Super Bowl Gold

*from GingerBreadOfHeaven  Super Bowl 50 was certainly not pretty, and the Superman vs Sheriff showdown proved notably lacklustre compared with the hyperbolic build-up. 

  “Superman” Cam and failed to find the spark that had characterised the Panthers’ regular season, and it was not veteran Peyton Manning’s leadership that won it for the Broncos. Instead, the Golden Super Bowl had the defense teams calling the shots, with offensive play taking a disappointing back-seat. There were, however, some impressive performances from both sides, but MVP went to Bronco Von Miller. 

The Denver underdogs didn’t allow Cam Newton room to breathe, and harassed and pounded the quarter back throughout the game to match a seven sack Super Bowl record. Newton’s overthrows, interceptions and lost fumbles pretty much handed Peyton Manning his second Super Bowl title.       But the half time show by contrast was spectacular, as Coldplay, Beyoncé and Bruno Mars performed a moving mashup featuring fifty years of Super Bowl halftime shows.Whilst this may have been Manning’s final rodeo, there is no doubt the charismatic Cam will return and make amends.    

 

Super Bowl 50 Hosts – Levi’s Stadium

Tonight’s Super Bowl 50 clash is being hosted by the tech spectacular Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  It is quite fitting really, that the Golden Super Bowl is being held in the US’ Golden State.

DSC_8944We were fortunate to have the chance to watch a football game at the stadium back in 2014 as part of our Californian summer road trip.  It was the first football game at the new stadium (not the first game, which was a soccer game a couple of weeks before), and weirdly saw the 49ers hosting the Super Bowl hopefuls, Denver Broncos, in what turned out to be a horribly one-sided pre-season affair in favour of Peyton Manning’s experienced side.DSC_8995DSC_8982DSC_9004

Although we were staying in San Francisco at the time, the trip to the 49ers home involved a 40 mile train journey to the sunnier climes of Santa Clara.  The temperature difference was incredible, which saw us leave a grey and gloomy San Francisco only to arrive at the Great America station later in the morning with an urgent need to acclimatize to the 10 degrees hotter climate.  The route was very easy:  We hopped on the Caltrain at 4th Street, changing at Mountain View to get on the VTA for the final leg.   The trains were efficient and comfortable, and the ride itself was cheap and cheerful, jam-packed full of football fans. DSC_9017DSC_8925DSC_9015The stadium itself was incredible, putting out UK equivalents to shame.  It had free wi-fi, fully stocked cocktail bars and plenty of food options. Each seat had drink holders and we had a great view to watch the game in the sunshine.

IMG_5650IMG_5643DSC_8933DSC_8938Those travelling to the stadium today for the Big One are certainly in for a treat!

6.30ET for Super Bowl 50 Kick-Off – May the best team win!

#KeepPounding #UnitedInOrangeDSC_6037

Some Recommended Post SB50 San Francisco Bars

21st Amendment Brewery, http://21st-amendment.com/

Jaspers Corner Tap, http://jasperscornertap.com/

Hard Water, Pier 33, http://hardwaterbar.com/

Bouron & Branch, James/O’Farrell, http://www.bourbonandbranch.com/

GingerBread of Heaven Launch

Due to the popularity of my rugby gingerbread men at the 2015 World Cup, I have set up a separate blog giving these little guys their very own stage.

I will post all gingerbread related materials here from now on, and so please visit http://www.gingerbreadofheaven.com for all your Six Biscuit news!

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Countdown to the Golden Super Bowl #SB50

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This year’s Super Bowl will be the 50th NFL championship game, and is known as the “Golden Super Bowl”.   With only a week to go, here are 5 things you need to know about this year’s edition:

When and Where

Sunday 7th February at 6.30 pm E.T.  The clash is being hosted by the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara California, which opened in 2014.

Teams

The NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers (15-1­), take on the AFC’s champions, the Denver Broncos (12-4), to decide the NFL’s 2016 season.  The winner will lift the gorgeous Vince Lombardi Trophy, and, for the first time, a gold plated “50” (both created by Tiffany & Co).  The winner will be the 8th different team to win in as many years.

Quarter Backs

Peyton Manning (39) is 13.48 years older than rival Cam Newton (36), and both QBs were the first draft picks in their respective Rookie seasons.  NFL veteran Manning is making an appearance at his fourth Super Bowl, two for the Colts and two for the Broncos.

Half Time Show

The legendary Super Bowl half-time show is this year be at the disposal of UK band, Coldplay, with appearances by Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

Trivia

This is the first time the NFL is not using traditional Roman Numerals for the game.  Arabic numerals are instead being used. This was for marketing purposes as it was determined that the use of “L” was not as appealing as “50”.

#KeepPounding

#UnitedInOrange

 

Six Nations 2016 Countdown…


It is now less than a week until the RBS Six Nations tournament kicks off again! Excited much?!

And what an excellent 12 months of rugby it has been: Last season’s Super Saturday kept us all on the edge of our seats to see Ireland named champions, and then, a home World Cup gave us plenty of controversy and zero to hero stories to give us an extended international rugby fix right until Halloween.  With the domestic leagues and Champions Cup keeping us sane over the dank and dreary winter, the stage is now set for another fantastic few weeks of rugby heaven.

With the success of the world in union gingerbread at the World Cup, I have decided to get the six biscuits involved for the entire tournament this year, and not just making their traditional appearance on the tournament’s finale, Super Saturday.

Keep checking in here for tournament round updates with you favourite gingerbread pack…

May the best biscuit win!

The Other Room presents never before Beckett and Pinter pairing

Calling all literary connoisseurs!

The Other Room Theatre at Porters, Cardiff, presents a playhouse double bill, featuring two of the twentieth century’s greatest literary minds.  Play, by Samuel Beckett and Silence, by Harold Pinter, are performed back to back at the cosy back room of one of Cardiff’s best social venues.
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Not being overly familiar with the works of these two Nobel prize winners, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, other than I had no doubt that they would slightly on the odd side and, if nothing else, thought provoking.  Whilst both very different in terms of style and construction, there was a surprising symmetry between them which certainly justified their pairing. 

Both have three performers: Play with W1/wife (Peta Cornish), W2/mistress (Victoria John) and M (Matthew Bulgo); and Silence shifting from two women and one man to one woman (Peta Cornish) and two men (Matthew Bulgo and Neal McWilliams).  Both witness their characters internalising past love entanglements, each suffering their own personal purgatory.  Both sit outside the usual notions of time and space. The more traditionally staged Silence witnessed a shifting consciousnesses between the interconnected, yet time separated protagonists, whereas Play featured three disembodied heads atop three static urns, each trapped in an eternally repeating monologue recounting their version of the play’s central “affair”, but controlled entirely by the whim of the manually operated spotlight.

Of the two, I preferred Play.  The rapid fire and monotonous narration (as prescribed militantly by Beckett himself), punctuated only by M’s hiccuping and use of “pardon”, was almost fugal in style, but whilst challenging for both audience and actors, the darkness and weirdness was surprisingly humorous and witty.  Silence, on the other hand, was far more reflective, and had a sad weariness about it.

Whether you are a fan of Becket and/or Pinter or not, these performances, engineered by two fantastic production teams, will certainly not disappoint.

Play /Silence is showing until February 5th.

See The Other Room website (othertheatre.com) for details of other performances taking place at Porters as part of the Insomnia season.IMG_2453.JPG

Introducing The Principality Stadium – An insight into the beginnings of Wales’ identity crisis

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Tomorrow (Friday 22nd January), the iconic Millennium Stadium will  officially assume the name of its new sponsor, the Welsh Building Society, The Principality.  Whilst most modern stadiums adopt sponsors nowadays, it’s going to take a great deal of getting used to.  

It is an interesting choice of sponsor.  Not because this organisation is not a great example of a thriving Welsh company or because it isn’t worthy of the association, but because of its name.

For decades, the Welsh have sought to dispel the widespread misconception of our nation’s true constitutional identity by rejecting its seemingly unshakable mediaeval label of being a “Principality”.  And after significant steps over the past decade being made to set the record straight, here the archaic constitutional label returns, and this time its firmly affixed to our national treasure, right in the heart of our country’s capital city.

But why is there this confusion, and when was Wales last a true Principality?

Well, you’d have to go back some way into Wales’ rich and ancient history to get a better picture of where this identity crisis began. Here is a very brief, and apologetically simplistic overview of Wales journey from Principality to Country.

Wales became a Principality in 1218, when Llywelyn the Great and Henry III signed a treaty declaring the region to be under the governance of the Welsh Princes and independent of the Kingdom of England. It is worth a mention that at this time, only 2/3rds of what is now modern Wales formed part of the Principality, with the Cardiff and Southern area, for example, falling within the territory of the Marcher barons).  But this political status quo didn’t last long, as the conquest of Wales by Edward the First in 1277 effectively ended Wales’ de facto Principality.  By the 1280s, Wales was effectively annexed to England, and continued to be so, despite the efforts of national hero, Owain Glyndwr to liberate Wales from the English ruling classes in the fifteenth century.  However, the Principality of Wales came to an end formally and conclusively by 1542 with the passing of the Laws in Wales Acts.

From the this time until the mid-twentieth century, Wales was indistinguishable by law from England, and it was not until 1948 that the UK Parliament designated all laws as either applicable to “England and Wales” or to “Scotland”, giving Wales its own legal identity for the first time since its conquest in the thirteenth century.  The new Council for Wales and the Welsh Office paved the way to the Welsh people voting for a new Assembly, which was established in 1998, with further powers granted in 2006 under the Government of Wales Act.

And there is it.  Wales has not been ruled by a Prince for almost 500 years.  We have our own government, we make our own laws, and whilst we may not be a sovereign state, there is no question that Wales is its own country.

Whilst it will be sad to see the Millennium Stadium lose its name, there is no doubt that the venue itself will continue to be the spiritual home of rugby and, indeed, the Welsh identity.

Good luck to Wales in the Six Nation’s tournament, who will play their first game at home against fellow Celts, Scotland on the 13th February.  Check back in over the next couple of weeks for the launch of Six Biscuits 2016!DSC_4582DSC_4585