family · fashion · parenting · review

Once Upon A Christmas @ Durham Gala Theatre

Hi All!

With the Christmas season approaching I have actively been looking for festive events to take Eleanor along to. I’m such a huge fan of the whole Christmas season and thoroughly believe that doing fun festive things together in the run up is just as much fun as, if not more fun than the actual day itself. With that in mind my mum booked a few shows for us to go see over Christmas period and I kept my eye open for any other shows that popped up.

One of the shows we had booked up was Snow White at The Gala Theatre in Durham. We chose this because it’s one of Eleanor’s favourite films and I knew she would love it. A few weeks later a blogger opportunity came up for both Snow White but also an under 5’s interactive Christmas show called Once Upon A Christmas. With us already having tickets to Snow White for January, I decided to request tickets for the under 5’s show. I asked for four tickets so we could bring our friends Tina and Albie along as Tina has also been looking for things to do in the lead up to Christmas.

 

So looking back at my outfit choice it probably wasn’t the most practical but I didn’t think I would be sitting on the floor in the front row!

Outfit details –

Mesh top – New Look

Longline Vest – Primark

Cord mini skirt – ASDA

Tights – New Look

Boots – Matalan (not pictured)

I plaited my hair when still wet the night before and brushed it out into soft waves, then I went for a simple make up look using my new HUDA beauty liquid lip from my Glossybox.

We made the drive over to Durham (and spotted llamas on the way!!!) and parked in the Walkergate car park. This was super convenient as the lift brought us out literally across from the theatre and the parking charges aren’t bad at all. We picked up our tickets and headed up two floors to the studio to see the show. The show had just started as we entered (we got a little bit lost in the building) and so we quickly took up a space on the mat.

The story focuses on a mother and son. The mother has a list of things to get through before Christmas and so the son decides to “help” without her knowing. The was some great audience participation with some actions relating to wrapping presents and baking biscuits. We were on the present wrapping side of the room and my little girl picked up the actions super quick. In fact, she still knows all of the actions now.

The son then went on to read a book to highlight the spirit of Christmas. The book was about a woman who owned a toy shop which was failing and only had a few materials left to make toys. Very much alike the story “The Elves And The Shoemaker”, elves came and night time and made toys which sold – thus building the toy store back up to its former glory.

The kids both absolutely loved the show. They’re both a little reserved and don’t tend to join in with interactive things or even with baby groups but they both joined in and had huge smiles. Eleanor loved shouting out to answer the questions and waving at the characters as they came into the audience. It was nice that children were encouraged to go as close as they liked and it was a really relaxed atmosphere.

 

 

On our way our we had to stop for pictures of the Elf Village. It was beautifully decorated and even had a bridge! We loved all the lighting, the snowy areas and the toy shop windows.

Our final stop was on the landing. As an extra little touch there was a couple of child sized tables and chairs set up with festive sheets to colour in. Eleanor and Albie pulled up a chair and made themselves comfortable whilst they did some colouring in.

Thank you so much Durham Gala Theatre for having us. It was such a sweet show which both kids loved (and Eleanor still talks about) and we all thoroughly enjoyed attending. Me, mum and Eleanor will see you in January for Snow White!

Have you been to any shows/pantos? Or are you attending any? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading

Hannah x

 

**Tickets gifted for review purposes, however all opinions are my own**

 

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fashion · music · plus size · review

A night filled with a lorra lorra laughs.

Hi All!

In my post last week, I mentioned I had been in touch with Darlington Hippodrome and had chosen some shows to attend. Last week was the amazing The Full Monty and honestly I didn’t think it could be beaten for enjoyment factor. I was wrong. Fast forward a week and it was time to attend Cilla The Musical which I’ve been so excited to see. As a kid I grew up watching Cilla on my TV – no Saturday night was complete without shows like Blind Date or Surprise! Surprise! As I grew older I discovered that Cilla wasn’t just a warm hearted and down to earth TV Host, she was also an incredible singer. I later watched “Cilla” with Sheridan Smith and was shocked to learn of her humble beginnings in “Scottie Road” and her ties with The Beatles. When I saw Cilla The Musical on the press list I jumped at the chance to go and promptly invited my mum to join me as I know how much of a Cilla fan she is too!

The night came around quickly and soon it was the usual decision of what to wear. My shape has been changing recently and so my wardrobe is getting more and more limited. With the show being set in the 60’s I wanted to reflect the era and went with a checked mini skirt and a flared sleeve  blouse. I bought both items last year in the New Look January sales and I think they both came to around £8 – BARGAIN!

My makeup and hair I kept quite simple. I went for eyeliner only in a dramatic cat eye with a little colour on my lips and a sparkly highlighter. My hair I wore straight (something I rarely do) and down. I had planned to wear it in a slight beehive however my hair was too clean to cooperate and I didn’t particularly want to fill it with hairspray – I’d of only had to wash it again!

I decided to “borrow” Adams coat again as I felt like it went with the outfit, I popped on my new Matalan boots and I was ready to go!

We made the journey there full of excitement and chat about both the show and the actual building. Darlington Hippodrome has recently been renovated and mum was eager to see the changes.

We parked over the road and walked over to the Hippodrome whilst taking in the beauty of the building. Mum was shocked and amazed by the renovations inside and we took a few moments to explore the downstairs before popping up to meet Julian for our tickets.

As well as a similar programme as last time, this time we were provided with a CD with a few songs on from the show. I gave this to my mam to play in her car and honestly I’m sat here wondering how many hundreds of times she’s played it so far.

We slowly made our way to find our seats whilst mum told me about how Darlington Hippodrome used to be and mentioned shows she’d been to previously.

  

Seats found we marvelled at how cool the stage curtain was and picked out our favourite bands whilst we waited in anticipation for the show to start.

The first act started with a bang and honestly the show didn’t lose momentum at any time. Kara Lily Hayworth was just the most incredible Cilla. She had the accent, the voice, the mannerisms. She put on such a brilliant show and we were hooked from the first scene “speaking to the paparazzi” in front of the curtain. The show progressed with some fantastic live music from all the bands, beautiful perfomances from Kara as Cilla and really hilarious scenes. Neil MacDonald as John White was just hilarious and every scene with him was an absolute cracker. I have to mention Andrew Lancel who I recognised straight away as Frank from Corrie. He played Brian Epstein and he really portrayed him so well. He made me laugh, smile but most of all he made my heart ache as he showed Brians closeted homosexuality.

The interval quickly came around and we went for a look around the theatre. I was surprised to see that there was three tiers of seating and fell in love with the Edwardian splendour of the first floor boxes.

We went and got our interval drinks and sat in a quiet spot at the top of the stairs taking in the beauty of the stained glass windows and all the original features.

 

We returned to our seats for the second half and we were gripped all the way till the end. The show is so clever in its use of live music, moving stages and simple scenery to transition scenes and the whole show just flowed effortlessly. Before we knew it, huge letters were coming down from the ceiling to spell out CILLA and everybody was on stage for a finale mashup. We were dancing and clapping along and we were so pleased to see so many other people just dancing and having fun because thats what theatre is about – the enjoyment. At one point I looked to my right and there was an older lady dancing in the aisles and it made me smile even more. The show ended and we were all on our feet for a standing ovation. The atmosphere in the room was electric and I could of honestly stayed for hours more just listening to the live music. The music just blew me away, I knew that there was going to be a lot of talent on the stage but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how much there was!

As we were leaving I spotted the lady dancing in the aisle. I went over to her and told her she was amazing and was my new favourite person. She kissed me on both cheeks and told me it was her 70th birthday. Rose, where ever you may be I hope you had the most fantastic birthday – it looked like you were having a blast!

We drove home on a high, listening to the Cilla CD which took away from the fact it was absolutely bouncing down with rain. I made my way to bed and must of sang myself to sleep with Cilla songs. Even a week later they’re still stuck in my head!

Thank you again Darlington Hippodrome for having me. Cilla was just incredible and I feel so lucky to be one of the people who has been to see such a wonderful show.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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When The Full Monty MEANS The Full Monty.

Hi all!

A few months ago now I got an email from a man named Julian regarding going to review shows at Darlington Hippodrome. As a huge fan of the theatre, of course I instantly replied with my interest. Julian sent me over a few different shows I could request tickets for and my eye was immediately drawn to two. The first one, was The Full Monty. Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Full Monty film because it’s both absolutely hilarious but also touches on deeper storylines such as suicide, joblessness and homosexuality. I requested two tickets, one for myself and one for my friend Tina and we eagerly awaited the day to come.

The day came for us to attend the performance and so I started to get ready. I couldn’t quite decide what to wear but settled on my new dress from Topsy Curvy. I actually won a voucher for Topsy Curvy so I only actually paid £3.50 for the dress – amazing ey?!

I actually ordered a size down in the dress and so I didn’t expect it to actually fit, however when it arrived I couldn’t help but try it on and was pleasantly surprised that it fit.

With it being so reasonably priced I never expected it to look as nice at it did.

I thought it would cling to my tummy and show every lump and bump, however the shape of the dress meant that it flowed over my stomach and tapered back in which made such a lovely silhouette.

I made the decision that I would scrap my original outfit idea and wear my new dress and I was so glad I did. It was super comfy which was perfect for sitting in but also looked really smart. I got so many compliments on social media and felt super confident all night.

I paired the dress with some sock boots with a chunky heel and a pair of tights as it was a cold night!

My hair I kept quite natural and added some sea salt spray to accentuate the natural wave in my hair and for my makeup I decided to try a few products I got in this months Glossybox. I used the STYLondon Palette which was real warm autumnal tones (nothing I’d EVER choose for myself) and the HUDA Beauty liquid lip in shade Girlfriend which I also wouldn’t of chosen for myself – however I really loved both! I felt they really went with the deep green of the dress and felt like the rusty tones on my eyes really made them pop.

As I mentioned, I invited my friend Tina to come along with me. I made the guess that she might like to see the show however I didn’t realise that she was both a huge fan of The Full Monty movie and also Theatre so it was definitely a good guess on my part! Tina picked me up and we drove through the Darlington and found Darlington Hippodrome with ease. Parking was amazing and was literally over the road and through a little walkway and was free after 6- even better. We were both taken back by how beautiful and traditional the Hippodrome looked from the outside and took a moment to admire the stained glass windows and Edwardian architecture. The Hippodrome has been recently restored and they have done a beautiful job which got even more stunning inside.

As we walked into the foyer we were immediately greeted by staff who were so friendly and attentive. All of the staff throughout the venue were so lovely, polite and helpful and it really stuck in our mind all evening. We spotted this poster on the wall of the downstairs bar and then it dawned on us – The Full Monty was in fact going to be the FULL Monty. This made us a little bit giddy, not going to lie!

  

We popped upstairs to meet Julian and collect our tickets and programme, then we settled in with a drink each to flick through the programme and take note of which actors were playing which role. We were pleasantly surprised to see Gary Lucy playing the lead role as well as other recognisable faces from various soaps including Louis Emerick AKA Mick Johnson on Brookside.

We decided to use the loos (and take selfies) and then go find our seats. We were both very pleased to see the toilets were immaculate and found out that “having a look around the facilities” was actually a shared hobby of ours. We probably need to get out more..

We went and found our seats in the Theatre and we were actually blown away. The theatre is so cosy and intimate that you could sit anywhere and feel like you were so close to the show. We were in row K and had a perfect view of the stage without being too close.

We spent the next few moments taking in the beauty of the traditional Edwardian theatre, the detailing, mouldings and the gorgeous ceiling.

 

We chatted excitedly, got comfy and waited for the curtains to open.

The first 60 minutes flew by and it was time for the interview. Julian had kindly arranged drinks for us and they were waiting outside the bar for us to collect. The attention to detail was amazing and the little touch of my blog name on a sign made me feel quite important for a moment!

 

We took the opportunity before we returned to our seats to take some shots in my favourite area of Darlington Hippodrome. The woodwork and tiles were absolutely stunning and we took a few moments to admire them.

We returned to our seats and the last hour flew by whilst we laughed our heads off and got a little bit giddy at the ending. Definitely wasn’t prepared for full frontal nudity when I left the house that leaving but hats off (pardon the pun) to the actors for going for it!

The whole show was amazing. I fell in love with Kai Owen who played Dave and we both really rooted for him. I also loved Andrew Dunn who played Gerald and some of my biggest laughs were at his moments. The whole show flowed effortlessly, it was funny without trying to hard but also emotional at the right moments. All the actors did a brilliant job and even Gary Lucy’s awful Yorkshire accent seemed to add to the humour of the show. The thing that really stood out to me was the staging. As somebody who has studied performing arts and also costume I’ve always been hugely into theatre and the clever transitions just added the extra edge. The best transition was before Gerald’s dance class when the people acting as stage hands danced off. The main set changed smoothly with sliding doors, different “furniture” arrangements and clever lit up signs. It really made a difference to the show and I enjoyed watching the quick changes which were done to different songs – most of which would be on the recently played section of my Spotify.

I would 100% recommend seeing both this show and visiting Darlington Hippodrome. As much as we were gifted the tickets, myself and Tina both agreed that we would of happily paid to see the show because it was so brilliant. We actually looked at where the show was heading next but sadly it wasn’t local – we probably would of went again!

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all the staff at DH who made us feel so welcome and at ease. As a person who struggles with anxiety it can often be quite overwhelming going to events such as this, but everywhere we turned there was a friendly face and somebody who just wanted to help you. To somebody like me, this makes a huge difference. I loved the intimate feeling of the actual theatre too which didn’t make me feel overwhelmed. The other spaces are so light and airy so to me I didn’t feel packed in squashed in with everybody else, this also makes a huge difference to me.

Thank you to Julian for making the arrangements for tickets for us and of course thank you to my beautiful friend Tina for coming along with me. I’ve not laughed as much as we did in a long time and it was truly an incredible night.

I can’t wait to do it all again next week because I’m going with my mum to see Cilla which looks so good!! So watch this space, I’ll make sure to write up about our evening.

Thanks for reading,

Hannah x