Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

Tootling merrily into town with a bang on a twelve day flying visit, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang winged its way into Nottingham's Theatre Royal, turning heads with a melodious sugar-rush helluva ride.

With Toot Sweets ingeniously on sale in the foyer and starring the cherubically-curly, sweet-like-chocolate-voiced Lee Mead plus Cindy and Barry outta EastEnders as the evil CHILL-drrren hating Baron and Baroness Bomburst, this stage production takes on a different visual style and slightly later era than the film version, with a motor-biking Truly Scrumptious, violet and purple coloured costume schemes plus added girl dancers also showing what they can do with an ol' bamboo.

It's a successfully super-fun high-energy show, from the imaginative wrap-around projections with Dad's Army style animations to the crackpot inventions to the cracker performances by the show-nicking delightfully naughty comedian spies Boris and Goran to the father-of-all-childhood nightmares, the malevolently cloak-whirling ultra-villain Child Catcher. Carrie Hope Fletcher is a charming and exquisitely-voiced Truly Scrumptious blending into delicious musical concoctions with Lee Mead's endearingly-paternal Caractacus Potts in Doll On A Music Box, whilst a lacklustre Chu-Chi Face is acquitted by a boomingly, bloomingly brilliant Roses Of Success commandingly led by Andy Hockley as a top-notch Grandpa Potts, yes siree.

An incredible, edible sweetie of a show, confidentially, we recommend you fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumper night - with mouthfuls of cheers.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is at Nottingham Theatre Royal until May 29. Full details can be found on the Theatre Royal website here

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Nottingham Fashion Week Style Show Live REVIEW

Photo by Laura Patterson
Nottingham's inaugural Fashion Week concluded this weekend with catwalk Style Shows at the beautiful Old Museum building in Nottingham Conference Centre.

Showcasing Spring/Summer 2016 fashions and trends from key national High Street retailers including River Island, House of Fraser, Topshop, Next and Karen Millen, the live shows were hosted by BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, Nottingham's very own Alice Levine.

Alice Levine Photo by Laura Patterson

"I think it's a really nice showcase for Nottingham and with fifty retailers represented on the catwalk, it's so nice to see it all in motion." said Alice. "Nottingham is such a great city to shop in and Fashion Week is really celebrating what's here. Whenever I come back to Nottingham I always shop. I've always shopped in vintage and retro shops, love Hockley but also where my mum and dad are in Beeston, the charity shops are amazing, I probably shouldn't tell you, but Sue Ryder is the best!

Photo by Laura Patterson

"With fashion, I know what I like and it's hard to avoid trends if you shop on the high street, you're inadvertently picking up on things, so the vintage thing is nice, you can freshen something up with one piece and not be the same as everyone else. I really like the silhouettes from the 60s, I really like A-line shapes, the long sleeves and high necks."

Key trends on show included boho folksy prints mixed with fringing, suede, denim and ethnic jewellery, the perennially popular monochrome and nautical looks and a big colour-clash finale with hot pinks, orange and this season's must-have yellow.

You can see more photos in glorious technicolor on our Facebook page here

Photo by Laura Patterson

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Belgian Restaurant Belgo To Open In Nottingham

Nottingham is to be be the location for moules, frites and bieres brand Belgo's first restaurant outside of the capital. Opening in Nottingham’s Lace Market on 6th April 2016 following a £550k refurbishment project, the two floor 180 seater restaurant will create 40 new local jobs.

The restaurant specialises in fresh mussels, which are rope grown, grit free and fully sustainable from the Shetland Islands. Traditionally served the Belgian way in mega mussel pots and cooked to order with frites and mayo, there are 13 mussel flavours to choose from whilst the rest of the menu spans Belgian classics like carbonade (slow cooked ox cheeks in Belgian beer), wild boar sausage and stoemp mash as well as freshly grilled lobster, rotisserie chicken and home-made slaw plus giant pickled gherkins. All the steaks (and burgers) are premium British beef, freshly chargrilled and the frites are doubled cooked. Desserts are Belgian waffles or crepes, homemade and cooked to order.

Situated on Weekday Cross in the Lace Market area, diners can expect quirky feature lighting, big banquette seating, reclaimed wood booths, eclectic artwork and a totally refreshed exterior complete with heaters and a ‘Belgian market’ theme with more than 52 bottled craft Belgian beers, served all day every day. Every craft bottled beer has its own particular, uniquely shaped glass or eclectic drinking-vessel including Brugse Zot  made at the famous Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges and which isn't available anywhere else in Nottingham.

“We’re delighted to be creating a new Belgo home in Nottingham. It’s such a fantastic, cosmopolitan city and we hope our bold, Belgian dining and drinking experience will fit right in. We can’t wait to open our doors on Wednesday 6 April” said Amber Staynings, Belgo Head of Marketing,

Belgo Restaurant will open at 9 Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB Phone: 0115 9241765

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Grimes At Nottingham Rock City REVIEW

Following a year in which St Vincent and Julia Holter have pushed the boundaries of possibility for female songwriters and on International Women’s Day with its theme of “Step it Up”, it was an auspicious moment for Grimes’s karmic thermal to drift into Nottingham.

The takeaway? A night of contradictions from an artist of contradictions.

A champion of DIY bedroom synth pop who commands £250 a ticket for a performance from fundraisers at the Guggenheim and who works through revered indie label 4AD but is managed by Jay Z’s global megabrand; such contradictions carried through into her Rock City show last night.

The presence of talented-in-her-own-right backing singer HANA and dancers didn’t prevent Grimes from so much owning the stage as establishing a totalitarian regime simultaneously playing guitar, programming keyboards, singing, and ricocheting to all corners like a technicolour Rorschach test.

Apparently spontaneous yet ruthlessly choreographed, the multi-lingual former Neuroscience undergraduate (“This one’s in Russian!") went, however, from strident confidence in performance to engaging nervousness in her asides to the audience, succeeding in shifting the impression she projected from sleazy to demure in the process.

The set list was dominated by her last two albums with the throbbing bass line intro to Genesis bookended by - her own favourite from Art Angels - Kill vs Maim, but with the audience ready to carry on all night a final contradiction; promptly after 60 minutes the shutters came down and no encore.

”Too stressful” they were advised.

It added up to an experience that was simultaneously brilliant and unsatisfactory, but ultimately it would take the hardest of hearts not to succumb to the quality and sheer audacity of Grimes’s work which are the product of an intelligent and original talent.

A review of YouTube demonstrates the evolution of her live performance; quite how she will transition to the next step of festivals and stadia remains to be seen but will be fascinating to watch.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Nottingham Fashion Week PREVIEW

Emily from Blake Models wearing clothes from John Lewis
Nottingham, prepare to get your glam fashionista on for seven whole days of fabulousness next month when the first ever Fashion Week hits the city from Friday 22 April to Saturday 30 April 2016.

Nottingham's annual 48 Hours Of Fashion event organised by It's In Nottingham and the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) will this year extend for the first time to a full Fashion Week in association with Nottingham's Creative Quarter. The event will take place in several venues around the city and various shows are to be hosted by BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, Nottingham’s very own Alice Levine.

Alice Levine
“I am really looking forward to being a part of the first ever Nottingham Fashion Week. It is a real honour to be involved in an event in my hometown,” said Alice. “Fashion is a huge part of Nottingham’s heritage and the city is renowned for its great mix of independents, vintage stores and high end boutiques. There is also a great range of the top national high street shops.

"I am thrilled to be hosting the Style Shows on the 29th and 30th April and excited to see the latest looks from the city’s amazing line-up of shops.”

Nottingham Fashion Week will be dedicated to showcasing the very best of the city's fashion from local designers and independent and national retailers, with various events and activities taking place. New College Nottingham will also be taking part with a variety of flash mob activities popping up at different locations throughout the week to showcase the talent of local students, bringing the city to life with music, performance and dance.

Nottingham Conference Centre’s Old Museum building will be transformed into the ‘Fashion Theatre’ for It’s In Nottingham’s spectacular Style Show Live on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April, presented by Alice Levine. The 48 hour long event will showcase the latest Spring/Summer '16 trends and collections from a host of Nottingham’s independents and high street retailers.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, there will be style presentations taking place throughout the day on Saturday 30 April at The Contemporary on Weekday Cross with fashion advice from style experts on such topics as how to buy and wear vintage, the best fashion for different body shapes and advice on wedding wear given during the shows.

The style presentations taking place at The Contemporary on Saturday 30 April are ticketed but free to attend and will be available shortly.

Standard tickets for the Style Shows on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April at Nottingham Conference Centre cost £5, which includes a goody bag that can be collected from intu Victoria Centre and access to special retailer offers and activities.

VIP tickets are available at £12 and include a reserved front row seat and a £5 voucher to spend in the city’s intu shopping centres.

Tickets for the Creative Quarter’s Nottingham Indie Fashion Showcase can be obtained by emailing -

You can find out more about all the events taking place during Nottingham Fashion Week on their webiste on Facebook or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NottmFW

Monday, 22 February 2016

The Loom Nottingham Bar And Grill REVIEW

I could feel hints of spring in the cool February air as I headed to High Pavement to sample the new spring menu at The Loom Nottingham. The Loom is a new bar and restaurant which opened about three months ago and joins the many bars and restaurants that have made the Lace Market their home. But in this reviewer's opinion, it is a cut above many that I have visited.

Inside the doorway we were greeted by our waitress Kristen who gave us a warm welcome. The first section of the dining area was very light, with huge windows onto High Pavement through which you can watch the world go by. We were seated in the second part of the dining area which is beautifully atmospheric with low lighting with fairy lights next to our table to add a bit of twinkle. I explored a little further and to the back of the building is a chilled-out bar area with sofas and a small stage, perfect to while away a few hours, drinking and chatting to friends or listening to bands in the evening. I had been inside this building in its previous incarnation as a cafe and business centre and I must say the transformation is astounding. It has gone from white plastered walls and quite an “office” feeling to beautiful exposed brick and natural wood. They even discovered a window that had been plastered over.

I had the beef with creamed mash, fine beans and maple roasted carrots and shallots. The beef was superbly cooked, my knife cut through it easily and it was juicy and succulent. The carrots and shallots had a lovely sweet tang and the creamy mash melted in my mouth. Absolutely stunning food from a chef with obvious expertise and a delicate touch. My companion ordered Derbyshire lamb but wanted a different type of potato than listed on the menu. This was absolutely no trouble for our friendly waitress who suggested crushed new potatoes instead of the garlic potatoes. The two empty plates at the end of the main was a testament to the quality of the food.

I was in a quandary as to what to have for dessert. Kristen recommended her favourite dessert of sticky toffee pudding but I opted for the lighter elderflower panna cotta with strawberry and shortbread. A lovely, light, sweet dish that is perfect for those full-up after the main course but wanting something sweet.

The service at The Loom was perfect. Our waitress was ever-attentive, checking that we had everything we wanted. The bar manager Alex was friendly and told us as much as he could about the history of the building. He even showed us the enormous loom in the basement, which will be on display when the area is opened to customers in the near future.

A relaxed, atmospheric place to enjoy food of fantastic quality, I confidentially recommend visiting The Loom as soon as possible. I'll be returning and maybe next time I'll sample a cocktail from their extensive menu.

The Loom is in the process of developing a two course for £15 or three course for £20 set lunchtime menu which will be available soon.

You can see more of our Nottingham Confidential photos from The Loom in glorious technicolor on our Facebook page here

The Loom is at  3-5 High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HF and full details and menus can be found on their website

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Wet Wet Wet At Motorpoint Arena Nottingham PREVIEW

Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena will be getting all Wet Wet Wet next month when the iconic British band comes to town on Sunday 28th February with The Big Picture Tour.

Selling over 15 million records whilst notching up over thirty UK chart hits including three number ones since coming to prominence in 1987, the legendary group have played to over 5 million people across the globe and the tour announcement coincided with the 20th anniversary of their huge No. 1 album Picture This which included the hits Julia Says, Don’t Want to Forgive Me Now, Somewhere Somehow, She’s All On My Mind, Morning and, of course, Love is all Around.

Lead singer Marti Pellow said “When we play together it always reminds me how great this band is and how proud I am of the armory of songs we’ve built up. We love to see the fans enjoying what we do on stage and we’re all looking forward to being on the road again”

Bass guitarist Graeme Clark said “We’ve been working on new material as well as looking into the archive and we’re looking forward to playing plenty of songs from Picture This to commemorate its anniversary alongside many other favourites.

Keyboard player Neil Mitchell said “Playing live for the fans is so important to us and we’re delighted to have booked shows all over the country and then some on this tour”

Drummer Tommy Cunningham said “We always put on a spectacular show and it will be no different this time around as amongst a few other surprises, we’ll have massive screens on stage to fit right in with the Big Picture theme”

Markus Feehily has been confirmed as the special guest for the tour.

Markus rose to fame as one fifth of Westlife, with the band’s 14 year career seeing them sell over 50 million records worldwide, achieve 14 No.1 singles in the UK and 26 Top 10s.

Markus, who launched his solo career earlier this year and saw his debut album Fire chart at No.2 in the charts, said: "I remember listening to Marti Pellow’s voice and being really inspired. It’s a pleasure to go on tour with Wet Wet Wet and I can't wait to sing in the arenas again".

Wet Wet Wet front man Marti Pellow Wet Wet Wet front man Marti Pellow added: "Markus has a great voice and as he’ll be performing a selection of Westlife and solo material, we’re in for a real treat. Anybody coming along to the shows is bound to have a great time".

Wet Wet Wet will perform at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Sunday 28th February 2016. Full details including ticket prices can be found on the Motorpoint Arena website here

Monday, 18 January 2016

An Evening With Marian Keyes At Nottingham Playhouse PREVIEW

One of the most successful Irish novelists of all time, international bestseller, Strictly and Bake Off obsessive and Twitterer extraordinaire Marian Keyes will visit Nottingham Playhouse on Monday 15th February 2016 

Talking about her new collection of essays, Making It Up As I Go Along, Marian will be sharing her thoughts and experiences on the tricky, tricky business of being a woman in today’s demanding modern world and offering comfort in the knowledge that, if we’re being honest, each and every one of us is making it up as we go along.

A global number one bestseller, Marian Keyes has written 13 novels, been translated into 33 languages, and sold over 33 million copies worldwide. A talented comic writer, Marian remains a prolific journalist and cultural commentator, appearing regularly on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing – It Takes Two, The Great British Bake Off Extra Slice and The Apprentice – You’ve Been Fired, while amassing a dedicated Twitter following. @MarianKeyes      

Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes will be published by Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House) 11 February 2016, £14.99 hardback

An Evening With Marian Keyes is at Nottingham Playhouse Monday 15th February. Full details and ticket prices can be found on the Nottingham Playhouse website here

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Club Individual 50% Back In January Restaurant Deal

Join Club Individual for FREE and enjoy an exciting variety of offers and rewards, when you dine at their collection of restaurants, which includes Piccolino in Nottingham.

This January, Club Individual members will receive 50% of their food bill back onto their card to spend whenever and wherever they like at any of the restaurants in the scheme which also includes Gino D'Acampo's restaurants.

Other benefits to the Club Individual Membership card include being the first to hear about special events and access to interviews and recipes.

You can sign up for FREE at the Club Individual website and remember your card must be active and registered to gain the complimentary 50% off food points.

Sign up for free membership:

Full details about Piccolino's restaurant in Nottingham can be found on their website:

Thursday, 7 January 2016

EXHIBITION: Inspiring Beauty. No7 - 80 Years Of Making Up The Modern Woman

A new free exhibition chronicling the history of Nottingham's Boots No7 make up brand starts this month at Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham.

For the first time, previously unseen material charting key moments in the history of Boots No7 from its launch in 1935 to its development as an international beauty range will be exhibited.

Treasures from the Boots Archives not normally on display to the public, such as original packaging and advertising, original archive documents and museum objects have been brought together from Boots Archives, The University of Nottingham's Manuscripts and Special Collections and The University of Nottingham's Museum to show the wider social and cultural role of cosmetics from Roman times to the present day.

No7 was launched in an era soon to be transformed by the Second World War and the exhibition explores the social changes affecting women during the last eight decades and the extent to which No7 responded to them, charting the measures taken to counteract war-time shortages and the explosion of colour and choice in the 1960s to enable glamour-on-the-go. 

The exhibition has been jointly curated by Sophie Clapp and Judith Wright from the Boots Archives, Dr Richard Hornsey (Lecturer in Modern British History at The University of Nottingham) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.  

"The history of Boots is deeply rooted in Nottingham, where the company was founded and where so many local people have worked and shopped. It seems fitting to tell the story of No7 on the University of Nottingham campus that Jesse Boot helped create. No7 was launched just as the modern beauty industry came of age, and it's fascinating to see how it has constantly adapted and grown from just a handful of products to an enormous internationally-available range. But this exhibition is not just about make-up, it's also the social and cultural story of the past 80 years, and how the changes are reflected in the products we buy and the marketing we see," says Kathryn Steenson, Archivist at Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Posters, products, photographs and Boots staff magazines will be used to tell a decade-by-decade story of the cosmetic evolution of the modern woman and also on display is some Victorian advice for young ladies regarding their appearance, along with 20th century beauty advisors' notes that demonstrate the shift in attitudes to female beauty over the generations.

Inspiring Beauty. No7 ~ 80 years of making up the modern woman is at the Weston Gallery, D H Lawrence Pavilion, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD from Friday 15 January to Sunday 17 April 2016.

The Weston Gallery is open Monday to Friday 11am - 4pm
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays noon - 4pm (Closed Easter Sunday)
Admission Free

A series of talks and a creative workshop will be held to accompany the exhibition, places are limited so booking in advance is advised with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777

Full details about the exhibition and accompanying talks can be found on the Nottingham Lakeside Arts website