To this day, a magic lamp complete with Genie has always been top of my Christmas list. And though my wishes change on a daily basis depending on my level of hunger, one thing that doesn’t is my love Disney’s classic Arabian fairy tale.

When I heard that Prince Ali was heading to town, I knew that I had to see him. So it wasn’t a matter of if I’d go… It was when. And I can confirm that I wasn’t disappointed.

DISCLAIMER ALERT: I promise I’ll do my best to not give away too many spoilers.

First thing’s first – the real heroes that should take a bow are the production team. Attention to detail? On another level. Props, special effects and lighting? Nailed. Set design? Out of this world. Words alone can only go so far when attempting to describe this work of theatrical genius – with a special nod to when you’re taken inside the cave with Al himself. I mean lets just say there’s enough gold to give Kanye a second shot at the Forbes rich list. The whole set glistened from start to finish – it’s the kind of stuff Magpie dreams are made of.

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The first time I saw Genie appear, I honestly had to shake my head and look hard to work out how they made his emergence from the lamp so realistic! He really did steal the show. His take on the character that Robin Williams made so lovable in the first place raised the Prince Edward ceilings – and also took elements that teetered on the edge of pantomime into full-on West End spectacular. His singing, aura and stage presence meant that the interval was spent researching where this wish-granting legend had come from.

Love’s young dream was brought to life by Aladdin and Jasmine – who certainly demonstrated they could hold a note or two, but didn’t quite bring as much as Trevor Dion Nicholas did as Genie. I’d like to say that the chemistry between them was enough to light Ababwa (if it were a real place) but sadly it felt a little forced. All of your favourite songs were there – alongside a couple that felt they were just there to fill an outfit change or pad out the sequence – I mean, Proud Of Your Boy? Very odd.

Yes, a couple of adaptations had been made and there was no pet monkey – apparently Marcel from friends had prior engagements. Iago’s  parrot to human transformation was quite a success too – after all, what would Jafar be without a sidekick?

One last special mention has to go to the true magic of the entire show, so lads: take note. If in life, you ever find a way of getting your hands on a magic carpet, TAKE IT. Say yes. Don’t look back. And you’ll be romantically sorted for the rest of time. I think I speak on behalf of all ovaries in the theatre when I say if I were Jasmine, I’d be putty too. The lighting, the song, the moment – it’s the stuff cupid thrives on.

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But the real question on Arabia’s lips: Did it #crackmybitchface?

A million percent yes. It’s Aladdin: In front of your eyes for crying out loud! London has to be one of the luckiest cities in the world right now with this playing in the West End, so whilst it has residency here – book it. Because it’s the closest you’ll ever get to meeting a blue giant. You will not regret it.


Think of the coolest thing you’d like to do in London. Got it? Okay. Now I’m about to trump all over that and blow your prehistoric-obsessed minds:

How about a night sleeping under the infamous bones of Dippy? Just to caveat, this isn’t a romantic affair. Besides, I can’t imagine spooning a skeleton would be that comfy. (No hard-on puns intended.)


Whether they were inspired by Ben Stiller’s antics, or felt like giving the extinct creatures something that wouldn’t have been around in their day… A sleepover at the Natural History Museum welcomes guests with several events throughout the year. The kids got it first. So there were one or two alterations that had to be made to make it a little less PG. Cue the alcohol and the appropriately-inappropriate talks: I give you Dino Snores for adults.

Predator tip number 1: Get there early. Let’s face it; you’re up against a load of wannabe Paleontologists. And let me tell you – they are as punctual as you think.

Once you’re checked in, you’re given a foam mattress and tokens for a welcome drink. Seeing as it’s a rather pricey affair, it would have been nice if more than one beverage was included – at least a tipple with the dinner too?

Predator tip number 2: Pick an alcove and go back for a second foam mattress. Alcoves are more secluded and you’re more likely to win when it comes to the fun game of sleeping bag hide and seek at 5am. And to the latter point, they have tonnes of spare foam mattresses, so once the last of the troops is checked in, staff are happy to give out extra to make your back a little happier.

The rules? Have fun. Don’t get too drunk. And no ”doing it like they do it on the Discovery Channel”… Enough said. Although you could argue that seeing as half of the creatures inside the chambers of the National History Museum are extinct, they weren’t “doing it” enough.

Predator tip number 3: Book under a last name that is towards the ‘a’ end of the alphabet. You’re split into three different groups according to names, each representing a prehistoric era. We were a ‘T’. And that unfortunately meant that we didn’t get seated for our three-course meal until 10pm. And by that point I most certainly resembled a carnivore at breaking point. They knew who was in which group prior to the evening. So a little note in the FAQ email advising those in the late diner’s group that having a snack before arriving will prevent you becoming a ravenous raptor, would not have gone a miss.

Whilst the rest of the fossil fanatics were dining, we were taken to the first activity – an insect sex show. After seeing parts of a fly’s anatomy I thought I would go by life without ever confronting, it was time for a personal highlight – gin tasting. We delved back through the plantations and history of the Juniper, on a journey that’s destination was sampling some of mother’s ruins finest hard stuff.

That set us up perfectly for the Ugly Animal stand up comedy. The comedian did a great job and got mammoth laughs. I’ll go as far to say that even the Stegosaurus cracked a rib. And the staff were NOT happy about it to say the least. My chuckles were short lived though. As my stomach took matters into its own hands when it announced its hunger to the rest of the group. Perhaps taking audience participation a little bit too seriously.


We were sat at 10pm and received our mains at around quarter past. Though the food was nice, it was so late by this point I couldn’t really appreciate it for what it was – so perhaps someone that dined early could correct me about the meal.

Predator tip number 4: Pack a onesie! After devouring our food, it was time to change into something far more appropriate and don our furry all animal costumes – as many others had already beaten us to.

It has to be said; walking around the Natural History Museum at this point was rather surreal. Dressed in a onesie and taking part in a life drawing class where the model was an ancient giant sloth as the midnight hour was looming… Whilst others took part in a quiz or a creepy crawlies tasting session?! I mean, you can see why the event is so popular.

At this point, I took it upon myself to have a cheeky half hour power nap, ready and rejuvenated for the movie marathon that saw you through to the early hours. My alarm was a beautiful harpist, who happened to be playing the main theme tune to everyone’s favourite dinosaur movie. It was time.


We watched Goldblum battle his way through attacks with nature’s first reptiles and then decided to turn in. Heading back to our sleeping bags, we were extra careful not to wake Dippy after seeing what he and his mates were capable of. We nodded off, content after having the kind of night that Jurassic dreams are made out of.

We woke up at around 7.30am and headed to breakfast in the main dining hall at about 8am. A traditional English breakfast was on the menu. But the length of time it took to reach tables saw a couple of diners fossilize. Generally speaking, I think the T-Rex robot could have done a better job in organising the caterers.

Overall, did it #crackmybitchface?

Yes! I mean it’s not every day you can say you slept over at the Natural History Museum. Jurassic Park and making midnight friends with Dinosaurs definitely snapped my face out of it’s neutral resting position of bitch. Although I’m sure my facial expression during hours when I was experiencing serious bouts of hangry beg to differ. We tried to not let the minor niggles and the morning’s poor efforts spoil our stay. Because overall, Dino Snores is one of the coolest things you can do in London. Dippy is a great host and excellent night security – because most importantly, he didn’t wake up. 

Chronicle 2: Cher Horowitz


A 90s sufferer of CBF, who’s neutrally engaged sour expression struck her face at the most unexpected moments.  Whether thinking about what to pen for Miss Geist’s next love letter, daydreaming about what to fake-bake Christian or which co-ord she could spare for Tai. She was content with these high school quandaries – yet to any on-looker, it seemed quite the contrary.

Like any teenager, Cher did have some problems that warranted resting bitch face’s embittered glare. I mean, team trying to learn how to drive with working out whether or not you have feelings for your stepbrother – it’s not the kind of stuff grins from ear-to-ear are made from.

But like many other victims of chronic bitch face, Horowitz’s appearance was never given the benefit of the doubt. Did anyone ever stop to think that Cher was just wondering what shade of nail polish Dionne was wearing? Or where Coolio actually went when Rollin’ With His Homies? Working out which mini-skirt your Alaia is going to compliment most is no easy task.

And in those moments of deep concentration, who says that you have to represent a cheshire cat faced with a free buffet? May I remind you there is no rule book that states smiling as being a mandatory requirement of thinking.

The girl had a lot on her plate: trying to ensure your father maintains a healthy cholesterol at the same time as being on a personal report card pursuit? Not to mention being mugged at gun point and having to oblige in your designer jacket touching the grounds of a gas station… You’d think Chronic Bitch Face would cut her some slack. AS IF!


Growing up in Beverley Hills with wealth handed to you upon vaginal exit, happiness isn’t hard to find. And a face that displays it constantly would be pretty easy to buy. But then hosting a permanent happy face would earn you a completely new title with its own rights. Chronic Creepy Face. Or Resting Psycho face… Think I’d keep the bitch actually. Thanks.

And thus, her moody-not-moody demeanour deserves to be recognised. Because isn’t it obvious – when you have fashion tinder ahead of time, how can you be permanently pissed off?

I’m outie.

Chronicle 1: Mona Lisa

Poor Mona. The Queen of enigma has no idea how relevant her puzzling expression is, to this day.

Is she happy? Or is she pissed off about having to be sat in the same position for hours whilst some dude called Leo toyed around with some oil paints to create an artistic masterpiece? For all we know, she could be overjoyed about being the centre of attention. Or her hamster may have died that very morning. Who knows.

Because here stands one of CBF’s oldest known victims.


An uncatchable smile, the beginnings of a smirk or the way her face is when neutrally engaged. Chronic Bitch Face had the poor lass hard. Mona Lisa couldn’t contour, take a selfie instead or put a filter on her face. She just had to deal with it.

Just because we can’t tell what she’s really feeling during her downtime of having her portrait taken, it’s made her smile a world-wide phenomenon. And that right there shows the true power of CBF.



“Are you okay?”

Typically annoying CBF remark no. 9, first received when I was 14 years old.


Throw back to hitting puberty. An ugly era for any nineties child. And whilst it’s true, your face starts to change as you grow become older, CBF rebels like the hard-faced she-devil she is. It stays put, scoring a big gold star in persistency. And in a bitter, twisted pot of irony, the natural stresses that come with being a teenager do not exactly scream smiles.


Said no teenager. Ever. Team that with spots, bras and hormones; all handed to you on an unappealing adolescent plate, at the same time boys decide girls actually smell quite nice… It’s not really the stuff that ‘grins’ from ear-to-ear are made of.

And so, girls dealt the CBF card at birth are given as much chance as an operatic choirboy at 13. Left with no choice but to raise a white flag and surrender to a teenager’s moody stereotype.

You see for some girls, neutrally engaged facial expressions have never been trained to be anything more than that. There was never a discipline that we were told, nor were strict instructions provided of what our appearances should represent when inactive with others. Perhaps if that were taught instead of the ancient curriculam that was probably instated when Madonna was a child, CBF wouldn’t be at the epidemical status it is today.

Misery accusations dart around you like a housefly on a sugar high. You would think the more you swat them away, the more they’d get the message. You are absolutely, one hundred and ten percent spiffing. Fine and dandy. However, when it comes to Chronic Bitch Face, you are given no such luck.

One thing we can be thankful for is this generation. Because before a term for this expression malfunction was ever born, you were just referred to as a pubescent nightmare. Or when your name is Mandy, Moody Mandy. Mardy Mandy. Miserable Mandy. The alliteration game proved humorous. But there I was, Misunderstood Mandy, with my inner sunshine totally face blocked.

Are you a sufferer?

Over the years, I’ve become pretty familiar with the stages that you go through when coming to terms with the angry attitude your face parades. Not sure whether a friend hates you? Confused as to why someone at work looks at you like you sneezed in their latte? Look no further. As they too, could be another one of CBF’s tragic victims.

  1. First signs

Ever find yourself on the receiving end of patronising comments from colleagues, shop assistants, friends and (yes, even) fellow commuters? Do they confront you over why your face is looking like it’s escaped an identity parade in Kentucky? Then keep reading…

If you feel as though you are quite content and happy, but most of your thoughts about puppies and food are interrupted with “are you okay?”, you have to ask yourself: Where were your parents when all the others were in the facial expression gene queue?

Common phrases include “chin up”, “what’s the matter with you” and “crack a smile”. All annoying. All unnecessary. But if people make you aware that you look as though you spend 84% of your day in a bad mood, then chances are you are a sufferer of CBF.

You may start to spot behavioural trends amongst those around you. If you observe people avoiding you in social situations, if you’re not picked first on a sports team or if fellow passengers choose to sit next to someone eating fast food over you on a bus, then this too may be an indication of CBF. Or that you need to tell better jokes, increase your athletic ability and swap your deodorant.

Just remember to look out for a few key features that are normally recognised in a CBF victim:

  • A mouth that struggles to get slightly erect at each end
  • A persistent, vacant look in the eye
  • An unnerving frown
  • Kristen Stewart-isms
  1. Diagnosis

As CBF is yet to go under medical analysis, you cannot go to the doctors to be diagnosed with the condition. But if you can relate to any of the symptoms listed, then chances are you have the ability to make an informed self-diagnosis.

If you’re sat here reading this and certain miserable faces are popping into your head, listen up. Whether it’s a friend, family or loved one ticking each box of this facial impediment checklist, you have a duty. Please. Take it upon yourself to assess their behaviour and pull them aside. No one deserves to suffer from CBF in silence.**

**Just a few words from our legal team: We cannot be held responsible if your alleged CBF victim is, in fact, expressing themselves negatively due to undisclosed agonizing information. Please ensure extensive research into their personality patterns have been completed prior to approach. False accusations can create irreparable damage to relationships.

  1. Anger

Upon realisation that you have Chronic Bitch Face, emotions are known to run high. This is normal. You have just realised that you look like an enraged serial killer, with an accomplice that has unsuccessfully hidden the weapons to your latest killing spree. Ninety-two percent of every day.

“HOW DARE PEOPLE THINK THAT I LOOK LIKE A CONSTANT BITCH?” You may fume. But getting angry about looking angry is only going to make you look even angrier. Seeing as people already look upon you as pretty advanced in that area, getting mad is not the answer.

On the flipside, after accusation, you may feel the need to repress your anger with a forced, fake smile. This is going to do nothing for your raving serial killer look. If anything, it’ll add a bit of crazed psychopath into the mix. Again, not the answer.

Anger is expected, but if you can, try and only reflect the mood this has brought to you when you’re within the comforts of your home. That way, impending arrests can be avoided and your dignity will be protected. A bit.

  1. Denial

Me? A bitch? Per-lease.

It’s only natural to be hit with a spout of denial. You might even try to convince yourself that your reflection isn’t as evil as CBF suggests. But in reality, many girls who suffer with it are never on the receiving end of their fierce scowls. So are oblivious to the mass offence it’s been known to cause.

By all means, have a mirror-mirror moment. See what all this bitchin’ fuss is about. But we cannot guarantee the results are going to be accurate. You’ll probably be staring at yourself with what you deem as your actual resting face, but subconsciously, you are overcompensating for your auto-bitch expression with a more PG version than what everyone else sees.

Just weigh up the accusations. If you’re repeatedly accused of having CBF, then there’s a high chance that you are a sufferer and denying it is only going to make you look like a twat.

You may go through phases where you attempt to sport a temporary positive mouth, also known as the smile. This will probably last all of 3 hours. CBF puts up one hell of a fight.

  1. Support

Your mother, Mona Lisa, Grumpy Cat… Anyone that can relate to your facial hindrance is going to become your guru. You will look for answers everywhere. Was it something in the breast milk you were fed? Did you trip and face plant stinging nettles as you learnt to walk? Were you deprived of sunshine in your infant years? Or was your mother’s womb not a hostile environment enough? No. You cannot blame your parents. The truth is, baby scans do not detect CBF. Over the years, they have learnt to accept your menacingly-challenged face. And continue to be there for you when your face isn’t.

Your closest friends have learnt that they don’t need to tread on egg shells around you. And that you don’t in fact hate them. They will probably offer you lessons in face school, in an effort to turn your stone expression into possessing an ounce of feeling. Appreciate their attempts and try to unleash your inner face sting. Then come to terms with the fact that you’ll always look like the bitch of your squad.

Do not search for support in make up. You cannot disguise Chronic Bitch Face under a layer of foundation that’s strong enough to support the great wall of china. Clowns can still look bitchy. I mean, have you ever met Barbie?

  1. Acceptance

To move forward and be happy (not that your external persona will let this on anyway) you have to undertake the fact that this is who you are.

You have a bitchy resting face. It’s as simple as that. Pleasantries will not be shown when you’re unengaged with human interaction. Only upon accepting this truth will you be free to pursue a life where you can use CBF for its advantages. (Yes, it does have some.) No one will dare to push in front of you in a queue, you’ll forever look like you mean business and are protecting yourself from being mugged. I mean, when you’re face is as sour as vinegar that’s been dashed over a bag of chips meant for Donald Trump, no one will cross you.

  1. Treatment

Remedies for CBF are in research stages. A prototype face cream with a formula that eradicates negative expression is still in its infancy. The last guinea pig for such a product was Victoria Beckham. Results are inconclusive.

You may look into “Perma-smiles” through injections that work in the same way as botox. Patients that used this approach have confirmed that success rates are 0.03%. In some cases, this method has resulted in Chronic Bitchface becoming Chronic Murderface. Now if I were given the choice of looking like a moody cow or a psychopath, I think I know which I’d opt for.

Hypnosis: Yet to be tried.

Please come back for updates in this area.

  1. Prospective

In time, when CBF becomes more of an established condition, we can look forward to living in a world where our faces aren’t judged. Where we can switch into autopilot without being asked if we’ve just face-planted a pile of bricks or witnessed a squirrel meeting a lorry fatality.

Until then, look out for your fellow sisters. Because if CBF has anything to do with it, it’s time they be at peace with their sullen guise.

“Cheer up love, it might never happen.”

Typically annoying CBF remark no. 46, first received when I was 13 years old.

Well, sir. That depends on what you mean by “it”. If you’re referring to being singled out by a stranger and made the main attraction at the bus stop you frequent daily; due to the expression your face naturally falls into when your muscles want a bit of downtime, then yes. “It” just happened.

And whilst you’ve rattled my cage and we’re on topic; your negative observation of my sour appearance when it takes a well-earned rest has just added to my surly external look. But then again, you probably wouldn’t know that. Because that’s just the mysterious game my face likes to play with the world.

I guess at that very bus stop, whilst waiting for my transport to school, was where my battle with CBF really began. When you’re 12 years young and personally ridiculed, those words aren’t going to evaporate anytime soon. They’ll be written in a diary and repeated over and over by your curious, pre-teen brain. But let’s get one thing straight. Waiting for a bus, to embark on a journey where your destination enforces the teaching of Pythagoras and the patterns in plants chromosomes, isn’t ever going to be the highlight of a child’s day. But for me in particular, a lack of upbeat facial engagement meant that no one would ever know if that fathomed any truth or not.