Sunday, January 27, 2008

I've been razzle dazzled

Last week I went to see Chicago: The Musical at London's Cambridge Theatre and totally loved it. It's been three days and I'm still singing the songs in my head. I loved the choreography, the costumes, the music, the singing, the atmosphere. And to think I don't even like jazz!

Chicago is the story of Roxie, a chorus girl who has murdered her lover. While in prison, she meets Velma, another murderess, and the two women try to outshine each other in the media, while fighting for the services of sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn. After several trials and tribulations, both get acquitted and team up to form a nightclub act which they hope will keep them in the public eye.

The story sounds a bit lame, even by musical standards, however the beauty of Chicago isn't in the story but the storytelling, the music and, most importantly, Bob Fosse's iconic choreography. It's a feast for the senses. Or, as a Time Out reviewer says: a biting satire on fame, capital punishment, and all that jazz, Chicago delivers its high-heeled kick on every front; as slick, sleek and sassy a West End musical as anyone could hope for.

I couldn't agree more. Sitting back, listening to the music and watching the dancers was simply a pleasure. The theatre was packed although this isn't by any stretch a new show - it's been going for more than 10 years already. Luckily, we had seats in the third row and it felt as if we could almost touch the performers. What a treat - and all for a modest £25 (35€) GILT offer.

Duncan James was the male lead and did a great job as Billy Flynn. Amra-Faye Wright was a stunning Velma, Bonnie Langford a good, solid Roxie, Paul Rider a realistic Amos and Brenda Edwards (of X-Factor fame) simply superb as prison warden Mama Morton. The whole cast were brilliant and felt comfortable in their roles. OK, I'm not a big music connoisseur, but I couldn't fault this show and would gladly watch it again with any of the same actors, particularly Amra-Faye Wright who I thought was outstanding. So good, in fact, that I just can't imagine anyone else playing Velma ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Marmite Paddington

I was looking for one of the "love it or loathe it" Marmite commercials on YouTube, when I came across this one. Paddington Bear was my fave cartoon when I was little, so I couldn't help but smile at this, as it brought back so many memories (of Paddington, not Marmite, which I didn't even know existed until I first came to the UK aged 21).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Love it or loathe it?

Marmite flavoured with Guinness was one of the surprise foodie hits of last year - the initial run of 300,000 jars sold out in just two weeks. Now a new variation, Marmite with Champagne, looks set to prove just as popular. Almost 1,000 jars were snapped up in three days since the line went on sale in Selfridges. The £3.99 Lovers' Marmite is being marketed as a gift for Valentine's Day.

I think I'd rather receive flowers.

Ve haf vays of making you sit

Police dog handlers are learning German so they can give commands to trained alsatians being brought in from Germany. About 17 British police forces are importing the dogs to fill a shortage. At first officers will use German commands such as "aus" for "let go". A Derbyshire police spokeswoman said: "The dogs are now learning English."

Taken from London Lite Friday, 11 January 2008

Happy birthday, darling!

Today is hubby's birthday. I'm not allowed to say which birthday as he's doing his best to forget. So I've put up "teenager at last" banners and hope he sees the funny side :-)

At the moment he's in the living room watching TV, totally unaware of the decorations in the rest of the house. Hehe.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How good is your English?

Your English Skills:

Grammar: 100%
Punctuation: 100%
Spelling: 80%
Vocabulary: 60%

Ho-hum. I didn't think my vocabulary was *that* bad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday 7

Girls just wanna have fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Kite Runner

There is a way to be good again

I bought Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner a long time ago but haven't yet got round to reading it. Tonight Loops and I watched the movie. What can I say - it's probably the most beautiful and moving film I've seen in a long time.

The next book I get a chance to read will be The Kite Runner. If it's half as good as the film, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Greek New Year celebrations

The day before New Year's Eve hubby and I took our goddaughter and her sister to the cinema to see Bee Movie (which we all loved). I took this photo of the Christmas boats on the way to the theatre. I thought they were really cute.

Afterwards we bought balloons from a street vendor. Who are these little people? Could it be Santa and Cinderella?

Oh no. They're two little princesses :-)

On New Year's Eve we went to a friend's house for dinner. There were 15 of us in total, so there was A LOT of food on the table.

I took a picture of my plate before I tucked in: scrumptious cheese pie (a typical Greek dish), roast potatoes, cheese, lettuce, chicken, spinach pie (another typical dish), sausage and cabbage. Yum yum!

We finished eating just before midnight, in time for the new year countdown. Once we welcomed the new year with songs, hugs and present opening, we cut the New Year Cake. There's a coin hidden in the cake, and the one who finds the coin in his or her piece will have good luck throughout the year.

Could the lucky coin be in this piece?

Actually, it's here! Well done, Chris!

Most young people go out to a bar or club after the cutting of the cake (usually around 1 AM) but we're obviously getting on a bit, as we chose to stay in, watch TV (there's always a show on) and play card games until the early hours of the morning. You're supposed to play games of chance on New Year's Day for good luck. The little white things on the table are actually beans and they represent money (10 beans = 1€). Hubby lost 200 beans, which is good news, as Greeks believe he who loses in cards, wins in love :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Shaking news

This morning I woke up to news that a powerful earthquake hit Greece less than 12 hours after our departure (although I doubt the two were related hehe). The earthquake measured 6.5 on the Richter scale and was centered in the sea near Leonidio, a pretty little town on the coast of Arcadia - not far from where we were just two days ago.

Apparently it lasted a good 40 seconds (my cousin said two minutes, but I think she may be exaggerating somewhat) and was felt in Athens and all over southern Greece.

Currently there are no serious damages or injuries reported. Phew!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Athens shop windows

The other night we did some late night window shopping in downtown Athens. Here's what we saw:

Attica The Department Store has themed shop windows based on famous capital cities.

This is Athens (ahem) ...


Paris (*not* Amsterdam) ...

... and Tokyo.

Remember the upside down Christmas tree? If this window is anything to go by, it's certainly caught on in Athens.

There were plenty of traditional Christmas trees too.

As well as other typical Christmas decorations. I particularly liked the three little Santas.

It's a good job the shops were shut, as I might have been tempted to fritter my euros!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Athens Christmas lights

Following from an earlier post showing you what festive London looks like, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of Athens, Greece, during the holiday season.

Fist off, a couple of alternative takes on the good old Christmas tree:

This crib is nothing special, but I like this photo because you can just about see the little boy looking at it quite intently.

The Christmas tree on Syntagma Square, in the city centre. You can see the parliament building in the background. I didn't spot any Christmas boats around there.

A lady chestnut seller. I luuuuurve roasted chestnuts!

This is koulouri, a popular street snack. It's a circular bread with sesame seeds, it's sold by street vendors and is yummy!

Of all the snowmen and Santas I saw, this was my favourite. Doesn't he look like he's about to go "ho ho ho Merry Christmas"?

Well, maybe not ho ho ho. Perhaps he's only saying "Have a Happy New Year, folks"!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Blogging in front of the fireplace

There have got to be worse places to blog from than my mum's living room :-)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New 2008!

Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, healthy & wealthy new year!

Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself.

Aisha Elderwyn