& Juliet

I was honoured to be invited along to the first performance of new musical “& Juliet” and in return I wanted to write a small review about it.

A varied audience

I went to see the show with some friends whose ages ranged from 10 to 50 so it was interesting to get a perspective on the production from each of them.

The general consensus was that it was a riot of lights, colour and music.  It is a show that is a great deal of fun with excellent comedic timing and some clever writing.  

Romeo & Juliet

The show’s pre text is that what would have happened if Juliet from Shakespeare’s famous Romeo & Juliet didn’t die alongside Romeo but went onto survive.  Cue some amazing songs about girl power written by the musical legend Max Martin who is only second to Lennon and McCartney in terms of top ten songs in the US.

The songs

Songs include Britney classics such as “Hit me Baby One More Time” and the Back Street Boys “I want it that way” plus lots of other classics from the naughties by Pink, Katy Perry and Bon Jovi.


Highlights of the show were David Badella who placed Lance and Melanie La Barrie who played Nurse. Their chemistry and comedic timing was brilliant resulting in the entire audience in stitches of laughter especially with their performance of “Teenage Dream”.

Cassidy Janson who played Ann Hathaway was also amazing with a fabulous voice and great stage presence.

The solo performance by Arun Blair Mangat of “I’m not a girl.  Not yet a woman” was I thought the best vocal performance of the show.

The Amazing Cast of musical &Juliet at Manchester's Opera House
Review on Violet-Skies.com
The Amazing Cast of musical &Juliet at Manchester’s Opera House

Music volume

The volume of the music was unfortunately occasionally too loud and overshadowed the amazing vocals, which was a shame but hopefully that technical detail will have been adjusted for future performances now.


At a time when theatre visits by 11-15 year olds are at an all time low shows such as this one should renew interest in the arts. Hopefully this musical will make Romeo & Juliet accessible to a new audience too.  A new audience that might not have seen Shakespeare before and might after this show consider taking another look.

A show for 2019

It was also a great show for 2019 showcasing exclusivity, equal rights and gender fluidity too.  It caused some members of the audience to seem a little uncomfortable with some parts but hopefully that means it will help to encourage new mind-sets and to provide a catalyst for important discussions too. 

In a year that has seen the Spice Girls reform and enjoy renewed mass hysteria from an audience that were barely out of nappies the first time around.  I think the timing for this rip roaring musical couldn’t be better.

There was something in it to appeal to each of my party’s varied ages so a definite must see from us whether you are 10 years old or 50 you will enjoy a thoroughly entertaining night out.

The show is running at Manchester Opera House until 12thOctober so get tickets while you still can here 

Love Sarah

Always Violet Skies xxx

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A Sick Groundhog day

So our little rainbow baby had her one-year inoculations the other day so we had a few days of high temperatures, a distressed clingy baby, waking every half an hour over night and whimpering in her sleep.  It can be tough as a parent with a sick or teething child anytime but if you’re a parent who has experienced child loss then this can feel like a sick version of Groundhog Day.


Our first born Violet died suddenly at 15 months old and looking back her health slowly deteriorated over her final months so slowly we didn’t really notice it until it was almost too late and then it was too late.

The last photo ever taken of our gorgeous Violet the morning of the day she died in Manchester Children’s Hospital playing with a balloon.

Rainbow baby

Our rainbow baby, Aurora Violet’s baby sister is now approaching 13 months old so we are ultra sensitive to any slight change in her behaviour, routinely checking her temperature and we whisk her to see the GP as soon as she coughs more than a few times. Over protective parents have nothing on us!

A sleeping Aurora – our rainbow baby

Violet in her final months started sleeping a lot worse than she did before and we assumed she was waking because of hunger but discovered on admission into hospital that it was because her oxygen levels were plummeting.  Aurora is displaying similar sleeping patterns so we’re awaiting sleep study equipment to monitor and check her oxygen levels while she sleeps.

Our rainbow baby has an appointment with a top lung specialist too, even though as yet she currently doesn’t have anything wrong with her chest (that we can tell).  It makes us feel better that she will be double-checked. You may think “what a waste of that consultants time if there’s nothing wrong with her” and someone expressed that to me.

The Why

Well her sister saw countless GPs, several paediatricians at two different hospitals, several accident and emergency consultants, a variety of different registrars at Manchester Children’s Hospital, with varying levels of qualification and experience.  Yet not one of them managed to accurately diagnose Violet while she was alive.  It wasn’t until after a full coroners inquest nearly 2 years after her death that we even found out what the issue had been.  This top lung specialist was supposed to see Violet when she was in hospital but she died before he got around to seeing her and perhaps he may have diagnosed her or not we will never know.

It can be tough as a parent with a sick or teething child anytime but if you’re a parent who has experienced child loss then this can feel like a sick version of Groundhog Day. Violet-Skies.com
Violet in Manchester Children’s Hospital aged 15 months old.

So I’m not sorry in the slightest if by now playing the “my dead baby” card means that my rainbow gets the best specialist healthcare because you know what she and we bloody well deserve it.   I have paid my taxes (as have my family all our lives) and we fully support funding the NHS which yes needs more funding today so babies like Violet don’t die in hospital while waiting to see a specialist.

Until you have been in our shoes and watched your child deteriorate, suffer and then die in front of you whilst no one has an explanation as to why.  Then come object to me but until then I will stand and scream if I have to until I know my child is safe, healthy and happy.

If your child is ill too let me know as I’m happy to advise or scream for them too.  

The Maybes

Maybe we didn’t shout loud enough with Violet?  Maybe we didn’t kick up enough of a stink?  Maybe I should have bundled her into my car when I decided Manchester Children’s Hospital weren’t doing a good enough job and driven her to Alder Hey hospital?  

Well you know what this time if I need to then I bloody well will and god help any healthcare admin person who dares stand in my way!


Have you ever had to question healthcare professionals?   During Violet’s short lifetime we experienced the very best of the NHS and the very worst too.  What are your experiences?

Big love,


Always Violet Skies x

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Anniversaries of loss

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Anniversaries after loss are always really hard for all those family & friends who were close to the loved one.


Talking from experience it really does help when others remember our cherished one on this day and when they commemorate their memory in some way, it reassures us that their legacy will live on.

Bee mural

Never forgotten

Our worst fear is that our much loved child, brother, sister, mum, dad, family member or friend is forgotten so today take the time, observe the silence at 2.30pm today, light a candle, say a prayer or just give a thought to all those who lost their lives in the Manchester bomb last year and know by doing that you are fulfilling the wish of their families and friends in that they are not forgotten.

We will not forget them. Bee strong everyone. 💜🐝

Bee image