Stresa and Lake Maggiore

Just an hour North by train from central Milan is the small lakeside town of Stresa. It sits right on the edge of Lake Maggiore and is famous for its stunning sunset views. There is a real sense of belle époque elegance and sophistication to Stresa, with beautiful old villas lining the shore and a pretty warren of pedestrianised cobbled streets in the old town where there is lots of fantastic  restaurants, cafes and gelato all over to choose from. I stayed at the Hotel de Parc, a beautiful former private villa since converted into a quaint little boutique hotel.
Along the gorgeous lakeside promenade sits the Hotel La Palma. From the outside it looks very traditional and maybe even slightly old fashioned, but peaking out on the rooftop sits the Sky bar. This was definitely my favourite Aperitivo spot in all of Stresa. The views over the lake are incredible. Go around 6.30/ 7pm just before the sun starts to set and enjoy the stunning views across the lake with a Spritz or two.

Ceresio 7 Milan

This cool rooftop bar sits atop the former 1930s Enel (electricity company) HQ in the Porta Garibaldi area of Milan. It includes two stunning swimming pools, a bar and restaurant all under the guidance of the ex- Bulgari Hotel head chef. You can hire cabanas by the pool from €110 a day, but I went for evening cocktails or what the Italians call Aperitivo. After a few delicious Spritz cocktails and with the sunsetting over the rooftops of Milan I moved into the adjoining restaurant. Although very tempted by the amazing sounding tasting menu, I felt I probably wasn’t hungry enough for 8 courses and so resisted and went for a simple primo and secondi option instead. I started with a raw tuna carpaccio with black figs and caramelised onions, before moving onto a beautiful loin of suckling pig with celeriac, honey and chilli, accompanied with a glass of Italian white with the fish and a light fruity red with the pork. I skipped the dessert, but they generously surprised me with a couple of complimentary mini choux buns filled with a white chocolate and passion fruit mousse before bringing me the bill.

Ceresio 7 Milan

Heartthrob Rob

You might know Heartthrob Rob from his hilarious TikTok or his Instagram reels. My good friend Rup and I first got into his videos over lockdown and so when we saw he was doing a world tour and it was stopping in London we booked tickets. It was in the basement of the Soho theatre a lovely intimate venue ideal for comedy. The show itself felt a bit work in progress, it involved quite a lot of audience participation which might of been more forthcoming if the audience was a bit more tipsy or drunk, but unfortunately it was a Tuesday evening, so we weren’t. Also some of the jokes didn’t translate and land because they were focused to a more American audience, something he definitely needs to work on if he wants to do a world tour again. There was some genuinely very funny bits though, but unfortunately not too many, it was very hit and miss. However there was definitely some potential there, but some more work needed.

Ain’t too proud

Ain’t too proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is the West End debut of the 2018 jukebox musical all about the classic R&B Motown band, The Temptations. You’ll know them from song’s like ‘My Girl’, ‘Get ready’, ‘Papa was a rollin’ stone’ and of course the song the title of the musical comes from ‘Ain’t too proud to beg’. It’s from the same producers that did Jersey Boys, the brilliant musical about the Four Tops, as such it does feel very similar in style. As it was press night we had an extra special guest appearance at the end of evening from the founder and only original Temptations member left in the band, Otis Williams. I went with my friend Simon and we loved it.

Sister Act – The Musical

I had such a fun evening yesterday at the press night for Sister Act – the Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo with my friend Craig. This production has been delayed and delayed because of Covid and originally the main role of Delores was meant to be performed by Whoopi Goldberg, who was obviously the actress in the original movie. Anyway now because of the delay they have drafted in the wonderful Beverley Knight instead. She’s literally come almost straight off the musical ‘The Drifters Girl’ with barely a chance to rest, she’s a very in demand star and you can tell why with this show. Her voice really is phenomenal, she is so great in this role. Truly one of the best vocalist and. performers in musical theatre at the moment, Jennifer Saunders who is playing Mother Superior was hilarious, her comic timing as you would expect is spot on. The supporting cast is similarly superb, particularly note must also go to Lesley Joseph as an ageing rapping nun. Keala Settle most famous for her role as the bearded lady in the film ‘The Greatest Showman’ and her beautiful performance of the song ‘This is me’ (for which she was nominated and imho should have won the Oscar for) was great but almost felt overlooked with such an all star cast. This has to to be one of the best shows on in London at the moment and I highly recommend catching it while you can.