Hello again!

Wowza! It’s been MONTHS since I last posted on here, where has the time gone?

Seriously it’s been pretty crazy. All four of us have had birthdays – Hubby turned 42, Tadpole turned 8, I turned 40, then Choochie turned 3. Tadpole went back to school (he’s in year 3 now, how did that happen?!), and I auditioned for a couple of shows. I sang at a local war re-enactment, Halloween came and went, then bonfire night, and now, here we are in the countdown to Xmas! We’ve also been redecorating our house, bit by bit, as well as laying a drive at the front (I say ~”we”, but I mean Hubby has been doing that while I look after the kids and make the coffee!). And now we’re preparing for Choochie to start nursery after the Xmas holidays too.

Oh, and those shows? Well, I’m playing the lead in two shows in the very near future. I’ll be starring as Candy, the Christmas Fairy in The Magic Toy Box this festive season, and as Puss in Puss In Boots next Easter. I am absolutely in my element to be treading the boards once more and the people I’m working with are just darlings, every one of them – I feel like I’ve adopted a whole new branch into the family!

So, as you can see, I’ve been rather distracted and have barely had time to sit down, let alone get to the computer. But I’m still around, and I’ll be popping in from time to time…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

On Thursday this week, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the very first time. Despite having lived in Kirkcaldy (which is only a couple of train stops away from Edinburgh) for the guts of four years, I’d never made it to the festival… Until now!

I was part of a team of people from Northumberland scouting some of the shows to possibly bring to our area (if not them, then shows like them), and so we all hopped on a mini bus at silly-o-clock in the morning and headed to Scotland for the day.

We saw four shows in total – all completely different from what we’d expected and totally different from each other, and each of them was wonderful in their own way.

The first show was Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners) by Will Pickvance at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This show was aimed at a younger audience, but there was plenty to entertain folks of all ages. The music was fabulous, and the story behind his love of the piano, accompanied by quirky animation that was perfectly timed, was absolutely adorable. This is a children’s version of a show he’s done for adult audiences, but it was well worth seeing.

After that, we went for lunch at Circus Bistro, which was just around the corner from the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It was crammed full of people who were in Edinburgh for the festival, but the atmosphere and the food were great. and then we were off again.

Next we saw Pss Pss by Baccala Compagnia at Assembly Roxy. When I saw the write up mention mime, by heart sank, because I don’t like mime and never have (I subscribe to Lord Vetinari’s idea of hanging mimes upside down in a dungeon opposite a sign that reads “Learn the words!”), but this couldn’t have been more different from my preconceptions if it had tried for a hundred years. There is no accurate way to describe this act – it’s like traditional clowning-come-acrobatic act with a storytelling element that is utterly delightful – we understood every single word they didn’t say (the only sound they uttered was a whispered “pss pss”). There was so much going on between the two characters on stage, and within the audience participation sections, that to write it all out here would take forever – what they conveyed with the slightest movement or facial expression was immense. They thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received at the end.

After the highs of Pss Pss, I feared that the next act would be a little depressing, based on the two-sentence summary I’d read. I have never been happier to be proven wrong!

One Hundred Homes by Yinka Kuitenbrouwer was presented in a large wooden hut at Summerhall, with the seating crammed together, There were blankets on some of the chairs, in case it got chilly, and we were all given cups of hot tea and homemade biscuits shaped like little houses (they were delicious, by the way!). Yinka visited over one hundred people, and talked to them about the idea of home. The resulting show, where she relates their stories and links the together in the most unusual manner, was most uplifting, filled with warmth and hope and the friendship she had developed with the people she interviewed. We were very pleased to be there when it was announced that she was the winner of an award – I think we all got a little emotional along with her, as it was very well deserved!

After being left almost completely speechless by Yinka, we headed to a giant  up-turned purple cow at George Square, where we watched Closer by Circa. This was another acrobatic show with elements of dance involved – it was a very lyrical performance showcasing strength and agility, with moves that had the audiences collectively holding their breath as they performed high above us. It was quite indescribable!

Everywhere we went throughout the day, the air was crackling with excitement – the atmosphere was electric! I don’t think any of us wanted to come home at the end of it, despite being completely exhausted. The entire experience was out of this world and I know that although this was my first time at the festival, it most certainly won’t be my last! I look forward to returning for future festivals, and also to taking Tadpole and Choochie along when they’re a little older, because this is something that everyone should experience, at least once, and it will never be forgotten!

A busy summer…

Crikey, it’s been just over three weeks since I last posted on this blog – simply because we’ve been so busy! It’s the school holidays, you see, and with both the kids at home, and Hubby having a fortnight off work, we’ve been all over the place on day trips and excursions to local events and attractions, which have included:

  • A music festival
  • A theatre trip (I went to see Chicago with my sister and niece)
  • A family fun day (with bouncy castles and entertainment stuff)
  • Rock-pooling on a tidal island with a light house
  • Going to the circus
  • Blackberry picking with the kids
  • A trip to Beamish (huge open-air, fully interactive museum)
  • A trip to the Hancock Museum
  • Watching a football match

This coming weekend we have a four day festival to celebrate the Tall Ships coming to our town. It’s all rather exciting!

Hubby has been working hard on DIY projects – he’s laid our drive (all lock-blocked beautifully), and has started work on a built-in cupboard and bookcase in our living room, as he’s about to start redecorating in there (it will be followed by the kitchen, all three bedrooms, and finally the bathroom, which will be completely ripped out, a new suite put in, re-tiled, and basically started from scratch!). He’s also decorated my Mum’s spare bedroom and kitchen – what a handy man!

Tadpole has lost not one, but two teeth during the holidays, and we have tackled potty training with Choochie – he’s now something of a pro (thankfully!), and we have no problem going out and about all day with him – he’s very good at “holding it in” till we can find a toilet!

I, on the other hand, have been busy in rehearsals for Sister Act, and have also begun auditioning for other shows, as well as preparing for singing at Blyth Battery again next month. And tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to Edinburgh for the day, to take in a few shows at the Fringe Festival – I can hardly wait!

So, if I’ve been AWOL for a little while, you’ll understand, as we’ve been spending most of our time outdoors and away from all things computerised!

Busy, busy, busy!

I’ve been pretty much AWOL for a little while, simply because I’ve been so busy!

06.03.16 bTadpole has been preparing for his key stage 1 SATs (he started them this week), which I hate, because he’s been stressing out and personally, I think six and seven year olds are far too young to be sitting formalised exams, but that’s beside the point – he has to do them, so doing them he is! His first two papers were yesterday, and thankfully, he seemed to find them not too taxing (in fact, he said they were “A piece of cake!”).

17.03.16I’ve also just applied for Choochie to start nursery in January. He can’t start till then, because they can only start the term after their third birthday, so he’ll have to wait till after the Xmas holidays. Still, I wanted to get the application in early to make sure he gets a place – I can’t be traipsing between two different schools! Choochie also finally weaned (31 months of breastfeeding!), and has started potty training. He likes to sit on the toilet, but so far has only managed to squeeze out a tiny tinkle each time – he’ll get there eventually though!

Last month, I worked backstage on a pantomime – I did make-up for the Dame, which was great fun, and reminded me how much I missed the theatre, so I then went and auditioned for a show for the first time in 15 years! As a result, I have a very small role in a production of Sister Act, which will be performed in October. Officially, I am “Nun #11”, so as I don’t have a given name, I’ve chosen one for myself, and I shall be known henceforth as Sister Sara of the Two Mules (simply because I love Two Mules For Sister Sara). I’ve also decided to audition for a part in Annie later this year, so watch this space!

I was also part of the centenary celebrations at Blyth Battery this past weekend! Blyth Battery Goes To War is an annual event local to me, and it’s always a fantastic weekend, but this year marked 100 years since they started building it (it took two hears to complete), so it was extra special. And we got some wonderful weather for it too – the place was absolutely heaving all weekend, and the audiences were very appreciative. I got such lovely comments from people who watched my performances, my confidence was boosted a hell of a lot (I have an ego the size of Texas now!), and I was pleased to see  from photographs that I look half the size I did last year when I performed! And the most adorable little girl (who I think may well be my number one fan!) came up and danced with me during my instrumental sections – she was a superstar!

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Finally, I’ve done a fair bit of work on my Sky Blanket since I last did an update on it. I now have eleven rows joined, and I think it’s looking pretty neat! As Tadpole has been asking for a new “lovey blanket” since Choochie got his full-sized one at Xmas, I thought I’d give this one to him for Xmas this year. He’s been admiring it as it grows, so I think he’ll be very happy with it, and as I won’t actually have a section for every single day (or I’d have the wrong number of yo-yos for my rows), I will hopefully be able to finish it just in time, although it could mean a hell of a lot of border crocheting on Xmas Eve!

13235220_10156817102490386_7625483622086569872_oOn top of all that, I’ve picked up my cross stitching in earnest again for the first time in a good few years – I stitched a little sampler for my best friend’s wedding last November, and now I find the bug has crept up and bitten me again, so I’ve taken up a few of my UFOs to see if I can finish a few of them. I’ve stitched a few bookmarks to send off to my pen pals, but I’m also working on my Rules For Life sampler, which I started before Choochie was born – hopefully it’ll be framed and up on the wall before the end of the year!

Speaking of pen pals, I’ve picked up a few new ones, and I have been involved in making pocket letters and flip books for them – I’ve been going paper-crafting crazy, and writing letters like a mad woman. Actually, I have one to write today, so I’d better get a move on!

And so, I hope normal service will now be resumed, although I seem to have even more things demanding my time and attention than ever, what with getting involved in a show again!



Blyth Battery Goes To War – 100 Year Celebrations!

12814015_10154012320291255_2977294936568317673_nIt’s that time of year again, but this time, it’ll be something extra special, because Blyth Battery is celebrating its 100th year!

There will be all manner of flashes and bangs – loads to see, do, and hear.

I’ll be singing in the entertainment tent
in front of the cafe
at 1pm and 3pm
on both Saturday 21st May and Sunday 22nd May.

So, if you’re in the area, come on down to the beach and be entertained, wartime-style – you’ll be given a very warm welcome, and it’s a FREE event, so bring the whole family for some fun!

I hope to see you all there!


There’s a Star Man, waiting in the sky…

David Bowie. 1947 – 2016

This morning we woke to the sad news of David Bowie’s death, after an 18-month battle with cancer that he’d fought privately, and without alerting the media, which meant that, despite not performing live for several years, it came as something of a shock. Just days after his 69th birthday, and also the release of his latest album, we have lost one of the greatest stars in modern music history – a man who successfully reinvented himself over and over again, and whose music is still relevant and fresh today, despite his career spanning an amazing six decades!

I’ve been a big fan for as long as I can remember, and Tadpole has always particularly liked his music – when he was two years old, I took him to a local story and music time session at the local library, While everyone else was singing, “Wind the bobbin up,” he stood up, stamped his little foot, and declared, “No! I don’t like this song! I want proper music! I want David Bowie!” It was one of my proudest moments ever!

Bearing that in mind, I knew he would be as saddened as I am to hear the news. I told him shortly after he got up this morning. This was the conversation we had:

Me: Darling, I’ve heard some sad news this morning. David Bowie has died.
Tadpole: Oh no! That’s so sad! Was it cancer?
Me: Yes, sweetie. He’d been ill for quite a while.
Tadpole: It’s always cancer. I hate it! I just wish cancer wasn’t real!
Me: Yes, so do I, darling.
Tadpole: We’re running out of singers. There’ll be no good music left at this rate!

Bearing in mind that Tadpole is only seven years old, I thought he showed a startling grasp of the tragedy of Bowie’s death, his illness, and also his loss to the music world, all in one fell swoop.

Farewell, Major Tom, Ziggy Star Dust, and my favourite, The Goblin King. You will be sorely missed, but your legacy will continue to delight generations of music lovers forever.

A birthday party to remember

It will be Tadpole’s 7th birthday on Thursday, so we had his birthday party this weekend. The night before, I was busy in the kitchen all evening, and up till 2.30am waiting for layers of jelly to set so I could add the next colour. Then I was up again early the next morning, and spent all morning assembling sandwiches and getting all the last minute foodstuffs made so they could be transported to the party venue.

As he’s so fond of animals, we opted for an animal-themed party, complete with some animal guests from the Saviours Haven Animal Sanctuary.

I can guarantee that not one of the children there (or even the adults!) will forget that party in a hurry, after all, how often do you get to stroke a fox or a skunk? I have to say, Roly the skunk was my absolute favourite – he has such a sweet little face and was the most placid and good-natured little creature. Anyone who meets him is bound to fall in love immediately!

Everyone, no matter their age, had a lovely time, and I’m sure they’ll all be chatting excitedly about it at school on Monday morning!

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Cast/Recast: Blade Runner

In 1982, Ridley Scott presented us with a cinematic masterpiece view of the future. We’re now just four years away from catching up to the year in which it is set – 2019 – so I thought it might be ripe for a recast. Much as I would hate to see this classic remade or rebooted (some films should just be left alone!), if I were to make this movie today, here’s who I would choose for my cast…

Blade Runner (1982)

Character: Rick Deckard (human?)
Originally played by: Harrison Ford
Recast: Michael Fassbender

DECKARDSlightly rough around the edges, careworn, but with a gentleness to him, Deckard is a man of complicated character, and we’re never sure if he’s human or if he’s replicant too. Ford leaves big shoes to fill for this role, and Fassbender is one of only very few actors today who could fill them. I think he’d be perfect as our leading man in a remake.

Character: Roy Batty (replicant)
Originally played by: Rutger Hauer
Recast: Ryan Gosling

BATTYSwitching from violence to romantic poet in the blink of an eye, Hauer gave the leader of the escaped replicants a soul. His deadpan delivery of his final lines remain one of the most heartbreaking moments ever committed to film, and I think Gosling has exactly the right kind of look to be able to carry off the almost total lack of expression as he gives his heartrending monologue.

Character: Rachael (replicant)
Originally played by: Sean Young
Recast: Carey Mulligan

RACHAELWith her perfect, doll-like features and soulful eyes, Mulligan could portray the calm, yet confused Rachel with aplomb, infusing her with both softness and intelligence, making her a very tempting prospect for Deckard.

Character: Pris (replicant)
Originally played by: Daryl Hannah
Recast: Milla Jovovich

PRISEqual parts innocent and seductive, this acrobatic replicant needs to be able to kick ass, but also inspire sympathy. The role has echoes of Leeloo in The Fifth Element, and I can see Jovovich shining as this character.

Character: Zhora (replicant)
Originally played by: Joanna Cassidy
Recast: Christina Hendricks

ZORAHThis sexy-as-sin exotic dancer must have a body to die for, so who better than the modern day equivalent of Marilyn Monroe? Hendricks exudes confidence, and would be absolutely irresistible to pretty much anyone. Don’t you think she’d look awesome with a replicant snack draped around her shoulders?

Character: Leon (replicant)
Originally played by: Brion James
Recast: Jonah Hill

LEONThis may come as a surprise, but this was actually the first part I cast in my head. We had just sat down to watch Blade Runner for the first time in years, and from the first scene with Leon, I thought to myself, “Jonah Hill would be perfect in that role!”, and my recasting began! I wanted all my replicants to look soulful, to blur the lines between human and replicant, so that their fight for their right for continued existence would be all the more poignant. Just look at Hill’s face. Look at his eyes. Wouldn’t he be compelling? I’d love to see him in this kind of role.

Character: J F Sebastian (human)
Originally played by: William Sanderson
Recast: Peter Dinklage

JF SEBASTIANDinklage has gone supernova off the back of Game of Thrones, and his stellar talent would mean he could play the role of the shy, retiring genius with a condition which means he ages prematurely, without making him remotely creepy (which I think would be a pitfall some other actors might fail to avoid). Strange as the pairing may seem, I think the scenes between JF and Pris would work wonderfully between Dinklage and Jovovich.

Character: Dr Eldon Tyrell (human)
Originally played by: Joe Turkel
Recast: Colin Firth

tyrellTyrell, the genius who has built up the large Tyrell Corporation, is the man who built the four-year lifespan into the Nexus 6 models, but also the “guardian” of Rachael. I want him to be capable of being ruthless and business-like, yet sympathetic. He also needs to be someone credible as a distinguished man of means and high intelligence. I can think of no better candidate than Colin Firth – a man of many talents.

Character: Captain Harry Bryant (human)
Originally played by: M. Emmet Walsh
Recast: Giancarlo Esposito

BRYANTAs captain of the Rep-Detect department of the Los Angeles Police Department, Harry Bryant is charged with the recovery of the escaped Nexus 6 replicants. He always seemed a little weathered and jaded to me, and I can picture Esposito fitting the role perfectly.

Character: Gaff (human)
Originally played by: Edward James Olmos
Recast: Takeshi Kaneshiro

GAFFI toyed with the idea of several actors in the role of the mysterious origami-folding Gaff, including Benicio del Toro and Chen Chang. In the end, I went with Takeshi Kaneshiro, as I think he would bring a sleek, slick air to Gaff, and he would certainly stand out as being completely different to Deckard.

So, there we go – my own personal wish list for a reboot of this seminal sci-fi classic.

Do you agree with my choices? Either way, I’d love to know. And if you’d cast someone else, leave a comment below with your choice and reason for casting them.

Edited to add:
In a story published on Yahoo on 17th November 2015, Ryan Gosling confirmed he would be in Blade Runner 2. OK, so Batty died in the first film (or did he?) so he’ll not be playing that role (or will he?), but it’s interesting to read, three months after I published my post, that he’s a definite cast member in the sequel!

Let the music play!

Blyth has loads of free events all year round. Today there was a live music festival down at the beach, so I took the boys down to see the bands play, and have a little fun. We packed a nice little picnic for us all, and headed down to the beach.

We had a fabulous time – the boys both had a go on a couple of rides that had been put on for the kids (I tell you what, those people know how to make money – it costs a fortune to have a go on a bouncy castle or a teacup ride these days!) – and the atmosphere was great. We didn’t stay all day, but we did stay long enough to hear Driven Serious play (they’re a folk punk band from the north east who wear pirate costumes and are seriously awesome!).

We met some minions and some very friendly pirates (not Driven Serious – these were different guys dressed as pirates), who were definitely not looking for their lost treasure and definitely not stealing anything, honest guv!

The sun was shining and it was scorchio – perfect weather to be out of doors and having fun!

Blyth Battery Goes To War


Blyth Battery Goes To War this weekend, with all manner of fun things to see and do, including a battle re-enactment (complete with pyrotechnics), and musical performances from various wonderful artsists (myself included!).

I’m looking forward to curling my hair and warming up my voice for this afternoon!

I’ll be singing solo at 1.45pm on Saturday (outside the cafe), and with friends at 2.30pm. Then solo again on Sunday at 1.30pm, and with my friends at 2.30pm.

It’s going to be a really fun family day out, and it’s all free, so if you’re in the Blyth area, be sure to come along and sample some wartime sights and sounds.

See you there!