LOVE AND POETRY..

I was recently asked by my eldest sister to write a piece of poetry to read at her approaching wedding.  Of course, I was incredibly honoured and humbled by this touching request.  However – slight terror couldn’t help but creep up to the surface!  As much as I adore writing, how was I going to put into words the overwhelming love I felt not only for my sister, but also the beautiful relationship between her and her fiancé?

And yes – that terror remains.  So I have been increasing my poetry reading with the hope that inspiration will take control and allow the words to spill onto the page.

So why not share here?  I have been fairly lacklustre recently with my blog posts – a mixture of a dry spell of shows (that I was able to attend!) and an increasingly busy work schedule while the company tours has meant I haven’t had quite as much to write about.  The two combined is a dreadful mix; there are so many excellent shows out there right now (including the fabulous work WOW Film Festival has to offer) but work commitments have barricaded me from attending many.

Alas, that is no excuse!  So I solemnly do swear that from now on, whether I am attending productions or not, I will continue my loving commitment to this little blog.  Starting off with one of the most inspiring – and most appropriate – sonnets, it is of course Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116.  And as an aside, enjoy this rather geeky picture taken of me recently at the home of this absolute legend…

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Stratford-Upon-Avon Selfie!

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

SHERMAN’S SLEEPING BEAUTIES SPARKLE AND SHINE..

It isn’t Christmas without a fairy tale story.

Well, that’s what I tell myself as I desperately cling on to my love of Princesses, magic and make believe stories.  And that’s exactly why I was childishly excited for Sherman Cymru’s latest adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, written by Robert Alan Evans.

I knew little about the show before entering the beautiful building that is Sherman; it’s the way I like to approach most shows.  All I knew is that Evans had taken the classical fairy tale we all know and love and given it a bit of a modern spin.  Always a risky business, but in more cases than not (in my experience anyway), a worthy choice.

The festive spirit was brimming at the edges as I walked through the doors; carol singers in one corner, majestic tree in the other, bunting, decorations, mulled wine, mince pies… the atmosphere was electric.  Families with children of all ages waited expectantly for the mighty call of the overhead speaker.  As we were eventually called to our seats I noticed I was probably the only 22 year old in a sea of pre-teens and gurgling toddlers.  I clung to my little cup of mulled wine (another bonus point; Sherman allows drinks inside the theatre) and waited cheerfully for the Christmas background music to softly drop and the lights to dip.

And what did transpire was quite simply the perfect family show.  Sleeping Beauties followed the lives of Dawn, the beautiful and cursed Princess, and Eve, her comical and dowdy friend.  Bound together by the curse of the Forest-bound Fertility Wife the girls are taken on a journey 1000 years into the future.

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 Images by Mark Douet

Evans plays with the drama of time and the horror of being forced to re-imagine the future; he brings the tale to a more modern time, whilst maintaining the charm and innocence of classic fairy tales.  Magic, intrigue, friendship and young love make this story captivating for a younger audience, whilst topical jokes and playful humour kept the theatre lively right through until the final line.

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 Images by Mark Douet

Lisa Jen Brown, cast as the Fertility Wife, was particularly commanding.  She played the part delightfully, with singing solos dispersed throughout to add even more sparkle to the festive mix.  As your perception of her character changed you realised how clever the plot really was, whilst remaining extremely accessible for the younger audience.

Clove, the “baddie” of the play, was your typical fairy tale scrooge; over the top, slimy and easily hated.  A bit much for me, but he certainly pleased the children with his extravagant gestures and excessive facial expressions.

The modest set was sweet and humble, adding to the endearing innocence of the performance.  The Forest scenes were especially enchanting, with sparkling trees glittering down from the ceiling for the characters to dive in and out of.  Despite the Forest supposedly being the “deep dark” setting, it kept the scenes light and appealing.

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Images by Mark Douet

Sleeping Beauties certainly ticked all the right boxes for family entertainment.  It’s engaging, pure and full of morals to keep the parents smiling.  Perfect for this time of year, it’s ideal for families with younger children.

My only negative is I was hoping it would be slightly more accessible to an older audience, whilst remaining jovial for the young ones. I didn’t quite get the feeling I normally do from these sorts of performances, but I don’t think I was really meant to.  It’s a fairy tale to keep children caring about the classic childhood stories; and it absolutely has the potential to do so.

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Images by Mark Douet

Sleeping Beauties is running from now until January 4th.

THIS WEEK I..

Had quite a week!  Since University has ended, this has become quite a rarity.  Days seem to flit on by, and I find myself falling into a a daily schedule; wake up, go to work, go to the gym, make dinner, see what the TV has to offer / read a good book.  I know this is what we call “reality”, but it really is a nice little treat when my week is shaken up a bit.

Thursday offered a post-work celebration of a work-friends 30th birthday.  The evening started with a few glasses of wine in Pontcanna’s Cameo bar; a gorgeous bar right on the bustling street in case you haven’t visited.  The delightful August sunshine meant we could enjoy a tipple sat outside – it’s quite a necessity to make the most of every single bit of sunshine in a country notorious for it’s rainfall!

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A few glasses of wine (and some birthday jagerbombs later), we headed on down to Bangkok Cafe in Canton.  It’s a restaurant I’ve never been to: in fact, I am yet to experience most of the restaurants in my new home.  As a previous “Cathays girl”, I’m still getting used to everything Pontcanna and Canton has to offer – any recommendations will be greatly received!

As a huge fan of Thai food, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the menu.  I was not disappointed; everything on there I could of happily devoured in a heartbeat.  In the end, I settled for:

  • Kanon bang: Thai Toasties. Seasoned chopped prawns on toast, with a cucumber and onion relish
  • Gang Dang bed: Spicy roast duck red curry – and fresh green vegetables with a coconut dressing

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The food was really quite exceptional.  Flavored to perfection, with just the right amount of spice, it was absolutely divine.  The staff were a pleasure, and the setting was relaxed and authentic.  I have already begun to plan my next visit!

The next day was, let’s say, quite an experience!  It started with a quick stop off in the office, and then straight to Bristol for a EuroMillions shoot.  A normal occurrence in the Effective office – except for the inclusion of a very charming Butler!

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The shoot was all part of a bid to find an unclaimed winner in Bristol, and the Butler was “on the hunt” for his mystery master!  It was all very fun and tongue-in-cheek, and the “Butler” played his part incredibly well!  We then packed up and took our cheery butler on a trip to Gloucester for the next shoot – a glamorous affair on the train station platform.  After plenty of banter with the Friday commuters, we headed back to Cardiff – only for me to go straight to the train station, on my way to London town!

The London part of my trek was all in the name of babies.  Our family is very lucky to not be welcoming one, but two baby girls into the clan this month – the first in the “next generation”.  The shower was held in the idyllic location of my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Langley.  BBQs, drinks, baby games (including “guess the taste of the baby food” – not a game I would suggest to ANYONE) and a much needed catch up with my wonderful family – it was everything I wanted.

Living in the city, it is such a refreshing change to visit such a tranquil, stunning place.  Life is so different.  People are so different.  I could feel every little bit of stress leaving me, helping me to take a new perspective on the worries left in my little Cardiff flat.

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And now I find myself at the beginning of another week in my new life.  It’s hard to believe how quickly time has gone since my University adventure, but I think I’m finally ready to let it go.

It’s time to stop feeling pangs of sadness when I think of the time gone by, and start feeling excitement for what is to come.

FIVE THINGS I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT..

There we have it.  I’ve finally recommitted to the world of blogging – hitting a new stage of my life, I decided it was time to keep a log of all things important to me.  That and find a more fitting way to spend my spare time: watching old re-runs of Friends every single evening is beginning to lose it’s appeal (I never thought I’d say that!).

And what a better way to start than to blog about the five things I couldn’t live without; the five things that give me a sense of self, the things that give me my identity.

1) The written word

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There is nothing better than beautifully written words.  They have the power to take me to another world.  When the world seems bleak, I know I can always turn to a wonderfully written piece of literature, and I will instantly be transported to a better place.  Just thinking about my favourite novels gives me goosebumps.  One of the best pass times for me has to be talking about literature.  I love the excitement it gives people to talk about these new worlds.

2) My Childish Side

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It’s safe to say I am a big kid at heart.  A perfect Sunday for me would consist of a day on the sofa, in jammies with a good Disney film playing.  On my last birthday, my family organised a surprise Disney extravaganza – Lion King Cake, Princess presents, the works.  Although this may seem pretty immature for a 21 year old graduate, I love being able to hold on to my childish side.  I have gone straight from University into full-time employment (thankfully!), and sometimes you need to be a big kid to remain sane!

3) Performing

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I have danced for as long as I can remember, and the feeling I get when I do never ceases to amaze me.  It allows me to let go of any tension or stress I’ve been feeling, and just throw myself into something I absolutely adore.  One of the best moments of my University experience happened this year at the University Society Awards.

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My dance society, of which I was committee member for, was nominated for several awards, and won one of them!  It was such a fantastic feeling to finally be appreciated by the University as a strong society.  I am desperate to find a new class and find that electricity once again.  Until then, the night club dance floor will have to do!

4) Dreaming Big

I’ve always been a dreamer.  Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to get out of my home town and really make something of myself.  As cliche as that sounds, I get such a buzz out of pushing myself for bigger and better things.  I could never settle for something that didn’t make me happy; luckily, so far, I haven’t had to.  

5) My Family, Boyfriend and Friends

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I am blessed to have the most kind, loving and supportive family I could ever dream of, as well as a boyfriend I couldn’t live without and a beautiful, inspiring group of friends.  Above all, these are the most important things in my life.