Healthy Chilli Stew!

Anyone else hating this cold and miserable weather? All’s I want to do is eat utter crap and watch Friends over and over again in my dressing gown. Although this is amazing in terms of my relaxation, it’t not exactly the healthiest diet so I have a few healthy, naughty and filling meals which give my diet a little kick up in the backside it needs. My go to recipe is my chilli stew, its full of flavour and so filling at the same time. Win win!

I got this amazing recipe from Women’s Health Magazine, over the years of making it I’ve adapted it for my own tastes so I’ll link the original recipe above for you guys if you fancy a gander. It’s a vegetarian dish but I promise it can satisfy the fussiest of carnivores.

It takes roughly around 30 mins to cook and around 10 mins to prepare but the ingredients are pretty basic so it doesn’t involve that much prep which is just the ticket after  long day at work and a freezing cold commute home.

Ingredients:
300g Brown Rice
1 litre of Vegetable broth (I use a veggie stock cube)
1 tin of kidney beans (don’t forget to drain them)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 diced red chilli
2 tea spoons of Cumin
2 tea spoons of Chilli Powder or crushed chillies
1 tea spoon of Garlic

Basically, you throw all the ingredients in a pan together and stir well. Cover the pan with a plate or whatever you have in the kitchen to use and leave on a low heat for 30 mins. Don’t forget to stir it occasionally, to stop the rice from sticking to the pan. When the rice is cooked, its ready.

You can, like the original recipe suggests, add a dollop of guacamole on top. However, I’m far too hungry and tired at the end of the day and just fancy digging into the stew!

Let me know if any of you guys have a go at this recipe, I’d love to find out some of your fave healthy winter recipes.

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Mini break in Stratford Upon Avon

I think I should probably  rename this blog, “That time we pretended we had gone back in time to the Tudor times…”

Is it just me that finds the months of January and February really depressing?!

Seriously, I feel as though they are the two months of the year that are the darkest and gloomiest. Who really wants to get out of bed in the cold and dark? Not this girl!

Anyways, since me and the boyf (yeah I just used that abbreviation) both had a week off, we decided we’d throw caution to the wind and book a little UK break somewhere. We decided on Stratford Upon Avon as we it wasn’t too much of a hassle to get to via train and also, because I am a massive Shakespeare lover so it was about time I went  and paid a visit the land the famous writer was from!

With us still doing the house up we were quite strapped for cash so it had to be a real ‘budget break’ in certain ways, so we just booked the good ole Travelodge for our accommodation although next time we pay a visit we will definitely be booking into one of the more gorgeous old fashioned hotels that are scattered all over the centre of the town. In terms, of a good quality cheap and cheerful hotel, Travelodge has everything you could want (and at £60 a night we were laughing), it was only a ten minute walk from the city centre attractions and really close to the shops so it was a win win for us.

On the first day we got there, we had a bit of time to kill before we could check in so we went for a nice long walk along the river and ended up visiting the church were Shakespeare is buried. I discovered two things on this walk, 1, I really didn’t need to bring my walking shoes as Stratford is not as ‘country’ as I thought and 2, Shakespeare was a proper short guy!

In the night we just headed to a cute thatch roofed pub for some good old fashioned pub grub! I tried an open pie, which is a bit like a quiche only fancier and loved it! Gotta try new things you know!

The next day, we decided to be really good tourists and went to check out all the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sites. Of course we had to have brunch first! We went to one of my fave brunchy  restaurants  that we discovered two years ago when we were in Salisbury for Valentines Weekend. It’s called Boston Tea Party, and my ultimate breakfast choice is the Sweetcorn Hash. It’s beaut!

We got the Full Story tickets which were brilliant value for money at £20.25 per adult as it meant we could go see all five of the sites and have still access to go again for the next 12 months. That means another trip to Stratford could be on the cards! 😉

I loved seeing all the historical buildings, they were so dreamy. I really felt like I was back in time, just hanging with Shakespeare and Co! The Birthplace Trust really do look after the sites and are very welcoming to all visitors. I think they do a brilliant job in maintaining the history and home of such a well loved national treasure. It’s so important for future generations aaannd I’ve just realised how preachy I sound so I’m gonna stop the Shakespeare preaching right now!

We did as many of the sites as we could do before they shut. Choosing to end the day at Halls Croft, the home of Shakespeare’s daughter and her doctor husband with a scone and slice of Victoria Sponge. It was bloody lovely! I absolutely loved Hall’s Croft as it was the sort of old country building that had beautiful plants growing on the side of it. It kinda reminded me of Belle’s house in Beauty and The Beast. Damn, I love a place that makes me sing Disney songs.

We decided to leave Anne Hathaway’s Cottage until the last day, thinking it’d be rather nice to do the home of Shakespeare’s true love and where his own love story blossomed on Valentine’s Day, not that we’re an overly romantic couple of anything like that! The cottage had hundreds of years of history and still had a descendant of Shakespeare’s living in it right up until the 1900’s! Afterward, we headed over to the cafe and tried a bowl of Pottage with a Tudor Roll. Pottage is basically boiled veg in a broth and apparently they would have eaten a lot of it back in the day!

To finish our little break we made a stop to the Royal Shakespeare Company and watched their production of Twelfth Night, Adrian Edmondson and Kara Tointon both starred in it and were absolutely fantastic. It was a mixture of funny and sad in places and I personally think it’s a play that shows off all of Shakespeare’s true writing genius.

After that, we headed back on the train home. Both tired and rejuvenated from a lovely few days! As a writer myself, I left feeling truly inspired and motivated for the next stage of my writing career. Now, I just need to finish that bloody script I’m working on!

Disclaimer: This blog was not sponsored or paid for by any third parties. All opinions are my own. 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: A Review

3 billboards

There’s one time of the year when everyone seems to go absolutely mental over drama’s in the film industry, awards season. Usually, I refuse to go see the films that are pinned for Oscar dominance, I tend to find them a bit too pretentious or they end up being a massive disappointment. sorry to be controversial but La La Land just wasn’t my cup of tea! However, awards season does seem to be the one time of the year making a drama actually seems to pay off for producers and investors.

This year I bucked my trend of ditching the Award buzzing films and decided to just give em a go! Starting with the hotly anticipated, Three Billboards…

Three Billboards tells the story of  Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother whose on a mission to find the man guilty of raping and killing her teenage daughter, this film is not for the faint hearted.

Out of frustration with the police department she rents three billboards in order to spark action in the town’s sheriff, Chief Willoughby, played by the fantastic Woody Harrelson. However, instead of motivating, the billboards  anger the townspeople including the sheriff and his racist and homophobic colleague, Jason Dixon.  To complicate matters further, as it’s common knowledge that Sheriff Willoughby is dying from pancreatic cancer the townspeople harass and even threaten Mildred and her depressed son in an effort to get her to take down the billboards, nevertheless, Mildred remains firm and stubborn to her cause which leads to both tragic and comic moments of dramatic perfection.

Three Billboards is the latest cinematic offering from the genius of Martin McDonagh, the same writer/director who brought us the deliciously dark In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012). Just like these two, McDonagh is able to fine tune the balance between comedy and utter tragedy in order to truly get to an audiences gut.

However, Three Billboards is not just an Oscar worthy drama, it’s a film that speaks to the universal mass, its a tale of a Mothers love and how far it stretches, even in this films case, beyond death. As a young female who went through the traumatic experience of losing her own mother, this left a large lump in my throat.

Nevertheless, in true McDonagh style there wasn’t long until I was laughing  at something ridiculous the character had said or done. That’s the gift of McDonagh he offers audiences a truly human cinematic moment with themes in his films that can shock but also inspire and he does this once again with Three…

It speaks of revenge, of how dangerous and damaging the quest for it can be and it manages to blend it effortlessly with the beauty of forgiveness.  It’s a humbling and moving cinematic experience.

In terms of structure, as everything with McDonagh it’s down to a T. The worthy and enjoyable protagonist of Mildred who wants nothing more but to see her daughters’ killer brought to justice is the very beating heart of the film. What could very well become a very stereotypical portrayal of a Southern American town  which cleverly represents the antagonist of this piece actually becomes a lot more vivid and three dimensional. In the end, the film is more of  journey and the ending hits the perfect thematic note.

Overall, if you plan on seeing this in cinemas, I highly recommend you too. Even if you’re not a fan of seemingly low budget drama this film will not disappoint. A true Oscar contender if I ever did see one.

 

 

 

The Truth About A Scriptwriting Masters…

So you want to be a scriptwriter?

Fantastic, good on you. Now the hard part…how do you get into the industry?

For me, I wanted the opportunity of being able to teach Scriptwriting so I decided to do a masters, that way I could get feedback on my own writing each week, meet other writers, have a writing structure and a qualification which meant I could teach. I’m also working in a part time teaching position whilst doing this, working on other writing projects and attending various networking events across the UK such as London Screenwriters Festival to help me break into the industry.

However, something that me when I started the Masters last year was how many of the other writers on my course believed they just had to do the Masters and they would be guaranteed a spot in the industry, a place at the table, blah, blah, blah. They turn up at class every week with their script and get their feedback and then moan that they’ve had no industry opportunities put in their lap. Yes, I understand that they’ve paid a lot of money to do the course (FYI, so have I) but if they want to be in the industry and they want to write then they need to be proactive.

A masters is cute and cushty and great to help with your writing development BUT if you’re going to use the masters as a way to get into the industry DON’T DO IT! save yourself some money and just go on a few writing courses, join a writing group, attend festivals. There are several other and cheaper ways of becoming a great writer.

Believe you and me, your wallet will thank you!

 

Huge News! I’m off interrailing!!!

Hello Everyone!!! First of all, let me say I am so so sorry for making you guys wait for another post for so bloody long! I haven’t been the greatest blogger of late and for that I truly apologise! I think I might have already touched upon my reasons for not blogging in my last post but if it turns out I haven’t and I’m lying like a right porker then I’ll explain again now before I go into the exciting (and titular) news! 

First of all, as you guys know I’ve been studying for a Masters degree in TV and Radio Scriptwriting and my life kinda got taken over by finishing my last assignment of the year. I wasn’t feeling particularly amazing about my writing after getting negative comments off my supervisor for the assignment throughout the entire second semester. That plus the fact I started working as a teacher full time made me so stressed that I probably had a zillion breakdowns a week. I swear I would come home from work and just burst into tears at the prospect of another evening doing work I’d probably fail anyway. Nevertheless, I churned it out night after night (meaning any other form of writing, such as this blog was abandoned) and managed to pass with an amazing grade and some pretty fantastic comments off the very same supervisor who made me feel like shit (I swear one of his comments were “wow, I’m very impressed” and I nearly exploded with happiness!) and then on top of that I had my stand up comedy gigs. Now since my last stand up comedy course in April and the brilliant 7 min set I did, I have done another 2 gigs. One, which went amazingly well and the other, which just makes me want to crawl in a ball. 

The one that I’d rather not talk about was for a national Stand Up Comedy Competition and I had to travel all the way to Leicester for it. Needless to say, my lack of experience in the stand up circuit didn’t do me any favours on that night and I was just a bit like a little fish with loads of sharks. All experience though! 

After that gig, my confidence was a bit gone which is why it took me about two months to even attempt another. I did the Sunday 5 minute slot at Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool and the audiences responded really well to my material. Since the competition I had written an entirely new set and had worked on honing my stage presence. All in all, it was a gig that really helped reenergise my love for stand up and got me back on track for performing so it just shows you that you can’t let a bad thing knock you down you just have to keep trying and carrying on! An attitude I will carry on with from now on! 

Anyways! So that’s basically why I’ve been incognito for the past couple of months! I know it’s a long ramble but I just thought I’d explain to you guys in case you were wondering. And now for the exciting news….I’M OFF TRAVELLING!!! Yay!!! 

I’m so excited for this summer adventure me and my boyfriend have planned (completely last minute might I add). 

After years and years of saying we’d go interrailing together we’re finally fucking doing it! We just thought after the hectic and hard year we’ve had (house decorating, career stuff, family issues, moving) that we deserved a treat and what better way to treat ourselves than with an amazing three weeks in Europe. We’re gonna be staying with Jakes (the boyfriends) family in a villa in Faro, Portugal for the first few days then the plan is to head to Lisbon then travel through Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic and end in Germany! We would’ve loved to have done longer but we have two weddings we need to be back for! 

Also just so you guys know, I plan on blogging it all! 😉 

Love to you all, 

Chelsea xxx

Guys I’m Back! 

Hey guys! 

So I’m back! Sorry it’s been so darn long (haven’t posted anything since April….oopsies!) the last three months have sort of been insane for me. I went full time in my teaching job which took up yonks of my time and then I had my uni assignments to hand in which was so stressful! 

My stand up and writing also took up all my free time as did the various trips away I’ve been on.

Anyways I promise to catch you all up with everything that’s been going on with me with my next couple of blog posts! 

Hope you’ve all had a lovely couple of months! 

Chelsea 

Exploring Liverpool: Ghetto Golf 

Happy Good Friday Everyone! 

I hope you’re all having a beautiful Easter weekend full of eating lots of chocolate! For this edition of my ‘Exploring Liverpool’ blog posts I thought I’d take advantage of all the amazing activity opportunities that Liverpool have on offer in the city centre, some wacky, some more laid back. 

One that really appealed to me was Ghetto Golf. It’s this amazing mini golf course inside an old Brewery warehouse that’s also a bar! You interested yet? 

All the holes are different, uniquely designed and brilliant. This activity is a great laugh with mates and a welcome change from the cinema, normal drinking and even just dinner. I managed to come last but I still had a fantastic evening with my friends. Anyways here’s some pics for you guys to have a looksie over! Also word of warning, some holes were slightly horror movie inspired! 





Ghetto Golf is £10 per person, not including drinks. You must be over 18. For more information: http://www.ghettogolf.co.uk/#overview