Saturday, 7 April 2018

Carrie Hope Fletcher - When The Curtain Falls

Carrie Hope Fletcher is an award winning musical theatre actress and author.  She also has her own YouTube channel.  This year Carrie won the What’s On Stage Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Addams Family.  Extremely talented Carrie’s debut album - When The Curtain Falls features twelve of her own personal favourite songs mostly from musicals.  This collection of songs is fresh, vibrant and definitely not a run of the mill album from a star of musical theatre.  Many artists from musical theatre release albums that are good but have the same old songs on them.  Carrie has plumped for less well-known songs with a few old favourites thrown in.  All of the songs on the album have been given a bit of a makeover and have a distinct jazz flavour about them.  Carrie’s vocals are strong, powerful and quite breath-taking to listen to.  She can really belt out a tune there is no doubt about that.  It is obvious that Carrie is passionate about the songs on this album.  She grew up listening to and obsessing over these songs.  The album starts with Journey To The Past from Anastasia.  This is an upbeat song with strong vocals and bold instrumentation.  This song encourages you to turn the volume up high and sing along at the top of your voice.  A rousing opening number that really sets the tone for the rest of the album.  What It Means To Be A Friend is from 13 The Musical.  A lovely song about friendship and what it means to be a friend.  Again, Carrie’s vocals really shine.  The third song on the album is the haunting ballad Burn from Hamilton.  This is such a powerful song.  Carrie’s vocals really lend themselves to this emotional number.  Burn is a passionate song that builds in emotion as it progresses.  This version of the song has been given a slight makeover.  The instrumentation has more of a laid back jazz feel, which allows Carrie’s vocals to take centre stage.  Definitely a highlight of the album because it highlights all of Carrie’s vocal range.  Times Are Hard For Dreamers is a beautiful song from Amelie.  Like Burn previously this song is emotive and this emotion is captured perfectly in Carrie’s heart-warming vocals.  This song really tugs are your heartstrings.  Carrie’s vocals are so tender and pure it is hard not to shed at least one tear listening to this lovely song.  I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables just had to be on this debut album from Carrie.  Having appeared in the musical herself there was no way that there wasn’t going to be a song from the show on the album.  I Dreamed A Dream is such a powerful, beautiful song.  It is also a very iconic song.  Carrie makes this song her own putting plenty of power into her vocals.  No One Else from Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is quite a classical sounding song.  Carrie’s vocals really come into their own on this song.  You can feel the energy as she sings.  Summertime from Porgy & Bess is one of Carrie’s all time favourite songs.  Doesn’t everyone just love the laid-back melody of this classic song?  Carrie gives this song a dusting down and makes it sound fresh and new whilst retaining the quaintness of the original song.  Gorgeous vocals really bring this song to life.  Just Keep Moving The Line is from NBC’s Smash.  Carrie really puts her all into this dramatic, passionate song.  The energy Carrie creates with her vocals is quite stunning.  Somewhere That’s Green from Little Shop Of Horrors is another lovely choice for the album.  A great song that really suits Carrie’s vocal style.  Let It Go from Frozen just had to be on this album.  Carrie has the perfect voice for singing this powerful, epic song.  Again, this song has been slightly jazzed up giving it a slightly different feel to the original.  This is in no way a bad thing.  It sounds amazing.  Carrie has the vocals to really belt this song out and fans of Frozen will not be disappointed.  You Matter To Me from Waitress The Musical sees Carrie joined on vocals by her good friend Oliver Ormson.  This song is magical and a lovely duet.  This for me was another highlight of the album.  Definitely a song to play more than once.  Carrie and Oliver’s vocals really complement each other wonderfully.  The album ends all too soon with a song from Disney’s Hercules – I Won’t Say (I’m In Love).  This is a perfect song to end the album on because it is lively, powerful and quite uplifting.  Carrie’s debut album ticks all of the right boxes for fans of musicals and of Carrie herself.  This collection of songs is bold, bright and enjoyable to listen to.  There are plenty of gems on the album and Carrie gets plenty of opportunities to show off her incredible vocals and her wonderful vocal range.  To pick a favourite song on this album would be quite hard as they are all excellent and a joy to listen to.  Most definitely an album to play over and over and over again!!!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Mcctaffs Cakes And Tea Room Review

Mcctaffs Cakes And Tea Room is situated in the Brunel Shopping Centre, Swindon.  Relatively new to the centre this cafe/tea room offers shoppers a chance to rest and relax whilst sampling a wide array of home baked products and freshly produced baguettes and sandwiches.  The setting is informal and chilled.  Not vastly huge in size this outlet caters for shoppers who want to sample freshly made produce rather than the mass produced foods other large chains of cafes stock.  

Homemade cakes and scones greet you as you walk up to the counter.  With tray bakes, cup cakes, larger sliced cakes and scones all freshly made there is bound to be something to tempt you and your family.  A lot of the cakes are made on the premises.  

If you suffer from a gluten intolerance or have issues with dairy then don't despair as this cafe/tea room caters to your every need.  Gluten free cup cakes and a lovely gluten free chocolate cake are often on sale as are gluten free scones.  There is also a range of sugar free cakes on sale.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan then again this cafe/tea room will do its very best to provide a selection of foods suitable for you.  Unlike most food outlets the lovely thing about this establishment is that it doesn't charge the earth for food that is gluten or dairy free.  What is often double the price in another cafe remains the same price as the regular food here.  

If you prefer savory food then there are a range of sandwiches, baguettes and wraps available each day with specials on the menu board.  Again every effort is made to cater to everyone's needs.  If you have an intolerance or allergy speak to the friendly staff and they will do their very best to come up with a sandwich that meets your needs.  All the sandwiches, baguettes and wraps come with a salad garnish and either a small dish of coleslaw or pasta. 

In more recent weeks and with winter coming thick and fast there has been the welcome addition of soup to the menu.  All of the soup is home made and comes suitable for coeliacs and  people with gluten intolerance's.  The soups are tasty and come in two sizes of bowl so depending on your appetite you can have a large or small serving.  

Cream Teas are available and you can pre-order a High Tea either sweet or savory in advance.  Again food intolerance's are taken into consideration.  Tables can be reserved in advance for parties or larger gatherings.  For reserved parties or High Teas quaint vintage china is used giving you the customer the feeling you are in the country rather than the middle of a busy town.

Tea comes in a pot, enough for two cups.  Coffee comes in all the regular styles and can be specifically made to your taste if you tell the staff when ordering.  Milk shakes are also on offer and are made to order.  A lovely range of pre-made soft drinks are also available from the cold cabinet behind the till.  If you prefer a fruit juice or ginger beer then ask the staff about the bottled drinks on offer.  More traditional drinks are also available as well as packets of crisps, which can be found near the till.

Children can have a special kids meal so they don't feel left out of the mix.  The establishment provides high chairs for babies and young children.

There are daily special offers available all advertised on the menu board. 

If you need a cake for a special occasion then you can order a cake from the cafe/tea room.  Examples of the cakes that have been previously made are available to view on the walls of the cafe/tea room.  Take a look at the Elvis inspired cup cakes or the flowered wedding cakes that have been made for previous customers. 

As this is a new establishment it is still growing and developing.  Customer feedback is important to the staff.  Staff are happy to hear what customers think would sell well or do well or what they would like to see in the cafe/tea room.  Just recently they have started selling jacket potatoes with a range of different fillings. 

The staff are young and friendly.  Always happy to help and give advice and details of foods for sale.  No question is too small.  This is a family run business where high standards are important. 

Overall this is a great place to pop into of a lunch time or weekend when you are out and about doing your shopping or taking a break from work.  Babies and children are welcome.  No one is rushed out the door you are free to chat and linger for as long as you like after eating your cake or sandwich.  The food is excellent and the hygiene standards are very high.  Tables are thoroughly cleaned after a customer leaves and the floor is swept. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Jade Sanders - I Want You To Stay Song Review

I Want You To Stay is a pop song with a slight country sound.  Jade’s vocals are lively and fresh.  With hints of Taylor Swift this song is simple yet grows on you the more you listen to it.  A high quality song it soon gets under your skin.  Jade’s style is bound to appeal to fans of many genres of music.  Her classy vocals are distinctive and really lovely to listen to.

Jade Sanders - Already Gone Song Review

Already Gone is a breezy modern country song with a slight dash of pop mixed in for good measure.  Jade’s vocals are strong throughout.  Jade’s sound is fresh and youthful yet her vocals suggest something entirely different.  They have a very mature sound.  This is a lovely song, catchy and easy to listen to.

Jade Sanders - Shotgun Rider Song Review

Seventeen year old Jade Sanders is a talented singer/songwriter from South Florida.  Jade has been writing songs since she was ten years old.  Jades vocals sound like those of someone who has had a vast experience of life not of someone so young.  In her vocals there is a strong bluesy sound, which transcends into her music.  Shotgun Rider is a modern country song with heavy rocky backing instrumentation.  Jade’s vocals are never overshadowed.  Powerful and pleasing on the ear the listener is quickly drawn into the song.  This is a classy offering with hints of Reba McEntire along with many more modern country artists.  A very enjoyable song that makes you want to hear more from this young artist.

Dave Hangley - Nice And Slow Song Review

Nice And Slow is a modern country song from Dave Hangley.  Typical of many modern country songs Dave’s vocals are pleasant on the ear.  A fast up-beat song with a strong melody.  Born in New Jersey Dave blends folk and country into his music giving it a strong sound.  This song could easily compete against the likes of songs by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Brantley Gilbert.  It has a polished sound and is definitely radio friendly.  A likeable song that shows the vocal potential of this new country singer.

Joanna Yaeger - Won’t Be Moved Song Review

Won’t Be Moved is a new offering by Joanna Yaeger.  Well worth a listen this song is catchy and definitely radio friendly.  It is also very classy and shows off Joanna’s vocals to the full.  This song blends modern country with pop, the end result is a fresh sounding top quality song.  In Joanna’s vocals there are hints of Carrie Underwood.  Joanna’s vocals are strong and powerful, really giving the song volume and depth.  One listen isn’t enough to fully appreciate this wonderful song.