Author Archives: Lovelly

About Lovelly

I'm a true traveller. Even when I'm home, I'm travelling at heart. I'm constantly looking at blog sites on travel and checking out the travel deals and you can be assured that I've got the travel and lifestyle channel on in the background. I'm fun, friendly and adventurous. I'm extremely passionate and driven and once I decide I'm doing something, there is no stopping me! I want to incorporate my passion for travel, exploring and excitement into my everyday life. So blogging it is!

My first trip back to Nepal, post 2015 earthquake

In March 2015, I trekked to Everest Base Camp with an incredible group of supporters from World Vision Australia, raising more than $100,000 for women and children in Nepal. One month after I returned home to Australia, on 25 April 2017, a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. Now, two years and four months on, I’ve returned to Nepal and I’m overwhelmed with emotion.

This country I love so much has been through so much in the short few years since I last visited. It’s my fourth visit to Nepal and it certainly won’t be my last. Since my first trip in 2006, I fell in love with this naturally beautiful country. The passion of the people, the rich culture and the epic natural wonders keep me coming back. I don’t know what to expect returning.

Being a World Vision Blog Ambassador and a contracting stuff member to World Vision Australia, I’ve had a lot of information about the destruction of the earthquake and how it’s impacted the communities where World Vision works. Although there has been so much done to move on, and it’s certainly what the people want, I didn’t know what the state of affairs was now. I know the funds that have been raised, the work that has been done for health, water, education and child friendly spaces. But how does that look? What is day to day life going to be like.

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World Vision’s work immediately after the 2015 earthquake

My father and I will spend two weeks in Nepal. Our primary purpose for returning is to attend a conference. I’ve been going to these meetings to support my father since 2006 and this will be my 9th event. I’m also thrilled to be able to have time to visit World Vision’s office in Nepal.

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Dad and I at a conference in Bangladesh, 2011

Some of the key sites I would like to also visit during my time will be Bouddhanath, Swayambunath, PashupathiNath and Durbar Square Kathmandu. These all were impacted by the earthquake in various ways and are key cultural sites for the people here. They’re also busy tourist attractions and so I’ve seen them on a number of occasions.

I didn’t actually think much about my return to Nepal in the lead up. Busy with work and day to day life, I didn’t realise until I spoke at the Country Women’s Association of Australia in early July about Nepal, how much the trip meant. Perhaps I’ve been actively putting it out of my mind.

Finally, when the day came to head to Nepal, I felt excited. Nepali words were drifting into my mind and I couldn’t wait to enjoy some momos and dal bhat for dinner! On the plane ride into Kathmandu, I caught the first glimpse of those famous mountains and the steep hills at their base. The cloud cover shadowed the peaks but the valleys below were clear. I got choked up as memories rushed back into my mind and the differences I may encounter upon my return were rapidly approaching. It’s amazing how one scene can bring so much emotion. And this is before we’d even hit the ground!

I plan to write daily diaries of my time in Nepal. Reflections at the time of what I’m seeing and doing and the comparison to my past trips in the country I love so much.

You can also follow me on Instagram at @Lovellyem where I’ll be posting A LOT of photos of my experience there. I’ve created the #tag #Lovellynepaltrek for when Dad and I trek from Lukla to Namche Bazaar in the second week of our trek.

 


A day in Delhi and the road to Agra

These blogs from my India and Singapore trip at the start of 2017 are so far behind. As I’m now on my way back to South Asia, I thought it might be time to get them up! They’re written and ready to go – so here you are! I’ll also be posting everyday from Nepal – so it’s going to be a whole lot of South Asia on the blog right now.

After spending a lush night in the Holiday Inn, Delhi Aerospace, we had a half day of hectic Delhi sightseeing planned. We were meant to head straight off from Agra in the morning but the drive is just 3-4 hours. As Matt would only have this one night in Delhi, I thought it was important to see the capital of India. So, our half day tour began.

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Red Fort, Delhi.

Oh, a note. Holiday Inn knows how to do breakfast! This is just the pastry bar. Wonderful service and amazing chefs ready to make you eggs any style or your favourite Indian breakfast dish. They also had cold coffee on tap – heaven!

Our first stop with our helpful guide, Sanjeev, was one of the oldest and best kept monuments in all of Delhi, possibly India, Qutb Minar. I had been on my first ever trip and on another of my stays in Delhi. I just love the structure of this minuet and also the grounds surrounding it. It’s a magnificent sight to see and once you hear the history of the area, it’s even more impressive.

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This monument signifies the triumph of the Mughal empire over the Rajputs, the hindu kings of India. It was a new era and the Mughal kings wanted to make sure this was forever remembered. Construction started in 1192 and didn’t end until (date), three different dynasts added on the different parts. My partner Matt was blown away by the shape and the history of this area. I knew this was important for him to see.

 

We strolled around asking questions for some time and really enjoyed our time. We got there before the real crowds came. All students of Delhi at age 15 come to these important monuments as part of their schooling and history classes. All paid for by the government. I will write a blog on this area- it’s too fascinating not to. We were also quite fixated here on the wildlife. Fern squirrels (so cute!) green parrots, eagles and black kites all roaming the grounds

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Next stop was Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India. I don’t think I’ve actually been to this site before. It was very interesting and beautiful inside the main archways. Our guide didn’t come in with us so we just roamed around looking at the architecture and enjoying walking on the stones and marble with no shoes on. We got quite a few interested looks here. The mother of this little girl asked me for a photo and I was happy to oblige. So lovely!

The mosque is situated next to Old Delhi. This is one of the largest markets in Asia for electronics. Largest Spice Market in Asia. It’s got some modern parts, but a lot of it has the older buildings and markets are still structured in old alleyways as they would have 100’s of years ago. You can buy pretty much anything here, though there are sections for particular goods. We caught a battery powered rickshaw (trying to reduce the impact on the environment) and got a quick taste of the area.

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We hopped down at the Spice Market. You instantly can spell the wide array of spices on offer. Weaving through passageways past so many shops offering all the spices, nuts and sweets you could imagine. Whole stores dedicated to chilli. Another dedicated to turmeric. It overpowers the senses and definitely was an experience I hadn’t had.

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We went to one store where they could explain to us the different spices and they actually had pre-packaged spice mixes. They are made by the Master Blender A. Kumar who has been visited by World famous chefs including George Kalamatis from Australia. We couldn’t resist and decided our Indian cooking adventures start now! Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken Masala, Dal Makhani and some Mango Tea.

Our hectic tour ended at the Red Fort. We weren’t going to go in as it’s reasonably similar to the Agra Fort which we would see tomorrow. It was also difficult to access due to Indian Republic Day the following day, January 26th. We got o see some concerts going on at the fort and some of the setup for the parades near the India Gate earlier too. Here we parted with our guide and started our journey to Agra.

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The road has been rebuilt since I last travelled to Agra and what was a seven hour journey can now take just 3-4 hours from Delhi. We caught the train the first time as it as much faster than car at the time and very possible to do a  day trip. WE did unfortunately pass an accident on the way which certainly had killed people. Many people stopped their cars and ran over to see – I couldn’t look even in the direction. The unfortunate result of a fast and straight road.

Highway masala - highway spice

We arrived to Agra by early evening, still in the daylight which was good. Our hotel, only built in the past two years, was the Four Points Sheraton. It was lovely and we were welcomed by our local tour operator and the manager of the hotel. Take Me To India really know how to care for their guests. Again a lovely room and a sweet welcome.

 

For dinner we went to Pinch of Salt, as recommended by our driver. It was certainly catering to the tourists as it was packed at 7.30pm (Westerners eat early, locals eat late.) The service was a bit odd, they seemed either distant and disengaged or there was the manager who kept creepily peering over customers shoulders to see if they were enjoying. The food was delicious, though there was A LOT of it. We enjoyed some meat which we had been abstaining from in rural parts. Very good.

Shattered again by night, we enjoyed the luxury of watching TV in the hotel room bed. I never do this at home, I’ll never allow a TV in my bedroom. Keep it as a treat when away.

 

Tomorrow…. TAJ MAHAL!!!!!!

If you would like to check out our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 10 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.

 


Got Beer? Join the Hop on Brewery Tours, Gold Coast

Beer, amazing venues on the Gold Coast, great company and did we mention beer? When I heard about Hop on Brewery Tours I was a firm “YES!” If you’re not a “beer drinker”, this tour will open your eyes, expand your pallet and change your mind about the whole beer thing.

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I heard about this great idea while at a Women in Tourism breakfast on the Gold Coast. Jos got up and passionately spoke about her beer tours. She knew a crowd of women may be a tough audience but by the end of her talk, we were all hankering for a ‘cold one’. I knew first and foremost this would be an excellent activity for guests and I’m always looking out for things to do when people come to town.

Soon after this talk, Mum booked a trip to the Gold Coast. Since moving to a regional Australian town, Mum has become dedicated to local producers and learning about unique products. I knew this would be right up her alley and as soon as I mentioned it, Mumma said ‘BOOK IT!”

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The Quickie on the Coast Tour was our tour of choice. Two venues, an afternoon of beers and touring around the GC in an air conditioned bus with excellent hosts. Excellent. We were picked up at Broadbeach and were joined by another lovely couple. Jos and Matt, the tour operators and owners, are welcoming and warm and gave us a quick run down of what to expect. Must point out we were also treated to a third venue – but the tour usually includes two. YAY!

 

First stop – The Bine Beer Bar

A big perk for me of doing such tours is learning about venues in areas I would never normally explore. I’d driven past Nobby’s Beach a bunch of times and seen the little cluster of bars and cafes but wouldn’t think to stop. This cute little bar is tucked in amongst the eateries and wine bars and has a great atmosphere. There’s a wide range of craft beers on tap and it offered a great intro for the tour. Jos and Matt went on to explain some of the ways beer is made, key ingredients and we even had a little quiz. Mum appears to be quite the beer expert now and loved sharing her new found knowledge with the hosts – to the point where I had to nudge her and say ”Mummmm”.

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My favourite beer here was the sour. I like “light beers”. Not light in alcohol, but light in flavour and colour. This one resembled a cider/ beer and is a great entry to the beer realm for those who are not “beer drinkers”.

Back on the bus all feeling a bit lighter, and a bit peckish. Jos and Matt provide the perfect snacks for their thirsty tourists;pretzels and popcorn. And being the responsible tourism company that they are, they gave us all water! It was nice to chat along the way and Jos provided more of her extensive knowledge of the beer industry telling us about the first brewers … Women! I’m not going to go into it at length here – so google it – or go on the tour. It was really interesting to hear how the predominantly women founded industry has now become so male dominated.

Note: The tours locations often change so depending on the day and the tour you choose; you could get a completely different variety of stops. Meaning you can do the tour a number of times and experience something new!

 

Second stop – Burleigh Brewing Co.

Hands down my favourite stop. I loved everything about this awesome location. Great beers, amazing beer hall, food trucks out front, live music and an awesome atmosphere. I can picture many more Sunday chill sessions at this place. We got to try six beers here and the best part was that based on our sampling at the first bar, Jos had personalised each of our sample paddles here. How cool is that! She did really well with mine and I felt like they really cared about our enjoyment and our experience.

By far my favourite flavour was “The Hef “– I love a cloudy and rich beer, it actually tastes like banana! Plus, the label was super cute. I also loved “My Wife’s Bitter” because who doesn’t love a pun! We opted to take one of these homes as a gift/ joke for my boyfriend. He was very appreciative.

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After our sampling we got a tour of the brewery from the knowledgeable staff. I was really interested in their bottling process and distribution. Amazing how this little local brewery has grown. Great range of flavours and a company who seem to tailor the tastes to their customer’s desires and demands. I was almost sad to leave, but I’ll be back!

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Sporting my fave Champagne Cartel tee!


Third and final stop – Balter Brewing Company

The outside of the building, and the interior, get a big mention here. Clearly labeled what their primary business is: BEER, and a smiley face. Inside there are murals, a funky re-worked warehouse and fun names for their products. This brand has grown exponentially since opening only a few years ago.

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Another round of generous samples. I was by this stage a little full so only sipped each one of the beers. It was definitely worth the value of the tour for all the great samples you get. Here we also got crackers made from the left over ingredients of the beer – I am terrible with food stuff so forget the exact ingredients! This was a lovely stop where we got to reflect upon what we sampled and really just felt like an afternoon chilling with mates. Balter Beer is another cool venue with great beers that you can just spend time enjoying the atmosphere while drinking tasty beverages. We got another couple of souvenir takeaways from this stop – keep the good vibes going.

Delivered back safely to our original pick up, I was so happy that I had taken mum on this tour. It was my first ever beer tour and it really opened my eyes to the wide range of varieties of beer and breweries on the Coast. Jos and Matt were made for this job and offer such a friendly, relaxed and professional experience. I would happily go again, so if you wanna come visit – let’s go together!

To learn more about Hop on Brewery tours and book your outing, click here.

Cheers!


Business Profile: Sam Lippiatt from Health and Fitness Travel

Combining travel and health, we love this business! Take a look at the business profile of Sam Lippiatt from Health and Fitness Travel

LovellyCommunications

We like to profile businesses and people that we think are doing great things. Health and Fitness Travel is right up there. Combining the love of travel with the importance of health and well being. As soon as we heard about it from one of the founders, Sam Lippiatt, we had to know more. Read here about how Sam started the business and why she’s passionate about running the company!

001Name: Samantha Lippiatt

Business: Health and Fitness Travel

Position: Co-Founder and Managing Director

Country of Residence: Australia

Website: www.healthandfitnesstravel.com.au

Business Phone: 1300 551 353

Facebook: facebook.com/HFTravelAU

Instagram: instagram.com/HealthandFitnessTravelAU

Give us your elevator pitch. What does your business do?

Health and Fitness Travel is a luxury wellness travel company specialising in creating exceptional healthy holidays around the world. We are Australia’s only dedicated health and wellness travel agency.

Komune-Bali-Group-yoga Komune Bali Group Yoga

Why did you start your business?

To…

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Don’t miss The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls in Melbourne

Loved this show! Lucky enough to attend as a guest on Opening Night and just loved it. Mix of fairytales, mystery and enchantment. The darkness of the tales is broken up by the well-timed comedy throughout. Talented actors and a brilliant set. Just a few nights left in Melbourne so get down to see it!

The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls opened in Melbourne on 19th May 2017. Not knowing what to expect, I can honestly say this is an exceptional piece of independent theatre, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Well produced, brilliantly acted and totally engaging.

The storyline is:

Once upon a time, in 2005, 20-year-old Annie is sent by her mother back to her native Russia to brush up on the language, and lose her American accent. Underneath an opulent, neon-lit, post-Soviet Moscow she discovers an enchanted motherland – teeming with evil stepmothers, wicked witches, and ravenous bears.

The dynamic nature of the play means there is never a dull moment. The fairytale stories have been intertwined and you keep guessing throughout, what will happen next. I loved the tailoring of the stories to the Russian setting and the actors captured that grim side to the fairytale’s well, as did the set.

I don’t want to give too much away but I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how the story would unfold. You can get a feel for the show here in trailers and imagery for the show here at Boutique Theatre’s website. : https://boutiquetheatre.com.au/season-2017/russiangirls/ 

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The actors are all brilliant and perfect for their parts, however I must point out that Felicity Steel is a stand out. Her stage presence and physicality is spectacular and her delivery of the character will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Some of the players performed multiple roles which added a great dimension, and made the cast seem much larger than it was. A great diversity amongst the players too.

The Irene Mitchell Theatre is a lovely little venue tucked away in the backstreets of South Yarra. There’s a bar at the show – but make sure to eat before you arrive as there aren’t so many food outlets close by. What they’ve done with the set is incredible and it was the perfect space for this back streets fairytale play.

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Trust me, don’t miss this show. The details are:

19 – 27 May, 2017
Tues – Sat, 8pm
Tickets: $32 Full, $28 Concession, $25 Grps 6+
Bookings: online only at www.boutiquetheatre.com.au
Enquiries: 0403 937 529 or boxoffice@boutiquetheatre.com.au
Venue: St Martins Youth Arts Centre (Irene Mitchell Studio) – 28 St Martins Ln, South Yarra
www.boutiquetheatre.com.au 

Thank you to Boutique Theatre for having me!


Review: The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls

Loved this show! Lucky enough to attend as a guest on Opening Night and just loved it. Mix of fairytales, mystery and enchantment. The darkness of the tales is broken up by the comedy throughout. Talented actors and a brilliant set. Just a few nights left in Melbourne so get down to see it!

LovellyCommunications

We were invited to the Opening Night of The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls in Melbourne on 19th May 2017. Genuinely I can say, this is not a show you want to miss.

Not knowing what to expect, I can honestly say this is an exceptional piece of independent theatre, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Well produced, brilliantly acted and totally engaging.


The storyline is:

Once upon a time, in 2005, 20-year-old Annie is sent by her mother back to her native Russia to brush up on the language, and lose her American accent. Underneath an opulent, neon-lit, post-Soviet Moscow she discovers an enchanted motherland – teeming with evil stepmothers, wicked witches, and ravenous bears.

The dynamic nature of the play means there is never a dull moment. The fairytale stories have been intertwined and you keep guessing throughout, what will happen next. I loved the…

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Help us Launch Raspberry Ripple Productions

I’m really excited to be working on this Pozible campaign. To see an organisation officially launch and give people with a disability access to the arts. Helps us Launch Raspberry Ripple Productions!! I’ve been working as Publicist for almost a year through Lovelly Communications and am so excited to see this campaign LIVE.

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Raspberry Ripple Productions is a Disability Led theatre company. This campaign will help to build a fully accessible website, officially launch and put on many more brilliant performances that are inclusive. We aim to raise $9,500 – and hopefully more.

Raspberry Ripple aims to create compelling theatre of a professional standard using disabled and mainstream performers, writers, directors, designers and technical artists.

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Celebrating the milestones – $9,500 is the goal!

Why is a company like Raspberry Ripple needed? Because disabled performers have been excluded from mainstream performing arts for too long.

Raspberry Ripple operates around the Social Model of disability, which says that the barriers put in place by a world designed for ‘normal people’ disables us far more than our bodies ever will. Disabled people are excluded from work, education, recreation – and of course, the performing arts.

As a small team and a start up, we have limited funds to operate on. We rely upon grants and income from our productions to continue. Such an undertaking as an accessible website has to date been beyond our grasp but we know without it, we cannot grow and fully offer the services to those who need them.

We ask you to help support us by donating to our campaign and helping us to raise awareness for disability in the arts.

Pledge here: https://pozible.com/project/launch-raspberry-ripple-productions 

goal $9,500


Dragon at Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017

Melbourne! I am here! And tonight, I’ll be going to Dragon! Come with me. Nat Harris is awesome and I’m so excited to be going to her new show. See you there!

LovellyCommunications

Natalie Harris had a stellar 2016, performing her solo show Good Grief to sold out crowds at MICF and Melbourne Fringe and being awarded Screen Australia Gender Matters funding to develop the show into a web series. Now, Nat returns to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with her brand new solo stand up show Dragon.

‘Dragon’ is the nickname Nat proudly gave herself at the age of 19 and persisted with until even her own mother finally started calling her ‘Dragon’. Now 31, she’s got an RSA under her belt, body corporate on her tail and two online dating profiles to her name. Her third solo show is filled with honest, divergent and hilarious tales of what it is like to be a self-made ‘Dragon’ in a modern world.

Natalie Harris (The Vagina Diaries ABC2, Twentysomething ABC2, , Fancy Boy ABC2) was a RAW State Finalist in 2012 and made…

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Exploring the Gold Coast with a Food and Wine Tour

When you’re new to an area, visiting or living, it can be hard to know where to go and what to do! It can be even harder when you have to start recommending places to visitors and guests who join you – and you have no clue! That’s why when I met Karen from Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours I was relieved! Someone who has done the research and can share it!

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Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours is an exciting addition to the Gold Coast food scene, with walking tours of Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. Tours are proving popular for birthdays and hen’s parties as well as guests visiting the Gold Coast. I’m excited to have my first one booked in for Saturday 29 April as a guest of Karen’s and I cannot wait!

Accredited tour guide and business owner Karen Inglis-Turner launched the food tour company to cater for the rapidly growing interest in the region’s food and wine.

“High quality dining experiences have put the Gold Coast on the map as a foodie destination, with food tourism one of our fastest growing markets,” says Karen.

karen gc food and wine

Taking on the challenge of showing locals and visitors around the secret gems of the coast’s food industry, her business could not have come at a better time.

“Food is on trend right now, with dining rating among the Gold Coast’s highest tourism drawcards. Thanks to popular programs like Master Chef, people are more aware of the provenance of food, and the time and effort that goes into its preparation.”

So what can you expect on a food tour?

You’re going to get insider knowledge of the industry and see the hidden gems and foodie secrets that only a local would know. You’ll also get to meet the people behind the food – bakers, baristas and brewers who are really passionate about what they do and are happy to share their knowledge.

Karen says “Our tours evolve as the hospitality industry changes. Venues open and close, so even if you’ve been on one tour. It’s definitely worth coming back to take another.”

I’m really excited to explore more of the Gold Coast and try amazing food and beverage offerings (see above!) The tour I’m going on will take me to Burleigh Heads, a place I haven’t visited much but I hear it’s amazing! People often opting for the chill vibe a bit further away from the tourist hot spots. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to try all three of these amazing tours and expand my Gold Coast knowledge.

To book your tour visit goldcoastfoodandwinetours.com.au. Yummy things, come at me!

gold coast wine and food tours


Girls Night is back at MICF 2017

It’s all begun! Get your tickets and don’t miss this fab show as part of Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017!

LovellyCommunications

Expect witty. Expect wicked. Expect wonderful. Grab your girlfriends and get ready to giggle, Girls Night is back for Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) 2017! Shows will run from 29 March to 9 April 2017 at The Upstairs Lounge @ Little Sista in the center of Melbourne.

cath-styles-girls-night Producer and MC Cath Styles

Cath Styles is bringing together the cream of the festival’s funny ladies in a night to celebrate all things female and funny. This festival favourite is big on value and even bigger on laughs.

Girls Night features an exciting mixed bag of stand-up, storytelling, sketch and musical comedy. The line-up changes every night and features: Mandy Nolan, Bev Killick, Nikki Britton, Alice Fraser, Diana Nguyen, Tessa Waters, Lauren Bok, Sally Kimpton, Georgie Carroll, MC Cath Styles and many more.

Always hilarious, Girls Night is hands down the ideal start to any night out at The Festival.

cath-styles Cath…

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