Category Archives: Reviews

Are You Being Served?

When you have so many different TV channels and different streaming platforms to watch, it is sometimes difficult to settle on a choice, but when I have a half an hour to fill, I find myself gravitating towards Are You Being Served?

From the catchy signature tune…

Ground floor: perfumery
Stationery and leather goods
Wigs and haberdashery
Kitchenware and foods
Going up

First floor: telephones
Gents' ready-made suits
Shirts, socks, ties, hats
Underwear and shoes
Going up

Second floor: carpets
Travel goods and beddings
Materials and soft furnishing
Restaurant and teas
Going up

…to the ever plentiful innuendos, farce and slapstick, to the weird and wonderful shop floor displays and the relationships between all the shop staff, this programme was a gem amongst sitcoms in the 70s and 80s.


The pilot episode was originally filmed as part of the Comedy Playhouse series for the BBC, but it was not broadcast. It was broadcast though when the 1972 Summer Olympics was interrupted by the Munich massacre and the BBC used it as a filler while the games were off air and this led to a full series being produced.

Unfortunately, the first series was scheduled opposite Coronation Street which was being shown on ITV, so the viewing figures weren’t very high, but the series was repeated later on in the year and this time the ratings were much higher.

The series lasted for ten seasons and 69 episodes between 8 September 1972 and 1 April 1985 and they also recorded five Christmas specials. There was a 1977 film and a spin-off series called Grace & Favour in 1991/1992.

Original Cast:

Mr Wilberforce Claybourne Humphries:

John Inman – Sales Assistant in the Gentleman’s Department, he often used double entendre in respect of his gay lifestyle. His reply to, “Are you free?” with a high pitched, “I’m free,” and an exaggerated walk was a highlight of the programme.

  • “I’m free!”
  • (In a deep voice: “Menswear.”
  • “Mr Grainger, are you free?”
  • “It’s unusual for me.”
  • “Before you say anything…”
Mrs Betty Slocombe

Mollie Sugden – With her brightly coloured hair, Mrs Slocombe was the Senior Sales Assistant of the Ladies Department and was always telling double entendre stories about her pet cat Tiddles, who she referred to as “my pussy.”

  • “…and I am unaminous in that.”
  • “Ooh, you’re as weak as water. Weak as water!”
  • “Oh, that does suit madam.”
Mr Dick Lucas

Trevor Bannister – The Junior Salesman in Menswear, always had a put down to Mrs Slocombe and was a bit of a womaniser, always making suggestions to Miss Brahms. He was, in fact, one year older than John Inman.

  • “I can see it all now…”
Miss Shirley Brahms

Wendy Richard – the cockney-speaking middle class Junior Sales Assistant to Mrs Slocombe, who went on to play Pauline Fowler in the long running tv soap opera, Eastenders.

  • “Ooh, they’s dead common.”
Captain Stephen Peacock

Frank Thornton – Grace Brother’s floorwalker who reminds everyone when he can that he fought in the North Africa Campaign of World War II but rumours were that he served in the Service Corp and never saw combat.

  • “Are you being served, sir?”
  • “Mr Humphries, are you free?”
Mr Ernest Grainger

Arthur Bough – One of the oldest serving members of Grace Brothers having worked for them for 40 years. Senior Sales Assistant in the Gentlemen’s department and prone to falling asleep whilst at work. He was in series 1-5 as he unfortunately passed away before filming series six.

  • “And don’t worry about the sleeves, they’ll ride up with wear.”
Mr Cuthbert Rumbold

Nicholas Smith – Floor manager of Ladies and Gents Department, bumbling and incompetent and prone to taking the praise for other members of staff’s ideas.

  • “It was a boardroom level decision.”
“Young” Mr Grace

Harold Bennett – Always surrounded by attractive secretaries and nurses, he was very rich, but also very stingy which led to some entertaining episodes.

  • “You’ve all done very well.”
Mr Mash

Larry Martyn – The maintenance man who installed the mechanised displays and was always in trouble with Captain Peacock for being on the shop floor during opening times.

  • Blows raspberry at Captain Peacock.
  • “It must be awful for you, to keep telling me off.”
Other cast members:

After Mr Grainger leaving the shop, his position was taken over by Mr Percival Tebbs (James Hayter) who retired after only a year in the men’s department, to be replaced by Mr Goldberg (Alfie Bass).

After Mr Mash’s departure, his position is filled by Mr Beverley Harman, (Arthur English).

Mr Bert Spooner (Mike Berry) replaced Mr Lucas as Junior Sales Assistant and “Young” Mr Grace was replaced by his older brother, “Old” Mr Grace (Kenneth Waller).

There were lots of secretaries during the show’s run, both for Mr Grace and also for Mr Rumbold, the longest serving was Miss Belfridge (Candy Davis) who was in series 9 and 10.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at this long running comedy, set in a fictitious department store, with over the top characters and lots of innuendoes, I’ll leave the final word with Mrs Slocombe….

Marriage TV Show

Warning: This article contains spoilers!

As my husband spends a lot of time in his car with his job, he listens to a lot of radio and sometimes he comes home saying that there’s a new TV show that people on the radio have been raving about and we should definitely watch it. This was the case with Marriage, a BBC bittersweet programme about a couple who are in a long-term marriage.

We have been married for 37 years, so I had a mix of emotions whilst settling down to watch it. Would it reflect our marriage? Would there be scenes which are uncomfortable to watch? Or would we celebrate the parallels in our marriage reflected in this programme?

Well, the answer is yes, to all our questions.

Sean Bean plays Ian, who we find out has been made redundant and is by himself during the day left to his own devices and Nicola Walker is Emma, working in a law firm with a boss who has dubious ways to run his office. By day, Ian goes to the gym or the supermarket, trying to spark conversations with people and Emma is trying to bring the law firm into the 21st century by going online.

Just as a thought… maybe Ian would enjoy an episode or two of Game of Thrones?

Ian and Emma

We see them hug each other, give little kisses and hold each other’s hands, they have niggling arguments like the one about the jacket potato at the airport and we also see that they have experienced the heartache of a child dying, which obviously had a tremendous effect on their lives.

There are long silences whilst they clear up after a meal, each getting on with the duties they have performed repeatedly during their marriage, like a well oiled machine.

Even though there’s no fast-paced action, the couple are constantly at the beck and call of their family, whether it be Emma’s dad calling to see if she can fix the oven or Jess, their adopted daughter, moving out of her boyfriend’s flat, they are at the stage of life where people depend on them.

There was a lot of things we could relate to: the long silences, the household chores, the jokes which we have between ourselves, looking after older relatives and the younger ones and most importantly, just the every day emotional support we give each other.

You can look on Instagram and see the ‘perfect’ marriages, the fast-paced lives that people purport to be having, the tropical holidays, the wonderful children, but if you want to see what married life is really like, then watch this programme.

Abba Voyage Show versus Thank You For The Music Show

Sunday, 29th May, 2022, 15:00 hours – The Abba Arena: Voyage Show

The day had finally arrived, we were going to see the new Abba Voyage show and was I excited? Yes, of course I was!!

The journey out to the Abba Arena was a bit more complicated than we first thought, having to travel on the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) which was a new experience for us, but it was made easier by being able to tap our debit card in and out of the stations. (The whole day cost us £11 each by doing this!)

On arriving at the Arena, there was already a throng of people, some dressed in costumes, others wearing Abba t-shirts and one person in particular wearing a leather chest protector?

We decided to give the shop a miss as there was a queue of about 50 people and so we waited for the doors to open to the concert hall. We knew immediately when it opened as a big cheer went up from everybody.

We found our seats, on the left hand side, about halfway up and after witnessing some confusion with seats with a man sitting in the wrong seat and nearly causing World War Three, we expectantly waited for the show to start.

And when it did, boy it did not disappoint. From the first haunting notes of The Visitors and seeing the Abba-tars, I have to admit I cried, it was just so overwhelming.

The whole show was just amazing, from the actual Abba-tars themselves to the light show.

The thing that I missed was the actual interaction between them and the audience.

Even though Abba talked, you knew it was the same for everyone and not personal for that audience. I was a disappointed when Bjorn started to sing Does Your Mother Know and then the backing singers took over, I felt like we should have heard Bjorn sing it all the way through.

You do get swept up in the excitement of it and it made me wish even more that I had seen them in concert in London, but I suppose this is the next best thing and it was lovely to hear The Winner Takes It All sung by Agnetha and not a tribute act.

At the end of the show, when we were on our way home on the Underground, my husband said, “That was the best show I have ever seen,” and from a non-Abba fan, I’d say that’s a win!

Tuesday, 31st May, 2022, 1930 hours – The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: Thank You For The Music, Abba Tribute Band

We went to this show with some friends and after seeing Abba Voyage a few days earlier, I wasn’t really expecting that much from this show.

They did seem to have a few microphone issues at the beginning of the set and I thought it strange that they would sing Dancing Queen as the second song, but as the show progressed it got better and better.

They involved the audience and kept in character all the time, they encouraged us to get up and dance and we didn’t disappoint them. The atmosphere was great and they even sang some songs not usually given the light of day, for example, Angel Eyes and I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, etc.

What Abba Voyage was lacking in audience participation, this tribute act certainly made up for in spades.

We all had a wonderful time and everyone came out of the theatre buzzing.

Thank You For The Music – Abba Tribute Band

It was a fantastic five days filled with Abba and once again, I thank my husband for coming with me, but don’t worry about him, we’re going to see ABC at The Royal Albert Hall this month, as his treat!


The Fan

I have loved Abba since I can remember, I’m not quite sure what drew me to them, maybe it was the amazing harmonies or the catchy tunes, but something made me want to listen to their music, buy their singles and albums and adorn my bedroom wall with pictures of the group.

As posters were updated with newer ones, this one remained constant on my wall.

I can lay claim to the fact that years ago, a long time before Mamma Mia ever made an appearance, my friend and I wrote our own story which included the songs of Abba and which we recorded onto a tape recorder. If only we had the foresight to send it to somebody!!

I never saw them play live, when they came to London, I was just that bit too young to go and watch them by myself and my mum couldn’t afford two tickets plus the fare for the train journey. I did manage to buy some photographs of the concert I can remember and they are still in an album up in the loft.

I loved Agnetha, I loved everything about her, I probably wanted to be her and I also thought Frida was very cool. Their harmonies on every record was extraordinary and I loved finding out who was the lead vocal on each record they released.

The Songs

I don’t know that I have a favourite Abba record, I think I go through phases of loving one more than the others. I know it’s going to sound controversial but I never fell in love with Dancing Queen, maybe because it was played so much on the radio and TV when it was released.

I do love the tracks on albums that have never been singles, for instance Me And I from the Super Trouper album, Soldiers from The Visitors and I’ve Been Waiting For You from the Abba album.

My favourite song which features Frida’s voice is Should I Laugh Or Cry and Agnetha’s lead vocal is The Day Before You Came.

I have a special place in my heart for SOS, as I think it was literally the lifesaver song for the group which established them as a top pop group.

The Voyage Show

So last night was the launch of the new Abba show, Voyage, which features the group as Abba-tars. I would have loved it if the group had announced they were going to perform some shows live, but it was not to be, so this is the next best thing.

I tried my hardest to get tickets for the opening night, but the demand was so high it was practically impossible, however, I secured tickets for Sunday, 29th May, 2022 and the excitement is real now, I can’t believe I am going to experience something that is so technical and could be the future of the way concerts are brought to us. I am honoured to be part of this.

Not only do I have this to look forward to, but I am also going to an Abba tribute act at the theatre on Tuesday and I am excited to explore how the two experiences compare: Abba-tars versus tribute act and I will be putting up a blog doing just that, comparing them.

I need to say a huge thank you to my hubby, who has been dragged to numerous Abba tributes, watched Abba TV programmes and listened to Abba songs at home, all this and not being an Abba fan, but I think now he secretly enjoys the songs and knows most of the words to them as well!

The Eden Project

During a four day break in Cornwall with my husband, son, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, we decided that a visit to the Eden Project was a must. We looked at the weather forecast and the day that was scheduled for rain, was the day we booked to go.


The tickets are priced seasonally, so the prices range:

Adults: Standard – £32.50 Peak – £37.50
Child (aged 5-16): Standard – £11 Peak – £12
Child (aged 0-4): Free all year round.

Parking was included in the admission price.

Length of time spent here:

We arrived at 10:30 AM and left at about 2:30 PM.

My Review

We have been here before but that was approximately 15 years ago, so a lot has changed since then!

The Eden Project was originally a china clay pit and was used by the BBC as the planet surface of Magrathea in the TV series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This lovely driftwood sculpture of a horse was at the entrance – stunning!

It was drizzling with rain when we arrived, so we headed straight for the biomes, entering the Rainforest Biome first.

The Rainforest biome was amazing, it was like stepping into a different world. The amount of different flowers, plants and trees was mind boggling, from wild bananas to oil palm to all kinds of spices.

It didn’t feel as hot as I thought it was going to be, but this was in April, I suspect that in August it is a different story!

There was a treetop walk which included a rope wobbly bridge, where at the top, there was commanding views of the whole biome from the viewing platform.

After spending a couple of hours in this biome, it was time for lunch. We ate in the main dining area between the Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, it was a little pricey so maybe bring your own packed lunch is the way to go, but we all had a snack and a drink….

…then it was onto the Mediterranean biome.

Stepping into the Mediterranean biome, I was struck by how much lighter and more colourful it was than the Rainforest biome. In here we found grape vines, olive trees, cotton and citrus fruit. The array of flowers was spectacular:

There were some intriguing statues in this biome which were called The Rites of Dionysus. These depict Dionysus, Greek god of the vines and his followers who dance and writhe through the vines beating drums and sounding trumpets.

After thoroughly exploring this biome, we made our way back out into the gardens, where it was raining pretty steadily now and headed towards the Invisible Worlds exhibition.

This was an exhibition which explored our sense and how life is shaped by and also shapes, invisible systems.

Invisible Worlds exhibition (Picture taken from Eden Project website).

One sculpture which immediately drew our attention was the Blue (Infinity Blue) ceramic sculpture which weighs in at 20 tonnes and is almost nine metres high. It pays homage to one of the worlds smallest but most important organisms: cyanobacteria. No, I didn’t know what that was either, it says on their website:

The sculpture is a monument to these vital microscopic beings, who, along with the descendants found in the photosynthesising cells of all green plants, continue to provide the oxygen in every break we take.

The Eden Project
One of its vapour rings!

It was time to head back to the caravan and even though the rain hadn’t let up all day it didn’t matter to us, we were in the biomes most of the time. We all had a great time, the grandkids enjoyed walking around and exploring the different areas, in fact, I think we all learned something today!

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland



Amount of time spent there:

We were there for about an hour and a half.

Suggested Christmas Tree Trail

My Review:

We try and do something each year to celebrate the holiday season. For a few years we went to the London Palladium to watch the pantomime and then walk around London to see the Christmas lights, another year we went to Longleat Festival of Lights, but due to Covid, obviously last year we didn’t do anything. So this year, we decided to go to Bournemouth, which is about a 45 minute drive from us and we took our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren to the Christmas Tree Wonderland.

We arrived at Bournemouth at about 6:15 PM, after inexplicably getting lost, even though we’ve driven to Bournemouth numerous times! The first stop was to get some fish and chips and where better to go than Harry Ramsden’s. We had a lovely meal there, the batter really is very light and tasty!

So then it was time to wander through the Christmas Tree Wonderland…

There were an array of different lighted up Christmas trees, with a few other displays as well including a reindeer, polar bear and, of course, the main man himself, Father Christmas.

We walked around the park, it was lovely to see Harry’s face as he saw each Christmas tree, he’s nearly three, so just beginning to understand what happens this time of year. He loved the bright lights and excitedly ran from one display to the next.

At the end of the park, we came across an ice rink and we stopped to watch the would-be Torvill and Deans, skating around a fairly huge ice rink. There was the usual people hanging onto the sides, gingerly making their way around the rink, and I have to say, that would be me, skating is definitely not my thing!

View of the ice rink

You need to pre-book the ice rink, there are sessions of an hour each, from 10:30 AM until 20:30 PM throughout the day and prices are:

ADULT -£12.50 CHILD – £10.50 SENIOR CITIZEN – £11.50 and FAMILY – £41.00

A quick look around the stands in the city centre, which were mainly food outlets and we headed back into the park to walk along the back path where there were even more displays to see.

Gingerbread men, one of Harry’s favourite biscuits!

One last stop at the Carousel, it cost £3 per person, but it seemed to go round forever. Harry chose his horse and held on tight!

Gee up Neddy or Coleen!

We were very impressed with Bournemouth’s light display, it must have cost the council a lot of money to stage this and for it all to be free as well is wonderful.

Week Three – Bread Week

Warning: there are spoilers in this blog - who won star baker, who left the show, who received a handshake from Paul, what necklace was Prue wearing, things along those lines.

Am I the only one who didn’t understand the opening this week? Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand what the fish was saying?

Anyway, it’s Bread Week…

Oh sorry, wrong Bread show!!

Signature Dish: Focaccia Bread

Any flavour and any style, crispy crust and an open and irregular crumb structure: two hours, 45 minutes.

Breadmaking advice from Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter

George’s Greek Inspired Focaccia:
Packed and busy. Lovely. Good bake, good blend of flavours, but needed more water to open it up a little bit more.

Maggie’s Classic Focaccia:
Attractive, filling wasn’t pushed down into the tray, stretchy, soft texture, soft on top, but good flavour. A decent focaccia.

Freya’s Mexican Fajita Focaccia:
Smells great, nice texture, well baked.

Rochica’s Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Tomato, Feta & Pesto:
Lovely design, strong garlic taste, okay texture, try to keep flavour throughout the bread.

Amanda’s Chasing Grainbows Focaccia:
Overbaked, filling in lines, Prue recommended scattered so you get a taste of everything in one bite,

Chig’s Spanish Cheesy Meaty Focaccia:
Overbaked, lovely powerful flavours, delicious.

Crystelle’s Feta and Grape Focaccia with Fennel & Walnut:
Open structure, needed to be much thicker. Beautiful taste, great flavour combination, fresh.

Lizzie’s Final Furlong Focaccia:
Nice top, filled the tin nicely, good flavour, nice and soft and crispy on the outside, could have been proved longer, a great focaccia.

Jürgen’s Kipper-caccia Focaccia:
Slightly overbaked, more proving and less baking, quite tight inside needed more mixing, more cake-like than bread-like, Prue wasn’t mad about the flavours, could have been a little bit better!

Giuseppe’s Breakfast in Gaeta Focaccia:
Soft with focaccia structure, beautifully light focaccia, mouthful of everything in every bite. Paul said it was beautiful and he was rewarded with the first Hollywood Handshake of the series!

The first Hollywood Handshake
of the series!!

Technical Challenge set by Paul – A batch of 15 olive and cheese ciabatta breadsticks

Words of advice from Paul – “It’s a fairly complicated recipe, but be careful how you add the filling.”

We can see you Noel!

I love the Tweets from innocent drinks!
Position in Technical Challenge:

1st – Giuseppe
2nd – Lizzie
3rd – Amanda
4th – Freya
5th – Jürgen
6th – Chigs
7th – George
8th – Maggie
9th – Crystelle
10th – Rochica

Those in trouble before going into the Showstopper Round:

Those in line for Star Baker:

Showstopper Challenge – Themed Display Using Milk Bread

Three dimensional, shape and decoration to reflect chosen theme.

Probably one of the best bread showstoppers – Paul’s lion!

George’s The Very Hungry Koala:
Adorable, bread a bit heavy, milk bread can’t carry weight of an upright sculpture. Clever design.

Lizzie’s Pig Banquet:
Some caught in the oven, clever design. Nice texture, light.

Chigs’ Honey Milk Bread Picnic Basket:
Beautifully done, well proved. Really well made. Hint of flavour. Colours consistent, good design.

Maggie’s Things You’d Find In A Rockpool:
Abstract, rustic, under-proved, no flavour, very cake-like, could be a bit lighter.

Jürgen’s The Baby:
Clever use of flavours in different breads, design is simple, lovely flavour, sweetness level just right, slightly underproved.

Crystelle’s Bready for Sunday Roast:
Very clever, longer in the oven would have created more of a darkness, great flavours, fantastic citrus kick, lovely texture.

Giuseppe’s Your Five-A-Day:
Incredible design, amazing job, beautiful execution, very clever, absolutely delicious and lovely texture.

Amanda’s I Just Fish We Had More Time:
Overall, a really good job, clever and highly effective, delightful, lovely flavour, sweetness just the right side of sweetness. Spot on texture, but a massive air pocket just underneath.

Rochica’s Bird Cage:
Over-proved, tight, sweetness level is right, too dense. Tastes delicious but the texture is not right – not sure it was four hours work.

Freya’s Under The Sea Milk Bread Display:
Amusing, very neat, nice milk bread, light structure, holds its bake, sweetness levels just right, tastes great.

Star Baker and Who’s Going Home:


I have to agree with the judges on both counts, Giuseppe had an amazing week and Rochica did struggle with bread week. Lizzie pulled herself up in the ranks and I loved George’s Koala bear this week.

Next week is Dessert Week – let’s hope their skills don’t dessert them and they don’t crumble to the pressure!

One last thing, Prue’s necklace, I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere else!

Week Two – Biscuit Week

Warning: there are spoilers in this blog - who won star baker, who left the show, who received a handshake from Paul, what necklace was Prue wearing, things along those lines.

First of all, can I apologise for Xing out Tom, but I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. But unfortunately this will befall all our bakers, except for one of them of course!

Signature Dish: 24 Brandy Snaps

Perfectly baked lace biscuits, identical and have to have a good snap! Any shape but have to be coated, dipped or filled – two hour baking time.

Lizzie’s dog, Pru, has her own Instagram account and seemingly doing quite well with 1,779 followers. When Matt asked Lizzie if she had practiced in the tent yesterday, she admitted that she didn’t but watched Harry Potter instead!

Baking, I wouldn’t say it was rocket science, but…

Jürgen went to University in Germany and gained a Masters Degree in Physics

Freya’s “Brandy Snapuccinos”:
Scrumptious, look quite dark, nice lace and a good snap, too strong coffee flavour. Overall a decent job.

Amanda’s “Open Sesame” Brandy Snaps: Very thin so falling apart. Delicious flavour,

Jairzeno’s “Chocolate, Passion Fruit & Pineapple Brandy Snaps:
Messy. Flavours too strong. Not well executed.

Rochica’s Coffee Brandy Snaps:
Massive variety in size, delicious flavour.

George’s Cypriot Brandy Snaps:
Irregular in size, flavours work well together, but looks a mess. Original and sensational.

Crystelle’s “Apple of my P-eye” Brandy Snaps:
Lovely snap, beautiful flavour combination, done well with the textures.

Lizzie’s, Fast-Food Apple Pie Brandy Snaps:
Very little lace, delicious, nice creme diplomat, lovely mouthful.

Guiseppe’s Gianduja Snaps:
Really pretty, elegant and uniform in colour, nice lace, delicious, crisp, nicely flavoured. Chocolate doesn’t come through very much.

Chigs’ “Espresso Martini” Brandy Snaps:
Nice and lacey, chocolate comes through well, nice snap, right amount of sweetness, coffee flavour a bit weak.

Maggie’s Blackcurrant Brandy Snaps:
Very small and could have a bit more colour, not quite baked enough so are really chewy, but delicious.

Jürgen’s “A Cup of Chai” Brandy Snaps:
Overall look pretty good, nice and even, lovely and thin, blend of spices work beautifully well. Texture-wise done well. Creme pat perfect.

Jürgen received a handshake from Matt Lucas, which Matt admitted that it meant nothing getting a handshake from him.

Technical Challenge set by Paul – Sandwiched Jammie Biscuit

Words of advice from Paul: “This is pretty straight forward, but read your recipe, we want perfection.”

I wonder how many takes they had to redo when Jammie Dodgers was said instead of Jammie Biscuits!

Position in Technical Challenge:

1st – Jürgen
2nd – Guiseppe
3rd – Freya
4th – Amanda
5th – Maggie
6th – Lizzie
7th – Chig
8th – George
9th – Jairzeno
10th – Crystelle
11th – Rochica

Jürgen, the Baking Terminator as named by Guiseppe! Hasta La Biscuit baby!

Picture pinched from Twitter!

Those in trouble before going into the Showstopper Round:

Those in line for Star Baker:

Showstopper Challenge – 3D Biscuit Replica of Favourite Childhood Toy

It has to be delicious but also have an interactive element.

Love this Tweet from Innocent drinks!

George’s “Paul and Prue Airlines”:
Interactive: airplane flies around in a circle
Great design. Not too hard, but very crisp. Well done.

Rochica’s Gingerbread Pinball Game:
Interactive: moving parts
Delicate and thin, texture spot on.

Guiseppe’s Reversi Board Game:
Interactive: you can play the game
Classic gingerbread. Properly engineered. Beautiful.

Chigs’ Snooker Table:
Interactive: you can play snooker
Very clever, a little bit cakey, but if it’s thick you don’t want it to be too hard. Perfect.

Lizzie’s “Paint a Truck”:
Interactive: you can paint the car
Interesting concept. Gingerbread and chocolate together – too strong. Tones down with icing and is delicious.

Jürgen’s “Grandpa’s Windmill”:
Interactive: sails go around
Very good, looks beautiful. Lovely flavour in the mouth, great job again.

Crystelle’s Vanity Playset:
Interactive: you can play with jewellery
Lovely flavour, beautiful, very clever design, flavours spot on.

Freya’s “Winne”:
Interactive: rocking horse
Beautiful, structurally sound.

Amanda’s Carousel Rocking Horse:
Interactive: structure had broken
Wouldn’t have chosen that type of biscuit to use as it’s so delicate.

Maggie’s Beach Playset:
Interactive: you can play with it
Basic, needs to be more elaborate. Should be a bit thinner. School report would say, “Needs to try harder.”

Jairzeno’s Tall Ship:
Interactive: Not sure
Rough and ready. Lovely blend, tastes delicious.

Freya and Amanda’s Rocking Horses – they had varying success!

Star Baker and Who Is Going Home…

Jürgen was able to tell his family this week!


I think Jairzeno was the right choice to go home this week, personally I think he should have gone last week. Maggie didn’t have such a good week as she did last week, but I thought Lizzie and George had much better weeks.

Next week is Bread Week – who will rise to the top and who will knead to improve their baking skills? #sorrynotsorry

Thursday, 16th September, 2021

We decided to spend today on the sun deck as we hadn’t been up there very much. So after a late breakfast, we ventured up on the top decks to find a couple of sunbeds. We found some on the shady side, which half an hour later turned into the sunny side!

We both finished our books, drank some mojitos, cider and strawberry daiquiri. Hubby went swimming in the infinity pool, we saw dolphins and a whale and generally had a relaxing morning.

We played cards in the Sky Dome, which again, I won. We had a salad from the Horizon buffet because we were going to the Epicurean Restaurant in the evening and didn’t want to fill up with food.

This meal was booked via the *UCP and it was absolutely divine. The food was amazing, as you can tell from the pictures.

Phil had the Alaskan Snow Crab, Langoustine and Salmon Caviar Cocktail – Pea and Chervil Custard, Parchment Bread and a Cucumber Mojito and I had the Chicken and Morel Mushroom Mousseline with Pistachio Crumble – Duck Liver Parfait, Sweet and Sour Pickled Vegetables and Spinach Anglais.

Our main courses were: hubby had Black Cod and Canadian Cold-water Lobster Tail with Avruga Caviar Gratin – Bouillabaisse Fondue and Bee Pollen Dressed House Salad and I had Maple-glazed Saddleback Pork T-Bone – Air Crackling and Scrumpy Jus – which I have to say that there was a LOT of pork, but it was sublime.

Dessert was Lemon Meringue Tart for me and hubby had the Belgian Chocolate Jaffa Cake.

We chatted to an older couple sat on the table next to us and we found out that they are going on the same cruise as us in March next year, on the Britannia, cruising around the Caribbean and then sailing back to Southampton!

We finished off the night at the 710 Club, where the band was as good as ever, but there was some trouble with people trying to get it, thinking that we had been sat in there all night. The waiting staff were very patient telling them that this was not the case, but all the time they queued up for the next show, we could hear them talking loudly outside. When we came outside after our performance, the queue started cheering.

After a quick cocktail at the Cow and Keel, the Honeyed IPA we then retired to our cabin.

The sunset as we ate at The Epicurean.

*UCP – Ultimate Celebration Package

Tuesday, 14th September 2021

36 YEARS!!

Today is our wedding anniversary: 36 years! Included in the Ultimate Celebration Package is breakfast in bed, which included a half bottle of champagne.

As you can see, it also included Danish pastries, fruit, pain au chocolat, yoghurt, orange juice and continental meats. We mixed the champagne and orange juice and had a Bucks Fizz.

Next it was time for our couple’s massage, another part to our UCP*, we had chosen to have a hot stone massage which was an extra £10 each but it was definitely worth it. It was really relaxing, and no, I didn’t fall asleep! One funny thing was that when we were in the treatment room and the two masseurs were explaining what was going to happen, hubby started stripping! I shouted to him to stop and wait until the ladies had left the room, they laughed and said, “He’s keen!”

The giant jacuzzi.

We had booked into the thermal suite for £25 each for two hours. This was sooo relaxing, it had a salt steam room, a steam room, sauna and an amazing shower, which lit up like a disco and you never knew where the water was gonna spray from or what temperature it would be! The thermal beds were heaven, that’s somewhere I could go to sleep.

After lunch at the Cow and Keel, joined the virtual queue and got straight in, we had a rum cocktail each and hubby had a Black Sheep ale, which was recommended by the waiter, Mary. We ordered the sharing dessert, not so much “sharing” as hubby always has more than half!

We then went to an area of the ship that we said we wouldn’t go to – the Art Gallery! We saw a picture (left) which caught our eye by Rebecca Lardner, of course and there is somewhere in our front room where it is meant for, so we bought it. The man who worked in the art gallery was called Alex and he was very knowledgeable, we had a lovely chat to him about all the artists we have bought art from. When he found out it was our anniversary he insisted that we came back in the evening to collect the paperwork and he would treat us to a cocktail!

It was celebration night tonight, so I wore my old faithful black and white dress (about eight years old now) and hubby wore his tuxedo. We had booked dinner at the Coral Restaurant at 6:00 PM.

As we walked into the restaurant it was lovely to see the ladies in their dresses and the men in their formal wear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man look bad in a tuxedo.

The menu was devised by Marco Pierre White, which consisted mainly of fish, so hubby was very happy. I had the chicken and we had a glass of Prosecco each and a glass of Malbec with our main course.

We made our way to the art gallery and met up with Alex, who true to his word, ordered us a cocktail. We spent the next half an hour chatting about art and drinking our cocktails.

Manuel Martinez

Then it was time for the Headliner Theatre to watch Manuel Martinez, magician and comedian, he was funny in places, but his accent seemed to drop a few times. Overall though, we enjoyed it.

We had seen that the band, Pulse, were performing a set of guilty pleasures in The Club House, so we went down there and actually found a seat! We ordered a Pina Colada for me and a Jamesons for hubby.

The atmosphere in The Club House was really fun, everyone was singing and waving their hands in the air, no dancing though. and the evening ended on a real high!

Gone midnight and we get back to the cabin, it was a wonderful anniversary!

*UCP – Ultimate Celebration Package