand the relationship between all the different densities. If you're not familiar, this intro from Teeanlax might help.

The intro is awesome, but was published before 6+ and XXHDPI happened. No worries, we can slot them in in a similar way.

I typically design at @2x resolution as standard. It makes it easy to scale up or down, so my design scaled at 100% is good for @2x and XHDPI.

Here is the scales I use for each different density:

@1x - 50% @2x - 100% @3x - 150%

MDPI - 50% HDPI - 75% XHDIP - 100% XXHDPI - 150%

Now that I know the scales, onto the file structure.

With iOS, they can live in the same file, but each version must be saved out as @Nx on the end, depending on which density it's for.

For Android, they need to be in separate files with the same naming conventions.

Tricky.

Create a new, empty layer at the top, can call it:

default 100% ios/@2x, 50% ios/, 150% ios/@3x, 75% android/drawable-hdpi/, 50% android/drawable-mdpi/, 100% android/drawable-xhdpi/, 150% android/drawable-xxhdpi/

Here's how this works:

[scale] [foldername/][append],

Each version is separated by a comma. The scale is how big it will be, the folder name will define where it saves to, and the append (optional) will add an extra bit to the filename.

So, 150% ios/@3x will save an asset 150% of the scale of the original, in a file named ios, with @3x appended.

Handy, no?

Step 3 - Save Your Layer

To save out the asset into the file structure, simply add a file format on the end of the layer name.

searchicon > searchicon.png

I'm pretty sure you can use either .png or .jpg.

And just like that, all your assets are in the right place, as the right size.

Bonus

Generator is pretty clever. If you make a change to a layer, it will update the asset on the fly. So handy!

The Four Hour Body

When I got back from New Zealand last year... I was uncomfortable with myself. In particular - I felt chubby. Kind of in-denial chubby. In a my jean size had gone up several sizes and I was wearing maxi dresses as standard kind of chubby. In my head, it wasn't **that** bad. I was still loved, I still did all the things I wanted to do and my weight didn't get in the way of anything. Except... I hated being in photos. I was uncomfortable with how heavy my body felt. How my thighs touched when I walked. I worried about how my arms looked in t-shirts and how I was unconsciously holding my tummy in all the time.

I think that's pretty standard thinking, when you're uncomfortable with yourself. We pick ourselves apart and are our own worst critics. I hid behind that for a while - I was just picking myself apart and really I was fine, and just needed to get on with it. Life was for living! I wanted to drink all the wine and eat all the things (burritos and cake and cheese) and just have a great time, devil may care. I was all about the freedom of convenience - eating crap food and doing just enough exercise to make myself feel good without actually doing a workout.

That was right up until I got back and I couldn't fit into my favourite pair of 'fat' jeans. Uhm. Awkward.

Here is what I looked like, at that time.

No so bad, right? That was the worst bit, it wasn't how I looked but I how felt. I got on a scale then and was disappointed. I tried running. I tried 1200 calories a day (and that sucked). I was struggling with the best way to lose the extra chub I'd gained and was disheartened. I was looking at it from a purely weight point of view, and it was a terrible struggle.

Around that time, I'd read about a book - The Four Hour Body, by Tim Ferris. Essentially, it was a diet I could do to lose weight while never really feeling hungry and not doing any exercise. Uhm, what?

Fun side note - this post isn't sponsored, there are no affiliate links. This is purely because it helped me.

The Four Hour Body has five easy rules:

1. Don't eat white carbs. Meat + vege are the way. 2. No sugar (including fruit) and no dairy. 3. Don't drink the calories. Drink water. 5. Eat the same meals over and over. 5. Every seventh day - have a cheat day.

Pretty simple. It was overwhelming at first, but as you go through the book it explains the science behind each rule and the best ways to mitigate any difficulties.

I lost 2kg in the first week and steadily lost weight all the way through to now. It's pretty obvious too, in my face, in my body. I cycled back through all the jeans I'd outgrown (which I LOVED - being able to wear my old favourite clothes again felt magical) and generally just felt better about myself.

Now, here's the thing: I got into it because I was approaching this from a 'my weight is the problem' point of view. My weight wasn't the problem though. I didn't realise it at the time but the Four Hour Body forced me to understand how much shit I was putting into my body - how much crap and sugar and unnecessary processed yuck I was eating.

I learnt to eat clean, I learnt to like water. I was eating bucket loads of vegetables and switched to organic food. My skin cleared up, my energy levelled out throughout the day and I was sleeping better. There was loads I was learning about cooking and what food does to you. You really are what you eat, and I had no idea.

Here's me now:

Still, that's not say it was easy - even with a cheat day it was difficult. Eating out became tricky, dinner parties and generally any socialising that was done around food or drinking. But the outcome was worth it, I'd say.

Now, I'm not trying to get down on anyone. If you're comfortable with yourself - high five! That's the aim here, right? Love yourself, love your body. I just wanted to share that 4 Hour Body worked really well for me, and helped me get back into the mindset of what was healthy and what wasn't.

Have any of you tried to 4 Hour Body? Got any tips for me?

That time I made 2-ingredient Brownie


I was a bit skeptical at first, but turns out you can make brownie with 1 cup of Nutella and 4 eggs.

The first thought was could I call Nutella one ingredient when technically its made up of many? For convenience sake, I'm going to say yes I can (it really is the easiest brownie I've ever made).

The second was that this brownie couldn't really be a brownie. It's not, really. Not the rich, decadent gooey brownies that you're imagining in your head. Instead it's light, and fluffy, with an almost cake like texture. So light and fluffy that I managed to scarf half the pan before I knew what I had done!

Essentially it's a flourless torte and it is delicious.

Here's what you do:

Step One: Whisk your eggs with an electronic hand mixer until the eggs are super light and fluffy and has expanded to over double it's volume. This will take a while (at least ten minutes) so keep at it. It should be super fluffy and lemon coloured.

Step Two: Take one cup of Nutella, and heat it in the microwave for a minute and a half, stirring at 15 second intervals so it doesn't burn. This will make the Nutella all loose and goopey (you'll understand once you do it).

Step Three: With the mixer on low, very slowly add the Nutella to the egg mixture, allowing a lot of time for it to combine before you add more. You don't want to knock all the air out as you add the Nutella.

Step Four: Pour the mix into a brownie tin, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 190C. You'll know its done when it pulls away from the sides and you can insert a toothpick into the middle and it comes out clean.

Top tips: - This is not a brownie you want to underbake, because else it will taste like eggs. Not even kidding. - If you place two pieces of baking paper horizontally AND vertically in your tin before you pour the mix in, once it's baked you'll be able to just pull it out and peel off the backing paper. Much easier than cutting your brownie out of your tin!

Boom. Easiest brownie in the world, no?

Riding bikes in the Summer


There's nothing like summer for riding bikes. Riding the city streets in this glorious weather is by far the best way to get around the city right now. It beats buses and tubes and ubers by cost, speed and comfort (assuming you're brave enough to take on London traffic, which obvs yes because adventure). Boris bikes are especially handy - you pick one up at a dock, ride to wherever you need to go and then drop it off at another dock at the other end. Access for 24 hours is £2, and the ride itself is free. So convenient, quite wonderful.

I've talked to a few people recently about riding in London and almost all of them have said they couldn't - that the traffic scares them away. These are people who climb mountains and do amazing feats, and I was a little bit in awe of the reputation that the London traffic has.

Truth: London traffic is no big deal when you're on a bike. As long as you obey the rules and don't run red lights, make sure you're aware of what is around you - it's perfectly okay for riding.On days like today when the skies are blue, the streets are lined with trees and little flower baskets and you're speeding down a bike lane past stand still traffic? Nothing better. It's the perfect way to get around, and I'm 100% delighting in it!

Oh London, you're definitely more charming than usual!

And so, we've moved. 

We've known for months we were going to move, but that doesn't mean I liked the idea. Our landlord sold our flat, Womp. We hired crates - I was excited about not having to recycle boxes, hurrah for less waste! That part was great. We packed everything up and had a whole host of lovely friends come and help us ferry things to the new place, which conveniently was just down the road. It was really heartwarming to have so many people come help us, it's a lovely thought to know we've got so many friends who have our backs.

Fast forward three months and we're in our new place. The crates clearly less helpful post-move. We had to give the crates back empty - which meant emptying them. There are little towers of STUFF everywhere. Piles and piles of it. We have too much stuff, clearly. It's overwhelming, and I'm not sure what to DO with all of it.

It irks, and I'm uncomfortable. Coming home feels is awkward. It feels like we're forcing ourselves to fit in this little flat. The flat and I are working against each other at every opportunity. Our furniture is positioned awkwardly against walls they weren't designed to fit against (I'd like to throttle the person who made the radiator placement decisions - clearly they've looked at the room and put them in the most inconvenient of places possible, for their future lols as my current furniture place predicament). We're giving each other the side eye, this flat and me.

Truth is, I miss the old flat. I miss the layout and the familiarity and our routines. It was our first home, me and Zee. A place that we made ours. The new place feels like it's disgruntled that we've dared arrive, and is thwarting us at every turn.

I know this is temporary. I know that we'll work it out, and it will be fine. But until that, I'm awkward and uncomfortable and still sad to have said goodbye to our old flat.

Oh moving. Oh change. Oh goodbyes.

--------

Grace in small things

Despite the position of this post, I am still attempting positivity. It comes and goes in waves, and I'm trying to smooth out the peaks and troughs. We'll see. Things I'm grateful for:

1. Zee.

I get to do this with Zee who is infinitely patient with me and my moods and furniture struggles. This would be horrible without him and I'm glad that's not the case. We're in it together, there's comfort in that.

2. Our friends are awesome.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for people who came to help - we had a great crew. It really was heartwarming to have a small army of people take time out to help us. Warm fuzzies all round.

3.The new place is actually lovely, first world problems.

Sure, the layout is awkward and we don't know where everything fits yet but in the scheme of things? Our new flat is actually lovely. It's modern and has well proportioned rooms and has everything we need to go about our lives. We're warm and dry and have place for our too many belongings. It's safe, and has a balcony. I'll take it.

4. Time is moving forward, we're not stagnant.

Sometimes I forget that change is hard, and uncomfortable and needed. As much as I could have happily settled into the old flat - the new one forces a perspective change and offers new nuances that I hadn't considered before. I know that I thrive when things are kept a bit interesting so as much as this was forced rather than chosen - change can be good, right?

5. We get to stay in our neighbourhood.

This is a definite boon. We've got friends close by, it's safe and has everything we need within walking distance. It's familiar. I did several days of house looking in other areas. North of the river, east of the city, in little industrial on-the-verge-of-hipster neighbourhoods. It felt very different, and I'm glad that we managed to find a place local. Bonus was that we didn't need to hire a van!

Actually Practicing Positivity (and not talking about toast)

That sounds a but more soppy than I intended, but truth - I want to get in the habit of complaining a bit less and being generally more positive a lot more. Also, truth - it turns out that talking about how grateful I am for toast is a bit of a cop out, isn't it? It's not like I'm a negative person, but I've found that there's a lot of complaining going on - annoyances make a better story, get better reactions, better commiserations. When I realised this and tried to cut back - I realised just how much complaining I was doing (too much!) and just how many of the conversations I was having were often complaint based. Easily 30-40%. I starting noting when other people kicked off a conversation with a complaint or criticism and it was something like every third or first conversation. Womp.

So, two things. I'm going to try talk about five things I'm grateful for, and I'm trying the Tim Ferris/Will Bowen anti-complaining experiment.

There's a theory that the more you talk about something, the more that influences what you think about something, which guides how you feel about it. If I'm constantly complaining, then my mindset for how I think or how I feel is automatically on the negative. That sucks, right?

This anti-complaining experiment is pretty simple. The aim is to go 21 days without complaining. I have a bracelet and every time I complain I move the bracelet across to the other wrist and start from 0. Sounds doable, right??

Essentially it's metacognitive awareness training - the more aware you are of doing something the more likely you are to change that behaviour. It's the same reason why taking photos of what you eat and weighing yourself regularly is super conducive to weight loss. I'm using Tim Ferris's definition: "describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem" and so far, two days in it's been hard. It's getting easier though - I definitely have increased awareness of what I'm saying (although, haven't get made it through a day!)

We'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

The other part, practicing gratefulness. Three things I'm grateful for right now:

One: Zee is away this week, and is currently on a completely different continent. I'm grateful for the opportunity to miss him. There's something in a brief absence that cuts through all the ordinary bs. I miss him, and it's nice to be reminded how much I do care. The missing part is shit but I enjoy the reminder + slight perspective change.

Two: I'm in a time in my life where I can stretch my legs and really pursue whatever it is I want to. There is literally nothing stopping me from doing what I want to. I earn a pretty penny, I don't have children or a mortgage or any kind of restraint or responsibility that would hold me back. My problem right now is that I don't know what direction to go in (I feel like a bit like a headless chicken) and so I am trying half a dozen things. I'm grateful that I have this freedom, many people don't.

Three: It's almost summer! London has thrown off the grey skies temporarily and I'm amazed at the rich expanse of blue overhead. It's not quite warm enough for bare arms (I'm still rocking several layers + a jacket) but with the greenery finally growing and the sun out - it feels like a completely different place. I love London in the spring - it's glorious!

A few days in Riga, Latvia

Oh Riga. This was a work trip, and this trip hit me face first with it's complications and politics and work. I ran a workshop I wasn't expecting to run. It went well! Wonderfully well - I was introducing new ideas and a new method and everything was new and scary and different. It was a pretty insane day and a half, but I got loads of wonderful feedback. Nothing like being thrown in the deep end with 23 people you've never met who are integral to the product you're working on.

What I'm trying to say is that the three days I was in Riga - I saw the inside of the Elephant Hotel. There were two meals outside the hotel, and a walk.

And oh, Riga. You're lovely. Little cobblestone streets and dirt tracks that bypass run down mansions. Overgrown fields taking back estates, and then five minutes down the road shiny fashion boutiques in the city centre. Tables sprawled out in the summer evenings, with lights and a lovely man playing the accordion.

Best walk of the week, I have to say. There's nothing like taking an hour or two just to wander, and have a look see.

Love it. Thanks Riga, for the adventure.

The Quirks of London Streetcorners

I don't know about you, but I get a shiver of delight down my spine when I feel like I'm doing something sneaky, even if it's not. Drinking openly on the street is definitely a London quirk that I haven't seen anywhere else. Now that the weather is warmer people will grab a pint and go stand outside the pub on the street corners. You'll see them in large groups around the door to a pub - it's insane. In New Zealand you sit down to drink, unless you're dancing. In London, you stand on the street and enjoy the sun (when there is sun). I joined Bunny and a few friends last week to enjoy this glorious snap of almost-summer warmth we're having. It was glorious!

There was a mariachi band who came by, and we gave them all our change. They let me snap a quick few photos with them - but they were great! They had whole street corners dancing (and when was the last time you saw that? Strangers dancing on the street, in the sun to a three piece mariachi band?)

Oh London. I love you in the spring!

Have you ever seen a knights castle with a moat?

Bodiam Castle has a moat. It doesn't have a keep either, so it's towers are pretty imposing - they rise right up from the ground all big and mighty. It's a big impressive castle. Zee and I drove down to have a look-see during one bank holiday. It's ridiculously pretty, some of the nicest ruins we've seen so far. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III. It feels bizarre to have such history right here, able to be touched. By comparison, the Treaty of Waitangi - which was the founding document of New Zealand as we know it - was signed in 1840. This castle was built almost 500 years before that!

We climbed up the turrets, and stood in the great hall (truth: I thought for a great hall it would be bigger) and imagined the fancy kitchens, with their massive fireplaces. The well still stands (although it's populated right from the moat, where they used to empty their chamberpots... no wonder they drank ale).

All in all, it was pretty impressive day trip.

The List #79 - Legitimately Yell ‘Bingo!’ in a Bingo Hall

I love the idea of playing Bingo and being lucky enough to get that one line. I thought it would be all euphoria and standing on my chair, arms in the air! The loudest Bingo you'd ever heard. Do you know what actually happened? In a place where there was fancy purple lights and partying and disco balls, with two bottles of red going down nicely, I scratched my head, held out my bingo card to Zee and asked 'Is this a line?'

Uhm, what? That's absolutely not how I expected it to go.

Rebel Bingo is one of those great (and well ridiculous) parties that you'll find in the backstreets of London. It's loud, and everyones punch drunk and dancing, in a great mood. It's more like a show, really. A happy drunk show where everyone draws on you as well as your bingo card. I wasn't sure whether calling out Bingo in a party when you can't hear yourself think counted... but then Rebel Bingo did a show in a proper Bingo Hall. With the board that lights up in numbers and everything! I bought tickets months in advance, and we went.

It was intense. We were drinking cheap wine and dancing in our seats, bathed in this super purple light. The numbers came thick and fast (seriously, only buy one card. Save the rest of your money for the wine!) and I was positive I'd never win. It was the last round of four, the bonus round. And I did. I got a line, and (after careful consultation with Zee) yelled Bingo!! Woop!

Except, another girl one over did too, just after I did. It was unheard of (apparently). A Rebel Bingo first, a simultaneous bingo. So, we were pulled up on stage, and we rock, paper, scissored it out. Alas, I didn't win, but I was equally stoked to be there. To have called Bingo, and to be able to cross this one off The List!

What a night! It was ridiculous. And fun, and we both had a great time. So, Rebel Bingo! If it comes to city near you, buy a ticket. You might even get Bingo.

I called Bingo, and I was SO happy about it. Number #79 - Done!

Posting Positively - Grace in Small Things

I read a small snippet recently, about how it's often easier to write about all the negative things, about how difficult a situation is. A complaint perhaps. Or a criticism. Apparently it's part of processing a situation. It plays on your mind, and comes out easily through your fingertips. I also read a little something somewhere about how the more you focus on something, the more practised your mindset becomes around that intention. Which is to say, if you practise writing about how difficult a situation is, your perspective is skewed towards difficult situations already. I'm trying to be a bit more intentional at the moment - looking for grace in small things. Be a little more positive, and less skewed towards how hard everything is. I've had hard time recently with insulin spiking, and I've been watching what I eat because of it. However today, today I'm appreciating not-good-for-insulin-spike things, specifically jam on toast.

I'm so grateful right now for jam on toast. (Grace in small things).

It's crunchy and filling and sweet as I eat it. The bread is dense and I can taste the butter. A bite goes for miles, the jam has a lovely sort of tang to it, and it's quite satisfying to eat. (I'm also trying to be a bit more in the moment and notice the things in the now).

Nom.

PS Tim Ferriss had an interesting article on a thought experiment designed by Will Bowen. The idea is that you can train yourself out of complaining by being made aware every time you do. Pretty interesting!

A day trip to Paris


I spent a day in Paris recently with work. I don't often travel with work - so it was pretty novel.

That ecstatic 'Woo Paris!' feeling lasted all of an evening, because most of the day was heads downs in a workshop. I saw the inside of a little urban conference room/open work space. The content was fantastic though. We worked with Jeff Gothelf working to apply the lean process to an enterprise. 100% relevant to the problems we're facing at work at the moment. It was interactive, it had good food, we learnt lots...

But as always with work trips, the highlights weren't the work. I stopped to get macaroons from Pierre Hermé (because Paris = macaroons, obviously). A business analyst buddy and I made the most of the one evening we had and wandered down to the Lourve, as he'd never seen it before. We had dinner with wine and cheese (because Paris = wine + cheese) and oh. Oh Paris.

I love Paris in the summer, it was warm and the sun was shining and the streets were lined with green trees and the boulevards were wide and all the people spoke with that lovely French lilt.

I was only there a day, if that. Paris was oh so charming. I love that it's entirely possible to do a day trip to Paris. Very oh la!

London - Now open for picnics

The thing about good weather in London is that everyone here immediately makes the most of it. Blue skies, warm enough to be outside with a jacket? Done, everyone is outside enjoying it. For Zee and I, that means picnics. We're a two minute walk from the river with a few excellent parks nearby.

We've often taken dinner or lunch down with a blanket, some bubbles and a book or two, and enjoyed a break from our typical dinner routine. Oh London, I love you in the summer time.

The List: #44 - Be brave and get a pixie cut

Turns out that bravery isn't really getting a pixie cut. I was scared, I loved having long hair and despite talking about getting a pixie for years and years, a small little something always held me back.

I was worried about being thought of as less feminine.

But, once the weddings were out of the way and the award ceremony was done I figured it was a good time. I was reading The Four Hour Work Week, the segment about risk vs fear, and realised that the fear (of being less feminine) as much greater than the risk (because hair grows back and if it was horrid I only had to wait it out. Any results would be temporary) and so booked in with appointment for the next day, and just... did it.

I love it. I feel like someone else, a more confident do-what-I-want type someone else.

The hardest part was showing Zee. He'd made a fuss about how much he *loved* my long hair. Truth: that made me want to cut my hair off even more - I adore Zee, but I hate the idea of being that girl who does what her guy wants. And I was worried that he would hate it, and therefore like me less? It was weird (completely unsubstantiated) fear. I didn't send him any photos once it was done, and when he did see it, there was much disappointment on his part (he keeps saying he was half asleep... but even if he was, excitement and pleasure was the opposite of what came out of his mouth). Still, because I loved it so much, his disappointment was more of a twinge than an urgent drop-everything problem.

He's gotten used to it now, I think. Everyone else loves it (I went to a girls evening the other night, and there was much squealing involved) and I get loads of compliments.

So, in terms of being brave? I'm not sure this is bravery. I think it's easy to hype up fear, especially when it's hard to define why exactly. It was big thing in my head, but truth? Not such a huge thing. It's just a hair cut.

Still, #44 - done!

The List: #62 - Attend a red carpet event (and walk the red carpet)

I was pretty lucky to go - my first (and likely last!) Red Carpet event. Duke had spent the last year watching a million different theatre shows, and was a judge at the prestigious Olivier Awards. I got all dressed up. I wore a Ralph Lauren dress, and had a makeup artist come do my hair and make up. Duke and I were met by a driver with a sleek black mercedes and dropped off at the awards and oh you guys - the red carpet was RIDICULOUS.

I'm so, SO glad I'm not famous. The carpet was lined with fans and I have to say - they were vicious. I was walking down just ahead of Mark Strong and Jamie Campbell Bower and I have to say that prior to standing on that carpet I had no idea who they were.

Needless to say I did after. The fans screamed, literally. Non-stop for a long time. Constantly screaming out their names, and oh! The entitlement! If the person of their interest did not stop to say hello, sign something or pose for a selfie, the fans got really rude. Really, horrifically rude. I was shocked, and a bit baffled and mostly very very grateful that I hadn't done anything worth of stardom. The fans were a pack of raving bears.

As if that wasn't enough, at the end of the carpet, there was a wall of camera lenses. Easily a hundred or so photographers with fancy zoom lenses doing some more yelling. It was intimidating, and I stepped off the red carpet early so I wouldn't have to go anywhere near them.

Still, apart from the fans and the photographers it was actually pretty lovely. I felt amazing, pretty special being up there. I got glimpses of a few famous people I did recognise (Gok Wan was one - he seemed pretty delightful) and generally just enjoyed the moment best I could.

It was wonderful once we were in - The Royal Opera House is pretty phenomenal. Laurent Pierre sponsored the pre-event mixer, so there was much bubbles and clinking. It was pretty great. The awards themselves was phenomenal.

Angela Lansbury was great, what a wonderful speech. She was so heartfelt, and I got so teary listening to her! I got teary with Lorna Watt too, her speech was so heartfelt and unexpected, it was lovely. Loved Judi Dench's intro to Kevin Spacey! It was like you were being let in on a few fun little secrets. It was so fantastic. It was also pretty great to see the casts cheering from the upper balconies. I felt like this was their event of the year - that they'd all worked so hard these awards validated their efforts :)

Show wise, I really loved the bit by the Porgy and Bess cast. I went and saw Porgy and Bess twice when it was playing (mostly because it was in the outdoor theatre at Regents Park, and the first show was rained out) but it was fantastic to see them again.

They were even more fun at the after party. I don't think everyone who was at the ceremony was invited to the after party, and it felt very exclusive. There were so many people there, and everywhere you looked, there was someone relatively famous in the London scene standing not very far away. Everyone was so lovely! Laura Carmichael (LOVED her dress) stood next to me a the bar, Claire Sweeney smiled at me, Pixie Lott was lovely, and listened attentively to everyone she spoke to, and Adam Garcia was TOO PRETTY (what a ridiculous pretty man!). It seemed that every second person that walked by was holding an award.

It was insane, I had such a good time. Here's the thing though, I didn't get any selfies, or try introduce myself to anyone. After the in-your-face fan experience of the red carpet, I realised that I wasn't entitled to anyones time here. I didn't have any goals that these people could help me with, and there wasn't a reason to interrupt their night of celebration.

So, I didn't. I enjoyed my night right alongside their nights and called it good. It was fantastic - we had such a great time. Super grateful to Duke for taking me.

Oh red carpets. Have any of you walked the red carpet before?