Sex & The City Brunch in London

I pulled a Sex & The City style girls brunch in September! It was my very good friends birthday and it was a ‘big’ one so a big girls day out was in order. My lovely friends allowed me to organise the whole day and seen as I had been desperate to try out a bottomless brunch at the fabulous Tanners in Bermondsey  this was my first port of call. Yay!

Tanners offer two sittings of their bottomless brunch at either 11-1 or 2-4 so we opted for the second. After sharing a cheeky ‘magnum’! of Prosecco on the train courtesy of the birthday girl we rocked up at Tanners. The venue is so fab at the top of Bermondsey Street, a now very trendy part of the world and well worth a wander on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for drinks, eats and a gander at all the lovely independent shops plus just round the corner is Maltby Street Market, you can read more about this fab place here.

Anyway back to brunch, by the time we were sat down the whole venue which is just gorgeous and a mix of shabby chic and school room (we were sat on an old gym vault made in to a sofa), was alive and buzzing. The tables are set beautifully with croissants, granola pots and fresh juice to start. Once you’ve settled in you get to choose from one of Tanners signature burgers or signature benedicts and of course your drinking weapon, the staff are attentive and friendly without being intrusive and most importantly keep your prosecco (our choice) flowing. As if that wasn’t enough you also get to choose elderflower jelly or fizzy chocolate pot for dessert, obvs we all went for chocolate!

I genuinely can’t recommend Tanners enough for bottomless brunch for ambiance, food, staff and drink – 10 stars! Plus it’s only £35!!

The rest of our day was filled with posh cocktails.

We started with a table on the terrace of the OXO tower. The views are stunning and if you have a lovely day like we did it really is just lush. You do feel part of the ‘London Set’ lol. Their porn star martinis are to die for and come with a very cute skeleton glass which your shot of prosecco is in. I was actually taken here for my 30th and I’ve always remembered it….

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and even more cocktails at the London Cocktail Club in Covent Garden.

Needless to say we all needed a week to recover 🙂

Where can you recommend for brunch or a girlie day out?

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Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre

I went to see Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week. It is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran who are the team behind well known tv series such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Birds of a Feather to name but a few.

For those of you who don’t know this is the sequel to the well known Dreamboats & Petticoats. I personally hadn’t seen this musical before but it is still touring after having its debut at The Churchill in February 2009! I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know what was happening in the sequel but needless to say I didn’t need to worry as it drops in all the necessary information within the early stages of the play.

The Story

Set in 1962-1963 the story follows on from Laura and Bobby’s musical success some 18 months before but shows them being torn apart by the fact that Laura is more successful as a sole act than Bobby. Bobby rejoins his youth club band and they tour the country looking for musical success.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts UK Tour - credit Darren Bell (6)

The amount of fantastic songs throughout this production is brilliant, I found myself tapping, singing and nodding along to every single one including classics such as, House of the Rising Sun, It’s in his kiss, Twist and shout and more. All the cast have fantastic voices, my favourite being Anna Campkin who plays Donna who’s singing and acting was natural and seamless. Also to note are the saxophone players, Chloe Edwards-Wood and Laura Sillett who play alongside a fantastic Trumpeter Joseph Hardy, this trio worked tirelessly all night with their excellent playing and acting.

Overall

I must admit to find the story line a little ‘loose’ and some of the acting fairly ‘stage school’ but the numerous well known songs, the casts tireless singing and musicality really do make it an enjoyable production.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts is at The Churchill until 10th October. Get your tickets here.

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Mum & Working Finalist!

The judges have spoken! Celebrated, expert business-mums including Jacqueline Gold, Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox have revealed their finalists in the prestigious mumandworking 2015 Awards as supported by babyworld.co.uk – and I’m amongst them!

This exciting awards programme celebrates the champions of flexible working – showcasing those businesses, associations and individuals (mums and dads!) who are demonstrating how a fulfilling career can be balanced with modern-day family life – enjoying and managing parenting and working – together.

The awards will be held at RBS, 280 Bishopsgate – in the business hub in the City of London – today and are judged both by public vote and by an impressive panel of judges – leading business women and mums who understand all too well the challenges and the rewards of juggling work and being there for your family.

VIP speakers also include Annabel Karmel MBE and Caprice Bourret.

My first category is ‘Flexible Employee of the Year’ and this category is here to ‘demonstrate how flexible employment can bring out the best in individuals for the benefit of their employers, families and customers’. Many working mums already know that we give 110% through our work as many of us feel we have more to prove than others to retain our jobs.

I’m super thankful that I work for such a great company, RIG Healthcare, who have supported me since becoming a mum and enabled me to change my career direction from a sales person to a marketing executive. They ensured I got the right training by sending me on insightful courses and then sponsored me to achieve my Diploma in Digital Marketing from the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Many Mum’s choose different paths but for me I couldn’t not work, don’t get me wrong I take my hat off to all you SAHM’s but for me that’s even more hard work than holding down a job! It might be a mad rush in our house, it might not always be sparkling and I might not do as much crafts and outings with my kids as others do but I appreciate the time I have with my them and also feel that I retain some of my own identity outside of being a mum.

I had no idea that I was in a second category ‘Working Parent Blogger of the Year’, I’m up against stiff competition here inc the lovely and gorgeous Vicky from Honest Mum plus many more!

So wish me luck and Good Luck to all my fellow nominees today! I’ll fill you in on what promises to be a fab afternoon soon!

http://www.mumandworking.co.uk/2015/awardsfinalists

 

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What a great time in Memphis! (the Musical!)

I went to see Memphis the musical last week and all I can say is AMAZEBALLS!

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An all singing, all dancing, quality London hit Musical I haven’t stopped raving about it to anyone who will listen to me..! I’ll stop you now if you’re thinking it’s a musical about Elvis – it’s not. The brief synopsis is about a love story between an underground black singer, Felicia, and a white DJ, Huey, who wants to help her get a record deal and promote ‘black’ ‘r n b’ to the masses on the middle of the radio dial.

Set in the 1950’s when segregation was still in full swing in America it touches on many poignant issues with racism, coloured people not being able to have high class jobs, coloured music that isn’t allowed to be on mainstream radio, mixed race relationships being illegal,  Felicia and Huey both getting beaten up because they are seen out in public together,all of which, for me who has a black partner and mixed race children is unimaginable.

The story gives a great base to some AMAZING singing and dancing, I literally was blown away and forced into the back of my seats with the quality of these actor and actresses voices and moves! Usually starring Beverley Knight as Felicia I was quite disappointed to find out that her understudy was covering on the night we attended but I had no reason to be. Rachel John’s voice and acting was fantastic and I had no reason to thing that she shouldn’t/couldn’t do this role every single night. Playing the lead male Huey was Matt Cardle, winner of the X-Factor. I must admit to having some reservations about whether the lovely Matt could pull it off but I’m pleased to say I think he did really well. I loved him on X-Factor and so it was a treat to see him live, his voice isn’t a traditional theatre power house voice but he hit some great notes, sang all the songs beautifully and I really bought into his character.

The whole cast were fantastic, the danced and sang for their lives throughout the whole performance and probably all deserve a mention however Huey’s mother Gladys played by Claire Machin had my partner and I in stitches. She really stand out in her portrayal of a hard nosed irish/american catholic white mother. Her comedic timing and intentionally ‘bad’ dancing was brilliant.

The atmosphere here is hard to describe, at times I had goose bumps, at others I had tears in my eyes and through most of it I just wanted to get up and dance!

I highly recommend this musical and am sure you will love it as much as I do, so get yourself to the Shaftesbury Theatre now before it finishes in October!

Find out more Memphis the Musical Tickets

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East is East at the Theatre

L-R Pauline McLynn (Ella Khan) &  Sally Bankes (Antie Annie) - East is East UK Tour - Photo By Marc Brenner  (474)

Last night I had the pleasure in seeing East is East at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley whilst on its UK tour. Currently starring Simon Nagra and  Pauline McLynn (known for playing Mrs Doyle in Father Ted amongst other award winning roles)

For those of you that haven’t seen the film this is a story written by Ayub Khan Din set in 1971 in Salford about a family headed by George, a Pakastani immigrant who is married to an English woman, Ella, played by Pauline McLynn and hosts a family of seven children. The over ruling line of the story is George ‘Gengis’ trying to give his children a Pakastani and Muslim upbringing in the ever changing age of the 70’s in Manchester, anyone who doesn’t comply is ousted and considered ‘dead’ by George. His wife is conflicted between the love and protection of her children and the love for her husband.

The story is a poignant one which must ring true with many families even today still trying to encourage traditional family and religious values and struggling but there is plenty of laughs to be had with the various ‘bastard’ ‘idiot’ ‘stupid’ lines that come from both Ella and George. The siblings are brilliant actors and actresses portraying perfectly the love for their family but the conflicting relationships that the situation brings. Auntie Annie played by Sally Bankes was the jewel in the crown for me, she completely represented the hard up Mancunian persona and with her well timed wit and humour made me warm to her completely.

Highly recommended for some thought provoking points and a good laugh.

Find out more and book here : http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/east-is-east/the-churchill-theatre-bromley/

Top Hat The Musical Review

I had the pleasure of going to see the triple Olivier award winning show Top Hat at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week.

I adore musicals and this really doesn’t fail to impress with some truly amazing costumes (apparantly in excess of 200!), sets, dancing and singing.

Top Hat tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont. Played by Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch respectively, these two were paired beautifully and were superb.

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The script is witty and had me laughing out loud throughout the performance, watch out for the hilarious butler, Bates played by John Conroy and Alberto Beddini played by Sebastien Torkia who remind me strongly of Manwell from Fawlty Towers. The songs include Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz and had me singing along all through the show!

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There were many times when I wanted to jump up and dance along. I really can’t tell you how magical the whole night was in words, I was really stunned at the quality of acting, stunning dancing and brilliant set changes.

This is not to be missed, wherever and whenever you have the chance to see it.

Would you consider the theatre for a night out?

Are you an avid theatre goer?

I must admit the truth and tell you I haven’t been to a proper grown up play for aaaaaaaaaaaages.

I did take Z to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea last summer as part of the Kids Week in the West End where kids go free and both he and I loved it.

Living in Bromley we have The Churchill Theatre on our doorstep and I don’t know about you but I wasn’t aware of all the fab plays they have there across this year which span from musicals to stand up to intense intellectual productions.

Talking of intense productions. I had the honour of attending the premier (at The Churchill!) of The History Boys by Alan Bennett, voted ‘the nations favorite play’ last year and winning endless awards it was one I was excited to see.History Boys-202

Overview

For those of you don’t know The History Boys is a comic drama which covers the summer after A-Levels where a group of boys stay on in the classroom to be preened for Oxbridge exams. It’s set in the 80’s and some may find it a little on or behind the line as it represents what happened in certain schools and places in that time period where headteachers may of turned a blind eye….

It’s a thoughtful story of the time which covers comradery, not only with the boys but with their teachers, and gives you an insight into intellectual learning where it meant more to teach life than just a curriculum.

The director Kate Saxon notes, ‘the play does not present realism…their take on sexuality too liberal for the time. There is no bullying in the group…by freeing itself of realism the play is able to take a microcosm of the time and place and allow us to see relevancies that stretch far beyond it.’

Atmosphere

The theatre was packed! Considering it was a Monday evening this wasn’t something I expected and the bar was buzzy in the interval. It may not be something you immediately think of for a night out but an early dinner, good play, few drinks before, in the interval and after it offers it all really!

The Play

It had me listening intently at times, honestly, trying to keep up, it had me feeling sad and feeling happy. Evoking emotions like a rollercoaster and it made me realise that a lot of the olden days in teaching had a magical quality to them regarding the passion of old school teachers. The team of school boys bounced off one another easily and the play ran through perfectly. Hector (played by Richard Prior) managed to endear himself to me even though he was the one person acting inappropriately…

As is quoted again by the director ‘Bennet helps us along; the lessons are far reaching. Not only do they cover life, love and death, the extra-curricular lessons are equally enlightening.’

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The History Boys runs until Saturday 2nd May at The Churchill Theatre. Find out more and book your tickets here PLUS quote ‘HISTORYPACKAGE’ and receive a Band A seat, program and drink for £25.

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Champagne Afternoon Tea Anyone?

Days out for Mummy & Daddy are important now and again to help you reconnect with your partner and remember that you do have your own personalities.

Recently the other half and I had a gorgeous day out at Vertigo 42 in London. It was a christmas present bought for us by the ‘kids’ (very generously 🙂 )

Food

Lovely range of sandwiches including salmon, ham and cucumber.

Two cakes each, one a chocolate caramel and the other a lush passion fruit number.

A scone with clotted cream and jam.

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Drinks

A glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne and some Earl Grey for me.

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Overview

A circular venue with AMAZING 360 views of London, we were lucky with a spectacularly sunny Spring day so you could see for miles. The staff were attentive but not intrusive. One tip I received from my Mum who had been the week before was to ask for your tea when they deliver your champagne so you have it with your food.

This was bought on a voucher offer and for £30 for two was stunning value. Afterwards a wander round the City and a couple of drinks in Leaden hall Market which was bustling with the after work crew made it a lovely day out.

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Mummy’s Gin Day Out

So I took some time out this weekend for myself. Yes, just me and my lovely friend Regan from What I Ate Last Night and NO kids!!

It was lush! I love my kids as much as the next person but a day trip out without them is a very rare occasion so I was excited all week! If you fancy somewhere funky and original and you’re in or around London then Ropewalk in Bermondsey is where to head. There are some lovely pubs, restaurants and quaint shops on Bermondsey Street worth a look too. So after a stroll down there we headed into Ropewalk.

After a wander past the gorgeous stalls which sell handmade produce including some spicy beef jerky, Bad Brownies, gorgeous breads and much more we headed straight to Montys Deli for the infamous Salt beef sandwich. Monty’s has moved into a big arch now so don’t be put off walking through a tiny door and in past all the ovens etc. We had to wait as it was so busy but it was well worth it!

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We obviously needed a drink to go with our sandwich so carried it out to the Little Bird Gin arch. One of my favs. Seated outside in the cold we managed to purloin some blankets and a hot water bottle and ordered a rhubarb gin fizz and a bloody mary. Watch out for the latter it is particularly spicy 🙂 We tried a warm negroni and a breakfast Martini after these which were both amazing. I was tempted to top up my empty bottle of Little Bird at home but having gone up to £30 a bottle I’ll just have to hope Santa brings one!

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The next stop on our free mummy trip was Bar Tozino. This place is open till 10 ish whereas the rest of the market packs up about 4 and trust me when I say it genuinely feels like you are stepping in to a little piece of Spain in the middle of London. There are hanging serrano hams, olives, prawns, octopus and more (yuk loved by Regan!) and a dish I have replicated a number of times at home, do it yourself garlic bread.

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You simply pour on some oil, rub in the garlic, put on some tomatoes and top off with course salt. All this was joined by one sweet sherry and one dry sherry. I can categorically now say I don’t like sherry! haha! So poor Regan had to drink them both whilst I got a lovely spanish beer instead 🙂

A trip to Maltby Street wouldn’t be complete without some takeaways so we returned home laden with fresh olive foccacia bread, a tub of ‘raping olives’ from Tozino (you’ll have to go and try some to find out what that’s about!) and a Salted Caramel Brownie from the Bad Brownie company. Yummy Yummy!

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Blogfest : lonely or friendly ?

So interesting reading a lot of #blogfest posts which gives a range of different points of view. This was my first bloggers conference and I went on my own. I had fancied going but having been relatively new to the blogging community and not having £95 spare I had to rule it out but then I was super lucky and won a ticket the week before.IMG_4727

I won’t write an in depth post about the sessions as plenty far better writers have already done this so you can catch up with them instead. My overview of the day was that I was glad I went as although I was super nervous I had a stern talking to myself and walked in with bags of courage fired up to talk to people I recognised.

I managed to introduce myself to Aby and Em from You Baby Me Mummy and Snowing Indoors, Katy and Jenna from whatkatysaid and tiny footsteps – Are you sensing a theme? These guys are all linkup hosts. You feel you know people better when you are interacting regularly. Although I entered the sessions by myself a lot of the bloggers I sat next to, behind etc chatted away. I read someone’s post who said the lunch hour dragged and they ended up stood in the corner by themselves – perhaps Mumsnet ought to have a first time blogger meet corner to give the first timers/new bloggers/single bloggers a meet point and a bit of comfort?

I enjoyed walking round the sponsors, had a good chat with the Coca-Cola guys who were all super friendly and knowledgable and had a gorgeous stand!IMG_4719

I bumped in to Katy from Hurrahfor gin and Katy from ehbahmum (who was super brave being on stage for one of the sessions) and Stephie from Dontbuyherflowers – all by the mulled wine stand I might add 😉

I must fess up to leaving early and not seeing the keynote as I had to get back for my sons first ever fireworks display but I was glad I went. Would I say all the sessions were great? Probably not, some were a bit yawn fest but then others found them profound so it really does depend on your thing. My favourite was the how to find your funny as it had  my favs Rebecca Front and Arabella Weir and introduced me to Katy (above eh bah mum), Jon Ronson and Elaine Miller from GussieGrips but I didn’t come away with loads of new ideas I just enjoyed it.

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There was no knocking the amazing goodie bag which was full to the brim. So the question is would I go again? Right now Im not sure. From a networking opportunity yes, from a content of the sessions point of view Im not so sure…

Ask me again next year!

 

 

Super Busy Mum