Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas wishes (and confessions!)

Chriiiistmas time, mistletoe and (lots of) wine...



Sitting here with a cup of tea and an empty 'share' packet of Malteasers (which I absolutely did not share because who does), with the Christmas tree lights flickering in the background and the Michael Buble album blaring out, I'm feeling pretty content.

Content and completely ignorant to the fact that I have not wrapped a single present yet, woo...



Apparently people enjoy wrapping and I don't know whether I'm a complete grinch but I despise it. Like truly, truly despise it. In fact, if money was no object (dreaming this will be the case sometime soon, c'mon Father Christmas, you know ya wanna make my wish come true), I would definitely pay someone to wrap my presents. I love buying presents, and not just because of the 'one for me, one for you' logic, but wrapping is just the worst.

I actually am the grinch in (a slight) disguise though... I'll give you a little list of reasons why:

1. I only tried my first ever mince pie yesterday
2. I've never watched any of the Home Alone films
3. I think Elf is possibly the least funny film I have ever had the displeasure of watching in my life
4. Love Actually is alright
5. When people above the age of 13, say 5 more sleeps until Christmas', I want to flick them. Who says sleeps? Stop.
6. I'm really not a fan of cinnamon or gingerbread scents or tastes and don't even get me started on the Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie scent *voms*

Yep.

I am the grinch. I know you're questioning if I'm human right now or if actually, I'm grumpy old man in disguise (would be a tad creepy, promise I'm not).



So now I've made you feel super Christmassy and got you right into the festive spirit (ahem), I do want to take a little moment to say thank you for reading this year. Frequent posting has dropped off slightly towards the end of the year but y'know, life happens and third year is currently (unfortunately) happening so... oops.

I hope you've enjoyed the posts here on Written by a Girl this year though because I know I've loved writing them. I'm so excited for the new year and what it brings with it.. April sees me finish my final year at university (say whaaaaaat, where has that time gone, seriously) and May sees me take a one way flight to South Africa which I am psyched for - I've been waiting so long for the right time to go travelling and it's finally come. YAY. So I hope you stick around and maybe even tell a friend if you think they'd like a little read for when they're meant to be doing work or revision or something productive, but just don't wanna but most of all, I hope you have a lovely Christmas in which you eat too much, drink too much and laugh a lot.


Merry Christmas you guys, and let's have a really fabulous new year.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

5 reasons you absolutely have to visit Winter Wonderland

As I'm writing this, it is just 10 sleeps until Christmas Day and depending on how organised you are this year, that thought will either make you want to do a little skippy dance and crack open the mulled wine or groan very loudly as you think about everything you've been putting off for the last month that you still need to do...and therefore crack open the mulled wine. And the mince pies. And the box of Quality Streets you were attempting to save until Christmas Eve.


Recently, I took a trip down to the capital city, and amongst other places (which I'll be posting about soon so you'll totally want to come back/press follow/join me on twitter...ahem) I visited Winter Wonderland, which has gotten me firmly in the festive mood.

Along with all this festive spirit that I seem to have brought back with me to Newcastle, I've also come back approximately 17 stone heavier because apparently my brain thinks calories don't count in London, and y'know, it's December, the most wonderful time of the year so... I ate and drank my fair share, okay and there are absolutely no regrets. 

None. 

Not even a little teeny one. 

Anyway.

Winter Wunderland, situated in Hyde Park, is just the perfect place to visit in London around Christmas time, and here are 5 reasons why you absolutely have to visit...

Food
What would a post be on here without food being the top priority? Nothing, that's what. Upon entering Winter Wonderland, you could definitely mistake it for food heaven. Because that's exactly what it looks like. And smells like. And feels like. From German sausages and salted beef, to donuts and churros ladened with milk chocolate, if you enjoy food (and if you don't, are you okay?), you will definitely not be disappointed - in fact, the only problem that you may find, is choosing what to try first! 

(Let's also just take a moment to appreciate this classy photo, accentuated by an overflowing bin, yay for my photography skills, woo woo)


Atmosphere
If, like me, it sometimes takes you a little longer to get in the festive spirit, this is the perfect place to head too. Singing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas' into your hairbrush just doesn't cut it at times, but with gorgeous lights everywhere you look, the smell of mulled wine and hog roasts in the air, accompanied with music and the chattering of (lots) of merry people, it really won't take long to dive head first into all things Christmas.

The view from the Artic Lodge bar balcony
Drink
Mulled wine = Christmas, right? Pimms to summer, is what mulled wine is to winter and I for one, am pretty happy with that arrangement. One of my favourite parts of the whole park (even if they did run out of prosecco, booo) was the Arctic Lodge bar. With fairy lights in every direction you looked, great live music which people were singing and dancing along too, as well as little heated huts which you could attempt to warm up in, it just had the most lovely atmosphere you could wish for at this time of year. 

(I actually uploaded a little video of just how great the atmosphere is on my Facebook page, which you can see here!)

Rides
If what screams Christmas to you, is rollercoasters and rides that go so fast, you'll be walking like Bambi on ice, after 3 too many mulled wines, then guess what, you're in luck! Perhaps one of our best ideas whilst we were there actually, was going on two rides pretty much immediately after eating, yep, didn't think that one through but it's such a laugh all the same...

Unique gifts 
The park is split up into a number of different sections, decorated in slightly different ways, and offering a variety of food, drink and games. Parts of the park though, are dedicated to festive wooden chalets filled to the brim with lots of gifts and goodies, perfect if you're looking for a little something for a loved one.

If you're around London over the next few weeks, I really couldn't recommend visiting Winter Wonderland enough. There's so much there that I couldn't possibly mention everything, but there is also an ice rink, an ice bar and even a 'Santa land' - I mean, what more could you ask for, really?

The nearest tube to this Christmas destination is Hyde Park corner, the park is open daily from 10am-10pm and is here until 3rd January 2016.

Let me know if you've visited before in the comments!


Want to chat? Let's get social...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

24 hours in... Newcastle

I was about to start this post by typing 'you only got 24 minutes to save the world' but then I realised the song (by Madonna and J Timbers) is actually 4 minutes and that neither of the two are even in the title so what a FABULOUS start this is...

Hello. I keep disappearing recently, 3rd year really isn't fun is it.

But what is fun, is Christmas. It's finally that time of year where you can eat all the mince pies and chocolate, drink ALL of the wine whilst hitting those high notes of All I Want For Christmas, all before noon, without even the slightest bit of judgement (kind of).


As you already know, Newcastle has been my home for the past 2 and a half years and I'm a little bit in love with the place and need everyone to visit immediately just so we can all appreciate how great this city actually is.

With that in mind, I thought I'd put together a '24 hour guide to Newcastle' with a little Christmas kick and it is JAM-PACKED. I just couldn't cut down what to do and see (who am I kidding, I obviously mean where to eat and drink but I'm trying okay...).

AM -

So, you arrive in Newcastle by train, bus, plane or sleigh (I think I'm funny, humour me) and with such a long journey behind you, you are positively famished.

Where to go for breakfast is difficult. You could hop on the Metro and venture to ARLO's in Jesmond, but with such a short amount of time, every moment is precious so your tour guide for the day leads you to Quay Ingredient, a quaint little cafe near, you guessed it, the Quayside.


After a rather fabulous breakfast, it's time to hit the road again, with a leisurely stroll along the Quayside. An obligatory tourist selfie will be taken because have you not heard, you get thrown out of the city immediately if you don't take a photo of the infamous bridge, it's just the rules.

So close to the BALTIC, you absolutely have to pop over the Millennium bridge, take the lift straight up to the fourth floor and go out onto the glass balcony, which gives you an incredible view of the Quayside, as well as glimpses of Newcastle too.

You're feeling a little dizzy so far up in the sky, and what's that? You need your first beverage of the day to keep you going? If you say so... Pitcher and Piano is always an option if you're fancying a drink looking out on the waterfront but if you're fancying heading into the city centre for a lunchtime cocktail, heading to Pleased To Meet You on High Bridge is a good shout. If coffee is more your jam, Garden Kitchen, situated in Eldon Gardons within Eldon Square shopping centre is lovely, there's actual CAT cafes in Newcastle, like you know, with actual real life furry cats and Quilliam Brothers is fab if you want to chill with a hot drink and a sweet treat on beanbags - you can even play a board game if you so wish..




If you're thinking, hang on, where's the Christmas spirit disappeared to? Fear not...

City centre's don't always 'do it' for everyone and around this time of year, shops basically resemble hell. If you have a car and are fancying a little drive, Blaydon Rugby Club are holding the most perfect event to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Polar Express. Hot Chocolate. A visit from Father Christmas. Could you ask for more?


PM -

After milling around the Christmas markets, juggling a German sausage with a huge helping of caramelised onions and ketchup in one hand and a mulled wine in the other, it's possibly time to go and see a show. Newcastle have an amazing selection of local theatres, including Theatre Royal, Live Theatre and Northern Stage which have incredible productions right the year round. At this time of year, a pantomime is a pretty festive way of having a good old laugh, with Theatre Royal currently showing 'Dick Whittington'. (FYI, they're showing Hairspray in January and it's a pretty safe bet that I will be there, front row, because DUH.)

If you're thinking that a pantomime is possibly the worst idea in the entire world, then do not worry my friend, because I have other options before you go and snaffle a delightful meal at The Forth Hotel near Newcastle Central Station which really is the most perfect, cosy winter pub.

Other options meaning POSH. BOWLING.

Yes, okay, you still have to wear those ridiculously horrendous shoes which make your feet look so big they are like actual boats, but it's such a good laugh and Lane 7 really is a great addition to the city. It's basically bowling for grown ups aka with alcohol (and incred food).



So you've whooped everyone's teeny tiny asses at bowling meaning, obviously, the food at The Forth is on them and now you're maybe, possibly, definitely fancying a little night cap, it's time to head to The Botanist. And No28. And Poison Cabinet. Maybe Jam Jar or 97 & Social if you're heading to your hotel possibly in Jesmond? Newcastle has an amazing nightlife, you're basically spoilt for choice and I just can't choose.

Then it's bedtime and you've not even achieved a quarter of what Newcastle has to offer you! You could visit Ouseburn, Jesmond Dene, the Life Science centre, St James' Park... So. Many Places. I actually made a little bucket list of things to do in the North East on my Pinterest page (plug plug) and I mean it would be rude not to go and have a little look...right?

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I really really hope you're planning a visit to Newcastle soon! If you  feel like you need a few more recommendations, I actually created a 'Guide to Newcastle' which is partly targeted at students but has lots of great places to visit, eat and drink. If not, send me a little tweet and I'd love to help you if I can. On the other hand, if you're a local business wanting to promote an event, Eventbrite is the perfect place to promote it and you could even drop me a line on charlotte_hall95@hotmail - I loooove finding out about the fabulous things going on in the city!

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Monday, 30 November 2015

Eating in the North East - Paradiso

If there's one thing that you can eat and eat and never have enough of, it's pizza isn't it...

C'mon, don't lie to me, you know you're agreeing with me right now and dreaming of that doughy, cheesey goodness being delivered straight to your door.



Italian food is just one of the absolute best cuisines and in Newcastle, there are a lot of different places to indulge in it. If ever I could give my expert opinion on something - it may not be astrophysics, and it probably wouldn't be the history of the coal war - however pizza and pasta or any type of carb? I'm on it.


Paradiso, situated in the centre of Newcastle city centre, is a three floor Italian and Mediterranean cafe-restaurant. Tucked in a little alleyway, alongside a cluster of other bars and restaurants, it isn't the most obvious place to go, and it certainly isn't the most visible however both times I've visited, it has really impressed me.


On the two occasions I've visited, I ordered from the set menu, and had two courses for £16.95. It probably isn't the cheapest you can find around the toon, however on a Friday night it's not going to be significantly less, and the quality most certainly justifies it.



If mussels are an option for a starter, it's a pretty safe bet that that's exactly what I'll be ordering, I just can't help myself. For the main, I was having an absolute mare trying to decide both times I visited because the menu has some amazingly good sounding options (is that even English? I haven't blogged in a while, please forgive me) so I decided to go for a 'half an half' and fill my boots with two rather fabulous carbs.

I prefer pizzas that have a very thin crust (aside from Dominoes cos its da bomb) so those at Paradiso aren't the best I've ever tried for me personally but holy moly, the linguini pasta with mussels, tiger prawns, salmon, squid in a spicy tomato sauce was so good I was half tempted to order another portion.



The service was really great both times I've visited, with friendly staff who served our table with drinks and food really quickly. Despite not booking either time, we were shown to a table immediately and not rushed out either time even though it was pretty busy.

If you're looking for a reliable, good quality Italian in the city centre, with a nice vibe and relaxed atmosphere, Paradiso is as good a shout as any.

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Eating in the North East - Willi's Cafe

If I tell you that whilst I am writing about this cafe, which I visited on a grey and rainy day, it is pretty much the exact same weather outside, I'm sure those of you in the North East (and the rest of the UK actually) will absolutely 100% believe me. 

It's such a British thing to do, to complain about the weather, but when it's this bad all the time, who can blame us, really?


Having worked my way through most of the cafes and restaurants in Jesmond whilst I've been living here over the last 16 months, it's becoming a real challenge to find new places to try out (which is a real problem, I know..) so when my friend asked if I wanted to meet for lunch at a place called Willi's, it was a pretty safe bet that I'd say yes...

Willi's, situated on Clayton Road, is a local favourite, well known around the area for providing great coffee at great value. 


Pretty much resembling a drowned rat upon entering the cafe, I needed a hot drink and I needed it quick. The wind that graces Newcastle pretty much means that using an umbrella when it's raining is completely and utterly pointless and seeing as I seem to magically step out of my house every single time the heavens start to open, winter is a really happy and dry time for me (ahem)....


Whether you fancy a sweet treat, a light snack or are going all out with a large meal, Willi's has it to offer. I decided, much I'm sure to my mum and stepmum's surprise, on a mushroom, mozzarella and tomato flatbread which was very, very good. Up until the age of about 18, mushrooms were one of the only foods I didn't like but now, I feel like I'm all grown up. I like olives and mushrooms, I'm basically a proper adult. A greedy, food loving, adult.

Anyway.

The service was great, with our food served, and plates taken away, promptly. My only issue is that I didn't have enough room for a piece of cake, and with so many that looked absolutely to die for, I'm just going to have to go back and try a piece. I'm dreaming about that slab of rocky road already.


The atmosphere was lovely, the coffee was strong and despite it being quite a little place, my friend and I were not rushed in the slightest, and actually ended up chatting away for hours. Goodbye productivity! Cosy and small, this cafe is the perfect place to catch up with friends or family members, with a lovely atmosphere and great prices.

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Life happens...

Hi, I'm Charlotte and you may or may not have forgotten who I am...

GUYS.

This is the longest I haven't posted in about six months so, how are you? Wet and cold? Yep, same.

So I haven't posted in just over a week and if I'm honest, I haven't really felt like posting for about a month. You know how it is, blogging motivation/inspiration comes in peaks and troughs and all that, and well, y'know, life happens.

Some people love to write when they're not feeling great, acting like a sort of therapy, but for me writing on this blog can only happen when I'm in a good mood. A mood which, as I'm sure my friends would tell you, I have most definitely not been in.

BUT.

Good things have been happening.



Firstly. Hot bloody chocolate.  Seriously.  I think Newcastle should win some kind of award for just having the absolute best hot chocolates on offer in the entire world (big statement, can't back it up, let's move on). I think I may just do a post on this exact topic but until then, let me leave you with this absolute masterpiece from Jam Jar in Jesmond. An actual PINT of hot chocolate. With all the cream and chocolate pieces. The absolute works. This is how I spend my Saturday morning and I'm not going to lie to you, this will now be how I spend all Saturday mornings until summer resumes because I am not about this wet weather. Britain totally needs to check itself before it wrecks itself although I'm thinking it has a bit more to do with Dave Cameron et al rather than the weather and that topic, is for another day.

I was featured in a lovely write up by Bellevita Magazine about being named as one of finalists of the UK Food Blog awards (er, insane!). Whoever it was, that was kind enough to nominate me for this award deserves a big slab of chocolate and a bottle of wine on me because I had no idea it was even happening and it completely made my WEEK when I found out. So, thank you.



A long weekend in London in December has been booked and this is honestly getting me through the first semester of third year because wowza, it is not pleasant. London at Christmas on the other hand, will be more than pleasant, it will be amazing and I cannot wait! All the excitement to drink all the mulled wine. If you have any recommendations of things to definitely 100% do in London around Christmas, please let me know in the comments! Love u 4evz.

Source
I redicovered Sex and the City (yes this is one of my good things that have been happening, reserve judgement plz). Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda have been my saviours over the last few weeks, I heart them. A lot.

So I hope you're well and I apologise for not posting about some kind of wondrous food over the last week but I'm sure you know how it is.

Let's not leave it too long until we talk again, hey.. Let me know your highlights over the past couple of weeks whether it be big or small, because they all make a different right?

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Friday, 30 October 2015

Eating in the North East - Shijo

Did you know that in Japan, slurping noodles is a sign of the food being delicious and rice is present at every meal? Honestly, the knowledge I pass on is truly something, you’re welcome my friends, you are welcome.

If you’ve been keeping up with my latest food posts (and if you haven’t, I mean, that’s really rude but whatever) you’ll know that I have been maybe a tad bit obsessed with Japanese food.

Well, can you just imagine my excitement when I found a new Japanese food spot in the heart of Newcastle city centre. A brand new place to devour a Salmon Teriyaki dish, win!


Before I go any further:

If you’re looking for luxury dining, this isn’t the place for you.

If you’re looking for a comfortable seating area, this isn’t the place for you.

But, if you are looking for great quality Japanese food that’s quick, convenient and fairly cheap, this is basically your dream lunch time location.

Shijo, which is located in the Haymarket Metro building, is a Japanese Asian street food cafe which serves both hot and cold dishes. Having only opened at the start of the summer, it seems to have already gotten itself quite a reputation, and when my friend suggested that I try it, I definitely didn't need asking twice.



There is a pretty big lunch time rush with queues out of the door, which is a great sign for a new business however this did affect the wait for our food. My friend received her order within a few moments however I waited around 10 minutes for mine which is perhaps not great if I'd have been at work. The staff were lovely, and apologised profusely for the delay and for me, it wouldn't be something that would put me off going again.

Especially when I'd tasted the food.

I had chosen to try the Salmon Teriyaki (of course) and I can honestly say it was the same, if not better quality than what I have previously eaten in restaurants. Served in a round, burgundy dish, the freshly cooked salmon was laid on a bed of sticky rice, with steamed vegetables on the side. The quality and the quantity of the meal was really great, especially when it was a fraction of what you would pay in other places, at just £5.50.


Whether you fancy something a little lighter such as sushi or soup, or are feeling pretty ravenous and are fancying a curry or teriyaki dish, Shijo is a little hidden gem in Newcastle city centre which will definitely not disappoint you!

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Study tips for university

So you’ve moved to university, had a Fresher’s week that you either can’t, or don’t want to, remember and now you’re in the midst of your first semester. 

Now you have to actually attend lectures, work hard and study (which you totally didn't sign up for..) and you're a tad lost. Don't worry though as you are most definitely not alone.

As you probably all know, first year doesn’t actually count towards anything apart from your hideously high student debt, which is all kinds of ridiculous but anyway, I digress.

The grades that you achieve in your first year at university don’t necessarily count towards the degree qualification that you will come out with in 3 years’ time (the 3 fastest years of your life believe me, as I cry into my dissertation notes) but working out a way of studying and revising sooner rather than later, definitely makes second and third year that bit easier.



Unlike school, lecturers won’t be breathing down your neck, checking if you’ve done last weeks recommended reading. You are given a reading list, you are told to attend all lectures but if you don’t, that’s your own decision. For many, this is the ultimate excuse to kick back, relax and get every last pennies worth of your Netflix subscription but for others, it completely and utterly freaks them out because where’s the structure and the guidance and the spoon fed information?!?!

It's gone. Soz guys.

It can be difficult to find a routine that suits you, as well as the environment that you live in. Before coming to university, I found it easier to study in the evenings however try that when you live in halls especially, and you’ll (most likely) fail. That is, unless you have A LOT of willpower to not join your other flatmates doing all the fun things. Which I lack. Greatly.

So. Because I’m such a perfect student (as I’m writing this instead of working on an assignment) I thought I would put together a little list of tips and tricks on how to be an absolute pro at studying whilst at university...

Put your god damn phone down
No but seriously, phones are the root of evil when it comes to procrastinating from working. You aren't missing any inane posts on Facebook, Candy Crush can totally wait and you can catch up on who's retweeted your super funny tweets later, turn your phone on silent, put it somewhere out of view, concentrate and crack on with working. It'll be finished so much quicker with no phone-related distractions.

Copy up lecture notes straight away
Not everyone does this, but I find it so helpful when it comes to revising towards the end of the semester if I have notes from each lecture of a module, in chronological order, already written up. Even if you don't get chance to do the some/any of the recommended reading, make a conscious effort to write up the info from the lecture and you'll be thanking 'past you' when everyone else around you are running around like headless chickens, frantically trying to find out what the hell they're supposed to be revising.

Read, highlight then type
This is basically my 'uni life' motto. For every journal article or textbook chapter that I read, I first go through and highlight any relevant points ('Mendeley' is fab for doing this on your laptop) then type up all the highlighted notes into a word document. That way, you have all the information that you need for future reference without having to tear your hair out looking for those scrappy pieces of paper that used to resemble a journal article later on.

Get a head start on assignments
At the start of the semester, those December deadlines seem an absolute age away but in reality, they'll be upon you faster than a hare on speed (just don't even ask where I got that from, I have no idea myself). Seriously though, your assignment briefs are usually handed out very early on in the term so instead of filing them away and forgetting about them until 2 days before the deadline, actually take the time to look at them, read into it a little bit and if you're feeling super prepared, write down a rough essay structure. You'll be giving yourself a rather large pat on the back when it comes to sitting down and writing it later on in the semester.

Don't be that person
How funny is it being a 'typical student' leaving 4 assignments until the last week and cramming them all in, doing 3 all nighters in a row? Yeah, it's not funny at all actually. Don't be that person. Give yourself the time to be able to sit down and work really hard on it. At the end of the day, you're paying an insane amount of money (thanks Dave C) so it would be silly to not put all of your effort into doing the best you can.

Relax
University can be made out to be really hard and really scary, but people do make it out in one piece, I promise! It is hard and at times the only thing you can do is grab the tub of peanut butter with one hand, and put a spoon in the other to drown your sorrows but, it's not impossible and you can do it. Make time to relax, to socialise, to eat (a lot), to explore the city you're living in. Basically, make time to live your life too.

There we have it - a few tips which might make studying at university that little bit easier!


Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, it would mean the absolute word to me if you could take 10 seconds to vote for me as Blogging Edge's food blogger of the year! Who would've thought my blabbering would make me a finalist in their UK Blog Awards 2015 - not me... The link is:  

Thanks in advance!

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

New in town... River Beat

It takes all sorts to make the world go round. Different people have different interests. Some people get excited for the new Fifa game to be released, some people get excited when a celeb collaborates with a fashion brand and some people get excited for new restaurant openings…

…or, is that just me?

Having stuck to my life goal of attempting to eat in every restaurant in Newcastle before I leave to go travelling next May, I’m really rattling through my list, which I’m not sure I should be proud, or ashamed of. (I know for a fact my bank balance is begging me to stop, but it just doesn't understand, ok...).

That’s why then, when I heard about the new restaurant River Beat opening on the other side of the Tyne river, I was pretty excited to find out more. A place which sells food in Newcastle that I haven’t yet been to, is becoming a bit of a novelty.


























































Overlooking the Newcastle Quayside, sits brand new restaurant River Beat. Offering customers the chance to experience tapas with an Asian twist, this place is for all those out there who love trying foods that little bit different, foods that you can’t find anywhere else in the city.

From pink salt n pepper squid with plum and tamarind dip, to pork, fennel and apricot meatballs in an apple hollandaise sauce, River Beat is a total treat for the taste buds.

Boasting modern d├ęcor, fancy lighting and a lovely decking area which will be great for those (occasionally) sunny days, it seems to me that this restaurant will turn into a Toon favourite.

I for one, am excited to return!

For more information about the new kid on the block, head over to their website...

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, it would mean the absolute word to me if you could take 10 seconds to vote for me as Blogging Edge's food blogger of the year! Who would've thought my blabbering would make me a finalist in their UK Blog Awards 2015 - not me... The link is:  

Thanks in advance!

Want to chat? Let's get social...

Friday, 16 October 2015

Eating in the North East - Mog on the Tyne

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I kind of think cats are a bit like marmite. You have people who love them, want to constantly stroke them and hold them in their arms like a baby (which I have absolutely never done) and you have people who think they're the spawn of satan.

I personally like them, although my relationship has been reeeally tainted by an experience with my own cats. I have two at home, one which I love, one which is a complete psycho. The one which I love, or should I say loved, has had the cheek to pack her bags and leave to go and live with some strangers down the street. After all that. She didn't even have the decency to say goodbye.

But I'm so over it, like I'm so over it, I'm basically under it.

Still though, what an ABSOLUTE LIBERTY. 

Anyway.

At a recent bloggers event with Iles Tour in Newcastle, I met the lovely Heather and after chatting away, we decided that we should meet up again and take a visit to Mog on the Tyne which had recently opened.


Mog on the Tyne is Newcastle's first ever cat cafe, and is located on Pudding Chare. I wasn't sure what to expect if I'm completely honest, with the idea of cat hair flying around everywhere not my idea of a good time, but having seen and heard so many great things, I was excited to experience the cafe for myself. 


As we arrived at the cafe, we were asked to take our shoes off, pop on a pair of slippers and wipe our hands with anti - bacterial gel. Good sign, liked that a lot. 

Given the freedom to sit wherever we fancied, we sat down at a wooden table, chatted away and ordered a hearty soup, accompanied with crusty bread. 



The cats were very calm and completely content just chilling in their beds (hard life) however their ears pricked up and their eyes snapped open at the scent of treats on their way. Each person in the cafe was given a handful of treats (I want to say they were Dreamies, which my cats go absolutely mental for) and were advised to lay our palms out flat and wait.

We waited approximately 0.0000001 seconds before being completely surrounded by cats (it felt like a glance into my future) as they demolished every single last treat.


Aside from that though, I would say it is 100% your own choice as to how involved you want to be in petting the cats. If you are imagining cats to be flying around, jumping everywhere, it is completely the opposite. It's actually quite therapeutic and really, apart from being laid on a beach with a cocktail in each hand, what's more relaxing than stroking a cat?

There are 11 cats in total, all from the Westgate Ark city cat shelter and yep, they're all pretty cute! I even think it would be difficult for people out there that aren't huge feline fans to not be sat silently urging them to come closer so they can have a quick stroke!


Since opening, Mog on the Tyne has been very busy, so if you do fancy a visit be sure to book beforehand. Admission fee is £5 which goes towards taking care of the animals and the menu is packed full of good stuff, with a variety of sandwiches and pawnin's (geddit??) as well as lots of cakes and other sweet treats. 

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Mog on the Tyne and would definitely recommend it to others. It really is a cat lovers paradise!

For more information, head over to their website...

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, it would mean the absolute word to me if you could take 10 seconds to vote for me as Blogging Edge's food blogger of the year! Who would've thought my blabbering would make me a finalist in their UK Blog Awards 2015 - not me... The link is:  

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Eating in the North East - The Great British Cupcakery Bakehouse & Parlour

There isn’t much in life that cake cannot make better? Obviously cheese toasties and cups of tea are firmly on that list but that’s another matter. Some people believe cake is solely for celebrations… I wholeheartedly disagree. 

Cake brings people together, makes everyone happy and tastes GOOD. It’s arguably one of the most versatile foods there is out there… You’ve got the classic Victoria Sponge, the traditional chocolate cake, carrot cake if you’re feeling healthy (ahem) and the modern cupcake, to name but a few.

What’s not to love, really?

With cake permanently on the brain, a trip to The Great British Cupcakery in Newcastle was an absolute must, and with two failed visits due to it being too busy to be seated, I was getting increasingly desperate to go. (Yes I get desperate about eating cake, no judgement please).


Located near the Quayside, The Great British Cupcakery is basically the dream for anyone with a sweet tooth. With gorgeous cupcakes on display, gigantic scones and the best looking milkshakes you will ever see, it’s a real challenge to choose what to treat yourself too.

Even on a Thursday afternoon, it was super busy with tables inside and out taken up. This did reflect on the service, with our order taking quite a while to be to us however the staff were really polite, and apologised profusely.


Now to the important business: the hot chocolate.

I may not be on the smashed avocado with chilli flakes shot on a marble background instagram bandwagon but I am an absolute sucker for a drink in a mason jar. If it's a hot drink in a mason jar, just stop it because it is too. much.

The Great British Cupcakery delivered on all mason jar fronts with so much cream, that I basically died and went to hot chocolate heaven. With a dollop of squirty cream, a dash of chocolate powder and a sprinkle of marshmallows on top, it was so good I didn't speak for about 10 minutes. I didn't have time, I had to consume the whole drink immediately.

I'm great company, I know.

My friend made a rather fabulous choice and went for the cream scone which was served beautifully and (apparently) tasted just as good. I perhaps got a little bit envious, and yeah, maybe I did contemplate ordering one myself... But y'know, moment on the lips, forever on the hips as they stupid people say.


Overall, I would definitely recommend this lovely little cafe to any sweet tooth's out there but please take me with you, I need to try one of their insanely amazing looking milkshakes immediately. (Instagram 'The Great British Cupcakery' to see for yourself but don't blame me when you get food envy, this is your warning!) *update* I went back and had a milkshake and it was just as heavenly as I thought it would be and mooooooreee...... LOOK!


Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, it would mean the absolute word to me if you could take 10 seconds to vote for me as Blogging Edge's food blogger of the year! Who would've thought my blabbering would make me a finalist in their UK Blog Awards 2015 - not me... The link is:  

Thanks in advance!

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Monday, 12 October 2015

10 thoughts every girl has at the start of Autumn

Autumn is upon us in the UK which basically means, the weather will get colder and wetter, it will become so difficult to get up in the morning you actually don't know if you're going to make it through until Christmas and there's a high possibility that you will slip over on those stupid wet leaves falling all over the place. . What a happy and positive way to start a blog post, HAPPY MONDAY TO YOU.


Here are 10 thoughts every girl has at the start of Autumn...

1. Pumpkin spice lattes are my spirit animal.

2. I think it would actually be easier to get up in the morning if I had lead weights on my feet than it is right now like how it is still dark, is this a practical joke???

3. No but seriously, how can I be expected to get up and leave the house when it’s barely LIGHT yet, it’s just unreasonable



4. Give me aaallllllll of the chunky knit jumpers and cardigans and maybe even a couple of pairs of those knee high boots from Topshop. I love the cold weather so I can layer my clothes up and look all fashionable…

5. …Ok I don’t think I’ve been warm in about 7 years and I look like an actual rhino in this coat. Totally starting a campaign to bring back summer immediately.

6. So buzzing for Halloween this year – I’m going to absolutely smash it with my costume because either go hard or go home, amiright?


7. The start of autumn basically means I have to start thinking about buying Christmas presents for people but that will be so funny because I’m BROKE.

8. But candles are an essential and so are those pumpkin fairy lights that I saw in Primark last week because omg so cute

9. I’m so excited to wear fluffy socks and snuggle up under a blanket with hot chocolate and cute films with candles, like it’s going to look so good on Instagram…

10. …Holy shit how is it so cold, my feet are like actual ice blocks and socks aren’t doing a THING to help me out here and I have no squirty cream for my hot chocolate anyway so basically what’s even the point of Autumn, like it’s October 12th and I. Am. Done.


Hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, it would mean the absolute word to me if you could take 10 seconds to vote for me as Blogging Edge's food blogger of the year! Who would've thought my blabbering would make me a finalist in their UK Blog Awards 2015 - not me... The link is:  

Thanks in advance!

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