Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff

I’ve written about the Doctor Who Experience before, but that was back in 2012, and it’s changed a fair bit since then. The Experience is actually closing in September, with no word on what will happen to the contents (most of it is actually owned by private collectors, but hopefully a lot of it will still be able to be seen by the general public). We went along for one last visit to the Doctor Who Experience before it closes in a couple of months.

Doctor Who Experience

The Experience starts with an ‘Adventure’. There is no photography or video allowed in this part of the Experience, to help keep it a surprise for first time visitors, so in respect of that, I’ll keep my review brief. You start being led by a tour guide into the Museum of Gallifrey, but of course, all is not what it seems and you soon find yourself on an adventure with the Doctor. Led by video messages from Capaldi’s Doctor, you search time and space for time crystals, flee from some of Doctor Who’s most iconic monsters, go inside the TARDIS and are eventually dropped off at the beginning of the Exhibition portion of the tour, in 1963. The Adventure part is always excellent; I’ve been through both versions more than once, with both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi themed adventures. It’s perfect for littles, as it’s not too scary, but there’s enough peril to keep adult fans entertained too. The Experience’s staff really throw themselves into it, and I’ve never yet had a bad guide. It’s worth noting too, that if you have someone in the party who’s not a Who superfan, there’s fun to be had for them too. Dave has only ever watched odd episodes of the show, and he enjoyed the Adventure, and found the Exhibition really interesting. It’s also prompted him to go back and starting watching the start of Eccleston’s series, so maybe it’s  way to convert someone into a superfan…

TARDIS

K9

Doctor Who Exhibition

The Exhibition starts in 1963, the year Doctor Who first aired. The first displays are full of bits of set, script notes and office sets from 1960s BBC, and those early episodes. You then progress through the early Doctors, with different versions of the TARDIS exterior, and control panel. I was pleased to find K9 and Bessie, the third Doctor’s car. I’m less familiar with the original Doctors, being largely a fan of the reboot, but it’s lovely to see these iconic pieces.

TARDIS console

Next, you come a huge set piece, of the Tenth Doctors’ TARDIS. Tennant’s last moments as the Doctor play on a loop as you move around the console and see the open TARDIS door, inviting you to run out into the next adventure. This is always my favourite part. David Tennant is my favourite Doctor, so I remember this version of the TARDIS very fondly.

Davros

Davros Doctor Who

Cybermen

Cybermen Doctor Who

Upstairs, you start finding some of those classic monsters again. The Daleks, Davros and Cybermen have reappeared so often throughout Doctor Who, and these bad guys are lined up with examples from every era. It’s really interesting to see the evolution of how these monsters have changed. The Daleks look pretty consistent, but they do seem to have become absolutely enormous in recent years. Davros too, hasn’t changed. Cybermen, however, have changed a lot, from the original version with cloth masks to an extremely shiny 80s looking robot, to the first version in the reboots, which was bulky and muscular. The most recent version, pictured above, has been slimmed down considerably, and to me, looks almost like an Iron Man type armour, with the slimmer fit, and light in the chest.

Weeping Angel

The Silence

Doctor Who monsters

There’s also plenty of modern Doctor Who monsters to terrify you. These displays seem to change about quite a bit, which is really cool. There’s a lot of the classic 60s monsters on display now too, and apparently over this year there’s a lot of work being done to restore a lot of those early monster costumes. This makes me hopeful that there must be plans to do something with these pieces, even after the Experience closes. The items in the Exhibition are largely on loan from private collectors, with the rest coming from the BBC archives.

River Song

Captain Jack Harkness

Rose Tyler

Clara Oswald

Amy Pond

Next, there are currently rows and rows of costumes worn by companions. Apparently I only photographed the modern ones, but there are costume examples from Ace and Sarah Jane too. All the modern companions are here, including Astrid, young Amy Pond and Amy Pond’s kissogram uniform. With my cosplay head on, it’s really great to see these costumes up close and get a look at the details.

Doctor Who

And then of course…the man himself. From the first doctor to the current, these costumes are laid out in a timeline, which gives a very cool insight into how the Doctor has changed over the years. I love the era shown above, where the costumes were truly madcap and colourful. They’re just fun.

The shop, it’s worth saying, is excellent too, and you can access it without going through the Experience if you don’t want to. Both my Sonic Screwdrivers were bought here, and they have some great replicas of iconic costume pieces, which is of course great for cosplayers! Make sure you check it out while it’s still there.

We attended the Doctor Who Experience as a family, and paid in full. All opinions are honest and my own. They didn’t know I was a blogger. 

Pirlo’s Dessert Lounge, Birmingham

Pirlo’s Dessert Lounge in Digbeth has just turned one year old. To celebrate, a gang of bloggers went along to their first birthday party, to eat a lot of sugar.

Pirlo's Dessert Lounge, Birmingham

Pirlo's

Pirlo’s is super American in appearance, in a great way, with exposed brick, funky lights, and cosy booths. When we went along, it was one of the hottest days of the year so far, so we were all raring to get at some ice cream. We started with some drinks.

Pirlo's drinks menu

Mojito

Pirlo’s doesn’t serve alcohol, but they offer a great selection of teas, coffees, soft drinks, smoothies, juices and mocktails. I highly recommend their Mojitos. There may not be any booze in there, but they are very refreshing, with piles of fresh mint. They also offer lots of fruity spins on the traditional lime version, with options including strawberry or blueberry.

Ice cream Sundaes Birmingham

Desserts Birmingham

Considering the heat, we were all pretty pleased to be presented with some of Pirlo’s ice cream sundaes to try. Pirlo’s Monster Sundae, is frankly, enormous. Don’t try and eat this on your own; you’ll probably die in a sugar coma. Order it to share though, because it is delicious. With scoops of Ferrero Rocher, nutella and strawberry gelato, with Oreo sprinkles, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, chocolate brownie pieces, vanilla ice cream and warm nutella, this is a chocolate lovers dream. If you’re looking for something fresher, the Tropical Fruit Twist, combines mango sorbet, mango and pineapple slices, vanilla ice cream and mango syrup. This sundae has some great sharpness to offset all that sugar. We also tasted the Neapolitan, which has chocolate and strawberry gelato, fresh strawberries, chocolate buttons, vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.

Pirlo's Menu

Next, a procession of incredible looking desserts began to arrive. We got a look at (and the chance to get a spoon into) a selection of desserts including Pirlo’s Big Waffle (another sharer, with strawberries, banana, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Oreos, and nuts served with warm Nutella sauce and a scoop of gelato), the Chocoholic Crepe (M&Ms, crushed Oreos, milk and white chocolate, scoop of gelato), the Wild One Crepe (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate sauce, strawberry gelato), Red Velvet Cake and a Chocolate Fondue.

Red Velvet Cake

Fondue

Dessert Heaven

Waffles

As if all that wasn’t enough, we were then given some mini portions of the waffle, the Chocoholic crepe and a piece of Oreo Cheesecake to try as well. Everything we tried was so tasty, and comes in huge portions. Don’t eat dinner first!

MY favourites were the Oreo Cheesecake, which was so light and fluffy, and the The Wild One crepe. The fresh fruit helped to counteract all the chocolate, and meant I could keep eating it a lot longer than all the others before feeling like I was full to the eyes with chocolate sauce.

Needless to say, I went extremely full and off my head on sugar. It was great. Pirlo’s staff were all very friendly and attentive, offering suggestions on what to try and checking in if we needed anything else. They might be off the beaten track a little, but you should absolutely pay them a visit.

I was a guest of Pirlo’s and Delicious PR for the first birthday of Pirlo’s. All opinions are honest and my own. 

 

 

Little Ways to Cheer Yourself Up

Ways to cheer up

For a lot of us, life can get pretty crazy. We’re busy at work, we’re stressed, we’ve got terrible FOMO so we’re out too much, we’re tired, or maybe we just feel a bit rubbish for no reason. It happens.

You could wallow in it, or you could try out my tried and tested tips for overcoming a fit of the blahs.

Go to bed early

Look, I know your Netflix queue is overflowing with episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Riverdale that you haven’t had time to watch yet, but sitting up til you’re basically asleep on the sofa won’t help shift your rubbish mood. Get into your pyjamas, and get into bed. Fresh sheets are recommended. Even if you don’t go to sleep immediately, snuggling up with a book or a magazine, the screen break will do you the world of good, and you’ll probably find you get sleepy pretty soon anyway. You’ll wake up refreshed and feeling much better.

put on something that makes you happy

This will be different for all of us. I feel most like me, and at my best, in red lipstick and heels. Some people it might be putting on clean pyjamas, or a great pair of jeans. I know someone who had a flatmate whose go to ‘I feel sad’ outfit was her pyjamas and a tiara. Whatever does the trick. Put it on, and strut about feeling great.

Move your body

Go out for a walk. Put on your favourite song and dance like an idiot around your kitchen. Head to the gym. Just move. Endorphins make you happy and will help to shift your funk.

Laugh

Watch something funny, check out YouTube videos of stuff that makes you laugh, call a funny friend. Get your giggle on and it’s impossible to feel bad.

Get outdoors

Fresh air and some sun can really help. Go for a little stroll, take your lunch outside, or even just sit on your front step with your morning coffee. A little outdoors can help us all.

What helps you shift a bad mood? Leave your tips in the comments!