An Actors Blog . . .

Thursday, 30 August 2012


My new blog has really started to take off folks! ENJOY!
I Have A New Blog

It is true folks - My 'Actors Blog' is going to become a little stagnant over the next few months. You may have noticed the decline in my posts recently anyway and for this I can only apologise as I have done over and over again on this blog many a time.

Currently, my mind has been a little tied up by other things. Namely, these sort of things:

Yes! I am to become a Mom on the 30 November and am the most excited I think I have ever been. So, I have decided to start my own 'Mommy Blog' I understand that some of you may despise of the idea and jump off the Jessica band-wagon. But, it is something that I really want to do and am having fun planning. It would be so lovely to see you all over there if I'm honest. It would be great to have you following my journey.

The new blog goes by the name of 'Moms The Word' and you can get to it here:

I really hope you enjoy my new blog as much as I hope you have enjoyed this one. This is not goodbye to 'An Actors Blog' it's merely - 'One will be back soon!'

Monday, 6 August 2012

Autumn 2012 Season

Arena Theatre Launches Autumn Season

So for those of tyou that have followed my blog for a while, you are probably aware that I currently work at the Arena Theatre and I am in charge of their marketing for the time being. Well, I wanted to dedicate this post to the launch of new season here at the Arena Theatre.

We have quite a wonderful Season lined up for you if I am honest. I am quite excited by it. We even have a week's worht of 'Mad Science' workshops for all kids aged 4 - 12 years in the October half term plus it has a Haloween theme to it for extra pizazz. So if you do have children that you are stuck with in the half term - you should enquire here at the Arena for fun things to do.

Of course, when launching a new season you always need a new brochure and this is where I have come in with Marketing this Season. The September - December seasons brochure has took many a proof and a spell check but I have managed to complete it with little mistakes (Fingers crossed) I am quite proud of myself in a way as a designer I am not but I have given it my best shot. I have managed to get an online version for you to browse through. See below:

All in all, quite a hot season. I believe it to be quite a 'celebratory' season if you like as we as a Theatre are doing alot to celebrate 'Black History Month' with some wonderful shows coming to us from the likes of Gazebo Theatre, Jamfolk, Fittings Multimedia Arts and many many more. Plus, we like to celebrate that old Festive time - Christmas with quite a few Christmas shows coming to us. This makes me happy as Christmas is easily the best time of year and one that I feel everyone should celebrate and enjoy! :-)

If you wish to know more about the Arena Theatre or the up-and-coming Season visit the website:

Or call the Box Office on:
01902 321 321

Or ... Simply, drop me a message and I will do my very best to help you in any way I can! :-)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Blog help ...


Folks! I have probably been quite an annoyance to those of you that follow my blog (Followed rather) as you can't really follow something that hasn't been followable for a while. Completely my fault as I have been quite a lazy blogger and for that I apologise. As I always do.

I have been 'umming' and 'ahhing' as to whether to keep my blog going or not? I am aware that I ask this question quite a bit and get a few answers. My reason for asking is - Do you find my blog enjoyable to read and would you wish to continue to do so on a daily basis? I really enjoy writitng my blog and find it a great way of looking back over all of the things that I have done and am proud of. I find it wonderful that I am able to share all my experiences with you guys and hear what you all have to say! 

I want to continue with my blog and become devoted and committed to it once again. But, I feel the need for a change and I would really appreciate your help in this change, if at all possible? When I say change - I do quite literally mean a change. I want to change the design of my blog and freshen it up etc:

When I posed a similar question to this to my followers a while back I did receive an email stating that I should perhaps focus my blog a bit more to one specific thing rather than my day to day things and as much as I respect that opinion and am very appreciative to the persons opinion - I don't feel that is necessary. I enjoy writing my day to day speel and I like the fact that my blog is somewhat random if you like. I know it isn't to everyone's tastes and perhaps I should listen to the advice of one reader but I am willing to decline that advice (gracefully of course.) and continue to write my life in words. However, that doesn't mean that I am not willing to write more or less on a specific topic etc etc:

Am I making sense? I fear I'm not - I regularly don't! :-)

So ladies and gents all I ask of you is - Blog ideas please? and any other opinions or comments on my blog would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blogger Break

Been Somewhere Nice?

I have (As I do often) been on a blogging break. Apologies if this has ruined anyones day, week, month or whatever. However, I'm sure it hasn't - Pretty sure in fact!

On a serious note - I do apologise if it has been a Little inconsistent of me. It's just I do have to do it from time to time. I like to just have a break from it the second it starts to feel a little chorish. Does that make sense? I want writing my Blog to be something fun and exciting but every now and then it loses it's flare and that is when I think to myself "I won't let that happen so I'm calling it a day until my inspiration comes back!" Well, now it has. I'm back! And I'm pleased to announce it! :-) (Hopefully, your as pleased to hear it.)

Now has anything pretty amazing happened since the last time we spoke? Actually, it has! I don't know if you remember but me and my good friend Maria have been taking part in the 'Gold Challenge 2012' for the Olympics. Guess what!?! We got invited to THE Olympic stadium to be 2 of the very first people to run 100 meters on the track and all in aid of 'Breakthrough Breast Cancer' as well. So all in all it was a stupendous day. The stadium is huge and the security to get into the place was immense. It was such a wonderful experience and both Maria and I will treasure it for a long time, we really will.

This photograph is of us being interviewed for 'ITV Central' - Couldn't get my words out and to make matters worse, I forgot to take my chewing gum out! Nice one!

So all in all - A nice break away from the blog had by me. My inspiration and motivation has returned and the old writers blog has been banished. I do hope you are all well and still wish to continue reading my rants and raves. It would be wonderful to hear from some of you. I'd like to know what you lot have been up to. Exciting things I hope.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

On The Other Hand

There Are Always 2 Sides To A Story

Yesterday was the first time I had ever heard of 'Kony 2012' and it was the first time I witnessed the film produced by the 'Invisible Children' and yes I was really taken a back by the whole thing. The film hit me in such a way that I wanted to do something about. I wanted to stand up and make a difference. The film had such an impact on me but then I suppose watching a film that is that well constructed, filmed and directed it is pretty hard not to be moved by it all.You would have to be fair in-human to not feel anger towards Kony after watching it.

However, because the whole thing moved me so much it got me very interested in 'Invisible Children' and learning a bit more about what they do and who exactly this Joseph Kony was. So, I went away and did my own research before I parted with any more emotion or any money for that matter (Sound selfish I know but you can never be sure. Especially not if you are trusting face value alone) After quite a bit of research and conversations with those around me I came across 2 blog posts that got me thinking and shed some new light on this craze.

The first post I found was from a Blog name 'The Educated Field Negro' (a really superb blog. So worth a read)

Below is the post I am referring to:

"I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.

KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’m not alone.

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 31% went to their charity program (page 6)*. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money funds the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission.

Still, the bulk of Invisible Children’s spending isn’t on funding African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.” He’s certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.

As Christ Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, writes on the topic of IC’s programming, “There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. […] It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.”

Still, Kony’s a bad guy, and he’s been around a while. Which is why the US has been involved in stopping him for years. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony over the years. And they’ve failed time and time again, each provoking a ferocious response and increased retaliative slaughter. The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many children’s deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible. Each attempt brings more retaliation. And yet Invisible Children funds this military intervention. Kony has been involved in peace talks in the past, which have fallen through. But Invisible Children is now focusing on military intervention.

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re helping fund the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel it’s the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I don’t think most people are in that position, and that’s a problem.

Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on funding ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse.
If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Kony’s crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But let’s keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012"

My favourite quote from this post is - "Something isn't always better than nothing - Sometimes it's worse." - This is a point worth considering really. It isn't always the way things Pan but it is something that I feel people should think about before acting Naively.

I also found the following post regarding the 'Invisible Children' and this intrigued me quite alot.

Below is the post that I am referring to:

"EDIT ON MARCH 7, 2012: This post was originally written in 2006. As you read and comment, please consider that it has been over 5 years since I wrote my thoughts here. I personally still have the same concerns about IC that I did when I posted this and have chosen not to contribute to their cause. However, Uganda continues to hold a very special place in my heart. When I wrote this article, I supported and I continue to support relief efforts in Uganda through the work of Steve Hoyt at Engineering Ministries International (eMi), an organization with a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator. If you’d like, you can support Steve’s work in Uganda here: . To learn more about the work that eMi does in Uganda visit
Thanks for continuing to be a part of this important conversation.

Original Post:

Invisible Children (IC) swept the university campuses of America last year. The group wanted to mobilize college students to be aware of what happened in Uganda in recent years, the atrocious acts of Joseph Kony and his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). I heard about Invisible Children for the first time when I was researching Uganda. I was immediately fascinated by their website. It’s very well done, but I noticed one thing. It lacked real information. If you haven’t seen the film or know nothing about their purpose, let me catch you up to speed with my version. Three clueless college kids head to Sudan with no plans and no idea about what they’re going to find. They’re looking for a “story”. They leave Sudan and make their way into Uganda. They find some bad stuff going on there. So they made a MTV-esque DVD about what was happening there. They wanted to draw attention to what they found.

So far, this sounds good. However, there is a major, major problem. I’m going to compare what IC is doing to an analogy that I thought of this past summer when I was Uganda thinking about this issue. Imagine that today you heard about what happened in NYC and Washington DC on September 11, 2001 for the first time. You were shown a video of footage from that day. You saw the planes hit the towers, you heard President Bush’s address, you saw the Pentagon wreckage, you watch in horror as you see people plunge to their death, jumping from the burning towers. Now imagine that you are inspired by this disaster. You want to something to help. What if you went to NYC today, expecting to see piles of rubble to clean up? What if you went, expecting that there would be thousands of people in the streets crying, looking for loved ones? But what would happen when you arrived and discovered that there was none of this, but a whole host of other problems?

And back to Uganda. Uganda is no longer experiencing violence from the LRA. Yes, I said it. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but it is a truth. For about the last year, since before IC hit the scene, Kony and his troops have been pushed into Congo, into the Garamba National Forest there. He’s sick, starving, and on his last legs. For the first time, Uganda is in the middle of real peace talks and the rebels have laid down their arms and are assembling to make peace. Why? This is happening because Joseph Kony was defeated. The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) has beaten them back and Kony was sitting in Congo starving to death. Since March 2002, the UPDF has been allowed to carry out raids against the LRA into Southern Sudan and has even crossed into Congo, to the distress of most of the African community. Nonetheless, Operation Iron Fist, as this military offensive was called, has freed many child soldiers and sex slaves and brought them back to Uganda. The rebels again became very violent in 2003, but since 2004, the Ugandan government has been repeatedly beating the rebels and weakening them. Uganda is no longer allowed to enter Sudan or Congo to fight the LRA.

Invisible Children was founded in 2004, with the film crew filming in Uganda in 2003. Watching Invisible Children is watching old news. Will watching it alert you to what has occurred in Uganda? Yes, but it will not let you know what is happening there today.

Invisible Children is too late. It has taught us that MTV type media can get university students interested in a world crisis, the problem is it took too much time. Night commuting, outlined as one of the major problems in northern Uganda by the film, is practically non-existent now. Why? Peace is coming to the region. According to UN reports, children who still are commuting at night are not doing it because of safety concerns, but because they want to enjoy the amenities that NGO’s are offering in the towns, like Gulu, Kitgum, and Lira. At the peak of the commuting, there were between 30,000 and 40,000 children commuting. Now, estimates are below 10,000.

The scars of the 20 year conflict are everywhere in northern Uganda. I walked through internally displaced person (IDP) camps. I smelled, I listened, I saw, I touched, I tasted. I experienced Uganda. I saw people whose lives had been radically changed. I placed my hands on a woman whose lips had been cut off by the LRA. I walked with children whose parents had been killed. I sat on the foundation of a hut burned down by the LRA. I talked with people whose relatives had been abducted. I walked over land guarded by the UPDF. The landscape, the people, and the country itself has an immense burden to deal with.

Uganda has problems today. Their government is ridden with corruption. There are people still living in fear in IDP camps, afraid that violence will again return to their land. The education system is inadequate and many do not have the chance to go to school. For those who do work their way through the school system, there is a good chance that there will not be a job for them when they get even a university degree. Why doesn’t anyone want to do something about these problems? Why will thousands of people participate in IC’s Global Night Commute but not take the time to actually find out what is going on in Uganda today?

There have been many inspired to do more than just watch a DVD and sleep downtown for a night. However, that’s where we run into another problem. This summer, IC had a bunch of college students in northern Uganda wasting time and money. There were almost 30 people who were in Uganda this summer connected with IC and even more who were inspired to change the world and fly around it. That also sounds somewhat heart warming. Self centered American kids are flying around the world to change it. The catch is they don’t know what they are doing or where they are going. They are blindly making a problem worse by throwing thousands of dollars at something they don’t understand.

When I traveled into Southern Sudan, you could sense something was different there. There is a greedy spirit there that you can feel. Foreign aid had ruined South Sudan. People do not want to work, they want handouts. An entire generation has been cared for by the UN and other NGO’s. They are fed, clothed, protected, and sent to school without having to do anything. I walked through the market there and saw UNICEF tarps and blankets for sale. I could also buy Samaritan’s Purse shoe-boxes, filled with all sorts of American goodies. I thought back how I thought it was a good idea for me to send a shoebox filled with soap, toothpaste, bouncy balls, and a washcloth to a faraway land. What I realize now is that sending things, whether money, objects, or people to a place that I have no information on is a bad idea.

The problems that Uganda faces today cannot be fixed by hundreds of uneducated Westerners going there to “help”. As you read this article, think about how much you really know about the political situations in Uganda and throughout Africa that contribute to long lasting problems.

Africa as a whole needs to break free from foreign aid. Almost half of Uganda’s yearly budget is made up of foreign aid. I think that many of Uganda’s problems stem from its reliance on foreign support. If you want to read more on that, check out a Ugandan journalist named Andrew Mwenda. The aid to African nations is increasing the corruption there and encouraging these nations to continue this dependence on foreign nations and it does not encourage them to become totally self sufficient. When asked what rich nations should do to help Africa, Mwenda said,

So what is the solution? I’ve now written the first negative article I can find about Invisible Children. I also have suggested that we should think about cutting foreign aid and debt relief to African nations.

If you’ve seen the old news that Uganda has to offer and are disturbed, I encourage you to do some research and find out what is really going on in Uganda. I spent months before I went to Uganda researching the country. I talked to many people on the phone or with Skype, I emailed countless others, I read books, I monitored the news. If you want to find out what the situation is really like, find out. Don’t blindly fly yourself to a developing country like a Western idiot. I would also suggest finding out more about organizations that you support that work in foreign countries. Find out what their relationships are like with the local people and find out how they are grooming local people to take over their group. No aid organization should plan to be somewhere forever. If they do, they are not focused on solving the problem they are there to address.

Do not be fooled by slick video editing. Sleeping outside in downtown Pittsburgh will not help anyone who is still night commuting in northern Uganda. Perhaps you are now aware that there is a problem, perhaps you know that there is more to this world than just your country, your state, and your little hometown. What you may not know is that the US government is not going to get involved if it doesn’t benefit the American people. Remember Rwanda? It is up to you to figure out how to deal with this knowledge and the knowledge that your warm and fuzzy thoughts are not going to be the solution to this.

As of today, Uganda is still in a tedious peace process with the LRA, with both sides accusing each other of violating peace agreements. The good news is that they are still in the peace process and they’re doing it without the help of a foreign country that will attempt to benefit from the talks. Instead, using Rick Machar and South Sudan is helping to build ties with all those in that region. The LRA and the UPDF have now signed a second peace accord and hopefully this one will result in successful peace.

As I have written this over the past couple of months, I’m disappointed that I cannot offer a real solution to this problem. I wish that I had the answers for Uganda and those of you who are interested in doing something to help the people there. Unfortunately, I feel that I have done little more than to highlight problems there and then problems with our response to their problems. I learned so much while I was there, but I still have a lot that I can learn."
It is true that we should not be fooled or taken a back by fancy editing and sleek camera skills. However we should also not let people stop us from supporting causes that we feel strongly for. If you continue to want to back the 'Invisible Children' and 'Kony 2012' then please do so as it is completely up to you but it is always good to hear different points of view. When supporting a cause you should always allow both sides of a story to be clear in your mind. Only this way can you have the up-most trust in your decisions. I am in no way trying to tell you that 'Kony 2012' is wrong or that the 'Invisible Children' do not deserve your following, Facebook Picture, tweet or donation I am merely sharing opinions on the subject that I feel should be addressed and listened to. Once you have done so - Then feel free to pledge and what not but don't let a Fancy film take your breath away like it initially did mine.

Put it this way - If the film was not as well constructed and breath taking as it is or even if it didn't exist would you have 'Make Kony Famous as your status'?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Make Kony Famous

KONY 2012

Joseph Kony is one of the world’s worst war criminals and I support the international effort to arrest him, disarm the lRa and bring the child soldiers home.

A little confused by this post? Don't be! Just watch the video below and it will all make sense. I know it is 30 minutes long but it is worthy of your time. We need to get people talking about this. We need to show our support. If we don't - No one will.

This has shocked me to the core and has given me a huge urge to do something about it. So - I signed the pledge because I want to make a difference and stop this man. If like me you want to change it then sign the pledge also. Follow the link:

You can also like 'Invisible children' on Facebook:!/invisiblechildren

Let's help the Invisible Children by talking about this and spreading the word. The more people that know about it - the better! Sign the pledge if you feel as strongly as I do. It only take a few seconds out of your day - That is all!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Robert Lane

Mr Robert Lane Supports Alice Gold

You hear me speak of this fabulous Musician quite alot on here. That's because I am a very big fan and he is a very good friend and not to mention his wonderful talent. His music really is something special. Some of you may have checked his blog out already following on from previous posts of mine. If you haven't - Check it out! If you look to my left sidebar you will see a link to his blog or just click below:

So - The man himself will be supporting Alice Gold at the 'Hare and Hounds' Birmingham this evening. Pretty big stuff. I'm really excited by this as not only do I enjoy Robs music but I also enjoy Alice Golds tunes. You may know of her, I think her most well known song is run away love. See below.

So just to clarify for anyone who fancies going along this evening and you really should. I am more than sure that it will be worth it. You need to see this chappy perform - You really do. You will not regret it.

Hare and Hounds in Birmingham this evening. Alice Gold will be playing from 7.30 and Robert will be playing from 8.15. Tickets are £10 on the door.
Don't miss out!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Gold Challenge 2012

Challenge 1 - Completed

So Saturday the 3rd March 2012 saw Maria kavalieros and I complete our very first challenge. - Horse riding. What an absaloutley fantastic day we had!

Just to fill you in a little bit incase you are wondering what on earth we are going on about - My friend Maria and I have taken on the Gold Challenge 2012 in order to raise as much money as we can for Break Through Breast Cancer Care. The Gold Challenge is simple really, we have to complete 3 hours of 30 different Olympic sports. Simple? Okay, perhaps not. Perhaps it is a bit of a mammoth task but it wouldn't be a challenge if it wasn't slightly dfifficult now would it?

As we only embarked on this challege at the begining of the week Horse Riding was our first challenge and we would like to say a huge thank you to all the riders and instrutors at 'KA Equestrian Centre' Alverley - You were all so kind and helpful oh and not to mention Patient with Maria and I. Thank you so much. Your lovliness is really appreicated and has really helped us on our Donating journey.

3 hours straight of Horse Riding I hear you say?!? 3 HOURS STRAIGHT!?! - That's right 3 hours straight. We had 1 hour of learning in the ring. Here we learnt to control our horse and how to get him to obey us. I had a bit of a speed demon that didnt like to be behind always wanted to be in front. So I had to show him who was boss :-) ... It didn't work Ronnie had a mind of his own. (I liked that about him though, He was a free spirit.) Marias horse Murphy on the other hand was very well behaved - He did really well. After a few in and outs around cones it was time for the big 2 hour hack. WOW! This was brilliant it really was. We were both a little nervous as horses are very un-predictable animals but we had got it into our heads that if were going to come off we were going to come off and that was that. So, off we went and it was really lovely to be strolling along open road and lanes in something other than a car. Every now and then Ronnie got bored of following and would perform a little jog to speed the other horses. We even managed a trot did Maria and I. It took us a few attempts but we soon mastered the up, down, up, down technique.

We are working our hats. I had so many layers on (Michellin Man)

We had such a wonderful day and cannot wait to take on the next challenge. This being Archery next week.

If you would like to sponsor Maria and I please visit - and hit the donate button. The more we raise the better. Thanks folks.

Also why not like our Gold Challenge page on Facebook to keep yourself updated:

More photographs to come very soon. (Me being the numpty that I am, left my camera in a friend car!)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Wolverhampton A Blaze!

Not a very good day for Wolverhampton City today. A fie at 'Carvers' yard has caused quite a distress in the City with Students having to be shipped out of their halls of residence, cars having to be abandoned on car parks, windows having to be shut all day and not to mention the huge black cloud that has been looming over the City all day. Not good at all.

On the upside I have heard that all is calm now and the fire is under control. Thank Goodness. I hope all you Wolverhamptoners stayed safe today and please remain to do so. I have been told that the Railway Station is back up and running and as are all the roads barr the slip road running down the side of 'Carvers Yard.'

Hopefully the City will pull together and get everything sorted as 'Carvers' was a pretty big place here in Wolverhampton.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Gold Challenge 2012

Raising Money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Some of you may remember my 'Skydive' for Breakthrough Breast Cancer back in 2010 and how much money I managed to raise. A big thank you to all those that helped me with donations for that particular event.

Well another fund raising challenge has come my way. This year, with my good friend Maria kavalieros we will be taking on 'The Gold Challenge 2012' And what a challenge it is going to be. But, I am more than excited to be doing it and the fact that I am doing it for a superb cause and charity makes my desire to push myself even stronger.

Basically the Gold Challenge is as follows:

Both Maria and I must complete 3 hours training in each of the following 30 sports:


Horse Riding,
Modern Pentathlon,
Wheelchair basketball,
Table Tennis,

So we attend a session or a few lessons in each one these sports and we then receive a certificate to say we have completed it.

It is a bit of a challenge to say the least but we have already embarked on our journey. We are looking for your help in many ways really and we will appreciate any support that we receive. It would be great if anyone could:

*Help us with the above sports. As in do you know of any clubs, coaches, trainers etc that can assist us in our 3 hour learning? A huge thank you already goes out to Wolverhampton Archers for providing us with 3 hours free archery and a local Horse riding club for giving us 3 hours free Horse Riding lessons. If you like these super companies you can help us in our fund raising mission by helping us find venues that would be super.

*Sponsor us! It would be wonderful if we could raise well above our donation target. You can sponsor us here:

I will also pop a widget onto my left sidebar which will make donating alot easier for you.

*Spread the word. Like everything - we need a little help spreading the word and letting people know about what we are doing. If you could help us with this that would be super. Why not share our just giving page on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, by email, by post etc:

Both maria and I really appreciate any support that we receive with this fund raising event. We will be keeping all our supporters updated on our just giving page by adding photographs and videos of all the sports that we have completed. We cannot wait!

The more money we can raise for Breakthrough Breast Cancer the better!

Oh and don't forget to enter yesterdays tea competition (See yesterdays blog post for details.)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Tea For Two

The Great British Cuppa (And a compeition -Sort of)

Now I enjoy a good pint, a good cider, a good glass of Vino and a good glass of many other a thing but noting quenches my thirst and desire for liquid like a good 'English Cup Of Tea' or a 'Brew' as some of you like to call it.
(Me having a brew.)

You are probably wondering why on earth I have decided to dedicate my Monday Blog Post to this cup of gorgeousness. Well - I found myself reading some tea facts this morning and it spurred me on to share my love for the bevvy and let me tell you it is BIG love.

Did you know?!? That last year us Brits guzzled 200,000,000 cups of tea a day, a day! Can you believe that. I mean that is some serious tea loving is it not? I reckon I put a pretty big dent into that figure if I am honest. I can get through a lot of tea in a day and I'm sure I am not the only one.

And ... This is where you all come in. I know you have been sat here reading this thinking "Yeah but where does the competion come in?" Well read on -

I am on the hunt for the best cuppa. Now I have heard of some pretty cool flavours in my time but I want to hear about more. So - to the one who can inform me of the greatest flavoured tea you will win the following:

* A box of my favourite tea bags! (Don't knock it - You don't know how good they are yet.)

I am looking forward to trying all these wonderful flavours of tea that you guys have got in store for me. Tis little competition will come to a close this Friday 2nd March at 11.00am so do get your entries in. :-) I will do my best to try all the tea advised.

To all those tea enthusiasts you need to check this website out:

Friday, 24 February 2012

Wolverhampton's Retro Scene

Soul, reggae, ska, funk & 50s rhythm and blues

(Firstyly, I wish to apologsie for no blog post yesterday. I was London-ing I'm afriad and the Old Playbook wasn't charged. Very much My Bad.)

Now onto this Retro Scene we have taking over the city ...

That's right! And you heard it here first folks. Wolverhampton is opening it's arms wide to accept the new scene that is two stepping it's way into the city., and even if you wanted to - It doesn't appear that anyone can stop it.

We now have a tremendous Soul Club down at the 'Newhapton Arts centre' that is just busting at the seams and now it would appear that we are lucky enough to embrace a new night in a (Sort of) new bar. The music policy for this night out is as follows - Soul, Reggae, Ska, funk & 50's Rhythm and Blues. How can you wrong with an evening full of that? I'm not sure you can. If like me this scene appeals to you (and I'm sure there is alot of you out there) then take my word for it. If this night is anywhere near as good as the 'Newampton Soul Night'' is - Then you are in for a seriously good night. One not to be missed!

If you are a Wolverhampton born and bred kind of person then I am pretty sure you will all remember what used to be the 'Little Civic' - Well this is the base for the new night that Wolverhampton is hosting. The little Civic is the room above what is now known as the 'Numa Bar' - Quite a new bar that I have heard pretty cool things about to be honest. Could go for a Bevvy there to begin your night I guess, before wandering on upstairs to do some of that old Moonstomping!

Still alot more to be confirmed on this night out ie: times etc: But WATCH THIS SPACE! (More info will be up on here as soon as one has it.)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Blackberry Playbook

Spreading Blackberry Love ...

It is true! I wish to spread it ... I am all for it. I am Blackberry through and through I really really am!
However, I am not the sort of person that is going to waste a blog post telling you why you should invest in a playbook and not an ipad. I understand that is complete preference and most of all it comes down to 'What you like is what you like'. There is no point me disputing it or trying to push you towards something that you may not want.

But, that does not and will not stop me ranting on about my new toy. So, yes. I have treated myself to the 'Blackberry Playbook' and it really is a bundle of play. I am more than impressed with it. Since it's latest update which has allowed you to sync email, calenders, contacts and notes to it and it has opened it's self up to the ANDROID market, my love for this small device has grown. Know what else? You can now connect it to your Blackberry using Blackberry Bridge - A brilliant little tool. Basically once this has been done - Your Blackberry Playbook becomes your Blackberry. It even has BBM on it that way. Once connected you can use your blackberry to navigate your way round your playbook (As a mouse and keyboard) this is really great if you are using your Playbook for a presentation. Blackberry Bridge also allows you to use your Blackberry as a Modem, so no matter where you are you pretty much have internet connection always. Genius!

Yes it does not come without it's flaws, granted. I get that. But, dosen't everything. The Ipad cannot multi task - You can only do one thing at a time. That is a flaw. We all have them, everything has them. I can live with the flaws that the Playbook has and it really isn't many.

I know there are many a folk out there very anti the old 'Berry' but I strongly urge you to 'Not knock it before you have tried it.' If you give it a whirl and you are not a fan then fairplay. But, don't just hate because you are strongly Apple, HTC, Android etc - Give it a go, seriously!

I am interested on your views where tablets are concerned. Do you have one? Are there things you like, dislike, or wish to change about it? If so, let me know.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday

Also Known As Pancake Day ...

First things first on this glorious day. Who does not like Pancakes? I know there are a few of you out there. How there is I am unsure but I know there is. If you are not a fan of these beauties you may need to look away now. 

So it's the day before Lent begins (Ash Wednesday) and we have all gone flipping mad. It's the day to use up everything in our cupboards isn't it? Well - Our main foods (Supposedly) like Milk, sugar, eggs etc: All of these things were once restricted when Lent began you know. It was part of the fasting. You couldn't just pick on item like Chocolate to give up. You had to give up an awful lot.

Did you know that in some Catholic or Protestant Countries today is known as Mardi Gras or (and this one I prefer) - Fat Tuesday. Basically, it is a day of rich foods. So, don't just stop at pancakes man, keep it going and have the whole hog, literally.

I have been busy reading about Pancake day and the traditions that come with it and I think I'm going to host my first ever Pancake race. It's true. It's a tradition somewhere. You have to toss them whilst you run with them. Tricky business if you ask me.

Right, my final question to you is this...

What is your favourite Pancake filling? (I'm looking forward to trying some new flavours tonight so do tell all folks)

Monday, 20 February 2012

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Everything Isn't Always As It Seems

Excuse the presumption that all my readers have seen this programme/documentary. I am aware that there are probably a handful of you that haven't. However, I am pretty sure you have all probably heard something about this programme and I am guessing that all you have heard is not good. I know that that is a bit of an unfair thing to say and think - I'm fully aware. But, you can't help feeling this way. Channel 4 very cleverly show you the correct footage to make things appear 'All bad'. 

After watching this programme we have all made our assumptions on Gypsies I'm sure and let's be honest Channel 4 doesn't really give you much choice in what you think and feel towards them. It has managed to plant seeds in our heads and has definitley pushed it self on to us in a way that is enough to help us create ideas.

It wasn't until recently, when i stumbled across another fellow Bloggers blog that I began to realise maybe what we are watching on a week night isn't exactly how it is. Maybe we are being led to believe something that isn't strictly true or at least not for everyone involved.

I stumbled across this Blog written by a 'Pip' who is 'not your average 17 year old Romany boy' - This is how he describes himself to his followers and after reading his blog this definitely rings true. He has some pretty strong opinions on the programme and when you read on - you really can't blame him. He explains that "Channel 4's programme is nothing but a work of Fiction' and proceeds to prove this point backed up by his own personal experiences. He also goes onto explain that the programme has pretty much ruined his life and his sisters. His sister even has had to put up with taunts and physical violence. When you read this blog post you really do start to see things in a different light. It is very easy to make presumptions and to believe what you see. But, I guess what we are seeing is just highly edited and specifically targeted. Of course channel 4 are going to make sure that they film the most outrageous people - This way they are guaranteed an audience. I think we all need to be aware that despite what we may think, what we are seeing isn't necessarily true and it isn't always fair to tarnish everyone with the same brush.

Below I have copied 'Pip's' Blog post for you all to read. I hope like me it makes you think a little differently. I'm not trying to say something is right or wrong - I'm merely stating that this blog post is great because it shows how misleading TV Documentaries can be and how deceitful this particular one has been.

If you wish to read more of Pip's Blog please visit the following:

"An Open Letter to Channel 4

Dear Channel 4,

I am writing to you with the hope that you will stop ruining my life. While your obsession with my ethnicity is flattering, it has become somewhat apparent to me that you might have gotten the wrong end of the stick. This is sort of awkward for me, because I don't want to be the one to break it to you, but your documentary, 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings', is unfortunately a work of fiction. There is no need to be embarrassed, it can happen to the best of us, and thus I hope my letter will help you establish the facts, after all I'm sure you are passionate about fighting discrimination against ethnic minorities. Don't be modest now, we know you are...right?

It surprised me to discover that 99% of Britain's Gypsy and Traveller population are Irish. Correct me if I'm wrong, as I am sure you have done lots and lots of research on this topic, but just 10% of the Gypsy andTraveller population are actually Irish Travellers. The majority, like myself, are in fact Romany, yet your 'documentary' seems to ignore our existence. While I have nothing but respect for the Irish Traveller community, you seem to be unaware that we are two distinct ethnic groups and thus there are many differences between our cultures. While Irish Travellers originate from Ireland, we can trace our routes back to India, so it was hardly surprising that I was somewhat confused when you use the word Gypsy in the title of your 'documentary' about Irish Travellers. I was even more confused when your 'documentary' about Irish Travellers seemed to feature an alien culture that even most Irish Traveller's didn't recognise.

You correctly identified that many Gypsy and Traveller children leave school at a young age, however you failed to mention that this is not because we are all born to terrible parents, but because our communities suffer from great social exclusion. State education fails to adapt to anything but mainstream culture, thus we have to contend with a curriculum that is totally irrelevant to our way of life. Moreover, both teachers and students seem ignorant of our cultures, thus we are labelled as troublemakers and bullied for being different. The myths that you have been spreading have not helped matters. Indeed, I was subjected to physical attacks during your last series of your 'documentary' which ultimately led to my expulsion from school (long story), whilst my 12 year old cousin was beat up on her way home from school by a gang of girls who were calling her a prostitute.

As you can see, there are many reasons as to why Gypsy and Traveller children are failing to attend school, but you seem to have forgotten to feature those of us that do stay in education. Take myself, for example, I'm currently at college studying a range of subjects such as, History and Sociology. Moreover, my sister trained to be a hairdresser, my aunty went to university and is now a social worker and some of my cousins completed apprenticeships, thus clearly dropping out of education is not a prerequisite of living in a trailer.

Your 'documentary' has an unhealthy obsession with little girls. While I understand that the outfits worn by some of your younger stars could be considered a little risqué, I see only little girls having fun and dressing up for a special occasion. Your 'documentary' appears to be suggesting that we are inappropriately sexualising our children, yet the only people who are sexualising our children are the viewers who watch them and think they are sexy. In reality, our little girls can mostly be found in velour tracksuits and handmade frilly dresses, so I would suggest you should stop filming little girls dancing if you are finding that this is turning on your viewers.

After watching the last series of your 'documentary' it finally hit me why I was so unlucky in love. I would have been married by now, if only I had known that the key to a women's heart was to sexually assault her using a gypsy courting ritual called 'grabbing'. I asked my brother if he had grabbed his wife, but it turned out he had just asked her out on a date instead. It appears that in reality, no one actually knows what grabbing is, in fact Gypsy and Traveller men actually have a lot of respect for their women after all.

Speaking of love, I've been to many Gypsy and Traveller weddings, but I'm yet to attend a wedding where the bride's dress weighs more than my whole family. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some huge dresses but there is something you need to know: Thelma Madine is lying to you, she's not our dressmaker of choice. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed for her because no one actually knows who she is and everything she says about us is actually untrue. Basically, you've been conned, so I suggest you find a new spokesperson for the Gypsy and Traveller communities, such as an actual Gypsy or Traveller like my Baba (grandma), she makes some right nice clothes you know.

It's hardly surprising that people are watching your 'documentary' purely to laugh at us, because even I laugh at the monstrosities that Thelma Madine creates. It is a shame that you haven’t featured any Gypsy or Traveller designers because the clothing that we were actually more traditionally known for before your 'documentary', is actually far more interesting than amusing. Last year, Leeds University Union thought it would be okay to laugh at the Gypsy and Traveller communities by hosting a Big Fat Gypsy Weddings fancy dress party. While the union holds events throughout the year to celebrate other ethnic minorities, your 'documentary' encouraged them to incite ethnic hatred. You'll be pleased to know that due to complaints from yours truly and friends, the event was shelved.

You seem to have misunderstood what a documentary about Gypsies should entail. Gypsies (as in Romany Gypsies that are completely different to Irish Travellers, that are like totally not Irish Travellers at all, get it?) are Europe's largest and most deprived ethnic minority. The majority of Romani people have never been to Rathkeale, let alone own houses there. In fact, most live in great poverty and I suggest you read my previous blogs. We suffer from discrimination on a daily basis and our human rights have historically been violated, yet you deem it acceptable to broadcast a misleading 'documentary' that has been made not to raise awareness of our plight but for entertainment. We are not a joke, we are human beings and your work of fiction is only strengthening stereotypes and ignorance.

Unlike those who star in your 'documentary' I am not after 5 minutes of fame, but what I am asking for, is for you to put humans above ratings. You can't ignore us forever.

Yours sincerely,


Monday, 13 February 2012


Joanne Blakemore Strikes Again!

My trusty friend with a Camera and some serious skills does a fantastic job once again. If taking superb photographs of my wedding wasn't good enough she has now managed to produce some fantastic photographs from a recent shoot we had.

The shoot was 60's styled and based around the idea of 'Twiggy-ness.' A style and model that holds the highest place in mu heart if I am honest. I find it a really inspirational style as it seemed to push an awful lot of boundaries. No jean was tight or flared enough, no shirt was tailored enough, No boot white enough and no eyelash long enough. They always seemed to go above and beyond what was possible. 

So 60's rant over and back on to Joannes Photography. For those of you that keep tabs on my blog and enjoy reading it, you will know that I have done alot of work with Joanne in the past and regularly model for her. She is a Midlands based Photographer who is just starting up (if you like) She is currently building up her Portfolio and it would be really great if any Feedback that you had could be passed on to her. So, anything you wish to share about Joannes photographs please do and I will make sure all messages are sent to her.

We are still waiting on a few photographs so I will share with you what I have. Obviously, these are of a lower resolution and size to the originals but all the same, I think you get the idea.

A big thank you goes out to Joanne for these photographs. There will be more to come soon.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Newhampton Soul Club

February's Soul Club

That's right folks - It is that time of the month again and what a time it is!

Have you got your dancing shoes on and music ears fitted? Whether you are as excited as me or not, there is no denying that this fantastic evening of soul slipping tunes is something to leave the house for.

Seriously, I am now a Newhampton Soul Club dedicated fan. I guess there is no other way of looking at it. I enjoy the boogying on down and the slippy floors not to mention the DJ's superb set. You know what - The cafe aint to bad neither. My Dad occasionally treats himself to a burger (or 2.) You can see how much I enjoyed busting my moves by checking out the following photographs from the January night. Oh, and you may have noticed me having a dance on the flyer? ... Look closer!

To find out more about the Newhampton Soul Club please follow the link below:

To book future tickets follow the link below:

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Arena Theatre Spokeswomen

The Bond Villain That is ... Berkoff

So A little while back I mentioned the Arena Theatre (My place of work) having the Legend that is 'Mr Steven Berkoff' performing on the 8th and 9th February. Well it has all been getting very exciting here at the Venue and the man himself has now arrived and is one successful show down.
From what I can gather (as I am yet to watch the performance) it is going down a storm and is utterly wonderful. To be honest - I expect nothing less from this master Villain.

I wanted to share with you the following Press Release for this show in our Local Newspaper the 'Express and Star.'

"One of Hollywood’s greatest bad guys will be in Wolverhampton this week for a rare two-night performance at the Arena Theatre.

Steven Berkoff will present a masterclass in evil on Wednesday and Thursday, February 7 and 8, 2012, when he stars in Shakespeare’s Villains.Berkoff has fashioned a career from being one of the most evil players on stage and screen.

Arena Theatre spokeswoman Jess Harper said: “Renowned throughout the world as actor, writer and director, Berkoff is known to many for the villains he has played in mainstream films – Octopussy, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo and The Krays.”
Berkoff will look at characters who are inherently evil, whose situation leads them to evil deeds or who are at the mercy of an evil society. He will use his experience to describe dastardly Shakespearian characters in a way that will challenge and exhilarate.

Contemporary dance is also in store at the Arena, with Retina Dance presenting Layers Of Skin.
Six dancers will perform in a piece of work with original choreography from Filip Van Huffel and music from Joris Vanvinckenroye and Aranis.

Tickets are available from

Read more:"

Monday, 16 January 2012

Wedding 22nd December 2011

Mr and Mrs Veltman

The best day of my life with the best man in my life.

Many thanks to Joanne Blakemore and her photography. She really did do a wonderful job . These are just a snippet of how many super shots she took of the day.