In our family we are all about experiences. Having lovely clothes, high tech gadgets and beautiful jewellery is lovely but it is our experiences that shape us. My Grandad has a saying, “We are born with nothing and we die with nothing, anything we accumulate in-between is just stuff.” While I agree that material items are indeed just stuff, our experiences through life have a lot of meaning and ultimately shapes us as people.
Theatre has always held a special place for me. Growing up, we used to visit the local theatre in December for the Christmas pantomimes but as I grew older we stopped going. Then when I was 17 I dated an actor, who for my 18th birthday took me to see Chicago at the west end. It was such a wonderful experience, the lights, the music and the stage composition all pulled together for this amazing finished show… it reignited my love of theatre. The relationship didn’t last, but my love of theatre certainly has.
I think theatre has a beautiful way of connecting people, even those who live hundreds of miles apart. Now in my late twenties, I live over 200 miles away from my hometown and maintaining relationships with people is difficult. I always make a point of keeping in touch with certain friends though and my best friend from school is one of these people. In the summer we arranged to go and see ‘The Lion King’, which is one of the most visually stunning theatre productions I’ve ever seen.
For weeks after seeing ‘The Lion King’, I kept telling Mr. C that we really need to see a show together. He has never been to the theatre in The West End, so I wanted to make a weekend out of it. So when I came across Buy a Gift at a press event in July, I was really interested in working with them.
Buy a Gift is a provider of experience days, that can cater to a range of interests and budgets. They have experiences from flying and adventure days to food classes and spa days. As well as set experiences, they have gift packs at varying budgets which allow the recipient to choose what experience they would like.
I opted for the ‘Top Price Theatre Tickets with Three Course Meal and Wine for Two’ package. There were a few different restaurant and show combinations to choose from, but we decided to go with food at Prezzo and then a showing of Les Miserables.
It is very easy to book online and there are maps available to make sure there is only a short distance between your chosen theatre and your restaurant of choice. To book tickets for the show, I called the box office number provided and they told us we could only get tickets for a midweek show. We are quite flexible with our working rotas, so this wasn’t an issue for us, but it is something to keep in mind when booking. The restaurant has to be booked separately and we did have some issues with this, which turned out was due to a mix up with the pack I was sent. I think this was more down to me being sent a press pack opposed to a consumer pack though. It was all sorted out very quickly over the phone to Buy a Gift customer care, where the person we dealt with made sure we kept the same theatre seats, to avoid disruption considering we had already arranged childcare for a set date and I was sent new E-Vouchers (which are needed on arrival to the venue) within twenty minutes.
The Three Course Meal
Our dinner was at Prezzo on Glasshouse Street. I adore Italian food and having just returned from Rome, we couldn’t wait to tuck into a carbonara. The staff were really efficient, so as soon as we walked through the door, we were shown to a cosy table.
I didn’t feel like drinking, so opted for a coke (which we paid for separately) and left Mr. C to get through his two glasses of wine. We booked our table for 6pm, which I was worried may have been pushing it for time considered the showing of Les Miserables started at 7:30pm. I really needn’t have worried though, the waitresses were really nice and the service was incredibly quick.
For my three courses I opted for a garlic bread start, a carbonara main and a brownie for dessert. Every course was cooked perfectly, the carbonara was amazing. I tend to find that Italian chains don’t actually cook carbonara properly, leaving out one of the key ingredients prosciutto instead replacing it with bacon. Not the case in Prezzo, they have a mixture. The flavours compliment each other without being overbearing, leaving a really well cooked meal!
This is a show I’ve been wanting to see for a while now. Les Miserable is set during a turbulent time of French history… the French Revolution.
The story follows Jean Valjean, who serves his time for stealing a piece of bread to feed his sister’s, starving son. On his release, he finds it difficult to find continuous work and eventually steals from a priest. Seeing his hardship, the priest helps Jean Valjean, who then breaks parole, which leads Javert to hunt him. Moving forward, Jean Valjean creates a good life for himself, but when he agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter Cosette, their lives change forever.
I don’t even know where to begin with this production, it is just amazing. The stage direction was so brilliantly executed and the different takes on the characters worked incredibly well. Les Miserables can be a very emotionally heavy show, but there are perfectly timed injections of humour in the form of Madame and Monsieur Thenardier. The whole show was just incredible and really worth seeing.
Theatre is such a great way of staying connected and we really enjoyed the ease of having everything in place via Buy a Gift. We really enjoyed taking some time as just a couple, spending time together and creating memories through amazing experiences. Life is made up of experiences after all!
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*Note: I was given a gift experience including a three course meal, with wine and theatre tickets for two in return for an honest review.