Dreamgirls at The Savoy Theatre

I normally don’t pay too much attention to any plays or musicals that come out in London. However, when I found out about Dreamgirls I was desperate to see it on a stage. It’s one of my favourite musical films and I Amber Riley who stars in it is an amazing singer. She recently won an award for her part in Dreamgirls! I recently went on a trip to London without John or Erin and my sister bought me Dreamgirls tickets as a birthday present.

Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls is currently being performed at the the Savoy Theatre. As theatres go, this one is one of the nicest that I have been to in London but it’s no wonder really is it.

The seats were comfortable and the view was fantastic. We were sat in the front row of the upper circle in what were classes as obstructed view seats. I had no problems seeing at all but I did have to lean over sometimes but that was because I wanted to get closer!!

Dreamgirls

I’ll be completely honest and say that I was dying to see Amber Riley play Effie White. Imagine my disappointment when we got to the Savoy and read that it was an alternative instead. Heart dropped! However, I soon got over that when I heard Karen Mav sing. I didn’t think you could get much better than either Jennifer Hudson or Amber Riley but my god this girl can sing. When she sang And I Am Telling You I had actual goosebumps and was close to tears. I could not fault her performance in the slightest and I’m actually glad we got to see her play Effie.

The whole cast was fantastic though. I wasn’t sure how Jimmy Early’s character would come across on stage but Adam J Bernard was wonderful. He had the cheek and charm that Eddie Murphy did in the film. He had the audience clapping along and cheering for him which was great!

I did, of course, have favourite moments in the show and some which I wasn’t prepared for. There were a few changes compared to the film version of Dreamgirls and one of the biggest was the song Listen. The theatre version is a duet between Effie and Deena. I was ready to hate it but I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it was as good as Beyonce singing it on her own but it really worked with the story.

There was nothing I disliked about Dreamgirls. The songs were great, the performances outstanding and the sets/ costumes dazzling. Dreamgirls is now one of the best musicals I have seen on the stage. I would quite happily go back and see it again tomorrow.

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London Duck Tours

I have been to London many times before but something I have never done is to go on a bus tour. During my recent London Getaway I decided to change this. Me, my sister and her boyfriend were really excited to be heading off on a London Duck Tour.

London Duck Tours

When we arrived at the Duck Tour bus stop near the Southbank Center I was really excited. The ‘Duck’ was sat there waiting for us. I knew that it was a bit of a mix between a  bus and a boat seeing as it went in the water on the tour.

On the day of our booked tour there was a memorial service happening so we had to change from the Classic Sightseeing Tour to the City of London Tour. We were given the opportunity to come back later in the day instead but we were all happy to go along with whatever.

Some Places we visited on the tour

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Monument to the Fire of London

Bank of England

Tower Bridge

MI6

London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Our tour guide was absolutely lovely and was happy an cheery the whole way through the tour. Although the tour had been changed quite last minute, he was very knowledgeable about the other route. What was really nice was that he spoke when there was something to see but he didn’t fill quiet gaps just for the sake of it. He did manage to squeeze in some Harry Potter trivia though which my sister was pretty happy about, especially as it was something she didn’t know.

The whole tour lasts around 75 minutes with the first 45 minutes or so being on land. Once you reach MI6 though it’s time to splash down and go into the Thames. This was my favourite part I think as you get fantastic views of London and I found it to be quite peaceful on the water. Something I will say though is take a coat or jacket with you. We went on a warm day but I was pretty cold once we hit the water!

We all had a fantastic time on our Duck Tour and I’ve since been looking at maybe doing the Christmas tour later in the year! Although the tickets could work out quite expensive for a large family, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay to go on another tour. Between the knowledgeable tour guide, spacious and comfortable Duck and the views, I couldn’t have asked for more!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Selfies with Dinosaurs at Jurassic Kingdom

On a recent trip to London I was determined to do something a little bit different. When the opportunity to go to Jurassic Kingdom arose, I jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t want to go somewhere with life size dinosaurs? Me, my sister and her boyfriend most certainly did.

When we headed to Osterley Park, ,about 25 minutes outside of central London, we had no idea what to expect from Jurassic Kingdom. We didn’t even know if we were really in the right place until we got right up to Osterley House when signs became a bit clearer. Having never been to Osterley Park before, we were all impressed by how beautiful it was. It’s definitely somewhere I would go back to.

Picking up our tickets at the box office was a bit of a pain. There was a queue of maybe 4 or 5 groups in front of us. No one moved for ages. No one said anything. No one from the box office called anyone forward. It was only when I asked the woman in front of us if they were actually waiting that I was told that they were only waiting because they wanted to pay by card and the machine wasn’t working. The queue system wasn’t handled very well and I hate to think how long I could have been stood there for.

Before going through to Jurassic Kingdom there was a few different food and drink stalls as well as VR systems to try out (extra cost) and somewhere to buy merchandise.

It was an absolutely glorious day when we visited. It was also during the Easter holidays which meant Jurassic Kingdom was pretty busy. We didn’t mind this at all although it was a bit strange going without Erin and there being so many children running around. My sister took on the task of taking part in the fun trail task we were given at the entrance.

Honestly, we all really loved Jurassic Kingdom. I don’t care that we’re all 30+ and didn’t have a child with us. It was so fun seeing which kinds of dinosaurs were there, taking selfies with some of them and also learning a bit as we went.

As you can see, Chris was much better at the selfies than me! The sun was blinding and I couldn’t see what I was taking pictures of. I had to hope for the best.

The stars of the attraction, the dinosaurs, were so impressive! Being only 1 Erin may have been a bit scared but the other children running around seemed to love them and were really excited!

All three of us thoroughly enjoyed our visit and we had so much fun and laughed loads! It may not have been what we would have picked to do on another day but it has made us all want to try new things.

Tickets for the London event were £13.50 per adult and I do think this was a little expensive, especially considering the other locations cost £2 less.

Jurassic Kingdom is moving around the country until the end of October. Check out dates, locations and prices here!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

 

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My London Getaway!

Last week I did something I didn’t think I’d do for a really long time. I went away for a couple of days without Erin or John. Part of realising that I have PND also meant that I realised that I need some me time now and again. So, I headed off to London for a night to see my sister and her fiance (Nat & Chris). It was also a kind of late birthday present too.

London

I arrived late morning on the Thursday and we started off with a Wetherspoons breakfast before heading off to Jurassic Kingdom (Review coming soon). Even though Erin wasn’t with me, I still wanted to do a couple of things that maybe I wouldn’t have normally done before. We all had loads of fun, especially taking selfies with the dinosaurs. It was a beautiful day as well so it was nice to get out of the city and in a big, open space.

After Jurassic Kingdom I headed to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express (Review coming soon) in North Acton, to check in and lighten my bags a bit. The hotel was a 2 minute walk from the tube station so that was great. It is about 20 minutes away from central London on the tube but I didn’t mind that at all.

On Thursday evening we had tickets to see Dreamgirls (Review coming soon), which was my birthday present from Nat and Chris. Before the theatre we went to Bills for dinner. Bills is one of my favourite restaurants so I knew the food would be amazing!

I was so incredibly excited about seeing Dreamgirls. Not living in London means never really being too bothered about seeing any shows. However, Dreamgirls is a favourite of mine and I was desperate to see it. Unfortunately though, Amber Riley wasn’t in it on the night we went but that wasn’t a problem. Come back to read the review in a few days!

On Friday we also had quite a few plans. I got up quite early and headed out for a roam about on my own before meeting Nat and Chris again. We were meeting near the Southbank Center so I went to look at the London Eye and to chill by the river. I think I got there at about 9am and it was so quiet and peaceful. It was a lovely place to be before everything opened.

At 11:30 we had tickets for the London Duck Tours. (Review coming soon) I’ve never done a tour of London before and I was so excited about this. This really didn’t disappoint and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in London.

Lunch on Friday was my favourite restaurant of all time, Vapiano. There are branches all over the world and they have the best pasta ever.

Vapiano

Of course, we had to do a bit of shopping so we went to Liberty’s and Carnaby Street where I finally got to go to Choccywoccydoodah. I was in chocolate heaven and could have bought everything. I didn’t though. Instead, we went to Bubblewrap Waffle in Chinatown. I had to wait an hour for a waffle but my god was it worth it!?

By this time we were all exhaused but we headed to Westfield Stratford as it’s not far from where Chris lives. He had to pick up some bits as he and Nat were coming back with me for the weekend. Nat and I did some wedding dress viewing and a bit more shopping but that didn’t last long. My poor feet were killing me.

My London getaway was bloody knackering but it was so needed. I got to do loads of my favourite things and also do something new and exciting. I can’t say I felt refreshed but I can quite happily go for quite some time now before needing some time to myself like that again.

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Last minute getaway to Cambridge

John and I were supposed to go to Cambridge for a weekend for my birthday/ Mother’s Day but it never happened due to illness. I managed to get a rare Saturday night off work though last minute so we decided to go away quite last minute.

cambridge

Travel

Silly me didn’t think about checking trains before booking a hotel. It turned out that we happened to go on the one weekend where there was bus replacements part way, making our journey about 40 minutes longer than it should have been. Erin actually was quite good the whole way there but she did want to run around quite a lot! Train travel with a toddler is certainly interesting (post to come soon!)

Accommodation

I booked us in at the ibis Cambridge Central on the recommendation from my sister. The hotel is right next to the train station but a good 15-20 minute walk away from the city center. I’ll be writing a full review soon but we really enjoyed our stay and will be back next time we’re in Cambridge!

Day one

We arrived in Cambridge at about 9:30am so we had the full day ahead of us. As we couldn’t check in to the hotel until 2pm (found out after that we could have stored bags there) we didn’t want to do too much. We headed into the city center and just explored pretty much. We loved walking around the market and listening to music being played. We also took in a lot of the beautiful buildings and history. We were also quite lucky in that we got to see a bit of a graduation happening at King’s College.

Erin got quite grumpy about 2pm so we decided to let her have a run around in a park and then head back to the hotel for a bit of a rest. We all had a much needed catnap before heading out for some more fun.

A 10 minute walk from the hotel is a little leisure park with some restaurants, cinema and bowling alley. Although I used to be the manager of a bowling alley it has been years since we went. Erin was very unsure about bowling but she did like sitting on the motorbike games in the arcades! For dinner we went to Bella Italia (again, review coming soon). It’s always a safe bet for us because we all like the food there!

We got back to the hotel about 7pm and we were all exhausted. John and Erin were both snoring away by about 8pm and I even had an early night myself.

Day two

Day 2 started at 6:30am with us all being well rested. We’d paid for breakfast at the hotel because I knew Erin would want food straight away. I was so impressed! All you can eat breakfast is always good but this one I really enjoyed.

Sundays are a bit hard when you’re away in the UK because nothing is really open until 10am. We took this opportunity to walk around the streets of Cambridge before going to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Entrance was £5 each for me and John but Erin was free. There was a cute Easter Lindt bunny trail for us to follow too which got Erin some free chocolate at the end. The gardens were gorgeous and we were lucky to go on such a sunny day.

We didn’t have much time for anything else after the gardens so we headed to Wetherspoons for lunch where I, stupidly, ordered breakfast again forgetting about my food earlier! Getting home at a decent time meant leaving at 2pm. I didn’t actually mind this too much though as we were all exhausted! The bus replacement from Cambridge to Ely was horrible though. It was a ‘proper’ bus and not a coach and there was not enough room for people and their luggage. Erin did not want to sit down but there was no room for her to move so she clambered around on me and John. Thankfully, the people sat behind us helped to keep her entertained. I may have cried if it wasn’t for them.

Would i go again?

Absolutely! I loved our little getaway to Cambridge. John and I both loved it, Erin just liked staying in a hotel and eating loads of breakfast. I’d love to go back and see more of the university and colleges and get a few more activities in.

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