Thursday, 3 December 2015

More Weirdass KitKats


Hyper Japan was only a few days ago, and I've already eaten all of the snack food I bought there... Oh dear!
On the plus side, that includes the tiny KitKats, so I can make another chocolate post!
I seriously think Japan wins for picking the most random flavours for its chocolate...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

I Like My Music With Strong Visuals

Along with shopping and interesting food, Hyper Japan Christmas Market also had entertainment to offer! There was so much happening at the event that it was impossible to see everything, but we did manage to cram in a few performances, including two rock acts and a chindonya!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Octopus Balls and Curry Flavoured Fizz

Following on from yesterday's post, this one is dedicated to the food I bought at Hyper Japan Christmas Market on Saturday! Amongst other things, I tried a curry-flavoured soft drink, warm sake, and battered octopus balls...

Monday, 30 November 2015

Hyper Japan Christmas Market

On Saturday, my friend Sara and I headed off for fun and food at Hyper Japan Christmas Market at the Tobacco Dock, London.

The event involved more stalls/pop-up shops than you can shake a stick at, all selling goods relating to Japanese culture.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Queen of the Desert

At the beginning of the month, I went to a musical!
This was the first time I'd been to a musical, and I loved every moment of it.

The show in question was Prisculla: Queen of the Desert and starred Duncan James as Tick/Mitzi. (Performances at some other venues on this tour have Jason Donovan in the role.)

His popularity was somewhat evident by the number of delighted screams that erupted from the audience when he appeared on stage--which only grew louder when he stripped down to his underwear to change on stage! (Well, he does have a fantastic physique!)

The show was brilliantly acted, with some amazing vocal talent and seriously awesome costumes.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert is also a film, which I've watched multiple times, so it was interesting to see how close the musical was to the film.

The storyline is about two drag queens and a transgender woman (formerly a well-known drag performer) who escape the city in an old bus, and head across the Australian desert towards Alice, in order to perform a show. But a wrong turning and a frankly wrecked bus lead to the trio being stranded, and they swiftly end up on a journey far from what was expected.

My friends and I saw this show at the Theatre Royal in Brighton, which is a really gorgeous theatre!
I spent most of the performance either grinning in delight or staring, and left the theatre with CeCe Peniston's Finally stuck in my head, and mumbling, 'The costumes. The costumes!'

100% would see again!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Tea is a Herb!

So I've been eating more chocolate for goal #64 (any excuse, really): to try 50 chocolates that are new to me.
This time around, I'm deeming tea a herb, and proclaiming this post all about herby chocolate.
Well...tea is herbs...right...?
The chocolates I've tried this time include green tea, basil and real rosemary...

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

New Goals

Reviewing some lists recently, I found a bunch of ideas for new goals for The List, and added these:

(Not my gif)
090. Ride a zip line
I'm not keen on the being suspended in mid air by a wire part, but whizzing through the air sounds like fun. Not sure where I can do this, but I'll try my best to do it with more finesse than Boris Johnson.

091. Make something with power tools
Power tools are noisy and dangerous. I have no idea how to use them. All the more reason to discover this and make something, right? I might even have a vague idea of what to make. Yay!

092. Learn a new skill
It's good to learn new things! I don't know what I'll learn yet, but there are plenty of options out there!

093. Complete 30 fanarts                            
Because I really needed another excuse to make art.
I've actually started a fanart project - mainly to practise digital art using Krita and a graphics tablet - but setting it as a goal makes it more likely I'll continue until I reach 30 pieces! 
The fanarts will probably all be of Full (who I painted a couple of times for goal #55). I like his style (sometimes dandy, sometimes a little unusual, sometimes outright insane) and his music is awesome. Also, I figure that drawing the same subject repeatedly is a good way to measure my improvement!
I'll post them here and on deviantART as I do them - am trying to make one per day!

So that's it for now. I can't believe that I still haven't reached 100 goals! 
Now to get working on more of them...

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Skirt for Autumn

i fell into the dressing up box

Earlier in the year, I added a new goal to The List:
089. Make three items of clothing from patterns
As I explained before, the idea was to challenge myself to put more effort into sewing, as usually I'm very lazy, and avoid patterns if I can help it.

After making a dress for winter using a pattern from Burda Style magazine, I intended to use some of the remaining fabric to make a skirt from the same issue.
Now autumn has arrived, I finally made that skirt! (It's only taken me nine months to get around to it!)

The pattern is from Burda Style issue 01/2015, style 109:

burda style skirt 10/2015 109

As with the dress I made previously, this skirt was presented in two 'views' - one in multiple colours, as shown above, and one entirely in white.

I was inspired to make one using patterned and plain fabrics:
  • Thick paisley cotton left over from making the dress (purchased at a charity shop).
  • Liberty fabric. Possibly left over from somebody's interiors project (also charity shop).
  • Red suit (I think) fabric, left over from a project so old I no longer own those trousers. (Tip: triple-check how much fabric you need, else you end up with masses left over!)

burda style skirt 10/2015 109

Despite my goal being to stick to the patterns, I did make some tiny changes:
1. Lengthened pattern
The original was too short! Also, the Liberty fabric I used was a skirt I'd made previously (and never wore). So I used the length of that as a guide!

2. Different fabric
In the view I was inspired by, the magazine had used suede. I used what I already had.

3. Adjusted the waist. Massively.
I will always have to adjust the hell out of garments I sew, because the bust-waist-hip ratio in pattern sizing never matches my body!

4. Different zip placement
The zip was in a weird place on the magazine's version, and the skirt I was cutting up had a zip at the back centre, so I used it! 
burda style skirt 10/2015 109

Time Taken:
1 day. I'm rather impressed with myself for that! 
Good Things:
1. The fabrics
I love patterns, and I love reds. This skirt combines the two
2. Coordination
It goes with other stuff in my wardrobe! Including the green waistcoat I never wore because nothing matched it! Yay!
3. Waistband interfacing
I have never heard of this stuff until now. It's amazing. The waistband turned out so neat!
4. Two down, one to go
Only one more garment to sew from a pattern before I've completed this goal!

burda style skirt 10/2015 109

What's Next:
I have no idea what will come next. A skirt? A dress? Trousers? A top of some kind? Maybe by next autumn I'll have made it!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Best Soup Ever

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet!
Back in July, I went to Lewes with my mum and sisters, and we ended up popping into one of Lewes' many cafes for lunch.

Le Magasin has a cosy and stylish atmosphere, and their menu had many tempting options, but as I wasn't very hungry, I opted for the soup of the day
The soup was mushroom, and came with artisan bread and a nice-sized knob of butter on the side.
Now, usually soup isn't something to get wildly excited about, but this soup tasted amazing. I enjoyed every mouthful and could have easily eaten a second bowl of the stuff!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Have a (tiny) Break...

 ...with the tiniest KitKats!

I picked these Japanese KitKats up at a stand at Kitacon, but hadn't eaten them until now, so that I could blog about them!
Also, I procrastinated over trying to figure out what one of them said...

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Music, Wine, House Divine

Yesterday evening, I went to church, but did not worship.
Instead, I saw Moulettes, a fantastic band who I'd not even listened to until Tuesday evening!

After hearing the band on YouTube, I'd promptly forwarded links to a local friend, whose response was 'I am digging this!'. Then I collared my Dad and made him listen too. So the three of us went to the show together. Was slightly surprised to find a tiny bar set up, selling wine to us punters! Is it really okay to serve alcohol in a church...?! (Evidently. I think the vicar was drinking it too!)

The gig was part of Hurst Festival, which I wrote about last year, and held in the Holy Trinity Church, so you can imagine how fantastic the acoustics were!

Moulettes are a massively talented bunch who employ a whole range of instruments in their songs. Until this concert, I'd never seen any live performance that involved a bassoon or an autoharp!

The music is a real mishmash of progressive, psychedelic, neo-classical, folk rock, and I don't know what else. Lyrically, their songs are imaginative and inspired; the female-led vocal harmonies really show off the members' brilliant vocal abilities.

I really enjoyed seeing this band (and definitely had a 'daaamn this is great music' moment). As seen in the image above, the gig attracted people of a really wide age-range! During the intermission, a lot of people seemed to be impressed by what they'd seen so far!

The band had a merchandise table, which included CDs, T-shirts and....tea towels! (Could you get any more British?!)
I ended up picking up copies of their albums, because I have little restraint when it comes to music at gigs.
The recorded music sounds great too, but honestly, this is a band who you need to see live in order to appreciate their full talents.
If you happen to live in Canada, lucky you--they're just about to embark upon a Canadian Tour. (I mention this because I knooooow some of you live in Canada. :P )

You can find more information on Moulettes at their Official Homepage, including various social media links.

With this gig, I've completed a goal from The List, yay!
059. Go to 5 music events
It's taken me far too long to complete this goal, haha. This was one of my favourite shows, alongside last year's Sukekiyo gig.
The rest of my music event rambling can be found on the 59 tag.

Now go and listen to Moulettes! Look, here's their YouTube. See how easy I made it for you? :P

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Anyone for a Spot of Chap Hop?

Back in July/August, I was up in Birmingham, feeding my inner nerd at Kitacon, one of the UK's anime conventions.
These conventions always have guests, and among them this year were 'chap hop' artists, Mr. Be The Gentleman Rhymer and Professor Elemental.

At first glance I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy their style of music (chap hop being like hip hop, but rather more posh-and-English)

I went along to their performance anyway, because the friends I was with wanted to go, and as another friend once said, "a free gig is a free gig."

And I found that I rather enjoy chap hop! With lyrics like 'Now, when I say "Earl Grey" you say "Yes please!"' (Professor Elemental, Cup of Brown Joy) how could I not approve?

Mr B. The Gentleman Rhymer was on first, singing entertaining ditties about being a chap as he played his banjo ukelele (...ok, so I had to wikipedia that instrument...)
(And yes, yes there is a devil of some sorts in the audience. It was an anime convention. Everybody was dressed up!)

Next up was Professor Elemental, wearing a fabulous union jack blazer and occasionally dancing around in the crowd. He and Mr B performed a few songs each time before switching, and also did a duet or two.

I know I've not written much about them here but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so go and check them out online:
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer (Official Site | YouTube)
Professor Elemental (Official Site | YouTube)

Both are thoroughly entertaining characters, and in the words of Mr B., 'All Hail The Chap!'

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Three Chocolate Bars

It's been a couple of months since I posted anything about chocolate!
The bars have been mounting up recently, as I've not been eating so much of it. But the goal is still ongoing--here's bars 32-34/50, which come from as close as the next town and as far as Japan!

Lindt Kirsch
Milk chocolate with a kirsch liquid filling.
This is packaged in silver foil, inside a red and gold box, so it seems quite luxurious.
Alright, so I love Lindt chocolate as it is, and I enjoy alcohol, and I like cherries, so all in all this seemed like a good idea!

I didn't read the packaging properly so didn't realise the filling was liquid until I bit into a piece, which made it surprising. There's what appears to be a layer of crunchy sugar stuff on the hollowed where the kirsch is; not sure if it's where the chocolate has been sitting in my cupboard during the heat, or if it's meant to be that way. Either way, it's delicious.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole

After scaling The O2, and eager for further adventure, my friend Lilia (Paracosm of Lilies) and I headed on to the Southbank Centre for an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery.
The artist was Carsten Höller (remember I mentioned him in my last post?) and his show Decision is his biggest in the UK so far.
Rather than an exhibition, it would be better described as an experience! A lot of the pieces were fully interactive, bringing a new dimension to the art world, and some rather trippy results!

This exhibition had a real Alice in Wonderland feel to it, with strange sights, weird experiences, and a very noticeable difference between the world outside, and the world within the exhibition itself.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Up at the O2

Yesterday, I went into London, and completed something that has been on The List for ages--and was one of my main goals for this year! Hurrah!
084. Climb the O2
I met up with Lilia, my lovely friend who blogs at Paracosm of Lilies, and we headed over to The O2, which is right next door to North Greenwich underground station!

For those unfamiliar with London's landmarks, The O2 is an entertainment complex that sits right next to the Thames, and includes an arena, cinema, restaurants, and a bowling alley, among other things.

Up at The O2 runs daily climbs over the dome, to a viewing platform on the summit which stands at 52 metres high!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Lord of the Life of Brian

It's been a while since I posted about films I've watched. Then again, I still don't watch them all that frequently!

Does anyone else go through days of watching tonnes of films, then weeks of nothing? I know I can't be the only one!

So I'm still working towards the following goal:
061. Watch 100 films

Here are films 31-40. I'm actually just over halfway now, with 52 films watched, but have been procrastinating over blogging about them ;)

31. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
In a Word: Arkenstone
In a Sentence: The Lonely Mountain is in the hands of the dwarves and Bilbo, but the threats keep on coming and a big battle ensues to fight back the forces of darkness, in this final part of the Hobbit trilogy.
Recommended: For Tolkien fans not too bothered about it being an accurate adaptation of the book. (It's good, but there are some differences!)

32. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
In a Word: Beginning
In a Sentence: Bilbo is old and entrusts the ring of power to his nephew Frodo, who ends up embarking upon a journey to destroy the ring, along with a fellowship of dwarf, elf, hobbit and man.
Recommended: For fantasy fans who don't want the story to be over in just one film.

Monday, 10 August 2015

What Do Vegans Put On Toast?

Last month, whilst out with Mum, we ended up going to Mama Ghanoushe for lunch. Situated in the village of Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, Mama Ghanoushe offers a range of vegeterian, vegan, raw and gluten free foods.

We probably spent ten minutes trying to decide what to have, because there were so many delicious-sounding choices!

I opted for avocado on toasted artisan bread, which came with a delicious salad!
I nearly forgot to take a picture, because I was pretty hungry...

Although avocado on toast sounds like a really simple meal, this was amazingly delicious. Admittedly I left the tomatoes (I can't stand them; I asked for mine without them but they arrived with...) but the rest was really tasty, and definitely worth the price.

Drink-wise, I had a natural sparkling rose drink.
This cafe was great in that they offer advice to anyone with allergies/dietary requirements as to what foods on their menu are suitable. It's nice to see somewhere go that extra length to help people find something tasty!

Really enjoyed the food; if I'm ever there again I know I'll be spoilt for choice.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Sugar-Free Chocolate?

Wow, has it really been months since I last blogged about chocolate? Blimey!
You'd think with the amount I eat, I'd a) be fat b) have blogged about more by now ;)

This post has been ready to go for a while actually, but I had lots of other things to post about - such as everything I went to during Brighton Fringe - and then I, uh, forgot. Oops.

Anyway, I was on a health kick a few months back and decided to try out some chocolate that used alternatives to sugar. Here's how I got on...

Balance Milk Praline
With sweetener from Stevia plant.
I decided to try this as I wanted to test out some chocolate that was sweetened with something other than sugar. Of course I have nothing against sugar, but was curious to see if there was much difference.
This bar is made by Belgian company Klingele Chocolade, so of course the chocolate is lovely! It doesn't smell as strongly as some other bars I've tried, nor is it as sweet - so evidently stevia adds a more subtle sweetness to chocolate.
Something I really liked about this bar was the fact I can really taste the nutty flavour of the praline. Whilst I don't like chocolate with big pieces of nut in, I enjoy praline!
Overall this is a great little chocolate bar and it was all I could do not to gobble it all up before writing this!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Say What? Five TEDx Talks to Improve Your Conversation

Have you ever chased a YouTube Paper Trail?
You watch one video, and then another catches your eye, and then another, and before you know it, the afternoon is gone?
We all do it, don't we!

The other day, I ended up doing this with TEDx talks, and ended up watching enough that I can make another post relating to this goal:
062. Watch 100 TED/TEDx talks
This time the talks had an ongoing theme: speech.
I've always felt horribly inadequate when it comes to conversing with my fellow human beings, so these proved to be an interesting, eye-opening bunch of talks. Having watched them, I feel I've learnt something.

So here's my pick of five TEDx talks to improve your conversation...

The science of analysing conversations, second by second | Elizabeth Stokoe | TEDxBermuda
This is where my YouTube Paper Trail began--after I clicked on a Facebook link to this video!
Fascinating talk about how conversations can be analysed, and how the study of recorded telephone conversations helps businesses to alter the way their telemarketing schemes are carried out. The study of conversation can help us to understand each other when we speak, and avoid problems in communication!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

In Which I Meet Queen Victoria

Sir John Cordy Burrows, chillin' in the shade. What a casual pose.
At the end of June I needed to go to Brighton, so decided to finally follow the Sculpture Trail whilst I was there. This is, of course, a goal from The List:
040. Follow the Brighton Sculpture Trail
The trail includes both traditional and modern sculptures, and some that I barely consider to fit in the 'sculpture' category!

So then, ready for a virtual tour of some of Brighton's most notable sculptures? Follow me!

Sir John Cordy Burrows (above)
Sculptor: Edward Bowring Stephens

This guy was the mayor of Brighton four times: 1854, 1857, 1858 and 1871. Must have been a pretty good mayor, huh?
According to the Sculpture Trail information (which I'll link to at the end of this post), the statue originally stood in a different place, close to the Royal Pavilion, but was moved to its current position in 1984. I had difficulty finding this one, as it's pretty much lost amongst the trees!

Victoria Fountain, aka the Seagull Bath
Victoria Fountain
Sculptor: W. Pepper

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Sorry, But I'd Rather Be Walking A Llama

I've been following Mama's Losin' It! for a few months now, since it was recommended to me, but until this point, haven't participated in Mama Kat's 'Writer's Workshop' linkup.
Partly because I've always been tired when reading my blog feed, partly because I've become terribly allergic to interacting online. But that absolutely has to change, and so this week, I'm participating!

Mama’s Losin' It

Anyway, from this week's prompts, I've chosen:
1. List 7 things you'd rather be doing this summer
Seems appropriate considering the general theme of this blog, right?

At the end of last year, I made a list of goals I'd like to achieve for 2015.
I thought 'Hey, doing these will be a breeze!'

Evidently I didn't count upon factors such as introversion, anxiety, depression, and of course lack of money and transport. How silly of me!

Anyway, some of those goals are things I would rather do this summer, but for some reason or other don't have plans for as yet.
So what would I rather be doing this summer? I'd rather be walking a llama...

Monday, 6 July 2015

Cream Tea, Finally!

Around a month ago, I ended up going to this wonderful cafe in Hove, Sussex. (I know, I should have posted about this ages ago!)
I don't usually go to this area, but went there with a friend who had an interview along the street. Whilst she was being grilled by prospective employers, I popped into Violet & Doily to see what they had to offer!
I was not disappointed...

Friday, 26 June 2015

All I Want is a Proper Cup of Coffee... copper coffee pot necessary.

Proper is a cycle cafe in Hassocks, Sussex, a couple of stops up from Brighton on the London-Brighton mainline.

I'd heard about their amazing cakes, so when I found myself in the area and at a loose end - and nearing lunch time - I popped in to see what all the fuss was about!

As I don't drink coffee, I opted for tea, which was served in a cute transparent teapot.

For once I bypassed the various choice of chocolatey cakes, and went for lemon drizzle cake. I was given a generously sized slice, which was moist and had just the right balance of flavour. Yum!

Proper is a comfortable cafe and obviously popular, as it's been packed most times I've walked past. This was a rare quiet time!

If you're wondering about the cycling part, well, Proper has a cycle shop at the back of the cafe! It's also equipped with somewhere for cyclists to secure their bikes at the front, and a garden area where customers can enjoy the weather along with their refreshments.

With so many great places to cycle in the area, I think this is a really good idea! In fact, whilst I was enjoying my cake, I witnessed five cyclists wheel their bikes through from the back. It was a slightly surreal experience!

The tea and cake were great and the staff friendly, and the popularity of Proper is self-evident. Next time I'm in Hassocks and hankering after cake, I definitely know where to go.

I'm counting my visit to Proper as part of one of my goals on The List:
036. Eat/drink in 30 new places
You can see more of the places I've eaten by looking at the goal 36 tag.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

What is Evil?

This month, my reading has taken up a fantasy theme that, in part, questions our perceptions of evil. With these three books, I've completed a goal from The List:
050. Read 3 books per month for 1 year
36 books between July '14 and this June!'s actually 41, but I only ever blogged about the first three read each month ;)

With all that reading, you'd think I would have sandwiched in some more Doing, but I digress. Here are the books I read in June, rated, as is the norm, according to my overall enjoyment.

Angelology - Danielle Trussoni (4/5)
A book I picked up after it was heartily recommended by a friend, this is yet another one that spent a fair few months sitting on my shelf, waiting for the right moment.
The right moment came, and I enjoyed all 650-odd pages of it.

Angelology is set in a world where a silent war rages between the human Angelologists and the Nephilim, a race descended from Angels but muddied through millennia of Human-Nephilim hybridisation. For the most part the story focuses around Evangeline, a young nun who knows little of her family history, but discovers the existence of the Angelologists, and of her family history, after finding an old letter in the convent archives. The closer she comes to finding out the full truth, the closer danger comes to laying its hands upon her--and a long sought-after artefact of extreme power that lurks just out of sight.

My only real complaint about the book was that some plot twists were predictable. However, they were delivered at the right moment in the storyline for it to drag on too long.
I liked how the novel took ideas from religious texts and wove them into a story that brings angelic beings into the modern world, with an explanation of how they continue to walk among us. I also liked the way the Nephilim and lesser angelic species were portrayed, as it made a change from the expected behaviours!

Honestly my writing about this book cannot do it justice, not without writing a whole bunch of spoilers.
I recently discovered that there is a sequel, and have, of course, wish-listed it ;)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sell More Stuff and Make it Pretty!

Unwittingly, I completed a goal!
069. Complete an online course
The course in question was Store Design, Visual Merchandising and Shopper Marketing, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) taught by Claus Ebster for iversity.

I'd meant for this goal to be an encouragement to complete some of the Udemy courses that I've signed up for, but when I received an email from iversity about this course, I was quick to sign up!

Having used iversity before (I studied their Design 101 course back in 2013/14) I knew it was a great interface for learning something new.

I mainly signed up in the hope that I'd pick up more knowledge relating to visual merchandising, but I also found the store design and shopper marketing parts of the course interesting.

The six week course came in the form of several video lectures, which were accompanied by a set of questions relating to the video content. The videos were easy to follow and presented with good humour, and many examples relating to the topics discussed. Each week included a discussion exercise and recommendations for further reading, so it was a really well fleshed-out course!

I ended up gaining lots of new insight into shoppers, and ways a store can be set up to encourage sales. What's more, I had inspiration for the place I volunteer!

Something I like about iversity is that the courses offer two different tracks: an audit track (which is free) or a certificate track (for which you pay a fee, and take an exam or complete graded coursework).
I opted for the audit track, which gave me a shiny Certificate of Participation:

This is also proof of my completing the goal. Of course, I've hidden my real name ;)

I really enjoyed this course and have several pages of notes taken from the lectures, along with lots of inspiration and a better understanding of the psychology of shoppers and the way store design, atmosphere and displays can affect them.

iversity has a number of courses on offer, so perhaps I'll end up signing up for another one...

This is NOT a sponsored post. Any products, brands or services I blog about here are mentioned of my own free will, and I have NOT received any money, goods, or other benefits in exchange for the creation of this article.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Cup of Tea (and No Cake)

This post is rather overdue. I went to Blackbird Tea Rooms with a daytripping friend and her housemate back in May (the same day as we had a trayload of Full English at Caffe Aldo).
However, I was in two minds as to whether to post about this cute, vintage-styled tea room, as I didn't eat anything here.
Unfortunately, we picked the wrong time to go in - just over an hour before closing time, on a Saturday - and our visit was disappointing. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Wyrd Sisters

Brighton Festival is over for the year, and Brighton Fringe is reaching its final weekend.
I made loads of plans this year and saw a whole heap of shows! Yesterday evening was the last one: a production of Wyrd Sisters at the Brighthelm Church & Community Centre.

The play was adapted from Terry Pratchett's book of the same title, from his Discworld series, and was performed by Brighton University Drama Society. I went to see it with my parents, neither of whom have read the book (I may have pestered them a little to go to the play...)
I re-read the book recently, in order to refresh my memory of the storyline. It's been a while since I last read it and I'd been really looking forward to seeing this play.

Wyrd Sisters is something of a take on Macbeth, with some good old Terry Pratchett humour and quirkiness thrown in for good measure. It includes three witches, a dead king, a group of strolling players, a mad ruler and a fool.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Singing in the Bath: Art at Brighton Festival

At the beginning of Brighton Festival, I planned to go and see some of the art exhibitions that were incuded in the listings. The festival is nearly over, and I still hadn't seen any, so yesterday I went off into the city with my neighbour, to see what artistic wonders we could find!

Brighton is a fantastic place for art exhibitions. It's a city so rich in history and architecture, with countless spaces hidden off the beaten track that are perfect for hosting exhibitions large and small.
Such a place is Circus Street Market, which looks derelict and empty, but could hide all manner of things behind those graffiti-smothered shutters. (Unfortunately it looks like there are plans to 'regenerate' this street and turn it into another characterless redevelopment that will suck more of the soul out of the colourful and surprising city that Brighton once was. Bah.)

Complaints aside (I promise that was the last one!) here are some pictures and summaries of the exhibits we saw. And more pictures. Pictures are great, right?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

An Audience with Henry VIII

Continuing with this month's massive injection of culture via Brighton Fringe, I went to see another play yesterday evening, this time with my Dad.

We saw An Audience with Henry VIII at The Lantern Theatre, a one man play performed by Ross Gurney-Randall.

I really enjoyed this play and would watch again if I had the chance!

The premise of the play is that King Henry VIII has been dead for 468 years, and is still waiting to meet God. But God is nowhere to be seen.
Instead, Henry has the audience, to whom he tells his story. He boasts, he grumbles, he laments, he shouts...occasionally interrupted by an infernal imp playing Greensleeves. The music maddens him--he didn't write it, he hates it, and it's there everywhere he goes!
Within his speech, Henry rattles off a list of some of the notable figures he bumped off, and gives reasons why the wives had to go. Also, he insists, he definitely did not have syphilis.
The show ends with Henry storming off into another room of his own personal purgatory, shouting for whoever is playing Greensleeves to shut up.

The pompous, boastful, short-tempered attitude of Ross Gurney-Randall's Henry VIII was a brilliant characterisation of England's most notorious king, with excellently-delivered lines that really made me chuckle.

Written by Ross Gurney-Randall and Pete Howells, An Audience with Henry VIII was a great show and very amusing, filled with little historical factlets--why don't they teach history like this?

If you're hankering after a little comedic Henry VIII, you can find out more information and get tickets on the Brighton Fringe website. The 30th May show is sold out, but there are tickets left for the 27th!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Not a Fairy Godmother, but a Wizard

Another month, another selection of books read towards my goal of three per month!
It might appear that I've been sailing through these books fairly easily, often managing to meet my monthly goal within a couple of weeks. However, this is because I pile pressure on myself to Stop Procrastinating and Start Reading.
....Even though reading is sometimes procrastination in itself!

This month I bring you three Cinderella stories.
Okay, so calling Darwin a Cinderella character might be pushing it a bit!

As per the norm, I've rated these books out of five according to my enjoyment of them.

Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones (5/5)
Until only a couple of months ago, I didn't know this book existed. The only Howl's Moving Castle I knew about was the Studio Ghibli film. Which I haven't seen, but - as I discovered when looking up it up - was based on Diana Wynne Jones' book of the same title.
I liked the plot synopsis and commented to my a friend about wanting to watch the film and read the book. Then she gave me a copy of the book for my birthday! (Thanks Lianne!)

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent here.
Howl's Moving Castle is a young adult novel about Sophie, a girl who has already come to terms with the fact that, as the eldest daughter, she'll live a dull life running the family hat shop. Jump forward a few scenes and Sophie has been cursed by the Witch of the Waste. Now with the visage of an elderly lady, Sophie leaves and begins a journey, which leads her to the moving castle of the fearsome wizard Howl, who is rumoured to eat girl's hearts...