Come From Away #HappyCanadaDay

Wow!

At the beginning of last week, I entered a competition to win tickets to see Come From Away in London. I’ve been wanting to see it since I saw the trailer for the Broadway version (and then found out it was opening in London) so figured I would give it a go and see what happened next.

🌍 Competition time! 🌍

Help us PAY IT FORWARD this Canada Day as we take over Tottenham Court Road Underground Station for an afternoon of community and kindness.

Here’s how to enter. 👇🏻

Comment below and tell us how the message of Come From Away has inspired you.

Five winners will get to spend an afternoon with our cast, spreading kindness. They’ll also win a dinner for two at Joe Allen Restaurant and a pair of tickets to see Come From Away on Canada Day, with an on stage meet and greet after the show.

On Wednesday, while Jaxon and I shared an apple, I got a message on Twitter from the social media team to say I’d won! (Yep nearly sprayed the apple across my laptop! Oops!)

I rang Mum and we start a plan. Can Mum take the time off work? Can Dad do the school run and look after Jaxon? Can he take us to the train station too?

She goes off to chat to Dad and I have a little freak out because I’m SO excited. Mum texts back, Dad will have Jaxon so we’re good to go.

After a couple of days of being super excited, we got up to Monday and it was time for our adventure. I got Jaxon up and to school like normal (well minus me repacking my backpack with “day out” things instead of my everyday stuff) and then after a quick pit stop at the supermarket headed home to kill time until Mum and I would go to the station. (Even managed to get some work done!)

The trains were definitely on our side as we managed to get a London bound train within 10 minutes of getting through the barrier at Bedford.

On our arrival in London, we stopped to grab a sandwich and headed towards the theatre (figured it was better to kill time there if we needed to).

We found a spot to sit just around the corner from the theatre and ate our sandwiches and put the world to rights. Thankfully the sun was shining and it was warm but not too hot like Saturday!

At 12.30 we went back to the theatre and met the cast/crew and the other winners and their guests. We were each given a Come From Away pin (in the shape of a Canadian maple leaf) so that we could be identified by the cast (even if we couldn’t remember everyone’s names!). After being introduced to lots of people and told the plan we all walked from the theatre to Tottenham Court Road Station. As part of the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) project a lot of Tottenham Court Road station has changed since the last time I think I went through the station.

At first we were a bit muddled what we needed to do and where we should stand but as the first flash mob started we relaxed a bit. Following the flash mob, we handed out the preloaded Oyster cards and holders. The first time, we were all a bit uncomfortable (I think!). We tried to give out the cards but often people were too busy saying no and walking away to listen to us. (Or we think they thought there was a catch – cos why would anything be free?)

Following our first flash mob/giveaway, we ended up going to Pret for a coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast as well as a couple of the other winners from the competition. It was great fun and we talked about all sorts of different things including how Kirsty once played a Hobbit and then how tall Hobbits had to be. Actually, that started from talking about birthdays and how Hobbits give presents on their birthday instead of receiving.

Grabbing coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast, Cher, Heather and My mum.

Mark is our selfie photographer, then in the picture starting over Mark’s left shoulder we have Heather, Kirsty, Mum. Then down the otherside, I’m at the back, then it’s Jenn and CherAnn. Then it was time to head back to the station for round two. Mum and I chatted to Harry (He plays Oz and other roles) leading up to the second flash mob. We figured that if we started handing out the cards as soon as the cast finished then we could catch people while their attention was still on it before they’d moved onto the next thing in their day. We definitely found it worked better. There were still people who turned them down but by getting on it straight away it definitely made a difference.

Following the second flash mob, Mum and I went to sit outside and have a snack and a drink. We talked about what show is now on at the Dominion after We Will Rock You finished in 2014. (We came to see it when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with Jaxon!). We then headed back into the station as we were getting really hot in the sunshine outside (and it was about time for the final flash mob).

Following the third flash mob, we headed back to the theatre with the cast and we were able to go through the stage door, through the corridors and onto the stage, which was so exciting! It was a bit surreal being on the stage looking out across the auditorium. We stood and counted the rows to figure out roughly where we would be seating. Actually I counted it the wrong way and we were on the opposite side to where we thought but we were still 13ish rows from the front and to one side of the row so still had amazing views of the stage and really felt like we were part of the action, rather than being off in the gods or something like that.

How cool are these lighting rigs? They are trees with the lights then hung on them which is really cool. I took the photo to send to Chris but he was busy at work and didn’t reply.

After taking photos, we headed out through the other wing of the stage, through the auditorium and then out the front door of the theatre. We had a couple of hours to pass before our booking at the restaurant, so Mum and I started by going to Paperchase as that is on Tottenham Court Road (about 10 minutes from the Dominion I think). We then went to Hema, Muji and another store (but I can’t remember which one now!). We did talk about going to Flying Tiger but we have one of them in Milton Keynes whereas are closest Muji and Hema are London. After shopping, we walked from TCR to the Joe Allen restaurant in the Strand, this included cutting across Covent Garden market as my instructions were taking me around the block rather than across it!

We arrived at the restaurant thinking we were maybe 5-10 minutes early but according to the Maitre’D lady we were closer to 40 minutes early as they had us booked for 5:30 instead. They were able to seat us anyway and we started with drinks. I ordered an “Over The Hedge”. It contained Elderflower, mint, lime, cucumber and tonic. At first, I really didn’t like the drink as the tonic was sat on top of the ice and I tried sipping it from the edge of the glass. Then I realised if I used the straw I got all the elderflower and lime taste which was great but as I got through my drink the tonic was getting stronger to the point that I didn’t drink the end of it. I guess if I had it again I might ask if they could switch the tonic for lemonade instead.

We were given a set menu to pick from which was great (sometimes less choice for me is better!)

I had:

  • Starter – Buffala mozzarella, salsa verde, cherry tomatoes, croûtons
  • Main – Cornfed chicken breast, aubergine & red pepper couscous, yoghurt, mint.
  • Dessert – Vanilla panacotta, summer berries and Chocolate tart, crème fraîche, caramelised hazelnuts.

No I didn’t have two desserts. Mum and I couldn’t decide and ended up getting one of each and going halves. Both were lovely but I think the pannacotta was my favourite out of both of them. Could have happily had another portion of that I’m sure!

We headed out of the restaurant and started to walk back towards the theatre. We got to Covent Garden market and spotted a Cycle Rickshaw, so we decided that we would go on one of them back to the theatre if we could. (I’ve been trying to embed the video here but it’s so huge that it’s not working. Try here on my IG Stories)

We got back to the theatre in perfect timing. We got settled in our seats ready for the show and I was so excited I thought I might burst. The couple next to me seemed to be having a terrible time or something. The gent looked really miserable, his partner/wife seemed to be having a better time. By the end, she was clapping along but that was only in the last song or so at the end.

It was such an amazing day and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Very grateful to my Dad too who took us to the train station in the morning, collected Jaxon from school and then collected us from the train station in the evening.

To make sure I disclaim this properly, I won two tickets to see Come From Away in London. We were “audience members” for the three flash mobs/performances in Tottenham Court Road Station. Followed by dinner at Joe Allen’s. There was no need for me to blog about it/post on social media but I have done because I want to share my love of the musical and the community around Come From Away.

Monthly Review: June

This month’s Monthly Review. Do you write a similar post? I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. You can see others here.

Highlights

  • The Mummies and I went to the Quiz Night at Church. We had a great time and it was lovely to hang out as us rather than just around the school gates waiting for the kids.
  • My Sister in Law and I had lunch and discussed her crazy idea for a “side hustle”. It’s exciting but hard to try and not take over lol.
  • I attempted to go and give blood but my bus was delayed. Then when I got to the session, they were short-staffed so the delay was growing and growing. I tried to be patient but in the end, I just had to get on the bus and go home again so that I could be at school in time to collect Jaxon.
  • Ikea Field Trip – My friend and I took our boys to the soft play/kids area at Ikea while we grabbed breakfast. We also went around the store to get some bits that we needed.
  • We talked about which paints we are going to use to work on our house. We’re getting there on the kitchen but there is still some to do. Unfortunately, as we’re both trying to do it around our jobs and looking after Jaxon. I’m thinking I should have taken more before pictures though so that I can show what we’ve been up to.
  • We took Jaxon to the cinema to see Toy Story 4. I wasn’t sure whether he’d sit still through the whole film but he did pretty well. He was sat with Chris right near the aisle so they could both get out if a quick break was needed. Grandma and Grandpa came with us too which Jaxon thought was great fun.
  • Jaxon had two birthday parties which was good fun for him.
  • Mum, My brother and I went to see Yesterday at the cinema – loved it! Especially that epic cameo! (I’ll happily discuss more but I think it’s better if it comes as a surprise of sorts).

Projects Worked on in June

I’m working on a couple of projects but as they are presents they are surprises. Once they are complete I’ll share. In between them, I am working on finishing my Juniper Tee by Verity Castledine (aka Truly Hooked). I’m really trying to finish it before we go to Fibre East at the end of July so that I can show it off.

Books Read in June

  • Christmas Spirit by Nicola May
  • Always with You By Hannah Ellis
  • Beyond The Lens by Hannah Ellis
  • Beneath The Stars by Hannah Ellis
  • Goodness, Grace and Me by Julie Houston (In Progress)
  • Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston (In Progress – I had started this but it’s almost the middle of the series so I’ve gone back to the beginning of the series)

Series Watched

  • iZombie (Netflix)
  • Good Omens (Amazon Prime)
  • New Amsterdam (Amazon Prime)
  • Designated Survivor (Netflix)
  • Tales of The City (Netflix)
  • My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (Netflix)

Films watched

  • The Emoji Movie
  • Toy Story 4
  • Yesterday
  • Always Be My Maybe (Netflix)
  • I Am Mother (Netflix)
  • The Wife (Netflix)

YouTube

I’ve added a bunch of YouTube channels to my subscriptions including Knorpp and South, Grace for The Millers and Anomalily.

Podcasts

I’ve been listing to more podcasts especially while I was working on the kitchen painting. I love Rocking the Cradle and That Sounds Fun.

Top Posts Viewed in June

Recently Off The Needles: Baby Kimono

Back in February, my lovely friends Mel and Daniel announced that they were pregnant and expecting their first baby. They shared their story of infertility and their IVF journey to get to where they are. You can read that here.

I decided that I would cast on a cardigan or something along those lines. Mostly because a cardigan would pack a bit smaller than a blanket and would travel a little better from the UK to Australia.

I finished quite a while ago but finally got it into the mail about two weeks ago and as it’s arrived as it’s final destination, I thought I’d share the picture.

The pattern is the Baby Kimono Pattern by Elizabeth Jarvis. It’s available on Ravelry. It’s a really easy pattern to follow as it’s pretty much almost knitted all in one piece (I think it’s just the second arm that’s knitted separately and then joined on but it’s really easy to do).

Monthly Review: May

This month’s Monthly Review. Do you write a similar post? I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. You can see others here.

Highlights

  • I had a number of exciting meetings throughout May talking about new ideas and things that are going to happen. One meeting was with my ex-colleague. I was so nervous I had butterflies the size of Pterodactyls or something! I dashed from one thing to another that day and really felt like I never had any time to process what was going on!
  • Dad and I went out for Brunch at The Longholme, here in Bedford. We took part in a Walking Quiz during the Easter Holiday and we won the selfie competition that was part of the quiz. (Our winning selfie is here. Yes, Jaxon is wearing his Christmas jumper!)
  • Chris and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary. He was trying to meet a deadline for work stuff, so we went out for tea on the Thursday before our anniversary with Jaxon and decided that we’d put a pin in official celebrations and come back to them when needed. The Saturday rolled around and as Chris said dinner was ready there was a ring at the doorbell. Chris had organised at the last minute for his sister to come to babysit while we went out. We went to the cinema to see The Hustle. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but it was still good. I’m a massive Anne Hathaway fan but feel like Rebel Wilson plays the same character in a different outfit sometimes.
  • My lovely friend Rachael asked if I would man her bookshop for the day. OHYGOODNESS! That’s like being trusted with her baby for the day. I worked in a well-known High Street Bookshop for my Work Experience when I was 15 but that was the last time I worked in a Bookshop. Well, on the whole, I think it went okay and I got over my nerves after a couple of customers. They did come back though when I had a couple of customers come in one after the other asking for recommendations and I couldn’t think straight! Well, I hope the ones that I did recommend found a loving home!
  • That same day we were off to see the UK Touring Cast’s version of Les Miserables at Milton Keynes Theatre. We had dinner at Bella Italia first then headed around to the theatre. Our seats were the front row of the Upper Circle which was an amazing view, especially for the Barricade bits. (I can’t find the trailer for that one but we’re going to see the Staged Concert in London later this year so you can see the trailer for that here).
  • Having been to the theatre, we drove home singing along to the soundtrack at the top of our lungs. When my Mum tried to start a conversation, my brother just got louder – it was so funny! I dropped everyone home and headed home to bed. I got up the following morning not feeling right, but right enough to still go serve on the team liked I’d committed to at church. When I got home I snuggled on the sofa while Jaxon played and waited for the feeling to pass. Chris arrived home and we discussed about when we needed to leave for Spud’s birthday party. He asked me a question and I knew I needed to get to the loo or sink quickly – either way I couldn’t stay sat where I was. Well, that was it, anything I’d eaten came back up and I was certainly not going anywhere other than my bed! Chris was amazing and took Jaxon to the party even though he didn’t really know anyone there. I ended up sleeping on and off for 15 hours in the end once you add up that I slept on and off all afternoon and then pretty much solidly between midnight and about 7 am. I missed knitting group on Monday and cancelled some work I was due to do on Tuesday. We were sure it was food poisoning rather than a stomach bug but in case it was a bug, I decided I needed to stay home.
  • Then with it being half term at the end of May, we were on holiday for a week – yeah!!

Projects Worked on in May

  • Pink Floral Baby Blanket – this was delivered to the receiver at the beginning of June. The Mummy of the receiver shared a lovely photo with me of it being used. The cropped version was shared on IG here.
  • Blues and Greens Granny Square Blanket – this one is going to take me a bit longer but it’s getting there.
  • Juniper Tee by Truly Hooked – It feels like I started this ages ago! I completed a bit more in May but it’s then got put on hold after I lost the other yarn I was going to use to complete it! NO!

Books Read in May

  • 6 Caledon Street by D. van de Merwe
  • The Cottage at Hope Cove by Hannah Ellis
  • Escape to Oakbrook Farm by Hannah Ellis
  • Summer at the Old Boathouse by Hannah Ellis
  • Whispers at the Bluebell Inn by Hannah Ellis
  • The House at Lavender Lane by Hannah Ellis
  • Friends Like These by Hannah Ellis
  • Christmas with Friends by Hannah Ellis
  • My Kind of Perfect by Hannah Ellis
  • A Friend in Need by Hannah Ellis
  • Beyond the Lens by Hannah Ellis (in progress)

(Thank you to Amazon Kindle Unlimited and going camping for a week! Yes I found an author that I liked and had to read all her books pretty much!)

Series Watched

(Not full seasons btw!)

  • iZombie (Season 5 started in May)
  • Tiny House Nation (New show that started on Netflix)
  • Chicago Fire
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • 911 (Mum told me this was the first one I had to watch when I got home!)

Films watched

  • Wine Country
  • The Hustle

Top Posts Viewed in May

Goals for June

  • Catch up on blogging and try to get some posts scheduled ahead of time.
  • Keep up the reading (maybe not at the same pace as in May but at least clear a few off the list!)
  • Keep my Bullet Journal going – it definitely works better for me and is more flexible to fit what I need to go in there.
  • Exercise more and eat healthier (I’m attempting #100DaysofSweat with YesTheory)

Eight Forty Four

Eight forty four is when my Mum rang me a few Saturdays ago.

I thought she was calling to talk about going to the Craft Fair at church. No, her call was more urgent and life changing. Grandad had passed away in the small hours of the morning.

He’d not been entirely right for a while and back in November-ish, Dad had a very matter of fact conversation with us. The doctors had said that Grandad could have weeks but that would be it. Six months later and he was still going but after being admitted to hospital about 10 days ago, it was sort of the beginning of the end.

Four generations: Grandad, Dad, Jaxon and I at Jaxon’s Dedication
Four generations: Grandad, Dad, Jaxon and I at Jaxon’s Dedication

Jaxon, Chris and I had been sat in bed chatting and playing games on my iPad. So when Mum’s tone was serious, I rolled over and sat up on my side of the bed. Chris knew by my tone and body language that something was up. 

I got off the phone and said I needed to go to the hospital if he could look after Jaxon. Unlike Grandma who was unconscious when we’d get the call that she didn’t have long left, Grandad had already gone. I wasn’t really sure about going to the hospital. My brother and cousins had decided that they weren’t going to go (or couldn’t go for various reasons) but I decided in the end I needed to go, even if it was just to support Dad while he and his siblings made the necessary decisions and plans that were needed. 

Chris and Jaxon took me to the hospital and I headed through the hospital to the lifts. I got to the lifts and as I got in the lift, Mum dashed in behind me, she’d been waiting for me in the corridor but I think I’d been in a bubble and sort of missed her as I went past. We headed up to the ward and Dad had come to meet us.

Dad walked Mum and I to the relatives room and my Aunt grabbed and gave me a squeezy hug and told me “It would be okay. Grandad was now with Grandma” We sat in a “relatives room” for a little bit chatting about what had happened etc. We talked about how Grandad had been telling the nurses all about his Great-Grandbabies – he’s got four boys and he was so proud of that fact! (Jaxon is the eldest and the most recent addition arrived just a few months ago) Dad then asked did I want to go and see Grandad. He warned me that it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight and I could leave whenever I wanted to and if I changed my mind I didn’t have to go and see him. I did go and see him. It was good to say goodbye but it was a bit strange. After all the soul of what made him Grandad was no longer there. That had gone and it was just his body left. We went back to the relatives room and then chatted some more. Dad spoke to my Uncle on the phone and they discussed various bits. Between my Uncle being away for work and my cousin being away for work, fitting in the funeral was going to be a challenge but they’d figure it out. In the end my Uncle said to book it and he’d figure out work around it. With it being a Saturday, a lot of the legal bits couldn’t be dealt with until Monday so we decided to head home. Chris had taken Jaxon out for breakfast after they’d dropped me off at the hospital so I headed home to an empty house. I decided I’d still go up to church for the craft fair and went to get my bike out. I figured the head space of cycling up there might be good. It wasn’t that easy in the end and I had to walk my bike back home again just in time for the boys to be home with the car! So I switched to the car and headed up to church, I chatted to a few of my friends who had stalls there and then headed back to the car. I drove along the road that church is on and decided I needed to go and see my other Grandma and Grandad. I just needed to go and put my arms around them and give them a big hug while I could. In the end, I sat on Grandma’s sofa and had a cry. She held my hand and talked to me about all sorts of things. I told her how I’d been talking about her at Community Group and stories she’d tell me about God providing when her and Grandad needed it.

So that was the beginning of April, then we headed towards the end of April for the funeral. The service would be on the Monday after my birthday at the Crematorium, we’d then go for lunch together after. I got Jaxon up and took him to school then came home and didn’t do a lot. I didn’t have time to go to knitting group – I tried to figure out if I could do both but I would have to leave knitting group almost as soon as I had arrived so that I could be at the Crematorium in time. The service was lovely (Well as lovely as a funeral can be). I cried lots through it, I’d forgotten to bring any tissues so ended up using the sleeve of my cardigan at least to wipe my eyes. (Oops!) The service ended with Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise. I got to meet my Cousin’s son for the first time which was lovely and got to catch up with other family members – just wish it had been on a happier occasion.

I started this post back at the beginning of April, I tried to put into words what I was feeling but I’m not always sure it came out clearly and so I kept saving it as a draft and then leaving it there for a bit. So now we’re in May and I’m adding some more thoughts to it and hitting publish.