The Mousetrap At The Alexandra: The Classic Whodunit Comes To Brum

The most iconic whodunit of all time? That would have to be The Mousetrap, the Agatha Christie classic which has been thrilling audiences since 1952, and is the longest running West End show of them all. Last night it opened in Birmingham at The Alexandra Theatre, and, although I, along with the rest of the audience, have been swarn to secrecy about who-actually-did-it, I can say it is a gloriously entertaining piece of theatre that has its tongue more than firmly in cheek.

The snow is beating down, and Monkswell Hall Guest House is welcoming its first visitors, unfortunately, one of them may just be a homicidal maniac hell bent on revenge, and any of the other guests may well become victims. Luckily, a plucky police man has braved the snow in order to track down the killer. Is it the cantankerous ex magistrate Mrs Boyle, the flamboyant architect Christopher Wren, the androgynous traveller Miss Casewell or the ex Army major Metcalf? Who is the univited guest, Mr Paravicini, is he really just the victim of car trouble in the snow? And what of the rookie hoteliers Mollie and Giles Ralston? What secrets are they hiding?

The beauty of The Mousetrap is that it has humour to match with the grisly goings on. Characters like the beautifully played Mr Paravicini (David Alcock) and Christopher Wren (Lewis Chandler) make you laugh out loud as well as wonder about who they really are, especially when Lewis as Christopher hides behind the curtains and gives everyone a bit of a fright. Susan Penhaligon is super as the rather horrible Mrs Boyle, a bigot and professional complainer if ever there was one, whilst Saskia Vaigncourt-Strallen is strident and yet vulnerable as Miss Casewell. John Griffins is also great as Major Metcalf, his calm performance always leaves you thinking that he is hiding something, and that he may be key to the story (although I’m not going to tell you if he is or not…)

The cast is rounded out by the Ralston’s and Sgt Trotter. I love the portrayal of the Mollie and Giles, they almost seem like characters from a drawing room comedy until they start to fall apart, and Harriet Hare and Nick Biadon capture that 1950s, upper middle class English sensibilities perfectly. Geoff Arnold brings it all together brilliantly as Sgt Trotter, a working class voice amongst the middle class would be killer/victims.

The Mousetrap has gripped audiences for the last 50 plus years and will continue to do so, with its clever reveal and characters who you can love and hate in equal measures.

The Mousetrap

The Alexandra, Birmingham

Mon 11 Nov – Sat 16 Nov 2019

Click here for ticket information


Advent Calendars – A Few To Consider This Year

There are just 19 days left until you can start to open those little windows and really begin your countdown to Christmas.

If you are yet to choose your advent calendar, I have put together a few ideas to wet your appetite and maybe point you in the right direction. Warning, there is not a chocolate shape in sight in this post!

For Nespresso Lovers

If you are a Nespresso lover, the idea of having a new blend of coffee every day through the advent period is highly appealing. The Personalised Coffee Advent Calendar Box from I Just Love It is a great gift for coffee lovers looking to widen their taste buds with a different coffee each morning. The advent calendar can be personalised with any name to add that extra special touch this Christmas, and also make it a great early gift idea.

Each pod is Nespresso compatible, and there are a range of flavours and types of coffee, from vanilla latte and cappuccino to the classic Americano. For those who are worried about the environment, the packaging is fully recyclable, and beautiful box could even be reused next year and filled up again with their favourites.

For Classic Coffee Lovers

But if you love coffee that easy way, with water from the kettle and a quick stir, then just look at the gorgeous advent calendar from Beanies Coffee. Beanies coffee is only 2 calories a cup and completely sugar free but the flavour means you can still get a sweet fix without the need to add sugar or sweeteners to it.

The Beanies advent calendar for 2019 is brilliant. On Day 1 you get a travel cup, then from 2nd-23rd 2 sachets of different flavour coffee each day, and on the final day a 50g jar of Christmas flavoured coffee. The flavours are amazing, from Cookie Dough and Caramel Popcorn to Irish Cream and Amaretto Almond. The Calendar costs £20 and should cover your coffee fix throughout December.

An Advent Candle From Norma And Dorothy

If you are looking for a stylish alternative to the traditional ‘open the doors’ kind of calendar, then you could look at the personalised Christmas Advent candles from Norma and Dorothy.

Their Advent candle is just lovely, very cleverly coming with a burn time of 25 hours. The idea is that you burn it for one hour each day and then cross off the number on the label. The festive scent of Orange and Cinnamon will fill your home and leave you feeling all Christmassy.

The candle jar label can be personalised with a name(s) and the year, and the candle itself is made from natural soy wax that has been hand poured in their Manchester workshop.

For Football Fans

The advent calendar that is always top of my boys list is the Match Attax Christmas Countdown. This calendar has a guaranteed limited edition card, Pierre Emerick Abameyang, and has a pack of collectors cards for each window, containing cards for the cream of the English Premier League.

The calendar costs £20 and is a must have for football mad kids.

One for Beauty Lovers

There are a lot of really lovely calendars for beauty lovers, and I am a real fan of Amazon’s calendar this year, which comes in at a very reasonable £40 and has a host of lovely branded name beauty products within.

The idea of this calendar is two fold. It gives you the opportunity to try new products and brands across skin care, hair care and make-up. If you like them, you can then buy the products instantly by scanning the Amazon SmileCodes included in the accompanying leaflet.

The best outfit choices to flaunt your curves in winter 2019

Now, when it comes to winter, you may instinctively want to cover yourself up because you’re not only freezing cold but you genuinely don’t know how to really style a winter outfit. When you think about winter fashion, you tend to think about woolly jumpers, fleecy coats, big boots and any sort of gloves, scarves or hats. But you don’t have to sacrifice your fashion for the sake of keeping warm. Instead, combine them both together and make sure that your winter look for 2019 is just as stylish as the rest of your looks throughout the previous year. Here is how you can retain your style even though the coldest period.

Long-Sleeved Midi Dresses

Now, this is an extremely fancy choice for any sort of party or work outfit. The best thing about midi dresses is that they practically hug your body and highlight your beautiful waist. Not only that but you can practically pair them with anything. That means you literally have on a simple pair of fuzzy leggings, boots and a belt and you will look perfect! A midi dress will keep heat in on their own due to the long sleeves and warm material. So, all you need to do is pair them with something eye-catching like a leather jacket or trench coat. Just remember to pick a midi dress with a cinched waist. That way people can see your beautiful figure.

Gothic Floral Fur

If you don’t feel comfortable about showing off your body, and don’t worry there are literally some V London escorts that literally prefer highlighting their curves through the right fabrics, then why not go with a gothic floral fur trend? These full-length dresses go with a gothic baroque theme with materials like velvet and shiny fabric. They normally have pictures of flowers or patterns on the material but if you go to the sleeves, neck and end of the dress, you will find some faux fur attached. Try to stick to darker shades as this can give you a mysterious and elegant look!

Cowl Neck Dresses and Shirts

Now, this is a fun, feminine and flirtatious look that never gets old. Perhaps you heard of the recent sweater lingerie look called “The Virgin Killer?” Well, this is based off the cowl neck jumper. A cowl neck jumper or dress has a large neckpiece that keeps the throat well insulated. It is usually a single colour and has long sleeves. It normally comes in a thick woolly fabric to keep you warm. Basically, you will look like you are wearing a boyfriend sweater without actually having to steal any of his clothes! This is a simple look where all you need to do is wear a pair of warm leggings and boots. The outfit practically speaks for itself and can really flaunt off your figure whilst keeping you extremely warm. It’s perfect for anyone who truly wants to indulge in a warm wintery look.

Layering Effect

A great way to enhance your natural hourglass shape is to layer. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Try picking similar coloured skirts and dresses that could look like they were practically a dress together. So, you may choose a velvet pink short dress with long sleeves but then combine it with a long purple dress. On the other hand, you may have a billowy blue dress that’s quite short. But you can combine with a puffy black skirt, some leggings and a belt to cinch in your waist! Your layering should bring out your natural waist, so remember to use layers to show it off rather than just cover it up. You can also combine long-sleeved shirts and a long dress or flowy top.

High Waisted Belt and Jeans

Not really the type that’s into skirts? Well, don’t worry, it’s time for you to dig out your favourite pair of high waisted jeans and combine them with a big chunky belt. The belt will naturally draw attention to your waist, especially if you pair it with a cropped jacket or a long-sleeved shirt that covers your hand. This will leave you to leave you sporting a look that is casual but will still make you look like you are ready for business!

Your body is perfect, don’t hide it away!

The problem with winter is that it makes you want to cover up and hide rather than flaunt what you have. Instead of using winter fashion to show off our best assets, we use it just to wear as many thick layers as possible. It’s time to throw away this attitude and find our best belts and long-sleeved dresses and skirts. Just don’t forget that no matter what size you are, your body is gorgeous. Treat it right and make it look fabulous with a winter style!