Posts with the label lifestyle
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

Sunday 16 June 2024

Fun Things to do this Summer in London | Festivals, Food, Theatre and More...


Summer in London is always brimming with vibrant events and 2024 is no exception. Whether you're a music lover, theatre enthusiast, or just looking for a fun day out, there's something for everyone. Here's a roundup of some must-see events happening in the city this summer.

Taste of London Festival: From 12th-16th June the Taste of London festival is back at Regent’s Park, featuring top chefs, interactive workshops, and a variety of gourmet delights. This event is perfect for those looking to explore the culinary scene and try new dishes from some of the best restaurants in the city.

BST Hyde Park: BST Hyde Park is back and bigger than ever. This year's lineup is stellar, featuring Robbie Williams, Andrea Bocelli, Kylie Minogue, and Stevie Nicks among others. The festival promises not just incredible music but also gourmet food, drinks, and a posh VIP area for those looking to splurge a bit. It's happening across weekends in June and July, so mark your calendars!

Somerset House Summer Series: From July 11-21, Somerset House will host its Summer Series, offering a magical experience in the heart of the city. Expect performances from Pip Millett, Corinne Bailey Rae, and legend Patti Smith, among others. This series is known for its eclectic mix of artists and intimate setting in the iconic courtyard. A perfect summer outing!

Kaleidoscope Festival: Taking place on July 13 at Alexandra Palace, the Kaleidoscope Festival is a treat for those who love a mix of music and more. The lineup includes Soul II Soul, Ministry of Sound Classical, and Erol Alkan. Beyond the music, enjoy comedy, science workshops, and acrobatics. It's a festival that truly lives up to its name and offers a colourful array, suitable for every interest.

Wireless Festival: From July 12-14, Finsbury Park will be buzzing with the sounds of Wireless Festival. With headliners like Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, and 21 Savage, it's a haven for hip-hop, R&B, and grime fans. Expect high energy, massive production, and plenty of surprises.

Mean Girls the Musical: Running until October 27, Mean Girls is finally in the West End. This adaptation of the classic film by Tina Fey is just as hilarious and entertaining. It's a must-see for fans of the movie and anyone looking for a good laugh. We loved it on Broadway!

Kew the Music: Kew Gardens will be hosting its annual Kew the Music series from July 9-14. This year's lineup includes fantastic artists like MIKA, JLS, and Beverly Knight. Enjoy an evening of great music in the beautiful setting of Kew Gardens. Bring a picnic or indulge in the delicious food and drink stalls on offer.

Zoo Nights at ZSL London Zoo: For something a bit different, check out Zoo Nights at ZSL London Zoo, running until July 26. Enjoy live music, street food, and after-hours tours of the zoo. It's a unique way to experience the zoo and learn about its nocturnal inhabitants.

Hampton Court Palace Festival: Just outside London, the Hampton Court Palace Festival from June 11-22 offers an enchanting setting and a fantastic lineup, including Tom Jones, Sam Ryder, and Paloma Faith. With the historic palace as a backdrop, it's a concert experience like no other.

Battersea Park in Concert: This August, Battersea Park will transform into an open-air concert venue featuring classical (Proms in the Park), West End (A Night at the Musicals), and jazz music (Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra). Perfect for a summer evening, attendees can enjoy live music while indulging in delicious food and drink​.

London's summer calendar is packed with incredible events that cater to all tastes. Whether you're into music, theatre, or unique experiences, you'll find plenty to enjoy in the city this summer. So, grab your tickets and get ready for an unforgettable season!

If you have an event happening between June and August that you'd like added, just send us an email, we'll be updating this post throughout the Summer.

Fun Things to do this Summer in London | Festivals, Food, Theatre and More...

Sunday 16 June 2024

Friday 17 November 2023

Sammy Rae and the Friends at the Hammersmith Apollo Review: A Theatrical, Musical Masterclass


Sammy Rae and the Friends
Hammersmith Apollo 

Sammy Rae and the Friends took over the Eventim Apollo last night for the London stop on their Camp Tour and what a glorious night it was. Under the magnetic leadership of vocalist and songwriter Samantha Rae Bowers, the Brooklyn-based septet dazzled the audience with impeccable vocals, riffs and infectious enthusiasm. Their unique blend of jazz, funk and folk with a dash of theatre kid for good measure created an electrically warm atmosphere and made the venue feel like it was hosting one big party.

From the get go it's Sammy's utterly magnetic presence which draws you in. Her infectious energy creates an almost instantaneous connection with the audience that continues throughout and provides the ingredients for a really special night. Whether belting out stellar vocals (that sound just as good if not better than on the albums), laying on the stage or bantering with the audience, Sammy Rae proves to be an outstandingly charismatic band leader, who knows how to command a stage.

The Friends, the ridiculously talented ensemble of musicians who accompany the show are as good as it gets. They each get moments to shine and showcase their musical skills which are universally outstanding, and alongside that they get to show their chemistry with one another. The whole group seem to be having the time of their lives on stage, creating a bubbling vibe which reaches into the audience and pulls us into the fold. Positivity is the heartbeat of this group and it's joyous to behold.

The setlist provided a great mix of familiar favourites including Talk it Up and Jackie Onassis as well as some sneak peeks at tracks from their upcoming album. Particularly moving was the soon to be released David, which focusses on men's mental health and is incredibly beautiful and poignant. There were also a couple of covers, with Abba's Lay All Your Love on Me proving a real audience favourite. Throughout, Sammy Rae and Friends effortlessly transitioned between vocal styles and genres, going from calmer more soulful pieces to the exuberant high-octane numbers. The diverse repertoire continually showcased the band's musical aptitude and versatility.

Alongside expert musicianship, the evening was truly a celebration of community, as fostered by the group and the infectious, frivolous atmosphere they crafted. Whilst the songs explore a lot of serious themes, the group maintain a carefree persona and invite the audience to enjoy the moment and celebrate the good things life has to offer.

The Camp tour isn't anchored around a specific album so the evening was a great chance to revel in the signature hits, whilst becoming excited for what's next in the Sammy Rae discography. The combination of Sammy Rae's magnetic stage presence, the exceptional talent of the Friends, a thoughtfully curated setlist and a welcoming crowd, affirmed the group as a formidable force in the music industry and made a promise that we'll be seeing and hearing much more of them. They certainly earned their badges for riffing, raving and raising the roof!

★★★★
Reviewed on Thursday 16th November 2023 by Olivia
Photo Credit: Mia Isabella Photography

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Sammy Rae and the Friends at the Hammersmith Apollo Review: A Theatrical, Musical Masterclass

Friday 17 November 2023

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Give the Gift of Theatre with London Box Office | ad



*This post contains sponsored content*

With the holidays just around the corner and the frenzy of gift shopping kicking in, now's the perfect time to find some fantastic deals and savings. If you or someone you know loves the magic of theatre and entertainment, Black Friday is your chance to grab some awesome ticket deals for the best shows the West End has to offer.

This Black Friday, London Box Office have set the stage for remarkable savings, unveiling a treasure trove of discounted tickets spanning musicals, dramas, and comedies tailored to suit everyone on you present buying list.

What makes this year's Black Friday deals so great, is the incredible diversity of shows available at rates friendly to your pocket. Whether you're shopping for a seasoned theatre-goer or introducing someone to the wonders of live entertainment for the first time, London Box Office has curated a varied selection promising something enjoyable for everyone.

If you've got a musical theatre fan in your life, this is the perfect chance to snag tickets to some of the most sought-after musicals including Les Miserables and the magically immersive Guys and Dolls. Or, why not treat them to witnessing theatrical royalty on stage with Sondheim's Old Friends or look forward to upcoming productions like Bronco Billy which opens in April.

If a gripping drama is what you're after, you are in for a treat with discounts on an array of plays. Whether you're looking for intense contemporary pieces like Dear England or The Ocean at the End of the Lane, or the timeless allure of classics like Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, London Box Office ensures there's a production to capture every niche.

For the comedy lovers in your life the Black Friday deals bring you hilarious performances that guarantee a night bursting with laughter. Including sidesplitting theatrical productions, from the hilariously chaotic Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which is perfect for family viewing, to the impeccably executed improv show Showstopper! that never fails to impress; the options to tickle your funny bone are boundless.

Thanks to London Box Office's Black Friday ticket deals, you not only get to experience these delights for yourself but also have the chance to treat your loved ones to a memorable night (or afternoon) at the theatre.

To dive into these excellent deals, simply venture over to London Box Office's dedicated Black Friday page at https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/black-friday. There, you can see the brilliant lineup of discounted shows, choose your preferred date and time, and effortlessly secure your tickets with just a few clicks. 

This is a golden ticket perfect opportunity to give the gift of live performance, so don't miss out and get booking to find a new favourite show.

Give the Gift of Theatre with London Box Office | ad

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Monday 17 July 2023

Diva Exhibition at the V&A Museum Review: A Majestic Showcase of Feminine Power and Artistry

a treasure trove of memorabilia and artefacts, breathing life into the stories of these extraordinary divas"


DIVA
Victoria and Albert Museum 
★★★★★ 

The newest exhibition at the V&A, Diva is an absolute treat, immersing visitors in the captivating world of awe-inspiring women who have enchanted us with their extraordinary talents, strength, and charisma.

From the moment you step into the exhibition hall, you truly feel a part of the glamour and empowerment. Split into two acts, the first being historical context of diva’s and the second focussing on the modern day artists, this enchanting journey through the lives and legacies of iconic divas is really awe-inspiring.

The curation of Diva is exceptionally well done. Skilfully interweaving various disciplines such as music, film, fashion, and photography as well as showcasing objects alongside outfits to tell personal and intriguing stories. The exhibit creates a multi-dimensional experience that effortlessly transports visitors into the captivating world of these remarkable women. Every display is meticulously crafted, capturing the very essence of the divas, their defining moments, and their profound contributions to popular culture. With 60 costumes and 250 items spanning from the 19th century to today, there is so much to take in and a number of highlights to be found throughout. Some personal favourites included the various Bob Mackie designs, which are accompanied by original artwork, Elton John's Louis XIV-inspired 50th birthday party look and the fringed black dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot in 1959.

The exhibition is a treasure trove of memorabilia and artefacts, breathing life into the stories of these extraordinary divas. From the elaborate stage costumes that exude the flamboyance of performers like Madonna and Lady Gaga, to the intimate handwritten letters and personal diaries that offer a glimpse into the private lives of divas like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin, each piece on display serves as a testament to their unrivalled greatness.

What sets the Diva exhibition apart is its unwavering commitment to highlighting the immense cultural impact of these trailblazing women. It delves deep into how these divas challenged societal norms, shattered glass ceilings, and emerged as symbols of empowerment for generations of women. Through interactive displays and thought-provoking installations, visitors are invited to reflect on the ongoing struggle for equality and the profound power of self-expression.

The audiovisual elements of the exhibition are incredibly effective. As you stroll through the halls, you’re treated to a symphony of iconic performances and interviews playing on large screens, perfectly complementing the visual feast before you. The accompanying soundtrack, carefully curated from the divas' most unforgettable hits, transports you through time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the journey.

The meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the exhibition is truly praiseworthy. From the thoughtfully crafted lighting and set design that immerses visitors in a captivating ambiance to the informative plaques offering historical context, the Diva exhibition ensures an enriching experience that not only entertains but also educates about the indelible impact these women have made on the world.

The V&A Museum has truly surpassed expectations with the Diva exhibition, serving as a remarkable tribute to the enduring influence of these extraordinary women. Whether you're an avid fan of a specific diva or simply intrigued by the diverse tapestry of female talent, this exhibition is an absolute must-see. Be prepared to be dazzled and inspired by the unwavering spirit and artistic brilliance of the divas who have left an indelible mark on our cultural landscape.

Seamlessly weaves together art, history, and music, paying homage to the iconic women who have redefined what it means to be a diva, this exhibition is a must visit. Get ready to be enthralled, uplifted, and deeply moved by this extraordinary showcase of feminine power and artistry.

Reviewed on Thursday 13th July by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Anna Gordon

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Diva Exhibition at the V&A Museum Review: A Majestic Showcase of Feminine Power and Artistry

Monday 17 July 2023

Friday 8 April 2022

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear | Victoria and Albert Museum | Review


Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear
Victoria and Albert Museum
Reviewed on Thursday 7th April 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

In its current exhibition, the Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates the growth and evolution of male aesthetics with Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear. A vast collection of outfits from throughout history and interspersed with paintings, photographs, sculptures and video clips  to offer up a look at how masculine fashion has changed and moved with the times. It looks at the times when the 'traditional' or 'accepted' view of masculinity has been challenged and how these deviations have paved the way for move fluidity and freedom in fashion.

The exhibition is displayed in a fairly structure free way, allowing you to make your own path and experience it however you wish. The loose structure is organised by trends and themes, much like the fashion industry itself. Of course we know that trends repeat themselves but it's interesting to see it laid out physically before you. As you enter you are greeted with naked bodies, specifically those of Apollo and Hercules, the original male ideals of beauty. The section points out how anatomical research and a desire to look a certain way, led to the understanding of wearing more tightly fitting or tailored pieces to showcase the body. 

As mentioned, the showcased cyclical nature of fashion is key to this exhibition with almost every style returning in some way, at some point. It's interesting how the original, puffy shirt worn during the regency era has yet to make a comeback despite corsets coming back with a vengeance; perhaps the new season of Bridgerton will take us back to those roots! 


It's also great to see how small changes and reinterpretations to a classic outfit can have such a huge impact. For example: the suit. A staple in wardrobes for most people, the way in which celebrities have elevated it is well showcased. The addition of leather trousers may seems simple but when you see it in the context of Fashioning Masculinities it's quite amazing how it set off a domino for development and freedom.

The main aspect of the exhibition is how men's fashion is evolving so much now in terms of gender fluidity, with some of the most eye-catching outfits being those from the brilliant designer Harris Reed as well as those at the very end:  Billy Porter's tuxedo dress worn at the 2019 Oscars and the iconic blue Gucci dress worn by Harry Styles on the cover of US Vogue. Both these outfits sparked many conversations, even for those who don't follow either the stars or the fashion.

Sponsored by Gucci, a lot of the exhibition is indulgent and luxurious but it's a real eye opener on how high street fashion keeps up with trends and how deviations in the norm can have effects which reach all of us eventually without us even realising. Fashioning Masculinities is by no means an exhaustive exploration but it certainly whets your appetite to find out more and shines light on how diversity and uniqueness can be captured through male clothing. 

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear runs at the V&A Museum until 6th November 2022

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear | Victoria and Albert Museum | Review

Friday 8 April 2022

Saturday 6 April 2019

Warner Bros Studio Tour: Gringotts Wizarding Bank Review



Harry Potter may have first hit shelves over twenty years ago but the love is still real and fans are able to keep the magic alive through Warner Bros. Studio Tour which features the actual sets and props from the film franchise and transports you to Hogwarts.

This week I was invited to a special event to celebrate the opening of the new Gringotts Wizarding Bank (officially opens today!) addition to the tour and it was really wonderful. My only previous visit was in 2012 and since then, the expansion has been exceptional. You now get the chance to explore the Forbidden Forest, Privet Drive, Platform 9¾ and so much more, and whilst you know you're on a set, the presentation is wonderful and every inch is photo worthy (watch our vlog of the tour here and see my instagram posts here.)



Whether you're a Potter Super Fan or just like a bit of magic in your life, you're sure to find treat upon treat in this tour. Not only do you see the sets and probs, but you get a behind the scenes look at how everything came to be. There's an entire section dedicated to the creation of the goblin prosthetics as well as a close up look at the intricate designs for every aspect of the Wizarding World. It's truly amazing to see the detail that went into making this such a successful franchise.

Gringotts itself is luxurious and elaborate. Epic chandeliers dangle overhead stern looking goblins who man the desks. Wizarding cheque books and quills are scattered around just waiting for a witch or wizard to make a deposit.

After seeing Gringotts in all its glory, you get to see it destroyed... and the dragon that destroyed it (menacing indeed)! The Lestrange Vault is also open to the public and is a magpie's dream, full of glittering coins and glistening jewels.



Throughout the tour the Harry Potter score is playing and will really make you feel as though you're going to see Ron round any corner or accidentally find yourself at a game of Quidditch. The atmosphere is mystical enough to make you really believe in magic.

If the tour is not enough of a feast for your eyes, there's also the new and improved gift shop at the end which is an experience of its own. Perfectly curated, it feels like an adventure in itself. Whilst it is quite pricey, there's a selection of amazing items to feast your eyes on.

Gringotts and the entire Studio Tour is a must see for all wizards, witches and muggles. Leave yourself a lot of time to explore this magical world and allow yourself to revel in the wonder of Harry Potter.

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Warner Bros Studio Tour: Gringotts Wizarding Bank Review

Saturday 6 April 2019

Sunday 17 March 2019

Passion vs Obsession in the Theatre Community


As someone who feels things very strongly, I often find myself fixated on certain topics or hobbies, in the way that when I enjoy something, I will focus my attention on it as a means to make myself more knowledgable about it/better at it. In any creative industry, emotions are heightened already and in theatre especially, it's almost natural that trends occur and passions become prevalent. However, the line between being passionate and obsessive can sometimes become wavy or unclear and there can be an almost scary intensity with which people feel.

Let me start by saying that I think being passionate is fantastic. Having something you can enjoy, relate to and immerse yourself in is truly joyous and caring so much about something can really fill your life. The issue however, is when this passion becomes too much and begins controlling your life, rather than enriching it. 

As someone who attends the theatre an average of three times a week, there are many times where I become completely enclosed in the theatre bubble and almost forget that there's a world outside the stagey community. In terms of my life at this time, it isn't a problem as such because the majority of my friends are in the same circles and I have a pretty well-rounded life with and without theatre. When I was younger this was a different story though... 

I have always been a theatre fanatic, from when I saw my first musical (Beauty and the Beast at the New Victoria Theatre) I was hooked and haven't looked back since. Like many theatre people, I went through a Wicked phase... like, really went through it. I would listen to it 24/7, create artwork, research the performers, perform it, get my friends to perform it, basically I was obsessed. Whilst I don't regret this phase in my life at all because I was super young and it was something I enjoyed, I do see it in a different way. I was living my best life, but at that time, I was not surrounded by theatre loving people which meant whilst I was in the theatre bubble, I was alone. This is where one problem with crossing from passion to obsession comes into play. By focussing 95% of your attention on something your peers can't relate to, you do face the trial of isolating yourself. There may be an online community alongside you, but in the real, non-virtual world, it's just you. 


the peak Wicked days 

However, as I said, during my Wicked (and subsequent Les Mis) phases, I was young and this outlook certainly comes with age. The issue with obsession is when it continues into adult life. Barely a day goes by when a West End performer doesn't have to call someone out for overstepping boundaries. A video recently circulated showing a girl  publicly hating on a performer and explaining how she has no qualms about verbally abusing those she doesn't like; whilst a number of high profile West End people regularly have to reign people in on their instagrams and twitters for overstepping. 
So when does passion reach a dangerous level?

Obviously it doesn't take a brain scientist to answer this. People overstep when they try and integrate themselves into the lives of the performers they admire. Be it trying to become their friend, burdening them with their problems or just contacting them constantly. Boundaries have always been an issue in the film and television industry but with the ever developing rise of social media, way West End actors are reaching higher profiles, and the way it's so easy to access a theatre performer compared to a screen actor, means it's a problem which seems to be rapidly seeping into the theatre community and is actually doing a lot of damage. 

There's also the aspect of fans often being drawn to, or purposely attaching themselves to unknowns/swings/understudies and 'lesser' cast members (not that anyone is less worthy or talented but you get the gist). It's almost as if people feel they'll be more likely to form a bond with someone who not everyone is trying to chat to. The idea of someone being less well known so therefore easier to, for lack of a better word, target, just feels wrong. Absolutely support the entire cast, crew and team but don't use someone just to validate yourself and feel closer to a show than you are in reality.

Most performers are nice people and they're not going to out you for these things because it would be an awkward conversation to have, but just because you have a nice stage door experience, or because you get friendly at the theatre with them, remember that it's all within the theatre bubble. 



Now I completely understand putting energy into theatre because it is, after all an escape and I'm definitely guilty of investing my emotional wellbeing into a show, however, not in terms bringing the actors on stage into that. As human beings, the performers of course do care about the people they talk to and I'm sure take a genuine interest in what they're being told, but at the end of the day, someone at stage door who is not actually a friend, is never going to care as much about you as you care about them so it's not fair to expect them to shoulder your issues. 

I know this is all pretty much common sense, and I'm not trying to be preachy about boundaries, but for the few people who may read this and recognise some of the obsessive actions in their own lives, perhaps this can act as a gentle reminder that theatre itself is all an act, and the people who put it on, have very real, very personal lives outside of what you see on stage/social media. Of course be supportive and engaging, and be passionate, but keep in mind that there's a world outside theatre. Your life is there to be filled with as many things to make you happy as possible, but so are the people's who you admire and they pick what they fill it with, so don't use all your energy trying to make yourself an integral part of it off stage. Live your life, love shows and support actors, just keep it chill sometimes, and if you really have a lot to say, keep it to your whatsapp chats.

I hope this doesn't come across as overly negative because I really do admire people who love theatre and I so relate, but continual drama clearly means some people are unable to isolate the real from the stage so I wanted to throw my two pence in! Stay stagey!

Passion vs Obsession in the Theatre Community

Sunday 17 March 2019

Monday 6 November 2017

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, Victoria and Albert Museum | Review


Opera: Passion, Power and Politics (Exhibition)
Victoria and Albert Museum
Reviewed on Sunday 5th November 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is a vast and exhilarating exhibition which explores the complex and beautiful history of opera as well as its power to affect us all. In collaboration with the Royal Opera House, the exhibition examines seven operas both in the context of the composer's lives and the cities and countries they were originally performed in (the only exception is the 1861 Paris production of Wagner's Tannhäuser.) The final room takes us into  the modern day with a selection of operas premiered in the last seventy or so years. 

The exhibition is extravagant and immersive; visitors are supplied with headsets which play pieces to accompany the route which evoke both intellectual and visceral feelings. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the entire exhibition and the accompanying music, I find it somewhat odd that the actual musical element is made optional, although there are so many factors which go into making an opera great, the music is certainly the most crucial. 


Wandering around the exhibition space it's amazing to see how opera changed so much whilst keeping its original roots. The displays become more and more lavish, with stunning costumes and other objects becoming grander as we get further in. The political climate and opera have always been thoroughly linked and it is particularly striking to see the sudden return to minimalism during the Soviet Modernism movement when Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk was suppressed in 1936 and to be taken literally to the battlefield when the music is replaced with the sound of distant gunfire as we move to study Verdi's Nabucco.

This is overall a remarkable exhibition, which like the Opera itself, really needs to be seen and heard to truly be appreciated. The amount of information displayed is overwhelming but exciting throughout and both Opera lovers and Opera newbies are sure to learn something interesting. Visually experiencing the humanity and social relevance of the seven pieces is moving and compelling and I highly recommend you go and experience it yourself.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is on display at the Victoria and Albert museum until February 25th 2018.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, Victoria and Albert Museum | Review

Monday 6 November 2017