Review: M’eating Point

Surprise surprise, I’m eating again!

We had a pretty late night last night, the lads were absolutely wasted. And best thing for a hangover? A decent breakfast.

We walk past this place regularly but we’ve never been in. And as I write, he’s just said

“Best breakfast I’ve had in Llangollen in a long time”

And I wholeheartedly agree. The first thing that struck me was the simplicity of the menu. Pure and simple food. I opted for a small breakfast, I didn’t fancy a hash brown so they offered me a substitution, bacon, I mean what else could I have chosen eh?

The food arrived within 5 minutes of ordering. Orange yolk egg, perfect! Proper butcher sausages (to die for) and toast with tasty salted butter.

Now, where’re would I be without tea?

I went for a lemon and ginger on this beautiful cold morning.

M’eating point is located on the top of town on the A5, previously it was the Smithfield pub. Closed years ago that. The building seemed to have just been standing doing nothing for years. But these guys have done an awesome job with it.

You walk through the door and instantly the colours jump out at you. Blue and purple chairs, and a set of multicoloured stools on a tall table by the window. Plenty of room to sit, and a nice warm heater by the door to combat the draft from the cold air. Perfect.

Going back to the tea. Sometimes it’s nice to have the full works, pot, mug, milk etc in little separate pots, but honestly? You can’t beat a tea bag in mug job sometimes. I was thankful for it this morning, because I could just drink it straight away.

The staff here are super friendly, and seem to like a chat. And funnily enough, it was full of locals when we were in. Which is unusual to me, because Llan is such a tourist town. I think it’s great that the locals have found a place to go.

The prices are reasonable, and to be honest the quality of the food is top notch, so actually, the prices are excellent.

M’eating point gets 5 stars from me on quality, customer services, comfort and pricing.

I’ll definitely be eating here again soon!

Soph x

Advertisements

REVIEW: The Carriage Tea Rooms

Review: The Carriage Tea Rooms

23416134_10156392214710348_1052116499_n

I’ve been visiting Llangollen Railway for years. I’ve watched the tea rooms change hands, and each new owner brought their own stamp. Even if that stamp was pure ruin.

Not now though. The new guys are awesome. Putting your own stamp on things has a new meaning with the Taylors.

Its family run with a couple of extras, who in fairness are treated like family and that comes across. No one ever looks sad, or annoyed, or bored. Everyone is always busy with something, and you can have a proper laugh with them all.

So they started with a traditional tea rooms. The ideas have flowed ever since. They have recently developed an old railway carriage into a beautiful, Carriage tea rooms. I went along over the weekend to give it a go. Safe to say I was not disappointed.

I’m a massive foodie. I LOVE food. And when you can get a decent meal, for a great price. Who can argue?

We started off with a drink. I had to have a latte. I fancied gingerbread, but they had run out. I wasn’t complaining, I went to my second favourite option. Caramel. YUMMY!

23476691_10156393529835348_1303119737_n

It had been raining all day, I wasn’t fancying cold food so I opted for soup and a sandwich. Oh my goodness. Broccoli and cheddar soup, homemade. Perfect. Usually I have to add salt and/or pepper to my soups. But this was spot on.

I went for a traditional egg mayo butty. I’ve not a clue how it was made but oh sweet jesus it was the best egg butty I’d had in a long time. I just love egg mayo.

I’d eaten every last scrap. I don’t do waste.

My Waist on the other hand, says otherwise. BUT. YOLO!

The atmosphere was great. We sat next to the window, the weather was quite eerie actually. They had a heater set up for us, it was a bit chilly, but we weren’t too bothered. All we wanted was food, we’d just been to the gym. We deserved a warm treat.

23435320_10156393531015348_218207223_n

We could’ve stopped there, but we don’t do things by half here in Wales. Go big or Go home! So we had hot chocolate fudge cake with whipped cream. OH. OH. OH.

You need to visit this place if you haven’t already, its excellent. The atmosphere, the nostalgia, the food and the company is great. Friendly staff you can have a laugh with that’ll meet your every need, be it coffee and cake, cheese and wine.

5 stars from me!

Signs you grew up in Wales

Signs you grew up in Wales

#1 You have an infinite number of fleeces, but tend to flick between 2

#2 You own more than one pair of wellies, and wear them for everything

#3 You like the smell of cow poop in the morning, it fills yer lungs and reminds you of home

#4 You say baa every time you pass a field of sheep, and moo every time you see a cow

#5 Most of the kids in your class were farmers

#6 You enjoy long walks through corn fields and forests

#7 Bus lanes confuse you

#8 You thought a sky scraper was some sort of hunting tool

#9 Saying hello to strangers is normal to you

#10. You own a million dogs, and can’t understand why other people don’t

#11 Whistling is considered a useful past time

#12 You thought Instagram was a unit of measurement

#13 Your version of social media is sitting in the pub with a pint and no phone signal

#14 You thought internet was a piece of fishing equipment

#15 You have to travel 5 miles for the nearest shop

#16 Icy weather is an excuse to take the car off-roading

#17 3 inches of snow is not an excuse to stay in bed

#18 You’ll do it now in a minute

#19 Your house sign exists at the end of your mile long drive

#20 Waiting longer than 5 minutes for public transport isn’t a big deal

#21 Rugby is probably the reason you hate England

#22 Game of Thrones is a drinking game

#23 Catching a glimpse of the sun is a spiritual experience

#24 Having to spell your town name to everyone phonetically

#25 Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch is a piece of piss to say

Scarlett at Theatre Clwyd

We Are Chester writer Sophie Francis reviews Theatr Clwyd‘s latest production, Scarlett, staged in partnership with Hampstead Theatre Downstairs. The play centres on Scarlett’s weekend in Wales, where she seeks the perfect holiday home to escape the hustle and bustle of London. It is penned by award-winning Liverpool writer Colette Kane and directed by Mel Hillyard.

Scarlett is one of the funniest productions I’ve seen in a long while. It reminds me of an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, only here we’re talking about a group of women and we’re in Wales rather than in deepest Yorkshire.

From the first word, this production screams comedy. It opens with a choppy conversation between a scruffy old farmer and an elegant looking city girl.

Scarlett - Kate Ashfield. Photo- Robert Day

But that’s just it – it sets the scene for the whole play. There is juxtaposition throughout – the reality of life in London versus the not so glamorous farmer’s life.

For Scarlett, a weekend away in Wales turns out to be the beginning of a journey of self-discovery.

Leaving her high octane life in London, she heads for Wales in search of something she doesn’t know she is looking for – enlightenment.

“I am God, this is heaven.”

Scarlett

Alongside Billy, Eira and Bryan the horse, she begins to appreciate the smaller things in life, sitting by an open fire under the cover of darkness, swimming in an open lake and finding the real Scarlett tucked away deep within. Until, that is, her mother and daughter, who she had claimed did not exist, turn up and throw a spanner in the works.

This is just the sort of thing I enjoy – a big fat drama. It’s beautifully simple – a heart-wrenching, eye-opening comedy.

It’s full of sarcasm, with a mother who thinks she knows best. You’d best not miss it. Three generations make up the characters, three characters that we will all have been, are, or will become at some point in our lives.

Scarlett. Billy-Gaby French.Scarlett_KateAshfield. photo by Robert Day (13)

Billy is a very sweet 14-year-old farm girl played by Gaby French. Gaby does a wonderful job of portraying just that. She is my favourite character from the play. She rolls out fantastic one-liners that have the audience roaring with laughter.

“You got sheep poo between your toes.”

Billy

Scarlett-Lydia-Bethan Cullinane-photoRobert Day

Lydia (Bethan Cullinane) is a typical student – opinionated, stubborn and foul mouthed. She is a character that I have no sympathy for at first, but I learn that she is just as lost and just as fragile as her mother, Scarlett.

Scarlett (Kate Ashfield) is a 40-year-old woman with unresolved issues, it would seem. At first you think she’s having some sort of breakdown, but then you realise that all she wants is a simple, easy life in the countryside.

Bette, Scarlett’s mother is a stereotypical overprotective, I know best, kind of character.

“You’re not right.”

“I am right.”

Bette

She’s a horrible, self-important and nasty woman who needs to learn to bite her tongue. She soon comes to realise the reasons behind her daughter’s choice after the ashes of Carol are spilt over Scarlett.

Lastly is Eira, played by Lynn Hunter. Now this character is very lovable and kind and somewhat hard-faced. She and her one liners had the audience in stitches.

Scarlett . Eria-Lynn Hunter-photoRobertDay

“You can hardly curl up on the couch with a bird of prey.”

Eira

There is a lot of wisdom contained in this play. A lot of information that really gets you thinking. It focuses on a story of  two worlds colliding, but eventually finding a way to coexist.

“Ninety eight per cent of our thoughts are repetitive.”

Scarlett

I have found myself thinking about running away into the countryside and living away from the hustle and bustle of the usual challenges that life throws at us.

And this play captures that exactly – that utopia that we all dream of. Perhaps it’s closer than we think.

Scarlett runs at Theatr Clwyd until 15 April.

Sophie

©srjournalism2017 All rights reserved

Is it too much to ask to be swept off my feet?

photo_83908_20170131Image by GeoffreyWhiteway from freerangestock.com

“Saw this and thought of you” as he passes a big box of doughnuts.

Is it too much to ask to be swept off my feet on a day other than valentine’s day?

There seems to be a process when you get into a relationship.

Courting, sex, engagement, marriage, children, retirement and eventually DUN DUN DUN death. (Not necessarily in that order, mind)

Valentines days come and go, anniversaries come and go. You get the picture. But why, oh, why must I wait until February 14th to get a rose.

I mean come on, love is what it is. I don’t need 1 day to show my dearly beloved how much he means to me, I tell him every day.

1 word. COMMERICALISATION. Just like Christmas, Halloween, Easter. SELL! SELL! SELFISH BASTARDS! What a load of shite.

I consider myself quite lucky to be fair. My fiancée buys me flowers on occasion, (although most of the time I buy them myself) usually after I’ve had a bad day, or he’s done something wrong ha!

Why though, can’t I have flowers just because it’s Monday. Or even, I don’t need a reason.

“Saw this and thought of you”

…..as he passes a big box of doughnuts.

YES! YES! YES!

Don’t get me wrong guys, we girls are equally guilty, show your man how much you love him. Cook him a romantic meal, stick on some sexy lingerie and give him the whole experience. Keep the spice in your relationship.

Guys, take her out for a romantic walk, put on her favourite music, or do the dishes for a change!

It’s the little things in life isn’t it?

I think that gets forgotten about sometimes. We all live such hectic lifestyles, (unless you’re a student then it’s 10 times more hectic) that we forget to show appreciation for the one we love.

We are all guilty of playing that last level on candy crush, or posting that obligatory selfie of you and your brand new hoover. (I’m totally guilty of this).

Just put the bastard down, look at each other, and stare in to each other’s eyes. FRIGGIN TALK to each other. We’re slowly becoming Zombies guys.

Let’s break the cycle.

Let’s make every day valentine’s day. Just because.

Peace out!

 ©srjournalism2016 All rights reserved

Rent the musical – A review

Rent the musical – A review

I’ve always enjoyed going to the theatre, I don’t remember my first visit, but I will definitely remember this.

img_0013

Today I took time to look up from my busy life and inhaled the atmosphere. On entering the reception I thought, I am not doing this without a brew, a reasonable price for a reasonably good brew, considering it was a tea bag in cup job.

img_0022

I really didn’t know what I was in for, admittedly I’d never heard of this musical before but I was intrigued by the one word title. They say ignorance is bliss, in this case, I’m inclined to agree.

img_0019

We got our tickets, took a quick selfie (how could we not),  and took our seats. Memories of previous visits to that same theatre flooded back, even the smell of the ever-filled seats, and the low mood lighting. Somehow time stood still, and then at 14:36 I was transported to a world of art, culture and bohemian origins.

img_0033

Pulitzer Prize & Tony Award Winning Musical “Rent” is a must see. On this their 20th anniversary year.

When was the last time you went to theatre? Do you remember the first time? How did you feel?

Two words. Emotional rollercoaster. From start to finish I was overcome with seriously strong feelings.

Love, anger, amazement, bewilderment, joy, sadness.

The production is centred on a group of artistic youths struggling to survive in a world shadowed by HIV/Aids. It is full of intertwining narratives centred on love, fame and frustration.

Tears rolled down my face, from sheer amazement of the vocal talents of the cast. Two stood out.

First is Angel a promiscuous trend setter and drag queen, played by Layton Williams who shone bright like the star she is. Taking hold of the group of youths struggling to pay the rent to their former room-mate, she takes us on an emotional journey of love, respect and having each other’s backs.

img_0027

Second is Jenny O’leary who plays a number of roles including “mom” but most notably, her solo in “seasons of love.” Her depth, her range and her tone, makes this girl stand out with her unbelievably incredible voice. Tears streamed on the first note, and continued to flood my face, sleeves soaked through like I’d been caught in the rain.

Never have I seen a musical with such charisma. From the moment I sat down I was taken aback by the design of the set. Placed on a backdrop on what looks like old scaffolding, but actually depicts an apartment with a sofa, a coffee table and one extension lead powering everything. Throughout the production the set plays host to every scene, changing only minimal items. Decorated with old posters, a stained glass window, graffiti and lights of all sizes it truly gives the bohemian look it strives to depict.

A truly romantic production, laced with comedy and innuendos. A production to see with your best mate not your mum.

Dripping with sexual innuendos, put forward through music and comedy, I’m not going to lie, among the best musicals I have ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot.

©MabelAlexander2016 All Rights Reserved