Monday, 30 September 2019


Ever wondered where the audiences come from when you see them on TV? Would it surprise you if I told you that these people probably haven't paid a penny to be there?

If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen that last weekend I went to see Jack and Michael Whitehall film their Christmas special 'Christmas with my Father' for Netflix at The London Palladium. The tickets we got were absolutely free of charge from Applause Store. You can pay a subscription fee to get 'priority tickets' but I honestly wouldn't bother with it unless you plan to attend lots of shows because priority tickets still are not guaranteed seats. 

I wanted to write this blog post to explain the process a little bit more clearly as it is quite vague on the Applause Store website (and to be honest, even on the day there was a fair bit of uncertainty for us) so I wanted to take you through it step-by-step. 

I've been registered with Applause Store since 2014 but I have never actually applied for any tickets up until now because as with many things, most TV recordings happen somewhere in the London area so it's not the quickest of places for me to travel to. However, they do have tickets to most of the big TV shows such as Britain's Got Talent, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Michael Mcintyre's Big Show, Celebrity Juice, X Factor, The Grand Tour and absolutely loads more (see here for other TV audience tickets. Once you've registered your details you're good to go in terms of either registering your interest for tickets that aren't available just yet or for putting your name in the hat for tickets that are available.

Once you request tickets they will email you at least 48 hours before the event if you have been successful which again, if you live miles away from London, isn't ideal but I figure that if you're down there for one reason or another anyway it might be worth seeing what's on around that time and you can just chance it - if you get tickets, bonus, if not, you've not spent a fortune planning a trip down there for nothing. 

But here's the important thing to remember: e-tickets do not guarantee entry.

Because there are a lot of 'no shows' to each recording, they have to oversubscribe on tickets to account for this (which is fair enough, after all; their job is to populate an audience not leave empty seats!). So this is where it gets a bit uncertain and it means that you could be in for a long wait depending on the show you're wanting to see. 

If you have got a ticket there will be an 'arrive by' time. Plan to arrive well before this time. As an example: our tickets said 'arrive by 5pm' - we arrived at 12pm and apparently people had been queuing since 10am that morning. (The Palladium is slightly different as they offer a 'ticket exchange' which was where we had to wait in the queue for them to exchange our paper e-tickets for a seat number but from what I understand, most other shows are a case of waiting and then being admitted into the studio.) Admission/tickets are all given on a 'first come, first served' basis and there really is no way of knowing whether you will be given a ticket. There were people who were left disappointed when they got to the venue 10-15 minutes before the 'arrive by' time but it does clearly state on the ticket that everything is first come, first served. So my advice to you is to get there as early as you are prepared to wait. You do receive 'priority tickets' for another Applause Store show of your choice if you have to be turned away. 

We were actually really lucky in that we only queued for about 30-45 minutes and our e-ticket was exchanged for real seat tickets in the Royal Circle (seats which would have cost £100 if we were seeing a West End show!!). Once we had our tickets we could leave the area to do as we wanted as long as we arrived back for 6.30pm but I think for most other studio recordings there isn't an exchange you just go in and it's recorded pretty much immediately. What you also must keep in mind is that not all seats will be the most amazing view, remember that these are totally free tickets and you really aren't in a position to argue about where you're sat - you get what you're given basically.

Moral of the story for any experience with Applause Store - keep in mind that nothing is guaranteed and have a plan B if you're travelling a distance, also, be prepared to wait and dress accordingly. But I can assure you that if you manage to bag a seat in the audience for free it's an amazing experience!

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube

Friday, 27 September 2019


When I went to this event in Leeds, hosted by eShores, I was reminded of the fact that I've now had this little piece of internet for 8 years!! I do occasionally get invited to lovely events like this one where we enjoyed a taste of 3 American destinations - San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Until being invited to this event, I'd never heard of eShores for tailor made holidays so I was intrigued as to what they offered.

When booking with eShores you'll get a personal travel consultant who will guide you through the booking process from identifying exactly what you want from you holiday right through to your return back to the UK. Once they know your requirements they'll give you the best options on the market for the best price - which totally takes the hassle out of organising multi-centre holidays because as soon as you start talking internal flights and all that I get a bit confused and worried I'd do it wrong if I were to do it myself.

Just for being a Girl Up North reader, you get an exclusive discount of £100 if you quote USA/LeedsEvent when you make your booking! If the event they organised is anything to go by, their holidays will be absolutely fantastic!

I had a fabulous time at Lambert's Yard in Leeds where we were treated to cocktails (I had to have non-alcoholic because I was driving *sad face*), a 3 course meal and some amazing entertainment from Sebastian Walton (BGT magician)

All photos were kindly taken by Elouisa of

San Francisco inspired cocktails made by - I know it's not quite San Francisco but I loved finding out what's worth seeing when you're over there (San Fran has been on my bucket list for years, I've just never got round to it!). Out of everything I would really love to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge and visit Alcatraz... oh, and I'd love to go and see Mrs Doubtfire's house!

For the past couple of years I've made a pledge to myself to become more of a 'yes' person and I've not regretted it for one minute because although I was nervous about attending this event, I was able to catch up with Remie, Mary and Lucy who are vintage bloggers like me (sorry ladies, I mean that in the nicest possible way! haha) as well as meeting some new like-minded people.

We were treated to an amazing 3 course Los Angeles inspired meal which was a Tuna Poke bowl (I've never tried a poke bowl before but this definitely won't be the last one I have because it was delicious!). Abigaile Fried Chicken with Maple Syrup Sage Biscuits which took me right back to being in America, finished off with a Greek yoghurt martini with raspberry and pomegranate. It all came with paired wine but unfortunately I wasn't able to partake in that bit!

The final part of the evening was the Vegas segment - brought to us by Sebastian Walton who had been circulating the tables for most of the night, showing us the tricks he had up his sleeve. Not only was he a very clever magician, he was also incredibly funny and entertaining in general. If you follow my Instagram you'll have seen that I got well and truly caught out by one of the tricks!

I can't thank eShores enough for the invite, we all had an absolutely amazing evening and I know exactly where I'll be headed to book a multi-centre holiday!

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube


Gifted Meal

All you can eat buffets are a funny thing I think; you either love them or hate them. I've had mixed feelings about them through previous bad experiences and the thought of them can also conjure up images of the basic, beige food that was available in hotels abroad in years gone by but thankfully my experience at Cosmo restaurant in Sheffield was far from beige.

Cosmo promises to offer a 'world kitchen' for food with dishes from around the globe; everything from Chinese, Indian and Japanese to a pizza, pasta and a good old English carvery - I do think you'd have to be a hugely fussy eater not to be able to find something that tickles your fancy. They also have live cooking stations with teppanyaki chefs ready to take your order and cook it fresh in front of you. And not forgetting the huge selection of desserts and ice creams.

We were greeted by friendly staff at the door and shown to a booth (which I have to admit, I do prefer to the seats in the middle of the room) - service was swift and we were soon brought our drinks of choice: a Mojito for Kev and an empty glass for me to fill up with a soft drink of my choice from the self-service refill station. I much prefer self service drinks because I do tend to drink a fair bit with my meal so it's much more convenient for me to just go and get it myself.

The next decision I had to make was where to start - the choice is slightly overwhelming so I decided to have a walk round first without a plate just to see what there was (there's nothing more gutting than filling up on the food you've seen without exploring first and then realising you haven't got any room for a hidden gem thats at the other side of the buffet!). What struck me was how clean everything was kept, and anything that was empty was swiftly replaced - they also had a very visible hand washing station which is encouraging. One thing I did notice, though, was that it was incredibly difficult to get any good photos of what was on offer because ultimately, food has to be stored on a hot buffet in a way that maintains heat so the aesthetics do go out of the window to some extent. In person, however, everything looks and smells delicious - it just doesn't photograph well!

I did try and get round as much of the food as I could and I think I did quite well - I managed to polish off around 4/5 plates. Although I have to admit, I don't pile my plate high because I prefer to keep things separate.

I started off with duck pancakes and other Chinese starters (anyone else much prefer Chinese starters to the main courses?! The duck was plentiful and I managed to restrain myself to 3 pancakes but I could have definitely polished off some more - I did have to wait a few minutes for some fresh cucumber and spring onion but the empty bowls were soon replaced. I tried a few other bits from that area like prawn toast and squid rings and I put a little bit of sweet and sour chicken on my plate as well.

Yep, that second plate is pretty much a plate full of fried food. If you can't eat like that at an all you can eat and not feel guilty about it - when can you? I then moved on to the Indian curry section and tried a little bit of Tikka Masala and a little bit of Korma - I avoided the rice so as not to load up on carbs (the prospect of desserts was in the back of my mind) but I did have a few small pieces of naan bread. I thoroughly enjoyed the Korma because it's not something I order a full meal of due to it being quite rich and creamy but I loved just being able to have a little bit. The only thing I was slightly disappointed by in this case was the Tikka Masala - it was quite spicy compared to what I expected it to be; I even went back to check that it definitely was what I thought because it had such a bite to it. 

My fourth and final visit to the savoury counters was to grab a slice of pizza - I was approaching my limit but the pepperoni pizza looked too good to miss. It was probably one of the most popular and therefore constantly replenished dishes on offer and I can totally understand why - the base was perfect with just enough crunch and the cheese to base ratio was just right!

I had a few minutes in the booth and went back for desserts. Again, there's loads of choice of different desserts: hot puddings with custard, to popcorn, ice cream, profiteroles, cheesecake and a chocolate fountain. As much as I do feel slightly weird about the chocolate fountain and the prospect of people sticking their fingers in it - I did try some with marshmallows on a stick and it was delicious. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed by the other desserts; yes there's a huge choice but they are not as tasty as I'd hoped - lots of cream on most things which gets a bit much when you've overdone it a bit on the savoury side!

Overall, I did thoroughly enjoy the meal, especially the savoury course(s). I would definitely recommend Cosmo if you're looking for a filling, casual dining experience and you love to try little bits of different things. There's no danger of plate envy at Cosmo because you can just go and get some on your next visit to the buffet!

If you do fancy visiting in Sheffield, you can find the restaurant in the City Lofts Towers on St Paul's Place - basically right in the centre of the city which makes it perfect for a lunch break when shopping or some sustenance before a night out. Also, if you're travelling by car, park in the Q Park right near it on Charles Street and you get a 25% discount! 

Have you tried Cosmo?

Subscribe: Blog Lovin' | Twitter | YouTube
© Girl Up North. All rights reserved.