Cinderella At The Wolverhampton Grand Is Absolutely Superb

Panto returned to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night in a wonderful sparkly style. Cinderella is the first pantomime since lockdown called a halt to Christmas festivities almost two years ago, and it is no understatement to say it is the best panto I have seen in years. The cast is perfect, the show is funny, lovely and warm all in one glittering bundle, and the use of CGI effects make it an awe inspiring spectacle for all ages. I absolutely loved it!

Cinderella is one of the classic pantomimes, and this production has the whole package – a wonderfully spirited Cinders played by the super talented Evie Pickerill, the absolute epitome of a local girl done good, a suitably handsome prince, played in ‘charming’ style by Strictly’s elegant dancer AJ Pritchard, an evil stepmother Baroness Hardup played by Julie Stark, vamping it up in villainous style, and two ugly sisters, now updated brilliantly into social media influencers (it has to be said to hilarious effect in their pursuit of two audience members) Tess (Ella Biddlecombe) and Claudia (Britt Lenting).

There is a beautiful Fairy Godmother, played by the ageless Denise Pearson from Five Star, absolutely resplendent and giving this Five Star fan chills with her vocals, and the legendary Ian Adams is back as the Dame, Penny Pocket, all funny costumes and audience pleasing one liners. The cast is rounded out by two outstanding performances from the hilarious Tam Ryan who plays a very knowing Buttons, full of hilarious comments about everything, from comparing one of the ugly sisters to  Boris Johnson to making local jokes about Wolverhampton ‘and surrounding areas’ (if you know, you know). The prince’s valet, Dandini is the wonderful Curtis Pritchard, who is an absolute revelation – brilliantly athletic and totally able to send himself up, whilst delivering great vocals and a brilliant all round performance. Truly this is a dream cast.

But it is not just the cast that is perfect in this performance. The staging is absolutely magical, combining CGI effects and animation to create beautiful backdrops and scenery, as well as moving the action along. Cinderella’s trip to the ball is exquisite, as an adult I was enthralled, and the children in the audience actually gasped. The songs are also great, combining well known pop tunes with panto classics, and a version of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ that is pretty unforgettable.

Panto is finally back and it is better than ever. Cinderella is an absolute triumph for all involved, the must see panto in the Midlands this Christmas.


Saturday 4 December 2021 – Sunday 9 January 2022

Performance times vary, please see website here.

Tickets from £16.50*

*A £4 booking fee applies to all purchases.


Preparing for the Party Season: What Jewellery Should you Wear with your Outfit?

December brings us the biggest party season of the year, what with work parties, winter gatherings with friends on the run up to Christmas, and of course, the biggie – New Year’s Eve.

It’s a special time of year where we all look forward to to dressing up and looking fabulous, ready for plenty of good times and celebrations. Although you might have your party frock ready for the festive fiestas, do you have the right jewellery to go with it?

Choosing the best jewellery to wear with your outfit can make you stand out from the crowd and have you feeling sensational, but only when the pairings are done right. Here’s a quick and simple guide to picking the right jewellery to wear with your party outfit this season, from the jewellery experts Jeulia.

Keep it simple…

If you’re a fan of big bold prints and patterns, or if you’ve gone for an outfit with plenty of texture, your jewellery should be kept simple and delicate. Your outfit itself will be making enough of a statement, so that jewellery should only be worn as an added touch of glamour.

Refrain from wearing any kind of necklace or long dangly earrings with high necklines with lots of pattern or texture – they will simply get lost in the design of the dress. Instead, opt for a small and delicate jewellery set with pretty gemstones to mix and match to your outfit.

Even if striking jewellery isn’t really your thing, you can pair subtle jewellery with a more simple outfit – we’d just recommend wearing more of it! A combination of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings can add some sparkle and style to your elegant outfit. In this instance, pairing the right jewellery together becomes more important, so make sure each piece shares the same material and style. Plenty of jewellers provide jewellery sets to make sure everything you wear goes well together.

The best outfits for bold…

Bold jewellery can dazzle and amaze your fellow party goers, especially when you’ve chosen a simple yet stylish outfit to wear it with. Only one bold piece of jewellery should be worn at once, otherwise they can appear garish.

Usually it’s a choice between a statement set of earrings or a bold necklace, and either can be worn with any simple outfit, especially those with a high neckline. For low necklines, we’d suggest a statement pair of earrings over a bold necklace, otherwise the jewellery and the style of the dress would clash.

Ear jackets and cuffs are becoming increasingly popular, for their unique design and stand out appearance. If you’re looking for something a little different but don’t want to go for big and bright earrings, you could try some ear climbers. Don’t be afraid to pair statement earrings with a vivid and chunky ring, as they’re worn too far away from one another to look over the top. Moissanite rings can provide the sort of sparkle that looks fabulous against a little black dress, or you could opt for a super cute ring from the Jeulia Hug me range that combines your favourite animal with a beautiful ring. My favourite is the stunning, majestic swan design.

These tips here are just a general rule of thumb for looking stunning and stylish during the party season, but if you have any suggestions of your own to share with us, let us know!

How to prepare your home and heating this winter

There’s nothing better at this time of year than curling up in front of the fire with your family. It doesn’t matter how miserable the weather is outside, you can fend off the elements and ensure you feel toasty in the comfort of your home. Similarly, this is the time of year when we want the our central heating on so that it is warm and toasty when we go to bed. No-one wants to be cold, but we can’t take it for granted after a glorious Summer that everything is going to be in perfect working order. There are things we need to do to ensure we do not get caught out once the cold weather comes.


Check Your Boiler and Radiators

After a Summer of glorious weather, it seemed like our central heating systems had been put into retirement, but now with temperatures dropping, especially at night, we are suddenly having to fire up the boiler and radiators once again. Central Heating Boilers don’t last forever, and if yours is more than a few years old, you may need to look at getting it serviced so that it will work perfectly during a cold snap. Similarly, your radiators may need updating and replacing, or at the very least they may need bleeding after a summer of inactivity.

You can check your boiler for yourself by looking at the pressure gage and noting down the reading, If in doubt about the safety of your boiler, you can seek professional help for any boiler repair.

Stock up on fuel

If you have a natural fire, make sure you stock up on fuel. The last thing you want on a freezing cold day is to discover you’re clean out of gas or firewood. As long as you’re organised, this won’t happen. It’s now easy to order fuel online from firms such as Calor. Just make sure you keep monitoring your gas or firewood levels throughout the winter so that you never run out.



Check your chimney

You might not be able to see your chimney when you’re relaxing in your living room, but out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. Damaged or blocked chimneys can represent a major safety risk, so it’s important that you check yours out before you start using your fireplace this winter.

It’s advisable to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional once a year. This will ensure that any blockages are cleared. It also protects against tar build-up, insufficient draw, down-draught and poor ventilation.

You should get your chimneys assessed for cracks or damage caused by bad weather too. Also, bear in mind that this part of buildings can sometimes become obstructed by trees. If this happens, you’ll need to cut the trees back.

Marypoppins1Service your stove

In addition, make sure your stove is serviced by reputable engineer. These professionals will be able to check the appliance to ensure everything’s working as it should. For example, if you have a gas fire, an expert will be able to test the airways of the pilot and main burners. Bear in mind that all gas engineers should be on the Gas Safe Register, so check this before you agree to use them.

Assess your alarms

Good quality and fully functioning smoke alarms are a must at any time of year, but they’re especially important in winter when your fire’s in use. With this in mind, now’s a good time to test your alarms. You might need to replace their batteries or, if you’re not happy with their quality, invest in new versions.

It’s also savvy to use carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. CO is often called the ‘silent killer’ because it’s colourless and odourless. Each year, between 30 and 50 people die in the UK as a result of inhaling this poisonous gas. It’s important to put one of these detectors in each room where you have a fuel-burning appliance. In your lounge, it should be at least a metre away from your fireplace. If you’re putting it on the wall, place it at head height and at least 150mm below the ceiling.

As long as you’re sensible this chilly season, you should be able to heat your home safely and without any hassle.