While the tragedy continues to unfold in Japan after the recent and shocking events following the earthquake and Tsunami, attentions were turned, for just one evening, towards the traditional Domestic and African projects that receive national charitable support each year through the familiar and well loved TV format that is Comic Relief. This year a staggering 74 Million Pounds has been raised so far, and the show itself was hugely moving as always - packed full of stars willing to put their talents on show in aid of some truly incredible causes. Hosted in the early part by Claudia Winkleman and Michael McIntyre followed later by Davina McCall and Graham Norton, the show had come at a rather tough time, considering the worlds current state of despair, and whilst it seemed difficult to turn our attentions away from Japan and its people - there were particular stories that really stood out and made me remember that right now in Africa things are still very much as they were, and the profound poverty that is being experienced day in day out is something we can all help diminish, if only in a small way. With over 230 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living in slums with little or no access to clean water, healthcare or sanitation of any kind, my own personal sense of gratitude was given a sharp of dose of reality whilst watching the documentary clips that were featured in between comedy skits and sketches performed by the likes of Kim Cattrall, Simon Callow, James Corden, George Michael and Ruby Wax - and of course Lenny Henry, who never fails to effect with his undeniably emotional reports from the front line.
To give to this fantastic charity click here: http://www.comicrelief.com/
A fabulous and hard-hitting play currently receiving rave reviews is Mogadishu, showing at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Winner of the Bruntwood Playwriting Competition and The George Devine Award 2010, Vivienne Franzman's play takes a look at rules - and how bending them turns victims into perpetrators. Touching on issues such as loyalty, fear, honesty and racism, this little gem of a play packs a truly forceful punch and it's sometimes sinister and melodramatic tones are beautifully peppered with touches of laughter - making this a very enjoyable evening out indeed.
For more info: http://bit.ly/gtJ069
During my St. Patricks Day celebrations last week (yikes) I was urged by one particular Gaelic friend to attend an outdoor festival taking place in Finsbury Park over the weekend of the 18th/19th June. Pronounced 'fesh' - the Feis Festival celebrates all that is Irish, including gaelic food and drink and performances by Bob Dylan, Nancy Griffith and The Cranberries to name but a few - with Van Morrison recently announced as a last minute addition - headlining on the Sunday evening. I'm going to be there with (green) bells on!
For more about Feis: http://londonfeis.com/
You know those nights when you'd just rather be at home in a pair of pajamas than out on the town attempting conversation over a noisy bar? well, believe it or not, internationally acclaimed interior designer David Carter has decided to give you the chance to go out and wear your PJ's - all at the same time. He's recently created Bedtime stories at "40 Winks", his private home and teeny tiny hotel. It's a monthly slumber party, where Hendricks gin cocktails are on the menu and an unforgettable storytelling experience awaits as you lounge around with other guests in your pajamas. Professional storytellers combine forces with musicians and actors to create performances that vary each month. PJ's are obligatory - and booking is essential. Go on - you know you want to.
For more info: http://www.40winks.org/
Restaurant of the week: "Hereford Road" is where you need to head for traditional Britsh fair that really does make you proud to be a Brit! Opened in Autumn 2007 in Westbourne Grove, London, it's a serious must-visit for all foodies - and those who simply love to chow down on great National grub. Chef Tom Pemberton used to run the kitchen at St John Bread & Wine and with duck livers and roast wood pigeon on the menu - plus pudding highlights including Rhubarb Eaton Mess and homemade rum & raisin ice cream, it might not be great for the bikini summer bod you're currently coveting - but what the hell - it's awesomely unmissable.
For more info: http://www.herefordroad.org/