Monday, 25 April 2011

Cafe Kiss

Yesterday I stumbled across the perfect Cafe; It was my Mum's birthday and we had decided to take a stroll down the Barbican for a bite to eat. After realising it was Black Sunday (one of the days of the year where the Barbican is packed to bursting point and there are always a few people who drink throughout the afternoon before starting mini riots later in the day) we opted to return to a cafe we had perused on our initial walk.

Cafe Kiss opened just last week and offers everything you could possibly ask for; superb home-cooked food, locally sourced ingredients, piazza style outdoor seating as well as plush leather sofas for those opting to dine inside. The cafe is licensed and sells everything from wines and spirits to a fabulous pint of Doombar.

I started with an amazing pot of Jasmine tea, probably the best example of a green tea I have ever tasted, and then chose a simple option of a Jacket Potato with cheese and tuna. My Mum opted for the salmon fishcakes which were apparently sold out, this did not mean that they weren't on offer but just meant we were asked if we would mind waiting an extra few minutes whilst they made another batch, that's what I call good service and proves all the food is made freshly. Sid uncertainly went for the Thai Green Chicken curry fearing it would be like many of the disasterous Thai imitation foods found in the west.

None of us were about to be disappointed as the food arrived stunningly presented and with a taste to match its appearance. The food was fabulous value for money and neither of us could stop complimenting the food or venue as we tucked into our sumptious dishes.

To add to our dining experience we had grabbed a table on the patio area in the glorious sunshine (hotter than Spain or Greece!), we also enjoyed live background music courtesy of a young lady singing at the Swallow.

If you have a sweet tooth then Cafe Kiss has a perfect selection of home made cakes or if cocktails are more your thing check out the cocktail menu (check out some of the pictures on facebook!). The menu caters for both carnivores and vegetarians as well as those with a more fishy appetite.

Cafe Kiss is family owned and run (see Mother and Son pictured right, the daughter was off yesterday) and is not part of a chain which, for me, adds to its appeal. The cafe is light and airy with modern decor yet it still retains a family charm. There is disabled access and baby changing facilities for those who require them.

Cafe Kiss is situated away from the main Barbican area in Bretonside making it a perfect getaway for those manic bank holidays when the Barbican receives more than it's fair share of visitors.

There is one major drawback with this cafe and that is its addictive properties, we all had such a great afternoon at the cafe that we can't wait to go back and I fear this will develop into a regular habit. As you can probably gather I can't rave enough about this cafe and I hope that those of you lucky enough to live in and around Plymouth will give this place a try to help ensure its long term success, this place certainly is worthy of it.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 18 April 2011

Pole Dancing News

picture above of Emma Thorpe and Rosanna Durban from the art of dance, Miranda Goldring from Pole Affinity, Alex Conley from Spin City Exeter Clare Rigby from Zigs Pole Fitness, Shelley Neave from House of Pole, Sarah Scott from Studio 22, Kate Johnstone from Spin City, Emily Smith from Emily's pole Fitness and Robyn Rooke from 360 Pole Dancing all revising the PDC Syllabus.

It is now nearly 5 weeks since I sustained a Grade 2 tear of my menial collateral ligament (that's a knee injury for those of you who would rather be spared the jargon). I have a few more weeks or so before I will be able to do anything high impact with my knee but I am now able to do some gentle pole work as well as beasting my upper body and core on both the pole and the gymnastic rings we have in our aerial studio in Plymouth. My abs are now sore to touch but there is no pain no gain!

picture above of Sid Remmer, Miranda Goldring and Emily Smith.

Having an injury has been awful despite knowing that the amount of time of the pole has actually been quite short it feels like an eternity. I feel so sorry for people who sustain life changing injuries and can't imagine how those people cope with losing their mobility. Luckily for me I am now nearly pole fit again and the injury should not pose any long term problems if I am careful.

This weekend has been another working weekend for me with the Art of Dance Open Day on Saturday and the PDC Syllabus filming day on Sunday in Bristol. Thanks to all of those who turned up on Saturday for the open event and to those who helped out at the Bristol filming, your support is always greatly appreciated.

For all you avid pole dancers out there don't forget it is just 2 weeks to go before UK Pole Dance Day; in addition to the many satellite events happening across the country there is a huge showcase being held in London with some of the UK's top pole dancers in action they include the winner of this year's All Wales Pole Dancing Championships Jamie Alexah Taylor (pictured above), Justine McLucas (pictured below - photo courtesy of Daniel Andrew photography), Karen Chaundy, Bendy Kate, Keem and the Pole fit troupe. Other dancers to be announced soon.

Lastly if you have been patiently waiting for the new Pole Fit range to arrive you can save the wait by ordering the items on line at the Pole Dance Community Shop, I love my new spider back sports bra and can't wait for my new roll top shorts :)

More news to follow including a follow up on the Plymouth Pay Protest and news on the next event protest to be held at midday on Saturday 30th April outside Plymouth Guildhall.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 11 April 2011

An interesting weekend

What a roller-coaster of a weekend, after the shock arrival of the new addition to the Remmer household (Minky the ferret aka Satan pictured above) it was off to Wales for the
All Wales Pole Dancing Championships (AWPC) where I was judging.

The drive should have taken about 5 hours but the M6 had other plans for me and at one point I managed a measly 12 miles in 1 hour thanks to the idiot who decided that he could pull out of a slip road without checking it was clear, his mistake resulted in someone else's death and and a huge tailback. 2 more accidents later and I reached Llandudno in the snail like time of just over 7 hours. Despite the horrific journey I have to say that the A55 is a stunning drive across the North Wales coast and was equally beautiful at 4pm as it was in the morning mist at 9am.

Luckily the show was just starting as I arrived so I dashed to the judges table briefly perused the scorecards and watched the first performance by the lovely Karen Chaundy. I will be writing a review of the All Wales Pole Championships later this week for the Pole Dance Community site so watch their pole dancing magazine for full details.

After the AWPC it was time to find a petrol station as the tank was off the red and then off to find the B & B that I was staying in. After a scenic tour of Llandudno and an unintentional detour the wrong way around the 1 way system I found both fuel and accommodation. The AshtonWood B & B looked so welcoming and I was ready to collapse and fall asleep immediately, however sleep proved elusive and instead I 'enjoyed' a night of insomnia due to no fault of the B & B and purely due to my restless mind and me missing my husband and menagerie.

Breakfast was served at 8am and I joined the lovely Tracy Huckfield (organiser of the AWPC, Level 2 PDC approved pole dancing instructor and proprietor and principal instructor at Pagan's Pole), her husband and some other people from the AWPC. We enjoyed a lovely English Breakfast and had a chance to reminisce on the events of the previous night before it was time for me to depart to return to Plymouth.

I was making excellent progress and was just thinking how the homeward journey was much more pleasurable than the outbound journey when just 25 miles from Exeter I saw the warning signs flashing, the traffic stopped at junction 26 and the A38 was brought to a standstill. After about 10 minutes I decided to take advantage of the unexpected stop and I climbed into the back of the car to change into a light summer dress, I then grabbed a newspaper and got out of the car and sat on the bonnet, others had started to share the idea and before long we had our own mini Summer festival with some getting out camping chairs, dogs being walked and teas being made in the back of a caravan that was still the right way up (unlike the one that caused the accident). I have to say it was the best traffic jam I have ever been in.

For those of you who do make the M5 trip through to Bristol have you noticed (not sure how you could miss it) the new development adjacnet to the wicker man. The willow man, created by artist Serena de la Hey, used to enjoy the tranquillity of blue sky and green fields but no more, now he shares his environment with a building I am now calling Armageddon. Fortunately the willow man still retains his fabulous bottom :) N.B. The image above is actually a canvas that is available to buy from artist Tony Howell.

There was more drama on the homeward journey when I got stopped for speeding in the service station car park, the officer who pulled me was obviously having a bad day and his attitude did not impress me, he could have simply asked me in a nice manner if my speed was correct but instead he chose to speak to me like I was piece of dirt which I felt was completely unnecessary. "Was that an appropriate speed for a car park?" he shouted, "I believe so" I replied knowing that actually the speeding laws for public highways do not apply for private car parks, "What speed were you travelling at" he asked " The same speed as you?" I replied, "Did you think it was appropriate to undertake me " Yes" I replied, I could see his frustration but I did not believe my speed was inappropriate for the circumstances and I was not about to be belittled by a grumpy highways officer who was obviously looking to take his anger out on an innocent driver.

Finally after 6 and a half hours I was home ready to enjoy a cool, refreshing beer in the backgarden before getting ready for a night of glorious sleep on my most beautiful memory foam mattress and duck feather pillows!

If you are about to make a motorway journey please stop and think about the safety of others, driving selfishly might not just end your life but might end the lives of other road drivers too. Think and drive safely!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Thought for Japan

I wanted to take a moment to share with you a letter received from a student at the art of dance:

I am in Jane's Pole Flow Yoga class and I am from Japan.

On 11/3/11, one of the biggest earthquakes occurred in Japan. Earthquakes lead to secondary disasters such as fires, nuclear power plant damage and tsunamis (awful new footage showing the tsunami's power and resulting devastation) which destroy and damage houses and buildings and wipe out the whole area.

A total of 10,102 people are confirmed to have perished and 17,53 people are missing so far. The figure for Fukushima is far below those of the other two prefectures partly because search operations were suspended in areas within 2 kilometres of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The figures are almost certain to rise because of the absence of family members to file reports on the dead and missing. In some areas entire families appear have been swept away in the tsunami that followed the magnitude 9. earthquake.

There are about 200,000 people being evacuated to shelters which are like school gyms. In the affected area there are no power supplies and few daily supplies, so they don't have enough heating, clothes and blankets to keep them warm and the lowest temperature is below zero (4 degrees C in Fukushima on 24th March).
Some children and babies who were in shelters have no support as the roads to get there were destroyed and people are dying because there is no food or milk even after surviving the earthquake and tsunami.

Several weeks have already passed since the disaster. The effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant are being felt all over Japan now. People in Japan are still very distressed and worried but they are trying hard to live their life each day.
I am trying to raise money for the survivors of this incident and I would really appreciate it if you could contribute whatever you can. All the collected money will be sent to Japan through the British Red Cross. Please bring some change with you when you come to class and support us.

Thank you so much for your support.

Kyoko Kusumoto

We will be collecting money at the art of dance reception for the British Red Cross and you can also donate on-line. My thoughts go out to the people of Japan in these terrible times.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x