Barbican Blogger Night; Cocktails, Pizza and Cinema

A little while ago, the The Barbican Leisure Park invited a few bloggers on a night out.

I’ve been visiting the Leisure Park since I got a Saturday job as a teenager. It was the venue for my first date, and many, many subsequent dates. It’s where I first discovered Cheesy Bites, and that I am terrible at bowling.

It’s the only place I feel completely, unhesitatingly confident driving as I know the route so well.

Accepting that invite was an easy yes.

We started off at Pizza Express, where there were cocktails and doughballs (and olives, and sun-dried tomatoes and all sorts of incredible things).

We got to sample the new drinks menu, with a light Tails Cocktail as a welcome drink. Espresso Martini’s are an easy favourite any time, and Pizza Express’ addition of vanilla added a sweet edge to the cocktail.

At Bella Italia, we shared some of the new menu options family style. Carbonara, Marinara pasata, Pollo Piccante pizza and a couple delicious vegan options with the both a pizza (i can’t find the name of), and a spaghetti in a lentil ragu.

The pizza was my first time trying Vegan cheese and there was no, noteable difference, i really enjoyed it.

We then split off into smaller groups, a few of the bloggers went to see A Simple Favor (Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick👌), a couple made their way home and Nicole and I went to see Venom.

Avoiding spoilers, it was as fun as the trailers made it look.

We were lucky enough to be treated to the evening, but a trip to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do with Matt, family or friends.

It’s one of the better things about the cooler months, in the last couple weeks I’ve been to see First Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody.Mow just to tick A Star is Born off the watch list…

I’ve added a little highlights section on my Instagram from the evening if you fancy a gander.

Plymouth Blogger Brunches: 2018 #PlymBlogBrunch

So this post needs to start with an apology to the Plymouth Bloggers, at the tail end of 2017 the brunches dropped off completely. I decided to do a pantomime, and the combination of that and Christmas swallowed up all my free time and brain power. To prevent against the same thing happening this year, I have put some extra leg work into the brunches.

            
They will be scheduled in three’s, with booking placed for a table of eight as a starting point. Hopefully, making it easier for people to fit them around thier lives.

         
The first two brunches of the year are at relatively new restaurants to Plymouth (or at least to me); with the recently launched Bills Resturant (in the mall,where Ed’s Diner was previously) and Pier One, a Resturant based on Plymouth Barbican who’s Instagram account is full of dreamy Plymouth waterside views, and foods. The final Resturant is Seco Lounge, the popular brunch spot on Royal William Yard the bloggers haven’t visited since 2016.

        
Saturday 20th January – 10:00 Bill Cafe, Drake Circus (Facebook)
Saturday 17th February – 10:00 Pier One, Barbican (Facebook)
Saturday 3rd March – 10:00 Seco Lounge, Royal William Yard (Facebook)

If you’d like to attend a brunch, please comment below, or joun one of the corresponding linked Facebook events. Reservations have been made for each date, and can be amended to accommodate what everyone would like.

Looking forward to a year of breakfast food, new friends and blog chat.

– Emily

Psssst; if you have a suggestion of where you would like to go for a future brunch, please share!


Plymouth Turtle Bay Launch Night

Sometimes all you need in life is good food, the company of some incredible friends and delicious drinks.

Last Thursday, I got to visit the new Turtle Bay, with Nicole. We got hugged within moments of entering , and skipped the rum punch to grab some delicious mocktails. Nicole is teetotal, and I’m not a big drinker (a choice I make partially from being a light weight, and also because I’d rather spend that five or ten pound on a new pair of earrings or book any day of the week).

We found a wall of fairy lights, took the obligatory selfies and boomerangs before going for a wander round the restaurant.

We found Jemma and Corinna, and Adam and Alice found us. The rest of the evening consisted of far too many drinks (the mojihto was incredible, and definetly alcoholic), sampling everything that flew by, trying to spot Milly and being blown away by how cute the toilets were.

There were almost 800 people in the venue, and when the live music started Alice and I hovered back and stole quarters of pineapples studded with prawns whilst everyone else rushed to get a better view.

This time last year the most interesting thing I could be doing in the same venue would be watching someone get annoyed at the self service kiosk in the post office.

Thank you Turtle Bay for a very fun evening. Now…. To make a dinner reservation for my birthday next week…

– Emily

 

Turtle Bay launched its 230 seat restaurant Sunday 22nd October. Slightly exciting fact: this is the furthest south restaurant they have in the UK at present.

All photos from official photographer at the launch event.

McDonalds New George Street, Plymouth: A Store Redesign

Wednesday last week, I got invited to a McDonald’s event. It was so exciting to visit somewhere on a blogger level, that had such a big part in my life. The New George Street Store will always mean two things for me:

  • Birthday parties
  • Pre work breakfasts

If you haven’t tried a cream cheese bagel, you are missing out. On a Sunday Morning, when I would get into work nearly 40 minutes before my shift i would sit with a bagel and a magazine, as an affordable way to have a healthy breakfast choice. I have so much love for this brand.

This event was to show Bloggers how stores gave been redesigned to be focused upon on customer experience with digitisation throughout. We were given a tour of the kirchens, with a chance to make our own Big Mac’s, it’s crazy how optimised the entire process is. Everything from 7g of onions per burger, to pickles places purposely to enable a bite with every mouthful.

Kiosks

The Kiosks are a pretty interesting new additions to McDonald’s, they allow a user to place and pay for an entire order without having to queue at the till bank. They’re exciting for a number of reasons (ontop of enabling you when you feel antisocial and you want to avoid other people).

  1. They allow you to see all the nutritional information of an item, and to see all the sides available. In the Plymouth New George Street Store, the number of side salads ordered with a meal have increased drastically since these have been installed.
  2. Ordering food becomes fun for kids, because they can be accessed m a lower height. This also, means they have been optimised for wheel chair users.
  3. They have the option for vouchers, meaning you can save money easily.
  4. Table service

They are a method of digitisating the stores. They also have tablets available for use. These have Pre installed games making them an easy choice for kids, and have the option for email access if you need to catch up on work


Table service

When placing a kiosk order you can either collect a number receipt and weight downstairs, or opt for table service. Table service allows you to chose a numbered stand, enter this number in the kiosk and sit anywhere in the restaurant whilst waiting for your order to arrive. They operate with blue tooth, allowing staff to see where you are sitting. Nicole and I used this option after the event for McFlurrys, and were adding boomerangs of our icecreams to our instagram stories within five minutes

Honestly, this was one of the best events I’ve been invited to as a blogger. Brands like Lush and No7 constantly smash it out of the part, and McDonald’s did too on this occasion. The beauty of the event was in it’s simplicity, we were given a peek behind the screen at what made such a fast paced restaurant work by people who were passionate about thier job and the team around them. I expected being in such a busy kitchen to be daunting and feel constantly in the way, but instead we were surrounded by people who were more than competent at the tasks around them, who worked at a normal stress free pace.

Talking to David about his journey from part timer whilst completing his studies to Franchisee was intriguing. We finished the event by discussing how much McDonald’s did locally for the community, from sponsoring spots kits to arranging clean ups of beauty spots and sitting on community boards.

Thank you McDonald’s; for an invitation into one of your restaurants, a chance to pick the brains of your workforce, and for sponsoring this post. Read more about the changes here.

All dolled up in hair nets, and aprons ahead of kitchen exploring

A Theatre Review: The Here and This and Now

Going into a show with the lightest understanding of what it may entail, definitely leaves for an interesting experience. What I took away from my brief reading of The Here and This and Now on the Theatres website, was a comment on society, and our reliance on things to experience life (never rely too heavily on a Kindle related comment for context). The play itself was a layered look at the business world, and the effect it can have on the physical world, interspaced with character discussions of thier experiences with happiness; past, present and potential happiness.
The plays core revolves around McCabe, a pharmaceutical company who specialise in “Me To” lines of drugs. Products which were revolutionary months ago, and now have a slight spin to separate from the original. Products that rely upon Salesmanship and “likeableilty” to succeed in a saturated market. It tracks those connected to the company Pre, during and post- event. The story begins at break neck speed with four characters yelling “CAPTIVATE” and “DESTROY” whilst moving around the stage before moving directly into a two person conversation, I found myself focusing on Nial in an attempt to add any context or back story to what I was hearing.

 

The story has three key segments; The Away Day, Helens Presentation and McCabe’s Promotional Video. It’s a plot I don’t wish to decode too explicitly, as I feel it’s intended to impact you on a unique and personal level. There are elements of Orwell and King in the second part, and parallels to stories like Never Let Me Go in the final section, or in the least the ethical questions contained within Never Let Me Go.

There are parallels to what Black Mirror has attempted to do with its comments on society. Sometimes dark and poignant, very human and current. It’s difficult to pin down and define, calling instead for dissections and debate over drinks directly after. I worry that it is dreamlike, in that the more you try desperately to grasp at what you experienced in the last two hours, the more it escapes.

Tickets for the show come in at £15 (£11 for concessions), with it running until March 25th.

– Emily

The Theatre Royal Plymouth gifted these tickets as part of thier Blogger Scheme, as always the words and opinions are completely my own.

You’re Never Too Old For A Playground.

January is over! Well if those aren’t three of my favourite words. January is done, its all up hill from here. There has been some horrendous weather these last few weeks, vicious wind and thundering rain but in-between the sun has been forcing its way through. So a friend and I decided to get out while we could, so I took us to where I spent my childhood playing for hours. We went to the Cargreen playground and stood in awe of its beauty, then we played in the play park. Age is just a number people.

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One day I will have a house that close to a river or the sea.

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Despite sunny pretences, there has been and there will be rain. Not long before this was taken a child in wellies was having the time of his life in that giant puddle.

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I played on this aeroplane over 20 years ago. Its the only piece of play equipment that has survived the upgrade of this park.

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This place is beautiful and filled with memories of the happiest childhood anyone could ask for. I can’t wait until its warm and sunny and can take pictures here again.

Outfit details:

  • Top – New Look
  • Jacket – Matalan
  • Trousers – H&M
  • Shoes – Nike SB

Anyway for now its back to lesson planning. Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

 

Gloria In The Mist – A Backstage Peak 

So last Thursday I was on the bus into Plymouth to attend the second event of the Plymouth Bloggers Scheme. I’d had one of those days at work where I barely stopped, and ended up leaving nearly half an hour later than I planned because of things I needed to finish off. In short, I was in a proper mood.
However, cue 18:34 and I was sitting with the other bloggers on the scheme waiting to see backstage of the evenings performance of Gloria in the Mist. Becca gathered us up, and took us through the windy backstage area, where we could hear incredibly talented people rehearsing for the evenings opera. Its the level of talent that leaves you slightly awestruck, and was the perfect little moment to start the evening. After a few more windy corridors we found ourselves on the stage of The Drum where the incredible Spitz & Co were setting up the stage for that night.
What we ended up with, in the time before the show, was an insight into what makes a two woman show. This show consists of Susie and Pauline (a lighting expert, a director and a designer), who met in a comedy workshop where the piece of advice shared with attendees was to go and make comedy as a duo. Susie and Pauline took this literally, and Gloriator (the first in a trilogy) was created. 
Alongside hearing some of the pairs history we were able to pick their brains for favourite comedy acts, how a theatre company wins funding for a project, and how the pair cope with jokes that land flat. We were taken to a dressing room, where Pauline showed us the bed and chicken filets present. The overexcited child in me was particularly impressed by the lighting around the mirrors, with it meeting my mental picture of a dressing room. Sadly, the dressing room journey also resulted in the temporary loss of Brett and Hazel as they discovered firsthand how labyrinth like backstage really is. 
One of my favourite aspects of the evening both before and after the show, were the props. The pair took us through which of the props were their favourite (a light up skyline and a toy helicopter were Susie’s personal favourite), talked through some prop issues they are faced with (anyone know where you can find a child’s triangle tent with three entry/exit points?), how everything has its place and needs to be accessed incredibly quickly. Props are a lot more complicated than they initially appear.
A little while after this, we left the pair be and sat around chatting waiting for the show to start. I have not laughed as much as I did last Thursday in a very long time. Live comedy is incredible, and I need to add it to my To-Do list over an over for 2017. The comedy is accessible, physical, situational and just bloody brilliant. With everything from interpretive dance, to snowball fights the show was unpredictable and incredibly original.
Running until Friday 23 December and priced at less than £15 a ticket the show is worth putting in your diaries. As I write this, I’m sitting here trying to work out how I can fit the show in again before the tour ends…
– Emily

The tickets were gifted as part of the Blogger Scheme at the Theatre Royal, but the somewhat gushing words above are entirely my own.