Some Sparkle and Strictly Ballroom the Musical 

The moment that I read that Strictly Ballroom was being turned in to a musical by West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP) earlier this year, I was excited to say the least. One of my favourite films being turned in to a musical by the brilliant West Yorkshire Playhouse. 

Each Xmas, the WYP always put on a big show, more often than not a musical in the Quarry Theatre. Over recent years, I’ve seen Annie, White Christmas and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. They are all shows produced by themselves, sometimes in conjunction with another U.K. theatre and always fantastic seasonal shows. We are so lucky to have a theatre putting on “new” productions. 

I would have bought tickets the moment that I saw it advertised, but managed to restrain myself. Quite quickly, it was decided that I would pay for and go with my sister. Could there be a better present for another fan of the 1992 film.

The 28th December arrived, not only was it time to get ready for my evening out, but it was the day that I got to see my sister again (she lives in Brighton, so we only get to see each other a few times a year). The pair of us had our glitter ready, shoes, tops, earrings. How could we not?! So much so, my 4 year old has to put her glitter shoes and cardigan on, to match us. (Sorry, but we forgot to take photos).

7.30pm arrived, the curtain rose – unusual in this modern day theatre and we were transported in to the world of Ballroom. None of it seems quite as other worldly these days, with BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing but boy did it take me back to the film. The WYP captured the film perfectly, gave it humour, great songs and found a perfect cast to represent their film oppos. The attention to detail, so that fans didn’t feel short changed, was fantastic and if ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Some of the audience gave it a standing ovation and it deserved it. I didn’t stand, doing my British reserved thing. 

We left feeling elated and buzzing, as any happy ending musical should do. 

A few days later, the film was shown on BBC 4. I watched it again and it really did remind me, how true to the film they stayed and how good the film is. I’m a bit of a Baz Luhrmann fan. 

If you like musicals and sparkle, you should give this a go before it ends. To end 2016, seeing something so upbeat and hopeful, was perfection. Hopefully, it will move to London. It deserves to. I’m even tempted to go to see it again, it really was that good.


I have an Allotment

I may be crazy. Recovering from a hysterectomy, a toddler, a new business and now I have an allotment. I think I must like to keep myself busy. I’ve been waiting 5 years for this allotment. Now you might think allotments have waiting lists but they are not normally 5 year waiting lists, so why such a wait? Well I was waiting for a brand new allotment site to open within a short walk of my house. I first read about this on our parish councils notice board and emailed the councillor to find out more. This is when I was told that it could be a bit of a wait as Leeds City Council had to sort out a disagreement with the Co-op that needed access to the back of its shop as well. Two years later I checked on the progress. It was still going to happen and my name would be passed on to the relevant allotment person at the council. Last year I noticed that the fence had been put up and a Tarmac car park laid but no allotments yet.  I waited to be contacted. Just over a month ago I walked by the allotments again to use the local playground and couldn’t believe my eyes. There were now allotment plots and people had very obviously been allocated one. What had happened to me being contacted? It didn’t take me long to find my last email written in 2012 and ask how I could find out about getting a plot. I may have mentioned that no one had contacted me but no one bothered to answer that one. Anyway, after my request got forwarded a few times, I got offered a half size allotment. Yippee, there was one available and only round the corner.  Of course with this massive upside came a few downsides.

  1. The whole plot is boggy clay but I am used this with my back garden.
  2. There is no water supply on the plot. I have no idea why this is but I will work out a solution.
  3. This year I am in a race against time to get even a few things grown.

Whilst the council won’t help to clear your plot, they have offered enough topsoil to help all of us to raise our plots. They deliver 1 tonne and then top up by request. In a bit of luck moment, plot 14, mine is by the double gates where it is being left.  On Friday 24th April my key arrived in the post. I was so excited, so when my hubby returned from work, we went to have a look. It’s big and it’s half size! I was a little bit daunted, especially when you looked at other allotments much further on and with sheds and raised beds on them. I’m less worried now that I have started work and have talked to people.     PLOT14  The best thing that I have done is draw a plan of what I want to achieve and be realistic that I won’t have it looking quite like I want till next year.     In my race to get something planted, I bought some seed potatoes and got planting. I have 6 rows planted so far. If I had thought a bit first, I should have left a path down the middle. Never mind, I’ll sort that out next year.      I have been busy at home planting seeds ready for the allotment. I will me more organized next year as I can start all if this a bit earlier.  At the moment, I have to take all my gardening equipment with me each time that I go but I will get a shed at some point, then I can just walk round, which will be great. I just need to get permission from Leeds City Council first.  The biggest challenge is how boggy it can get. I have bought some horse manure from a local lady  that will help and I am starting to make my own compost. It will take time with digging organic matter and grit in to it. As well as this, I am adding raised beds. I found some great value ones at that cost about the same as buying the wood locally and making them ourselves. I have bought 6 so far and my husband has built 3 so far. Hopefully, these will all be in situ this weekend and some direct seed planting can begin.  I am actually very excited by this and being able to further introduce my daughter to growing food. She already visits grandad’s allotment.  Watch my blog for updates of how I am getting on. (I am doing most of this on my own as my hubby is a non gardener but my dad has been very helpful so far).

Liz Earle Treatments

imageTo those who don’t know, I have been a Liz Earle fan for years. I found out about Liz Earle on QVC! Their 30 day money back guarantee on everything including beauty products and make up is worth knowing about.

I felt smug years later when I read other people also recommending the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and knew I was already using it. I use Ikea face cloths with it instead, so I can exfoliate as well as clean at the same time.

I have tried and used lots of their products over the years but this post is about the treatments that they also offer in their stores.

Luckily for me a Liz Earle shop opened in Leeds in 2010 and about 2 years later the treatment rooms opened on their second floor. Before that you would have had to go to Isle of Wight or London. Being a Liz Earle fan, I wanted to try a treatment when I heard the rooms had opened and even more so, after hearing about the facial my sister had last year when she visited tbe Isle of Wight.

It is said that, good things come come to those who wait. I waited. Then for Mother’s Day this year, my thoughtful daughter (then 18 month old) bought me a Liz Earle voucher and said to use it for a massage. She knows me so well! It also meant, that I had a treat to look forward to.

My first attempt to book a massage was thwarted as the staff were on a training day, but my second attempt was a success. Last Friday, I was booked in for a relaxing back massage.

Despite being in the centre of Leeds, the treatment rooms felt like a world away from all the hustle and bustle of life. Lovely muted colours. The staff were very pleasant when I arrived, offered me a drink of water and gave me a medical questionnaire to complete. Then at my appointment time another lady, took me to a treatment  room.

I was left to get undressed, after the lady had asked me some questions to see how I wanted my massage – medium, relaxation at the beginning, 20 mins back, 10 front, oil removed at the end, in a thoughtfully provided seating and clothes/jewellery storage area. It even had a mirror to check that you look ok before you leave to greet the world again.

On to the massage table I got and pulled up the cover. Not the usual sheet but a cosy duvet, sheet and pretty blanket. I could’ve just fallen asleep. Then, I got to choose from 3 different oil fragrances, followed by 30 mins of a perfect massage. In fact, I would go as far to say that this was the best massage I had ever had.

I loved that it is tailored to you and any issues that you have. I love that they actually listened to what you wanted. I loved the spa decor and that it looked well maintained. Nothing worse than a place starting to look shabby round the edges to spoil the experience. I loved the relaxing / chilled out atmosphere. I liked the after massage advice and that I didn’t feel pushed in to buying anything extra. I did buy my beloved cleanser but then I use this any way.

Can you tell that I liked the Liz Earle Treatment Rooms!


The Relaxing Back Massage cost £40 for 35 minutes.


Coffee, Coffee and More Nespresso Coffee!

My husband hit the spot with this present. Nearly every day I have made myself a cappuccino or espresso.

Well, I realised almost immediately that I needed to buy more coffee pods for it, so off I went  shopping one lunchtime. I headed to a Nespresso stockist, only to discover that you can only buy Nespresso pods from a Nespresso shop or from Nespresso online 😦 I was very disappointed by this. They did say that Nespresso had been challenged and now compatible pods were available, so I decided to try the Dualit compatible decafinated ones. After all my nearest Nespresso shop from Leeds is in the Trafford Centre.

Back home, I excitedly tried by new pods but I was disappointed with the coffee taste. I’m not going to try these again, so I had no choice but to buy on line and be charged £4.95 for delivery. As my husband said, it would cost a lot in petrol to drive to the Trafford Centre. On a Sunday evening I ordered Ristretto, Decaffeinato Intenso and Decaffeinato Lungo. Lungo so my dad can enjoy lattes in my home. Amazingly, my 50 pods arrived on Tuesday, all nicely wrapped. I was suitably impressed.

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Now I have enjoyed lots of cappuccinos and loving working from home on a Wednesday afternoon with a cappuccino next to me. Indulgent!

Today I tried Roma from my selection to try that came with my Nespresso machine. I will add it to my shopping basket next time I need to order. I have read it is a good one to pour over ice cream. I must try this out some time. I do want to go to the shop and have some different coffees demonstrated to me. I am sure we will make a trip across the Penines soon as my dad’s girl friend lives in South Manchester and a stop off at the Trafford Centre will have to be included.

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