Ballet and unexpected surprises.

I’m not a girly girl (at all), make-up, shopping and fashion are not my idea of fun in any shape or form. But put me in a theatre with ballet and I suddenly become ‘a girl’

I can’t really explain it, I never did ballet as a child or even saw one. I enjoy the gracefulness of it all and the story-telling without words only music and movement.

Last month I went to see Giselle, a new one for me. It was beautiful, and some of the music I recognised, which was surprising not knowing this ballet. It’s a very romantic, love story and didn’t seem as long as other ballet’s I have seen, however they do say time flies when you’re having fun.

Then we noticed Matthew Bourne was touring with his production of ‘The Red Shoes’ later in the year and this was one that we couldn’t miss. Matthew Bourne’s choreography is spectacular, quirky and always worth watching. His ‘Swan Lake’ with an all male cast is amazing. The morning the tickets went on sale we were on the phone and booked them immediately.

A few days later we noticed an advert on another theatre in Liverpool.

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Again we booked and got front row seats for opening night.

It’s was the craziest busy day and with a bus that never turned up we nearly didn’t make it at all, but I’m glad we did. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen, not just ballet but in general. It was superbly danced and acted. It was funny and sad (yes we laughed loudly). It is a walk-through of the pieces that have shaped his career and his life. Of artists that have impacted him through music or dance.

It wasn’t the longest ballet, each ‘act’ was around 40 minutes and we had two intervals but it was one of the best I’ve seen.

At the end as everyone was preparing to leave an announcement was made that a short question and answer session would follow with Matthew Bourne himself. That alone was worth the money we paid. He was a genuine, down-to-earth person. He refuses to be called Sir, even though he was knighted in 2016.

He explained how and why he’d put these pieces together and answered several audience questions about where his ideas came from, his inspiration and idols. He even gave some hints about his future plans and it would appear that we will be seeing more Matthew Bourne productions later this year and next, and thankfully they all seem to come through Liverpool.

So the future is looking good ……

Life and things …

Things have been a bit crazy for the last few weeks, obviously we had the wedding, then the shock of a job offer at the start of the half term holidays. Thankfully it helped take some of the pressure off and lifted everyone’s spirits.

Half term was a mixture of homework and fun days.

We started with a cinema day on Monday, 2 films, once again a freebie from Odeon, and lovely comfortable seats too. A lovely mum and son day.

Tuesday was another interview day for me, Oscar had an easy day, Wednesday we caught up on homework and had a minecraft building session.

Thursday we changed our plans a few times, we were supposed to be bowling but I forgot to book the lane and when we got there it was full of pensioners. We didn’t fancy hanging around for an hour so went to Spaceport at Seacombe ferry. We haven’t been here for a long time, although not much has changed, it was very interesting and the planetarium/space dome theatre was really good.

Friday we spent the day in Liverpool, first stop was the world museum to see the animal mummies exhibition. A quick bite to eat then a walk down to the Albert dock and Tate Liverpool to make our own piece of art and see the famous Tracey Emin ‘bed’, Oscar said ‘she’s very unhealthy because she drinks too much alcohol and smokes’ To be fair it was a pretty fair statement from what we could see.

The weekend was tidying bedrooms, sorting clothes and uniform, kits and generally getting ready for school and work !!

Monday was my first day, only a few hours but so much to do and learn. It went very quickly, everyone was lovely but I don’t think I’ll ever learn all the names or the computer system.

Today seemed quiet still waiting for all my required authorisations to come through but I think tomorrow I might be let lose on real people and the computers, thankfully with a shadow and lots of support.

I can honestly say I am enjoying being back doing something useful, even if it’s only a few short hours a week, fingers crossed the hours increase in the near future.

L is for …

Liverpool, my hometown, it’s a big city with lots of history and the most museums/galleries outside of London. It is a city filled with culture and heritage and the Liverpool waterfront is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Liverpool has two cathedrals at either end of Hope street, both are beautiful architectural buildings and very different, well worth a visit.

Liverpool is a famous music city and is the world capital of pop, with more number ones than any other city.

It is home to many sports, including two premiership football teams, horse-racing, rugby, golf, plus lots more.

It’s an easily accessible city as the main train line, coach station and bus station are right in the centre and easy walking distance to many places.

Liverpool is a very family-friendly city and most galleries and museums have free activities/things to do for kids.

There are many theatres and comedy clubs with something for everyone.

It also has coastline and very clean sandy beaches, it is full of parks and green areas too.

And not to be left out, a trip on the famous ‘ferry across the Mersey’

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The ‘dazzle ship’ ferry looking across to Birkenhead.

I love my city, come and explore and you will love it too.

 

Light Night Liverpool 2016

Finally one of my favourite nights has arrived ! I love Light Night, I love museums,galleries and all the fun performances around the streets.We only managed to get a brochure the day before so didn’t have time to study it as we normally would, so a quick glance and marking a couple of things that popped out and off we went.

This year it was just three of us, myself, Oscar, and my mum. We arrived at Liverpool central station at 4.30pm and straight onto Bold street. We had already decided to head up towards the Hope street quarter and the cathedral.

Our first stop was at FACT where we saw a beautiful sensory exhibition featuring electronic music and bass with stunning visuals by Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa. They also had a STAR LAB minecraft space and planets interactive game, which  Oscar enjoyed.

Next we walked up past the ‘bombed out church’ St Luke’s to LJMU Aldham Robarts library. There was a lot going on here, first Oscar had his head scanned by a 3D printer and transformed into a miniature. We made faces and played at the ‘selfie’ station. Then we had another head scan and played with morphing and the science behind forensic research. Then had a go at laser cutting patterns. An amazing experience, finished off with a drama performance by Physical Fest who ‘kidnapped’ my child as part of the act. He loved it.

Starting to get hungry we wandered on to Hope street but all the cafe/restaurants were busy,busy,busy. I’m glad they were, we found the most wonderful place to eat by accident. Hearing music we wandered into Blackburne house, an old school that is now a college and spa. In the basement they have a cafe, only open monday to friday but it serves the most amazing food. I had spanish chicken with herby couscous and marinated beetroot salad, my mum had nut roast with coleslaw and lentil salad. Oscar had eaten earlier so had a slice of victoria sponge (his favourite) which he declared the best ever. In the cafe they had a band playing Russian Jewish folk music which was beautiful, they were very talented musicians.

From here we started to head towards the cathedral but spotted the Light Night bus so hopped on and headed to the Baltic triangle.

This is a place we’ve never visited before due to it being a little further out of the centre, but I’m glad we made the effort. Here we started getting very creative with an art session, making things from everyday household objects cutting, sticking and glueing. Always fun. We watched an African band and one amazing drummer.

Now it was starting to get late, so we jumped back on the bus and made our way back to the cathedral. In the darkness we noticed some strange lights and shapes so decided to investigate. This was LIPA lab, a hatchery with an experimental Liver bird breeding programme, an interactive puppet, live performance and light show. Great fun. Around the corner was another lab with a working giant heart, operated by placing your finger inside a monitor and making it beat in time with your own pulse. Strange and fun. Here you could also ‘play’ with electricity to change the intensity and colour of the lights. This was one all the kids loved doing. Disco time.

As it was getting near to 11pm the decision was made to head for home, we were all weary but had smiles on our faces. It was a great fun evening. Family time, creative, fun and free. Lots more to see in the year and looking forward to Light Night 2017

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All the events coming up in 2016

 

Trampolining

‘Lets go trampolining’ The words every 9 year old wants to hear a parent say. Well mine did, and it was one of the funniest days out we have had.

We booked our one hour session at Spring city in Liverpool, a trampoline park near the city centre. We arrived twenty minutes early, as instructed, and were handed our special gripper socks to change into. Time to watch a short ‘rules and regulations’ video. Then it was time to bounce.

It was great fun, a room filled with trampolines, an air bag to jump into, a trampoline dodgeball court, trampoline basketball and tumble area.

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I was nervous at first, I’m not the lightest person or the most agile, but it was such good fun. Although I didn’t think I’d last more than five minutes, when I looked at the clock it was 40 minutes later and my legs were starting to feel it. I loved the main trampoline section but my son loved the air bag, especially doing front flips into it. I had a go but was swallowed by the bag and had to fight my way out.

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A day out we will never forget, and will definitely repeat again soon. One we both enjoyed, full of laughter and fun but I’m not sure if my 43 year old bones could take it too often.

Den building and snowdrops

It was a chilly but bright day. A day for being outdoors and having fun. We took a short drive to our local National trust property, Speke Hall.

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A lovely Tudor mansion with large gardens, an ever-changing maze and woodland trails, including a woodland play area. The costumed volunteers give guided tours of the house and grounds. They’re knowledgeable, friendly, and brilliant with children, especially the unusual questions they always come up with.

Anyone who loves William Morris will adore this house, the wallpaper is stunning, and they clean it the old way, using bread, cheap white bread. Simple but very effective at removing coal smoke from the beautiful original Morris paper without damaging it.

Whilst the house is lovely to explore, today was mostly an outdoors day.

It was good to spend a day playing in the woods. The joy of having a nine year old is being able to join in.

Today we built a mini den, played on the zip-wire and crossed the log trunk stepping stones. A quality mum and son day. Looking forward to a return visit in the coming months to see the bluebell carpet.

My city – Liverpool

I love my city. I love the history, it’s architecture, culture, art, the people and even (very occasionally) the shops.

Today I wandered, watching locals and tourists. Seeing what they enjoyed. Taking photographs of things they spotted and finding treasures I’ve never noticed before.

A walk across St Georges plateau, passed my favourite place, Walker art gallery and down to the library.

I love libraries, almost as much as art galleries, but the Picton reading room inside Liverpool central library is something special. It is a beautiful circular room with a domed  ceiling, spiral staircases and wonderful bookcases. Word of warning, it has wonderful acoustics, stand in the centre of the room and whispers echo, lovely and funny but don’t expect a child to ‘only’ whisper because that’s no fun !

From here a stroll across St Johns gardens and into Liverpool one, the main shopping area to look for some special presents then into The Bluecoat, an old school, now an art space, cafe and garden. A peaceful space in the heart of the busy shopping area of the city to sit and relax with a cup of tea, no coffee allowed, due to a promise I made to my lovely boy !

One of my list challenges is being a tourist in your own city, one to be completed over the coming weeks, months and years. Finding new spaces whilst enjoying old favourites. All recommendations gratefully received and will be explored.