Creating a Happiness List

In light of recent revelations about changes that needed to be made and breaking out of the little bubble I have built for myself, I decided to start by breaking everything down and working out what it was that I actually wanted to do to make those changes in a productive way. 

I was talking to my sister-in-law recently and she suggested creating a Happiness List. It was quite a profound idea – thinking about what it is that creates happiness and actively working towards it. 

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that we are responsible for our own happiness – there is nobody else that knows us as well as we do – and a Happiness List is a great way to take charge and create a personal level of accountability.

I thought I would give it a try…

Image: Ivan Samkov on Pexels

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Breaking Out of the Bubble

At the halfway point of the year I have found myself reflecting on the last six months. At the beginning of January, when everything was feeling fresh and exciting with lots of new possibilities, I set just a single goal. Hitting the ground running I threw myself into making it happen, and so far it has. Unfortunately, the quest to achieve has started to have a detrimental impact in an unexpected way, and so I have decided to make a few changes.

I love my job. Genuinely. I love, love, love it. I get to work with fascinating people, learn new things and don’t have the confines of working for someone else. I don’t have a daily commute, my schedule is my own and I can take time off to suit my own lifestyle.

At least, that’s how it should be. 

Image by Andre Furtado – Pexels

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Press Review: Guys and Dolls at the Alexandra Theatre

 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A fun production for all the family!

Directed by Stephen Duckham, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, Guys and Dolls is the latest production from the BMOS Musical Theatre Company, an amateur performing arts group with members of all ages from across the West Midlands. 

Revered as one of the classics, Guys and Dolls tells the story of Nathan Detroit (Pat Pryce) who needs $1,000 to host a crap game. In an effort to raise the money, he bets gambler Sky Masterson (James Gordanifar) that he can’t take the virtuous Sister Sarah Brown on a date to Havana, Cuba. Meanwhile, Nathan is also being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Miss Adelaide (Jo Smith), who is desperate to get married and settle down…

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An Interview with Patrick Pryce from the BMOS Birmingham Musical Society

BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to The Alexandra stage to bring to life Guys and Dolls, a fantastic and funny musical story of gambling, luck and love under the bright lights of Broadway. I had the opportunity to speak to BMOS member Patrick Pryce who is playing Nathan Detroit.

Tell us more about the show!

Guys and Dolls is the classic 1950’s musical, made famous by the film starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. It’s all about a gangster called Nathan Detroit who is trying to run an illegal crap game for some dodgy characters in New York, and he’s got to find a venue but he needs $1,000 but he’s broke. He’s constantly being chased by his fiancé of 14 years, Adelaide, to get married. He comes up with a scheme to bet a high rolling gambler – Sky Masterson – $1,000 to raise this money that he needs. He bet’s Sky that he can’t take a girl from the Salvation Army, Sergeant Sarah Brown, to Havana in Cuba. The hard-nosed, high-flying Masterson does take her to Havana by tricking her in saying that he will bring some sinners to her prayer meeting, but he falls in love. 

The thing with Guys and Dolls is that the show is hilarious – it’s zany, funny, it’s got all the magic numbers like Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat, Luck Be a Lady, If I Were a Bell, it’s amazing. 

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When the Universe Steps In…

… or, Queen + Adam Lambert, doing too much and getting covid.

At the beginning of May I proclaimed that my goal for the next few months would be to take it easy.

The intentions were good, but I ended up doing the exact opposite. 

That is, until the universe stepped in. 

May and June were filled with lots of positive things and brilliant opportunities. 

Work-wise, it was crazy busy, in a good way. I often find that freelancing is comparable to buses (ie. you wait for one for ages and then three all arrive at once) and this is what happened as soon as I decided to take a bit of a step back – it went nuts. I LOVE what I do it, but it isn’t the work itself that takes the time, it’s the calls, meetings, planning and set up that really sucks the minutes from the day. Admittedly, there was a period of a few weeks where I was worried that I had taken on more than I could handle. I eventually figured out the best way to move forward, got into a routine and it has been much better since, but I’ll be more cautious in the future not to take on that amount all in one go again!

On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was downstairs in the living room watching TV, and I heard The Bloke thundering down the stairs. He rushed into the room, almost yelling:

“Want to go and see Queen and Adam Lambert?” 

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Press Review: 25 Years of Lord of the Dance at The Alexandra Theatre

In 1994 I watched (along with millions of others around the world) as Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and a troop of incredible dancers performed a new take on Irish dancing during the interval show at the Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland. A rare moment where the interval act eclipsed the main show, Riverdance went on to become a worldwide sensation.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance debuted on July 2nd, 1996 and 25 years later, I sat in The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham as the next generation of dancers, singers and instrumentalists (most of who weren’t even born during the original performance) brought Lord of the Dance to life on stage.

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An Interview With Gabriel Paul

Hailed “a gut-busting hit” by the New York TimesThe Play That Goes Wrong is now in its seventh year in the West End and is currently on tour around the UK. Starring as Trevor, I had the honour of chatting with actor Gabriel Paul last week ahead of the show coming to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

How is everything going so far?

It’s been going great – we’ve been selling out! We starting in Bath on April 20th, we have been up to North Wales, back down to South End, and then to Leicester. 

What can the Birmingham audience expect from the The Play That Goes Wrong? 

It’s a play about the Cornley Drama Society who are a bunch of amateur actors and they are putting on a 1920s murder mystery. As the title of the show suggests, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. 

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Press Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

The smash hit West End show is at The Alexandra Theatre this week and The Bloke went along to watch. 

The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone amateur thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

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Press Review: Cluedo at The Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ – laugh-out-loud funny and a joy to watch!

Note: This review is for the UK Tour 2022 of Cluedo.

Was it Miss Scarlet, with the revolver in the dining room, or was it Professor Plum, with the lead pipe in the library?…

Based on the classic detective board game and the hit 1985 film CLUE, the brand new stage play of CLUEDO is on stage at the Alexandra Theatre this week. Directed by Mark Bell, director of the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery, we follow the story of Miss Scarlett (Michelle Collins), Professor Plum (Daniel Casey), Colonel Mustard (Wesley Griffith), Mrs White (Etisyai Philip), Mrs Peacock (Judith Amsenga) and Reverend Green (Tom Babbage) who are mysteriously invited to a country manor by Lord Boddy. Greeted by the butler, Wadsworth (Jean-Luke Worrell), a Boltonian maid with a fake French accent (Laura Kirman) and the cook (Meg Travers), secrets are slowly revealed as people start to be killed off one by one. 

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Taking It Easy

After spending over a week down south, I returned home for a few days and then travelled up north to Manchester.

The main purpose of the trip was to catch up with a group of friends that I have known for nearly 25 years. It has been two years since I last saw them – they were the last social event I had before the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, so I was looking forward to it. 

I was staying with my mum for the weekend and we had a bunch of things planned around it. I was feeling quite smug when I left the house initially due to being somewhat organised for once, only to discover when I arrived that I had forgotten a whole bunch of stuff including socks, make-up and a phone charger. Who forgets to pack socks??? 

Socks quickly acquired, we went for a meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant on the Friday night. We’ve been going there for decades – I remember having my 18th birthday celebration there, I turned 40 last year and I couldn’t count how many meals our family has had there in between. I was delighted to see that one of the staff members, George, who greeted us during our earliest visits, was still there. There is one particular dish – a sharing platter for two – that both mum and I are obsessed with, so instead of ordering a starter and selection of mains we decided to treat ourselves and had one each without mains. It was fabulous – I couldn’t help but laugh with sheer excitement as they were brought out – but I was so full by the end I thought someone would have to roll me to the car afterwards.

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