Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is optional!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

An Audience with Jeni Barnett

I promise I will get back to all the blogs I haven't done, but I had to write this one first.

Last night I was lucky enough to see An Audience with Jeni Barnett. It was absolutely brilliant.

For me the day had started out as a bit of a disaster, my friend couldn't make it so I had to go on my own, I drove almost 200 miles from Wales to Catford where the B&B I had booked had no record of my booking and was full, so of course the lovely outfit I had brought to change in to was still in the case in the back of the car! I almost had heart failure from driving across do people do it? by the time I had found somewhere to park (which was in a red zone....and being from outside London I had no idea what it meant so I kept my fingers crossed all night I wouldn't be towed or clamped) and got to the Theatre my knees were shaking.

At the Theatre I met up with the lovely Wayne Eagles and his partner Allan I had met them both at the Elaine Stritch evening, I will write that one up later. They saw I was on my own so pulled up a chair for me at their table so I didn't look like a saddo. So my very grateful thanks to them both and the lovely people they were sitting with who were all in the business of TV in one form or another.

We took our seats in a very intimate setting which made you feel like you were part of her family, all of whom were in the audience. Jeni came on to the music "I get knocked down but I get up again", and then I almost had heart failure for the second time, when she said "Where's Marmite" I put up my hand thinking she would just say hello, but no she made me go up with her and tell everyone why she calls me Marmite and me in my jeans as my lovely outfit was in the back of the car!

I know I have mentioned the lovely Jeni many times here, and you all know I am a huge fan, but I swear I am not just saying it, the show was bloody brilliant. It was touching, moving, inspiring and very, very funny, by the time I left my cheeks felt like I had been a tour guide at Disney all day they were hurting so much.

After the show The Oosbind, the lovely Jim came over to say hello to me and gave me a big hug,then Jeni came out front so I got another hug, and a chance to tell her how great the show was and I wish it had been longer I could have listened to her all night, I really wish there had been time for me to tell her in person how much she inspires me, how kind she is, how compassionate and how much her support has meant to me over the past year and a half, but there were dozens of other people waiting to see her as well.

I found my car which thankfully had not been clamped, and drove almost 200 miles home, I arrived at 1.15am still smiling. I know she is doing the show again, so drop whatever you are doing to get to see it, I know I will be going again....and again......and again.

Keep smiling
Marmite xx

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


OK I know I have been completely rubbish at updating this - no excuses ...busy....working to pay the bills and rehearsing!

I need to tell you about a fantastic weekend in Whitney with the girls for CJ's birthday. A brilliant dinner at Raymond Blancs, and a stop in a yellow field for a photo op. A fabulous trip to London, lunch in Baltic and a Liza Minnelli concert that blew me away! Another trip to London another amazing lunch in Baltic and Elaine Stritch at Liberty that also blew me away.

However I am just of the USA for a whole month play Gwendolen Fairfax in "The Importance of being Earnest" so it will have to wait. I'm all packed, lines and moves are learned and ridiculously excited about opening this space, I'll be back on 8th September and will endeavour to write 4 months worth of blogging in a weekend!!!

Keep smiling
Love Marmite xx

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Welsh BAFTAS ....faaaabulous!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Welsh BAFTAS this year by my very good friend Teresa, I had my dress designed by Katie Smith a wonderful young designer who runs Ceridwen, it was gorgeous (I know I should have moved the dog basket!).

For the first time it was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, hosted by the gorgeous Gethin (Blue Peter) Jones and it was a wonderful night. It began with a champagne reception, it was there I accidentally touched Ruth (Nessa) Jones bum, she was very gracious and really lovely! then we went in to the beautiful auditorium to watch the award ceremony. Ioan Gruffuth won the Sian Phillips award and the amazing Glyn Houston was awarded the Special Bafta for his outstanding contribution. He joked as an 81 year old "Growing old is really not all that bad. Sometimes you put porridge in the tea pot and you always lose your comb and then find it in your hair. "But you can always do radio."

After the show we made our way downstairs to the tables that had been set out in the foyer below for dinner. I walked down the stairs with Ioan Gruffuth, Joanna Page and her mum, Ruth Jones, Eve Myles and her lovely fiance Brad Freeguard (who I knew from my days a Young Farmer) Mike Leigh and lots of lovely people.

I spoke to Suzanne Packer from Casualty who was a real sweetie, and by this point both of us had removed our shoes and were cooling our feet on the marble floor! We enjoyed a three course meal with lovely wines provided by Ballantynes and then moved to the Tides Bar at St Davids Hotel for a VIP party.

Teresa and I grabbed a drink and I spoke to Eve Myles (who I had never met before) she immediately grabbed my hand told me she was quite spiritual and wanted to know if people always asked me for advice or told me their problems, then she said that I was a very special person who was put here to make other people feel better.......this may have been the wine talking who knows?, but she told me to accept it, use it and not to be frightened of it as it was a gift. Then she asked me to look after her seat while she went to the loo! So I spoke to Rebecca Harris who plays Des in Belonging brilliantly and was a real sweetheart, I spoke to Eve and Rebecca for ages they were two of the loveliest people I have ever met.

I left the house at 3.30pm on Sunday, got home at 4.30am on Monday and a great night was had.
Keep smiling
Marmite xx

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Baltic Birthday

I know it's late as my birthday was the end of March, but I have been a bit useless at writing lately. So it was my last birthday before the big 40...which I have to say doesn't really bother me as I still feel 20 in my head, it's just a bit of a surprise when I look in the mirror!

Anyway the birthday weekend began when Sarah and I drove up to Oxford on the Friday night to CJ's, we arrived late, grabbed a quick beer and all went to bed after watching American Idol (CJ of course was fast asleep by this time). Saturday morning we got up, had some coffee just in time for Moyna's arrival. We got into the cars and made our way to the Big Smoke. I had found a lovely hotel just by Paddington Station, so we drove there and although it was too early for check in, they let us leave our bags, and off we went into the City.
We got to Trafalgar Square by 11am, I noticed the new "modern" sculpture on the plinth ....I don't get modern art, to me it looked like a CD rack you might have picked up in IKEA. Anyway I digress. We walked into in a pub called the Pitcher and Piano, CJ asked if it was too early for cocktails....the lovely barman said "It's never too early for cocktails" and he was right, so we had a few cosmopolitans, a little light lunch, and then made our way to the Vaudeville Theatre as we had tickets to see The Importance of Being Earnest.....I have been lucky enough to be cast as Gwendolen in a production of the same which will be touring America (Florida and Alabama) in August, so thought it would be good to see, especially as the amazing Penelope Keith was playing Lady Bracknell. We took our seats, CJ promptly fell asleep, and only woke up at the applause for the interval. Penelope Keith was a riot, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

After the theatre we went back to the hotel for a quick freshen up, quick it was too by the time we got back it was time to leave again, but we spruced and changed and made our way to Southwark Tube station, as we had a table booked at the fabulous Baltic. As usual the food, the service, the atmosphere, everything was first rate. We drank too much wine, and far too many of the wonderful vodka shots, I have been abstaining from alcohol for a while, and so, the few that I had went straight to my head - Your Honour - I present the following pictures as evidence of a wonderful night.

Before the wine and vodka

During the vodka

After the Vodka! It's all in the eyes! Oh and I'm refusing to add the picture of me and CJ fast asleep on the tube!

Mmm I rest my case!
We did have the most fantastic time and Baltic is a place I can't recommend highly enough.
Keep Smiling
Marmite xx

Sunday, 6 April 2008

What happen's in Vegas....stays in Vegas....sort of (3)

Tuesday was the best day of the trip, but we still had a great time on Wednesday, we decided to try taking the bus, and managed to get all the way to the outlet mall (we even did a bus change so I was impressed) I love the outlet malls in the US, I got some great clothes for my gorgeous Niece Cara from Ralph Lauren that would have been £70 over here but cost me £14, I got a Guess handbag that I saw in John Lewis for £120 for £30 (well technically I got Sarah to get it for my birthday!) but you get the drift.

After the outlet mall we got off the bus and stopped at the Stratosphere, it is right at the bottom of the strip but you can't miss it, it is almost 1,000 ft high, at the top is a revolving restaurant, and three thrill rides, I had already been on two of them, but I couldn't get Sarah to go on any of them, maybe when you look at the pictures you'll see why, bear in mind you are 1,000 ft high!

We left the Stratosphere, took our shopping back to the hotel and attempted to fit it into our cases...... then got showered and went out for the evening . We had booked a table in a restaurant in Mandalay Bay called Red Square ( you know me and my Eastern European/Russian type food) it was amazing. It was a nod to Imperial Russia with a headless statue of Stalin outside, a huge variety of Vodka at the bar, a fabulous decor of red velvet and antique gold, a wonderful atmosphere.It's where I discovered my new favourite drink the apple martini, to start I had the most amazing goats cheese salad with raspberry vinaigrette, then I had one of the best things I had ever tasted adzhika-spiced pork tenderloin - Georgian pomegranate wine reduction, chrov basmati rice pilaf with apricots, pine nuts & bing cherries, crispy leeks, radicchio & chervil salad. I didn't want to eat the last mouthful because I didn't want it to end. There was no room for dessert but the table next to us had a variety and they looked fantastic, they wouldn't have looked out of place at the Tate Modern. I can't recommend Red Square enough. Thursday was our last day, so we spent the morning at the pool, then went back to all the shops we had decided to buy things in but changed our minds, and in the evening we went to Freemont Street to the old casinos. It was a brilliant atmosphere and a lot cheaper than the the main strip, we watched the light show, had a few more apple martini's and made our way back to the hotel for a nightcap.

We just about managed to fit everything in our cases to get home. Moyna picked us up from the airport in London, and we just got home in time to watch Wales win the Grand couldn't have been any better.

Keep Smiling
Marmite Girl xx

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

What happen's in Vegas....stays in Vegas....sort of (2)

Now where was I ...oh yes on to Tuesday, quite possibly the best day of the trip, I think I forgot to mention that on the Monday night we did go to a Chinese place and had the most wonderful supper, we each got a fortune cookie ...mine said "You will be lavished with wonderful things tomorrow", Sarah's said " let go and put your trust in others"........ keep that in mind!

Tuesday morning we decided to give Starbucks and the light breakfasts a miss and go straight to the buffet, still forgot the stick everything on one plate thing, and only managed a bit of fruit and some scrambled eggs. We were seeing the Divine Miss M in the evening so we figured we didn't want to wear ourselves out. We did a little shopping after breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning relaxing by the pool. About 3pm we grabbed half a sandwich each and then went to get ready to walk up to Caesar's Palace to see the show. We arrived and grabbed a quick apple martini (my new favourite drink)and then went into the Colosseum. They were selling cocktails inside in "souvenir plastic glasses" of course, all renamed things like "Beaches" or "The Divine Miss M" - I went for Beaches (which was bright blue) Sarah went for the other one which was a baileys creamy concoction, and we took our seats, which were right at the front.

Now the thing with Caesar's is if you take a camera with you to the show, you have to check it in at the front desk and then queue for ages to get it back at the end of the evening, so we didn't bother taking our cameras. I think the reason is that they have photographers in the auditorium that stuck a feather bower around your neck, stuck you in front of the Bette Midler backdrop, took your picture and then charged a ridiculous price for a copy. I said to Sarah just let her take our picture but we won't buy it at the end. With that the three guys next to us heard our Welsh accents so asked where we were from and started chatting (there was still 1/2 hour til showtime at this point - in case you thought we were talking through the show!) anyway they were really nice guys, and they bought us another cocktail, and we carried on chatting and then the show started. Bette Midler was AMAZING although surprisingly tiny, I couldn't believe how little she was, she was funny, she was one of the best singers I have seen live, she was outstanding, and I would highly recommend if you get the chance to go and see her.

During the show, one of the guys we were chatting to, I feel bad calling them guys, it was Jim, Frank and Dave, passed Sarah a bag and in it was two sets of the photographs that had been taken in lovely folders with a picture of Bette on the other side, they gave them to us and said "thanks for being lovely company" they then asked if we wanted a lift back to our hotel in their Limo......Sarah's face was saying " My Mother told me not to go anywhere with strangers" but me, always the reckless one said "Yes that would be lovely" then they asked if we would join them for dinner. Again I said "yes that would be lovely" and Sarah agreed.

We arrived at the Monte Carlo casino and into a gorgeous Italian place, we were given a table and Dave tipped the waitress a $100 and asked if she would look after us, he then gave the wine waiter $100 and ordered wine that was $200 a bottle (it was called Caymus and I've still got the cork) I have always wondered if £100 a bottle wine really tasted that much better than £10 wine, and I have to say IT DOES it was like drinking velvet. Anyway the waitress came over and asked were we ready to order....Dave said " We are not ordering you bring us out what you think we would like" ...I felt like I was in a film. Half an hour later our table looked like Balthazar's feast. I swear the waitress had brought one of everything on the menu, we ate, drank and enjoyed wonderful company and conversation. The guys dropped us back at our hotel, after a tour of the strip in the the fortune cookies were right, Sarah let go and trusted people and I was lavished with wonderful things!

Will do a bit more tomorrow
Keep Smiling
Marmite xx

Monday, 17 March 2008

What happens in Vegas....stays in Vegas...sort of

Well what a time, a week in Las Vegas is not a relaxing holiday I have to say, I think this should be the city they say never sleeps not New York!

We arrived on Saturday after a long drive to the airport in London from Wales, then a 10 hour flight, we checked into the hotel (The Luxor) and made the fatal error of pretending to unpack but actually falling asleep for 2 hours! I forced myself to get up, get showered and go out to dinner, small problem we had arrived in Vegas at the same time as 144,000 delegates for the worlds biggest construction Expo! no tables to be had at any restaurant without a reservation, so burger and chips it was. Sarah and I managed to stay awake long enough to eat, have one drink and try our luck on the slots, Sarah obviously had beginners luck and turned $2 into $64, I on the other hand didn't do quite so well!

Sunday we walked the entire length of the strip, it took four hours, I slipped into the Apple shop and spent half my weeks budget on a new IPOD (well you can't take it with you) then we walked all the way back to NewYork NewYork Casino and went to the bar called Nine Fine Irishmen, now I don't know who they were but they run a great bar. We met a lovely man called Bill who was a pilot for a famous Basket Ball Player and chatted for ages, they also had a really good singer there who asked where we were from, when we said Wales I was expected the usual reply of "where? oh England" but no he launched straight into The Green Green grass of Home for us. Five Jameson's and ginger later we weren't good for much else but the buffet table, now I have found out from trial an error that there is a fine art to buffet eating, I made the mistake of going up and getting a small salad, coming back and eating it, then getting up again to get something but by the time I had looked, chosen and got back to the table I was too full to eat anything else, the major league buffeters on the other hand I noticed had at least three plates in their hands, got everything at once, salad, main course, dessert and wolfed them all down before they realised they were full, so there's the trick get everything in one go and then you don't get chance to fill up.

On Monday we did the "Miracle Mile of Shops" again it took us hours, but we did keep stopping to look in shops where we couldn't afford to buy anything, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Gucci, you know the ones with no prices on anything!
We stopped for lunch at the Paris Casino they have a scaled down working version of the Eiffel Tower, and the restaurant is half way up with fabulous views of the Bellagio Hotel as you can see. They call the restaurant "The Eiffel Tower Experience" and you can see why, we were led past the kitchens and given some steak tartare appetisers on arrival, then we were led to our table by the window, the waiter took our order and then gave us a tiny chestnut flan, it tasted divine. Sarah and I both chose the butternut squash soup (gorgeous) and I had chicken Parmesan with cabbage and bacon, while Sarah had an asparagus souffle omelette. Luckily we decided to share a creme brulee, as when it arrived it was enormous. Coffee was served in individual silver coffee pots, and had the fountains gone off at the Bellagio it would have been perfect. We did have a really boring waiter though, and kept listening to the waiter on the table opposite who was charming, witty and helpful, we couldn't help wishing he was our waiter too. After lunch we walked back to the Luxor and spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool. After a few hours we went back to our room showered and walked up to Caesars Palace for a few drinks, we took two nice seats at the bar ordered some drinks and then discussed what we were going to do the next day, just then some loud music started up and two scantily clad girls got up on the bar in front of us, with their feet about two inches from our drinks and started gyrating, I though Sarah was going to choke neither of us knew where to look, we finished our drinks a bit sharpish and left!
Still jet lagged so will finish up tomorrow ....keep smiling
Marmite xx