Lifestyle magazine, SOON, features Pizzatipi & interview with brother no.1, Jackson

The SOON project (Something Out Of Nothing) is a lifestyle magazine that, since its conception in 2015, has been showcasing & celebrating young talent from all over the country, and beyond.

From artists to thinkers, chefs to jewellery makers, the range of interesting people with beautiful stories to share is vast in this independent magazine. Run singlehandedly (and magnificently) by 19 year old Leia Morrison from west Wales, SOON is fast becoming a guide of who to watch and why. Insightful stories give a glimpse into the life & work of creatives who might be otherwise overlooked or under-acknowledged in the big wide world. SOON offers a platform to those just starting off, and even to those fully established, to celebrate and share great work and great ideas.

Leia visited the Pizzatipi this Summer to talk to brother no.1, Jackson, about how the Pizzatipi all began, what its like to work closely with family, and what brings so many young & eager people to the Tipi courtyard...

Read the feature below:

Sitting on the edge of the River Teifi in the small Welsh town of Cardigan, a band of brothers, along with a group of their pals, fire out homemade, fresh pizzas and hearty beers for the many, under a canvas tipi. Whether you’re catching up with a friend, celebrating a birthday or launching a magazine The Pizzatipi is the perfect spot for chilling out, watching the sunset and eating delicious food, all in an utterly creative and welcoming space.

What is The Pizzatipi and how did all begin?
The Pizzatipi is a little restaurant and pub in the middle of Cardigan on the Teifi. Our parents started it accidentally about 5 years ago when they made a pizza oven for a staff party. Now it’s run by my brothers, I and our band of merry friends. We’re open from Easter to Christmas and are on a mission to make the best Pizza we can.

It’s such a beautiful location, do you know what was here before?
Sail lofts, chandlery, a boat yard, a coal yard, a smugglers pub, an antiques shop, galleries, flats, offices and now a pizza temple!

One thing that is wonderful about The Pizzatipi is the support it gives to local companies/ start ups. You hire mainly young people and often host events with young guest caterers, like El Salsa, and hosted the SOON launch event… is your support of mainly young people intentional or subconscious? Is the young atmosphere a part of The Pizzatipi brand?
We don’t really think about it, doing all the different things brings all the different people to us and that’s great for business but its secondary. We want to see things happen and if we can help and get a burrito out of it… no brainer. We’re nothing without the staff and most of the senior staff have been with us since they were the youngest staff, I hope the younger staff stick with us too, they’re mainly at an age where we know they’ll go soon but as long as their younger sisters, brothers and friends come and work for us instead we’ll be OK!

What's your all-time favourite pizza flavour that's hit the oven here at the tipi? 
We did a jet black squid ink base with razor clams caught by our dad and wild garlic picked by our mum. It was (fire emoji x3) but probably one of our worst sellers because it was so weird.

Jackson, you studied in Glasgow and have travelled quite a lot, what brought you back to Wales?
Family, Friends and Pizza!

On your instagrams (@coldatnight @fforest @pizzatipi), we’re always seeing you foraging away, do you source a lot of your ingredients locally?
We’re super lucky be surrounded by such fresh ingredients. From the sea, local growers, bakers, farmers we try and get as much of it on the menu as we can.

The Pizzatipi is now run, I do believe, by you and your brothers- what advice would you give to someone going into business with family?
Definitely do it – It’s the best and the worst, just try not to be family in work and work in family.

What's the busiest day you've probably ever had? How many pizzas do you reckon you sold?
At the beginning of this year we did 600...

We see you’ve recently expanded, it looks glorious! The Pizzatipi is obviously just growing and growing in success, what are your plans for the future?
A table on the river (smug emoji)

Finally, describe your brothers in pizza form, if they were pizzas what pizzas would they be and why?
Robbie is any pizza without cheese #backthebid #anti. Calder is a potato, perl las and chorizo pizza because he’s delicious and Teifi is steak on a pizza, perfectly rare.

Photography by Leia Morrison

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Country Living magazine capture the Tucker-Lynch family home in their November issue

'With many surfaces clad in pitched pine and slate, plenty of warm Welsh blankets and a 'chandelier' made from a sinuous branch of oak heartwood, the rustic style is reminiscent of the interiors at fforest. "Our house is where we did trial runs, where we experimented," Sian explains. "If it looked OK here, we'd polish the idea and then re-create it for a wider audience."'

Country Living magazine ventured to a small corner of west Wales to meet Sian at her home in Aberporth. A stone's throw from the beach, the old fisherman's cottage is a small haven in which to relax and escape, its also where most of Sian & James's ideas for fforest interiors were practiced and perfected.

Read the feature below:

'The first thing Sian Tucker does each morning is look out of the window above her bed. The view out to sea sets her up for the day, whether the weather is crisp and bright or the northeasterly winds are blowing. "In fact, windswept weather chimes with me," she says. "The only drawback is if it's raining and families are camping up the road – I can't relax until I know they're comfortable and dry."

By 'up the road', Sian is referring to guests at fforest, the eco camp that she and her partner James Lynch created when they moved to west Wales. It has since expanded (people now stay in loft spaces, cabins and a farmhouse alongside domes and bell tents), but the original spirit, of getting back to a simpler life outdoors, remains true.

It was that very urge to reconnect with nature in a special setting that inspired Sian and James's own escape from the capital in 2005. And it's how they ended up living here, in a village where all roads lead to the sea and their house is the last stop before the beach.

When they moved here with their four sons, Jackson, Robbie, Calder and Teifi, the family left behind a very different life in London's Shoreditch. In the Nineties, Sian was a textile designer and illustrator and James ran a design studio. Then he had a zeitgeist moment.

Following a hunch, James set about turning empty warehouses into loft spaces, initially for like-minded artists, designers, furniture makers and musicians.

When the bankers followed – and began to outnumber the creatives – it was time to move on and look for the next 'raw space'. Plan A was to try New Zealand, but on a family reconnaissance trip they found themselves asking, 'Why travel halfway around the globe to live in a wild, green and beautiful place when we have exactly that on our doorstep?'

Sian is from Wales and the couple already owned this house – then a far more rudimentary version of itself – as a holiday bolthole. "It was where we decamped every school holiday," she recalls. "The boys really loved the freedom of life here."

So, a week after returning from New Zealand, they bought a 200-acre farm beside the Teifi Gorge, which became fforest, and made this house their home. "Back then, the cottage was completely unmodernised, with no central heating," Sian says.

James designed the extension, giving them a large living space, which the family has always called the wooden room. His redesign also added the wide, panoramic window in their bedroom that provides inspiring views for Sian each morning. The single-storey building is made from green oak that has mellowed into a pale silver over the years, almost blending with the coastal setting. And its windows – in contrast to the old cottage – look towards the sea to embrace the big views. "Because it was a fisherman's home, the old house was all about facing away from the strong seaward winds," Sian says.

The kitchen sits in the original cottage and is where the couple usually end up at the end of a long day. "The stone walls are incredibly thick, which means it's always warm and cosy in there," she adds.

On windowsills, inside and out, sit piles of pebbles in greys and whites that echo the shades of the beach, and of the house itself. "Once you see a lovely stone, it's hard not to pop it in your pocket," Sian says. Surfaces are also home to her collections of enamelware, wooden bowls and handmade spoons.

With many surfaces clad in pitched pine and slate, plenty of warm Welsh blankets and a 'chandelier' made from a sinuous branch of oak heartwood, the rustic style is reminiscent of the interiors at fforest. "Our house is where we did trial runs, where we experimented," Sian explains. "If it looked OK here, we'd polish the idea and then re-create it for a wider audience."

Given Sian's background in textiles (her work has been bought by the V&A Museum and some hangs in the atrium of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in south-west London), she has always loved traditional Welsh wool blankets: "I used to pick them up at car boot sales, for us and then for our first guests." Eventually, she approached a local mill: "I adapted a vintage motif to make a design that's now used on our own blankets and cushions."

London life now feels miles away. Sian's drive home from work takes her past lush green hillsides and wooded vales until she rounds the corner and there's the sea. "As commutes go, this one is pretty special," she says, with a smile. "I feel incredibly lucky."'

Words by Jo Leevers for Country Living magazine
Photos by Penny Wincer

Visit the website to see some fforest interiors here

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Stories from the sea: Diving for spider crabs with fforest chief

Spider crabs are curious creatures. With their remarkably long legs, strong claws and prickled shells, their build is just as fascinating as their nature and habits. fforest chief has been observing these creatures for years and has a unique insight into the secret lives of spider crabs as they exist and thrive on the Welsh coastline.
He shares this rare and beautiful insight below:

'They start coming in around the beginning of May and usually peak around about now, the beginning of June. About five years ago, numbers seemed to peak. Last year's weren't very good and there was an idea that the crabs were moving further north. But in fact, this year, the evidence shows that they’re back.

Up until about 7 or 8 years ago, the local fishermen would throw spider crab back into the sea because there was no commercial value in them. The story goes that they used to pull one claw off a male crab and then throw it back. The cock crabs have much bigger claws whilst females don't have any claws to speak of. 

Interestingly, both male and female spider crabs are filter feeders and foragers, and that creates, to my mind, a very sweet tasting flesh. As opposed to brown crab which, actually, if you taste them side by side, tastes quite fishy by comparison. The white meat is really delicate and beautiful in a spider crab.

The reason the cock crabs come closer into the shore is that the females come in to shed their shells. Their soft shelled state is the only time the cock crabs can mate with them. Its an odd situation because they’re actually mating when they're at their most vulnerable from other predators, like sea bass and other big fish.

When the cock crabs come in, frequently you'll find the male and female crabs coupled together. Once they’ve been fertilised they stick together for a week or two, with the cock crabs wrapping their claws around the female. Once the males have mated they tend to disappear and leave the females behind. There are places along the coast where you can see thousands of females in huge mounds, left behind after their mates have gone. 

I avoid taking any female crabs at all during the mating season. When they’re coupled in that way I leave them well alone. Its not always obvious that they’re coupled though, so when you see a nice big cock crab, and its got its female underneath it, if the female drops out mid water there’s a sort of palpable desperation of the male to fight to find the female and re-clasp itself. It seems to be more than an instinct, it might even be love.

I've been an avid explorer of coast for many years, especially the Welsh coastline. The waters around the UK are so teeming with marine life that snorkelling is a real pleasure, but its a fleeting one because of that issue of water clarity. So you have to take up the opportunity when you can, regardless of what work commitments or anything else you might have.

Diving for spider crabs is always a fascinating adventure. I was very amused to read a section of a book written by George Monbiot where he describes a sort of battle with the spider crab in order to catch it. In fact, it could be nothing further from the truth. The skill is in choosing a day when the waters are clear, to then dive down deep enough to find the bigger ones, and to catch them with a gentle hand.

When I first started diving I used my bare hands to grab the shell. My palms were full of prickles, bits of the spine surface of the body that is actually slightly poisonous. My hands were constantly irritated during the summer. But now, I've learned two things from my experiences: to wear neoprene gloves, and to not panic and grab, but to pick them up very gently and turn them upside down so that they wrap their claws around their body in a protective state. They’re actually very passive in this state, you can handle them quite easily in this way.

I really enjoy the solitude of exploring a real "other" place. There's a lot of pleasure in just the swimming. So much so that catching a crab is a bonus, its not actually the point. I do like the idea that you’re foraging, that you’re bringing something back for free, and that's a strong motivation; to bring this beautiful, special food back for no price at all. But it's the swimming in another world, a spellbinding, mysterious underwater world, that I find most rewarding.'

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The Power of Flowers. fforest is known for its wildflowers, but even our informal arrangements need curation & design. Sian tells us why...

Why do we love flowers?

With their fragile and delicate perfection, beauty, colour and fragrant scent, flowers hold such delight and a special place in our emotions. They can trigger happiness and satisfaction. 

I have many joyful memories as a little girl always picking flowers. Putting together little posies to give to grandma, making rose petal perfume with my sister and daisy chains to wear on our heads. I can't remembering not always loving flowers. I tend to give preference to the wild ones that hide amongst the hedgerows and on the side of the footpath, the ones that many may even call weeds: tall teezle, rose campion, wild carrot, meadow sweet, knapweed and buttercup.

When we set up fforest it made sense and was important to me to welcome our guests with flowers when they arrived. Flowers bursting with seasonal colour, light and the scent of the surrounding fields and our garden.

So many occasions are celebrated with flowers: birthdays, weddings, congratulations, I love yous, thank yous, I'm sorrys...Flowers so frail and fleeting hold an amazing power, energy and positivity. Arriving at fforest for your holiday, event or wedding is something to celebrate with some simple flowers, a welcoming sight for people who appreciate nature and relish the bounty of the changing seasons. An ever-changing colourful display of leaf, flower, fruit and berry across the garden, hedgerow and fields. 

On arrival day, a lovely task is to walk the fields and garden, in-between the fruits, herbs and vegetables in the raised beds of the polytunnel, to pick a big basket full of flowers. These we arrange in the many pots, jugs and jars we've collected over the years at fforest. We present our little posies; flowers and foliage full of beauty, fragrance, frailty and folklore, and we hope that you appreciate them as much as we do.

I am very much a pick and plonk in the pot flower arranger. One thing I have observed and learnt over the years of fforest flower arranging is how the beautiful greenery that surrounds flowers is just as important. So much variation in texture and pattern, highlighting the pops of colour. 

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The Pizzatipi Summer 2018

What to expect from Pizzatipi this year...

We've already kicked off the year with a scorcher of an Easter holiday! It was so good we decided to stay open weekends leading up to the Summer season.

Our opening times are currently:

Friday 4-9pm

Saturday 12-9pm

Sunday 12-5pm

We will be open every weekend until 30 June, when we open 7 days a week 12-9pm for the whole Summer.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more info coming soon about upcoming events.

Events 2018

Pizzatipi Beerfest - 29 - 30 June 

Beerfest tickets here
Read about Beerfest 2017 here

Cardigan Charity Gig - 7 July

Parti Haf/Summer Party - 14 July

Quays Fest/ The Big Cardi Weekender! - 24-15 August

Halloween Parti Spooky - 27 October


The way of the Pizzatipi


We make everything on site within the confines of our riverside courtyard. From freshly made dough & focaccia to our basil-packed pizza sauce, we cook and prepare with our own fair hands every day to make sure everything is as fresh as can be. Perfecting a few things have taken some time; like the perfect spiral of sauce on a freshly rolled base, our secret dough recipe, or the crunch of a golden crust fresh out the oven. We are constantly learning and growing and hoping that our customers enjoy our pizzas as much as we do.

Visit the website here

The photos above were taken by our friends from Flatspot when they visited fforest and the Pizzatipi in July 2016. They took a good look around fforest farm and the Tipi, took some great photos of the brothers at work and even collaborated on a limited edition Flatspot pizza (meatball, red onion, gherkin, chilli + a sesame seed crust - wow!)

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