Archives For London

Seasons Greetings

December 4, 2016 — 53 Comments

This is my first Christmas living in London and the festive spirit is everywhere you go, lots of lovely carol singing everywhere from the shopping streets to the tube stations.  It is quite magical to walk around the city after dark and admire the beautiful Christmas lights and to soak up the atmosphere.  I am such a child at heart and have put up a Christmas garland in my room to get into the spirit, but I can’t wait to go home once we break up from College in a couple of weeks time as I know my Mum and Dad will have the tree’s dressed and the lights twinkling.

It was such fun last weekend, while Caitlin was staying with me I took her along to Portobello Road market to have a rummage around and explore some of the shops and stalls.  Then as the sun set we traveled back into the City center so that I could share with Caitlin some of my favourite places to view the lights and enjoy the buzz. I managed to grab a few pictures to share with you as we walked around.

I would love to know what your favourite part of the holidays are and what you are most looking forward to. Mine are meeting up with family and friends, with no cooking, cleaning and laundry for a couple of weeks!

Yesterday I went to watch the Royal College of Music’s production of Mozart’s opera “La Finta Giardiniera”.  The students from the opera school really embraced their characters and it was exciting to watch them perform their roles with such enthusiasm and skill, I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some very funny moments which were well adapted to the modern era in which it was set.  One of my favourites was during the first act which was set in a large gazebo for a wedding, similar to the marquee that they use in the Great British Bake Off.  The singers showed their diversity as they multi-tasked, rolling out tables and organising place settings whilst singing.  I think I need to start practicing whilst I am mopping the floor or using the vacuum 🙂

 

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Me and Caitlin Redding ( she performed the role of Carmen this summer with me )

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What Am I Doing Next?

January 31, 2016 — 97 Comments

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The decision about what to do next for my Masters’ study has been on my mind all month.

Scotland has a well-being dividend, after three and a half years here I’ve settled into the wider community, made relationships in and out of college and have a lot of comfort.  There is very little travelling because it’s a compact, cultural City and I receive great support from lots of fabulous people.  In fact Glasgow is full of warm and generous people and has been a great home for me for my first spell away from my parents.

London is billed as having ‘a cultural life that is unsurpassed anywhere in the world’.  London city life can seem unwelcoming, they say people on public transport and in the street avoid eye contact.  I put this to the test and I get lots of smiles back and have had a few chats on public transport.  I met a fabulous elderly man in the café at the Royal Albert Hall and sat next to him whilst I ate my soup and we had the most interesting conversation about his recent bereavement and how much he missed his wife and her love of the ballet, the Bolshoi and life, the time passed so quickly.

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I narrowed my choices down to The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and The Royal College of Music (RCM), London.  It is difficult because I know lots about the RCS, which I love, and much less about the RCM.  I have read the RCM prospectus from front to back several times, visited the institution a couple of times, and I did the tour.  The first page quote by The Director; Professor Colin Lawson says; “Choosing where to study is one of the most challenging decisions a musician ever makes” gulp!

The RCM welcome page says they are ‘ranked no 1 place to study Music by the Guardian’ newspaper’s UK university guide.  Also on the positive side they value independence and individuality, they offer ‘unparalleled performance opportunities, opening up the world and improving your performance’.  ‘The institution takes your musical future seriously from the day you arrive”.  They also hold numerous competitions and have three fully staged opera productions to audition for, watch and learn from each year.  On the downside studying in London is also expensive, double my current living costs and nearly double the annual tuition fee loan as the RCS very generously offered me a scholarship to help with my fees.  There are tube fares to take into account I think my brother pays £1500 each year for his travel card.

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However… I’ve accepted my offer to study at the Royal College of Music, I just want to take the opportunity to challenge myself and I feel very excited to take this leap of faith.  I’m looking forward to working there and I hope that it will be an interesting couple of years. Some people think I have a masterplan but frankly, as all my long term blog friends know, I pretty much feel around in the dark and grab onto any opportunity that passes by.  Before reaching my decision I really had spent the entire month in turmoil about my decision because Judith Howarth has been a fantastic vocal professor this year and has helped me to develop my vocal skills and performance, Judith is still working in the Industry and if I had the spare funds I would go out to Berlin in February to watch her perform in Peter Grimes.  Your teacher is very important as they act as your guide and mentor to help to nurture you and I have grown and learnt so much in Glasgow during my undergraduate studies. But I now feel that the time is right to move on and take the next step on my musical journey.
I feel this is more an “au revoir” than a good bye 🙂  and I am still looking forward to the rest of this year.

Happy New Year 2016

January 3, 2016 — 82 Comments

I hope everyone has had a Happy New Year.  I’ve had a wonderful time relaxing over the holiday and enjoying simple things with my family and a few good friends.  We celebrated the New Year with a short break in London.

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Down In The Kitchen

We visited the author Charles Dickens’ Museum at number 48 Doughty Street, well worth a visit, over five floors it was like walking back in time.   Nicholas Nickleby was written there.  His study was where he followed a self imposed strict regime writing between breakfast and lunch with no distractions.  When he lived there in 1837 he wore his hair long in the Regency period style.

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Books From Charles Dickens’ Study

His wife had two Children at this house already having an older child and the then the family moved after a couple of years.  The nursery of the house has a prison grille demonstrating the influence that his childhood experiences had on his later life. Being forced to work at 14 when his father was sent to debtors prison.

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On a wall in the museum section was a quote:

Mr Micawber’s famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness from David Copperfield:

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

Dickens loved the Christmas period and wrote novels to coincide and remind people to enjoy the seasonal celebrations.

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Outside Sadler’s Wells Theatre

A special treat was tickets to watch the newly knighted choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Sadlers Wells theatre the music was quite sublime composed by Tchaikovsky, one of my favourite composers, It retold the gothic styled fairy tale by Charles Perrault, featuring fabulous costumes designed by Lez Brotherston and brought to life by fabulous dancers who retold the story so well my Dad commented it was the first time he hadn’t missed speech in a piece of dance theatre.  My favourite dance was Princess Aurora and Caradoc the son of the dark fairy Carabosse truly fabulous dancing.

The cast was :

Aurora – Ashley Shaw

Leo – Dominic North

Count Lilac – Christopher Marney

Carabosse – Adam Maskell

Caradoc – Adam Maskell

We hadn’t realised we required tickets to watch the New Year fireworks at The Thames and all the viewing points were sold out, but there was a great atmosphere down on The Strand and we had quite a crowd to count down to the New Year and we just saw the top most fireworks explosions so it all turned out well.

I hope you all have a fabulous New Year with good health and happiness.

I am looking forward to a week of singing and I hope that you all have a fabulous week too 🙂

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Geraldine, Me and Rhys ( www.photomaestro.co.uk ) Just After My Photo-Shoot

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Checking Out The Shops On Carnaby Street

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We Finished Off Saturday Night With A Family Meal Out. This Is Me With My Younger Brother Tom.

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We Had A Quick Look Around Seven Dials Near Covent Garden Before Leaving The City Centre To Find My Student Digs For The Week.

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I Would Like To Say A Big Thank You To The Hope Scott Trust  Whose Generosity Made It Possible For Me To Rent This Lovely Room During My Stay In London To Attend The BYO Summer SchoolI   But You Know Me I Just Had To Brighten Up My Room For The Coming Week With A Few Home Comforts

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I Decided To Treat Myself To A Manicure To Start Off My Week Away, Can You Guess What Colour I Had My Toe Nails Done ? Just Click On The Picture To See 🙂