Theatre Review: The Mousetrap

Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Anne Kavanagh (Mrs Boyle), Stephen Yeo (Christopher Wren) and Christopher Gilling (Major Metcalf) in The Mousetrap.  Photo by Helen Maybanks Photography.

I recently had a really enjoyable night at the theatre seeing Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap. I didn't really know anything about the story before I went, and in fact I was only aware of the name as Karl Pilkington once used it in a Rockbusters* clue (if you understand that reference then we can definitely be friends). To be honest though I think you'll enjoy it more the less you is a classic whodunit after all!

I won't give away too much, since the twists and turns are what make it so intriguing, but I will say that it was a thoroughly entertaining 2 hours of theatre. The story is centered around a couple who have just opened a guest house and are welcoming their first guests - a real mix of interesting characters who all have their secrets. When news breaks of a nearby murder it's not long before everyone is under suspicion, and those secrets are revealed left right and centre in a bid to uncover the culprit. Thinking that sounds like a live action Cluedo? Well, it is!

The story had me gripped from beginning to end, mainly due to the superb acting from the whole cast. It's also genuinely funny too, with lots of laugh out loud moments, particularly from the characters Christopher Wren and Mr Paravicini. I'd definitely recommend going to see it if you can - the show is at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh until the 1st of November and then the tour continues in Carlisle, Blackpool, Dublin, Ipswich, Croydon, and Southend.

Luke Jenkins (Sargent Trotter) and Helen Clapp (Mollie Ralston) in the 60th Anniversary Tour of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap.  Photo by Helen Maybanks Photography.

I received press tickets to see this show, however as always the review is my honest opinion and if I don’t like something I will tell you!

*The Rockbusters clue was “I went to see that play ‘Mousetrap’ the other night and the heating in the theatre was broken”. The answer was “Coldplay”. One of his better ones I must say….

Halloween in Edinburgh

Saturday, 18 October 2014
Edinburgh has a bit of a reputation for being a "spooky" city, what with our creepy underground vaults and endless ghost stories, so it goes without saying that it's a great place to spend Halloween.  I've had a look to see what there is to do in the city this year so check out the list below if you're up for some spooky fun!

Edinburgh Dungeons entrance

Edinburgh Dungeons - October 10th to November 2nd
An obvious place to spend Halloween would be the Edinburgh Dungeons, 'The Home of Halloween'.  Up until recently I'd never actually been before, but I was kindly invited along to experience their latest show so jumped at the chance.

I won't give too much away, as not knowing what's coming next is part of the fun, but the tour takes you through Edinburgh's gruesome history where you'll hear all about the infamous murderers Burke and Hare, stand trial for various misdemeanours, walk through a plague ridden close, and go on a boat ride to seek out cannibals (eek). There's also a ride called Drop Dead at the end which is much scarier than I was expecting it to be, but all good fun!  I definitely recommend a visit.

Ghillie Dhu Dance of the Damned - Friday 31st October
Ghille Dhu's weekly ceilidh takes a creepy turn on the 31st with the 'Dance of the Damned'.  There's a 3 course meal including themed dishes like Sweeney Todd's Special and the Ghost Busters, followed by a Halloween ceilidh with music provided by the aptly named Norman Mackay Monster Ceilidh Band.

The Spooky Castle - Saturday 25th October
Lauriston Castle is hosting a workshop promising a morning of ghoulish fun and adventure, including woodland ghostly trails and crafts.  I've written a post about Lauriston Castle before as it's pretty near where I live.  I went on a tour of the castle last year and it was really interesting hearing all the history so I'm sure it will be even more fun with a spooky twist!

Journey to the Twilight Zone - Friday 31st October
Now this sounds interesting….intriguingly described as "not a club night, or even a club at all….not a warehouse party, or a festival.  It's much much more".  The details are top secret, all you know if the date and that it's a £10 taxi journey from the city centre.  The 4,000 people lucky enough to get a ticket will "enter the Twilight Zone" and experience a night that revolutionises nightlife, entertainment and youth culture.  If I didn't already have plans I'd be all over this!

Greyfriars Cemetery

Night of Infinite Terror - Saturday 1st November
There's plenty of ghost tours to choose from in the city and they all take you to slightly different areas.  I've only been on one and it ended in Greyfriars Cemetery (and was very creepy might I add!).  If a plain old ghost tour isn't quite scary enough for you though then the Night of Infinite Terror sounds like a more hardcore experience.  You'll start off at Greyfriars for a tour of the graveyard, followed by a vigil in the Black Mausoleum (rumoured to be haunted by the infamous Mackenzie poltergeist), and then end at Mary Kings Close.

Ghost Bus Tour - all month
I've seen these buses drive around town before and always thought they look like the Knight Bus from Harry Potter.  The ghost bus tours take you on a journey around the darker side of Edinburgh, learning about witches, grave robbers, and the plague.  It basically sounds like a lazy version of a traditional (walking) ghost tour, so it definitely appeals, haha.

Scary Cinema
If you're planning a more chilled out Halloween night then there's plenty of spooky films on offer at Edinburgh's cinemas.  The Filmhouse are showing the classic Night of the Living Dead, there's an Alien and Aliens double bill at Vue, or for the ultimate pee your pants experience try The Exorcist - The Directors Cut at The Cameo.

And how will I be spending my halloween this year?  As has become tradition, I'll be at Gillian and Laura's halloween flat party drinking punch, eating homemade cakes, and then ending the night dancing to Blink182 at the Hive.  Oh, and I'll be dressed up as Mary Poppins (outfit post to come).

What about you?

P.S.  Do you like my little Halloween redesign?? :)

What I've Been Eating #5

Sunday, 12 October 2014
It's been a while since I last did a What I've Been Eating, which is mainly because I got into a bit of a rut with Slimming World so hadn't been staying on plan or taking photos of my meals.  In the last 2 weeks though I feel like I've got completely back on track and am "back in the zone" so to speak.  

One thing that really helped me get back on plan was the Slimming World magazine -  almost every meal below comes from the last issue actually.  I'd definitely recommend planning out a week of meals from the magazine if you need a good week to get you back on track.  As there's so much variety it stops you getting bored with your same old meals and means you're more likely to keep going.  

I'll be making every single one of these again!

"Pizzas" made with a turkey steak base, super easy and really tasty.  Served with roast potatoes and stir fry veg (brussel sprouts, green beans and red pepper - weird combo, I know).  Also, how amazing do the roasted baby potatoes look?? 

Green thai chicken curry with jasmine rice.  I added some light coconut milk to the pan when boiling the rice but it actually just made it really stodgy so I wouldn't recommend it!

This looks an absolute mess, but it tasted good!  It's just a baked potato with cheese and tuna, topped with plum tomatoes, passata and onion.

Steak pizzaiola - basically a fillet steak topped with chopped tomatoes. Served with my old favourite - slimming world friendly chips - and fried onion and mushrooms.

Bacon and pea risotto - this was soooo good, and really filling.  Easy peasy to make too, just chopped grilled bacon, peas, onion, and risotto rice in a pan with vegetable stock (gradually added).  Simmer for like 20 minutes then serve with some parmesan.  On the side I've got a watercress, spinach and rocket salad with a bit of balsamic glaze.

Quorn Swedish-style meatballs with passata and penne pasta (and the same salad as above).  This was my weigh-day dinner - hence the garlic bread (15.5 syns) on the side as a wee treat.  

Shepherds pie with the same side salad as above.  This was actually the second batch of cottage pie as the recipe made 2 big casserole dishes worth so I'd had this one in the freezer.  I never really cook lamb so this was something a bit different.  Again, not too difficult to make - just brown the lamb mince, add peas, sweetcorn, carrots, chopped tinned tomatoes, and some veg stock.  Add to a casserole dish with mashed potato (mixed with 2 egg yolks once cooled) and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.

P.S. Ironically as this post goes live I'll be at a blogger bake off in Glasgow.  So technically, what I've been eating is CAKE, CAKE and more CAKE.