Monthly Archives: February 2012

The perfect shelter from the rain – board games included!

It’s been raining, drizzling or threatening to spittle forever.  It seems.

I’m walking through Trongate in the late afternoon trying to find a place to escape the wet when I spy the Trans Europe Cafe  on Parnie Street.  Intrigued by the name, we go in.

Once inside the warmth instantly steams up my glasses.  But the very friendly guy working at the café instinctively offers me a tissue to sort myself out; he is delightful.

A cosy mishmash of worldly wonder

Delicious Cake at Trans Europe Cafe, GlasgowThe cosy welcoming café lives up to its name.  It’s a mishmash wonder where old bus seats function as chairs and walls are a jumble of maps and world-wide postcards. There’s pictures of old Glasgow with working trams –  a bit of inspiration for Edinburgh.

We settle in for a hot drink and cake ; the hot chocolate fudge cake disappears so quickly I can only assume my boys enjoyed it.  For me it’s all about warming up with peppermint tea – though the lemon & ginger and honey & vanilla are equally tempting.

Food, drink and play – all is right in the world

Games galore at Trans Europe Cafe, GlasgowBut wonderful food and soothing drinks are only part of this place’s charm.  An eclectic selection of games to play- from classic Connect 4 to Geografacts – are also on offer.  Really the perfect way to whittle away a winter afternoon and only £9.50 for three drinks and two pieces of cake.  Bargain!

Through the week Trans Europe Café is open from 10 – 5 and on the weekends they’re open till 10pm, serving up small but perfectly formed evening meals, all under a tenner.

I leave – reluctantly – out into the cold.  But their scrumptious sounding Sunday Brunch will lure me back again.  I can’t resist two of my absolute favs Eggs Benedict (£5.75) and Smoked Salmon bagels (£5.95).

Until we meet again…..

– B

It’s time to play the music; it’s time to light the lights

If you reminisce about a theatre run by an endearing frog and a chaotic cast of weird, wonderful and musically talented characters, then the Glasgow Youth Film Festival (GYFF) is a must.

Glasgow Youth Film Festival posterLast Sunday the GYFF got off to a lively start with the Scottish premiere of The Muppets.   Clearly widely anticipated, the place was as animated as Kermit’s theatre – a buzz with children and adults  who seemed equally excited.

Adding to the already electric atmosphere were the young guys and girls dressed as Kermit, Fozzie bear, Miss Piggy and Gonzo who playfully mingled with the crowed – and rightly so because they had lent a hand in choosing the films for this year’s festival on from 5-15 February.

Laugh-out-loud good

From the opening credits I’m hooked; I hadn’t realised how much I had missed Kermie and his energetic friends.  And it totally lived up to my childhood memories and more – it’s a laugh-out-loud, feel great trip down memory lane.  True to the original show, the film is filled with fantastic celebrity cameos and a brilliant new rendition of Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet  that will stay with me for days.

Muppets and much more

But the festival is much more than just The Muppets; it’s a fantastic offering of the best of films in a diverse and enticing programme.  There are films from Sweden, Bulgaria, Germany, France and Japan alongside the master animators Makota Shinkai & Hayao Miyazaki.   Pleanty of choice for the young and the young at heart.

Outside of the GFT, The Arches is showcasing short films from up-and-coming filmmakers; there’s live theatre performances, post- film discussions and master classes in film direction.

Glasgow Short Film Festival – not to be missed

And if this still isn’t enough Glasgow Short Film Festival has expanded to four full days and runs from the 9-12 February with highlights including the Scottish Short Film Award and International Film Award.  The films are being shown at the Centre of Contemporary Arts (CCA) and all you late-night owl film buffs can mix and mingle till 3:00am at the Berkeley Suite.

February is a cold, dark month so make the most of it and escape into the a bright lights of cinema.  Although I can’t promise that you won’t have mahnahmanah going round your head after a date with the Muppets!


Silent Sunday – 5 February

South Side splendour ….

Swans in Queen's Park, Glasgow

Cold be damned; don’t miss the most important meal of the day

It’s cold – bitterly freezing cold.  All the more reason to sleep in and stay snuggly warm in your bed this weekend, right?

Well…. allow me to lure you out of your warm hiding place with the promise of Glasgow’s best breakfasts.

Delizique Cafezique

You weekend late risers fret not because Delizique Cafezique  offers an all-day breakfast menu every day until 5pm.   So whether you’re after the big fry up (£8.95) or eggs in a variety of enticing ways, you can find it in this laid-back welcoming eatery.

Always a good sign – the smell of something wonderful fills the air and everything is the freshest of fresh because the cakes, breads and other baked goodies are all made locally – in fact next door.  In warmer weather this West End treasure’s outside seating is an absolute must.

Two Figs

The quirky and cosy Two Figs is great spot for meeting up with friends the- morning-after-the-night-before to refuel while nursing sore heads or wounded egos.  The figs’ weekend brunch runs from 10am – 5pm and here it’s totally ok to have curry for breakfast.

So if you’re looking for something spicy, look no further – their Thali breakfast is a flavourful aubergine, cauliflower, masala potato and flatbread mash up (£6.95).  A true taste sensation and a nice change from the basic bacon and eggs, though they are also on offer.


Corinthian veggie breakfastPopular for dinner and late night fun and frolic, the Corinthian  may still have yet to be discovered as a fantastic breakfast spot.  Or possibly its 8am– noon breakfast is too early for most on the weekends.

But if you can get yourself out of bed and into the Merchant City, you’re guaranteed a seat in splendid surroundings.  Their breakfast of champions will set you up for the day – and possibly leave you wanting very little for dinner.

Corinthian’s fantastic selection makes facing the cold and braving an earlish morning bearable.  Once there my hardest decision is choosing between griddle pancakes (£4.95) or toasted soda bread with smoked salmon and fluffy scrambled eggs (£5.75).   Even if you’re not a veggie, it’s hard not to be tempted by the hearty full veggie breakfast that includes vegetarian sausage, fruit pudding, vegetarian haggis, hash brown, tomato, mushroom and your choice of egg (£6.95).  This is exactly what I go for.

Adding to my delight is the almost-too-exquisite-to-eat macaroons served on Cuppa with macaroons at Corinthianthe side of every cuppa.

Outta bed lazy bones – breakfast calls

So this weekend get yourself outta that bed because these places will make you believe that breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day – but the most delicious.

– T

Sharmanka: a unique vision worth seeing

Enter if you dare….

The lights are dim, haunting music plays;  I’m surrounded by machines and consumed by a slightly uneasy feeling of eeriness.

Horned creature at SharmankaI have no idea what to expect at Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre at Trongate 103.   The exhibition is a  mixture of sculptures that combine bizarre carvings of animals and distorted human figures with pieces of scrap.

Frankenstein meets Bambi

Monkeys, rats and skulls nestle amongst kitchen utensils, assorted wheels and sewing machines.  Unusual – creepy even.  But the end result is hugely intriguing – especially when you consider when and how the sculptures were built.

Living under the Communist Regime – the work was created by Russian Eduard Bersudksy.  In his one room apartment he crafted a unique and bold vision that bravely fell outside the realms of art at that time.

Do stay for the show!

Sharmanka  at Trongate 103You can wander around the exhibits for free – or for a mere £5 you can experience Sharmanka in all its glory by watching the incredible 40 minute show (free for kids with accompanying adult).

Trust me and stay for the show; it brings the sculptures to life; the magical story unfolds before your eyes.  Light and sound stir your emotions as the glaring red eyes of a miniature cheetah swinging on trapeze holds your gaze.  It will certainly stay with me a while.

The Nickodym and the Forget Me Not Russian Troika are among my favourite sculptures.  But you must see it to believe it.

Words are not enough.