Monday, 20 April 2009

Hey everyone,

So, I got back from London last night after spending the weekend there with my mum (a late 21st present). It was an awesome weekend! On Saturday we went to see a matinee of the Lion King at the Lyceum, I've been desperate to see it for ages and it was absolutely exquisite. I can't praise it enough.

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize played Rafiki and she was brilliant, her voice was absolutely incredible. The guy who played Scar (George Asprey) was really really great as well. The whole thing was even better than I thought it would be and, obviously, I cried through the entire opening and ending. I'm emotional, I'm not ashamed. So yes, everybody go and see it, I plan to again in the near future.

Saturday evening we headed to the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane to see Oliver. I've seen Oliver in the West End twice before but it was a different production so I was curious to see which impressed me more.

I watched 'I'd Do Anything' so I was excited to see Jodie perform as Nancy and I was so happy (this is an understatement) to see Oliver was being played by Gwion, the crazy little Welsh kid who (I'm very pleased to say) hasn't lost his accent at all, brilliant. If you haven't heard 'Where is Love?' sung in a strong Welsh accent then you honestly haven't lived.

Rowan Atkinson has had to take three weeks off for surgery (get well soon!) so we had Russ Abbot playing Fagin. He was absolutely outstanding and got the biggest cheer of the night. I also have to mention the TINY child who played one of Fagin's boys, absolute genius. Does anybody know who he is? I tried to look it up but couldn't really find anything. Anyway, he was awesome.

The whole show was stunning. The sets and costumes were absolutely phenomenal and it was definitely the best production of Oliver I've seen so far. I'd happily go and see it again.

Yesterday we only had half a day before we had to catch our train but we made the most of it by having afternoon tea at the Ritz. I've always wanted to do this so I was so excited and, honestly, I would really recommend it. Obviously the dining hall is beautiful and the waiters were scarily smart (all older men, not a female employee in sight). We started off with a pot of tea each, I had Assam, Mumsy had English. Obviously you don't just pour it and drink...there's all this straining and leaves everywhere but it was worth the effort as it was definitely the best tea I've tasted.

Next we moved onto sandwiches. No crusts, naturally, just finger sized slices on the best bread I've ever tasted. We had ham (so good, and I don' t even like ham), salmon (don't get me started), chicken (amaaazing), cucumber (as nice as plain cucumber can be), egg mayonnaise (try eating egg mayonnaise with style) and cheese with sundried tomatoes. All very very nice.

I can't even begin to describe how fantastic the scones were and the cakes were crazy - one of them consisted of three macaroons piled on top of each other with Turkish Delight spread in the middle, amazing.

Anyway, tea at the Ritz is something everybody should do at least once (once a year, I reckon) and definitely try the champagne, it's totally worth it.

So yes, London was lovely and I'm a bit sad I won't be going back for a while but at least I managed to cram a lot in!

I'm going to spend a bit of time editing my dissertations now but I've got some news on reviews and books etc so I'm going to try and write again later.

Take care,



Friday, 17 April 2009

Dissertations are Done!

So, I just finished the first draft of my dissertations! Yay! 14500 words down...many to go. I feel so relieved that they're done and the bottle of wine I've stashed in the fridge is calling my name, though I suppose that will have to wait until a bit later.

I think I'm going to leave my work until after the weekend and then go back and start editing. God. I hate editing. I get so paranoid everything's rubbish I end up cutting out half the story until I'm left with like 1000 words, so not enough for my dissertation. Oh well. I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out so far. Well, my Young People project at least. Non Fiction can go to hell for now but I'll sure it'll get better eventually.

Guess I should give you a quick background on the pieces I'm working on. Well, my Young People dissertation is a chapter from my YA novel, which is called 'Reckless'. It's the story of two friends, Nicole and Leilani, who are travelling the world before they head off to university. I do like it, I really do, but I find myself changing the setting so often I've got to decide once and for all which route they're taking. It's driving me crazy. I finally decided to cut out Asia and set that part in Brazil instead, which means half of my research needs to be chucked away. Frustrating. I think it's a lot better now, though.

Anyway, enough about that. My other dissertation is a Non Fiction project and I'm writing the story of my great-great (x7) grandfather, who had to run away and start a new life when he was wanted for treason. To cut a long story short, he had to abandon his castle in Scotland and hide out in a village near Sunderland (bad luck). He died without reclaiming the castle but his grandson decided to try for himself.

It's a pretty interesting story but I'm getting so lost in dates and random family members that it's become more like an essay than a story. I've got loads of little details I want to go through and put in and I'm sure it's going to end up fine. It always does.

So that leaves my Travel and Nature writing module. Not a dissertation but still just as important. It's a 3500 words piece and the standard 1500 word essay to accompany it. My piece is on the New Year I spent in Finland recently and I think it's my best writing of the three. Yay.

So yes, that's what I'm working on for uni. In other writing news, I've just sent off my next book review to the Bookbag, which is a review of Luisa Plaja's second teen novel, Extreme Kissing. Once it's been accepted I'll post a copy up here.

I also just got asked to submit some questions for an interview the Bookbag are doing with Julia Green, who just happens to be a lecturer on my course, exciting! My next three review book just came in the post so I'm hoping to get through them over the weekend. There's two books by Gemma Malley, called The Delcaration and The Resistance and then Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which I've been meaning to read for far too long. I'll let you know what I think!

Much love,

Carly x