Review – Pinocchio at Lighthouse Theatre, Poole

Pinocchio, Lighthouse Theatre, Poole

I was invited to review the premiere of Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company’s new adaption of of Carlo Collodi’s classic story Pinocchio at Lighthouse, Poole. The story of a wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy, Pinocchio has entertained families for generations, so I was keen to see the Bridport-based production company’s contemporary take on one of my childhood favourite tales.

Stuff and Nonsense started work on Pinocchio, their biggest production to date, long before the first lockdown of 2020. They always work with children to devise their plays because they have the most amazing ideas and imagination certainly shone through the performance.

Highly physical, the story involved the company’s staples of puppetry and live music and featured three actors representing father, son and grandfather who find themselves in a grand, old abandoned house. The show centred around a huge dining table, the heart of family life, which became the performers’ playground, crammed with hidden drawers and compartments where puppets popped out and the actors jumped and flipped over.

If you’re hoping for a production that very much sticks to the 19th century classic, this isn’t the show for you. All the elements of the original story are there, a poor woodcarver, the tell-tale growing nose, the dream of becoming a real boy, but you really have to unlock your imagination to truly enjoy the energetic, thought-provoking adaption Stuff and Nonsense have created.

My little boy is nearly three and Pinocchio was his first trip to the theatre, so I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go. But I was amazed. He sat still for the entire production, just over an hour, and seemed fascinated by the puppetry and live music, clapping along and talking to us about what he was seeing on stage. It was so lovely to be a part of. And as we walked out the theatre, he turned to me and said: “Mummy, I liked that.” High praise indeed for a toddler who at times can be very hard to please!

It was so great being back in a theatre again after what has been an extremely difficult time for the arts sector. The show was extremely clever and I was very impressed by the fantastic use of staging, which is definitely one of the key elements, along with the lively music, that kept my little boy transfixed throughout.

Pinocchio plays at Theatre Royal Plymouth over Christmas before touring next year. So if you’re looking for something a little different to your average panto then check it out!

Food, Reviews

Slim Chickens, Big Pickings

A great new addition to Bh2 Leisure, Bournemouth.

Slim Chickens Bournemouth

I was lucky enough to be invited to try out Slim Chickens, the latest addition to Bh2 Leisure in Bournemouth. And I was not disappointed!

It’s an American brand with over 80 restaurants in the Southern states. There’s three restaurants in central London and the closest to Bournemouth is in Southampton, which launched earlier this year.

You know it’s American from the portion sizes – they’re huge! Take a look at my photos to see for yourself. I went with my husband and son and we could have easily shared one portion of fries between the three of us. You can ‘go large’ on any meal for an extra £1, but you really don’t need to. I went into Slim Chickens feeling very hungry and left feeling like I needed to be rolled out of there – but in a good way!

The menu is definitely not ‘slim pickings.’ From 100% British buttermilk marinated tenders and wings to fried chicken sandwiches, salads, wraps and signature sides – all cooked to order. There’s a kids menu too. It only features two dishes, Chicken Tenders and Mac & Cheese, so if you have a fussy eater, you may be stuck, but there’s always fries!

My two-year-old had the Mac & Cheese and it was very tasty – I tried it just to make sure! I went for the Slim’s Wrap, featuring chicken tenders, lettuce, tomato and house ranch sauce and my husband had the Buffalo Sandwich packed with fried chicken shaken in buffalo sauce, lettuce, pickles, crispy fried onions and blue cheese sauce. For an extra £2 you can upgrade your drinks to hand spun shakes and it was the best decision – the Oreo shake was so incredibly tasty. I dread to think how many crushed Oreo’s were in it, but it was totally worth the calories. We also ordered a side of fried onions, which were lovely and crispy.

The décor is pretty cool too. American sports bar vibes with a choice of booths, tables or bar seating. You can order yourself via the touchscreen kiosks, or at the counter. We received our meals within just five minutes of ordering and it was really busy being a Saturday lunchtime during the school holidays, so I can’t fault the service.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in between shopping, before a trip to the cinema, or after a family day out, Slim Chickens is the place to go. Great tasting food, big portion sizes and fast service, all at a reasonable price.

Thanks for having us Slim Chickens, we’ll definitely be back!

Food, Reviews

The Old Thatch, Wimborne – Restaurant Review

A delicious meal at a 17th century pub turned Gastro Pub, to celebrate UK restaurants reopening inside at last!

The Old Thatch, Wimborne

The 20th May will be a memorable one for my husband and I. It’s the day we got to enjoy a meal out, not only without a toddler in tow, but at a restaurant – our first meal out since December 2020.

It felt so good to get dressed into my ‘fancy’ clothes, put on my makeup, and even my heels, for the first time in what felt like years, to visit The Old Thatch.

Located in Wimborne, Dorset, the 17th century pub is located right opposite Stapehill Abbey, just off the Castleman Trailway – a popular walking trail amongst locals and visitors.

Multi-award winning restauranteur Andy Lennox has joined forces with landlord Nick Pestana, transforming the pub into a Gastro Pub, Kitchen and Country Store. As we entered, I couldn’t help but drool at the sight of freshly baked breads, cakes, cheeses and local meats on offer from local suppliers, that also feature on the pub’s menu.

We received a warm welcome and were seated in a lovely corner of the pub. It felt nice and cosy, and there was a great atmosphere. Afterall, for some people, like us, it was their first night out in a long time and they had a lot to catch up on. I couldn’t help but smile as the table of girls next to us caught up on the Netflix series they’d been watching (Motherland, highly recommend, and Line of Duty, what a disappointment).

Our waitress Kat was equally lovely, making us feel special and giving us as much time as we needed to take in the menu, which featured a good balance of meat, seafood and veg.

To kick things off, I went for the Book & Bucket Cheese Soufflé, with local Wimborne cheddar cheese, twice baked with toasted bread. And my husband had the Salt & Pepper Squid. Both were absolutely delicious, especially washed down with a nice glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

While we waited for our mains, more diners arrived, equally just as delighted as us that they could eat out again. It was nice hearing the staff chatting to regulars, showing how popular the pub is amongst locals.

For the main event I had the Lemon & Thyme Chicken, served on the bone with skin on fries, house slaw and garlic aioli. It fell off the bone and the chips were nice and crispy, with just enough salt. And the garlic aioli, one of my new found favourites, was very tasty and just the right amount. My husband enjoyed his 10oz Rump Steak, accompanied by triple cooked chips, roasted on the vine cherry tomatoes, garlic mushrooms and a rocket and parmesan salad. He likes it cooked blue, and not all restaurants accommodate, but The Old Thatch did and my husband said it was cooked just how he liked it. Cold but not still mooing!

By this point I was feeling quite full and could have quite easily enjoyed a little power nap in the pub’s warm and cosy interior, but when the dessert menu arrived – I couldn’t resist the temptation of Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. It arrived hot and gooey and my plate left empty. My husband’s Brownie with salted caramel ice cream was, in his own words, “heavenly”. Although, I wouldn’t know as he refused to share!

The pub has a fantastic outdoor seating area too, with a huge marquee and heaters, to protect diners from the great British weather. What’s also great is that The Old Thatch is dog friendly, so if you’re walking the Castleman Trail and want to pop in for a pint, it’s the perfect spot.

The Old Thatch Outdoor Seating
Outdoor area

If you do visit, make sure you try out their cocktail menu. I was too full by the end of our meal, but some of them looked fabulous. When we return I will definitely be ordering their New Forest Bramble and Stapehill Spritz!

Whether your local to Wimborne, or visiting Dorset for the weekend, I’d highly recommend The Old Thatch. Warm and welcoming staff, a delicious menu and a relaxed and happy atmosphere make it a great place to visit for lunch or dinner.

We’ll definitely be back. Hopefully next time without masks.

What a lovely evening!