Saturday, 14 April 2018

Educating Rita

A What's Good To Do Review

Last week we went to see Educating Rita at the Dukes, Lancaster. We love going to The Dukes as it is such a lovely theatre and you are always made to feel very welcome. 

The Dukes are always looking at new ways to bring the arts to Lancaster and Educating Rita is a production co-produced with the New Vic theatre, Newcastle under Lyme. It will be performed there once the run at The Dukes ends and will then go on tour to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. 

Educating Rita is a play is about Rita, a 26 year old Liverpudlian hairdresser who has spent her life following the crowd. Fed up with her job as a hairdresser and a husband who only wants her to have children she wants more from life so decides to better herself and break free by enrolling on an Open University course in English Literature. The play takes place entirely within the office of her tutor Frank, played by Andrew Pollard, who himself is bored with his life of poetry and academia and is a confirmed alcoholic, taking on the role as tutor to pay for his drink. Rita sees in Frank a part of life that she always knew existed but never had access to, whilst Frank loves the simplicity and innocence of Rita’s views on life.

Lauryn Redding was very well cast, her accent was good and she played her role compellingly as the strong willed Rita against Andrew Pollard’s cynical Frank. The characters had an excellent rapport and Andrew Pollard was convincing as Frank, the alcoholic lecturer stumbling around the stage.

The set was fantastic, transforming the central space into a stereotypical university professor’s study, littered with books and papers and a selection of dog eared furniture hiding Frank’s inexhaustible supply of whisky. The actors used the area well, moving around so that all parts of the audience were able to take in the story. Whilst Frank wore a shabby brown corduroy suit, Rita’s 1980’s outfits changed throughout the show reflecting her increasing confidence and new-found comfort with university life. The 80’s feel was backed up with music from the decade playing in the background between scenes.

Educating Rita is a comedy by British playwright Willy Russell. The stage version debuted in 1980 but the story was made famous in 1983 when Michael Caine and Julie Walters took the lead in a very successful film version of the play. Whilst we have heard of the film neither of us had seen it before but after reading a synopsis on the internet we both decided that it sounded good and were looking forward to a good night out. We were not disappointed at all and really enjoyed this new version directed by the artistic director of The Dukes, Sarah Punshon.

The Dukes have produced yet another winning show, adding a touch of the Duke’s unique magic to a well-known play by one of the great British playwrights.  This show is definitely worth seeing and we can guarantee you will have a fantastic night out.

We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Night Hike

On a cold Saturday night when most sensible people are tucked up warm in front of the fire and TV we decided to do a night hike!

It was bitterly cold and blowing a gale but that didn't stop us and we had nice walk on the fells. Unsurprisingly we were the only people up there.

We used to go for a walk in the dark quite regularly however it is a while since we have been up on the fells in the dark. It was very cold but we wrapped up well and had actually got quite a sweat on by the time we reached the top! I love standing at the top and looking at the lights, it is surprisingly easy to get your bearings and you can see quite a distance.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Luke was very excited when it started snowing on Sunday night and was quickly outside in the dark making snowballs. On Monday morning he was outside at 7am making a snowman with Mark!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge

I don't usually buy ready meals but with work being so busy and William now at college our teatimes are getting later. When I saw the BritMums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge I thought it might be fun to take part and see what the chicken burgers were like.

We went to Tesco to pick up the Rustlers chicken burgers and also bought the ingredients to transform them into "gourmet burgers"

Luke is quite a burger connoisseur, he always chooses a burger if we go out for a meal so he was quite excited about creating his own meal. He decided to have his burger with coleslaw, corn and salad and started by toasting some pine nuts to put on his salad.

Whilst they were cooling he made the coleslaw, we bought a large red cabbage, carrots and onion and he peeled and chopped them before putting them in a bowl. Normally I would just add salad cream but we found a coleslaw dressing when we were shopping so we thought we would give that a try instead.

Once the coleslaw was made he started preparing the salad. We bought some iceberg lettuce and baby cucumbers and then added some red pepper that we already had in the fridge. 

He then read the instructions on the packet and put the burgers in the microwave. Rather than heating the bun in the microwave we opted to toast the buns which made them taste nicer.

The burgers were really quick to heat in the microwave, only taking 1 and a half minutes to cook, perfect for a snack for the boys!

For the salad he had, lettuce, grated beetroot, peppers, a baby cucumber and added croutons, the toasted pine nuts and a honey and mustard dressing. He also cooked some corn on the cob meaning he got more than his "5 a day" in this meal alone.

The burgers come with a relish so he added this to his burger and said it was absolutely delicious!

The burgers are quick and easy to make but as my lot have huge appetites they aren't enough for a main meal but they would be handy to have in the fridge for a quick and easy lunch. They cost £2.50 so why don't you pop to Tesco and try the Burger Hacking Challenge yourself and see what you can come up with.

This post is an entry for BritMums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge, sponsored by Rustlers

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Happy Birthday Dad

Dad was 70 today, a birthday that none of ever thought he would ever see. He has been ill for a very long time and I remember us having a 48th party as he never thought he would make 50 and here we are 22 years later celebrating his 70th! Mum has been very busy making a delicious buffet with lots of delicious food and plenty of cakes and puddings. Daisy is 8 tomorrow so there was even a cake for her which she was thrilled with. Dad couldn't blow his candles out so Daisy stepped in for him.

Blackpool Winter Gardens

As reviewers for What' s Good To Do we regularly go and see shows at Blackpool Opera House.  When we heard they were having an open day we decided that it would be very interesting to go behind the scenes and explore the Grade 2 listed building. 

We have been in a few of the different areas in the complex but this was the first time we had been in the Spanish Suite and we were both amazed at the detailed decoration. There were plenty of informative banners to read and all the staff were very knowledgeable about the venue. We especially enjoyed looking at the blueprints and drawings that were displayed in the Arena.

The plaster work was incredible, we have been in the Galleon Bar many times and it never crossed my mind that all the woodwork wasn't really woodwork! It was quite a surprise when we read the information sheet and discovered that it was all amazing plaster work! I didn't manage to get a picture in there but this is a picture of some of the plaster work in the Baronial Hall so you can see how good it is.

There was a beautiful Art Deco room next to one of the bar areas and the carpet had been pulled back in another to show an Art Deco tiled floor.

It was very interesting walking onto the stage and seeing it completely bare of all scenery and being able to look out into the audience and see the whole theatre. We were able to go beneath the stage and see the stage lift and also peep inside the dressing rooms.

The Empress Ballroom is an amazing room and is currently being renovated. There are a lot of tiled panels which were done by the company that later became Royal Doulton.

 We really enjoyed exploring Blackpool's Winter Gardens and if you ever get the chance it is definitely worth a visit.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Games Night - Logo - What Am I?

Last week we played LOGO What Am I? on our Sunday night games night. 

LOGO What Am I? has the same core elements as the original LOGO board game but in place of the trivia, it challenges you in a number of different ways: Describe it! Guess it! Draw it!

The cards have a variety of random items listed like brands of food, high street shops and everyday household items and depending on which space on the board you land on you have to either describe the item by drawing it, describing it or only answering yes or no to the questions you are asked.

We enjoyed playing the game and even managed to guess some of Luke's drawings! 

Hair Straighteners

Harry Potter