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2012 has been an odd summer! It hasn’t been smooth sailing but there has been a lot to make me happy. I thought that I would take you through some of the highlights.
Our summer started at the end of May when Mr H and I went on a holiday to Rhodes. We were both shattered and needed a really relaxing break. Our aims were to lie in the sun, read books, sleep and gorge ourselves on food and drink.
We booked to stay in the Aquagrand near Lindos. This was an absolutely gorgeous hotel and Mr H and I had the best holiday ever. The hotel is on a beach and is peaceful and secluded. Perfect! For a little bit of added luxury we had booked a suite with a private pool. This added to the general laziness that engulfed the holiday and meant we barely moved from the decking around our pool. Sun + sea + sand + Mr H + “The Hunger Games” trilogy = Mrs H’s recipe for holiday heaven!
|Our private pool and the sea view from our hotel room. Fantabulous!|
A tale of two musicals
Everything in life seems better when I am at the theatre and immersed in the world of musicals. Back in June, after a horrid few weeks, I was lucky enough to see not one but two of my favourite musicals with not one but two of my favourite people.
Singin’ in the Rain
First up was the glorious “Singin’ in the Rain” at The Palace Theatre with my bestest friend the brilliant Ms A. I can not tell you how much I love “Singin’ in the Rain” – it is not humanly possible for me to express the joy that I get when I watch Gene Kelly dancing THAT scene. It is a brave man who tries to fill the dancing shoes of Gene Kelly but Adam Cooper is amazing as Don Lockwood. Not only can he match Mr Kelly in the dancing stakes (Adam Cooper was a principal at the Royal Ballet and he created The Swan in Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake”) but he is also a great actor and singer. Adam Cooper’s Don is charming, witty, warm and engaging and wow, can he dance!
As much as I love the MGM film, I do cringe in certain places – the romantic scenes are just wrong and Debbie Reynolds can be simpering and annoying as Kathy Selden. This production seems to have none of these problems. The romance between Kathy and Don is sweet and genuine (with quite a lot of snogging for the 1920s) and Scarlett Strallen has the right amount of gumption but also sweet naivety for Kathy. She is also a lovely dancer and the scenes of her dancing with Adam Cooper are beautiful and oh so romantic!
Then there is THAT scene. The whole stage is flooded with water and Adam Cooper is soaked to the skin. But his dancing is breathtaking and the whole scene is a joy to behold. He also seems to have great fun splashing the front rows of the audience who are in the splash zone. At the end of the musical the whole cast return onto the stage to dance and sing in the rain. Bloody brilliant. I left the theatre with a huge smile on my face!
I love a contrast and a Stephen Sondheim musical and so a week later the fantabulous Miss L and I took a trip to The Adelphi Theatre to immerse ourselves in the murky world of “Sweeney Todd”.
I became almost hysterical with excitement when I heard that Michael Ball was going to star as the infamous demon barber of Fleet Street. What amazing casting. I was also intrigued to see how he would portray Sweeney Todd – since his last few roles have included the family-friendly Edna Tumbland in “Hairspray” and Caractacus Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”.
I had also heard rumours that a number of people who had booked tickets to see Michal Ball (and see Michael Ball they did) had written letters of complaint because he is unrecognisable. He looks like a very evil David Brent. Yet, when he starts to sing there is no denying that he is Michael Ball – the king of musicals.
“Sweeney Todd” is a musical like no other. Only Stephen Sondheim could write a musical about a serial killer that has a sweeping score (I was humming “Pretty Women” for many a day after), moments of comedy, a bad guy that is horrific and sympathetic at the same time (check out this amazing post from Mrs Gold about the power of a really good “bad guy”) and an overwhelming sense of terror and darkness.
This production conveyed all these elements perfectly. Michael Ball was AMAZING. From his first brief appearance on the stage he dominates every scene that he is in. He quietly and skillfully shows the destruction of a man who driven mad by injustice, hatred and vengeance buries the humanity inside to become a bloodthirsty killer. This is perfectly shown in the brilliantly directed scene at the beginning of Act Two where Todd unthinkingly slashes throats while singing about his sadness of never seeing his daughter again.
As Mrs Lovett, Imelda Staunton is a perfect comical foil to Ball’s Todd. She is as exuberant and fanciful as Todd is indifferent. “The worst pies in London”, “A little priest” and “By the sea” were pitched perfectly and had the audience howling with laughter.
Sadly, this fabulous production finishes on 22nd September. Boohoo!
A girly day of glamorous decadence
Then in July the gorgeous Miss Fifi and I put on our heels and posh frocks and wandered over to the Sanderson Hotel for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Miss Fifi and I love cake. In fact, we have been known to have a meal solely consisting of cake. Yum. And I have now set myself the mission of having afternoon tea in as many places in London before I die (obviously this might mean I die sooner as I can’t imagine all those cream teas are good for your waist line or cholesterol level).
We headed off to the Sanderson and it was wonderful. They presented us with a plate of rainbow sandwiches and a cake stand of delicious goodies including a “Drink Me” potion filled with passion fruit jelly, coconut pannacotta and exotic foam; a strawberries and cream “Eat me” heart; various lollipops and the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam. It was the yummiest afternoon tea that I have ever had (and darlings, I have had afternoon tea at the Dorchester!). The magical setting of the Sanderson’s courtyard garden, fabulous company and glass of bubbly all led to a very happy Mrs H.
|Yep – that’s me – Mrs H at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Sanderson Hotel. (Photo taken by Miss Fifi).|
We followed this loveliness by a trip to Selfridges. I have never had so much fun not spending any money. Obviously, the way to get a lot of attention from the staff at Selfridges is to dress in a posh frock, heels and red lippy. After an hour or so looking at all the Roland Mouret, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen a £500 Miu Miu skirt seemed bargain-licius. Mr H should count himself and our bank balance as being very very lucky!
Our fabulous day out was topped off with a number of champagne cocktails and a drunken walk back to St Pancras. A perfect and very girly day out!
My other highlights of the summer have included:
- The Olympics (Mr H and I were on holiday during the first week and became addicted) and the emotional roller coaster of watching Team GB compete.
- Long walks in sunny Rochester along the esplanade and in the castle grounds.
- Cheesy movie marathons on a Sunday afternoon – “Triassic Attack” anyone?
- Spending hours reading the new lifestyle and beauty blogs that I am now addicted to.
- Many, many episodes of “How I Met Your Mother.”
- Beginning to make a new cross-stitch.
- The very lovely and gorgeous Lisa Eldridge replying to one of my tweets. I am wearing her long-lasting night out look in the photo above.
Autumn will mean my birthday, wedding anniversary, lots of events at work and a trip to New York. It’s gonna be fun!
So what have been your highlights of Summer 2012? I hope you have done lots to make you smile.
PS Sorry for my absence during August. I promise to do better in future. xx