Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Nina Conti - In Your Face

If you want to be surrounded by a whole audience laughing out loud then seeing Nina Conti on stage is a must!

I first discovered Nina Conti on the BBC stand-up comedy programme Live at the Apollo, where she performed a hilarious act with a ventriloquist puppet called Monkey and a dummy mask routine.
I had tried to book tickets for her show at The Lowry but they had sold out within hours, so I kept my fingers crossed that I would be given the opportunity to review by What's Good To Do.

We decided to make our visit to The Lowry a ‘date’ night and first visited Pizza Express which is next door to the theatre; there are lots of food and drink venues right next to the theatre if you want to make a night of it.

Reading other reviews of her show we knew there was going to be lots of audience interaction and that every show is unique as Nina uses improvisation to create a different comedy experience every night.
My other half was hoping we didn’t get tickets on the front row, as it happens it seemed that the whole of the front row had been double booked so there was some kafuffle whilst the theatre manager negotiated with the guests, although it would seem that quite a few were not happy with having to take seats elsewhere.

The show starts with Nina’s sidekick Monkey appearing out of her oversized bag and warming up the audience with a Q&A session, allowing Nina the opportunity to get to know her audience and I presume begin to choose those who will become her life-sized ventriloquist dummies!

The live puppets included a police officer, medical student and lawyer as well as Monkey’s favourite audience member Alan who got an awful lot of stick for being a financial advisor for sales of fire protection equipment! As they donned their masks that Nina controls, their personalities through the eyes of Nina came alive, every one of them seemed to enjoy the experience despite the embarrassment!
If you think you are safe in your seats at the back of the theatre then think twice as Nina was not afraid to select a guest from the very top of the theatre to come and join her on stage.

The show involved improvisation, ventriloquism and audience participation of the extreme and I would recommend anyone who likes to smile to book their tickets!

It is not very often that I actually physically belly laugh and have tears streaming down my face but that’s what Nina achieved.

Laugh out loud funny

Ruthie x

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Family Friendly Fish Mid Week Meal - With The Orchard at Tesco

We do love food in our house but rarely eat fish, albeit knowing it's benefits so when I was invited to take part in the Orchard at Tesco programme and participate in cooking with fresh fish I was excited to see whether I could introduce more fish dishes into our families mid-week menu.

The vouchers arrived quickly and I did a bit of research to find a recipe that I hoped everyone would like (something not too fishy was my intention!)

I found quite a lot of salmon with broccoli and pasta recipes so decided to adapt one slightly and attempt what sounded to be an easy enough recipe to follow.

Tesco shopping list - 
Linguine £0.59
Tenderstem broccoli £1.70
Single cream 300ml £0.80
Salmon fillets £3.00* 

Other ingredients
150ml dry white wine or stock (I ALWAYS have wine in so used a glass of sauvignon blanc)
25g of butter
4 spring onions (optional)
Salt & pepper 
Chopped dill to garnish (optional)

Method (I loosely followed a recipe I found online and adapted slightly)

The recipe didn't say how much of the wine I was to consume myself whilst preparing dinner?

Season salmon and cook gently in the white wine (took approx 10 mins)
Cook linguine according to instructions on packet
Transfer salmon to a plate and break into large flake with a fork
Add butter, spring onions and broccoli to the reduced wine and saute for about 5 mins
Take off heat and add single cream
Add linguine and salmon to sauce, mix well and serve

Results - it was a winner in our house and everyone has asked for it again (always a good sign) so I will be introducing it into our mid-week meals menu

It was so yummy we forgot to take a photograph before we all devoured it! 

What are your favourite family friendly fish meals?

Ruth x

*vouchers from The Orchard at Tesco programme covered the cost of the fish only

Love Umbrellas - Open Evening

I met Klair who owns Love Umbrellas on Twitter about 4 years ago and knew instantly that we would be great friends! She is awesome just like her umbrellas.

Here we are celebrating her win at the EVA awards last year 

When Klair phoned me to say she was opening her first retail space I was very excited and couldn't wait to see her transform a loft space that had been used for storage into, what I knew would be, a very pretty shop full of beautiful umbrellas.

Lots of local businesses as well as family and friends joined Klair in celebrating the opening of the shop.

There was everything I like about a celebration; fizz, cake and lovely people. To top it off there were amazing goody bags full to bursting with lovely goodies from local and national businesses who support and love Klair as much as I do!

Love Umbrellas have taken over the top floor of Novak Bridal Lounge in Rawtenstall. Situated in the heart of the Rossendale Valley, the shop is conveniently located with great links from Lancashire and Manchester.

If you are planning a wedding and have yet to find THE perfect dress then you really do need to visit Novak Bridal Lounge. I have already found my favourite 5 dresses!

And obviously if you are ever near Rossendale make sure you pop in and say hello to Klair and admire her beautiful umbrellas

Ruth x

(Big thank you to Nothing Moves Photography who sent me some of these images to use)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Cake 'Ole Skipton

My niece Sophie celebrated her 13th birthday on Saturday and what better way to celebrate than a visit to the Cake 'Ole in Skipton

I lived and worked in Skipton for nearly 10 years and have always loved Craven Court shopping centre for it's cute shops and the quirky tea room has made a welcome addition when it opened it's doors last year.  

Sophie enjoyed a blue raspberry lemonade whereas I opted for a yummy Fitzpatrick's strawberry daiquiri mocktail. 

As you can imagine the Cake 'Ole is all about the cake and I indulged in the chocolate and ginger cake whilst Sophie had the marshmallow cake, both served with ice-cream.

The icing on the cake (see what I did there?) was that the lovely staff brought Sophie's cake over with a candle in it and they all sang Happy Birthday, which Sophie found utterly embarrassing! What are Auntie's for if not for embarrassing their nieces.

Whilst in Craven Court we popped into one of Sophie's favourite little shops; Emma's Apothecary which is full of lovely gifts, cards and treats.

Have you visited Skipton recently? I definitely recommend The Cake 'Ole and a wander around Craven Court to anyone.
Ruthie x