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Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light

Sudeley Castle is undeniably a beautiful attraction all year round. Much like Westonbirt Arboretum though, you’ll see it in a whole new light at Christmas as the grounds and castle are creatively illuminated during their Spectacle of Light. Fans of fairy lights and disco balls will be in their element. Sudeley’s lawn is carpeted with a rainbow of vibrant parasols, walls and trees are colourfully uplit, and the Queen’s Garden is swathed in a stunning fairy light net. As you walk around the grounds, you’ll find a magical experience around every corner; the lighting has been cleverly designed to enhance…

(S)wine, Dine & Sleep at The Pig Hotel Near Bath

It’s not every day that you turn 30. To celebrate the occasion back in late October, Sarah surprised me after work by commandeering the car and directing me down a series of narrow country lanes near Bath. Given her notoriously poor sense of direction, it was therefore both a relief and surprise when we arrived at the entrance to The Pig near Bath for a rare staycation. Making ourselves at home at The Pig Spending a night away is, for me at least, always something of a paradox. I want to feel as comfortable as though I were at home,…

​The Victorian Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays

It seems like almost every city has a Christmas Market these days. But if you head down to Gloucester Quays this weekend, you’re sure of a big surprise. Imagine a winter scene from a Dickens’ novel; street urchins, sooty chimney sweeps and children’s entertainers surrounded by open fires, a steam engine and of course, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The Victorian Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays aims to bring something a bit different to festive shoppers and day trippers. It’s bigger than ever this year, with an open air ice skating rink overlooked by a glorious gluhwein tent; not strictly…

Mamma Mia at New Theatre Oxford

Mamma Mia, here we go again! Having been seen by over 60 million theatregoers worldwide, it was about time for Benny and Bjorn magic to take centre stage at the New Theatre Oxford. The Story Perhaps the most famous jukebox musical of all time, if you haven’t seen the stage show then you’ve more than likely seen the smash hit film starring Meryl Streep. If the plot is still slipping through your fingers, fear not as here’s a quick summary: Young Sophie is about to get married on the idyllic Greek island she inhabits with her hotelier mother and former pop…

The Wipers Times at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

If two world wars, global depression and a terrible inability to win at football have taught us anything, it is that humour can always conquer adversity. Especially if you are British. The Wipers Times is a perfect tribute to that enduring British spirit; defiant and courageous even as the bombs are falling and superiors are causing more harm than the enemy. The Story Based on a true story from the First World War, two officers happen across a printing press; on a whim, they decide to appropriate it in the name of front line morale. As a distraction from the…

How the Other Half Loves, Everyman, Cheltenham 

Last night, Adam and I found ourselves transported back to the late 1960’s as we settled in to watch Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy, How the Other Half Loves. The Story Centered around one illicit affair, two excruciating dinner parties and three hapless couples, this is early Ayckbourn at his best. Frank Foster and his wife Fiona are a typical upper middle class couple stuck in a polite and placid marriage. His employee, Bob Phillips is an egotistical father who feels neglected by his young, exhausted wife. We begin the morning after the night before as haughty Fiona (played to perfection…

The Kite Runner at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Swooping and soaring like the battling kites on stage, The Kite Runner leads its audience on a powerful emotional journey. Fleeting glimpses of hope and joy soar high, only to be savagely cut down like the kite fighter’s strings, as the plot cleverly manoeuvres around and executes its many traps. The Story Based on Khaled Hosseini’s award winning 2003 book, the play follows the first person narrative of Amir, the only son of a wealthy Pashtun widower. Beginning in 1970’s Kabul, it explores his relationship with Hassan, son of his father’s beloved Hazara servant. Whilst they play as friends, there is a…

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2017: Austentatious

Of all the styles of comedy and theatre, Improv is sadly perhaps the most maligned. Perhaps it suffers from a stigma of university students hamming it up in a rather contrived manner. Nevertheless, Sarah and I are big fans and done well, it can be outstanding. We saw Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at The Everyman earlier this year and it was highly entertaining; cue us frantically clicking to book tickets for the sold-out Austentatious at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival. The Play Austentatious is already a runaway success, transcending from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival into a UK wide tour and…

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2017: Jamie McDonald – Adventureman

Who is Jamie McDonald aka Adventureman? Jogging out onto the stage at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Jamie McDonald makes a rather convincing ‘Adventureman’. Stripping off his padded suit and cape though, he was very quick to instill his first message; despite the moniker, he is just an ordinary human being. Granted an ordinary human being who’s successfully achieved a series of ever more crazy and strenuous challenges, but in theory there is nothing stopping you or I achieving similar success. That was the first of Jamie’s many motivational lessons. He’s written a fascinating book (more on that later) so I…

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2017: Out-Spoken Press

Let me begin with a confession. Books often need to be prized unwillingly from my enraptured grip. Fire up Spotify or ensconce me sardine-like in the theatre and I will happily lose myself. Shamefully though, the torturous trudge through turgid GCSE poetry; dissecting prose perfectly formed yet entirely unrelatable to my angst-free teenage self; has left me rather unenamoured with poetry. I suspect I am not alone. It is perhaps surprising then that I found last night’s Out-Spoken Press Book Tour at the Cheltenham Literature Festival so affecting. Who are Out-Spoken Press? As an independent publisher of poetry and critical…