My Family

My Family

Monday, 31 January 2022

School of Rock – The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham #Review

 School of Rock – The Musical at 

The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham.

Tonight was the opening night and press night of School Of Rock the Musical at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. And, Wow what a night it was! Birmingham was rocking!

This Andrew Lloyd Webber, smash hit, Olivier Award winning West End show comes to Birmingham from today for one week up until Saturday February 5th. Based on the hilarious hit movie, this new musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks to pay the rent by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight A students into a guitar shredding, bass slapping, mind blowing rock band – sensationally performed live by the production’s young actors every night with roof raising energy! It's a high energy masterpiece the whole family will enjoy.

The kids up on that stage tonight were absolutely incredible. Full of energy, full of life and full of talent. They commanded that stage, holding every audience member in the palm of their hands. One of three incredibly talented teams of 12 children will perform live alongside Dewey each night and will stick it to the man when the bell rings for the new school term in September. Each and every one of them doing an amazing job. Rocking that stage proudly.

Jake Sharp is getting the band back together and will lead the cast as Dewey Finn having previously performed the role in the West End. Alex Tomkins will also perform in the role at certain performances. They are joined by Rebecca Lock as Rosalie Mullins, Matthew Rowland as Ned Schneebly and Nadia Violet Johnson as Patty Di Marco.

Jake Sharp was amazing, I don't know how he had so much energy. Jumping around that stage all night long and rocking out to the music. He was so good and so funny too. I loved that this show had great jokes thrown in, real funny stuff and laugh out loud comedy. There was a few 'naughty' words too but all in good taste and totally allowed in Rock School. 

The remaining adult cast comprise Ryan Bearpark, James Bisp, Joanna O'Hare, Samuel Haughton, Tom Hext, Harveen Mann, Richard Morse, Annell Odartey, Amy Oxley, Helena Pipe, Michaela Powell, Richard Vorster and Craig Watson. All of whom were fantastic.

School of Rock - The Musical debuted at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in New York in 2015 and ran for more than three years, picking up four Tony nominations along the way.  It transferred to London in late 2016 and ran for more than three years at the New London Theatre, winning an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. 

For the production’s first UK and Ireland tour, Christopher Key takes the reins as Associate Director, Maria Graciano is Associate choreographer and Musical Supervision is by Matt Smith. Adam Fisher and Stuart Porter complete the team as Associate Sound and Lighting Designers. The UK & Ireland Tour of School of Rock – The Musical is produced by David Ian for Crossroads Live by arrangement with the Really Useful Group.

This show is an absolute delight. The live music fills the room and really gets everyone rocking. I was toe tapping and clapping along throughout and had an amazing time. The kids playing those musical instruments live on that stage really made my night. I felt like a proud mum watching them, and they wasn't even my kids so imagine how they're real patents felt. 

This feel good, feet stomping spectacular is one not to be missed.

School Of Rock - The Musical is only in town for one week only before it'll be moving onto Milton Keynes and all across the UK. Wanna see it? Then check  out the Tour Dates

Disclosure: I attended the Press Night. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

2022 - Valentine's Gifts and Goodies #GiftGuide

 2022 - Valentine's Gifts and Goodies Gift Guide

Valentine's Day 2022 is fast approaching so today I thought I'd show you a few gifts and goodies, I think would make the perfect Valentine's Day gifts for your loved ones this year. 

I have something for the man in your life, lots for the lady in your life and even a gift for the pooch in your life. I was definitely thinking outside of the 'traditional' box this year. 

Let's start with the ladies, of course, as I am a lady and I love Valentine's Day.

The gorgeous Pink Benitas Friendship Bracelet from Boutique Gifts is so pretty. Costing just  £21.99 and fully personalised with the word or name of your choice, this sweet little bracelet would make the perfect 'Friendship' gift. It's available in dusky pink or vibrant royal blue and features a coloured material bracelet, with heavenly polished silver beads and an adorable heart drop charm. Mine has my full name on and I love it . It's just so cute and lovely.

 Also from Boutique Gifts I have the Girlie Letterbox Hamper which is a cute little letterbox hamper packed to the brim with the perfect selection of girlie treats. Again the price is £21.99 so it's very affordable to treat the lady in you life. Maybe your sending a gift because you're far away or simply because you're not there or maybe new to dating so not living together. A letterbox hamper means you don't have to worry about them not being home when it arrives. 

It's Contents include: Oloves Chilli & Garlic Olives.
2 x Monty Bo Jangles Wrap Scrumple Nutty Truffle
Happy Jackson Queen of Awesomeness Chocolate Bar
Fudge Kitchen Classic Chocolate Drinking Fudge
Brodericks Road ROcking Choc Block
Lily O'Brien Petit Indulgence Collection
5 x Super Berries Tea Sachets

If you're girl loves beauty tools then the Magnitone’s PorePatrol skin renewing pore extraction system could be just what she needs. It costs £40 but for the ultimate deep cleanse, blackhead removal, deep pore cleansing and exfoliation to enjoy a cleaner, brighter complexion in minutes. It sure sounds like the best £40 I'd have ever spent. 

Whether your skin is normal, oily or sensitive, the pore extractor has five interchangeable heads and five strength settings. So, you can start at a soft low suction and work your way up to combat congested pores. With its sleek ergonomic design, PorePatrol fits comfortably in your hand and will glide effortlessly across your face to extract dirt, excess oil and impurities.

Talking of beauty treats, LYONSLEAF are a 100% natural, hand made skincare brand made at their family farm in Somerset. I've tried their Body Butter, Beauty Balm and Calendula Cream. All of which smell so good. I love that they're all natural and good for your skin.

ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s Glen Rosa Fig & Ylang Ylang Body Lotion is so lovely. It delivers the decadent scent of fig and ylang ylang with a loveable non greasy and nourishing formula. It's enriched with essential oils, including coconut as well as shea butter and aloe vera for the best possible moisturising properties, providing a luxurious feel on the skin. It's beautifully packaged and beautifully scented, a 200ml lotion costs you £16.00 a bottle.

Moving away from beauty but sticking with good health and fitness, these ProYouth Natural Performance Nutrition bars could make a nice little gift. Costing around £2 a bar, they're definitely a cheap and cheerful kind of kift but could be loved by your fitness buddies. 

For the man in your life, how about a Date Night? Plan the perfect date with an evening or day spent out together with the Date Night Gift Experience Voucher for Two (£59) from BuyaGift

Enjoy being in each other’s company with one of over 2000 experiences available at venues spread across the UK. Savour a delicious meal together at your favourite restaurant, plan a romantic glamping break or enjoy a day of sightseeing break and explore a new city. There's so many options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find the perfect Date Night experience to make new memories and discover your favourite activities to do together in 2022. 

Last but not least in any way, I have a gift for you real love of your life, Your dog. This gorgeous Dog Happy Valentines Hamper from The Laughing Dog is just delightful and sure to bring a smile to your face. You love your four legged friend and they love you too, so what better way to share that love this February than with this ‘pawsome’ hamper! This wonderful doggy gift contains their delicious Fruity Paws, Sleep Tight and Fish’n’Tricks treats, plus a jar to store all those tasty snacks in. Their bakery will also include one of their amazing hand decorated, yoghurt dipped biscuit bones, it’s an oven baked treat that is simply irresistible.

It cost £16 and contains no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. There's no added dairy or soya and everything's made on their family farm in Lincolnshire. 

So there you have it, that''s eight wonderful gift ideas to treat the love of your life this Valentine's Day. What better way to say 'I Love You' than with a thoughtful gift made just for them. We don't do big gifts so everything is £40 and under as that's probably what I'd spend.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone oxo

Disclosure: This gift guide contains gifted items but all opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

CHICAGO The Musical At The Alexandra Theatre #Review

 CHICAGO At The Alexandra Theatre 

Set amidst the razzle dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her bit on the side lover after he threatens to walk out on her one night. Desperate to avoid conviction and hungry for fame, she uses the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, to free herself from prison. She hires Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines and scandalous stories. But will she go free? And will she ever be happy?

This show is filled with big names and huge talents, with international recording artist Sinitta as Mama Morton. TV star Darren Day as Billy Flynn the criminal Lawyer. Leading West End star Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly and Coronation Street star Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart.

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, CHICAGO’s sexy, sassy score includes the show stopping songs we all love: “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango”, and “All That Jazz”.  Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, CHICAGO is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history. And it's here in Birmingham this week only!

Last night was a full house for opening night and press night at The Alexandra Theatre. Excited crowds flocked to see this show, me included. As a total new comer to CHICAGO, having never seen it live before I was totally blown away. The staging was superb, simple but wonderful. The cast were so talented and looked incredible in their costumes. The orchestra played live on stage throughout the whole show even giving us a delightful solo song at the start of the Second Act which I absolutely loved. It was like being in the Jazz Club itself. 

The show is full of surprises, sass and sexyness. It's an absolute delight from start to finish. I really didn't want it to end. I was tapping my toes, clicking my fingers and even singing along in parts too. I love how this show mixes sexxiness with quick witt and classy houmour so smoothly. I loved watching everyone but for me Faye Brookes really stole the show and my heart. She played the part of Roxie Hart so well and really brought her to life on that stage.

'We both reached for the gun' has to be my ultimate favourite song in the show if I had to pick just one as it was just so funny, and I laughed so loud. This scene in Act 1 made me smile so hard from ear to ear. It was just hilarious. Although this scene was my ultimate favourite there were many other great scenes too, they're all great. But to name a few of my other stand out  favourites, of course there's 'All that Jazz', 'Cell Block Tango' and 'Mister Cellophane' too.

CHICAGO is in town at the Alexandra Theatre from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th January. Tickets are very limited as this is an extremely popular show and I can see why. Tickets are still available for most nights this week but do be quick if you'd like to go see this show.

If you can't see it in Birmingham this week, you can check where CHICAGO the Musical Tour is going to be next as it travels the country. The Tour for this year has only just begun.

I had such an amazing time watching CHICAGO and would highly recommend it to everyone I know and even those I don't know. It's an incredible show with an Incredible cast. Go see it!

Disclosure: I attended the Press Night but All Opinions expressed ate 100% my own.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

The Addams Family Live at The Alexandra Theatre #Review

 The Addams Family Live at The Alexandra Theatre 

The Addams Family arrived in Birmingham tonight at the Alexandra Theatre bringing everyone's favourite kooky family back to the stage in this spectacular musical comedy. 

Wednesday Addams is the ultimate princess of darkness and she's all grown up in this story and she's got a shocking secret that only her Daddy, Gomez knows. She's fallen in love with a 'normal' young man from a respectable family and wants to get Married. But with a secret in the box and his beloved wife Morticia in the dark, will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret or not? The two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences.

The fun begins with 'The Game' and then with 'Full Disclosure' it turns into one crazy night.

Join the Addams Family, the hilarious Uncle Fester, the loveable Lurch and the Beineke Family for a heart warming story of love, family and friendships. It's a show full of fun, silliness and jokes, even If I didn't get a few of them myself, but everyone else laughed. 

This talented cast were truly wonderful and brought this story to life. There's singing, there's dancing and there's a whole load of laughing. I had a great time tonight 
as it's always nice to get lost in a show for an hour or two. Live theatre just takes you away, which is just what we need right now. The Addams Family is a different show, but different is good, sometimes. 

For all the fans of the Original Movies, the live Shows or even the Cartoons. The Addams Family is the Kookiest family of all and you've gotta love them - I know I did tonight.

The Addams Family is at the Alexandra Theatre from Tuesday 18 January to Saturday 22 January 2022 if you'd like to go and see it. Tickets are available from just £13. 

The Addams Family is sure to entertain whether you are 12 or 112. It's fun for all the family.

Disclosure: I attended the Press Night of this show. This review is my own opinions. 

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - The Birmingham Hippodrome Pantomime #Review

 Goldilocks and the Three Bears - 

The Birmingham Hippodrome Pantomime

The Birmingham Hippodrome’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a Panto like no other I have ever seen before. Featuring sets and costumes direct from The London Palladium itself.

 Goldilocks and the Three Bears is packed with proper laugh out loud comedy, extraordinary special effects, hair raising stunts and international circus acts. It's amazing!

This fun filled story is all about Dame Betty Barnum (Andrew Ryan) and her daughter Goldilocks (Samantha Dorrance) circus which is under threat from the evil rival circus owner, the Evil Ringmaster (Jason Donovan) but with the help of their madcap circus friends, they’re on an adventure to rescue their Big Top from ruin. Will they succeed? - Oh Yes they Will. 

The star of the show for me was Dame Betty Barnum's son, the Ringmaster who is played by the wonderful Matt 
Slack. He captures the whole audience in the palm of his hands from start to finish with his quick Witt, naughty jokes and amazing talent. The chemistry between the cast was truly wonderful, when they laughed, you laughed. It was so infectious and brilliant.

The actor, singer and much loved personality Jason Donovan makes his pantomime debut as The Evil Ringmaster in Goldilocks and the Three Bears here and he does an amazing job. You'd never know that it was his first time as he's an absolute natural. He's the lovable baddie that every good Panto needs. He has the audience Booing him throughout the whole show as he's mean to his incredible animals. I don't know how they did it but wow, what incredible props they used. He's not all bad though as he also has some really lovable moments that will make you love him too. There's lots of his own songs thrown into the mix which was great to hear and had you singing along with them all. This show has a bit of everything.

There's lots of lovely little nods to Birmingham, some good, some bad, but all hilariously funny. The Three Bears are of course the Three Brummie Bears and there's the delightful Doreen Tipton who plays the Lion Tamer. Both add a nice personal touch to those of us who live in this city of Brum ourselves. And who doesn't love to see a tap dancing bear.

This show is a real spectacular full of dazzling lights, glitter and sparkles. It's also very loud at times but that just added to the fun. I do love a good Circus act and this one didn't disappoint. The Magician did things that I still don't know how he did them, I was utterly amazed - truly.

The Motorbikes in their Sphere act was my favourite by far, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was amazing! All of the acts were fantastic though, I enjoyed every one of them.
You have so many amazing voices and Incredible talent everywhere on that stage. 

It's just what we all need after the past few years, it's 2 hours of pure fun and excitement which I was so happy to sit and get lost in. I really didn't want the show to end.

I have to mention Alexia McIntosh as Candy Floss who has the most wonderful voice too. 

Matt Slack and Jason Donovan worked wonderfully together, their on stage relationship really shone so bright for all to see. Watching them singing and dancing together made my night.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is at the Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday January 30th so there's still plenty of time to grab yourself a ticket and go see the show. Grab your friends, grab your family, grab everyone and go see the Greatest Panto Show in Brum.

Running Time is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, including an interval.

Tickets prices start from £16 and are available HERE

Age guidance: Recommended for children aged 5+ (Younger children can get bored or easily upset by special effects, so they don't admit under 3s or babes in arms to this production)

Disclosure: I attended the Media Night Performance. All the Opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. Photographs are from the Birmingham Hippodrome. 

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre #Review

 Bat Out Of Hell - The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre.

Tonight, the award winning musical Bat Out Of Hell came to town kicking off their amazing Bat Out Of Hell UK Tour. I went along to see their opening show tonight at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre but It's only in town until january 15th so you won't wanna miss this one.

Bringing the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf to life on the stage before you're very eyes. It combines the magic and excitement of a musical with the immense energy of rock ‘n’ roll. It's a masterpiece of fun, excitement, love and music which keeps your toes tapping all the way through. Join Strat, played beautifully by Glenn Adamson, the forever young leader of rebellious gang ‘The Lost’ as he falls in love with Raven, the delightful Martha Kirby, who's the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian, Falco, Rob Fowler.

There's so much going on, on stage but it's a beautiful
 mix of live theatrics and story telling movie screens. It's hard to know what's real life and what's not at times. I loved this energetic  tale of two love stories that are connected throughout. There's the story of young love and the misunderstood and also the story of the older generation's love and how tough it is too.

This wild child musical thunders through all the powerhouse hits including I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Paradise By The Dashboard Light - which is one of my favourites, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, Dead Ringer For Love and Bat Out of Hell, in an exciting over the top theatrical spectacle unlike any other. It's a wonderful show to be enjoyed by all ages.

I loved the staging, as everything worked so perfectly and with all the motorbikes on stage, it was so awesome. There was lots of fire, bangs, glitter and thrills. I had such a fantastic time.

You really feel all the motions when watching this show. There's love, laughs and heartache. Death and Dancing and boy can they dance! The choreography
 is so amazing, as are their voices. The songs are delivered with such power and feeling. I want to watch it all over again.

If you're looking for a night of Rock 'n' Roll magic. Then this is the show for you.

Bat Out Of Hell the Musical is showing now at The Alexandra Theatre and is running up until Saturday January 15th and Ticket prices start from just £13. You can get your Tickets Here

Bat Out Of Hell the Musical has definitely delivered a 5 Star performance in my eyes.

Disclosure: I attended the Bat Out Of Hell Press Night. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

#WIN Cadbury Chocolate Thank You Gift Box

 Win Cadbury Chocolate Thank You Gift Box

Happy New Year Everyone! Welcome to 2022.

I for one and very thankful to be here. It's been a tough year but I'm still here!

I wanted to spread a little 'Thank You' to all of you who are still me, joining me on our blogging journey. I forget to tell you sometimes, but I am very Thankful and appreciate every one of you. Without you, I wouldn't be able to do what I love - so Thank YOU x

To show how Thankful I am, I'm giving away a delicious Cadbury Thank You Gift Box. 

The Gift Box contains:

1 x Cadbury Dairy Milk 200g Bar with Cadbury 'Thank You' sleeve
1 x Cadbury Heroes Carton
1 x Cadbury Dairy Milk
1 x1 x Cadbury Wispa Gold Hazelnut
1 x Cadbury Orange Twirl
1 x Cadbury Flake Bar

To WIN - Simply use the Rafflecopter Form below to complete as many or as few of the entry options as you like. It's completely up to you how many you do but remember, the more entries you do, the more chances you have to win. 1 lucky winner will be chosen at random after it closes on January 31st  - This Giveaway is Open to the UK Only - Good Luck x

This is not a sponsored Giveaway - The Prize is supplied by myself. Terms and Conditions: One winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter App. This Giveaway is only open to the UK. The giveaways ends on January 31st and the Winner is contacted shortly after.

My 2021 - My Worst One for Bad Health Yet...

 My 2021 - My Worst One for Bad Health Yet...

So, this is me. Almost 40 year old me. Hi! Most days I feel fine, like normal not so old me but then I have days where I don't feel like me at all. The past year has been my worst one for bad health yet and I am so glad it's over, but sadly my health problems are far from over. 

Last January I was hospitalised with severe DVT (Blood Clots) which was very scary and because it was 'Unprovoked' meaning they don't know what caused it, I'm now on medication for life. It's not what I wanted but needs must so those tablets are now just another part of my daily life. Just as life was starting to feel more normal, I was hospitalised again in April for a unknown infection which I'm sad to say, is still an ongoing issue, even now, nine months later.

All my blood tests showed abnormal Liver Function levels so the specialists have been keeping an eye on me. My weight is stable now but I'm still 2 stone lighter than I was last year. Tiredness is my main problem, as I struggle most days just to get through to the end. I go to work and then come home and fall asleep on the settee. Staying awake for a whole day is just so hard. I feel awful as most of the time I'm fine but then I have days where I just feel so wiped out. I tend to spend my days off work resting now instead of going out with friends or visiting family and I feel like I'm neglecting everyone but I just don't have the energy.

Anyway, my last blood results still showed up as abnormal so I'm all booked in for an MRI in the next few weeks. I'm hoping that shows something so we can finally see what's wrong with me because if it doesn't, I have to prepare myself for a Liver Biopsy, which is very scary.

To most people I look fine. But I sure don't feel it most days. I don't complain much as I don't want to annoy the people around me so I just pick myself up and keep on going. It's tough.

Plus everyone around me is coming down with the virus so I'm now desperately trying to avoid that so my tests can go ahead. I really need to get the answers I've been looking for.

Here's hoping that 2022 is a healthier year for me and all of you too.

I'll keep you posted x