Beauty And Power In The Spoken Word: Chill Pill

This past weekend I went along to an event called The Sunday Papers Live. To be honest I accidentally stumbled across it late on Friday evening, explored the website and line-up, watched a few videos from previous events and feeling intrigued, knew it was something I wanted to book. Luckily I was able to get two tickets last minute and off we strolled on Sunday to see what it was all about. Now this entire event in itself is well worth talking about so you'll probably catch me sharing more snippets over upcoming posts here on the blog. But for today I wanted to share one of my favourite findings from the day - Chill Pill UK.

Chill Pill UK At The Sunday Papers Live

Chill Pill UK are a group of up and coming, as well as long established, spoken word poets. Delivering quick witted, emotive and sharply crafted poetry that tackles some of the freshest issues of the day as well as tapping into topics that we can all relate to and find our feet with.

Quite honestly their work left me awe struck. There is something about the power of words that has always resonated with me and when I witness people bring spoken word together so sharply but in such a relatable way, about topics that I can understand and feel passionate about, well for me that is something really special. So sitting back as the sun drew in on Sunday afternoon, cold beer in hand, watching these guys deliver with such power was a real treat.

From what I gather there are many members of the Chill Pill collective of poets. On Sunday we were offered inspiration from Adam Kammerling, Mr Gee and Ben Norris. They delivered both established and new work of their own as well as creating poetry on the day in the form of letters, based on requests received earlier from members of the audience. Whether that be a poem on the stark reality of the life of an immigrant worker, a poem that truly depicts that feeling of inadequacy we can all relate to when we don't feel we can step out of the door in the morning, put on our mask and pretend to be confident in a world we feel everyone else understands and we don't, or a letter put together for a bride to be to her bridesmaid, describing the power and depth of their friendship in tales of nights on the town and tears around the toilet bowl! Each and every offering gave laughter, emotion, insight and a true grasp on the delicacy and intricacies of the human condition.

I've shared a couple of videos below for anyone intrigued about their work. These aren't from Sunday's event itself but they will give you a taste of what I'm talking about.

Chill Pill UK hold regular nights at the Albany, Arcola and Soho Theatres so keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for more details. Some of their poets will be taking part in Tongue Fu at The Roundhouse in Camden this Friday 3rd June and when I last looked there were still some tickets available. If you want to check them out then get yourself a spot - I'm pretty confident you won't be disappointed.

Oh and if you like the sound of The Sunday Papers Live (and you should!) their next session will be held on Sunday 28th August. Or if you're heading to Wilderness Festival this summer you'll be able to find them there.

This post isn't sponsored in any way. I'm sharing because I'm passionate about new experiences and great events that get you thinking and bring you joy. I highly recommend that you check these guys out if you ever get the chance.

Louise

 


A Late Midweek Breakfast At Sketch

Before Christmas I headed to the big smoke very early doors for a blogger event and a meeting about an upcoming project. After business had been seen to for the morning I met up with my other half for a late breakfast at one of his favourite places, and somewhere he'd been telling me to visit for a while, Sketch in Mayfair.

Breakfast At Sketch In Mayfair

Looking back over a few quick snaps that I took in haste during our time there, I decided perhaps they were worth a share after all for anyone looking for a unique venue to dine at in the city. If you're already aware of Sketch you'll know just what a different, eclectic and fun place to meet and eat it is. Dinner, drinks, art, music and magical interiors that spark the imagination. If you're not, then that's all the more reason for me to share the love with you here on the blog today! 

Sketch Breakfast The Parlour

Now we went for breakfast, for me a delicate plate of poached eggs with smoked salmon and a dainty cup of tea. Fresh and tasty, it did exactly the job that was required. Granted dining at Sketch, even for breakfast, isn't all that cheap, but it's somewhere I think everyone should head if they're a fan of beautiful places to experience in the city. The choice for breakfast in The Parlour ranges from eggs each and every way that you can think of, fruits, cereals, cakes, pastries and a selection of pancakes. The Parlour is open throughout the day serving comfort food, afternoon tea and many other delights in a relaxed and informal setting.

Sketch Breakfast Poached Eggs And Smoked Salmon

Sketch is also a great location for dining and discussing business during the working week, relaxing with friends over a spot of their famous afternoon tea or partying into the evening with a glass of bubbles in one of the five, one-of-a-kind bars and restaurants. Personally afternoon tea is high on the to do list for me, so I'm planning a trip back there someday very soon to sample some tasty, cake-y delights that I'm hoping will banish the January blues quick sharp away.

Sketch Bars The Glade
Sketch Mayfair
Sketch Bars The Gallery
Sketch Bars The Gallery

So if you're looking for somewhere a little different to entertain yourself, your clients or friends and family during your next trip to London then why not give Sketch a go. Booking is advisable ahead of your visit although in my experience they are very friendly and always do their best to accommodate. If you like your surroundings to be as interesting and inviting as your food then this is certainly a place to add to your must visit list.

Where are your favourite, unique places to dine at in the big city? Any recommendations for future London visits, places that are well worth a try?

Louise

 

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A Seasonal Trip To The Opera: The Mikado

Recently I was very lucky to be invited to attend a performance of The Mikado by The English National Opera. As a lover of the theatre I've attended many a production throughout the years, from ballet, to play, to west end musical, but it's only very recently that I've started to enjoy going to, and experiencing a night at the opera.

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

It began back in January of this year when we took ourselves off to see La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House whilst visiting friends down under! To be honest our main drive for the visit was to experience a taste of the iconic opera house, but to our surprise we really fell in love with the production and the genre itself and vowed that it was something we should do more often. When the chance to see The Mikado came up I thought it would be a great option, both to experience and to share here on the blog for anyone else considering dipping their toes into the opera pool.

I guess Gilbert and Sullivan operas such as this can be considered a little lighter and more accessible than some other options. So for people just beginning to find their opera feet this is really a perfect choice. Plus I'd heard many great things about this famous ENO production so was looking forward to seeing what it was all about. 

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

This production was a joy. Directed by Jonathan Miller who first staged this particular version in 1986, setting it in an English country house in the 1920's rather than in its original setting of Japan. The ENO take on this famous comical opera is pretty much just as well known and well loved in its own right.

As well as the wit and humour of the lyrics, attacked brilliantly by the cast, there is crisp and comical choreography from the brilliant Antony Van Laast who's work I love and who musical theatre fans will know from shows such as Mamma Mia and more recently Sister Act on Broadway.

Watching Richard Suart as Ko-Ko is also pure joy, especially as he works his way through the famous 'I've Got A Little List' and the audience await expectantly to hear of the ones who won't be missed. Suart regularly updates the list himself adding a topical selection of current characters who are making headlines in the worlds news. In fact this article from the Independent was a great read ahead of watching the show. Worth a look if you're planning to go along and see it for yourself: Updating The Mikado's Little List

For anyone new to opera it's really a brilliant starting point. Sung in English, but with the surtitles still available above the stage, which actually come in very handy given the quick and witty lyrics and the operatic tone, this is a charming and thoroughly enjoyable performance. In fact so taken were we with the whole thing that we headed home and proceeded the next day to watch the 1999 Mike Leigh film Topsy-Turvy based on the work of Gilbert and Sullivan and the inspiration behind the writing of The Mikado. Long, but fun and well worth a watch.

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

2015 Production Shot: Photograph (c) Tristram Kenton 

I also really love the ethos of the English National Opera who firmly believe in making theatre accessible to everyone and not an expensive and elitist past time. With prices in the west end soaring beyond belief right now, it's encouraging to know that for every performance at the London Coliseum, the ENO's beautiful home, there are at least 500 tickets available at £20 or under. Meaning everyone can come along and get a taste of this beautiful production, as well as the many others in the ENO repertoire each season. It's definitely something worth putting on your to do list, especially if you've been thinking of embracing a bit of opera yourself. I highly recommend it.

On a last note, you also cannot beat the beauty of the stunningly restored London Coliseum. London has many very beautiful theatres to offer but this one is certainly up there as one of the best since it was beautifully brought back to life in 2004. It's a real joy to sit there eagerly awaiting the start of a performance gazing at its glory, so lovingly returned to its glamorous Edwardian best.

If you're looking for something a little different to do with your time this holiday season and have never given the opera a try then I urge you to give it a go. You can catch The Mikado up until the 6th of February 2016 or choose from a number of other productions coming up in the New Year. Go on try something different - I'm confident you'll be glad that you did. 

Visit www.eno.org for more information and details of upcoming productions.

Are you an opera fan? Any recommendations for a newbie like me? Or is opera something that you've never experienced, perhaps you're tempted to go along and give it a go? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and have a great day everyone!

Louise

 

Our tickets were complimentary as part of being invited along to review. My opinions are however 100% honest and completely my own. If I hadn't enjoyed it I wouldn't be sharing it here with you today.

 


Amidst The Action At The London Ski And Snowboard Show With Nikon

With the winter fast approaching I'm guessing some of you will be planning a little seasonal ski or snowboard action as part of your festive breaks. So for anyone with an interest in such chilly activities, with an additional penchant for photography and a desire to improve on their quick fire action shots, you may be interested in a recent event that took place on a slightly rainy afternoon in London's Battersea Park.

London Ski Show

Recently I was kindly invited to attend the London Ski and Snowboard Show by Nikon with a view to testing out the Nikon D5500, picking up some tips and tricks from expert photographers Dan Vojtech, Martin Privratsky and Neil Freeman, and getting some shots of our own on the action packed slopes at the event.

London Ski Show

First a little about our tutors for the day. Dan Vojtech is a Czech photographer who focuses on action, adventure and lifestyle photography, specialising in extreme sports. He has worked previously for Red Bull and has a string of other credits to his wide and creative portfolio, working worldwide with a variety of magazines and other companies.

Martin Privratsky also hails from the Czech Republic and is a documentary filmmaker producing viral content and advertising for a number of brands worldwide. He also concentrates on extreme sports and lifestyle and his most recent film is a portrait of life and of the people living in Los Angeles.

Last but not least, Neil is a professional photographer and a tutor at the Nikon Training School based in London. I hadn't previously heard of the school, situated on Margaret Street in the West End, but having chatted in length to Neil about what they offer, it sounds like a fantastic place to head for the day to get in some very handy photography training, advice and tips from the professionals. So I may well check it out for myself in the near future.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show

Now thanks to the Great British transport system annoyingly I missed a little of the initial introduction from Dan, but following a quick catch up and re-cap on how to get the best out of the cameras, myself and a friend hit the slopes, or 'Battersea Mount' as it was so titled, with the rest of the team to try our hand at getting in some top shots. 

Despite the quick learning curve I'm still very happy with the photos that came out of the afternoon. It was great being so close to the action and getting advice from the experts. Plus the Nikon D5500 was a pretty easy camera to pick up and get to grips with quickly, whilst still taking some quality photographs.

As D-SLR cameras go this lightweight and compact version lends itself to easy use for even the most inexperienced of photographers. In fact you can easily get some decent shots just by leaving it in auto and using the point and shoot approach that I admit I have favoured in the past!

With a number of useful functions such as touch screen for easy navigation, as well as built in wi-fi to enable you to share your masterpieces straight from the camera, I really quite liked this sharp and functional piece of equipment and getting to test the camera out on real and very active subject matter over the course of an afternoon was a real treat! It's also designed to work well in low light which makes it a useful piece of kit for photographing subjects on darker, wintery days.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show

The Ski and Snowboard Show was equally an afternoon well spent and if you're an avid skier or snowboarder, is well worth a visit. Held annually over the course of 4 days, you can immerse yourself in all things ski related. Watch all of the action on the mount, get down to the live music on the alpine stage, have a giggle in the comedy tent and partake in a little après ski with some warming food and drink at one of the welcoming stalls. 

You can also lose yourself for a good hour or so amongst the stalls of the many exhibitors as you pick out a myriad of equipment, all that you could possibly ever need for your next expedition to those snowy slopes.

London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show
London Ski Show

So as day turned to dusk the days activities came to a close. After such an enjoyable afternoon with Nikon and some truly warming and friendly hospitality we headed home armed with an SD card full of shots from the event, shared here with you today.

Now I may need a little more practice but I look forward to putting what I learned to the test and continuing to improve my photography skills, knowledge of the equipment and how to get the best out of it. I really appreciate Nikon giving me the opportunity to add a few more tricks to the list!

Are you a keen photographer or someone wanting to improve on their current knowledge? Do you have any top tips for never missing those all important action shots? Interested to know your thoughts.

Louise