NOISE at The Old Rep

From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.

Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading

An Urban Decay Makeover in Selfridges, Birmingham

Urban Decay

Last week I received an email, inviting me to a bespoke Urban Decay makeover at their Selfridges store in Birmingham.

Urban Decay: beautiful products, cruelty free and the primary contributors to my ever-growing make-up collection.

Awesome.

I was advised to attend without any make-up on at all (eek!), so I made sure that I had thoroughly exfoliated and moisturised before my appointment, arriving with my red and windswept face on display in all of its blotchy glory. I was greeted by the manager, Ranjeeta, who then introduced me to my stunningly-gorgeous-with-flawless-skin make-up artist, Sana. Continue reading

Getting Glam for Christmas: Rush Hair Salon

imageParty season is just beginning, and I began mine by attending the launch of the new Rush Salon in Birmingham.

It was my first visit to the salon, but with a deep blue frontage and shiny black floor, it immediately stood out amidst the stores on Martineau Place. I was the first to arrive, so was given a tour by the store manager, Liam, of the beautiful interior, along with the tranquil and beautiful treatment area at the back. There were numerous stations set up ready to cater for individual styles and hair types, along with some lovely snacks and glasses of prosecco. The salon was clean and elegant, the staff were extremely welcoming and friendly and I could immediately feel that it had a great atmosphere as soon as I walked in. Continue reading

The Magic Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens

With the build up to Christmas already happening, The Bloke and I thought that we would start the festivities by attending the launch event of the Magic Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens last week.

This is the first time it is being held in Birmingham, having launched last year in London and is one of three lantern festivals being held across the UK. Celebrating both Chinese culture and Christmas, the installations are set across the 15 acres that the Botanical Gardens offers and promised to be an exciting experience for everyone.

We weren’t disappointed – the official launch was opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, accompanied by an impressive Chinese musical and dance performance, along with beautiful canapés of tempura vegetables, breaded chicken bites, mini hotdogs and cheeseburgers. We were then led outside to enjoy the exhibition for ourselves. Continue reading

Housesitting…

I’m currently sitting on a ridiculously comfy couch in front of the TV at my friend’s beautiful new house. I’ve been given the Wi-Fi password, the Sky remote, money for a takeaway and some mojito lollipops (early birthday present).

This wasn’t a planned visit – my friend and her bloke have had a trip to London booked for a while to celebrate her birthday – but two days ago a couple of scumbags decided that they had nothing better to do than break in and steal thousands of pounds worth of electronics and even worse, sentimental possessions that hold more value than anything money can buy. And, for some reason, my friend’s face cream, just to rub a little salt into the wound.

Assholes. I’m gutted for them both – they have only just moved into the property and it was obvious that they had been deliberately targeted. A month before Christmas. I’m not one to wish pain and suffering on people usually, but may the burglars crotches be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels and their arms be too short to scratch. Let’s hope that karma comes back to get them. Continue reading

The Color Run Birmingham 2016

The Color Run, 2016

The Color Run, 2016

It’s on my Bucket List to take part in a Color Run, and this year I’m lucky enough to be taking part in the NEC Color Run in Birmingham on 20th August 2016.

The Color Run, which is presented by Skittles, is a unique 5km run, celebrating health, happiness and having fun. The thousands of participants start the day in a white t-shirt and get covered in a whole rainbow of colours at each kilometer of the course, culminating in a huge ‘finish festival,’ complete with a mix of DJ’s and ‘Colour Throws.’

It looks like huge fun, and my friend and I will be participating just for the joy of running – I did the Birmingham Half-Marathon last year and raised hundreds of pounds for Dementia UK, but this year I am not specifically fundraising. However, there are a number of people who are taking the opportunity to raise money for worthy causes… Continue reading

Authentic Indian Cuisine at Itihaas, Birmingham

In all honesty, I don’t cope well with spicy food, so aside from the occasional poorly-executed take-away I haven’t had much experience of Indian cuisine.

However, earlier in the week I was invited by East Village PR, along with thirty-four other bloggers, to try the new menu at Itihaas, a prominent Indian restaurant in Birmingham, and I was intrigued.

We were immediately greeted with champagne and a warm welcome, being given the opportunity to mingle and take in the beautiful decor in the Maharaja Suite on the ground floor of the restaurant, during which we sampled an enormous amount of canapes and cocktails. There were Spiced Paprika Tempura Cod with a tomato relish, Deconstructed Mini Potato Cakes with curried chickpeas, yoghurt and mint tamarind chutneys, Smoked Salmon and Goats Cheese in a filo pastry, Chicken Tikka in a Naan Wrap with spicy mayonnaise and green salad, Pastry with Gram Sev, onions, boiled potato and pomegranate and Spiced Lamb Meatballs with mint, coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

Wow.

Continue reading

RENT at The Old Rep

imageI’ve been a huge fan of the music from RENT since my teens, yet have never seen the musical live, so I was ecstatic to receive an invitation for the opening night of RENT at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham.

Directed and choreographed by Michael Neri, with a stellar cast of up-and-coming local talented performers, RENT tells the story of a group of young adults who are struggling to survive in New York’s East Village, dealing with issues of AIDS, drug addiction, homosexuality and homophobia.

The set is cleverly simple, with effective ideas used for projections and lighting to suit the small stage in the theatre, and we were given a lovely welcome by the staff when we arrived.

The cast were incredible, with each giving wonderful individual performances in their own right. In particular, Jessica Singer (Mimi) and Joe Ashman (Mark) commanded the stage throughout and Rhys Owen’s performance of I’ll Cover You (Reprise) in the second half was so inspiring that the audience were compelled to give a standing ovation before the song had even finished. Seasons of Love, the opening of Act 2 (and the song I’d been most looking forward to) also didn’t disappoint, with the harmonies on point and a brilliant top note from Alys Wood. Continue reading

A Morning at The Floating Spa

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Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know how seriously I take my ‘me time,’ so you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to try out a new floatation spa in the Jewellery Quarter at the weekend.

The Floating Spa is the brainchild (and obvious passion) of Naveed Ladha, the owner and manager. It officially opened it’s doors on Saturday, but I was lucky enough to attend the launch party on Friday evening, where I was warmly welcomed and given a tour of the facilities.

It’s a clean, well-designed space. There’s a reception area, a relaxation lounge for use before and after a floatation session (complete with chalkboards to write messages on), a massage room, a chiropractic room, lovely changing facilities and in two specially-designed, private wet-rooms are the floatation pods.

These pods are fantastic (and look rather space-age too!). They’re used as Restricted Environmental Stimulus Therapy (R.E.S.T), allowing the user to float weightlessly. They’re filled with Epsom Salt water, heated to 35.5 degrees to match the skin temperature perfectly, and there are options of lights or darkness (you can completely close the lid of you choose), music or silence during a session. Each experience is unique to every individual – by cutting off the senses and allowing complete relaxation, the mind and body has a chance to de-stress. Continue reading

An Evening at The Chocolate Quarter

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On Wednesday I attended a bloggers event at The Chocolate Quarter, a family-run independent chocolate shop, owned by Jay, Maninder and Kempes in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.

I’ve been to the store before – a few months ago I visited and tested a whole range of products available, and I was excited to share the experience with everyone else. As chocolate is a topic that fits with every niche, there were beauty, lifestyle, food and personal bloggers, all armed with cameras and eager to try the different flavours of offer. I’ve attended a number of food, beauty and lifestyle events before and many follow a similar pattern, but this became, as was explained, an experience, and a fabulous one at that.

Jay spent some time explaining where their chocolate was sourced, asking us to try samples from different parts of the world and allowing the chocolate to melt slowly on the tongue. He then gave a demonstration on how to create our own truffles, which was far more complicated than I expected. We were given melted chocolate in bowls, tempered it to a temperature of 33 degrees, filled the chocolate moulds with a strong caramel, capped and covered them in chocolate, and then coated them with a choice of powdered sugar, coconut or cocoa powder. Yum. I must admit, it was a huge effort on my part not to just stick my whole face in the bowl… Continue reading