I’ve had a lot of firsts for me this year on the blog and now I can add Fringe Theatre to that list.
When someone says Fringe Theatre what do you think?
I literally had no clue what to expect when I was invited along with another theatre lover to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in the Kentish Town area of London to see the production of At Last by Proforca Theatre Company, written by James Lewis and Alexander Knott and directed by David Brady.
The pub itself looks as though it has been quite newly refurbished and was inviting and welcoming inside. The theatre is upstairs and reminded me of my son’s blacked out school drama theatre, so think small and intimate and as a guesstimate there was about 45 of us there last night (give or take a few). So it was a sold out performance.
First of all I want to make it clear that this was my very first time in an escape room ever, so this review is based solely on that one experience rather than a comparison to other escape rooms of other styles.
London Escaped have a couple of different rooms to experience such as the Da Vinci and The Prisoner, but I went with a lovely group of escape room veterans via Love London Pop Ups to give their new Vampire Slayer game a try.
So, as someone who hasn’t been to an escape room before I was literally going in blind with absolutely no clue of what to expect. I knew there would be clues and puzzles to work out and obviously you are under a time pressure to ‘escape’. We were a group of 7 people and for this game they advise between 2-8 people but it can accommodate up to 10 people if necessary and it lasts for 60 minutes. We were there for a 4pm start and at that point in the reception area it wasn’t busy and it was great for a novice like me to get a sneak peek into some of the other rooms.
I was recently invited to attend the new immersive theatre game, The Hunt for the Smoking Caterpillar, by Buck Buck Games in their residency at The Owl and the Hitchhiker pub on Holloway Road, London.
I’ve never really attended anything immersive theatre related, or escape room related before so I literally had no idea what I was walking into, but the Buck Buck Games website describe it as ‘ Our event games and characters combine escape rooms, immersive theatre and murder mystery with fun fuelled challenges’ so I thought I would take my husband along for unique evening out!
The pub itself is a complete hidden treasure in, it’s quirkiness is apparent as soon as you walk in ( it has hairdryers all hanging from the ceiling above the bar!). It has a table tennis table around the back of the bar and there were a group of people playing card games at one of the tables and a couple in one of the booth seating areas playing monopoly……….so not your typical pub in any sense. They have a great menu ( our plan was to eat before we played but unfortunately the traffic was not on our side that evening and we didn’t have enough time) including an extensive vegan selection, and although we didn’t get the chance to eat, the food that was coming out of the kitchen looked very good.
Anyway, on to the games. As we arrived and got a drink we could see more groups turning up and congregating at the bottom of the stairs were the games were advertised.
I’ve certainly been asking myself that for a while now. I’m a mum of 2 boys but they are now 20 and 17 (almost18), finding their own independence, as one is at uni and the other is at 6th form and also working a part time job. I have been married for 24 years and my hubby is a shift worker so that means I now spend the majority of my time alone! Due to my illness and chronic pain I’m no longer able to work a conventional job (I was a driving instructor), but I’m lucky that blogging and running social media accounts can be done in pj’s even on a bad day if necessary.
Yet when the boys where younger my life was busy (illness or not) with after school clubs, kids parties, meeting up with friends in the holidays etc, and although I am still officially a taxi service, a cook and a bank, my life is much more subdued. That in itself gives you time…………………..LOTS of time! Time to ponder and think about your own role in life. Yes I am still a wife and a mum but I am also ME. So, with 48 looming very quickly (and my hubby turning 50 last year!) I am starting to think about my time. How do I want to spend my time now my kids are off doing their own thing most of the time? Read more
This time last week I had the chance to pop along the the new branch of Bella Italia that has opened in Orpington just next to the new cinema complex at The Walnuts centre. I have to admit it has been a few years since I was in a Bella Italia restaurant and so I was interested to see what had changed both in style and menu.
On entering the quirky style decor caught my eye immediately with vibrant colours and fabulous wall art. What did catch my attention was the brilliant use of lots of huge old picture frames painted in bright colours that made up the so called ceiling which you could see much higher up. I also adored the wire framed bulb lights which really suited the style perfectly.
Last week I went along to the Coast To Coast restaurant near Rochester to try out their menu and one of their lovely cocktails. I have never eaten in this chain of restaurants before so I was keen to try out something from their menu.
When we walked in it reminded me of another chain of ‘american grill style’ restaurants, it was nicely laid out with lots of boothed seating and it automatically gave off a lively, fun, easy going feel. We were seated in a circular booth seating area that looked over the restaurant seating area and we could could also see the open style cooking area. It was a Saturday evening so the restaurant was fairly busy but this did not distract from the service we received while we were there.
I will admit the only time I have used a Brewers Fayre is when I have stayed in a Premier Inn and it has been the restaurant attached and each time we have been happy enough with the style of food and the choice offered.
Recently in my local area a new Brewers Fayre has popped up next to a new hotel branch in Bexleyheath and I was lucky enough to get the chance to try out their menu. In general there is a good varied choice of dishes available, but along side that there is a ‘midweek value’ style offer which allows you to get 2 mains off the list for £10.99 with the bonus of 2 starters for £2.50 and 2 desserts for £2.50, with their fizzy soft drinks also offered as a refillable option which offers amazing value when you have teenagers that eat and drink like adults. They also have added some new menu choices under an ‘Autumn range‘ throughout the main menu such as Cock- a – Leekie soup, Chicken and ham pie or even Smoked Haddock Florentine to name a couple.
Well that is exactly what I was hoping for when I went to see the fab Sally Morgan in Dartford last night. I have been wanting to go see her show for a long time now.
For those of you that don’t know, Sally Morgan is a ‘medium’/ ‘psychic’ or whatever you choose to call it. She claims to have had this ‘gift’ as she calls it all her life and recalled stories last night of how neighbour’s would knock on her door and ask her mum to get Sally to look at pictures etc of loved ones who had passed away.
Since my Dad passed away in 2002 it does make you wonder whether there is something else when we leave this place. People need a bit of closure, proof or just something to put your mind at rest.
When we got there I found the very lovely John (her hubby), it was evident this man has a fan club of his very own! All the women wanted their pics taken with him and shamelessly I was no different!
Anyway we popped our photos we had brought into the box and hoped for the best (Sally will pick out pictures on stage during the show to help with messages). I clutched my Dad’s old pocket watch in my hand, something he carried with him ALL the time, and said in my head ‘ Best you bloody show up tonight!’. I will admit that every time Sally said ‘I have a gentleman here’ my heart jumped in my mouth and then when she said another person’s name I did curse a bit under my breath. I know you would hardly believe a lady like me could be capable. I willed and willed and willed.
I sat in amazement how accurate she seemed to be for some of the audience. One woman on the large screen could literally not stop shaking when she talked about her mum and dad who were looking after her son who had passed as a baby! Then the last message had people in tears. Even the best actress could not have played a part better than the recipient. She was visibly shaken when she picked up about her adoption, the fact her birth mother was still alive but her adoptive mother was in spirit, but that there had been a tangle over who was going to adopt her, the birth mother’s sister or her eventual adoptive mum!! Seriously you could not have made it up. The lady was in tears and just managed a gasp every time Sally mentioned another name accurately for her.
Now I am a believer (as you may have gathered) but this was completely random, accurate and just amazing. There were times that she told people that the message was not for them, so it seemed she doesn’t try and make the message fit she will just tell you that she doesn’t think it is for you.
To be honest going to see one of Sally’s shows is like going to a family gathering where the token mad auntie stands up and tells stories before flashing her knickers at the disco!! She is completely down to earth, heart warmingly normal, very funny to the point she can spook herself with what she says! She engages with people with unbelievable ease and talks to you like she has known you for years.
So did I get a message?
No………. *no, sobs into my coffee*- completely disappointed for myself but definitely not in the show.
However, afterwards I was lucky enough to grab a signed copy of her book (and some DVD’s that I will do a giveaway with soon) and get to have a chat with her.
She took the time to sign tickets, programmes or copies of her books depending on what you had ( again no pressure to buy the books etc). She was so easy to chat to and didn’t rush you along but actually seemed interested in what you said. I did mention her lovely hubby John had donated a few bits for the blog she declared:
‘ Oh your one of those ‘Professional Bloggers’…..’
‘Erm….yes of course I am- very professional LOL’
** I would like to say she seems surrounded by a fab family team too. As I was queuing a theatre representative came up to John and asked if he could speed things along to which he got the rely:
‘No I don’t think so, she will go as quickly as she goes- this is all part of the show for her and the fans, so no I don’t think I will tell them they cant talk to her’ – Good For You John!! ( this is obviously why all the women love him)
This is totally what people want, the chance to have a minute or two with her, and to be honest she seemed to be loving chatting to everyone, and with a hubby watching her back as John did I think she will be doing this for a very long time to come.
Now the question is……….How soon can I go again…………*scuttles off to track down tickets*
I will be running a giveaway on the blog in the next week or so with the DVD’s and signed book from the show- so keep a look out.
Check out her website here *****NOT A SPONSORED POST*****
I feel like a real ‘cool’ ‘up to date’ ‘rockin’ sort of mum this week. I can announce I have been to 2 fab concerts in one week- Go Me!!
One was for the fab Robster which you can read here if you missed it. The other was a lot ‘cooler’ as I took my teen to Hyde Park to see Bon Jovi!!! I know I’m still reliving it LOL ( bear in mind I don’t get out much *cough*). This was actually a birthday pressie for him back in April, but of course being 15 he needed a chaperone (that’s my excuse).
Anyway I cannot stand for very long periods of time so was lucky enough to get tickets for the accessible standing area which gave us a BRILLIANT view.
We were literally behind this barrier and this photo was taken with no zoom either. We were actually in part of the very expensive ‘Gold ‘ area which meant a lot more room and view with the thousands of peasants left to bundle inside the park area!!
Sometimes having an affliction can come in very handy.
First up for us was the Kaiser Chiefs who were great and the singer was a really funny guy interacting with the crowd to.
Then it was the turn of the main band- BON JOVI!! Actually I’m not sure who was more excited and I did outscream shout much louder than my son. What are mum’s for after all?
As the evening wore on the light show was amazing too.
We certainly got our money’s worth as they played for around 3 hrs or so, playing all our fav’s……….Raise Your hands, Living on a Prayer, with an amazing rendition of Always in the encore!
We both had a fabulous time, with my son recording lots of his favourite songs on his phone to listen at home. We swayed, danced, sung our little hearts out for a few hours and I was given the seal of approval for being able to get him in an area closer to the stage!! This may be a good thing or not depending on who he has his eye on next LOL………
That was me on Sunday………..at Wembley, watching Robbie but having to endure Ollie Murs first!!! (so NOT a fan).
However, it was worth it to see the Robster in action again ( really I must be too old to be thinking that now as I’m in my *cough* 40’s) I have seen him at reading a few years ago and at Knebworth which was just an amazing day with loads of support bands including Moby who were amazing.
But nevertheless there I was with a few friends screaming like 17 yr old girls ( actually we did have two 17yr old girls with us so not exactly exaggerating).
Our motley crew with me on the left looking far too excited!
Anyway, my view was this:
Which was a fab place to be to see it all. Like I mentioned above I did have to endure Ollie Murs, who the 17yr old girls with had come to see ( madness!) but in all honesty he wasn’t actually that bad, although I had threatened to go to the toilet when he came on LOL
An amazing set!I was quite proud to put the youngsters to shame with my screaming once the Robster came on to the anthem of Let me entertain you!
My throat was sore as we left but it was all worth it.
Then to top it all off we noticed a young guy on the train home with a lanyard and pass in his pocket………turns out he was one of the lighting guys, and he lives at the top of the road! He was great fun and good for a laugh and we did try and reassure him that we wouldn’t stalk him………….WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!!!!!
Bless him he even waved to us as we drove passed the entrance to his flat………………that to me is definitely friend acceptance surely?
Anyway, I’m recovering this week before I head off to Hyde Park with my eldest to see Bon Jovi……….BON JOVI people ( I really must remember that this was his birthday treat and that it wouldn’t be cool for his mother to throw her knickers onto stage while with him!)