Thursday, 27 June 2013

It's all about chocolate .. part 2

So after my fabulous afternoon tea at One Aldwych it was time for me to grab my Golden Ticket and head round the corner to Drury Lane. Here, staged in the newly furbished Theatre Royal is the much loved Roahl Dahl's Charlie & the Chocolate factory. This musical has not been without its problems in preview, but with a ticket for the pre-opening night I had high hopes that all the technical hitches were fixed... I am happy to say they were!
Directed by Sam Mendes, and with a stellar cast including Nigel Planer as Grandpa Joe and Douglas Hodge as the wonderous  Willy Wonka it is a spectacle. With a whole new musical arrangement, don't go expecting a remake of the film with Gene Wilder. What many people forget is that Dahl's books are quite dark ... this is evident in the 1st act which concentrates on Charlie's life at home with his grandparents & parents.. The sets are fabulous and the grandparents dancing in their bed which splits into 4 beds adds some much needed humour in the 1st half. The winners of the  golden tickets are introduced via a large TV screen. Charlie (played by Jack Costello who is a joy) finds the last golden ticket which leads us to met Willy Wonka.

The 2nd act is filled with colour, imagery and fun which is introduced in spades as we meet the Oompa Loompas!... The set designs are fabulous with some clever effects .. Dancing squirrels, shrinking children, chocolate rivers and bursting blueberries.. It's a feast on the senses and a visionary spectacle... Until you are left with one child.. Charlie. As he steps in the glass elevator with Mr Wonka to the strains of Pure Imagination .....Here is a showreel  which includes clips of tap dancing Oompa Loompas and the magical glass elevator.
I loved this show... ignore the negative reviews, this will be huge. The first act is slow & a little dark and there are a couple of songs that don't really add anything to the show BUT this is overshadowed by the 2nd act which is truly fabulous, innovative, and will appeal to the child in all of us.
If you get your hands on a Golden Ticket grab it with both hands and don't swap it for all the chocolate in the world.. A yummy treat for all

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's all about chocolate ... part 1!

For an afternoon tea junkie the thought of combining tea & chocolate together had me clapping my hands together with glee, especially as the collaboration was in conjunction with the opening of the stage musical of Roald Dahls Charlie & the Chocolate factory.
This is exactly what the chefs at One Aldwych have done. It is a feast for the senses, taste buds and a visionary masterpiece... It will appeal to the child in all of us.... especially when trying to guess the flavours of candy floss presented.
Staged in the minimal styling of the Lobby Bar, afternoon tea is presented with all the grandeur and service of most afternoon teas.. with a small twist!... Cheesecake filled chocolate eggs, pear drop candy floss, blueberry brioches and mini bottles of caramel chocolate milk (complete with straw) add to the eclectic tea menu... straight from the wonka inspired kitchens. Here is the full menu.
I opted for the Caramel tea, which was delicious, smelt amazing and was both sweet and refreshing at the same time. Along with the sweet treats the savoury bites just melted in your mouth, the pastry was perfect and the sandwiches delicious.
 Along with the Wonka teas, champagne or Charlie's cocktail was also on offer... This was a concoction of whiskey, champagne, chocolate bitters, grand marnier & grapefruit ... All served up in a chemists flask straight from the Lab!
This was my first time at One Aldwych and would love to return as the team were lovely, very attentive, service impeccable.'( not something I always find when dining for one) atmosphere was really comfortable ... A hidden jem on the corner of Aldwych and The Strand. If you are lucky enough to get a golden ticket to this tea you will not be disappointed... Magical

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pride & Prejudice in the Park.

Friday night, equipped  with a large fleecy blanket, waterproof jacket and a picnic I headed to Regents Park for an evening at the Open Air Theatre This months jaunt was to see my favourite book Pride & Prejudice. Celebrating its 200th birthday what better way than to stage it in its most simplistic form in the open air.
From the opening line "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" the audience heaved a huge sigh and sat back with their blankets to fall in love with Mr Darcy all over again.
Staged in a very simplistic way, with a filligree ironwork Georgian facade, Grand Piano and a revolving circular stage, the play manages to encapsulate the drama and longing that the TV and film adaptions did so well. ( alas no Colin Firth in wet shirt & breeches or Matthew  Mcfayden striding over the heath in his long coat!)

Jennifer Kirby who plays Elizabeth is delightful, especially as this is her first role from drama college. David Oakes plays the dashing Mr Darcy... and as he uttered those immortal words " in vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" you could hear a pin drop in the audience (apart from the birds tweeting & the police sirens!) with all the ladies enthralled!
Jane Asher plays the vile Lady Catherine de Bourgh oozing hauteur from every pore. Mr & Mrs Bennett played by Timothy Walker & Rebecca Lacey give great performances in heir respective roles. My only criticism was of Mr Collins which was less creepy and more comedic that what I imagined and therefore didn't quite work for me.
Overall I loved this play, simple, elegant and beautifully staged....Perfect for a summer evening in the park..especially when you are 200 years old!
Apart from one heavy downpour in the afternoon I was blessed with a lovely evening, perfect for a picnic and admiring the rose garden on route to the theatre.

This theatre is becoming one of my favourite 'summer' treats and I have been blessed with seeing two of my favourite books this year.
The setting is delightful, becoming more enchanted as the night falls.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Lanvin lashes

Working in the best department store in the world it's easy to get a little complacent with everything new and the exclusives that launch, however one beauty launch is getting me a little excited....
I am referring to the Alber Elbez collaboration with Lancôme which launches exclusively at Selfridges on Saturday.
Here  is a preview video of the collection..... So much fun!
Alber is the designer currently behind the Lanvin brand and is a genius... He is renowned for the kooky. In recent years he has collaborated with Claridges  to style their Christmas tree within their foyer and this Christmas was behind the fabulous Disney collaboration with Barney's for their Electric Holiday Christmas windows.
Details Here .. On sale from Saturday.... So cute x

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Reading & Watching ... Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you what had been keeping me entertained on the TV as well as a few programmes grabbing my attention, here's what's kept me entertained on my kindle on my commute through May.
  • The Wish List  - Jane Costello - Emma is rapidly approaching 30 when she discovers a list written at the age of 15 of things to do before she hit the old age! of 30.. Realising that she hasn't really accomplished much she embarks on an adventure to fulfil her wish list before her big birthday arrives... This is a fun romp from start to finish, Emma is 2013's answer to Bridget Jones... I had real laugh out loud moments throughout this....along with some really poignant moments too... A great adventure.
  • Pedigree Mum  - Fiona Gibson - having been a huge fan of Fiona Gibson's previous books I had high hopes with this, and although an enjoyable read I didn't "love" it. A couple of the characters I couldn't warm to, although I completely fell in love with Buddy the dog, who's antics kept me entertained. Kerry the main character was lovely, equally I'm  not sure I would be so accepting of her husbands shenanigans... Even though I didn't live this book it was an enjoyable read, easy, fun read for holidays and escapism.
  • Sowing Secrets  - Trish Ashley - this has been in my to read pile for a while and I picked it out to read on the run up to visiting the Chelsea Flower show... I'm so glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it... Fran married to the 'perfect' man lives an idyllic life in the village, sharing her life with her dottie mum, friends, and beloved daughter... However all is not as rosie as it seems... Daughter embarks on adventure to find her father, mum decides to sell the family foley and a glamorous hunky TV gardener appears on the scene who completely mixes up the flower bed!..Frans life suddenly becomes a little muddled... Loved this book... I am now actively seeking a gardener as gorgeous as Gabriel! 

  • Wish you were here  - Victoria Connelly - Alice leads a life with very little excitement, she loves her father who resides in a care home, works in an office and worries... Stella however her younger, vibrant, sister leads a shallow, selfish life. Blackmailed into accompanying Stella on holiday, Alice embarks on an adventure on the small Greek island of Kethos. Here she meets Milo a yummy Greek gardener , with a wish at the statue of Aphrodite, all sorts of fun begins!.... Having lived in Greece in my 20's living my own 'Shirley Valentine' experience, this book bought back so many lovely memories of smells, foods, sun and fun!... This book is perfect for a summer read, .. A roller coaster of emotions, you will love Milo, loath Stella and completely champion Alice throughout this book.
  • The Perfect Retreat  - Kate Forster - having completely loved The Perfect Location, I couldn't sit to read Kate's next book and I so wasn't disappointed. Willow is the Oscar winning yummy mummy of the London and LA scene, married to a rock star she leads a lovely lifestyle. Kitty is her nanny/right hand girl, completely overlooked and quite often much put upon. Willows life free falls dramatically when her husband leaves her high and dry and saddled with debt. Kitty comes to the rescue and uses her family pile in the West Country to hide the family and escape the prying lenses of the paparazzi... Here Willow learns what's important meets Merrit (Kittys brother)  and films the movie which may change her life. Kitty's life equally becomes an adventure.... I loved this book, it covers so many issues, and has many layers .. It's will keep you enraptured... Full of sex, scandal & intrigue, a real modern day classic.
  • A Cottage by the Sea  - Carole Matthews  - Carole should have shares in the welsh tourist board cottage lets!... I've googled many since reading this book, with a cottage retreat now on my wish list. Ella recovering from loosing her mum, invites her lifelong friends Grace and Flick to spend  a week with her by the sea in her family holiday cottage. Grace accompanied by husband Harry and Flick with her man of the week Noah arrive and a week of, love, friendship, betrayal and loyalty ensnares. This book is more than a chicklit, it covers so many topics and I defy anyone reading this book not to fall a little in love with Noah... Loved it!.. Having 2 lifelong friends I could easily envisage us spending a week in a cottage like this,.. With one proviso that I end up with Noah!;
As you can see May's reads had a garden / retreat theme, which was completely unplanned and it appears that Junes reads are beginning to have a food theme!.. So pop back next month to see what I've been reading & watching in June!... Enjoy x




Thursday, 27 June 2013

It's all about chocolate .. part 2

So after my fabulous afternoon tea at One Aldwych it was time for me to grab my Golden Ticket and head round the corner to Drury Lane. Here, staged in the newly furbished Theatre Royal is the much loved Roahl Dahl's Charlie & the Chocolate factory. This musical has not been without its problems in preview, but with a ticket for the pre-opening night I had high hopes that all the technical hitches were fixed... I am happy to say they were!
Directed by Sam Mendes, and with a stellar cast including Nigel Planer as Grandpa Joe and Douglas Hodge as the wonderous  Willy Wonka it is a spectacle. With a whole new musical arrangement, don't go expecting a remake of the film with Gene Wilder. What many people forget is that Dahl's books are quite dark ... this is evident in the 1st act which concentrates on Charlie's life at home with his grandparents & parents.. The sets are fabulous and the grandparents dancing in their bed which splits into 4 beds adds some much needed humour in the 1st half. The winners of the  golden tickets are introduced via a large TV screen. Charlie (played by Jack Costello who is a joy) finds the last golden ticket which leads us to met Willy Wonka.

The 2nd act is filled with colour, imagery and fun which is introduced in spades as we meet the Oompa Loompas!... The set designs are fabulous with some clever effects .. Dancing squirrels, shrinking children, chocolate rivers and bursting blueberries.. It's a feast on the senses and a visionary spectacle... Until you are left with one child.. Charlie. As he steps in the glass elevator with Mr Wonka to the strains of Pure Imagination .....Here is a showreel  which includes clips of tap dancing Oompa Loompas and the magical glass elevator.
I loved this show... ignore the negative reviews, this will be huge. The first act is slow & a little dark and there are a couple of songs that don't really add anything to the show BUT this is overshadowed by the 2nd act which is truly fabulous, innovative, and will appeal to the child in all of us.
If you get your hands on a Golden Ticket grab it with both hands and don't swap it for all the chocolate in the world.. A yummy treat for all

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's all about chocolate ... part 1!

For an afternoon tea junkie the thought of combining tea & chocolate together had me clapping my hands together with glee, especially as the collaboration was in conjunction with the opening of the stage musical of Roald Dahls Charlie & the Chocolate factory.
This is exactly what the chefs at One Aldwych have done. It is a feast for the senses, taste buds and a visionary masterpiece... It will appeal to the child in all of us.... especially when trying to guess the flavours of candy floss presented.
Staged in the minimal styling of the Lobby Bar, afternoon tea is presented with all the grandeur and service of most afternoon teas.. with a small twist!... Cheesecake filled chocolate eggs, pear drop candy floss, blueberry brioches and mini bottles of caramel chocolate milk (complete with straw) add to the eclectic tea menu... straight from the wonka inspired kitchens. Here is the full menu.
I opted for the Caramel tea, which was delicious, smelt amazing and was both sweet and refreshing at the same time. Along with the sweet treats the savoury bites just melted in your mouth, the pastry was perfect and the sandwiches delicious.
 Along with the Wonka teas, champagne or Charlie's cocktail was also on offer... This was a concoction of whiskey, champagne, chocolate bitters, grand marnier & grapefruit ... All served up in a chemists flask straight from the Lab!
This was my first time at One Aldwych and would love to return as the team were lovely, very attentive, service impeccable.'( not something I always find when dining for one) atmosphere was really comfortable ... A hidden jem on the corner of Aldwych and The Strand. If you are lucky enough to get a golden ticket to this tea you will not be disappointed... Magical

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pride & Prejudice in the Park.

Friday night, equipped  with a large fleecy blanket, waterproof jacket and a picnic I headed to Regents Park for an evening at the Open Air Theatre This months jaunt was to see my favourite book Pride & Prejudice. Celebrating its 200th birthday what better way than to stage it in its most simplistic form in the open air.
From the opening line "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" the audience heaved a huge sigh and sat back with their blankets to fall in love with Mr Darcy all over again.
Staged in a very simplistic way, with a filligree ironwork Georgian facade, Grand Piano and a revolving circular stage, the play manages to encapsulate the drama and longing that the TV and film adaptions did so well. ( alas no Colin Firth in wet shirt & breeches or Matthew  Mcfayden striding over the heath in his long coat!)

Jennifer Kirby who plays Elizabeth is delightful, especially as this is her first role from drama college. David Oakes plays the dashing Mr Darcy... and as he uttered those immortal words " in vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" you could hear a pin drop in the audience (apart from the birds tweeting & the police sirens!) with all the ladies enthralled!
Jane Asher plays the vile Lady Catherine de Bourgh oozing hauteur from every pore. Mr & Mrs Bennett played by Timothy Walker & Rebecca Lacey give great performances in heir respective roles. My only criticism was of Mr Collins which was less creepy and more comedic that what I imagined and therefore didn't quite work for me.
Overall I loved this play, simple, elegant and beautifully staged....Perfect for a summer evening in the park..especially when you are 200 years old!
Apart from one heavy downpour in the afternoon I was blessed with a lovely evening, perfect for a picnic and admiring the rose garden on route to the theatre.

This theatre is becoming one of my favourite 'summer' treats and I have been blessed with seeing two of my favourite books this year.
The setting is delightful, becoming more enchanted as the night falls.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Lanvin lashes

Working in the best department store in the world it's easy to get a little complacent with everything new and the exclusives that launch, however one beauty launch is getting me a little excited....
I am referring to the Alber Elbez collaboration with Lancôme which launches exclusively at Selfridges on Saturday.
Here  is a preview video of the collection..... So much fun!
Alber is the designer currently behind the Lanvin brand and is a genius... He is renowned for the kooky. In recent years he has collaborated with Claridges  to style their Christmas tree within their foyer and this Christmas was behind the fabulous Disney collaboration with Barney's for their Electric Holiday Christmas windows.
Details Here .. On sale from Saturday.... So cute x

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Reading & Watching ... Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you what had been keeping me entertained on the TV as well as a few programmes grabbing my attention, here's what's kept me entertained on my kindle on my commute through May.
  • The Wish List  - Jane Costello - Emma is rapidly approaching 30 when she discovers a list written at the age of 15 of things to do before she hit the old age! of 30.. Realising that she hasn't really accomplished much she embarks on an adventure to fulfil her wish list before her big birthday arrives... This is a fun romp from start to finish, Emma is 2013's answer to Bridget Jones... I had real laugh out loud moments throughout this....along with some really poignant moments too... A great adventure.
  • Pedigree Mum  - Fiona Gibson - having been a huge fan of Fiona Gibson's previous books I had high hopes with this, and although an enjoyable read I didn't "love" it. A couple of the characters I couldn't warm to, although I completely fell in love with Buddy the dog, who's antics kept me entertained. Kerry the main character was lovely, equally I'm  not sure I would be so accepting of her husbands shenanigans... Even though I didn't live this book it was an enjoyable read, easy, fun read for holidays and escapism.
  • Sowing Secrets  - Trish Ashley - this has been in my to read pile for a while and I picked it out to read on the run up to visiting the Chelsea Flower show... I'm so glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it... Fran married to the 'perfect' man lives an idyllic life in the village, sharing her life with her dottie mum, friends, and beloved daughter... However all is not as rosie as it seems... Daughter embarks on adventure to find her father, mum decides to sell the family foley and a glamorous hunky TV gardener appears on the scene who completely mixes up the flower bed!..Frans life suddenly becomes a little muddled... Loved this book... I am now actively seeking a gardener as gorgeous as Gabriel! 

  • Wish you were here  - Victoria Connelly - Alice leads a life with very little excitement, she loves her father who resides in a care home, works in an office and worries... Stella however her younger, vibrant, sister leads a shallow, selfish life. Blackmailed into accompanying Stella on holiday, Alice embarks on an adventure on the small Greek island of Kethos. Here she meets Milo a yummy Greek gardener , with a wish at the statue of Aphrodite, all sorts of fun begins!.... Having lived in Greece in my 20's living my own 'Shirley Valentine' experience, this book bought back so many lovely memories of smells, foods, sun and fun!... This book is perfect for a summer read, .. A roller coaster of emotions, you will love Milo, loath Stella and completely champion Alice throughout this book.
  • The Perfect Retreat  - Kate Forster - having completely loved The Perfect Location, I couldn't sit to read Kate's next book and I so wasn't disappointed. Willow is the Oscar winning yummy mummy of the London and LA scene, married to a rock star she leads a lovely lifestyle. Kitty is her nanny/right hand girl, completely overlooked and quite often much put upon. Willows life free falls dramatically when her husband leaves her high and dry and saddled with debt. Kitty comes to the rescue and uses her family pile in the West Country to hide the family and escape the prying lenses of the paparazzi... Here Willow learns what's important meets Merrit (Kittys brother)  and films the movie which may change her life. Kitty's life equally becomes an adventure.... I loved this book, it covers so many issues, and has many layers .. It's will keep you enraptured... Full of sex, scandal & intrigue, a real modern day classic.
  • A Cottage by the Sea  - Carole Matthews  - Carole should have shares in the welsh tourist board cottage lets!... I've googled many since reading this book, with a cottage retreat now on my wish list. Ella recovering from loosing her mum, invites her lifelong friends Grace and Flick to spend  a week with her by the sea in her family holiday cottage. Grace accompanied by husband Harry and Flick with her man of the week Noah arrive and a week of, love, friendship, betrayal and loyalty ensnares. This book is more than a chicklit, it covers so many topics and I defy anyone reading this book not to fall a little in love with Noah... Loved it!.. Having 2 lifelong friends I could easily envisage us spending a week in a cottage like this,.. With one proviso that I end up with Noah!;
As you can see May's reads had a garden / retreat theme, which was completely unplanned and it appears that Junes reads are beginning to have a food theme!.. So pop back next month to see what I've been reading & watching in June!... Enjoy x