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Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

I think everyone grew up with the cuddly character of Pooh Bear. This Pudgy looking bear loved honey, hated Heffalumps and had spelling as good as lolcats. Over the past few years, there have been a few movies about Pooh Bear, the most recent being Goodbye Christopher Robin.  This new movie is the only one which I have actually gone to see at the cinema. I can tell you that at the 8 pm showing at the Odeon, Christopher Robin had 100% of the audience over the age of 18. 

Christopher Robin the Movie

The basic storyline is that Christopher Robin has grown up, been to the war and is now working in a briefcase company. He has forgotten all about his time in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh Bear and his friends. The start of the film brings you on a whistle-stop tour of the memories he and Pooh Bear have. This shows everything from his tea parties in the woods to him leaving for school and later the war, finally ending up in a high profile yet soul-crushing job.

He promises his family that he would go to the countryside this weekend but Christopher’s manager insists he works. His family are not pleased and go alone, Christopher Robin is left to contemplate the conflict between family and work. During a moment of stress in the local park, he utters the words ‘what to do, what to do’ and then hears ‘what to do indeed’ from Pooh Bear, voiced by the excellent Jim Cummings. Christopher cannot believe this is real and from here he has to accept that Pooh has come back, ultimately to save him.

Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor and his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) are not seeing eye to eye over his time spent at work. His daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) is not seeing her father much these days and both of these relationships are in the balance. His wife has said she cannot remember the last time he smiled and his dealings with his daughter are very matter-a-fact.

Pooh Bear causes a bit of havoc in Christopher house as he tries climbing shelves and steps in lots of honey. The comedic values in the film are very well balanced with the sombre and serious discussions of work-life balance, a topic valid in today’s society.

There are some fantastic scenes in this movie, I’m not going to spoil them, but they are very nicely done indeed. It really is a feel-good movie, probably one of the best I have seen. The Movie Reviewer Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times during a movie, it is a comedy. I can tell you I laughed 6 times in the first 15 minutes of this movie and a lot more after that.

If you have not seen Christopher Robin then please do – you will feel great when leaving the cinema. The trailer is below if you have not seen it.

Christopher Robin is Feel Good Movie Excellence at its Best!

Delicious homemade pizza recipe

Delicious homemade pizza recipe

My delicious Pizza Recipe

If you are looking for a tasty meal or snack to share then you can’t go too far wrong with a homemade pizza. This is my own homemade pizza recipe. It includes a pizza base recipe and a pizza sauce recipe.

I have followed recipes online and from time to time they don’t actually work out. However, with this recipe, I can guarantee the pizza recipe here does work. This is one recipe which I have made a few times now and it just improves each time I make it.

There are 4 stages to this pizza recipe. The pizza dough, the pizza topping and the pizza assembly…. and of course actually baking the pizza.

The Pizza dough

(this pizza recipe makes one 12 inch pizza, thin base. If you want thicker or if you want 2 thin pizzas you need to double the quantities.) 

You will need the following to make the pizza dough: 

  • 150g flour.
  • 120ml warm water
  • Teaspoon of oil
  • Half teaspoon sugar & a bit less same for salt
  • Just over 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
    (If you use quick yeast you may need to play around with the quantities)

Pizza Base method

Mix the warm water (1/3 almost boiling mixed with 2/3 cold) and the yeast and the sugar. Give this a good mix around with a fork for 30 seconds. Leave to rest for 5-10 mins until it looks frothy.

In another bowl sieve the flour and salt and then add a drop of oil as per the ingredients.

Once the yeast mix is ready make a well and pour into. Don’t put all the water in as you might have enough in 110 or 115 ml. Mix together with a fork. When it looks like it is coming together, form a ball and place on a surface with some flour. Now you need to knead and stretch it for 10 mins. Once this pizza dough mix has been kneaded put in an oiled bowl for 45 – 60 minutes covered with a damp clean cloth or cling film.

This should double in size during that time.

Pizza recipe – The topping sauce

This pizza topping sauce is my own recipe. It was developed out of necessity as I had none to-hand, but I had tomatoes. If you already have one store bought you can skip this. However, the flavour from a home made sauce is phenomenal.

You need the following ingredients:

15-20 cherry tomatoes or 2-3

Large tomatoes

Pinch of salt

Black Pepper

Half clove of crushed garlic (optional)

1 tsp Spinach pesto (optional)

1 tbsp of Rojo sauce (optional)

Cheese

Mushrooms

(Any other toppings eg spinach, sweet corn etc)

Chop the tomatoes as small as you can without being blended mush. They should still have some consistency. Heat a pan on a medium to high heat with a drop of olive oil. Once hot place the tomatoes on the pan with the pinch of salt and some freshly cracked pepper and fry for a few mins. Reduce the heat and add the pesto and Rojo sauce. After 10 mins you should be able to break up the tomatoes further. Once in a sauce consistency place in a bowl and let cool in the fridge.

My Pizza Recipe - The Pizza before it is cooked

Assembling the pizza 

Once the pizza base has doubled punch it back and knock out the air. Place on a floured surface and start rolling into a circular shape. Flour a pizza pan and place the dough on it. Leave in a warm place for 10-15 mins.

Heat an oven to 210C (fan) or 230 C (without fan).

Once rested and the tomato sauce is cooled you can progress. Spread the prepared sauce on the base ensuring to cover all the areas. Now add your toppings.

If the oven is at temperature place the pizza into the oven in the middle. Cook for 9-12 minutes (keep an eye). You should now have a delicious homemade pizza. Use a pizza slicer and enjoy.

 

The Result – The cooked Pizza

My Pizza Recipe - The Pizza Cooked and delicious
My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

England is one of my favourite destinations for a relaxing holiday and it’s only a ferry ride from Ireland. The first time I visited the UK for a long road trip style holiday was for Glastonbury 2013. On that occasion visiting southern Wales, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. Since 2013 I have been back 3 times; again with music festivals as the main reason Glastonbury 2015, Glastonbury 2016 and Ramblin’ Man Fair 2017. Normally accommodation is in hotels, mainly 4 star or hotels like Premier Inn. From time to time you get a surprise – a small hotel which surpasses all expectations… I speak of the many Pub Hotels in England which many travellers may overlook.

This blog post outlines my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England … (basically, hotels which are situated above pubs) 

These are listed my top Pub Hotels in England in no particular order as it depends on your location if you will avail of them. These are my opinions of my stays in these 3 establishments. 

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney is a beautiful 17th century coaching Inn. It is located in the picturesque village of Nunney, near Frome in Somerset. Nunney is a village voted “the prettiest village in England” located near Frome, Somerset. The village has the ruins of Nunney Castle and one of the main establishments in Nunney is The George.

The George was one we found in 2013 and we have been back a few times since. The food is excellent and combined with the cosy rooms and friendly service it is certainly a great place to stay. The lounge, restaurant and 10 bedrooms have all been recently renovated so it has a really contemporary feel. There is also an outdoor area, ideal to enjoy some alfresco eating or drinking should we get a summer. There are plenty of walks around the area so there is always something to do. The breakfasts here are really good and you will leave full, rested and happy.

Website: http://www.thegeorgeatnunney.co.uk

Twitter: @GeorgeNunney

Instagram: @george_nunney

The George at Nunney - Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart in Somerton was a real find. Located in a beautiful village called Somerton it seems like going back in time to a simpler age. Somerton is a small town in the English county of Somerset. It has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages, and the main square with its market cross is one of the main attractions in the town. Located near this square is the White Hart Pub and Hotel.

The White Hart has been trading as a pub since the 16th Century. It was recently renovated in 2013 so it has all the features you would need. The meal we got here at the White Hart was amazing and it remains one of my favourite spots in Somerset. We enjoyed a quinoa chicken dish and a very signature style pasta dish.

The White Hart offers a spacious bar, fantastic food, relaxing dining area and of course eight en-suite rooms. The rooms have really well-appointed bathrooms, and you will be guaranteed a great nights sleep. On sunny days there’s also the opportunity to enjoy your food and drink outside in the courtyard and garden.

Another great plus with the White Hart is that it is pet-friendly. Dogs are welcome in all rooms at the White Hart, just at an extra charge of £10 per dog.

Website: http://whitehartsomerton.com

Twitter:  @WhiteHartSom  

The White Hart, Somerton, Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England
The White Hart, Somerton, Food Photo - Chicken Quinoa at one of the Pub Hotels in England which I love

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear is located in a small village in Kent called Lenham. It overlooks the picturesque village square and has a wonderful warmth both in the bar and in the staff who work here. We visited here in 2017 and it was a very special spot. We enjoyed the room with the four-poster and it was very comfortable – check out the website for room images. The bathrooms were very big with a very nice bath, ideal for soaking sore bones if you have just walked the nearby Pilgrims Way.

Rooms are furnished to the highest standards but you do get the feeling that it is a historic building. Apparently, the Dog and Bear was originally built in 1602 and the hotel was visited by Queen Anne in 1704. If you look closely you can see that a coat of arms to Queen Anne is displayed above the door.

The food here was superb. I recall a fish dish with hints of star anise and also a key-lime pie which was amazing. I could have eaten the meal twice it was so good. Afterwards, visit the bar, we enjoyed some pool, darts and meeting the locals including Laura and her lovely dog Rocky.

It is a very special spot at the Dog and Bear and one we hope to visit again.

Website : https://www.dogandbearlenham.co.uk

The Dog and Bear, Lenham - Room Photo - Rooms of Pub Hotels in England

In all three pub hotels mentioned above the room, the food, the staff, the location and the ambience have all combined really well. This results in a stay which is both enjoyable and indeed memorable. Infact, we are re-visiting the George at Nunney again in the coming weeks and who knows this list might be added to in time.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England. If you have any comments about Pub Hotels in England or the ones I have mentioned, please feel free to leave them below. If you like this post, please share it via social media.

 

Map of the 3 Pub Hotels mentioned in this post

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart, Somerton

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

 

 

Disclaimer : This Hotel Review is not sponsored. I have not been compensated in any way for the comments, links or inclusion of any properties mentioned in this post. I visited all 3 hotel pubs in the past 3 years and I felt it was important to share such great hotels with others. The information in this blog post on shanemcdonald.ie is correct at time of publication and I advise researching your stay on other channels such as booking.com and Tripadvisor before making a booking. What suited me, may not suit others. I can guarantee that I was very very happy with all 3 pub hotels mentioned above. If you have any comments regarding Pub Hotels in England please leave them below.

Support Solas Cancer Care Waterford – Film for Life 2018

Support Solas Cancer Care Waterford – Film for Life 2018

Film for Life 2018

Film for Life is in it’s second year. This year, I decided to give it a go; not in the area of photography (being the camera) rather as an actor. Over the past 6 weeks rehearsing and filming, I have been involved in acting out a scene from a famous movie.

This years movie is The Hangover and I play Phil, the Bradley Cooper character. 

Over a 6-week training programme we were tutored by a professional actor. And at the end of May we shot a few scenes from The Hangover. The Film for Life premiere will take place at a red carpet themed event in the Tower Hotel, Waterford on Saturday 16th June. The inaugural 2017 Film for Life event was great fun and seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part.

Tickets for Film for Life 2018 has now passed and is over – but check out the Solas Cancer Care website for details of the next events This exciting Film for Life event helped to fund the activities and services that will be provided by the Solas Cancer Support Centre in 2018.

I have really enjoyed bring involved and I hope you can support my sponsorship to raise funds for Solas Cancer Care – click here for details.

Solas Cancer Care - Film for Life 2018

About Solas Cancer Care, Waterford

The Solas Cancer Support Centre offers free cancer support to those affected by cancer, their families and carers in the South East. These services are available in their centre at Williamstown in Waterford City and in their West Waterford service based in the Alternative Health Clinic in Dungarvan.

Support my "Film for Life" Fundraising event

If you wish to donate to my “Film for Life” fundraising event please click the button below. Any amount will make a difference and I appreciate all donations to this worth cause.

Everyone who supports the event will be mentioned later on shanemcdonald.ie !

Total € Donations So Far including Offline Contributions

Thank You …

I would like to thank the following people and businesses who have donated so far.

Maria McEvoy

Vera McEvoy

John & Caroline Duggan / Hawkeye Falconry

Greg Porter

Fergus McDonald

Mary Murphy

Sarah McGrath

Kay Murphy

Maria McDonald

Karen McDonald

Elaine O’Sullivan

Carol McGrath

Brian Kavanagh

Valerie Leahy

I will add the names of individuals and businesses here as donations are received

Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford – Restaurant Review

The Bay Tree Bistro

The Bay Tree Bistro opened in Waterford in 2015. Within a few months I was hearing about this amazing restaurant above a pub in Ballybricken. The restaurant later moved to the quays in Waterford and it has established itself as ‘the’ place in Waterford for fantastic food. In fact the Bay Tree Bistro was voted the Best Restaurant in Waterford 2018 by the Restaurant Association of Ireland.

I have eaten in the main restaurant upstairs and I can guarantee that it is a full-on dining experience. The tastes and combinations of ingredients are sublime. I will review this very soon when I return…

Earlier this year the Bay Tree Bistro started doing a lunch menu. The menu is served downstairs and is very different from the usual lunch menus. I spotted a few dishes I wanted to try and on one particular day I found myself being nearby and I just had to try it.

Lunch – Croque Madame

One of my favourite snacks / comfort foods is the croquet madame. You have bread, cheese, ham and a soft fried egg. What’s not to like? To my surprise and delight the croquet madame at the Bay Tree had 2 fried eggs. I was hoping to have the duck eggs, which are a small bit extra, but there were none on the day. The 2 eggs which were there were indeed delicious and perfectly cooked.

The red cabbage slaw which accompanies the dish is a perfect contrast to the croque – I also found that the raisins in the slaw were an unexpected taste sensation. There was also a delicious fresh side salad. The salad had cucumber, tomato, onion, spring onion, and leaves have a dressing which is fresh and contrasts with the heartiness of the egg, cheese and bread.

The relaxed atmosphere and nice music was a relaxing setting to enjoy a lunch at leisure. There was a lot on the menu which I would like to try on a repeat visit.  The specials of the day were very nice also, one was an asian pork noodle dish. I later saw photos on twitter and that might be one for a return lunch.

If you are in Waterford and you don’t want the usual boring ham sandwich for lunch, then try the Bay Tree Bistro.

Croque Madame - Lunch at The Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford - Restaurant Review

The Lunch Menu

The Lunch Menu on the day I visited the Bay Tree Bistro was as follows;

SALADS

Warm Thai Chicken
Waldorf Salad 
Tuna or Chicken Nicoise
Mediterranean Vegetable and Feta Cheese
Add Homemade Chips

SANDWICHES

Croque Monsieur
Croque Madame
With Hen Egg or Duck Egg
Tuna Melt           Ploughman’s          Vegetarian Ploughman’s
Chicken, Sundried Tomato and Smoked Cheese
Roasted Vegetable, Tomato and Mozzarella

SAVOURIES

Pork and Caramelized Onion Sausage Roll         Quiche of The Day

Soups, chowders and cheese boards were also available and are very reasonably priced. 

There are a few options on the menu I would love to try, including the sausage roll, the ploughmans, and the warm thai chicken. There is something for everyone on the menu and you won’t be disappointed – portion size is just right!


Bay Tree Bistro – Contact Details

Website : http://www.thebaytreebistro.com
Twitter : https://twitter.com/baytreebistro
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/thebaytreebistro
Phone : 051 858517

 

Bay Tree Bistro – Map Location

Bay Tree Bistro, Waterford, Ireland

Bay Tree Bistro

16 Merchants Quay, Waterford, Ireland

Website : http://www.thebaytreebistro.com

Restaurant Detail Update – November 22nd 2018

I have just seen on TripAdvisor that the Bay Tree Bistro is now closed. I passed the establishment a few nights ago and just thought they were closed on that evening. I hope that the Bay Tree Bistro will reopen soon as I truly enjoyed the food at this great restaurant.