Category Archives: Presents

Walk like a man (fly like a bird)

Today is my little boy’s birthday. Well, not so little; Jordan is 24 today. Probably not as excited about his birthday as he used to be but he is still home to celebrate with us.

I did get to spend a lovely Saturday with him last week. For Christmas, he had bought me tickets to see the Jersey Boys so we were off to see that. It had been Jordan’s first week back in London in a new job so he met me at Victoria. He was keen to show me his skills with getting around the city.

The day, February 18th, was glorious which was a big contrast to our previous day out on the 9th February which I will share with you later.

After a lovely lunch in a restaurant we found by exploring down a lane, we walked down Regent Street towards Oxford Street admiring all the big shops. On our way back towards the theatre, Jordan did have to consult google maps so he is not so hot on getting about when cutting through the little lanes. We did pass Carnaby Street which I must go back to.

Jersey Boys first opened in London in 2008 in Prince Edward theatre and moved to Piccadilly Theatre in 2014. The final performance is on 28th March. The 2nd national tour has started so the show is hopefully continuing in our local theatres.

Jordan had bought very good tickets in the stalls although they were right in the middle so we had to climb over everyone who had not had a problem finding their way to the theatre! It did mean that we decided to give interval ice-cream a miss.

Jersey Boys is the story of how the Four Seasons were formed and takes you from their downtown beginnings in New Jersey to finding success with their wonderful voices. We learn that The Four Seasons wasn’t their first name, the line up changed many times and whilst finding fame, the competition was tough.

The show was amazing and the cast was fantastic. I did enjoy learning the story about The Four Seasons and recognised all the songs. Whilst I would have heard the songs through my mum’s old record collection (I am sure she had many), my greatest memory of Frankie Valli was singing the title song of Grease and Beauty School Drop Out. Grease is actually one of my favourite top 10 films so very memorable. With so many shows I would like to see, I am going to be a bit picky about shows I see for the 2nd time. Jersey Boys is one I would go to see again because it was an interesting story with great songs.

Whilst we have a great time, Jordan did miss out on flying. He is learning to fly at moment and it is a hobby which is weather dependent. Unfortunately yesterday was too windy for flying so fingers crossed next week he will be able to fly and perhaps go solo (trying not to think about that).

Thank you so much, Jordan, for my Christmas present and have a great birthday.

Another song in another show

One of my favourite pastimes is going to see a show. I certainly went a lot in 2016; 2017 looks as if there might even be more.

I bought tickets as a Christmas present for Chris to see Evita at The Mayflower. It wasn’t on my list of shows I wanted to see but I was sure that he had expressed an interest. My memories of Evita was from watching the film with Madonna and Antonio Banderos. Despite liking both of them, I just didn’t get it. With my new open mind about how things, I was looking forward to seeing the show.

The show is telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron. Eva was played by Emma Hatton who had previously played Elphaba in Wicked, one of my favourite musicals. Gian Marc Schiaretti played Che, who is narrating the story.

Right from the beginning, all the songs started becoming familiar. When Che sang Oh What a Circus, I could hear David Essex singing it. The story is all told in song (not everybody’s cup of tea but I love it). It takes a lot of concentrating but I was mesmerised by it and just when I didn’t think anything could take away the beautiful voice of Emma’s, Another Suitcase in Another Hall is a song sang by Peron’s mistress who has been told to leave by Eva. When performed, if I had seen the show with Kathryn, we would have had one of our moments where we would have looked at each other with crumpled faces, not believing anyone could be so talented. It was so beautiful.

The second half starts with Eva singing the main song, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. It was so powerful as you would have expected from Emma; as Elphaba she would have performed Defying Gravity many times. The second half was just as good as the first and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I think Chris did too!

My theatre season continues in February with a visit to London. Jordan has bought me tickets to see The Jersey Boys.

Happy singing!

Bake along if that’s what you wanna do

I am at my happiest when I am in my kitchen. My iPod plays my dance tracks playlist so I can bake, sing and dance. It is Tina’s special world. Saturdays is a particularly good day for this.  In our house it is turkey burger night. My family are spoilt here because I make my own healthy burgers. I used to make them fresh every week but now, because there might only be two of us for dinner, I prepare in bulk and freeze away.

If I can spend the afternoon baking too than life is wonderful. I have lots of favourite recipes but I am always keen to try new bakes so I was very pleased with my Christmas present from Kathryn’s boyfriend, Aaron –  The Great British Bake Off – Perfect Cakes & Bakes to Make at Home plus, a new spatula (a must for getting all that cake mixture out of the bowl)
 

Wanting to use the book straight away, I picked a very simple recipe – Greek lemon-yoghurt loaf cake. I love lemon cake and especially Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle traybake which is another easy cake to prepare and so yummy.

This cake was very easy to make and what makes the book so great is the baking tips section. The recipe has parts marked with an asterisk which means that you can refer to the baking tips page for advice. The recipe itself even gives tips about what you do with remaining ground almonds which won’t go through the sieve. At the age of 50, I do know that I can just tip it in my bowl but when I first started baking, I would have been puzzled with what to do with it. There wasn’t even Google then so I couldn’t look there!

The cake was a great success the first time. When I baked it on Saturday for the second time, it was even better. I think it is my January cake of the month! The recipe is the first one in the book. I might just turn the page and try the fresh mango loaf cake next.

Thank you, Aaron for a wonderful Christmas present which is going to make me very happy this year.

Last Christmas

It’s Boxing Day and I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Christmas. Mine was exactly how I like it; with my family.

I want to share some presents with you. One present I had for Christmas was a book/diary – One Line A Day, a five year memory book. Each page represents each day of the year but you have spaces for 5 different years. This means that over the years you can compare the similarities of your life. It is a bit like Facebook when it pops up reminding you of an event from last year!

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I was so impressed with this and the family thought it was brilliant too. I was planning to start on January 1st but although the first page is that date, you can start any day you want. I decided to start last night as I had such a lovely day and I wanted to record it. This morning I was devastated about what entry I would be making today; the news that my secret love (not so secret anymore) has sadly died.

I am talking about George Michael. I can remember clearly the day I fell in love with him. I was out with Chris at the Cocked Hat when the video of  Wake Me Up came on the large TV screen. I don’t know whether it was the music, the voice or his shorts but I just could not take my eyes of him. That began my obsession for him.

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Luckily, not in the same way although he would have had better success, Chris did enjoy George’s music and his talent so we both did go to see him perform. Our first concert was a Wham concert in Bournemouth. I was very gooey eyed at the age of 18! The next concert was the Faith tour at Earls Court. It was the day he had sung at the Nelson Mandela concert. As well as his own songs from Faith, he sung the old songs from Wham and a fantastic cover of Play that Funky Music. He did covers so well.

Our next concert was at Wembley arena for 25live tour. There were 4 of us and we sat in a row of 4 and despite George having a cold, it was fantastic. On our way out, I always remember a lady saying how there was a tick off her bucket list. I was so happy to have been at that concert and didn’t feel the need to go to another concert. Even when concert dates were announced for his Symphonica tour I didn’t rush to buy tickets although George singing with an orchestra would be brilliant.

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Due to an illness, George was forced to postpone his tour. When I saw that one of the new dates would be our 25th wedding anniversary, I knew that we had to go. I know it’s not everybody’s perfect date for a special occasion but believe me, it was ours. We stayed in The Ruebens hotel and booked a taxi from there. The taxi driver was great and shared with us his memory of dressing up in shorts and going to a fancy dress as George. It always appears that you will always be able to talk about George with anyone.

This was another concert that didn’t disappoint and George’s voice was incredible. Forget all of George’s troubles, his voice was the reason I loved him. Close your eyes and you can just feel all that emotion and imagine he is singing just for you. We came away feeling very contented. We shared our anniversary with George because his music has been the soundtrack of our relationship.

George Michael attracted a lot of media attention. He wasn’t perfect but who is. Next year when I write in my diary, I will see my entry for today and see that my memory will be my pop idol died.

George, you were Amazing x