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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Life After Disney.

Hello all.

I hope you're well and that you have had a lovely start to 2018 (can you believe it's already nearly February?). This is my first personal blog post of the year and I just wanted to write an update for you all to have a read.

Firstly I'll start with the big issue of work. Those who have followed me or read my previous blog know about my mental health struggles. You would also know that I started working at the Pop-Up Disney Store in Leicester. I thought I was ready and I thought it was the right time to get back on my feet after a period of absence from work. Clearly, it didn't work out for me. I'm really disappointed in myself for failing but I'm pleased I recognised when I needed to get help. I was honestly at my lowest ebb again and had the darker thoughts come back. I saw my doctor who placed me on sick leave, after a call to a meeting it was decided to terminate my probation period. It was a fair decision and it's something especially my doctor agreed on. 

So what now? I'm going to work on my confidence again. The doctor thinks I should get back in touch with Lets Talk which are the counselling service I have been under previously. I'm not 100% sure about it as I don't think it particularly did much for me last time but we'll see. I've turned down any medication for now as I've had 4 different types of anti-depressants and none of them seemed to have much of an effect.

It's just a re-build period again now. I hope I can get back on my feet in due time. I've recently bought a notebook and filled it with my daily tasks. This way I know what I need to do on a certain day, at the end of the day I go through and write positive things that happened on the day. This will hopefully focus me a bit more on things and build up my self-belief.

Away from this though I did enjoy a nice Christmas which I got to spend with Megan and her mum. I had a rare let my hair down night on Christmas eve and may have been a bit tippled. Megan then came up to Leicester and we had a few quiet days here for New Years which was super lovely. I've been going to the cinema quite a lot with our Odeon Limitless card. I've seen in the past few weeks since Christmas; The Greatest Showman four times (each time in a different cinema and with different people), Paddington 2 (with my mum), The Darkest Hour (with Megs) and most notably Coco at the BFI which included post-film Q and A with the films director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson. It was a really wonderful occasion. 

One of the things I'd love to do is to interact with people more, especially on social media. Like I'd love to have a proper conversation with you guys rather than just a few tweets here and there. That would be awesome. I'd particularly love to hang out face to face if my anxiety could cope with it. I know so many awesome people who are just a face on a screen which I'd love to get to spend real time with. If you'd be interested in more detail conversations and meeting up please let me know - I know you won't but PLEASE do.

But onwards we go. I've reached today's goals already. So going to relax this evening and watch a film. 

I hope you're all doing well. 

Have a great evening (or Morning, Afternoon or Night depending on when you read this!).

Lots of love,

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Disney/Pixar's Coco

Pixar's latest movie finally arrived in UK cinemas yesterday (Friday 19th January 2018). The newest movie from the studio behind such movies like; Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc have once again created a cinematic masterpiece.

Coco UK Poster
The story follows Miguel and his family's baffling ban on music. Miguel has ambitions to become and musician and his dreams lead him to n enchanting adventure through the Land of the Dead.

I'll be honest prior to seeing the film, I was excited but I was apprehensive. Visiting the land of the dead doesn't exactly scream out for a family film when I saw Paddington 2 a few weeks ago and the Coco trailer played before it a child along my row said to his grandparent how he didn't want to see the film. I needn't have worried. There's so much to love about the movie.

The animation is mesmerising and astonishing. The walk across the bridge into the land of the dead is possibly the best animation I've seen. It's a beautiful, the sheer detail in each individual component of the bridge. The Land of the Dead is breathtaking too. The whole film you just feel immersed and mesmerised in the animation and the lands of the living and the dead.

Miguel crossing the bridge to the Land of the Dead.
I adored the humour in this movie. It's full of great moments of comedy, one of my favourite moments is at the gates of the land of the dead when the dead have to declare what they've brought back from the land of the living. They declare Miguel and the skeleton's jaw falls off with the shock. There are also great moments like the scene Miguel imitates how Hector walks and the selfie moment is brilliant.

The film is littered with a great set of characters. Miguel, the lead character is amazing, you invest in him right away. There's Hector, he is one of those Disney/Pixar characters that everyone falls in love with. He is funny, charming and brilliant. The relationship between the two characters is wonderful. Ernesto de la Cruz reminds me a little bit of Hans from Frozen, in terms of what happens. Dante, Miguel's dog is just adorable, I think he almost deserves his own movie! It's Mama Socorro "Coco" that really moved me the most. A fantastic voice cast brings these characters to live. Anthony Gonzalez is excellent as Miguel. He sings so beautifully too.
Hector and Miguel
The soundtrack to this movie is stunning. With a score by Michael Giacchino and songs by Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The music really adds extra character to the film. The song "Remember Me" is magnificent and an instant classic. It really captures the whole theme of the film. I adored the songs "Un Poco Loco" and "La Llorona".

The movie really captures the traditions of a culture and the feeling of Mexico. It represents them so well. I know from the Q and A I attended with the film's director, Lee Unkrich, how hard they worked on the cultural aspects of the movie. I found the Q and A fascinating to attend. To hear the director talk about things was really special. I loved the easter eggs that were brought up, like the Pizza Planet Truck, the Pinatas and more.

The whole film is all about family and the message of once somebody leaves the land of the living that they live on in the memory of those who loved them. It's something that everyone can relate too and it's a movie that I think will touch everyone who sees it. The feeling of loss is something we all can relate too and this beautiful story is a gorgeous treat that has to be enjoyed.

Coco is a movie that I can't stop thinking about. It is special. It's remarkable. It's deeply touching. I couldn't recommend it more to everyone.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

12 Songs Of My Year

Hello Blog Readers. Hope you're having a lovely day. It's been a busy period since my last blog post. Lot's has been happening with my mental health but here's a more cheerful post.

As it's only a few hours away from the start of a new year I've decided to pick 12 songs (one for every month - except I've done 2 for March and none for February!). These songs bring back so many memories of things that have happened this year. I'd love to know what your 12 are.

The year started off with very regular cinema trips for me and my partner Megan. We both joined Odeon Limitless in November 2016 and in the early months of this we saw numerous films like Moana, Beauty and The Beast, Patriots Day, Hidden Figures, Moonlight and Passengers to name just a few. No film entertained me more than La La Land. The gorgeous musical film, a real nod to the classic days of cinema starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the lead roles of Sebastian and Mia.
I saw it in the cinema 7 times, in the end, a couple of times I even went on my own which was a lot to me back then with my anxiety struggles but it gave me a couple of hours of joyful escapism. One of the best things about the movie is the incredible soundtrack. There are great songs in the movie including 'Another Day Of Sun', 'The Audition', 'Someone in the Crowd' and 'A Lovely Night', my personal favourite and much listened to my song for January, 'City of Stars'. I love both versions of the song that are in the movie but adore the duet version most.

Leicester City winning the Premier League Championship in the 2015-2016 season will forever go down in history as one of football's most remarkable achievements. I shall never forget some of the moments along that journey but the game against Everton in May of 2016 was special. As a reward for finishing so high in the league, Leicester qualified into the Champions League, a competition between Europe's best teams. The best moment of this came in the return leg at home to Sevilla in March. We'd lost the first leg which was away 2-1 with a huge away goal scored by Jamie Vardy. The return leg was at home at the King Power Stadium. There was a special atmosphere and we marched on and beat Sevilla 2-0 with goals coming from Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton. This meant we qualified through to the last 8 of the competition. It was a special night and the roar of the Champions League Theme after the teams enter the pitch is always special.

March was also special for the release of the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. My partner Megan is absolutely obsessed with the animated version but I was a bit more apprehensive before we saw it. From the clips, before seeing the film it seemed Emma Watson really wasn't going to be a great Belle but I was completely wrong about her. She is absolutely resplendent in the role and gives a wonderful performance. The whole cast is excellent and it's a truly remarkable movie. It's got all the joy and feel of the animated movie but also develops parts of the story more, thinks like Belle's mum, the enchantress and more. The classic songs are there, including 'Be Our Guest', 'Gaston' and the title song 'Beauty and the Beast'. There are also some wonderful new songs too, 'How Does A Moment Last Forever' is sung by Maurice in the film and by Celine Dion on the credits. It's a gorgeous song but my pick of songs that sum up the live-action remake is the stunning 'Evermore'. It's probably my second all time favourite Disney song. It's such an excellent song and sung to perfection by Dan Stevens and also by Josh Groban on the credits. I adore this song.

This year Disneyland Paris celebrated it's 25th Anniversary since it opened. We were lucky enough to spend the week of the 25th Anniversary in the parks. The week was full of joy and fun. We met lot's of friends and made countless memories. No day was more special than the actual 25th anniversary day itself, Wednesday 12th April 2017. We got to the park gates for 6am and queued to get in. We then got a great spot on Main Street for the big Grand Celebration which was simply incredible. So many characters and special moments. During the rest of the day, we watched the special Cavalcade which again featured numerous rare characters. It was such a wonderful day and the atmosphere in the park was magic. The song that was much played on the 12th, as well as ever since is the anniversary song 'Everyday's A Celebration'. The song is so catchy and joyous and gives me such joy taking me right back to the moments in April. I've chosen the live version from on the 12th April as you get to see some of the celebrations.

In May of this year, we finally were able to see the London production of Half A Sixpence. It was truly the most amazing theatrical experience. I sat completely amazed, eyes wide open and fully engrossed. A truly magnificent production. Charlie Stemp truly was truly incredible as Arthur Kipps as were the supporting cast including Devon-Elise Johnson and Emma Williams. I fell completely in love with the production and show. It means SO much to me personally and has helped me so much. I was devastated when the show closed but so thankful I got to return a few times including sitting in the front row on my last visit. The song I've picked is my favourite from the show 'Pick Out A Simple Tune', a new song for this production by Stiles and Drewe. It captures everything about the show and is simply so joyful. It's my most listened to song this year and will continue to get listened to probably daily.

Seeing Take That live again was such a highlight of the year. They always put on a spectacular show both vocally and visually. This 'Wonderland' tour was probably the best gig I've been too in my life. The idea to set the whole show on one circular stage in the middle of the arena was genius. They performed some of their greatest hits including 'Never Forget', 'Back For Good' and 'Relight My Fire' as well as performing some of their songs from the Wonderland album. I've chosen 'Giants' as the standout song. It's such a brilliant song.

One of the loudest and most enjoyable theatre shows of the year was Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell The Musical. Playing at the huge London Collisieum it was packed out with excited people in anticipation of the show. The guy behind us had even seen it 30 times already. The show plot may be a bit bizarre but it's all about the songs. The live musicians and cast couldn't have sounded any better. Belting out the classic songs to rich acclaim. The original London cast album that was released in November has been listened to so much. The song I've chosen from this is 'Objects In The Rear View Mirror', I adore the vocal performances on this song especially from Dom Hartley-Harris. It's such a beautiful song.

August is pretty much my favourite month of the year. It's summer so the weather is good, generally, everyone is more positive and it's also my birthday. I was very lucky to see a few shows for my birthday this year. I saw Vice Versa at the Royal Shakespeare Companies' Swan Theatre on the day. I love the show. Also in August, I was very fortunate to have 3 more trips to Half A Sixpence. As I said previously the show meant so much to me personally. On these two August visits, I was very lucky to sit in the stalls, once in a box, once on the second row and then once on the front row. Seeing the show was the front row was the most incredible experience and was such a great way to see the show for the final time before it closed. I've chosen the classic song 'Flash, Bang, Wallop' as the song for August as it's just a joy.

One of my favourite night in September came when our wonderful friend Kelly came around to ours for a Harry Potter themed night. We had snacks and even made our own Butterbeer and watched The Philosopher's Stone. Kelly and Megan made such an effort with their outfits and Kelly even brought props like a wand and glasses. She also made Bertie Bots Beans packed and filled them with jelly beans. I really enjoyed the night and can't wait to do it again. The song I've chosen for this is the theme 'Hedwig's Theme'. It's such an iconic piece of music and a work of John William's genius.

Having seen the musical An American In Paris back in August, I fell in love with the song 'Stairway to Paradise'. I adore the version they sing in the show and also in the movie but the version I discovered one day on YouTube would change it all. The Rufus Wainwright version sung in the movie The Aviator is just wonderous. I absolutely adore it. The first day I listened to it I sat with it on repeat for well over 30 minutes. I adore the section of the song when the musicians hit full flow. It's just glorious. The best version of the song and one of my all-time favourite songs now.

Our Christmas started really early this year with a festive visit to Birmingham on the 5th November to see the stage version of the brilliant Christmas film Nativity. Debbie Isitt's magnificent work adapted to the stage at The Rep Theatre. It's is just a magnificent show. Simon Lipkin gave a stupendous performance as Mr Poppy. Kids and adults in the audience lapped it all up.Simply a joy. The show is touring again next year around the festive season and if you didn't manage to catch it this time around make sure you see it next year! I've picked the song 'Sparkle and Shine' which was in the movie too. It's a great song and the kids give it their all. I've chosen the movie version as the cast recording is yet to be released.

The Greatest Showman is a movie I'd been looking forward to for so long. Ever since we saw the first trailer a while back. We saw it on Boxing Day and it absolutely blew me away. The film is stunning itself but the soundtrack is even better. The music by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul is nothing short of perfection. There are 11 songs on the soundtrack. Each of them is gorgeous. 'The Greatest Show' is a great song that bookends the film. 'A Million Dreams' is beautiful. 'This Is Me' is such an anthem and the lyrics are powerful. Keala Settle gives one of the films best performance and she absolutely belts out this number. The song I've chosen though is 'From Now On'. It's joyous and magical. It gives me such a thrill. If you have yet to see the film then you're missing out. Catch it at your local cinema now.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post of my 12 songs of my year. I'd love to hear what your songs are. Please let me know in the comments or on my social media.

I'd like to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017 Theatre Awards

The Full List of Nominations for My Personal Best Of Theatre in 2017 Awards. I've done this yearly for about 5 years now and you can check out the previous years on my Blog.

Winners are in Bold.

Best Set Design
Gary McCann - La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Lily Arnold - Snow in Midsummer (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Paul Brown - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Diego Pitarch - The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Colin Richmond - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Peter McKnight - The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Jon Bausor - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Bob Crowley - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Diego Pitarch - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Beowulf Boritt - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Douglas W. Schmidt - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Ian Westbrook 3D Creations - Dick Whittington (London Palladium)

Best Lighting Design
Ben Cracknell - La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Ben Cracknell - The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Patrick Woodroffe - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Bruno Poet - Miss Saigon (UK Tour)
Natasha Katz - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Howard Hudson - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Nev Milsom - Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Tim Mitchell - Nativity (UK Tour)
Ben Cracknell - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Peter Mumford - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Costume Design
Gary McCann - La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Paul Brown - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Diego Pitarch - The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Colin Richmond - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Peter McKnight - The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Jon Bausor and Meentje Nielsen - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Bob Crowley - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Ron Briggs/Hugh Durrant/Mike Coltman - Dick Whittington (London Palladium)

Best Choreography
Nick Winston - The Wedding Singer (UK Tour)
Bill Deamer - La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Andrew Wright - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Sam Spencer-Lane - Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
Aletta Collins - The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Emma Portner - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Christopher Wheeldon obe - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Nathan M. Wright - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Anthony Williams and Dean Street - Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Susan Stroman - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Randy Skinner - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Karen Bruce - Dick Whittington (London Palladium)

Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Rebecca Collingwood (Hero) - Much Ado About Nothing (RSC - Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Sophie Wong (Fei-Fei) - Snow in Midsummer (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Ellie Beaven (Voluptua) - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Dakota Blue Richards (Geraldine) - What The Butler Saw (Curve)

Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Martin Hutson (Cassius) - Julius Caesar (RSC - Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
Jon Trenchard (Terence) - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Matthew Pidgeon (Herod) - Salome (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Jasper Britton (Dr Rance) - What The Butler Saw (Curve)

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Lisa Dillon (Beatrice) - Much Ado About Nothing (RSC - Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Katie Leung (Dou Yi) - Snow in Midsummer (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Sophia Nomvete (Dexter) - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Catherine Russell (Mrs Prentice) - What The Butler Saw (Curve)

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Edward Bennett (Benedick) - Much Ado About Nothing (RSC - Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Colin Ryan (Handsome Zhang) - Snow in Midsummer (RSC - Swan Theatre)
James Corrigan (Mark Antony) - Julius Caesar (RSC - Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
Felix Hayes (General Braggadocio) - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Matthew Tennyson (Salome) - Salome (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Rufus Hound (Dr Prentice) - What The Butler Saw (Curve)

Best Direction
Chris Luscombe - Much Ado About Nothing (RSC - Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Rachel Kavanaugh - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Matthew White - Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
Janice Honeyman - Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
Rachel Kavanaugh - The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Christopher Wheeldon - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Paul Hart - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Debbie Isitt - Nativity (UK Tour)
Susan Stroman - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Mark Bramble - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Understudy Performance
Max Westwell (Jerry Mulligan) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Samantha Hull (Flo) - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Sarah Jane Buckley (Mrs Johnstone) - Blood Brothers (UK Tour)
Kristen McGarrity (Lise Dassin) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Sarah Bakker (Milo Davenport) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Emily Squibb (Elizabeth Benning) - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Lucie Jones (Maureen Johnson) - Rent (UK Tour)
Mazz Murray (Tanya) - Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre)
Bethany Huckle (Flo) - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Monique Young (Lois Lane) - Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
Carrie Hope Fletcher (Wednesday Addams) - The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Emilie du Leslay (Portia) - The Wind and the Willows (London Palladium)
Sharon Sexton (Sloane) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Danielle Steers (Zahara) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Zoe Rainey (Milo Davenport) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Caroline Flack (Irene Roth) - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Sarah Earnshaw (Jennifer Lore) - Nativity (UK Tour)
Summer Strallen (Inga) - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Mark Newnham (Dave Davies) - Sunny Afternoon (UK Tour)
Samuel Holmes (George) - The Wedding Singer (UK Tour)
Layton Williams (Angel) - Rent (UK Tour)
Gerard Carey (James Walsingham/Photographer) - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Simon Lipkin (Rat) - The Wind In the Willows (London Palladium)
Neil McDermott (Chief Weasel) - The Wind In the Willows (London Palladium)
Rob Fowler (Falco) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Dom Hartley-Harris (Jagwire) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Haydn Oakley (Henri Baurel) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
David Barrett (Emmett Forest) - Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Jamie Chapman (Patrick Burns) - Nativity (UK Tour)
Patrick Clancy (Inspector Kemp/Hermit) - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Ross Noble (Igor) - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
Christopher Howell (Bert Barry) - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Leading Actress in a Musical
Philippa Steffani (Mimi) - Rent (UK Tour)
Sanne den Besten (Sophie) - Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre)
Devon-Elise Johnson (Ann Pornick) - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Caroline Sheen (Lilli Vanessi) - Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
Christina Bennington (Raven) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Sooha Kim (Kim) - Miss Saigon (UK Tour)
Leanne Cope (Lise Dassin) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Charlotte Wakefield (Polly Baker) - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Lucie Jones (Elle Woods) - Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Clare Halse (Peggy Sawyer) - 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Leading Actor in a Musical
Ryan O'Donnell (Ray Davies) - Sunny Afternoon (UK Tour)
Jon Robyns (Robbie) - The Wedding Singer (UK Tour)
John Partridge (Albin/Zaza) - La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Charlie Stemp (Arthur Kipps) - Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Matthew McKenna (Fred Graham) - Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
Cameron Blakeley (Gomez) - The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Rufus Hound (Mr Toad) - The Wind In the Willows (London Palladium)
Andrew Polec (Strat) - Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Tom Chambers (Bobby Child) - Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Simon Lipkin (Mr Poppy) - Nativity (UK Tour)
Ashley Day (Jerry Mulligan) - An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Hadley Fraser (Frederick Frankenstein) - Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)

Best Live Orchestra/Band
The Wedding Singer (UK Tour)
Rent (UK Tour)
Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Ensemble
La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
Vice Versa (RSC - Swan Theatre)
The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
An American In Paris (Dominion Theatre)
Nativity (UK Tour)
Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Royal Shakespeare Company Production
Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Snow in Midsummer (Swan Theatre)
Julius Caesar (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
Vice Versa (Swan Theatre)

Best Touring/Regional Production
Sunny Afternoon (UK Tour)
La Cage Aux Folles (UK Tour)
Rent (UK Tour)
Kiss Me Kate (Kilworth House Theatre)
The Addams Family (UK Tour)
Crazy For You (UK Tour)
Legally Blonde (UK Tour)
Nativity (UK Tour)

Best NEW* West End Musical
Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre)
Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)
The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium)
Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (London Coliseum)
Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre)
42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

*first time I've seen it, not necessarily a new musical.

It's been a truly incredible year in terms of theatre and I hope 2018 is as strong. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A New Start

Hello again. Can you believe it's been 2 months since I wrote my last blog post? For those of you who have followed my journey through my mental health struggles, I am very grateful. I had such a lovely response to my last post.

Following on my from my last post where I was on the verge of seeing a psychiatrist about my mental health. I think that appointment really helped. It was nearly an hour and Megan (my partner) came with me. I'll be honest I was given a leaflet about the

It's been just over a year now since I was first signed off from my previous job and now I'm on the verge of starting my new one. I don't really want to go into the whys of leaving my last job. I honestly regret how it happened. I honestly thought I had a good working relationship with everyone I worked with but clearly as I spiralled out health wise I destroyed all that. It's something I wish hadn't have happened as they were all really great to me during my two years.

Over the past year, I've had struggles with things like self-harming and suicidal thoughts and obviously, that's a challenge to battle through. My advice, especially on self-harming, is that what does it actually achieve? Sure the darkest of nights where I sat with a pair of nail scissors and hacked away at my arms, maybe my mental troubles turned into physical pain and that gave my mind something else to think about. Truly I regret harming as I know the effect it had not only on me but on the others around me.

Over the past few months, things have been difficult with my partner Megan moving back down to Essex to be a carer for her mum and now her to have started a new career too. I'm very proud of her but when she's not here with me or I'm down there with her it can be really hard and lonely again. Days like today can feel empty. I have a wonderful set of people in my life but I find it so hard to reach out and contact people when I probably just need them.

I've been gradually building my confidence again and I'm very excited to have secured myself a new job working at the Disney Store. Those who know me know that I LOVE Disney and the Disney Store so I'm very excited to be working for my favourite company. The response to me saying I've a job again and to saying where has been incredible. Every message has meant the absolute world to me. I truly can't thank everyone enough.

I just want to say to you all that no matter how dark things get there can always be some light. If you can find one small bit of inner strength and grasp too and try and make that strength grow then you'll achieve again. Don't worry if you have mental health problems and you're not feeling strong, that is okay too. I just want you all to know that you're doing okay, don't let anyone tell you different.

Myself I'm looking forward to starting my new chapter. It's nerve-wracking but SO exciting. You CAN do it too. Believe. Dream. Achieve.

I hope you're all well.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Few Little Things.

Hello again. I hope you're well and that you've had a good start to your week and of course the month of September. Can you believe it's almost winter again? I just wanted to write a blog to update you all on how I'm getting on with my mental health battle and a few other things.

I want to start with a subject that it's a bit of a hard one for me to explain. It's simply going out. For those of you who follow me on social media like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram then you'll see that I'm still going out, mainly to the theatre but occasionaly to other places too. You may think along the lines of how can he manage to go there if he's struggling so much with his mental health and anxities. I'll simply answer this with that theatre is my biggest love and passion. It's where I feel safe and free. It can be hard to get there but once I'm inside and in my seat then I'm usually okay and then I can lose myself in the show. It's the one reason I'm glad my anxiety hasn't stopped me doing the thing I love most. My anxieties may have knocked my confidence in many ways but I'm clinging on to my love of the theatre.

I did go to London on my own and managed it. I wanted to catch Half A Sixpence one last time before it closed and I found a cheap deal and I went on my own. As soon as I'd left Megan at the train station that morning I was in a panic and my anxiety kicked in. The whole train journey from Chelmsford train station to London wasn't fun. I tried to lose myself in my music but I was super nervous, BUT I didn't let that stop me. I got myself to London, I walked around a little bit and I got myself to the theatre and like I say once I was there I was okay. I had my usual bout of 'wee nerves' though (more on that in a minute). Towards the end of the show, I began getting super nervous again. I don't know why but I did, maybe it was the thought of being outside on my own again, I don't know. I went to the stage door to see if I could stop any of the performing company. I simply couldn't manage it until I saw Emma Williams, I went over and stopped her and I also managed to stop Devon-Elise Johnson and we had a lovely chat. I did stay on and see An American In Paris in the evening, as I got a ticket for £10 via TodayTix, again on my own. I managed it. After the show, it was dark but thankfully the tube station I needed (Tottenham Court Road) is right by the entrance to the Dominion Theatre where An American In Paris is playing. I got back to Chelmsford, okay, but once there I had to wait outside the train station for about 20 minutes as my taxi was late. This really racked up my anxiety, but once back with Megan at her mum's house I felt SO proud of myself for doing it, for managing it and for having a good time.

Wee nerves. I don't know if anybody else suffers this or something similar. It's basically the fear of needing the toilet. I get it mostly when I'm out, so like the theatre, at the football or the cinema. I basically get worked up with the fear that I'm going to need to the toilet, that sometimes I make myself actually need it when otherwise I wouldn't have. On Football days, in particular, I have a 12 pm drink cut off point for a 3 pm kick off. Even then I'll still have to go to the toilet before the match and at a halftime because of my 'wee nerves'. I've not found a way to get over them yet, and I don't know if I will.

One of the things I've found especially most recently with my depression/anxiety is having really low energy and low motivation. I'll use today as an example. I was awake by around 10.30am today, once awake I got up, got myself a drink, but then came back to the bed. I just lay in bed, I couldn't get going. I did try doing some exercises but this just completely tired me out. I did play Fifa 17 for a bit of the PS3 but after that and had lunch around 2 pm I just crashed out on the bed and suddenly the day was gone. I'd just lay on the bed feeling really low and no motivation to do anything. I really hate it, I try and I tried to get myself going today but I just couldn't manage it. It's something I find being apart from Megan now that she's in Essex caring for her mum. When I'm with her I'm fine but without I'm pretty useless.

Something else I'm still struggling with is the feeling of feeling alone. I know I have people but it's really hard to reach out sometimes. In these days of social media, it can be even harder. Obviously, you see people having a much better time than yourself and you can easily feel jealous of them. I've tried my best to keep m social media usage down but sometimes it's just impossible. Without it, I'd feel completely useless at times and with it it makes me feel useless too. At times you just want to reach out to people on there but then you kind of realise that most people actually don't really care. Sure they may follow you or whatever but do they actually have the time or even actually care for you? Again it's probably just my mental health struggle that is making me think this way. I just wish I had more like 'real' friends and not ones that I have to talk to one social media. I know I have wonderful people on social media, and PLEASE don't think it's me saying that I don't care or need you, I need you SO much. You guys are a real escape and I need you. It's just hard to know who cares, who is just popping up and doesn't actually care but says they do or whatever. If that all makes sense.

In recent weeks my skin has been a bit of a nightmare again which makes things difficult too. That brings me down a lot and it's hard to keep fighting it. I feel like I'm just itching, scratching or applying cream all day. I hate having eczema and I really hope one day I wake up and it's all just disappeared and that I am free from it. It's horrible. I'm increasing anxious about winter as that tends to be the worst time, especially ones the really cold weather starts to kick in and the heating has to come back on in the house. Summer is usually a good time for my skin, but this time that doesn't seem to have been the case. I have my next dermatology appointment at the hospital on Wednesday next week so at least I have that which might help.

Finally, from me on this update, I've a big appointment on Monday, I'm seeing a psychiatrist about my mental health and my problems. I saw my doctor in July and we discussed progress. We stopped all my anti-depressants and I stopped my CBT. I felt my CBT wasn't going anywhere, I'd had 7 sessions and my therapist, Craig, was wonderful. I couldn't fault him but I just don't think it was for me. I went in feeling okay and usually come out feeling worse. I do still use the techniques that I picked up from those sessions though which is good. I'm super nervous for the appointment on Monday afternoon though. I'm hoping it will be a real help.

So that's all from me for this update. I hope you're all keeping well and I'd love to chat with more of you, especially about your mental health. How you cope and how you manage etc. I wish you all the best and thank you for reading.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

5 MUST See Shows This Summer

Now that the summer is upon us I've picked out my five shows that are a must see for the holidays.

Bat Out Of Hell
Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell is blasting the roof off London's Coliseum on a nightly basis. The show is mad, loud and brilliant. The classic songs are given a fresh lease of life with a cast that are just incredible. Andrew Polec leads the show as Strat, leader of the Lost, and he is a revelation on his UK debut. His voice is stunning and he hits all the big notes, especially those towards the end of the title song "Bat Out Of Hell". Strat's love interest, Raven, is played by Christina Bennington who like Andrew has a huge voice. The pair are show-stoppingly good. The duet of "For Crying Out Loud" is a standout. Raven's parents are played by Rob Fowler and Sharon Sexton, they are just a joy together. "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is easily the best moment of the first act. Dom Hartley-Harris was my favourite in the show, his vocals in particular in "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" are beautiful. There is fine support by Giovanna Spano, Patrick Sullivan and Danielle Steers. All 3 are brilliant, in fact, the whole company are brilliant, find me a better sounding company you won't. The stage is a visual treat and the use of cameras is clever. The show is littered with huge songs, "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", "Dead Ringer For Love" and What Part Of My Body Hurts The Most". It's a show that you simply won't forget and I highly recommend it.

Photo by Specular
Bat Out Of Hell runs at London's Coliseum until August 22nd, before it transfers to Toronto in October. For more information, click here.

Half A Sixpence
They joyful musical Half A Sixpence plays at London's Noel Coward Theatre. It opened to rave reviews in 2016 in Chichester before its London transfer. The musical based on H.G. Wells novel Kipps is given a fresh revival by the team who brought Mary Poppins to the stage. Downtown Abbey creator Julian Fellows has written the book, British songwriting duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have added new songs and re-orchestrated some of the classics by David Heneker. The music is fantastic, "Pick Out A Simple Tune" is one of the best new songs in any musical in recent years. The classic "Flash, Bang, Wallop" is sensational.

Photo by Manuel Harlan.
The company are so strong, Charlie Stemp's Arthur Kipps is incredible, his energy and stage presence is special, you simply can't take your eyes off him. Devon-Elise Johnson is charming and brings the feisty Ann Pornick to life perfectly. Emma Williams is beautiful as Helen Walsingham, every show Emma is in she is utterly radiant. Ian Bartholomew a joy as Chitterlow. Bethany Huckle is a stand out as Flo, she is a fantastic younger performer, I'd keep an eye out of her in the future. A fantastic ensemble adds great spectacle to the group numbers. The musical is guaranteed to leave with a huge smile on your face.

Half A Sixpence runs at London's Noel Coward Theatre until September 2nd. For more information click here. 

Vice Versa
As part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Rome Season, Vice Versa, a hilarious comedy by Phil Porter lovingly ripped off from the Roman comedies of Plautus. The whole production is hilarious. The jokes are perfectly pitched and the humour is clever. The company of actors are excellent, their comedy timing is superb. Felix Hayes is excellent as General Braggadocio, he is a highly talented actor and he does comedy roles so well (I previously saw him in the Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night at the RSC). Sophia Nomvete steals the show as servant Dexter, she runs the show and her energy and performance is of the highest quality. Steven Kynman and Byron Mondahl give hilarious turns, especially as drunks in the second act. I generally don't think I have laughed at a performance in quite a long time. I highly recommend it.
Photo by Pete Le May.
Vice Versa runs at The RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon until September 9th. For more information click here. 

La Cage Aux Folles
The fabulous La Cage Aux Folles is currently on a UK Tour which is nearing its end. The show follows Georges and the dazzling drag artiste Albin, star of La Cage Aux Folles, who live an idyllic existence in the heart of St Tropez. But behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change. The show is great fun and with a fantastic heart. John Partridge gives a sensational turn as Albin/Zaza and his version of "I Am What I Am" is majestic. Adrian Zmed as Georges and Marti Webb as Jacqueline. The show's Cagelles (The Drag acts) are just stunning. They all look and sound wonderful. It's a show you'll leave with a huge grin on your face and feel a lot better when you come out. "The Best Of Times" is a song that sums up everything joyful about this show. 

Photo by Pamela Raith
La Cage Aux Folles is currently on a UK Tour, with remaining venues; Sunderland's Empire Theatre, The Milton Keynes Theatre and finally a couple of weeks in Brighton's Theatre Royal. For more information click here. 

The Wind In The Willows
If you're looking for a show for the family this summer look no further than The Wind In The Willows at The London Palladium. The show is full of charm. Again the team behind Half A Sixpence have a hit on their hands. Jullian Fellows has done the book for the show, giving Kenneth Grahame's classic story a new lease of life. Song writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have again written some unforgettable songs, "The Amazing Mr Toad", "The Wild Wooders", "The Open Road" and "We're Taking Over The Hall" are my favourites. The show is a visual spectacle to with great costume and set design.

The acting company are first class too. Rufus Hound, who is always a treat to watch, is excellent as the mad cap Mr Toad. Craig Mather brings great heart to Mole. Simon Lipkin who is another actor who is always just a treat to watch and steals nearly every moment he's on the stage, he has a great charm and wit about his performances and a fine voice to match. There's fine support from Gary Wilmot as Badger and Denise Welch as Mrs Otter, also Emilie Du Leslay as Portia. The villain of the show is Neil McDermott's Chief Weasel and his great and has two of the shows best songs. The audience on the performance I attended was mixed with the older generation to large groups of school kids, everyone lapped up the pure charming entertainment.

The Wind in the Willows runs at The London Palladium until September 2nd. For more information click here. 

That's my five picks on the must see theatre shows this summer but whatever you see theatre is hugely important and hugely enjoyable. The joy that the theatre can give you is unrivalled from any other form of entertainment.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Royal Shakespeare Company Key

The Royal Shakespeare Company's Key is a fantastic free initiative for people aged between 16 and 25 years old. Joining the free membership via the website allows a young person access to great discounts and offers. The main part of Key is that it offers £5 tickets across all performances for RSC shows, whether that be in Stratford-Upon-Avon or in London. When you sign up you get a loyalty card, and after you've been to see 5 shows you're able to get a 6th for free. You also get discounts at throughout the RSC and in the West Midlands/London.

Unfortunately for me after coming up to 6 wonderful years of membership with Key I'm about to turn 26 and will lose all my benefits of membership. I wanted to take this time to reflect on the incredible world class theatre productions I've seen by listing some of the best shows and performances I've seen.

The Shows I've Seen Whilst a Key Member (in the order I saw them):
A Midsummer Nights Dream - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2011)
The Heart of Robin Hood - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2011/2012)
The Taming of the Shrew - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012)
The Comedy of Errors - Royal Shakespeare Theatre/The Roundhouse (London) (2012)
Twelfth Night - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012)
The Tempest - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012)
King John - Swan Theatre (2012)
Richard III - Swan Theatre (2012)
A Soldier For Every Son - Swan Theatre (2012)
Julius Caesar - Royal Shakespeare Theatre/Noel Coward Theatre (2012)
Two Roses For Richard III - The Courtyard (2012)
Much Ado About Nothing - The Courtyard (2012)
A Midsummer Nights Dream/As You Like It - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012)
The Orphan of Zhao - Swan Theatre (2012/2013)
The Mouse and His Child - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012/2013)
Boris Gudunov - Swan Theatre (2012/2013)
The Merry Wives of Windsor - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012/2013)
The Winter's Tale - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
A Life Of Galileo - Swan Theatre (2013)
Hamlet - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
As You Like It - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
The Empress - Swan Theatre (2013)
Titus Andronicus - Swan Theatre (2013)
Alls Well That Ends Well - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
A Mad World My Masters - Swan Theatre (2013)
Candide - Swan Theatre (2013)
Richard II - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
Anthony and Cleopatra - Swan Theatre (2013)
Wendy and Peter Pan - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013/2015)
Bring Up The Bodies - Swan Theatre (2013/2014)
Wolf Hall - Swan Theatre (2013/2014)
Henry IV Part Two - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2014)
Henry IV Part One - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2014)
The Roaring Girl - Swan Theatre (2014)
The Arden of Faversham - Swan Theatre (2014)
Two Gentlemen of Verona - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2014)
The White Devil - Swan Theatre (2014)
The Witch of Edmonton - Swan Theatre (2014)
Loves Labours Lost - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2014)
Shoemaker's Holiday - Swan Theatre (2014)
Love's Sacrifice - Swan Theatre (2015)
The Merchant of Venice - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2015)
Jew of Malta - Swan Theatre (2015)
Henry V - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2015)
Don Quixote - Swan Theatre (2016)
Doctor Faustus - Swan Theatre (2016)
A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play For The Nation - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2016)
Two Noble Kinsmen - Swan Theatre (2016)
The Tempest - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2016/2017)
Snow In Midsummer - Swan Theatre (2017)
Loves Labours Won - Theatre Royal Haymarket, London (2017)
Julius Caesar - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2017)
Salome - Swan Theatre (2017)
Vice Versa - Swan Theatre (2017)

Image Credit: Peter Cook

My Favourite Production:

Top 3 Shakespearean Productions:
As You Like It - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2013)
The brilliant 2013 production of As You Like It was just a pure dream. It's easily the best Shakespearean production I've seen. Maria Aberg's stunning production had a real festival vibe about it and with the added music by Laura Marling, this was a real summer escape. The music gave the production extra magic, I still love listening to the tracks which are available on iTunes. Alex Waldmann's Orlando and Pippa Nixon's Rosalind were perfect, the chemistry and charm they both had just a joy to watch. Joanna Horton's Celia beautifully pitched. This was the RSC at its finest.

King John - Swan Theatre (2012)
Another special production by Maria Aberg was the 2012 King John. This was the first play I saw in the intimate Swan Theatre, which is my favourite of the RSC theatres. Aberg's decision to cast a woman as the Bastard was a genius idea and Pippa Nixon's performance was sensational. Alex Waldmann's led brilliantly as King John alongside a superb supporting casting including John Stahl as Philip of France, Susie Trayling as Constance and Oscar Pearce as Lewis. The most memorable part of the production was the start of the second act with Pippa's Bastard singing the song "Civilian" with a huge paper burst and giant balloons filling the stage.
Alex Waldmann as King John.
Photo Credit: Keith Pattison
The Comedy of Errors - Royal Shakespeare Theatre/The Roundhouse (London) (2012)
Part of a fantastic "What Country Friends Is This" trilogy playing alongside Twelfth Night and The Tempest was The Comedy of Errors. Amir Nizar Zuabi's production was full of farce and humour. Felix Hayes and Bruce Mackinnon as the two Dromio twins. Both have perfect comedy timing and watching them was just a joy.
Felix Hayes and Bruce Mackinnon as the Dromios.
Photo Credit: Keith Pattison

Top 3 Non-Shakespeare Productions:

Vice Versa - Swan Theatre (2017)
Currently playing as part of the Rome Season, Vice Versa is by far the funniest play that I've ever seen. I laughed and laughed throughout, the energy and comic timing by a hugely talented cast is of the highest quality. Phil Porter's play is littered with humour and generally brilliant moments. Felix Hayes is a joy as General Braggadocio and Sophia Nomvete is just a genius. She couldn't be more perfect for the role of Dexter. It's one of the best pieces of theatre I've ever seen.

The Heart of Robin Hood - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2011/2012)
A show I really loved that I went 5 times, twice on my own, The Heart of Robin Hood was just special. A slightly different take on the Robin Hood story but no less brilliant. The set was a visual masterpiece and costumes set the tone of Sherwood Forest greatly. The cast led by James McArdle as Robin and Iris Roberts as Marian/Martin with fantastic support from Martin Hutson as Prince John and Tim Treloar as Guy of Gisborne and Olafur Darri Olafsson as Pierre. It's a show that will always stay with me. I absolutely adored it.  

The Mouse and His Child - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2012/2013)
Unlike anything I've seen before or since The Mouse and His Child was a Christmas season joy in 2012. Russell Hoban's brilliant children's story adapted for the stage by Tamsin Oglesby and directed by Paul Hunter was full of charm and magic for all the family. The costumes really brought the characters to life and the set was brilliant. Michael Hodgson made for a great villain in Manny Rat. This is the sort of show you go into blind not sure what to expect but come out with a big smile on your face.


So as you can see the Key has allowed me to see some world class theatre for a bargain every time. I advise ANY 16 to 25 year old to sign up and get the benefits of Key. It'll open the door to world class theatre. My time as Key member may be over but I'll always be attending the RSC and seeing the shows. It's always world class theatre every time. There's such a special buzz I get from seeing plays in Stratford and long may they continue to entertain the masses.

A huge thank you to the Royal Shakespeare Company, all the actors, directors, stage crew, the front of house staff, box office staff, and all at the Key who made this period for me so special and enjoyable.

To join Key or for more information please click here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Disney Character Meets

In this blog post, you'll find ALL my Disney character meets in alphabetical order! There will be quite a lot so do expect this to be quite a long post!




Ariel was the second Princess I met at Disneyland Paris. At Princess Pavillion in March 2015.

We were very fortunate to meet Ariel again during our Halloween season trip during October 2015.


It was really special to me to meet Princess Aurora, Sleeping Beauty is one of my favourite Disney movies and Aurora potentially my favourite Disney Princess, not sure what that says about me, maybe it's all her sleeping!

Anastasia and Drizella

Drizella and Anastasia are always brilliant to meet. They're so sassy and just a bit bonkers! I am ever so in love with Anastasia. Drizella not so much! We met the pair for the first time in October 2015 during the Halloween season.

Alice and The Mad Hatter

Celebrating all our unbirthday's with tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter in February 2016.


Buzz Lightyear

Our only current meeting with Buzz Lightyear happened in March 2015 during our first full day in the parks. We spent much of the day in the Studios Park and our first character meet there was Buzz.



Meeting either Chip or Dale is always fun and we met Chip here in Cafe Mickey in March 2015.

We met Chip again at Cafe Mickey during a character breakfast in October 2015.

Chip at a character breakfast at Cafe Mickey in October 2015.


One of my favourite Princess meets came when we first met Cinderella during October 2015. She was just the most fantastic and lovely princess.

During our October 2015 trip, we did Princess Pavillion most days and this gave us a chance to meet a number of princesses. It was during the time where you had to queue to get a reservation, once you got the reservation you had a time to return, you then returned and queued to meet a princess. You didn't know who it was going to be. So by the end of the week, we got our first double, we chose to re-meet Cinderella. She wasn't as nice as previous and this meet was SO awkward.

Captain Hook

Nemesis to Peter Pan, Captain Hook, was out meeting in the scrum style set up after the villains show in October 2015. I love the Halloween season but hate the scrums meeting villains!

Cruella de Vil

The spot loving Dalmatian hating villain was out during the evening in the town square during the Halloween season of October 2015.

Chip and Dale

Meeting the cheeky Chipmunks together is always good fun. This was the first time it happened for me. They were out by the Cowboy Cookout in October 2015.

In February 2016, I was reunited with the Chipmunks at the Gazebo on a cold morning during Magic Hours.



The first encounter with Dale came at Cafe Mickey during a character breakfast in March 2015.

Later on the day after the first meeting with Dale at the character breakfast, we met again during Stars and Cars in Walt Disney Studios Park (March 2015)

We met Dale again during a character breakfast at Cafe Mickey in October 2015.

I really love this photo from a character breakfast in October 2015.

With Dale at Cafe Mickey in October 2015.

Donald Duck

Donald Duck is a favourite character of many Disney fans. He is such a fun character. Our first meeting with Donald came as part of Stars and Cars at Walt Disney Studios during March of 2015.

A very rainy October morning in 2015 meant the meeting with Donald was kept under the gazebo. It didn't dampen anyone's spirit though.

We bumped into Donald, who was out with Daisy and Goofy at Cowboy Cookout during our October 2015 holiday.

We caught up with Donald in The Walt Disney Studios Park in February 2016.

Doctor Facilier

The Shadow Man came out to meet during the Halloween Season of October 2015. He didn't bring his "friends from the other side" but he was great fun.

Daisy Duck

We met Daisy Duck near Cowboy Cookout during October 2015.

Daisy in a sassy mood in the Studios Park in February 2016.



Eeyore was my first ever character meet during my 'grown up' Disneyland Paris trips. I don't have any character photos from my only previous trip which came during a school trip where we stayed in Paris for a week, during that week we spent a day in Disneyland. Meeting Eeyore was part of a character breakfast in Cafe Mickey on our first morning in March of 2015.


Emile from Ratatouille, along with Remy was part of the Stars and Cars show in Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2015.

Evil Queen

Meeting the Evil Queen is intimidating as you can tell by her face! Snow White's villain was out in October 2015.



Having a favourite villain is okay right? Mine is Frollo. Not because I like him or what he does, of course not, but he just is! We met him for the first time in October 2015.

We met Frollo again in October 2015. This time I told him that he was my favourite villain and he
was thrilled by this!



Meeting Pinocchio's father, Geppetto was part of Stars and Cars in the Walt Disney Studios Park in March of 2015.


We chanced upon Goofy near Cowboy Cookout in Frontierland during March 2015.

Goofy had a special meet location in October 2015 during the Halloween season and we met him in great spirits as always.

A lovely moment with big smiles with Goofy in October 2015.

Cowboy Goofy was out near the Cowboy Cookout in Frontierland in October 2015.

We did the first of two character breakfasts during our Halloween season October 2015 trip. The first character we met during the first of these was Goofy.

We did two character breakfasts during out October 2015 trip. Goofy was there to meet us at both, this was during our second one.

Goofy and Pluto

We met Goofy and Pluto together during a very wet Extra Magic Hours in October 2015. They'd moved undercover because of the rain.


I'm not sure what the appeal of Gaston is, I guess it's his muscles and all that because it's certainly not his personality! Although charming if not sometimes intimidating to meet. I side much more with Lefou than Gaston. We first met Gaston during October 2015 during the Halloween Season.

Gaston not looking so menacing here during a selfie in October 2015.

Gaston certainly didn't approve of me this time during a daytime visit after a performance of the Villains show on the castle stage in October 2015.




Jack Skellington

One of the best things about Halloween Season is the fact theming all over the park. Meeting Jack Skellington in his graveyard themed greet location was great fun. (October 2015).


During the October 2015 Halloween season, the Disney villains used to come out in the town square in the evening before Dreams. This was a great way to meet them. Our first of the meeting was with Aladdin's nemesis Jafar.


King Louie

I was so excited to meet King Louie, one of my favourite Disney characters during October 2015. This was on our final day of the trip.

King Louie and Baloo

Meeting the Jungle VIP for together for the first time was wonderful. I was even wearing my Baloo hat!


Lady Tremaine

Lady Tremaine, Mother to the ugly stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella. We met her after a performance of the It's Good To Be Bad Disney Villains show on the castle stage in October 2015.


Mickey Mouse

Meeting Mickey Mouse is always special and we were so excited about our first ever meeting with him. This came during a character breakfast at Cafe Mickey in March 2015.

During the first meeting with Mickey, Megan got this selfie of all three of us.

Our first encounter with Mickey in his house came during the Halloween season in October 2015.

Halloween Mickey is great fun, his greet location in October 2015 was up near the Chaparral Theatre. It was off season for any show so it was really quiet up there and Mickey didn't seem to get much of a queue. I love his costume for the Halloween season.

This meeting with the main mouse during a character breakfast in October 2015 was great fun as this photo shows. He noticed my phone case had him on it after this and took it off Megan and started taking selfies of himself!

Another meeting with the Main Mouse, again in Cafe Mickey at a character breakfast in October 2015.

Mickey came out for both sets of characters during our second character breakfast in October 2015 so of course, we met him again!

Minnie Mouse

Our first meeting with Minnie Mouse came during Stars and Cars at Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2015.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Our first meeting with Mickey and Minnie Mouse together happened on our second to last morning of our trip during Extra Magic Hours in the Disneyland Park in March 2015.

During Extra Magic Hours in March 2015.

This photo remains one of my favourites ever from Disneyland. During the October Halloween Season of 2015, we met Mickey and Minnie during Extra Magic Hours.

In Magic Hours in February 2016, a bit colder than the previous meetings!


The first ever Disney Princess we met was Merida. At Princess Pavillion in March 2015. This was when you queued up to meet just one princess without knowing who it was going to be. Clearly, I need work on my archery pose!

At Princess Pavillion in March 2015.

We met Merida in her special greet location in October 2015.

Meeting Merida is always fun, thankfully I didn't need my arrow pose this time! (October 2015).


The Halloween Queen herself, Maleficient. She is so beautiful yet so scary! Her courtyard just behind the castle during the Halloween season is a great place to meet her. October 2015.



Old Hag

Snow White's poisoner, the Evil Queen in her transformed state as the Old Hag. Terrifying. Meeting after the Villains show in October 2015.

I didn't take one of her apples! (October 2015)



Meeting Pluto was part of our first morning at Disneyland Paris in March 2015. This was part of a character breakfast at Cafe Mickey.

A selfie of Megan, Pluto and Me took at the Character Breakfast in March 2015.

Another meeting with Pluto happened during March 2015 during Extra Magic Hours at the end of Main Street USA.

We met Pluto near Cowboy Cookout in October 2015, he was his normal adorable self.

Being the Halloween season we were asked by the cast member to do scary faces, we hope we didn't scare you too much Pluto!


Meeting Pinocchio happened during Stars and Cars at Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2015.

Peter Pan

We were walking around Fantasyland on our final day of our October 2015 trip, I suddenly saw something green near the tea cups, I then realised it was Peter Pan, we ran over and got to meet him.

Silly faces with Peter!

Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana

Meeting Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana for the first time in February 2016 was wonderful.


A cold meet and greet with Perla in February 2016.


Queen of Hearts

The Wonderland nightmare that is The Queen of Hearts was out during the Halloween season of October 2015.



During our first day in the Walt Disney Studios in March 2015, we experienced the brilliant Stars and Cars. Megan and I loved it so much that we spent the entire afternoon watching it happen. Part of the show was being able to meet the characters as they went around the show area. The first character we met at this show was Remy from the movie Ratatouille.


Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh was part of Stars and Cars during March of 2015.



The spirit of Hawaii was strong with us as we met Stitch during Stars and Cars at Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2015.

Snow White

Meeting Snow White was brilliant during October 2015. We spent quite a long time with her as the PhotoPass photographer was having problems. We had such a brilliant interaction due to this and it always stands out as a great Disney memory.


We had a nice change on our second character breakfast in October 2015, Mr Smee came out, although it was a bit random it was brilliant!


Thumper and Miss Bunny

Meeting Thumper and Miss Bunny came as part of the Spring Season in March of 2015. The two characters featured in movie Bambi.

The Tremaine's

We got a rare chance to meet the Tremaine's all together during October 2015. Anastasia and Drizella and their mother Lady Tremaine, villains to Cinderella came out in the evening at the gazebo.


We bounced on to Tigger in February 2016.





Everyone's favourite Disney cowboy, Woody, was out as part of Stars and Cars in Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2015.