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Review: Aladdin at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The pantomime is a Christmas essential, and in Aberdeen and the Shire we have a good choice in various venues. This year His Majesty’s Theatre is running Aladdin starring Jimmy Osmond, as the “baddie” Abanazar! This was quite a change from Elaine C Smith who has starred in our local panto for some years, so traditionalists would be relieved to hear she’s not completely gone…

The costumes and staging are well done and impressive, as are the numerous special effects including pyrotechnics (trying to resist spoilers!). The cast are all talented from the very happy children from Aberdeen Academy of Dance, to the fabulous choreography of the dancers, to our local gem of Widow Twankey (Alan McHugh, who was also the writer) and Aladdin himself (Jordan Young). Princess Jasmine (Lisa-Anne Wood) is just the right level of poise and prettiness, with an amazing voice.

Jimmy Osmond gets the chance to sing a couple of his well-known hits (and it was rude not to sing along!) in between the carefully reworked panto appropriate songs. Obviously playing the baddie we booed and hissed every time he appeared, but it did feel rather rude to “welcome” the Long Haired Lover from Liverpool to our city in such a way!

The usual ingredients are all there too – the local references, the corny jokes, the “oh yes you will” / “on no we won’t”, the singalong, the innuendo that makes the parents giggle and leave the kids blissfully unaware, and of course, the lasting feeling that it’s Christmas!!

Further information 
Thank you to Aberdeen Performing Arts for the tickets, and Richard Frew for the photography.

HMT. Aladdin Panto.


Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

…with Liz Pichon at Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen. Sunday 15th October 2017.

Quite an unusual way to spend a Sunday afternoon, in a theatre with an author and a band based on the fictional band she made up for her books. Liz Pichon has written, and illustrated/doodled, a series of books based on a character called Tom Gates who is a school boy. Tom Gates is in a band called DogZombies and his favourite band is DUDE3, who are joining us for the afternoon apparently.

Along I went, with my 7 year old avid reader who had managed to get through Top Of The Class in 48 hours after hearing we were going. Really not sure what to expect we were excited to find that Liz herself was walking round the theatre making sure everyone had paper and a pencil ready to learn how to do her style of doodles. She even stopped for a photo with my son.

The show itself was an hour long, during which we were introduced to Liz Pichon, DUDE3, and the other characters in the book. It included a book reading from Family Friends and Furry Creatures – with the pages projected on the screen so we could read along, and see the relevant doodles. There was live music, although the musicians didn’t look quite like their doodled counterparts they were rather talented and so enjoyable to listen to. We were treated to a doodle lesson, with Liz being live streamed onto the projector screen as she doodled on a flipchart at the front of the stage. This method was also used so we could design a monster with various audience members making demands for imaginative things like “pizza feet” and “spaghetti arms”. We were also allowed to ask questions – brave in a room full of children – but they asked some sensible questions like who she read as a child – Roald Dahl, and how she got into writing books.

Afterwards we were invited row by row to show Liz our doodles and get our copies of books, which were on sale at the front of the theatre, signed. My son was happy sitting doodling for some of our 75 minute wait but declared she was well worth it! On the way home he changed the lyrics of the School Dinner Blues song from “we want chips” to “we want books, and they have to be Liz Pichon”. Think that says it all really, tour is ongoing and well recommended.

Further information

2015 summing up time!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

So 2015 has been an exciting year for the Robertsons. Owen has been to his first proper music festival and his first proper concert, much to his Mum’s delight. We were at Party in the Palace in Linlithgow to see Julie Fowlis the Gaelic singer, among others. We took his cousin Lucas with us so that made it more fun.

Owen & Lucas at Party at the Park

I also took him to his first album signing at HMV, where we heard a few songs from, and then met The Shires.

Owen meets The Shires

At the Celebrate Aberdeen festival he had a song dedicated to him by local talent Best Girl Athlete which made him quite happy.  When he learned his alphabet K was for Katy, the lead singer!  He was actually supposed to be at a gig she did in a local cathedral on the night of her 16th birthday but unfortunately he wasn’t well so I had to go without him.  Katy and her Dad Charley were kind enough to send me home with a signed poster for him!

Celebrate Aberdeen festival - day 2, 2015

We also attended the free outdoor stage at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival of American root music. The most thoughtful festival I’ve ever been to – when it started to rain they brought round a box of umbrellas, much to Owen’s delight! He and I also did the Strathyre Music Festival again, including a drumming workshop which he really enjoyed. The lad was truely spoilt at the Proclaimers too, not only did we manage to get invited back stage to meet Craig and Charlie, but the support act Daniel Meade and the Flying Mules had apparently seen on social media that it was Owen’s first proper concert and dedicated a song to him!!

The Proclaimers at AECC

Another amazing experience he had was being invited into the kitchen of The Courtyard restaurant. He helped Chris Toner the owner, butcher a shoulder of lamb and cook some and then his highlight was sticking a knife into a lobster’s brain!! He wasn’t so keen on eating it afterwards though so I had to help him!

Chef in the kitchen at The Courtyard amazing experience

Our “summer holiday” this year was to the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Parents spend the week in lectures whilst the kids got to do crafts, sports, archery and even tried canoeing – another enjoyable first for Owen! On the Thursday night there was a ceilidh for all the families and we were shocked to find out that each class had to sing a song! My class did the Hokey Cokey whilst Bryan’s did a more serious number – and there was another first as he stood up in front of everyone with the microphone and introduced his class’ performance! I’d wondered why he was quite so nervous! The college is in a gorgeous location and had a good canteen, although we did escape to a local restaurant one night as a family treat. Luckily the weather was quite agreeable, we even missed a monsoon in Aberdeen that had shopping centres and the airport closed due to flooding!

Sabhal mor ostaig - Fèis an Eilein / Skye Fest

Owen’s Gaelic is doing well, now in P2 he’s reading with the year above and does maths exercises with them too. In the first week back he got a Good Kid Call for helping the new P1s, another lovely benefit of composite classes.  We helped out on the Gaelic education stall at the Aberdeen Highland Games too.  The boy is obcessed with maths, he complained during the summer when I dropped him at Holiday Club that he just wanted to go to lessons and learn more maths! Luckily Asda had Star Wars themed maths books that kept him happy till the teachers returned! We went to see his Christmas Carol Service last week, he’d been working hard learning his lines and even covered for his classmate who was off sick on the day. His swimming lessons are also going well and he moves into the next class up in the new year. He also goes to Gaelic Youth Club every week which he really enjoys.  We did try street drumming for a while this year, which we both enjoyed, but the timing of it didn’t really work out and we had to give it up.

School certificates

Work wise, Bryan’s is going well and we’re both now used to his trips to the Manchester office. In fact this update was written on the flight to and from his Christmas party down there! My work has been crazy busy, with the external hires of the library really taking off. We’ve had gin tastings, meetings, quizzes, dinner’s, lunches, seminars, photo shoots, and parties galore! Only one wedding this year but next year we have 4 booked including our first same sex, and first themed wedding! They are lovely chaps and going for Downton Abbey theme so that should be an amazing day! End of January we have a concert for a local music promoter so fingers crossed that goes well and leads to more. Actually a local musician, Oliver Richards recorded some music videos in the library this year to promote himself for a world tour next year – “Live at the Library”, most exciting!

My boys continue to be football crazy, following Manchester United and Aberdeen FC. Not been to many games but watched a few on TV and Owen reads the local paper’s The Score every Monday night when we get home! He also trades football cards with his school mates – and spends hours arranging the cards into teams or positions or whatever! For his 6th birthday he wanted an AFC strip and football party – which seemed to please everyone (once we persuaded him he didn’t need to restrict invitations to those who love and are good at football!).

Birthday Cake!

As well as enjoying the aforementioned live music with my family I did some extras without them. The most amazing was that I won front row tickets to see U2! As soon as I heard I texted my cousin Dave to ask if I was going “with or without you”. So we met up in Glasgow the weekend before his 40th and had an amazing night out. I’d not told him we were also getting in the Hydro Club Bar, we felt like proper VIPs! The next day my folks took us out for lunch, bringing along Dave’s brother Tony as a surprise (he was in Scotland on a course!). Special times!

Lunch at the Ubiquitous Chip

I also saw my theme tune – Stupid Girl by Garbage – live again. They played Usher Hall in Edinburgh and it was a wonderful and unique experience, including Shirley Manson’s Dad making a surprise visit to the stage.  Support was the most enjoyable Dutch Uncles.  I reviewed X Factor Live Tour again and Simply Red, requested that one as Natalie Imbruglia was supporting but they were both great. My friend George put on his first gig so I manned the door and enjoyed being part of the whole thing. Met the Media Whores and enjoyed Rumtumtartar and Life on Standby. I also worked at 2 dance music festivals in the city, wages paid for some of my other tickets, and I got to hear various acts in the process: Sasha, KatyB, Pendulum DJ set and Darius Syrossian. Also saw Prodigy supported by Public Enemy, The Answer supported by Bad Touch and the Picture Books, Jack Savoretti, Placebo supported by Mirror Trap.  Also seeing Texas next weekend.  Bryan and I also attended the Energy Ball this year as guests of the John Clark Motors Group and saw an amazing band called Swanband, from Paris.  A very good year for me musically!

We had a few family outings to various events: Scottish Ballet doing The Nutcracker, Aberdeen v Dundee at Pittordrie, Dr Bunhead’s science show, we saw a modern dance show called Windibops, we went to a Frozen Tea Party, we were VIP guests at the relaunch of our local Brewsters play area, an anniversary tour and ceilidh at my high school, a Shorts and Shades party, Farm Open Day at The Store, and Owen took part in a Super Heroes School.  There was a Gaelic kids day out to Crathes Castle when we went on the steam train, as well as a tubing session and Mud Pies with them – bbq-ing marshmallows and building tree houses! We also took Owen and Maya to Disney on Ice when it was in town.

Happy Mother's Day to me! Rink side at Disney on Ice and we've stolen a Princess to join us

Bryan and Owen had some “man time” at a Rumbling Romans and Wicked Warriors event at a local castle (click arrows at side of picture to see the full album photo album!).

Rumbling Romans & Wicked Warriors at Castle Fraser

We have my parents coming for Christmas, they are looking after Owen for the week between school and my work closing. On the 25th we have various members of Bryan’s side joining us although unfortunately his Dad will be offshore. Bryan and I have treated ourselves to tickets for County 2 Country music festival in Glasgow in March as our Christmas presents to each other so are looking forward to that.

Next year I have to face turning 40 and we’ve declared its finally time we made it to Disney Florida after all these years of wanting to go, so all being well next years round up will just be pictures of Mickey et al.! In the meantime we have even more saving up to do!

Hope 2015 has been kind to you and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

Book review

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Through LinkedIn I was approached to do a children’s book review for an American library.  As I have one of those small children things I thought it would be fun to do with him and Pete who had approached me agreed.

I must admit it wasn’t as easy a project as I had envisioned, a 5 year old’s mind is a strange beast, but it has now been published.  If you would like to read it the review Owen and I did of The Gruffalo is here.

Working on his first book review



Several years ago when we used to go hunting Gruffalo on Perwinnes Moss:

Hunting Gruffalo

Nursery homework

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Owen loves his nursery, which is lucky as he’s there full time!  They do various projects and are good at trying to get the parents involved too.  Last Friday we got asked if we would take Lewis the nursery bear for the weekend – and along with him came a suitcase of pjs, toothbrush and a diary.  As well as being fun reading Lewis and Owen past diary entries at bedtime I knew I had to fill in what we had been doing.  Well, anyone who knows me well knows I don’t like my own handwriting, but I do like taking photos so I decided to use my secretarial skills and type something up to stick into his book.  The result, and what we got up to at the weekend, can be seen here: Lewis the nursery bear’s diary

Bad blogger

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Well, hello there!  Been a while huh?!  I do apologise, not really sure how that happened.  Especially as I have a task reminder set up on my phone that bleeps at me most days with “Blog”.  Hmm, then I finally log on to see I haven’t done it since February.  And its now June.  How did that happen?

I can’t say its cause I’ve been ill or out of the country or anything exciting like that.  Nope, I’ve just been working and looking after Owen (and my other fellas) and trying to fit in having some fun in-between.  We are all fine and dandy, if a little pushed for time and skint – but we’re not special in that!

Owen is almost 20 months old, he’s obsessed with Toy Story at the moment, but recently its been Cars, trains (we took him on a steam train), and Mickey Mouse (we took him to see Disney on Ice).  He is talking lots now – not all of it understandable.  Important words in his vocabulary are: Dada, Mama, No (who taught him that one?!), Ball, Tractor, Cheese, Pasta, Cat, Dog, Please, Ta, Hiya, Tata (and started trying Bye bye).  He prefers to eat the same as us whenever possible, although still takes some off your plate as well as eating his own.  He now uses a Doidy cup to drink from after deciding lids on his drinks were silly things.  He occassionally will give kisses (with the hugest pucker you can imagine) but he has to be in the right mood or you get No, No, No with much shaking of the head!

Bryan’s fine, working away, dreaming of winning the lottery and stopping work.  Just his usual!  He’s started playing (doing?!) Airsoft with his cousin Ray occassionally.  It’s like paintball but with pellets instead of paint and they use replica guns.  Still it gets him off the sofa and means Owen and I get some Sundays to ourselves which makes up for all the times I go off and leave Daddy in charge.

George and Benson are usually miaowing hungrily but are also fine.  They are so cute with Owen and seem to know he needs to learn to be gentle so they put up with him.  He is usually good with them, and they love his new habit of bringing in a few bits of grass for them when we get home!

Lee, my brother in law, is still staying with us.  He moved in about November time when his relationship ended, unfortunately she’s now moved to England with their 4 children so he’s kinda lost them too but they talk most nights.  They used to be home schooled but yesterday was their first day at “proper school”.  I was so proud when I saw a photo of them all grinning happily in their green uniforms, bless them!  Its so lovely having Lee around and I’ve really got to know him a lot better over the past few months.  Owen loves his Uncle Lee too so is great that he’s getting the chance to spend time with him.

And me, well I’m my usual busy self.  June is even more mental than usual with me being away 3 weekends out of 4, but you only live once so I might as well enjoy it!  I must admit I tend to update Facebook a lot more than on here, its quicker and easier to do I guess.  I love the “check in ” feature to show all the places you’ve been, quite fun!  So if you miss me blogging you could always cyberstalk me over to FB…


Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Tonight is sad.  Since October when I bought tickets I have been looking forward to tonight as I was due to go to a concert at Murrayfield featuring The Enemy, Kasabian and Oasis.  Three bands I love.  I knew that if I got pregnant I wouldn’t be able to go and I had Hugh lined up as willing to go with me or with one of his other friends, depending on my “state”.

Well he got asked in March if he’d like both tickets as that was us pregnant.  Obviously I don’t regret that we are pregnant and having a baby in October at all, its just sad that I have to miss what is obviously going to be a fabulous and wonderful concert!  Some of my pals are there and were texting or msn’ing earlier saying how excited they were or that they were on their way.  I hope they have a fab time, but meanwhile I might have to *pout* all evening…

Texted my cousin Tony earlier, he’s the guy who introduced me to Ian the drummer from Kasabian.  Rather than giving me sympathy he said he’d seen them in Leicester and it was the best gig ever.  *sigh*.  Ah well, he’s having a baby with his wife next week and they are both fine – and coming to Scotland in August and we arranged to meet – hurrah!