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An Evening with Mitch Winehouse

27 July 2014

Grab a cuppa or if you prefer a cocktail and pull up a seat. Have I got a fabulous foundation to tell you about. And to top that, some fabulous music from the great Mitch Winehouse (father of the late Amy Winehouse) and the sensational Collette Cooper.
Mitch Winehouse and the Amy Winehouse Foundation host a night of music at London's Hippodrome Casino once a month and last night, the 26th of July, I was invited by Mitch to bring a couple friends and boy did we jump at the opportunity after hearing his vocals several times previously at the Camden Record Club where the lovely Collette has performed.
 As my guests I brought two girlfriends who had heard Mitch previously at Collette's latest event and were floored by both voices.
 The concert was in the Casino's Theatre Room on the first floor and provided the perfect atmosphere for a night of jazz and cocktails with warm colours and an intimately sized room with comfy tables, were drinks and food could be ordered, paying court to the stage.
 All the drinks were de-lic-ious! Thanks Natalie for my martini. x
About an hour after the listed start time, Mitch and his band came out to the stage and you instantly knew you were among likeminded friends with the hearty reception they received and rightly so you'll agree after hearing them sing/play. Mitch is quite the showman. Natalie several times compared Mitch to the likes of a  modern-day Frank Sinatra and I would have to agree. His voice is like velvet and his demeanour is so effortless with the crowd and he had us laughing, tapping our feet and clapping our hands while he sang, danced on stage and told stories.
 One of his special guests for the evening was Collette Cooper and boy what a delightful surprise as she is the one who introduced me to Mitch at her previous event. Her voice gives me goosebumps and that feeling was agreed upon by my friends and even the amazing Don Black and his wife mentioned their amazement with her voice. Stay tuned for news about her upcoming album which comes out late September.
In fact it was the very Don Black who had me a bit tongue tied and excited when Mitch announced that he would be singing a song written specifically for him by the lyricist. And what a fun and entertaining number it was. It shall be on Mitch's upcoming album. Ever since I discovered musical theatre in 1997, I have loved Mr. Black's fabulous lyrics from his frequent collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Frank Wildhorn. In fact my all-time favourite musical, Aspects of Love, has lyrics written by Don Black so it was a true treat meeting the man and his charming and generous family.
 The evening ended much too early but we were delighted to be treated to a duet by Mitch and Collette singing Everytime We Say Goodbye. It was pure charm.
 I hope you have a chance to hear Mitch in concert sometime (tickets for his next two shows at the Hippodrome can be purchased online here) and can take a moment to check out the Amy Winehouse Foundation for more information about the exciting new things they are doing. I personally am very excited to hear that they are building a new music room at the Little Haven Hospice for Children which is an issue dear to my own heart.
Thanks again Mitch for an amazing night out with some beautiful music and a great opportunity to learn more about the ways Amy's legacy is being passed on and used to benefit London's children and young people. God bless x x

Travel: Roman Baths

19 July 2014

On a perfect June afternoon, my folks and I visited the Roman Baths and delved into the area's history and beauty. I had been twice before (Autumn 2005 & Winter 2013) and mum once before (Winter 2013) and now dad was ready to enjoy his first visit to the iconic site.
 Being that it was summer and a sunny day, the crowd was intense.
 Everyone was given an audio guide and allowed to wander at their own pace.
 Inside the museum, the crowds were so thick that it was difficult to move around and see the cased exhibits. The larger exhibits such as an ornamental pediment from the Temple were able to be enjoyed be the entire crowd owing to the surrounding open space.
  The day that we visited the baths were being cleaned that allowed for a unique view of the baths.
One of the benefits of going during the summer holidays is that there are reenactments and tours.
Mum and Dad with our tour guide (below)
Dad certainly enjoyed his visit as did mum and I. And he even tried the hot spa water. I kept expecting him to have the same reaction mum and I had last year but nope. ;)
 Aside from the inability to see everything in the walkthrough of the museum because of the crush of tourists, the water faucet was my biggest disappointment. I understand that because of the season it was not practical to have everyone go into the Pump Rooms like mum and I did in January but still -- not very memorable and decorative, yes? And sno cone paper cups?
2013 photos of me drinking the spa waters in the Pump Rooms:
All the same, a visit to the Roman Baths is well worth a visit if you are in the area!

Bath: Roscoff Deli

While in Bath with my parents in June, we stopped for luncheon at Roscoff Deli near the city centre.
What a delightful find with a dining room upstairs overlooking the street.
The cafe offers the usual choice of paninis, salads, soups and sandwiches for luncheon.
To start, I ordered a fresh juice which helped quench the sore throat I was battling. My dad had an iced tea (something hard to find in London) and it was loaded with sugar and unfortunately too sweet to drink.
For luncheon, I ordered the soup of the day which came with fresh bread.
Mum had a salad which she described as one of the best she'd had in England. 
Dad's panini was likewise tasty and delicious.
If you are in Bath and looking for a place to see breakfast or luncheon I would highly recommend a visit to Roscoff Deli at 18 Northumberland Place.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens: Handel's Coming Home!

12 July 2014

Spotting an advertisement for the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens' Summer Festival featuring Handel's Coming Home! on Twitter thanks to the Handel House Museum, I grabbed my girlfriend Natasha and headed out to the gardens I had read so much about in 19th century British literature. Of course those gardens that attracted the creme de la creme of British society are no longer in existence but this evening's festival took place in Vauxhall's Spring Gardens which were a short walk from the train and tube station.
 The good weather had lasted the afternoon long and we crossed our fingers in hopes that it would last through the evening so the concert would not be rained out. And weren't we lucky because it was a perfect evening to be outside.
 Families, couples and groups pulled out chairs, blankets and grabbed food from a couple food trucks while enjoying beers from the local pub on the grassy lawns surrounding the bandstand as programmes were passed out detailing the evening's schedule. We oow'd and aww'd over the choice of music including Handel, Rossini, Holst and selections from Les Miserables and Pirates of the Caribbean.
 And what a delightful evening it was! The band was delightful and skilled, the soprano, Felicity Hayward, was lovely and the conductor, John Holland, was a riot -- hilarious, adorable, entertaining, and the star of the night. We also learned a new song - Thomas Arne's Rule Britannia - which we found ourselves humming back to the tube station.
"Rule Britannia"
Rounding out the evening, the fireworks were a triumph and perfectly accompanied by Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks and selections from Pirates of the Caribbean.
 Bravo! Bravo! we called along with the happy audience and a toe tapping encore was played complete with fireworks although unfortunately Natasha and I failed to recall the song's name.
 But what fun! We were truly delighted to have been able to partake in Saturday's festival.
 xx Joy Michelle
Outfit: Tunic by Yuki

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