Uncle Jim’s birthday weekend: Retford, Nottingham, Doncaster

Not this weekend but the weekend before, we had a wonderful time celebrating my Uncle Jim’s birthday. Please continue reading for a description of mine, my Auntie Gina, her son Rich and Uncle Jim’s travels to; Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa in Retford, a day out in Nottingham and another trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster. Hope you enjoy!

We went for a posh meal on the Friday evening at Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa, Retford. As you can see, we dressed up nice for the occasion! The food was delicious, I opted for the lamb which was very succulent. Our original choice for dining out was Spencer’s On The Square, Retford, the venue for Uncle Jim and Auntie Gina’s wedding a few years ago – however due to covid confusions, we changed to the place they have celebrated their subsequent anniversaries. Ye Olde Bell certainly didn’t disappoint on a taste point of view, even if we did have to wait a little longer than expected for our meal to arrive – annoying!

Of all the UK cities I’ve visited over the years, I have never been to Nottingham, so I was super excited to go on the Saturday! We started off at the Victoria Shopping centre. I was quite smitten with a quirky fancy / alternative dress emporium lol. We moseyed leisurely around the shops, enjoying a latte and cake break half way. Unfortunately Auntie Gina couldn’t find a particular hair accessory salon, to her dismay and Uncle Jim’s best efforts! The weather was slightly changeable in Nottingham city centre; one moment overcast with clouds and the next we knew, rays and beams of sunshine! Nottingham City Hall in Old Market Square proudly displayed a Union Jack flag, which would then be in excited anticipation of the England football teams’ upcoming Euro 2020 games. We decided it would be fun to take some typical tourist photos with street performers and in Seaside themed comical booths, hehe. Furthermore, Uncle Jim was delighted to get a photograph with his lovely wife in front of the Brian Clough OBE statue! We finished off our great day with some more retail therapy, something Auntie Gina relished 🙂

Sunday – yes, another venture to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, haha! We were so disappointed when we arrived because the new Point Lobos enclosure for Californian Sea Lions was closed due to essential maintenance. We were however able to see the new mother polar bear Flocke and her three triplets at Project Polar 2, which was fantastic! I managed to get some pretty decent photographs of the tigers and meerkats which I was chuffed about, although it was a shame Uncle Jim was unable to catch a glimpse of his beloved, timid red pandas lol – likewise the giraffes unfortunately were not visible in their indoor huts. So though it was a sad we were unable to see some of the wildlife, it was still a brilliant day seeing all the other amazing animals. I think we walked for about four and a half hours in total around the park, I was knackered afterwards, haha – it definitely didn’t help I was suffering from a urinary tract infection and on antibiotics at the time. I was slightly relieved when we entered the gift shop at the new Yorkshire Hive at the end of the day. I bought my beautiful mum a red panda and a zebra teddy 🙂

Thank you so much for taking the time to read / view my latest travel blog post!

I just wanted to mention, it is a misfortune that we didn’t win the Euros last night, especially so cruelly on penalties – but I think the England lads did terrific in the tournament, and brought joy to so many people this Summer, in such awful, dark and unprecedented times. Well done, thank you, and bring on the World Cup!

Further reading:

https://www.yeoldebell-hotel.co.uk/retford-restaurant-bistro-bar (Accessed 12th July 2021)

https://www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com/ (Accessed 12th July 2021)

(Please visit my Facebook and Instagram page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2021 Lauren Parr / https://unicornpostbox.com

Yorkshire Wildlife Park September 2020

Earlier this September, myself, my beautiful mum Debbie and my lovely sister Beth had a great day out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, situated in Branton, South Yorkshire. Here’s just a few photos of our outing. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Over the last few months, as the initial lockdown eased, we have been venturing outside with mum to parks, eating at restaurants etc, but trying to be sensible, safe and very careful. (Me and mum shielded for 3 whole months during lockdown, we didn’t leave the bungalow once, it was horrendous). We decided a couple of weeks ago it would be nice to visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park, very close to where we live in South Yorkshire 🙂

We pre-booked an afternoon slot via the YWP website; we actually got a discount with mum being disabled and me her official carer, so that was really great. The park wasn’t heaving but I would say it was fairly busy, everybody however adhered to social distancing rules implemented for everyone’s safety.

Mum absolutely loved seeing all the animals, it was fantastic to see her face light up as we wheeled her gently around the park. Mum unfortunately is in the later stages of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia, and struggles now with her mobility, hence the wheelchair 😦 😦

The food facilities were not like normal, as to be expected with current guidelines; we were unable to eat inside however we stopped half way around to have a hot drink and cookie break, whilst resting on a bench.

It was fortunate that all the animals were still visible to visitors in their enclosures, so it was definitely worth the journey! Brill to see the polar bears, lions, giraffes, tigers, rhinos etc, as well as all the other smaller mammals.

As we were leaving, we entered the gift shop and I bought mum two teddy bears, ‘Tilly the Tiger’ and ‘Pablo the Polar Bear’… She absolutely adores them, and looks so cute when I tuck her into bed at night, her cuddling them both 😀 😀

I just thought it would be a refreshing change to post something other than my art drawings which have dominated my blog posts as of late. Now that we are able to venture more than before (saying that, there are all the new Government restrictions I am aware of) I wanted to share with you some photos of our outings. As mum is an extremely poorly lady now, it is so important for us as a family to make fab memories together; this quality time with her is so so special and precious.

The next blog post will be progression photos of an amateur art drawing of my auntie and uncle, so do please keep a look out for that, it is already under way and I hope to finish it within the next couple of weeks.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read / view my latest blog post, it means a lot. Stay well, stay safe, and have a fantastic weekend!

Much love, Lauren xx

Further information:

https://yorkshirewildlifepark.com [Accessed 25th September 2020]

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2020 Lauren Parr / https://unicornpostbox.com

Hull / ‘Kinky Boots’ November 2019

Earlier this November, me and my beautiful mum Debbie had a weekend break away to Hull to go see ‘Kinky Boots’, the musical, at Hull New Theatre. Please see below a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Friday 15th November

Unfortunately, when we arrived at the train station to travel to Hull, we soon realised that our train had been cancelled due to the flooding in South Yorkshire! 😦 Oh no, not a great start to our trip. My dad, who is a taxi driver, drove us instead. Nevertheless, when we finally arrived at our Ibis city centre Hotel, we were pleased to be in Hull and excited to go and explore the city.

We found a lovely quaint little fish and chip shop on Savile Street, and tucked into delicious grub and ice cream sundae, yum yum.

We took some nice photographs of Hull City Hall, the Maritime Museum, and Queen Victoria Statue in Queen Victoria Square, before visiting Ferens Art Gallery.

We very much (me especially) enjoyed viewing the various collections Ferens offers in different galleries, in particular we appreciated the ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Modern and Contemporary’ art.

On King Edward Street a gorgeous sparkly Christmas gingerbread house really put us in the festive spirit 🙂

Next, we walked to Queen’s Gardens. Unfortunately, it lacked impressive flower displays,  due to the time of year, however it was nice to see the water fountains. Nearby, fun fair attractions lit up the streets. Strolling leisurely around Princes Quay, we rested in a cafe, indulging in Rocky Road chocolate/marshmallows and frothy coffees, yummy. Later filling our bellies with toasties in Cafe Nero, we then set off on a slow walk towards Hull New Theatre, admiring the city in stunning twilight.

We unexpectedly came across rehearsals for a BBC Children in Need concert, so stayed a while and happily danced along to popular songs.

Kinky Boots is an incredible 2016 ‘Best New Musical’ Olivier winner, with songs by Tony and Grammy winning pop sensation Cyndi Lauper. It tells the story of Charlie Price, living in Northampton, who inherits his father’s drab and dull shoe shop. The business is struggling enormously with sales and orders until Charlie meets the glamorous drag queen Lola, and together they decide to re-brand and design sexy glittery knee-length stiletto heels! 🙂 It’s a very entertaining, funny, uplifting, yet moving story – belting out a powerful message; the importance to accept and love ourselves and others. As Kinky Boots has ended it’s dazzling 3 years in the West End, I was extremely keen to go see a performance on the UK/Ireland tour, and…  We absolutely loved it! Fabulous darling!

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We got chatting to a great couple, massive fans of Kinky Boots, who have seen multiple performances of the show. At our Hull New Theatre performance they had front row tickets, were the first, we noticed, to stand up cheering during the (well deserved) standing ovation and, as you can see above, made a huge effort to dress up for the occasion, haha! Amazing! 🙂 🙂

Saturday 16th November

We started off Saturday morning with a scrumptious English breakfast at our Ibis city centre hotel, as part of our bed and breakfast deal. The first place on our itinerary for the day was Hull Minster, situated in Old Town. There was a craft fair on inside which was very enjoyable to walk around, I bought mum a pretty blue and turquoise brooch for her coat, as a souvenir.

The next port of call was the harbour of Humber Dock Marina, where we took some selfies with the plentiful pleasure boats.

The pier making our way to nearby The Deep was breezy and blustery, so we walked more briskly as the rain poured.

The Deep aquarium was brilliant fun. We loved exploring all the exhibits, such as ‘Awakening Seas’ – learning the four billion years history of the ocean, ‘Lagoon of Light’ – gazing upon colourful cute tropical fish; gaping at the turtles, rays and sharks in ‘Endless Ocean’, becoming mesmerised by jellyfish in ‘Cool Seas’, and my personal favourite, we were delighted to peep at the gorgeous Gentoo penguins as they played and swam in ‘Kingdom of Ice’. Another highlight was venturing through the underwater viewing tunnel! Slightly scary but stunning. I bought mum a teddy turtle as a gift also, awwww 🙂

Afterwards, we ate pizza and indulged in vanilla milkshakes with whipped cream at an Italian restaurant, close by to the aquarium. The Minster looked beautiful lit up as we journeyed back towards our Ibis hotel.

Saturday evening, we got cosy in our hotel room watching Saturday night television and drinking complimentary tea/coffee. Wild, haha! Another tasty full English / continental breakfast the next Sunday morning, and we were on our travels back home. Luckily, the train was running on our return journey, yey!

Summary

As mum is becoming more and more poorly with her Alzheimer’s dementia, I really do cherish these moments and trips away together. We had such an incredible time; discovering all Hull has to offer, eating out, being bedazzled by Kinky Boots the musical, and being in awe of and appreciating all the amazing diverse underwater sea creatures at The Deep. I personally have visited Hull once or twice before, but it was nice to have the opportunity to see more of the 2017 ‘City of Culture’. I would definitely go again, for sure.

Thank you so much, as always, for taking the time to read / view! 🙂 🙂

Keep a lookout for my next blog post, pencil portraits of two Springador dogs! Woof, woof, hehe! 🙂 🙂

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Further information:

https://www.thedeep.co.uk [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.thedeep.co.uk/plan-your-visit/deep-tour [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://bwml.co.uk/hull-marina/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.hcandl.co.uk/museums-and-galleries/ferens [Accessed 24th November 2019]

https://www.hcandl.co.uk/museums-and-galleries/ferens/galleries-ferens-art-gallery [Accessed 24th November 2019]

http://www.hullhistorycentre.org.uk/research/research-guides/history-hull-docks.aspx [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://hullminster.org/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://www.hulltheatres.co.uk/whats-on/year [Accessed 24th November 2019]

http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk/ [Accessed 25th November 2019]

http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/synopsis.php [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_upon_Hull [Accessed 25th November 2019]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Boots_(musical) [Accessed 25th November 2019]

 

Leicester / ‘Grease the Musical’ September 2019

This September, me and my beautiful mum Debbie visited Leicester for a couple of days to go see ‘Grease the Musical’ at the Curve theatre. Please continue reading / viewing for a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Monday 9th September 2019

We arrived in Leicester lunch time on the Monday. After checking in to our Ibis hotel, situated very conveniently close to the train station, we went to explore Leicester and all it has to offer.

We started off with a cheeky Nando’s 😛 We then walked leisurely around the city centre, capturing nice photos in Town Hall square (by the fountain), Leicester market and outside the former Corn Exchange, now a Wetherspoon pub. Next, we made our way to Leicester Cathedral, home to the “resting place of King Richard III”. It was fantastic seeing the tomb, designed by architects Heningen and Haward, and learning the story of the Battle of Bosworth Fields and King Richard III’s bloody demise; we also became more knowledgeable of the timeline of the Greyfriars Dig. We then sauntered down The Lanes quaint cobbled streets, window shopping, and indulged in frothy milkshakes and delicious carrot cake, yum yum. Past Pares’s Bank “the most elegant bank in Leicester” – we then wandered around Highcross shopping centre, admiring new Autumn collection clothing just arriving in stock. Situated outside the shopping centre we gazed up at the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, a major landmark in Leicester – a slow lazy stroll back to our hotel and finishing the day off with a beaut a slap up meal at the Ibis restaurant, chicken skewers for me, nice.

Tuesday 10th September 2019

We woke up lovely and fresh the next morning, and ate a scrumptious full English as well as continental (greedy!) breakfast, to fuel us for the long day ahead. With a cool breeze gusting through the air in Leicester, we walked briskly past the train station (Thomas Cook statue selfie!), with map in hand, on our way to our first destination, the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery was fantastic! Downstairs we explored the ‘Wild Space’ exhibition with a vast array of taxidermy animals on display, learnt the story behind the King Richard III portrait, enjoyed the Victorian gallery, were immensely awestruck by Picasso’s ceramics (no photos allowed in Picasso gallery, boo!) and very impressed indeed by the ginormous dinosaur fossil skeleton models. Upstairs, we loved seeing “Leicester’s internationally renowned collection of German Expressionism”, arts and crafts dainty pottery and ornamental pieces from around the world, as well as the amazing Ancient Egypt gallery, exhibiting mummies and explaining the mummification process of Ancient times! Incredibly interesting.

We then hopped on a bus at Haymarket bus station to go visit Leicester’s National Space Centre. It was incredible! Firstly, we were astonished by the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium; stargazing upwards at galaxies and night-sky constellations projected on the amazing dome ceiling, creating the illusion of travelling through space, absolutely superb. Afterwards, we navigated our way through a range of brilliant interactive galleries the National Space Centre has to offer, exploring and learning about; planets and moons, our solar system, the galaxy, the universe – rockets, spacesuits, astronauts, asteroids, the mystery of black holes, you name it.  What a great journey!

On Tuesday evening we moseyed excitedly down to Curve theatre, with great anticipation of watching ‘Grease – the musical’ – with Peter Andre making a cameo appearance as ‘Teen Angel’! I must say, we found that the theatrical production of Grease differed from the 1978 classic romance Hollywood film starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, as the Guardian aptly critiqued the show puts the “grit back in Grease”; as the director of this stage adaptation, Nikolai Foster, worked closely from the early 70s original script, focusing more than ever in places on the visceral feelings of the characters as they struggle through the tribulations of adolescence and high school life, growing up in 1950s America. That’s not however to say it wasn’t also like the Grease we all know and love; fun, lighthearted – petticoats, vinyl records, drive-ins and diners, rock’n’roll, high heels and candy floss (girls) hair and of course greasy (boys) hair! It delighted us with familiar songs ‘You’re the one that I want’, ‘Summer nights’, ‘Greased Lightenin’, as well as new numbers such as ‘Freddy my love’ and ‘Tattoo song’. Of course, it was so special having the opportunity to see Peter Andre live on stage with his guest appearance; the audience went wild with wolf whistles as he descended the glittery staircase in the second half! In conclusion, Grease was fresh, flirty and fab! There was a well deserved standing ovation at the end of the performance! Everyone up singing and dancing! Electrifyin’!

I really cherish all the time me and mum spend together. I’m so happy that we yet again enjoyed such a wonderful theatre city break, making amazing memories 🙂 🙂

Thank you so much for reading / viewing. Do keep a look out for new blog posts coming soon!

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Further reading / information:

https://greasethemusicalontour.com/ [Accessed 21st September 2019]

https://leicestercathedral.org/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums-and-galleries/museums-and-historic-venues/new-walk-museum-and-art-gallery/ [Accessed 20th September 2019]

https://spacecentre.co.uk/ [Accessed 20th September 2019]

https://www.storyofleicester.info/a-working-town/paress-bank/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.visitleicester.info/ [Accessed 17th September 2019]

https://www.visitleicester.info/see-and-do/new-walk-museum-and-art-gallery-p700961 [Accessed 20th September 2019]

 

Prague May 2019

This May, me and my gorgeous boyfriend Howard visited the beautiful capital city of Prague, Czech Republic for 4 nights, bed and breakfast, at the luxurious 4* Jury’s Inn Hotel, in Florenc. Please see below details of our travels, with accompanying photography.

Monday 27th May 2019

We arrived late at our hotel on the Sunday evening. Monday morning we visited the picturesque, utterly stunning and historic Old Town Square. We posed for photographs outside the famous landmarks such as Prague’s astronomical clock (Old Town Hall Tower, southern side), and the Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn, enjoying the lovely Prague sunshine.

We had a brief look inside the fabulous, ornate, Baroque monumental St Nicholas’ Church in Old Town square. Superb.

Shortly afterwards, and very much to my delight, we visited Central Gallery to see Andy Warhol, Alfons Mucha and Salvador Dali exhibitions. Being an art enthusiast, I was certainly in my element. I was less familiar with Mucha’s Art Nouveau work, but I greatly admire Dali’s dreamlike surrealism and Warhol’s pop art is aesthetically pleasing and colourful also.

Early afternoon we went to the Museum of Torture, to learn how instruments of torture we used against unfortunate victims, displayed eerily in a downstairs cellar.

We had such a giggle next at Prague’s Sex Machines Museum, hehe. As to be expected, on display were various sex toy gadgets, erotic objects and sex machines. Kinky 😉

We finished off our first day of sightseeing by visiting vibrant Wenceslas Square, situated in Prague’s New Town. We posed for selfies, capturing the astonishing neoclassical grand Czech National Museum.

On the Monday evening we hit a couple of trendy cocktail bars. The only trouble was we found it not very lively as the weather was pouring it down with rain, oops lol.

Tuesday 28th May 2019

The rain continued chucking it down the following day (good job we packed our rain macs!) This didn’t stop us sightseeing however. We hopped on a tram, conveniently right outside our hotel, to the stunning Prague Castle complex.

St Vitus Cathedral was absolutely breathtaking, both myself and Howard were so immensely impressed by its’ magnificent Gothic architecture, and spectacular stain-glassed windows. A definite must see for anyone visiting Prague. We really loved it.

We also took some nice photographs inside the Old Royal Palace and St George’s Basilica.

The last place we visited at Prague Castle complex was the quaint and charming colourful little street named the Golden Lane; the name deriving from the goldsmiths that once lived there. Once occupied by real residents, the tiny houses have been transformed into craft, toy, sweet, souvenir and gift shops, etc, as well as displaying exhibitions demonstrating past life on the lane. Very pretty and picturesque, lovely.

After spending time at the Prague Castle complex, we headed to Kampa Island, in the Malá Strana district, first to the hippie hangout of Lennon’s Wall – a wall of graffiti dedicated to the late, great John Lennon, coloured with Beatles’ lyrics, and decorated with messages of hope, peace and love. I am a hippie at heart, so this was very much to my liking.

Outside Museum Kampa in Kampa Park were some interesting art installations, most notably Czech sculptor David Černý’s bizarre bronze babies (left)! Heading back to Charles Bridge, Devil’s Channel (middle) appeared serene and tranquil.

We had a lovely leisurely stroll along the exquisite Charles Bridge on the way back to Old Town Square, capturing nice (despite the awful weather!) photographs, also with views again of idyllic Devil’s Channel.  Bridge buskers created even more so a calm, soothing atmosphere.

Back in Old Town Square, we finished off a day of sightseeing by filling our bellies with delicious grub at Prague’s Hard Rock Cafe, hehe! As with other Hard Rock Cafe’s I have eaten in, I adore the rock memorabilia, such as eccentric musicians’ stage costumes and glittery electric guitars on display here. Very impressive as always.

Tuesday evening we began our night out on the lash by being thoroughly entertained at U Pavouka – a historical fantasy show medieval tavern, serving endless jugs of wine and beer, and showcasing exciting and thrilling acts; belly dancers, fire jugglers and swordsmen, performing alongside professional bagpipe and drum musicians. Epic. Howard very much appreciated the belly dancers, what a surprise, haha!

What a messy night Tuesday night turned out to be! After the medieval tavern show, we went on to Coyotes for cocktails. Barmaids were up on the bar dancing (in tribute of Coyote Ugly, the film), and slugging shots down the neck of stag do party-goers. Great atmosphere. I then had a couple of gin and tonics in Dubliner’s, an Irish bar. Needless to say, I was incredibly intoxicated by the end of the night after all my wine, beer, cocktails and gin. So much so, that I projectile vomited whilst staggering and stumbling my way back to our hotel. Nice! Howard was sensible and looked after me, thank god, lol.

Wednesday 29th May 2019

On Wednesday evening we took an absolutely marvellous romantic boat ride along the stunning Vltava river. We stuffed our faces at the on-board all you can eat buffet, serving a multitude of cuisines, cheese platters, meat plates, cakes and desserts etc; whilst listening to great musicians playing live acoustic guitar songs. The top deck had a seating area and bar also, with incredible views.

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As the evening drew to a close, and the sun began to set, we captured some lovely photographs of Vltava river’s rippling water and shimmering light reflections…

… Such a perfect way to end mine and Howard’s first romantic city break to Prague, Czech Republic 😀 😀

Thank you so much for reading / viewing.

Much love, Lauren xx

Further Reading:

http://goap.cz/ [Accessed 6th June 2019]

http://museumtortury.cz/ [Accessed 6th June 2019]

http://www.sexmachinesmuseum.com/en_page.html [Accessed 6th June 2019]

https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle-for-visitors [Accessed 6th June 2019]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/location/prague/ [Accessed 6th June 2019]

http://upavouka.com/ [Accessed 6th June 2019]

https://www.prague.eu/en [Accessed 6th June 2019]

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Manchester April 2019

This Easter, me and my lovely mum Debbie travelled to Manchester for a long weekend theatre city break, to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’ at the Palace theatre. Whilst in Manchester, we visited many great places, including; the Coronation Street Tour, Hard Rock Cafe, Arndale shopping centre, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Museum, Chinatown, Piccadilly Gardens, Treetop Adventure Golf, and an Easter Funfair at Manchester Central Convention Complex. Please continue reading / viewing to see a detailed description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy.

Friday 19th April

 

We arrived in Manchester late afternoon on the Friday. Our hotel was the Britannia Sachas Hotel, located on Tib Street, very central and close by to Piccadilly Gardens.

 

A tradition of ours, whenever we go to a new UK city (if there is one there of course) we always enjoy taking a few photos in urban Chinatown.

 

SPOILERS ALERT: On the Friday evening, we went to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’ at the Palace Theatre! I can remember, ‘Ghost’ was one of the films my mum actually bought me as a Christmas present as a teenager, we have watched it together on DVD on numerous occasions over many years. It’s a great story, very much brought to life on stage. Because the 1990 film ‘Ghost’ starring the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, is not actually a musical as such, the stage production delights us with new musical numbers such as; ‘Here Right Now’, ‘Three Little Words’ ‘Are You a Believer’ and so on (lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin / music and lyrics by Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart).  The actress, Rebekah Lowings, who plays Molly was simply superb. She had an absolutely fantastic voice, especially singing her version of ‘With You’, quite frankly it took our breath away. Moreover, the Subway Ghost’s (Lovonne Richards’) Act Two spoken word deliverance of ‘Focus’ was a very clever interpretation of the original filmic scene.  Of course however, the most memorable song of Ghost is and always will be the Righteous Brothers’ classic 1965 ‘Unchained Melody’. It was really beautiful moment actually in the stage production, because the famous sensual pottery scene from the film was reincarnated with Sam (Niall Sheehy) this time serenading Molly with his acoustic guitar. As with all the musicals me and my mum have been fortunate enough to see together, Ghost certainly did not disappoint. The entire audience were up on their feet at the end demonstrating a well deserved standing ovation. Incredible.

Saturday 20th April

 

On the Saturday morning, we had a stroll around the expansive Arndale shopping centre. Outside Exchange Square was a coca-cola truck, as part of the official Premier League Trophy Tour; we took full advantage of the freebie soft drinks on such a bright and sunny day.

 

We then visited the very near by Manchester Cathedral situated on Victoria Street, and photographed its gorgeous Perpendicular Gothic style architecture.

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We afterwards rested our legs and quenched our thirst in the beer garden of a very quaint and dainty little pub establishment.

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Then, we made our way to the close by Printworks entertainment centre, for fun at Treetops Adventure golf, and food at the Hard Rock cafe.

 

We had great fun playing crazy golf, mum was comical bless her, she kept hitting the ball the wrong way! We laughed together.

 

I absolutely adore Hard Rock Cafes (we visited one in Amsterdam 2017 as well). It is brilliant seeing all the rock memorabilia adorning the walls. We enjoyed some fruit mocktails and delicious scran 😛

 

Saturday evening we popped onto Manchester metrolink to MediaCityUK, to go to a Coronation Street walking tour. Mum loved this experience so much, she is a massive Coronation Street fan and has watched the soap for decades. It was fantastic capturing selfie photographs of us on the cobbles; outside the Kabin, Preston’s Petals, Roy’s Rolls etc and of course, in front of the iconic Rovers Return Inn.

Sunday 21st April

 

On the Easter Sunday morning, we first made our way to Manchester Art Gallery where we were intrigued to see its’ vast collection of Pre-Raphaelite Fine Art paintings, among other aesthetic pleasures. Halima Cassell’s ceramic works we liked also in particular.

 

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday, me and mum leisurely walked to Manchester Museum. We were both immensely impressed by the gigantic ‘Stan’ the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) in their downstairs fossils gallery, as well as glossy taxidermy animals on the upper floors. An extremely fascinating visit.

 

Afterwards, we took the bus to Manchester Central Convention Complex for its exciting Easter funfair! Fun and food, all under one roof; the hotdogs were super yummy. We rode on the merry-go-round carousel a few times, and I won mum a little cute unicorn teddy on hook-a-duck. Good times.

 

We finished off our lovely theatre city break to Manchester capturing some sunny selfies in Piccadilly Gardens once more 🙂

Overall, an amazing trip, making wonderful memories in Manchester with mum 🙂 ‘Ghost – The Musical’ was dead good; Manchester’s well mint, we were mad fer it! Nar mither really! Top banana! 

That’s all folks, nar make us a brew? 😛

 

Further reading:

https://www.visitmanchester.com/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

http://www.theprintworks.com/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://coronationstreettour.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

http://manchesterartgallery.org/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

https://www.easterfunfair.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th May 2019]

 

Thank you for viewing / reading!

Watch out for a new UnicornPostbox ”Psychedelic Elephant” art (pencil drawing / oil pastels) blog post coming soon!

Much love, Lauren xx

 

(Please visit my Facebook page ‘UnicornPostbox’ to ‘like’ and ‘follow’)

© 2019 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Birmingham November 2018

This November, Friday 9th until Monday 12th, to be precise, me and my lovely mum visited the beautiful populous city of Birmingham. On our city break we went to the Alexandra theatre to see Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage (it was incredible), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bullring shopping and the city centre, Cadbury World, National Sea Life centre, as well as dining at many swanky restaurants, particularly at Brindleyplace leisure, opposite from our posh 4* Jury’s Inn hotel on Broad Street… Please continue reading for more detailed descriptions of our travels, with accompanying photography 🙂

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Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage

On the Friday evening, me and mum saw Dirty Dancing at the Alexandra theatre. We were seated in the stalls, row K, right in the middle, with the best possible view of the performance. The show was absolutely fantastic. The dialogue was very similar, it included all the memorable quotes from the film;

“I carried a watermelon. I carried a watermelon?!”

I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel [dramatic pause!] when I’m with you” and the classic…

“Nobody puts baby in the corner!”

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/quotes 

We were very pleased about this 🙂

Kira Malou, who played Baby, really perfected the character’s mannerisms, and Michael O’Reilly, playing Johnny, projected a sexy husky voice almost double to the gorgeous late Patrick Swayze. And boy, did O’Reilly have sex appeal! There was more than a few wolf-whistles echoing around the theatre throughout the show, particularly during the scenes in which Johnny was topless, funny that! 😛 The entire performance was quite naughty and raunchy, to be expected, hehe… And the dancing and music of course was simply sensational! They did the lift too, yey! At the end of the show, there was a well deserved standing ovation, everyone got up singing and dancing; the atmosphere was electric! Brilliant, we both proper loved it. Mum purchased a t-shirt, me a Dirty Dancing hoodie official merchandise, as well as two programmes. An experience to remember most definitely 🙂

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Whilst in Birmingham, we had a walk around the Museum and Art Gallery, free to enter (always a bonus, lol). The museum has, notably, a vast collection of Pre-Raphaelites works, but also showcases Baroque art, Ancient Egyptian artefacts – there is a Greek and Roman gallery, a gallery solely dedicated to the fascinating history of the city, The Birmingham School of Art gallery and so on and so forth. The gallery which most intrigued me however was the Spiritual Life faith gallery. I was very interested to learn about the different faiths practised in such a multicultural, diverse and rich city, as my prior knowledge of such religions was rather limited. It sparked an interest for sure, and I have since researched some faiths further, particularly Hinduism, which I never knew actually resonates greatly with me and my personal philosophy of life. The museum and art gallery also showcased a great exhibition ‘Women Power Protest’. Commemorating the 100 year anniversary of women’s right to vote in the UK, the exhibition showed contemporary and modern artworks from local artists, Birmingham’s collection, and the Arts Council Collection, with explored themes including; activism, dignity and hope; illustrating the inequalities and injustices women have experienced, exploring how women’s bodies are depicted, and drawing attention to how, slowly, women’s experiences are becoming more visible in the world of art and artistic expression. Inspired by feminist activists and artists, the exhibition aims to;

raise awareness, provoke debate and ask just how much has changed for women?” http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag 

A very positive step in the right direction, in my opinion 🙂

Bullring shopping and the city centre

Whilst in Birmingham, me and mum obviously went into the heart of city centre, where the ginormous Bullring shopping centre is. The glistening decorations hanging inside the Bullring were simply stunning. It was really lovely because outside the Bullring, near St Martin’s Church, there was a Christmas themed Snow House globe which served alcoholic beverages, and what we opted for, delicious frothy hot chocolates, yum yum 🙂 – as well as a few small Christmas food stalls, selling German sausages, and Belgium waffles, yum yum again, hehe 🙂 Really puts you in the festive spirit! 😀 We also had a nice stroll around the Chinese Quarter, not far from the Bullring!

Cadbury World

On the Sunday morning, me and mum travelled from Birmingham New Street train station to Bournville, to visit the highly anticipated Cadbury World (me and mum both love chocolate!) We learnt of the origins of the cocoa beans, and how cocoa trees were central to Aztec culture, were told of how entrepreneur Quaker John Cadbury first began his chocolate business all those years ago in Victorian Bull Street, enjoyed a cinema experience with special effect – a visual presentation showing how Cadbury chocolate is made in the factory, we had a play with liquid chocolate, writing our names “ ❤ Debbie and Lauren ❤ ” on the demonstration table,  we stepped onto the magical ‘beanmobile’ and enjoyed a gentle chocolate wonderland Cadabra ride, with many familiar enchanting chocolate characters (mum absolutely loved this!), watched chocolatiers demonstrate their impressive chocolate making techniques, sampled some warm Dairy Milk liquid chocolate with a choice of scrumptious toppings, and had great fun having our photo taken with the Green Screen experience, as well as posing for pictures with the Cadbury characters! Ace!

National Sea Life centre

On our last morning in Birmingham, me and mum ventured to the National Sea Life centre, situated on the Water’s Edge of Brindleyplace complex, within very easy walking distance from Jury’s Inn. We were very excited to see all the magnificent sea creatures, me and mum are both massive animal lovers! It certainly did not disappoint. We sauntered leisurely around the sea life centre, mesmerised by all the delightful creatures; octopuses, seahorses, sea turtles, sharks and stingrays (arghhh, haha!), jellyfish and so on. Our personal favourites however were the playful pretty penguins! They’re so cute and adorable with their little waddle, lovely animals!  Great visit!

Brindleyplace leisure

During our time in Birmingham, me and mum dined out at quite a few deluxe restaurants, cafés and bars, especially at Brindleyplace leisure complex; including Café Rouge, Zizzi’s and The Slug and Lettuce, as well as eating at Ed’s Easy Diner, on the waterfront overlooking the tranquil canal. We are both big foodies, and regularly go out for meals when back home in Yorkshire, so obviously it was not going to be any different on our little Birmingham city break! Very delicious and yummy food Birmingham has to offer!

Conclusion   

Overall, me and mum had an absolutely amazing time visiting Birmingham! I would actually say, it was my favourite city break / holiday away with mum, and we have gone on quite a fair few trips together, including; Liverpool, London and Newcastle in the UK and Amsterdam and Paphos abroad. It was so good because it was not at all what we were expecting. Before we went away, a few people told us Birmingham was not a nice place to visit at all, that is was a bit rundown, slightly squalid and unpleasant. I almost cancelled our trip. We found it to be the total opposite – a very aesthetically pleasing, vibrant and exciting cosmopolitan city. Every Brummie we met was so so friendly too… In a nutshell…

Saw babby in Dirty Dancing!

Brum was bostin!  

Tara-a-bit!   😀

Bibliography

https://dirtydancingontour.com/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/quotes [Accessed 21st November 2018]

http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.cadburyworld.co.uk/en [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.visitsealife.com/birmingham/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

https://www.brindleyplace.com/leisure/ [Accessed 21st November 2018]

 

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© 2018 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

 

Liverpool March 2018

This year at the end of March, me and my mum Debbie visited Liverpool to celebrate my 27th birthday. We booked up, at a very reasonable price, with National Holidays (have you declared your national holiday yet? Lol) for an overnight trip to Liverpool, with the massive highlight of seeing the matinee performance of ‘Wicked!’ at the Liverpool Empire theatre.  

Saturday 31st March 2018

We arrived by coach into Liverpool city centre in the early afternoon of Saturday 31st. We had an hour or so to kill before the matinee performance of Wicked!, so we walked leisurely around the nearby shopping centre, city centre streets, and grabbed a lovely caffè latte. Mum really enjoyed the street performers!


Making our way to the Empire theatre, we were both super excited.  Being a big fan of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ film, I have always fancied going and longed to see the stage musical ‘Wicked!’; for years I have said “Mum, we must go see that one!” It has always been top of my list… and it certainly did not disappoint! ‘Wicked!’ was just as magical, marvellous and mesmerising as I had hoped… SPOILER ALERT: I think the whole concept of the musical, based on Gregory Maguire’s revision of the tale, transforming the ‘evil’ Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s original ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, to Elphaba, the heroine of the story, is great and obviously a very successful idea too… The only little gripe I have will National Holidays, is that I specifically asked not to be seated high up in the theatre, as mum is really afraid of heights. They take personal requests into consideration, but cannot promise them – we were seated high up in the Grand Circle, with a restricted bleeding view! Never mind, we still had a wonderful time 😀 We purchased some small merchandise afterwards, to put in mum’s memory box (she unfortunately has neurological difficulties). We have some lovely little keepsakes to remember the experience always 🙂


Later on that evening after the performance, we were taken to our chosen hotel on the outskirts of Liverpool. After checking in, we spent the evening eating nice grub in the restaurant, and at a steady pace, drinking ‘Wicked Lady’ (how apt) rose wine in the hotel bar.


Sunday 1st April 2018

On the Sunday, our final day, we took full advantage of exploring all Liverpool has to offer. We visited the famous Cavern Club on Matthew Street, home to the Beatles. There was a great musician on stage performing classic Beatles songs. We got a couple of fruit ciders from the bar, admired the terrific music memorabilia adorning the walls, and listened to some top-notch music in a really relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. My dad was very jealous when I told him where we’d been, he’s a massive Beatles fan!