#MySundayPhoto – A Message From The Beer Bottle?

Something different this week…

I took many photos from Dawlish and Exeter today, but I quite liked this from Hops and Crafts in Exeter. 

(Sadly I’ve not been able to drink it, due to an issue with Gluten, but I find like the message at least) 


IBS. Some Newbie Observations

Around the start of August, and after having a massively weird stomach for a couple of weeks, I was diagnosed with having Irritable bowel syndrome. Reading over the IBS symptoms, made a few other things make sense – like going to sleep after some meals. That sort of thing.

So over the last month, I’ve been trying to work out what having IBS means. I figured (in case it helped anyone), that I would share my initial observations of the world of having Irritable bowel syndrome.

  1. Embrace it, you might feel better once you’ve worked out what’s causing it.
  2. Yeah, everything online about Irritable bowel syndrome is a bit complicated.
  3. If your IBS works that way, embrace the world of smoothies.
  4. Sainsburys “Free From” bread does indeed taste like Cotton Wool inside your mouth. That doesn’t mean it tastes nice.
  5. Your waist line might smile at you.
  6. Questioning what you should / shouldn’t eat can help your wallet as it forces you to think twice when out shopping.
  7. Gluten and wheat free beer is… alright.
  8. On second thoughts (after having tried it from Tescos) “Free From” bread rolls, simply don’t seem to be good. At all.
  9. Bar B Qs are weird without anything to hold the meat.
  10. You might feel great if you eat very little – make sure you don’t eat too little. Work out what you can eat, because, eating is good.

If you’ve got any tips and tricks about IBS please get in touch and share them with me.

In the mean time, I need to go and work out how to eat at a BBQ…

Checking out Brewers Faye, The O Bridge in Taunton

After arranging to meet up with some good friends halfway between Exeter, and Bristol, Mrs Sofa and I asked a few people what we could do in that area. Mrs Sofa heard via a huge local mums Facebook group, about “The O Bridge” in Taunton.

The Play area was decorated with giant Dennis The Menace comics!

The O Bridge is a Brewers Faye pub, with a massive soft play area, for little ones to generally belt around in. I say massive, it is an impressive sight to see the three floors crammed into the space available.  It cost £3 for our little one to enter, with no obvious time limit. In fact the size of it meant that Mrs Sofa ended up diving in, and comfortably helping the Little One around the area. She also made the comment that even at the top level of the soft play, it didn’t feel hot, as she has experienced in other soft plays she’s been to. The toddler area was ideal, with a slide which was easily accessible and didn’t require an adult to squeeze themselves inside, to just enable their child to get up to the slide. The babies had a lovely soft area, with a mirror, which was loved by the 1 year old.  Even with two three year olds who aren’t keen on enclosed slides, the amount of ways to go up and down the levels and explore around, was enough to keep them happy even when an adult wasn’t following them around. Obviously an adult was never far from them, but it is so nice to be able to allow them space to explore on their own safely.
After an hours worth of play, we became aware of the need for food… and the need not to be in a soft play area… So decided to retire to the more relaxed pub / restaurant section.

We found our new table, and ordered food soon after. This was about 4:30pm, so not crazy late.

Our friends ordered food for themselves and two young children, including a starter for the 1 year old. A few mins later Mrs Sofa orders our families food, and then gets asked if we want ours at the same time as the child’s starter, she gets the waitress to come over and check with our friends, who ask for ALL the food to come out together. Sadly the starter came out on it’s own, and it was only 5 mins after it had been finished with, that the waiter asked whether we were ready for our main meal! Of course we were, there was only one (child’s) starter ordered! It then took another 20 minutes for our food to come out (after I chased it).

The food didn’t just take the best part of an hour to come out, but the main meals for the hungry little ones was served last! The food itself was ok, but not worth the wait.

Simply put, The Brewers Faye, O Bridge in Taunton is good for the play area, but leave and get your meal elsewhere.

Visiting The Twisted Oak, Ide, Near Exeter.

Its been a busy few months for The Twisted Oak pub, which can be found in Ide, just by Exeter. It was closed down by its previous owner, due to “high running costs”, then the building had squatters move in. After the squatters left, the new owners tidied up The Twisted Oak with the intention of building up a family friendly pub.

The Play carpet at The Twisted Oak, Ide

As you walk in, you are greeted with a choice. Do you want to choose the Family Dining Area / Play Area, or are you going to the Bar / Dining Room? As we had a toddler with us, the choice was obvious. As we wandered into the family area, my eyes were distracted by the “Sweet Shop Bar”, while the little one made a beeline for the indoor play area. The play area is made up of a fairly cute climbing frame, with a couple of slides, stairs, and wheels to spin.  Imagine an outside metal & plastic climbing frame, but inside! Around the climbing frame there are also ride ones, and boxes of toys. The carpet was a huge road mat!

What this place isn’t, is a soft play centre. But where I’ve found soft play centres to have fairly naff food, this place has a great menu, with great food being served from it. The adult menu was very varied, and there was a lovely childrens menu available too. There is quite a selection of booster seats for the younger children to use to attach to their chairs.

After the little one got bored eating, she went for a wander around the dining area. After taking a few moments sitting against the bar, and pretending to hide around the tables, she saw what was being shown on TV. Where most pubs might have the news channel playing, our little one looked up and saw Cbeebies being shown.

There is also an outside childrens climbing frame/play area, but other than a quick view of it through a hedge, we didn’t check this out, as the ground under foot was still quite soggy and it seemed more suited to older children. There is a nice outside wooden benched area, opposite the front entrance though, which would be nice to sit in during warmer weather. Apparently there is also an outside seated area near to the outside play area, but we didn’t view that.

Now as I had to go to work in the afternoon, I didn’t think anyone would be impressed if I checked out the beer selection at The Twisted Oak. If its anything like their sister pub, “Farmers Union”, I imagine its worth checking out.

The tuck shop idea is genius, and of course we had to test it out!! A takeaway coffee cup full of sweets for £2.50, not bad. Yum yum yum!

Is The Twisted Oak a family friendly pub? From the looks of our trip there yesterday, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a nice pub to bring the family to.

I just need to find the nearest bus route there (to allow the good lady wife to be able to drink as well)…

The Twisted Oak Website.

Beer Marketing 1 – Me 0

Here’s what went through my head when I found myself in the local Morrisons beer aisle:

“Not seen that beer before…
Oh ok Waggledance has a new label. Probably to try and get people’s attention I bet…
Why I’m I picking it up?

Seriously, If I still fall for cheap marketing tricks, how the heck I’m I meant to be an example to the Little One? Who I have no doubt will be bombarded by adverts as she grows up.

Tips to Help The Best Man Survive The Wedding Day

Your mate has just announced he’s getting married, and has asked you to be the Best Man.  There are plenty of places online that will give you an outline of the Best Mans job and responsibilities leading up to and during the wedding day. After my experience of being a Best man over the weekend, I wanted to share my list of ten (mostly practical) tips to help you / your best man not just survive the wedding day, but hopefully help the groom as well.

1. Your biggest role as Best Man is to keep the groom sane. Does he need something? Try your best to make it happen. You are his right hand man. Does his wife to be need something? Helping her out will help your mate out.
2. Have a man bag for the day. Ensure it includes pain killers, water, a pen, and some food to nibble on. Possibly include a Mars Bar for when the energy starts to ebb later at night.
3. Be ready for the line up. If, like me, you’re an introvert you might find it a bit tiring introducing yourself to (what feels like) hundreds of people. Think about what you’re going to say before hand, as having the same conversation again and again gets wearing.
4. Yes you may well be nervous about the speech. No, no one will care if you have a drink to calm the nerves. Yes people might care if they have to listen to a pissed up Best Man giving the speech.
5. Be yourself in the speech . If you’re not really THAT funny, don’t try and be THAT funny.
6. Make sure you compliment the Bride in your speech. Just avoid coming onto her…
7. Again, about the speech. What is the bride and groom like? What is your audience like? Whilst the tale about your normally sober mate, getting totally drunk and running naked down the street, maybe funny, the old gran in the corner may not need to hear it.
8. It’s going to be a long day, look after yourself. Particularly in the evening, try and catch some time to yourself, have a beer, chill, enjoy.
9. After the speeches, buy the groom his favorite drink.
10. Ensure you have a day or two to recover after the event. Even if it’s just from the hangover.

This list is based on my experience of being a best man, on what I did, what I wished I did, or based on advice I’ve been given. Do you have any tips you could add?

The Dad Network
What My Fridge Says