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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Alice in Wonderland theme for new Carlisle cafe

A former pupil of Wigton’s Nelson Thomlinson School is serving up her own version of a children’s classic – as a new Carlisle cafe with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Sophie Winter photo
Sophie Winter

Theatre practice graduate Sophie Winter, 26, spent three years living life in the fast lane in London.

But her new “I Love Cafe,” in Carlisle’s Treasury Court, is about as far from brash modern as is possible – even having a 100 year old till!

Sophie has happily gone back to her roots, combining her passion for music with more homely culinary skills that she learned from her mother and grandmother as she grew in Wigton.

She is already selling homemade take-away soups, and her cafe is unashamedly old-fashioned.

“When I was 18 I couldn’t have imaged coming back to Carlisle and being happy,” said Sophie, who was accepted as a member of the National Youth Theatre as a teenager.

“When I lived in London, I did all sorts of jobs, and worked for a time as a nanny, but it was the older areas with cobbled streets that I really liked. My real passion has always been music. I write my own songs and I’m currently doing a course which will let me qualify to teach singing and drama, including the therapeutic aspects of it.

“In the future, I’d like to do singing lessons in the cafe. This place is a wonderful opportunity for me.

“The aim is to make it a relaxing, welcoming place, where people can come, and take time to talk, and perhaps read to their children. We’ve got classic children’s books, including Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.

“As in the book, I’ve got drinks bottles with the words “drink me” on them, and I’m planning to have an upside down table on the ceiling.

“I want it to be a place where children can be children.

“This place has also been heavily influenced by my grandmother, who taught me how to make soup. It’s a traditional cafe – even the till is 100 years old.

“I loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a child, and I chose that as the them because she reminds me of me. The books all about kids and a tea party and people coming together to eat lots of cakes and drink tea. It’s perfect.”

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