Theatre Royal Plymouth – The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes

As part of the Blogger Programme for the Theatre Royal we were invited to go and watch The Emperor’s New Clothes by Stuff and Nonsense.

The Emperors New Clothes This is a story that I was told when I was little and I was going to get a copy of the book to read to Isabelle before we went, but I thought I would leave it as a surprise.

We did watch the clip on the Website which Isabelle really enjoyed.

The show was in the Drum which is a more intimate setting which is great for kids.

The Emperors New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes is about an Emperor who has a fantastical wardrobe of clothes but doesn’t have a single thing to wear for his upcoming birthday. Thank goodness that two Fashion Designers learn of this and offer their services to make the Emperor a new outfit to wear to his birthday parade.

Little does the Emperor know that the Fashion Designers are two crooks (Claude and Hugo) hoping for a bag of gold by tricking the Emperor into wearing ‘no clothes’ and parade through the town on his horse.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is performed by Toby and Jenny as well as a whole host of really cool puppets.

The performance had very little in the way of props with the main prop being a wardrobe which they slept in, was the Emperor’s Palace and Claude performed some acrobatic’s in as well.

The show interchanged between people and puppets in a very fun way and it was easy to forget that there were only two performers on stage with lots of fun opening doors and drawers.

All the children (and adults) joined in with the performance with clapping and shouting.

And then there was the part of the parade where the Emperor paraded through his Kingdom wearing NO CLOTHES! Isabelle thought this was so funny and had her hand over her mouth laughing as the Emperor’s bottom stuck out of a window!

The show lasts an hour which is great for little one’s who get restless. As well as watching the show I love watching Isabelle’s reactions as she watches performance and she smiled, laughed, clapped and interacted the whole way through.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Our Thoughts

We both really enjoyed the show, and we were super excited to meet the cast including some of the fab puppets.

We met both Jenny and Toby who told us a bit about the background behind Stuff and Nothing and how long it takes to put together a production like this. Jenny and Toby have both had lots of training including going to ‘Clown School’ and Jenny is skilled in acrobatics.

Stuff and Nonsense is based in Bridport, Dorset and you can keep up to date with their performances by checking out their Facebook Page.

I loved the fact that they test all of their ideas on children to gage their reactions to see if it works. What better way to have the critical eye of a child who would boldly point out if they thought something was pants or not.

We got to hold some of the puppets which was quite awesome. I had a hold of Molly but I couldn’t work out how to keep her head up and Isabelle had a got with Molly’s pet pig which she loved as it was her favourite character. She mastered the mouth quite well.

The Emperor’s New Clothes is running at the Theatre Royal Plymouth until the 14th January so there’s still plenty of time to go and watch. It is recommended for 2 years + but they have some information available for you to read so you can work out if you think it would be suitable which you can read here. I would have taken Isabelle to see this at two though.

The Emperor's New Clothes

Isabelle had already eyeballed the Fairy Wands that were on sale for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and quickly rushed over to buy one before we left the theatre.

We then had a wander around the Christmas Market before getting the train home which finished off the day perfectly.

The Emperor's New Clothes


*This post was originally posted in December 2016

Theatre Royal – Big The Musical

Theatre Royal – Big The Musical

Exciting news! My sidekick (Isabelle) and I have been selected to be resident bloggers for the Theatre Royal Plymouth which is really exciting.

The programme is much much more than attending and reviewing the many shows that they host there. We’ll be going behind the scenes, finding out about how the shows are put together, meeting the cast, checking out the cool costumes and props and getting knee-deep in the excitement surrounding the whole theatre experience.

We had our very first meet-up on Tuesday which was really lovely, and there was a real mix of personalities and reasons for wanting to get involved. Isabelle wasn’t able to attend on this occasion with it being a school night but she’s eager to get stuck in.

I’m not one for getting star-struck but it is nice spotting people that you recognise from the telly, but for Isabelle and I it’s the Witch from The Room on the Broom that drew us in the first place.

Having all of Julia Donaldson’s children’s books we’re huge fans, and have already seen ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ in theatre and loved it. If we were to meet ‘The Witch’ that would be totally awesome.

We were fortunate to be able to go along and watch Big The Musical starring Jay McGuiness, Diana Vickers and Gary Wilmot based on the film with Tom Hanks (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already).

Backstage Tour

We were given a backstage tour by Gary Wilmot, who was absolutely lovely and his love of performance and the credit he gave to the whole production team was lovely to see.

There were people everywhere, checking, cleaning and checking to make sure that everything was set for the night. I had thought that it would be totally manic with loads of stressy people dashing about, but it was very calm (even with just an hour to go).

We got to go on stage and have a look at Josh and Billy’s stage houses, as well as the toy shop. They have this enormous screen that weighs about 4 tons which provides the backdrops for the scenes and is rotated around from scene to scene. It’s not until you watch the show that you see how amazing this is.

So onto BIG The Musical.

Big The Musical

The Show

The story is based in the 80’s about a boy who is just about to turn thirteen wanting to be ‘Big’. His wish is granted by the Zoltar machine at the Carnival when he wakes up trapped inside the body of a man. The only person who knows who he really is, is his best friend He finds himself alone and grown-up in New York to fend for himself until he befriends the local toy shop owner who likes his  kid-like knowledge of cool toys. He then finds himself with a job and an apartment and all is great and exciting, even meeting a ‘grown-up woman’ who seems to have taken a liking to him. Life in the boardroom is fun but he’s ruffling feathers amongst the ‘real’ grown-ups and their lack of imagination and fun needed to make toys. Josh opens up the eyes of the ‘grown-ups’ and makes them remember what fun they had as kids before realising that being a kid himself wasn’t so bad and his quest to find a Zoltar machine to return to life as it once was.

I loved it from beginning to end! There was lots of humour and it was exciting throughout.

Big The Musical

My favourite part was when the stage was turned into a giant piano and both Josh (Jay McGuiness) and George Macmillan (Gary Wilmot) danced on the keys.

Overall it was a great show and I actually had cheek ache from grinning.

I cannot wait to find out whats in store for us next.

Big The Musical is running at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth until the 12th November before it heads to the to Dublin and then onto the West End and is definitely worth a watch if you get the chance.


*This post was originally posted in November 2016.

A Tip Top Big Mac – Your New McDonalds

A Tip Top Big Mac – Your New McDonalds

A Tip Top Big Mac is what I made at McDonalds even if I do say so myself.

Your New McDonalds

Myself and some fellow bloggers were invited to take a look around one of Plymouths City Centre McDonalds where some pretty impressive changes have been made to improve the service that customers receive and streamline the whole McDonalds experience.

Your New McDonalds

What’s New

Self Service – If you’ve been into your local branch recently it may be one of over 50% of restaurants that have the touch screen self-service points in addition to the usual counter and drive through services.

You may have even already visited one of the restaurants that have table service on offer. Fear not as these services will be rolled out nationwide in the near future.

The self service points where you order and pay for your food are a really quick and convenient way to order food. It displays the whole menu with size options and meal deal options.

Using the screens couldn’t be simpler. All the food is displayed using pictures and gives you various options (including dips for meals that include this). The touch screens are so easy that you could let your children use the screens to pick choose and order their own food. The best thing about the screens is that the menu is visual and there are options on there that you may not even know is available.

Table Service – This has probably been a long awaited addition to the McDonalds restaurants and will make ordering so much easier for the vast majority of us.

As a parent, standing in the queue and ordering the food and then finding a table can be such a pain in the butt, and then you forget to get the straws or napkins.

These days are long gone. The self-service machine allows you to choose table service. They have plastic table number plaques which are Bluetooth enabled that you pick up which are all numbered (I’m sure they have an actual name). You tap this number in and once your order is placed the server will be able to find you via the number plaque. The server comes armed with a toolbelt loaded with napkins, straws and sauces so there’s no need for you to leave your seat.

Behind the Scenes

We got to have a nose around behind the scenes which was quite impressive.

We started off in the staff room where we were given our very own McDonalds apron, hat (plus hairnet) and name badge. I was totally sold by this point but I am quite easily pleased!

Your New McDonalds

The kitchen, whilst busy was very orderly and everybody was going about their work like a well oiled machine.

I’ve always been quite impressed by the number of staff that are working in any restaurant at any given time. There are approximately 40 staff on at any given time and more at peak times.

Your New McDonalds

We had a look at the walk-in fridges and freezers at all the fresh ingredients that are delivered almost daily and YES they do use fresh eggs!


Some of the restaurants have a seating area where tablets are available. I always assumed that these were just for children, but as well as games available you can use the tablets to get news updates, check your emails and log-in to your social media sites.

Rest assured that the tablets have strict blocks so that unsavoury sites are not accessed by our kids.

You can also keep up to date with all news that is McDonalds including calorie content and community projects that McDonalds support.

The Best Bit

We got to make our very own Big Mac’s.

All of the burgers are made specific to McDonalds. There are clearly labelled charts above the work station to ensure that all burgers are made the same.

You can watch my video but this next bit is completely from my memory.

  1. Get your bun ready
  2. Pop it into the three sections of the special bun toaster
  3. Get your box ready
  4. Put the bun in box
  5. Shoot the Big Mac sauce gun at both parts of the bun
  6. Add lettuce
  7. A sprinkle of onion
  8. A slice of cheese on one side
  9. Two slices of gherkin on the other making sure that you separate so you get pickle in each bite
  10. Add a burger on each side
  11. Put the middle part of the bun on top of the bottom bun
  12. Shut the box
  13. BOOM the Big Mac is good to go

I totally aced my Big Mac making skills as you can see in my video.

Your New McDonalds

Cool McDonalds Facts

  • They use fresh ingredients. Contrary to what many people think where possible fresh ingredients are used and delivered to the restaurants daily.
  • No food is sat around – The burgers are freshly prepared to order
  • All waste is recycled. This was the biggest surprise for me. All food and packaging waste is separated and recycled including the oil used in the fryers
  • McDonalds aim to have a ‘Zero Waste Policy’ in all restaurants by 2020
  • To reduce the carbon footprint, delivery lorries deliver and pick-up at the same time so that no empty lorries are driving around
  • Since the introduction of the self-service touch screens more salads have been ordered. This maybe since the entire menu is visual on the screen it’s much easier to see what’s on offer
  • McDonalds work with local councils and volunteer for litter picking with the Love Where you Live campaign
  • McDonalds support local community projects and sports clubs

I bet you’re just a little bit impressed as was I. We like to take Isabelle to McDonalds for a treat and we allow her to choose her own meal whether it be a burger and fries or fish fingers and a fruit bag. It’s all about moderation!

As they say *whistles* ‘I’m Loving it!’

Lisa x

Your New McDonalds