Abigail’s Party, Grand Opera House York

abigail's party press image featuring cast awkwardly sat on sofa and two people stood behind looking at each other suspiciously

Expectations: 3.5/5

Reality: 3.5/5

Chronic Illness-Friendly: 4.5/5

Having never heard of Abigail’s Party* before and deciding to see it based on the synopsis alone, I went into this show with no idea what to expect. And having come out the other side as the small cast took their bows… I still wasn’t quite sure what on Earth I’d just witnessed, but knew it was unlike any theatre experience I’d had before.

See, here’s the thing. When I use words like ‘monotonous’, ‘slow-moving’ and ‘cringe-worthy’, you’d ordinarily expect these to be negative things reflecting a sub-par performance. However, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party uses these things so painfully deliberately that it was actually quite brilliant. It took me a while to warm up to this alternative performance style, and a degree of patience was required at the beginning, but when things started to shift into place in the audience’s heads, you could almost sense the entire congregation getting on board and appreciating the show all the more for it. View Post

Follow:

18 Things I Learned In 2018

full length image of pippa in pink formal dress stood on red carpet in front of olivier awards photo board

Although I’m not a particularly superstitious person, there’s always been something about the number 18 in my family. It’s when all the birthdays and anniversaries and life events seem to fall, it’s the addresses we live at, and it always seems to be an intrinsically lucky number. And even though I’m the kind of person who’d usually laugh that off and declare it all as chance, I did wonder whether 2018 would be a significant year for me… and given the frequency of unexpected life changing things that happened this year, it’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed.

If you’ve followed me for a while you may also know that social media at this time of year frustrates me a lot and I tend to switch off for a few days, but I couldn’t let this year go without acknowledging or marking it in some way. But rather than list all that’s happened, let me share with you 18 Things I Learned In 2018 instead… View Post

Follow:

The 5 stages of having a food allergy at Christmas Time

red christmas elf sat on windowsill holding two epipens in its arms

Living with food allergies is never a walk in the park, but Christmas time is a whole other ball-game. The festive season is very much a food-oriented holiday, meaning that for those with food allergies, it can present all kinds of challenges. The day somebody creates a luxury allergen-free Christmas hamper cannot come soon enough, but in the meantime, the following five stages of dealing with food allergies over the festive season may resonate with you…

  1. Denial

We approach the season with a positive mind-set. We will NOT be governed by pesky allergens. They will have NO bearing on our seasonal Winter bulking. Problem is, denial of this kind only goes so far when you know that the smallest particle of the allergen in question could quite literally kill you. And so, reluctantly, we have to admit that not even the most delicious looking mince pie is worth taking the risk.

  1. Anger

Fuelled on by this mince pie-based deprivation, we turn our attention to seeking the food we CAN eat. And this is where the anger kicks in, thanks to the not-so-trusty labelling regulations here in the UK. Here’s an epic brainteaser for your Christmas crackers this year: if a product doesn’t disclose that it MAY contain traces of nuts but on further investigation discloses it MAY contain ingredients that have been made in a factory that MAY contain traces of nuts… does it or does it not contain traces of nuts? And don’t even get me started on whether or not their definition of nuts includes peanuts, because quite frankly we’ll be going on about that one well into the new year.

  1. Bargaining

Disheartened by our attempts to source safe foods, the bargaining commences. Although not to be confused with allergies, intolerances naturally become something to test your luck with over the festive season. They’re also an easy target for well-meaning yet non-understanding family members, who despite a complete lack of medical education are convinced that food sensitivities simply don’t exist on special occasions. Intolerance maths, if you will, commences: if we don’t even chance a sniff at the dairy for breakfast or lunch, can we risk a teeny tiny chocolate from the selection box? How much harm could it *possibly* do? A valid question, but as anybody in this position will tell you, most likely more than you could imagine. Step away from the Quality Street, friend.

  1. Depression

Let’s face it: there’s no fresh hell like being around the table and watching your loved ones bonding over and luxuriating in delicious festive food, whilst you sit there with a piece of bread that looks like it’s come out of the rear-end of a reindeer and try to be grateful for it. It’s a tough time of year, and it’s absolutely okay to feel a little down about it. If nothing else, know that there will be many others wistfully at the profiteroles with EpiPens in hand too. You’re not alone.

  1. Acceptance

But alas, the good food IS out there. Though non-allergic people may never know our struggles, they’ll also never experience the pure joy of finding a free-from alternative that actually tastes like the thing it’s supposed to. Safe foods are becoming more and more prevalent (particularly in the gluten and dairy free market), and surely it won’t be too long now until we can enjoy safe alternatives to all our favourite festive foods. So stay vigilant, whip out your favourite free-from selection box, and enjoy. You’ve earned this!

flatlay of epipens on top of presents in red wrapping paper, next to red festive candle

Follow:

Donating my hair to the Little Princess Trust

pippa with cropped hair holding locks of cut hair in hands and smiling

Lately, you might have seen my blog post about my hair loss story, and the bizarre turn of events that led to it growing back again, longer than ever. What I didn’t tell you back then was that before that piece was even published, I already had the appointment booked in to get the whole lot chopped off again. Wondering why? Let me tell you. View Post

Follow: