Browsing Category


England, travel

Secret Cinema Review: the Grand Budapest Hotel


IMG_8840IMG_8839double 4IMG_8796 IMG_8836 IMG_8876 copy 
double 2 double 1IMG_8870double 3 IMG_8871 IMG_8880


To our most distinguished guests of Big Picture Stuff 

We are delighted for you to join us for the viewing of the prestigious and highly anticipated Grand Budapest Hotel. Of the highest quality and finest service, the Grand Budapest Hotel promises all their guests a splendid and unforgettable visit. A visit which will enlighten, surprise, dazzle and captivate your imaginations and an experience which will linger in your dreams for days after. 

Established in 2007, Secret Cinema is an ultra immersive cultural experience where ‘fiction and reality blur’. A new form of visual representation these ‘live cinema’ events involves audiences losing themselves in serendipitous worlds of imagined environments. At first, I was a bit hesitant as it is a bit out of student budget prices (53.5 pounds) but I am so happy I had made the decision to go.Without giving too much away I would love to share with you five things I loved about the entire experience.

1. The 1930s Dress Code
At each cinema event participants are required to either arrive dressed up or asked to put on costumes when upon entering ‘the secret venue’. Well dressed men in suits, vests and top hats adored the halls of the hotel and beautiful women wearing gloves, gowns and fur coats created a stunning sight to see reflecting a time where vanity exceeded practicality.

2. The Suspense
Upon leading up to the big day, as well as sending you the cinema ticket, The Grand Budapest Hotel, will send you additional information asking you to fill in guest books or bring certain items. We found out that these things were not completely necessary but were beneficial in enhancing your Secret Cinema encounter.

3. The Atmosphere 
Imagine 1930s glamour with the extravagance of the Great Gatsby coupled with the quirkiness of …I felt like I was in a scene from a Disney Movie. So much happiness, joy, and unforgettable experiences as images and scenes from the movie came to life. 

4. The Secrecy (Shh, tell no one) 
When they say Secret Cinema, they are not kidding, this event is presented in the utmost secrecy. The lack of disclosure surrounding the event and it’s details makes it quite an anxious affair for myself and my friends in preparing for the day. Not knowing what to expect, we scored the internet for some form of review or information to no avail. Which I am happily pleased with, as it assisted in creating unsuspecting participants who were pleasantly surprised with everything.

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
And finally the movie itself was so phenomenal. Wes Anderson with his quirky film shots, admiral characters and unassuming film plots has yet again created a visual masterpiece. I found myself, laughing, cringing, sympathising and being on the edge of my seat.

Above are some pics which I took after the event, which feature four stunning people of whom I loved their outfits;

Tariq & Meg

Sarah & Pete

A gown extension which was made by sewing a scarf on the hem of a black dress and a top hat for the lads. These guys really knew how to dress with class and style!

What do you guys think of The Grand Budapest Hotel for those who have seen the movie? Or do you have any unknown or extra special events which you would recommend I check out while being in the UK?




England, travel



IMG_0250IMG_0211IMG_9842 IMG_0254IMG_9876
IMG_0431 copyIMG_9844 IMG_9848 IMG_9931 IMG_9935IMG_9967 copy


Welcome to Edinburgh, the vibrant, vivid and inspiring capital city of Scotland. Home of; Haggis, world class festivals, whiskey and numerous myths and legends, Edinburgh offers a wonderful weekend trip away for families, young couples and students looking for a mini holiday away not too far from home (especially those living in the UK). Vivid architecture and beautiful scenery defines Edinburgh’s landscape, such as the famous Arthur’s Seat, a large hill top peak, which is only a stone’s throw and a mini climb away from the city centre. Additionally Edinburgh Castle is a must see for visitors who are passing through, where one is able to experience the majestic views over the city, hear cannons being fired and view the beauty of the precious crown jewels of Scotland.

Unfortunately we were only there for the weekend, (am planning on going back again at the end of the month!) so there were alot of things that we missed out on seeing, such as the Scottish Highlands, the galleries, Royal Botanical Gardens and so much more. But I managed to see enough to know that I definitely want to come back again and explore this magical city.

Would love to hear if you have any recommended; places, things to do, eat or see when in Edinburgh. I feel like I barely scratched the surface of this amazing place and I’m sure many of you have some great places to share.

And this lovely lady sitting next to me on the castle walls is the adorable Allison, my self confessed selfie partner in crime. Both of us have an extreme enthusiasm for not just photos but; being in photos, posing with things and taking photos, making sure we take a photo of or with everything and having the casual selfie photo here and there. Love it!




Looking forward to hearing your recommendations friends!

And next weekend I’m going to LONDON!

Exciting photos coming up!







England, stories, travel



IMG_7604IMG_7625 IMG_7621 IMG_7643 IMG_7647IMG_7628 IMG_7648IMG_7614 IMG_7592IMG_7649IMG_7651IMG_7630 copy

Beatlemania is a term that originated during the 1960s to describe the intense fan frenzy directed toward the British band The Beatles during the early years of their success. 

Hello from the land of the Queen, Yorkshire pudding (which I am yet to try) and cloudy skies. The other weekend we took a trip to Liverpool as part of a uni trip. Liverpool, home of the Beatles and of a number of great museums and art galleries. Voted one of the top tourist attractions in Liverpool, the Beatles museum was quite a wonderful collection and historical representation of Beatles memorabilia.

As well as admiring the unique relationship that existed between the four of them, I was struck by how The Beatles, as icons, really resonated with the young people of the time, a resonance which remains with people today. I’m sure a number of us either heard Beatles songs as a young child or through our parent’s old records or cassette tapes. It was quite exciting to somewhat relive the moments of Beatlemania; from not having enough money to buy their own guitars, to recording their first hit and to witnessing the moments of mass hysteria of fans in Australia, American or anywhere else in the world.

What struck me the most, was that, these four young lads from Liverpool, changed the world. The Beatles, whether it was through their music or their characters, literally captured the hearts of millions of people, regardless of race, language or background. Initially the underdog, these four young boys were pushed to the top, arguably not just with their own talents, but through the belief and the support of the managers, fans and producers who fell in love with their music.

So, who’s going to be the next world changer?




England, travel

Love Rouge

love rouge

IMG_7544_1IMG_7539 IMG_7547_1 IMG_7553_1IMG_7549IMG_7554IMG_7566


Hello dear friends, I send greetings from lovely England! For those of you who have been following my (Val) life on Facebook or have been talking to my friends or family, I am currently studying six months in Leeds University on exchange. This journey is seriously fulfilling a life long dream of living in the Europe, travelling around the world and experiencing different cultures, people and opportunities.

I’ll post more photos and tell you a bit more about my experience soon, but for now, feast your eyes on the lovely delights of Love Rouge, a quaint cupcake bakery, in the heart of Headingly. We actually came across these beautiful cupcakes when we stumbled upon a vintage second hand market within the corn exchange of leeds (which is one of many of Leed’s beautiful buildings).

The woollen miniature bunting, the cute tea cups and the adorable hundreds and thousands drew me so easily to their treats!

I also wanted to feature this beautiful lady, who was selling the cupcakes. Her hair is just so stunning and gorgeous! Until that moment, I had never wished for blue hair as much as I did then. She was like a spunky, modern day version of the ladies on the old advertisements in the 1950s of curled hair and full skirts.

While I would love to provide free advertising for Love Rouge, they do not have a website as yet. And I don’t believe they would make deliveries to Australia (sorry my friends down under).

Over the next few posts I am pretty keen to let you know a bit more of what it’s been like living here and of my international exchange experience!

And please, please, please feel free to; ask me any questions about my trip, tell me any places you would recommend or get me to take photos of particular places! You are more than welcome to ask whatever you like!

Farewell for now my dears!