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)

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

Yorkshire Wildlife Park October 2020

Hi blog followers! This Friday just gone, myself, mum, my Uncle Jim, Auntie Gina and her son Rich had a lovely day out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I just thought I’d share with you a few photos and a description of our visit. Hope you enjoy!

Me mum and my sister Beth visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park only a month or so ago, however, my Uncle Jim, Auntie Gina and Rich had never been before, so we thought it would be a nice day out 🙂

When we arrived we had lunch at the ‘Tsavo Bakehouse’. To be honest, I would not recommend it as the service was poor and there was hardly any food choices available. After an unfortunate start, we had a leisurely stroll around the park. It was quite a chilly day, so sadly some of the animals retreated to their little huts in their enclosures to escape the cold weather, ha 😛 Nevertheless, we still had a very enjoyable day 🙂

We made our way from left to right, seeing the baboons and spotted dogs first, then we had a walk through the ‘Lemur Woods’, on to ‘Project Polar’, ‘Land of the Tigers’, ‘Leopard Heights’, ‘Into Africa’ and ‘Lion Country’ etc. Somewhere I have never visited previously was ‘Himalayan Pass’, so it was a fantastic experience to see the hyenas being fed raw meat and we also tried to spot the new red pandas, however they were being shy hiding in the trees! We had a rest and a hot drink at the ‘Masai Coffee House’ near the giraffes shortly before leaving.

It was great for us all to spend quality time again with mum. As explained before, she is sadly in the later stages of early onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia, so all time with her is very special and to be cherished. On the way out, I bought her two new teddies; ‘Leo the Lion’ and ‘Georgina the Giraffe’ – we have quite a collection of teddy bears now which I put into bed with mum after I’ve read her a nighttime story, very cute, hehe 🙂

Thank you very much for taking the time to read / view this latest UnicornPostbox blog post. Up next, I think I may do some more amateur art – perhaps a portrait drawing of Russell Crowe in ‘Gladiator’ as this is one of my favourite films 🙂

Take care, stay safe, much love, Lauren xx

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

Further Information:

http://www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com [Accessed 19th October 2020]

Skipsea Sands October 2020

At the beginning of the week, myself, my sister Beth, her new boyfriend Lewis and mum went to Skipsea Sands on holiday for a couple of days with mum’s friend Cheryl who has a static caravan there. I just thought I’d share a few photos of our break, along with a description of our time away. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

On arrival, we took mum in her wheelchair to the restaurant as part of the entertainment complex on Skipsea Sands’ site. We had a lovely meal which was all table service in accordance with the coronavirus rules. That night we played cards, blackjack, and had a few cheeky drinks once we had settled mum for bed 🙂

The next day we visited Hornsea garden centre with Sue – mum and Cheryl’s friend who came to pick Cheryl up to take her home. It was brilliant seeing all the Christmas decorations which were on display in the centre, there were even singing reindeer, it was fab! I bought mum a teddy reindeer as a gift 🙂 Afterwards, me mum Beth and Lewis went for a pub meal at a nice little pub on the way back to Skipsea Sands.

We relaxed in the caravan the remainder of the holiday us four and chilled watching a film and listening to music 🙂

Although it was only a short trip, we were very grateful to Cheryl for suggesting us getting away for a couple of days break. It was really nice for mum to have a change of scenery, she had a great time. Of course, also it was fantastic to spend quality time with mum as unfortunately she is now in the later stages of early onset Alzheimer’s disease dementia, so time is very precious.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read / view this latest UnicornPostbox. Coming next is a blog of another trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, so do keep a look out!

Peace and love, Lauren xx

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© 2020 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]

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

Manchester / ‘Thriller Live’ February 2020

This February, we celebrated my gorgeous boyfriend Howard’s 29th birthday by enjoying a weekend away together in Manchester, to go see ‘Thriller Live’ at Manchester Palace Theatre. Please see below a description of our travels, with accompanying photography. Hope you enjoy 🙂 🙂

Saturday 15th February (Howard’s birthday!)

We arrived on the train at Manchester Piccadilly station early afternoon on Saturday 15th February, then checked in early at our Britannia Sachas Hotel, situated in the Northern Quarter, near Piccadilly Gardens. I have stayed at Sachas before, last year with my mum in April, when we came to see ‘Ghost – The Musical’. The accommodation is cheap and cheerful in my opinion, my return based on the hotel’s extremely convenient location, close to all the action, and ‘smoking room’ option, allowing myself to use my e-cigarette inside, haha! 😛 The weather was absolutely atrocious, chucking it down, so we made the wise decision to partake in indoor activities during our stay should the weather not improve. After a quick unpack, we headed to Bella Italia to fill our bellies with delicious Italian cuisine, yum yum.

First on our itinerary was the National Football Museum. Not exactly top on my list I must admit, but Howard was keen and eager to visit, and it was his birthday after all! 😛 Being a big Manchester United fan, he was certainly in his element. In the ground floor entrance hall Howard had his photograph taken with the FA Cup and Premier League trophies, so that was definitely a great opportunity, hehe. Level 1 displayed various other dazzling trophies, it delved into the history of the ‘beautiful game’; matchday experiences, the fans, the stadiums, the players, the clubs and the portrayal of these all in mainstream media – a creatively interactive exploration throughout. There was much more physical interactivity offered furthermore on Level 2, such as ‘shot stopper’, ‘penalty shootout’, ‘one-two’, and ‘pass master’, where visitors are encouraged to test their reactions and show off their football skills. Likewise, many toys and games and in particular the ‘discovery zone’ was there to keep youngsters entertained. The ‘football for all’ area demonstrated well how football has full capability of being always an inclusive sport, enjoyed by players of all abilities. The ‘Strip! How Football got Shirty’ exhibition occupied Level 3 of the museum, educating visitors on the history of team shirts. Although I was reluctant and hesitant to explore the National Football Museum at first,  I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by its content, so I would therefore recommend a visit for those like myself, not massive fans of football, it’s still worth a look around for sure.

As evening approached, we passed pretty Piccadilly Gardens and the beautiful and stunning luminous water fountains, on our way to Palace Theatre.

On Saturday evening, we saw the highly anticipated ‘Thriller Live’ at Palace Theatre, Manchester! 🙂 🙂 Michael Jackson was, in many people’s opinion, the ‘undisputed King of Pop’, and the greatest entertainer the world has ever known. Michael’s musical genius, from The Jackson 5 to his solo career, dominated pop charts and wowed audiences in a four decade span; he’s sold an exceptional 750 million records worldwide, and counting! The iconic Thriller album remains the best selling recording in the world, like ever! How incredible is that?! What a legacy Michael has left when he sadly passed away in 2009. ‘Thriller Live’ is ultimately a huge celebration of Michael Jackson; the man and the performer. The show has now played in over 30 countries, including; Italy, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Germany, China, Singapore and France, among more, dazzling over 5 million fans across the globe – luckily for us, arriving at Palace Theatre, Manchester this February, 2020 [Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme].

There are many vocalists in the production that sing Michael’s songs, not just one individual singer; Kieran Alleyne, Jason Brock, Shaquille Hemmans, Joseph Thomas, two female vocalists Ceante Harris, Adriana Louise and resident director/ vocalist Britt Quentin, singing both solely and collaboratively on stage. Act 1 features Michael’s earlier Jackson 5 hits and disco and funk classics such as; ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘Rockin’ Robin,’ ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, ‘Shake Your Body’, ‘Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough’ and ‘Can You Feel It’, whereas Act 2 focuses of Michael’s solo career acclaimed songs, including; ‘Beat It’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Man In The Mirror’, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Bad’, ‘Black or White’, and of course, ‘Thriller’! The costume designers, Rob Jones and Catherine Teatum, did a fantastic job designing the amazing diverse and vividly colourful costumes, and obviously the dancers brought the stage completely to life with the eccentric moves, street dance, back-flips and of course iconic moonwalks showcased. Magical. [Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme].

Of all the theatre shows I have attended over the years (and I’ve seen a fair few!) I have never known an atmosphere quite like it! The place was on fire. Everyone was up on their feet singing and dancing, waving their glowing flashlight merchandise wildly in the air. They were congregating in the aisles, much to the theatre staff’s dismay ha, and screaming their heads off to all of the lyrics, it really was something else. Manchester was mad! (In a good way 😛 ). Unsurprisingly, the show concluded with a very well deserved standing ovation, as most of the crowd were already on their feet, hehe. Spectacular.

Sunday 16th February

There was a continuing heavy downpour of rain on the Sunday morning unfortunately. After a satisfying full English breakfast at Sachas, we took refuge in and decided to cheer ourselves at The Printworks entertainment centre, adjacent to Arndale shopping centre. I recommended Printworks to Howard, as I had been before last year, myself and mum. To try something new, different and fun and challenging however, me and my boyfriend thought we’d first give an escape room a whirl!

Escape Reality, Manchester features a diverse array of exciting , enthralling, mysterious themed rooms, all in which challenge participants, 2-6 players, to escape in a one hour time frame – a fully immersive experience in which players must use their problem solving skills and their own intuition to crack codes, decipher mystic clues / puzzles and outwit strategies purposefully planted to prevent escape. The complex offers 8 themed realities, all varying in levels / difficulty; ‘Auron’, ‘Tortuga Pirates’, ‘Enigmista’, ‘Bank Job’, ‘Asylum’, ‘Alcatraz’, ‘Ritual’, and the one we attempted – ‘Legend of the Mummy’.

The basic concept of ‘Legend of the Mummy’ is that a renowned Professor of Archaeology recruited the dangerous responsibility of retrieving lost Ancient Egyptian treasure has gone missing – we, as an assigned Archaeological replacement team, must continue the professor’s work; steal the treasure from ‘the dark depths of the Ancient Pyramids’ or face entrapment inside the triangular walls of the Ancient Pyramids forever, mwahahaha! Well, we were absolutely pants! I knew I’d be useless, but I hoped we might have a half decent chance of escaping with Howard as he regularly plays similar games on this smartphone/Xbox. ‘Legend of the Mummy’ was supposed to be one of the easier rooms, only level 3 of 5 in difficulty apparently. However, we didn’t find some of the hidden clues we were supposed to, and the ones we did find were so cryptic, half way through we were still only in the first of three sections – a staff member even had to come inside to help/guide us, what a disaster, haha! … INESCAPABLY, we didn’t escape lol… It was so much fun though. I would definitely like to try alternative escape rooms in different cities for sure, we can only improve 🙂

Our next pursuit was Treetops Adventure Golf – an 18 hole ‘Tropical Trail’ jungle trek, and another 18 hole ‘Ancient Explorer’ of mystical magic. Last time me and Howard played crazy golf at Valley Centertainment Leisure Park, Sheffield, I was victorious, this time however Howard beat me by a long shot 😛 At the end, he even struck the golf ball in the awkward 19th hole, winning us another free game, which we decided together to kindly pass on to a family with young children who told us they come to Treetops regularly. A nice gesture on our part methinks 🙂

After all the days’ activities, we were definitely ready for some good grub. Where better than a Hard Rock Cafe? For those of you following my blog from the very beginning, this will all sound very familiar, as you will know I have already visited Hard Rock Cafes in Amsterdam, Prague and once before in Manchester in fact. They’re so cool. I just love all the rock memorabilia adorning the walls, such a great sight to see, so captivating and intriguing. We ordered mocktails and our ‘Legendary Steak Burgers’ were, as always, divine, yum yum 😛

As dusk approached, we thought we’d have a casual wander around Arndale shopping centre. We found a really quirky shop selling impressive high quality music, film, TV and games fan gifts and merchandise; t-shirts, framed posters, figurines, original art etc. I got distracted in the ‘Stranger Things’ section, brill show.  There was even a ‘Only Fools and Horses’ yellow Reliant Regal model van, lovely jubbly! Howard bought me a new white snakeskin handbag from my favourite, River Island, lucky me, and then afterwards I was like a big kid in a candy store inside the Disney shop! Hey! 😛

On Sunday evening, our last night in Manchester, we were contemplating a comedy club but Howard convinced me to go to a casino alternatively. No wonder people lose money easily gambling unless they’re super lucky, it’s so expensive on the slots, I never realised! Howard isn’t able to drink excessive amounts of alcohol unfortunately as it may trigger his epilepsy, however we still had an enjoyable time hitting a few cocktail bars – Yates and Slug&Lettuce to be precise 🙂

Monday 17th February

Another Full English breakfast included in our hotel price Monday morning, and back we were on the train South Yorkshire bound!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read / view, your support is always very much appreciated!

Please keep a look out for near future amateur art blog posts. I am considering deviating from the norm of portraiture and drawing something a little bit different, original art perhaps inspired by famous artists, I’m mulling over ideas in my mind… So watch this space 😛

Much love, Lauren xx

 

Further reading / information:

https://adventuregolf.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://adventuregolf.com/manchester [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://adventuregolf.com/manchester/adventure-golf [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/the-britannia-sachas-hotel-manchester [Accessed 1st March 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/escape-rooms-uk/manchester/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.escapereality.com/our-games/game-summary/legend-of-the-mummy [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.flyingmusic.com/thrillerlive/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/location/manchester/ [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.hardrockcafe.com/menu.aspx [Accessed 29th February 2020]

https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/explore-the-museum/whats-inside/ [Accessed 26th February 2020]

[Official Thriller Live Souvenir Programme]

 

 

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© 2020 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.com

‘We Will Rock You’ – Musical Theatre Description / Review

Earlier this year, on Thursday 16th January, myself, my mum, my boyfriend, dad, gran and auntie all went to Hull New Theatre to see the matinee performance of ‘We Will Rock You’; the hit musical by Ben Elton, celebrating the amazing music of one of the best bands ever in rock history, the one and only, Queen… Please continue reading for a description / review of the performance, with accompanying photography, hope you enjoy! 🙂 🙂

‘We Will Rock You’ smashed London’s Dominion Theatre for a whopping 12 years, (dazzling a record breaking 6.5 million people!) until 31st May 2014. The epic musical, written by Ben Elton, has rocked and toured in 28 countries all around the world, reaching over 16 million viewers in total! [Official WWRY UK and Ireland 2019-2020 programme]. The show has been an absolute triumph in popularity, winning numerous top awards, including Best New Musical in the Theatregoers Choice awards in 2003 and the prestigious Olivier Audience Award in 2011. Now, the 2019-20 touring production showcases a stunning and striking celebration of Queen and their undeniable musical legacy, luckily for us, bringing the exceptional performance to Hull New Theatre in January 2020.

SPOILER ALERT. The basic concept of the story is that ‘Galileo’ and ‘Scaramouche’ (‘Galileo’ being the main protagonist) live in a futuristic cyber world, where musical instruments are forbidden and live rock ‘n’ roll is all but forgotten. ‘Galileo’ is praised by a bunch of rebel Bohemians in a bleak conformist dystopian reality as ‘The Dreamer’ – as he dreams the lyrics of Queen songs! He holds the key to reigniting the rock flame, as the Bohemians fight for the freedom of individuality; to express themselves, to freely exchange fashion and thought – and to feel the exhilaration of listening to live music, to break free – to love, and to love rock, with a champion passion! 🙂 🙂

The musical features, to be expected, all the iconic hit Queen songs, including; ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘I Want to Break Free’, ‘Somebody to Love’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘A Kind of Magic’, ‘I Want it All’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ in Act One, and ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘We Are The Champions’, and so on, in the second half of the performance. I must say, we were immensely impressed with the vocals of the cast, in particular, Elena Skye, who played ‘Scaramouche’, has an absolutely superb voice in my opinion; she absolutely belted out the high notes, incredible, a very talented young lady. Ian McIntosh, who played the main protagonist ‘Galileo’, brought a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the role, we were equally as enthralled by his portrayal. Jenny O’Leary, playing ‘Killer Queen’, brought the attitude and sass to the adaptation, accompanied by Michael McKell, as the eccentric and charismatic, cheeky Bohemian, ‘Buddy’; delighting us with playful puns and humour.

SPOILER ALERT: Just as we thought the final curtain was to close, ‘Galileo’ raised the roof once more with his wonderful rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, resulting in a very well deserved standing ovation from the audience! 🙂 🙂

IMG_20200219_185941

Please keep a look out for my next blog post, a description of mine and my boyfriend’s trip to Manchester to see ‘Thriller Live!’, with accompanying photography… Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time! Haha 😛 😛

Thank you as ever for taking the time to read/view, much appreciated.

Peace and love, Lauren xx

 

Further reading / information: 

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/queen/dontstopmenow.html [Accessed 24th February 2020].

[Official WWRY UK and Ireland 2019-2020 programme].

http://www.queenonline.com/wwry [Accessed 19th February 2020].

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Will_Rock_You_(musical) [Accessed 19th February 2020].

 

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

© 2020 Lauren Parr / http://www.unicornpostbox.wordpress.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!

IMG_20191115_210227

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.

prague boat 17prague boat 18prague boat 20prage boat 19prague boat 21

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