Thursday, 17 August 2017

Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Curve, Leicester

Last week whilst browsing on social media I was lucky enough to come across a blogger invite to the press night of the Curve's young company and community production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Nick Winston:

I've only been to the Curve once before, a long time ago, and I'd actually forgotten how awesome it is there.  It's beautiful from the outside:

And then almost Industrial inside and set out over 3 floors:

What I like about it most though is the actual theatre. There are no bad seats, enough leg room and enough room in the seats for a rather large bottom like mine. As a regular theatre goer, let me tell you that this is almost unheard of. I think the Curve may be my new favourite place!!

Now I'm a real Musicals kinda gal so I wasn't sure how well my uneducated brain would get on with a bit of Shakespeare especially when it was billed as "A Mythpunk World giving classic folklore a modern twist - think Danny Boyle meets Tolkien". Readers let me tell you - It was absolutely incredible!!

Basically (if you don't already know) the story is about love, marriage, games and fantasy, an Enchanted Forest with a Fairy King and Queen and a play within a play. I fairly sure I'm making it sound more complicated than it actually is.

The stage set was fab. Real grass that smelled amazing, moving lights, various media and projections added to it but as usual what made it for me was the costumes and the acting. Everyone that played a main part was brilliant and there was just so much to look at all night. Helena (Lauren Jones) was great especially during the scene where she has both men chasing her, I was really giggling at her expressions:

The Fairy King, Oberon (played by Simon Butler) reminded me of Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages. I was both mesmerised and scared of him at the same time. I saw him outside afterwards and he was still scary. Incredible costume though!!

(Show photography credit - Pamela Raith)

The Fairy Queen was amazing too but I spent all night worried that she was going to tumble off her bed to her death as it was moving around across the stage (it's the Mum in me!!!)

Without a shadow of a doubt though the outstanding star of the night for me was Bottom hilariously played by Alexander Clifford. His Ass had me and the rest of the Curve laughing at almost every scene especially him turning into a donkey. Even writing this post I'm laughing at the memory of his character:

The whole show was a real feast for the eyes and heart and I honestly enjoyed every second of it:

The show is only on until the 20th August but if you get chance you should check it out as it was a great night out. Alternatively keep an eye on their What's On page for future shows.

The Curve is right in the heart of Leicester and has great transport links. I drove and parked at the NCP car park next door which said it would be £16 for 4 hours (gulp!!) However what I discovered last night is that if you pay for the parking at the Curve then it only costs £4.80!! Absolute result!

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Curve Theatre and received a complimentary ticket and programme however all thoughts and opinions are mine. All show photos courtesy of Pamela Raith Photography.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Intu Derby and Bobble Art UK Party

As long time readers of this blog will know, I am a very lucky girl. I have a lovely family, an amazing (if stressful) job and I still get to travel, albeit not as much as I would like. However, most of the time when I'm invited to blogging things I'm too busy with work or caring responsibilities to attend. Luckily when Intu Derby contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if we would like to come along and enjoy their beach and hang out with the gorgeous guys from Bobble Art it was the week that we were off on holiday.

So, on Tuesday, off we went to the beach:

It's open every day from 10am - 4pm during the school holidays however to the disappointment of my kids you have to be under 110cm to enter! It's perfect rainy day fun though and if you're anything like me then at this point of the holidays you'll be needing some kind of inspiration!! There's also a Playmobil area and if you sign up to the kids club (under 7's) you get some free goodies!! Throw in some adventure golf or bowling and you have a full on day out planned safe from the rain!!

So much fun!! We were actually there as guests of Bobble Art:

Like me, you've probably never heard of them but they sell bags, stationery, lunch boxes and some lovely presents for kids as well as arts and crafts stuff. They are a huge Australian company but this is their first store in the UK and their stuff is just lovely. There was no girls or boys split and I wanted to spend a fortune!!

I really liked the stuff for boys but also the way the shop was set up so dinosaurs were naturally in with princess stuff which is exactly the way it should be!!  They even do arts and crafts birthday parties which is what our experience was based on. Considering our group had from babies to 14 year old's in the shape of Chick, they did really well. My guys spent the whole time colouring and making inflatable rockets:

These rockets were so cool. The come in a flat pack so that you can easily colour them and the inflate with a straw into the rocket. They were all really chuffed with the finished product:

There was also a rocket flying competition to see who could get their's the furthest. The winner would get a basket of sweets from The Treat Kitchen so Mr E managed to throw his out of the door of the shop and into the middle of the shopping centre!!

Haha! Could he be any more pleased with himself!!!

Me and Littlest got new tattoo's:

The kids also all got some amazing goodies relevant to their age:

Littlest who is 8 got a dinosaur lunch box, a dinosaur eraser (which he hasn't stopped pulling apart and reassembling in the last 24 hours) and mini logix which is similar to a paper based battleships:

Mr E who is almost 11 got a 3D paper dragon to assemble, a Captain America wallet (which he was thrilled with as he's off to secondary school and needs a wallet for his bus pass etc) and a 6 colour pan which he is finding fascinating!!

I'll do a review of the dragon as he puts it together because it looks amazing!! Obviously, Chick is probably the most difficult to do a goody bag for at 14 but she was thrilled as well. She got a sketch book, stickers and a stamping set none of which I would've chosen but she loved everything. She starts her GCSE's in September so she's going to use the sketch book for her photography course.

Both us and the kids had such a lovely time and they were all really thrilled not only with their rockets but also with the goodies that were chosen for them. If you have children or buy presents for Niece's and Nephews I'd suggest you pay them a visit as they have some really lovely products. We'll definitely be back!

*Thank you so much to Intu Derby and Bobble Art for their hospitality. I have not been paid for this review although were clearly given the amazing Bobble Art products that were stated above. All words, thoughts, views and pictures are mine!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

St Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall

On our way to the Minack Theatre we drove by the turning for St Michaels' Mount and you could see the island from the main road. I know I'm sad but I got properly excited! Our original plan was to head to the Mount on Friday as we knew that it was closed on Saturday but due to the aforementioned car problems we had to change our plans.

If you are heading to the Mount then you do need to check the website for opening times and the times of the tide so you know whether you'll be walking or getting the boat. It's a lovely island but I don't know that I'd want to be stranded there :) We made sure that we got there early enough to walk over when the the tide was out and parked right by the beach at a cost of £5 for the entire day. This was our first view:

The path over to the Mount is quite rocky so my white, battered converse were not my best idea. It was also packed, which I was naively surprised at thinking no one would be interested in going when it was closed.....

As everything was closed we could only have a potter around the harbour but it's a cute place:

The sea is sooooo clear that you can see the fishes:

There was some amazing flora and fauna too. I just loved these succulents:

Unfortunately I only got a couple more shots:

We did go back later that evening though to see if it looked any different with the tide in:

Just gorgeous! I can't wait to go back and explore properly.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall

My OH and I talk about travel a lot and I would say it was one of the first things that we discovered we had in common. For the entirety of the time that I have known him he has told me stories of one of the greatest theatres in the world and how amazing it is, so when we first started discussing a child free weekend in Cornwall we knew it was on our hit list to have a good look around. A couple of weeks before we headed off it was birthday and to my delight he had bought me these:

Eeeeeek! I cannot being to tell you of my excitement as I had been wanting to see an opera for a while. 

We had a few issues upon arrival in Cornwall (our car died *sob*) but luckily enough we managed to get a hire car so that we could actually make our date at the Minack. It is hugely popular and our show was completely sold out. This is the view from the queue looking down at Porthcurno beach:


We did wait for a while to get in but then we were purposely very early. I would say as long as you are there half an hour before the show then you should get an ok seat. We had assumed from the website that we could sit wherever we wanted to but they fill from the front up so you have to  sit wherever they direct you to. 

I would suggest that you go to the loo before you take your seat as it's a long way down depending on where you are sitting. It's also really steep but as it's a cliff face I guess that's not a surprise to most people!! Once we found our seats we did go back to the little cafe to get some food and had one of the best cornish pasties I've ever tasted. Not only were they amazing they were also cheap as chips - not very often you can say that at a great place.

This was the stage: 

Have you ever seen a nicer looking stage in your life?  

Look at that view!! 

We were so incredibly lucky before the show started that we could see dolphins jumping in the distance. I do not have enough superlatives to describe what an amazing experience it was. Apparently it's quite common to see them during a performance. Unfortunately I only had my phone camera with me so I didn't manage to capture any reasonable photos.

The Minack Theatre was hewn out of the cliff face by an amazing lady called Rowena Cade, therefore all of the seats are either solid rock or grass covered but they were actually really comfortable. We did hire seat pads though which were £1 each from the box office, not sure it would have been quite so comfortable if we hadn't.  

The theatre is truly something else:

And our performance of La Traviata was just breathtaking:

Oh my goodness, the final scene had me sobbing like a baby:

Just so incredible. The main characters in the cast were outstanding.

As you can see from the pictures we were incredibly lucky with the weather. I'm not sure that it would have been quite so immense if it was rainy heavily or very windy. Most of the audience though seemed prepared for the weather and you would at least need a warm top and full length trousers. It was beautiful when we were there but it did get chilly towards the end.

There is a visitor centre which is open in the day to have a look around if there are no performances on and you can do a backstage tour which costs about £5 each but unfortunately we missed this due to our car problems. The cafe is also open during the day and if nothing else I would suggest going there just for the views and the pasties. I honestly can't recommend it highly enough to everyone!!