Rent at The Old Rep Theatre

July 27th, 2016

It is the classic musical of modern times, a tour de force that has a back story just as tragic as the one that unfolds on stage, and, last night, Rent, the updated version of La Boheme, opened at the Old Rep Theatre Birmingham with a brilliant ensemble performance.


Rent is the story of a group of artistic bohemians living in East Village, New York during the early 1990s. The talented bunch include a dancer (Mimi), a film-maker (Mark), a guitarist and lead singer (Roger), a transsexual woman (Angel) and a teacher turned anarchist (Tom Collins). They live an impoverished existence and, in the case of Mimi, Collins and Roger, their lives are blighted by AIDS and drug abuse. Their hand to mouth existence is further thrown into jeopardy by they threat that they could be evicted from their home by their former friend and flatmate Benny, who has married into money and now owns the apartment building they live in. We follow the friends from Christmas to Christmas as they fight to just survive in a New York that is unforgiving and unaccepting of the ‘have-nots’ in society.


The whole cast is just brilliant, and it is hard to single out performances, but Jessica Singer as Mimi is captivating in her portrayal of the promiscuous but vulnerable dancer. Her beautiful voice brings tears to the eye, especially when she sings the lament ‘Without You’. Tom Tilley and Rhys Owen make a wonderful couple as Angel and Collins, their romance is touching and poignant, and they play it to perfection, with Rhys Owen showing very raw and powerful grief during the performance of  ‘I’ll Cover You’.

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Joe Ashman is a good lead as Mark, holding the production together with his asides, almost acting as a narrator, worried that he will watch all his friends die, whilst Timothy Gough does the mean and moody fading rock star perfectly, capable of stubbornness and tenderness in equal measures.

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The stark industrial set is a perfect, sparse backdrop to a musical that talks about ‘What you own’ as an indication of how we are perceived in modern times, whilst the classic score is full of songs that remain in the mind long after the curtain comes down.

Rent is a modern classic, you shouldn’t miss it.

Rent is at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham until 30th July, For times and ticket information, click here.

Why we should all be taking Vitamin D supplements.

July 27th, 2016

Do you take Vitamin D supplements? If you are, well done! If the answer is no, then maybe you should take a few minutes to re-evaluate this and add Vitamin D to your shopping list. Because if the latest findings from a government commissioned health report is to be believed, we all need a little dose of sunshine added to our lives and diets. (You can read about the report on the BBC website here.)

We get our Vitamin D from sunshine and from good balanced diets that contain items like oily fish, eggs and red meat and liver. But these days, sunshine is in short supply, even in Summer (think days like yesterday, hot and warm, but with hardly any sunshine to enjoy.) Vitamin D from sunshine is absorbed into our skin and helps us to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles, making us maintain a fit and healthy physique, but with muggier, duller summer weather, followed by Autumn and Winter, when sunny days are also scarce, we run the risk of not obtaining enough Vitamin D. This can, in turn, cause diseases like Ricketts, and illness like bone and muscle aches and pains.


But these days, there is no real reason to have a deficiency of Vitamin D as your daily dose can be obtained in tablet form through Vitamin D supplements.  The BBC report says:-

“…an extensive review of the evidence, carried out by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), suggests everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to protect bone and muscle health. And public health officials say, in winter months, people should consider getting this from 10 microgram supplements, if their diet is unlikely to provide it…”


A simple tablet supplement that could make all the difference to your health is such a simple addition to your daily routine, but is well worth the benefits.


Celebrity Get the Look with Poppy Delevingne, Pixie Lott and Naomi Harris

July 26th, 2016

My latest celebrity get the look post is a special one for me, as it features some of my latest style crushes. These are ladies who’s wardrobes I totally covet and would just love to dive into, even though I would probably struggle to fit my arms into their dresses, let alone my whole body.

First up is Poppy Delevingne, a lady who always seems to get it right, totally winning the best dressed at the Met Ball this year, and now winning Glastonbury too, in a floral print tea dress. I have also been super impressed with V icky Pattison’s choices since she won ‘I’m a Celebrity’, she seems to opt for the prettiest, most elegant of dresses, and the Oasis Bardot dress is no different, being a totally beautiful Summer choice. And then we have Naomi Harris, who I seem to be constantly adding to my Pinterest and Facebook pages. She is my current ultimate style crush, and in two Self Portrait dresses she recently showed why she is a shoe-in for best dressed of 2016. (Look out for a dedicated post very soon.)

Also featuring in this post we have Dorothy Perkins denim, as worn by Holly Willoughby and Lucy Watson, and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ star Pixie Lott, wearing a white culotte suit from the M&S best of British range. Finally, we have the very lovely Stacey Solomon, who looked just beautiful in another elegant dress, this time a glorious midnight blue number from that shrine to prettiness, Chi Chi London.

Do you have a favourite celebrity look this month? Whose style do you most admire? Would love to hear your comments.

Vicky Pattison wears Oasis


Oasis Ruffle Bardot Midi Dress now £40 Click to visit Oasis

Oasis Ruffle Bardot Midi Dress now £40 Click to visit Oasis

Poppy Delevingne in Topshop


PETITE Daisy Dress £42.00 Click to visit Topshop

PETITE Daisy Dress £42.00 Click to visit Topshop

Pixie Lott in M&S


 Square Neck Belted Jumpsuit T423212R £149.00 Click to visit M&S

Square Neck Belted Jumpsuit £149.00 Click to visit M&S

Holly Willoughby and Lucy Watson wear Dorothy Perkins Denim


Indigo Patch Pocket Denim Skirt Was £24.00 Now £14.40Click to visit Dorothy Perkins

Indigo Patch Pocket Denim Skirt
Was £24.00 Now £14.40 Click to visit Dorothy Perkins


Embroidered Straight Leg Jeans Was £32.00 Now £25.60 Click to visit Dorothy Perkins

Embroidered Straight Leg Jeans
Was £32.00 Now £25.60 Click to visit Dorothy Perkins

Stacey Solomon wears Chi Chi London


Chi Chi Cassandra Dress Was: £64.99Now: £52.99 Click to visit Chi Chi London

Chi Chi Cassandra Dress Was: £64.99 Now: £52.99 Click to visit Chi Chi London

Naomi Harris in Self Portrait


 SELF-PORTRAIT Plunge neck Prairie dress with organza slip £280.00 Click to visit Selfridges

SELF-PORTRAIT Plunge neck Prairie dress with organza slip
£280.00 Click to visit Selfridges


 SELF-PORTRAIT Bluebell lace midi dress £300.00 Click to visit Selfridges

Bluebell lace midi dress
Click to visit Selfridges