Posts Tagged ‘Theatre’

‘Wicked’ & Wine!

Wicked

Considering the fact that I have been diligently holed up for the past week, working voraciously on my presentations, papers, etc., I felt (semi)justified in going out a few evenings this week! After Wednesday’s Arsenal match, I needed another amazing event to top off Thursday night! I organized a trip to see ‘Wicked’ at the Apollo Victoria theatre (which is conveniently a stone’s throw away from the Victoria tube station) for my Social Policy & Development group. In total there were 16 of us and it was a blast! I happen to be a lover of musicals/plays/general live performances and Wicked definitely exceeded my expectations. The set, the lighting, the singing, the music — it was all amazing! Plus, because we were a large group of students, I managed to snag superb tickets for £17.50 per person (versus £45-£60 that they would normally be)!

Andy & I at the TheatreLadies
We all had such a blast, we’re hoping to plan Round 2 at the Gielgud Theatre in Soho to catch a showing of Avenue Q! If Wicked is playing at a theatre near you, I highly recommend it. It’s almost tied with the Lion King for amazingness!

Last night, after having too much fun on Wednesday and Thursday, my flatmate and I wanted to keep it low key with date three at Mildred’s in Soho. For the record: the risotto cake was out of this world! Whether you’re a veggie or a carnivore, it is definitely something that can be appreciated by all. After a few glasses of wine there, we met up with a group of folks at Gordon’s Wine Bar, apparently the oldest wine bar in London. Rudyard Kipling actually lived in the building back in the day! The place has a very cool vibe; it’s underground in what could best be described as a cave. It’s dimly lit, reasonably priced and a great place to mingle with a slew of different people! A must visit if you enjoy wine.

Gordon's Wine Bar

After three nights of fun, today is dedicated to finishing up my presentation for Monday and working on my paper for the coming week. Only a few more weeks of crazy intensity and then back to having a semi-normal schedule!

Hope everyone’s weekend is fantastic!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Stash Some Cash!

Yesterday I was looking at my savings account and decided to convert the dollar figure to a more useful currency — pounds. How disappointing. Although the exchange rate isn’t awful, the dollar is definitely weak when up against the pound. Since traveling and sightseeing are number one on my list, saving money elsewhere is key to keep my account comfortable. Here are some good tidbits to get more bang for your buck/quid:

Oyster

Pick up an Oyster Card.

This is a must for everyone, but for those that are planning on using public transportation on a daily basis to reach their destination, this will be incredibly beneficial. The Oyster card basically makes your trips on any given day as inexpensive as possible by calculating the cheapest routes. It can be used on the bus, Tube, trams, DLR, London Overground and even some National Rail services. You can do the pay-as-you-go deal or the auto top-up, which automatically adds x amount of £ after your balance falls under £5.

Making Cookies 004

Don’t Eat Out {Often}.

Obviously, grabbing a bite to eat or meeting everyone at the pub after class is a social adventure, but eating out every night — how long does that take before you realize you’re literally eating up your travel money? I happen to be a big fan of cooking, and fortunately for everyone there are a number of ASDAs, Sainsbury’s and even a Whole Foods nearby! Why not stock up on food & drinks and prepare your own food at home? Or have people over for dinner! It’s just as good as going out (but way cheaper)!

BritishMuseum

Be a Smart Tourist.

I think one of the greatest things about studying in another country is the idea of exploring your new turf. Due to the fact that London, much like NYC, has a million things to do and see, checking out tourist attractions can be a little too exciting. Entry fees don’t run cheap at the London Eye and the hop on-and-off double decker tourist buses come at a decently hefty price tag. Instead, there are so many places that you can visit for free! Loads of museums, including the prestigious British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum are totally free to visit. The gorgeous parks don’t charge an entry fee and Westminster Abbey? Sure, you’d pay the £13 that they request for entry (worth every pound, mind you), but why pay when you can hit up a Sunday mass for free and get a glimpse? Plus, one the greatest things is that you get to be there for one year-plus and get to explore it as a Londoner instead of a tourist. Of course the Tower of London is a must-see, but keep the super-touristy stuff to a minimum and save some serious cash.

Railcard

Nab a Railcard.

These little cards run £26 for an annual pass or £63 for a three-year pass. With the 16-25 railcard, you’re entitled to 1/3 off your rail fares — definitely a cost-saver if you’re planning on exploring the UK! There’s also a card if your family or friends come to visit. The Family & Friends Railcard saves users 1/3 on rail fare for adults and 60% on rail fare for children. A bonus: Up to 4 adults and 4 children can travel on one single card!

Sign up at StudentDiscounts.co.uk.

I signed up with this site and I get weekly emails with sweet student discounts. Of course, some of the discounts are irrelevant, but if you can snag a few deals just by being aware… why not?

Wicked
Get Theatre Tickets on the Cheap!

My new housing happens to be right in the center of Theatreland and is therefore begging me to catch a play or a musical. Although I love live performances, I don’t know that I necessarily love them £59 worth. With a limited amount of funds, £59 translates into roundtrip airfare to Ireland for me. (By the way, if it’s a play versus a trip to Ireland, Ireland always wins.) If you’re willing to not plan your night out, you can check out LastMinute.com’s theatre section and find plays for £25. Some are even as low as £10! Spectacular.

StudentBeans.com.

This site has loads of goodies to save you money on entertainment, eating out, fashion, hair, health, pubs, travel and even books! Things like 20% off coupons, 2 for 1s, and more! Gotta love a deal.

BrightonBeach
Consider Day Trips from London.

As an American going overseas, I tend to think about trips I can take to mainland Europe: France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. I tend to forget that the UK, itself, is a land that I have yet to explore. There are so many day trips that can be done on the cheap with a discounted rail ticket, a camera & a friend! If you want to make a weekend out of it, find a nearby hostel & spend the night!

Here are some suggested day trips (courtesy of London For Free’s site):

Bath: Check out the Roman baths & the Georgian architecture // Journey: 1 1/2 hours
Stonehenge: This is a prime visit for obvious reasons, but while you’re in the area you can also check out Salisbury Cathedral, built in 1220, which is pretty amazing! // Journey: 1 1/2 hours
Oxford: Check out the amazing university & see where Harry Potter was filmed // Journey: About 50 min. with direct service
Brighton: Similar to London but with a beach front and promenade // Journey: About 1 hour with direct service

Even though converting your $$ to ££ is probably no less daunting, at least you know you can get more bang for your £!

Happy (& Inexpensive!) Travels,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Festivals Galore — Mark Your Calendars!

love parade

In line with my anal preparation tactics, I decided to check out what festivals take place throughout the United Kingdom and other neighboring European countries. I definitely think that planning a trip when a festival is taking place is probably the coolest way to get a glimpse into another culture and meet loads of people (locals and tourists, alike!) So, here’s the rundown of some super cool (and some not so much…) festivals I ran across {in order, based on an academic calendar}; mark your calendars:

 

September

12 – 13 // The Thames Festival, free admission {art, music, eats & drinks} // London
12 – 27 // Rye Arts Festival, free admission {art} // Rye, England
17 – 29 // Riverfront Jazz Festival, free admission {music} // Greenwich, England

October

1-4 // Norwich Food Festival, £30 {food} // East Anglia
9 – 18 // Bewdley Festival, admission fee {drama, music & comedy} // Bewdley, England
9 – 18 // Cheltenham Literature Festival, £20  {literature} // Cheltenham, England
17 – 31 // Canterbury Festival, £20 {theatre, dance, film, talks} // Canterbury

November

13 – 15 // Good Food Show, £18.50 {food} // London
26 – 31 // Bath Christmas Market, free {arts & crafts} // Bath, Englannd
26 – 29 // St. Nicholas Fayre, free admission {gifts, crafts & produce} // York

December

1 – 24 // Christkindlesmarktfree admission {market, foods} // Nuremburg, Germany 
4 – 9 // Clothes Show Live, £25 {fashion} // Birmingham
5 – 6 // St. Nicholas’ Day, free admission {holiday, food} // Prague, Czech Rep.
29 – 1 Jan // Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, £ per event, {music, dance, celebration} // Edinburgh

January

1 // New Year’s Day Parade,  free // London

February

1 – 8 // Sami Winter Fair, free admission {market, reindeer races} // Jokkmokk, Sweden
15 – 20 // Jorvik Viking Festival, £ varies {historical} // Yorkshire
6 – 16 // Venice Carnival, free admission {masks, parades} // Venice, Italy 
11 – 21 // Berlin Int’l Film Festival, £ per event {film} // Berlin, Germany

March

12 – 17 // St. Patrick’s Day£ per event {drinks & fireworks} // Dublin
19 // Up Helly Aa, free admission {bonfire, historical} // Brae, Scotland

April

3 // Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, free admission {sport} // London
28 – 31 // Faire of Seville, free admission {dance, music} // Seville, Spain

May

1 – 10 // Dorchester Festival {art, music} // Oxfordshire
8 – 17 // Dulwich Festival, some free events {art, dance} // Greater London 
8 – 22 // Newbury Spring Festival, £ per event {music} // Newbury
8 – 24 // Bury St. Edmunds Festival, £4- 50 per show {arts, theatre} // Suffolk
9 – 15 // Loch Shiel Spring Festival, free admission {chamber music} // Scotland
12 – 23 // Cannes Film Festival, free evening screenings {film} // Cannes
12 – 30 // Prague Spring Music Festival, 20% off for students {music} // Prague, Czech Rep.
23 – 25 // Festa Della Sensa, free admission // Venezia, Italy
21 – 24 // Wave Gothic Meeting, £ TBD {markets, gothic bands} // Leipzig, Germany
21 – 29 // Dumfries & Galloway£ per event {arts, theatre} // Scotland

June

11 – 26 // Grassington Festival, £5 student standby! {film & art} // Skipton
23 – 27 // Glastonbury Festival, £175 for weekend {music & performing arts} // Glastonbury
22 – 15 Jul // Warwick Int’l Festival, £ per show {performing arts} // Warwickshire
26 – 11 Jul // Hebden Bridge Arts, £ per show {music & arts} //Hebden Bridge

July

1 – 31 // Grec,  £ varies {music, dance, theatre} // Barcelona, Spain
1 – 31 // Epidaurus Festival, €10 – 15 for student {theatre} // Athens, Greece
4 – 31 // Festival of 2 Towns, most events free {music, arts, dance} // South of France
6 – 11 // Llangollen Int’l Music,  £ based on seating {music} // Wales
7 – 29 // Festival d’ Avignon, € varies per show {art} // Avignon, France
15 – 18 // British Open {sport} // St. Andrews, Scotland
18 – 26 // Whitstable Oyster Festival {food} // Canterbury

August

1 – 8 // Billingham Int’l Folklore Festival, £ per show {dance & music} // NE England
1 – 9 // Interceltic Festival of Lorient, student discounts {cultural} // Lorient, France 
1 – 15 // Lake District Summer Music, £ per event {music} // Lake District
1 – 31 // Love Parade {culture, art, music} // Duisburg, Germany
4 – 8 // Great British Beer Festival, £6 {eats & drinks} // London
6 – 9 // International Balloon Fiesta, £7 // Bristol
28 – 31 // Edinburgh Int’l Festival, £ per event {arts} // Scotland

There are loads more that could theoretically be included, but many didn’t seem fitting for the demographic that’s likely reading this post (college-aged, 20s to 30s). If you’re interested in a book talk or a seniors literature fair, I’m sure you can google it, but I thought it’d be wise to breeze over it.

Anyone know of any other festivals worth mentioning?

Lots of love,
Signature Stamp - Shannon

A Splendid Saturday <3.

Due to the fact that my birthday fell on a Friday, we decided to really celebrate my birthday on Saturday! The day was brilliant from start to finish and we had an absolute blast! We started the day by heading out for breakfast and coffee and then headed to Arden Hills for a workout sesh (mandatory!) and some pool time. Although we were 50/50 on the weather, it ended up being absolutely perfect — 75 degrees and sunshiny all afternoon!
It always feels like vacay here!

It always feels like vacay here!

Tasty Treat

Tasty Treat

After relaxing poolside for a few hours, we headed home for me to enjoy my homemade facial mask and then headed out to dinner and the theatre! We decided to dine at Sofia’s for the special occasion and it was amazing (as usual)! There are a number of spots we frequent for dinner, but Sofia’s on 11th has been seriously taking the cake the last few times — the food is always spectacular (amazing gnocchi and salad last night!) and the service is always spot on!

Chris & I pumped to head to Sofia's!

Chris & I pumped to head to Sofia's!

At Sofia's for my Birthday!

At Sofia's for my Birthday!

After Sofia’s we headed to The Lion King at the Community Center! I cannot even begin to put into words the experience! The entire performance was breathtaking. Aside from having the most fantastic performers (the kids were darling & incredibly talented!), the costumes, the lighting and the stage design was remarkable. It was, hands down, the most amazing performance I have ever seen. In fact, I’m trying to snag five tickets to another performance this year to take my family to see it.

So excited!

So excited!

The Lion King!!

The Lion King!!

This was our first time not sitting in the Orchestra section of the theatre. Our tickets were on the first tier and I have to say — although we were a tid wary — I really liked our seats (1st tier, Row L). We were able to actually absorb the entirety of the performance. I find that sitting up front narrows your view of the stage and the performers; you don’t really have the opportunity to grasp the totality of the experience. If you have a chance to see it before the 28th of June, I highly (highly!!) recommend it!

Has anyone else see The Lion King? What did you guys think?

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

The Sky is Falling — Santa Barbara is a no-go!

Seriously. Does anyone else think that the world is coming to an end?

It’s June 2nd and it’s raining in California! I have never seen such a thing! Now, normally I don’t think I would care all that much, but this weekend happens to be my birthday weekend that Mother Nature has decided to interfere with and I’m not too happy. I had taken Friday off so we could take a trip down to Carmel on Thursday night and then head down to Santa Barbara as our final weekend destination. With it being only three short days away, I could practically smell the salty beach air and feel the sand stuck underneath my bathing suit. Well, being that Santa Barbara’s forecast includes pleasant bouts of showers and a lack of sunshine, I figured that heading down there for the weekend might be a waste of time and money. Sadly, we have had to cancel this much anticipated getaway. While we were trying to figure out what to do instead, in a stroke of brilliance Chris perused tickets to the Lion King (which is currently playing in Sacramento) and found two tickets on the first tier for sale! So, as luck would have it, although our Santa Barbara getaway is being put on hold, we will be going to see the live performance of the Lion King, something I have been wanting to do for quite some time! I have heard amazing things about the Tony-award winning production and I’m hoping that it’s as amazing as we’re (I’m) anticipating! Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. I don’t know that I was ready to jump into my bikini this weekend anyway. <3

I will keep you guys posted with full reviews of this, plus a review on our dinner location once we decide on that — input on dinner spots is welcome!

the lion king
For anyone interested in seeing The Lion King, it’s playing in Sactown through June 28th! You can get the seating chart for the Community Center Production (1301 L Street) here. For a schedule and ticket prices check this.

Hope everyone’s having a good (rainy) week so far!