Saturday, 26 March 2016

Eating in the North East - The Botanist

So Spring is springing and the weather is, well let’s face it, the weather is still for the most part, pretty crap but let’s think positively… It’s developing. It’s gradually getting better. It’s going to be great…soon.

One of the best things about the sun shining, is the fact that it becomes far more acceptable to spend your days drinking, thanks to the wonderful creation that are, beer gardens.


One of the best places in Newcastle to drink, in general, is The Botanist but in the summer, it becomes the city centre hotspot, boasting a pretty fab balcony which gives you views of Monument and Grey Street (which has been voted the UK’s best looking street, fancy!).

A couple of weeks ago, my dad and stepmum came up to visit, and in need of place to spend a relaxing Monday afternoon, we headed there for a cheeky little bellini and a spot of lunch. Having been to The Botanist rather a lot never because of course I hardly ever drink ahem, I was looking forward to finally trying out the food, having heard great thing from others.

Fancying a little variety, I decided on the ‘The Botanist Deli Board’ which allows you to select 4 items from any of the categories including homemade favourites, meats and fish, and cheese, whilst also served with a Turkish flatbread. I decided on a poached salmon fillet, pomegranate and minted pearl couscous, caesar salad and…camembert, because although I tried to be healthy, I would rather sell a limb than miss out on cheese, all cheese, so… needs must and all that.



Served on a wooden board (supporters of the ‘We Want Plates’ campaign will not be happy), it was presented really well, with the couscous and caesar salad arriving in small China bowls which I enjoyed…a lot.







Whilst the food was really great, and definitely recommended, my favourite part of visits to The Botanist, is undoubtedly that first sip of the strawberry bellini. A trip to this place without a strawberry bellini is like going to a theme park and not going on any rides, like going to the seaside and not getting fish and chips, it’s just wrong, plain and simple. I know I could perhaps be beginning to sound like an alcoholic but if you’re a prosecco fan (if you’re not, we can’t be friends), I defy you to not enjoy it, I truly do.

Fear not though, as if you aren’t a big drinker, the hot drinks are served so gorgeously you’ll totally be having the drinkers in your group stealing your crockery for a cheeky little instagram which is exactly what I did, but I mean cmon, how nice!!



Of course, nowhere is perfect and this place is no different, as from my personal experience, the bar service isn't the quickest and you could be in for a slight wait, especially at prime time. Despite this though, in the perfect city centre location, owner of the most gorgeous interiors of a bar you may see in the city and with rather fabulous cocktails, The Botanist really is a treat…

Man, I want a strawberry bellini.

Fancy a trip? Here are the deets!
Where: Monument Mall, NE1 5AU
To book: 0191 261 6307
Head to their website aka look at the food menu

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Monday, 7 March 2016

21 things I've learnt at 21

As I start writing this, it's the eve of my 21st birthday! Monday 7th March 2016 marks the day I can drink in America (fab!) and is also the last step in the journey to adulthood so here is a list of things I've learnt so far, in my 21 years of existing...






































1. Don't compare your behind the scenes to someone else's highlight reel 

2. Don't take yourself too seriously 

3. Someone else's success is not your failure

4. Drinking on an empty stomach never ends well 

5. Some people don't make very good friends and it's okay to leave them behind 

6. Educating yourself before speaking up is so important 

7. Holding grudges is bad for your wellbeing 

8. Cheese is expensive 

9. Independence is the best feeling 

10. I'd rather be loved or hated than be a beige wall 

11. Supporting your friends is SO important 

12. Failing doesn't mean you're a failure 

13. Being single doesn't mean you are alone 

14. Dancing on a bench in Bierkeller after mixing far too many drinks isn't funny, isn't clever and will conclude with a fractured finger and 196 bruises 

15. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way you'll grow 

16. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for 

17. Self pity is one of the worst traits you can have 

18. You become who you surround yourself with, pick the right people 

19. You can have too much of a good thing and that actually translates as, know your limits when it comes to wine for God's sake 

20. There's always a way round it 

21. Whatever will be will be

<3

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Mothering Sunday at Grainger Market

This coming Sunday marks Mother's Day, a time to appreciate, celebrate and treat our mums for the absolute diamonds that they are. Each in their own little unique ways, they're just the best and yet until we sit back and take a second to think about what our lives would be like without them, we don't even fully appreciate it.


They grow us, birth us, feed us, teach us to walk, to talk, to love, to live, to do all the things we do (and don't do) in our day to day that we don't even realise. The sacrifices they've made, have literally meant we are (almost) fully functioning human beings, with good morals (always) and polite habits (mostly), and have moulded us into the people we are today (even if we don't always want to believe it). 

Even if sometimes we want to maybe flick them on the arm and tell them to stop faffing and fussing, they're great, and we wouldn't have them any other way, would we... 

My mum is one of my best friends and despite not seeing her that often anymore (we live in different cities, it's not as dramatic as it sounds) there is nothing much that can beat the feeling of going home and catching up over a nice, strong cup of tea and a couple of packets of shortbread. Because she's the  best. She lets me be...me, she's set me free to go and live the life I want too (even if she has already told me 356543 times that she'll cry when I say goodbye at the airport in May) but she's letting me go because that's what I want to do, and need to do, and I appreciate that. But I always know that if it doesn't work out, whatever it may be, she's there, at the end of the phone, at the end of a car journey, she's there. And always will be. 



As I mentioned, my mum and I don't see each other huge amounts and so when I heard about the event happening in Grainger Market this Sunday, I kind of had a little pang of sadness because there are two things that my mum and I have in common and that is that we like eating food, and we like eating a lot of it, and both are combined in this 'Mothers Day market'.

Can I firstly point out how incredibly, amazingly Geordie this cake is? Like, can we just take a second to appreciate this... 

Ok, anyway, yes! Grainger Market! On Mother's Day! If you haven't already been to the market already then I mean I don't know what you've been doing and more importantly, where you've been food shopping because this place is the place to be. Not kidding, not even a little bit. 

I love the butchers and the fishmongers and the fruit and veg stalls because it's all such good quality and such good value, never did I think, ever, that I would be this enthusiastic over well priced pork chops but there we go, this is what growing into an adult does to you apparently. 

In particular though, The French Oven.. Oh my, it's like... Pastry-related heaven. And if you're fancying treating your mum to a lovely little afternoon tea for two but are perhaps needing to look after the old bank balance, this place has the perfect thing for you. 









Delivered in a neat little box, are sandwiches, scones, cakes (including the most heavenly Oreo brownie, oh my goodness), sausage rolls and of course, tea bags - the ideal British afternoon tea and what's even better is that you can then take it wherever you wish. 

Maybe you're fancying surprising her at home? Maybe taking a stroll in Jesmond Dene and having a picnic is more you're thing if it's a nice day but I mean, it is Newcastle and only the start of March so...I applaud your positivity, bravo.




Come rain or shine though, Grainger Market will be buzzing with activity this coming Sunday and it'll be a darn shame if you and your beloved mum miss out on, particularly when the food is that good. 

More importantly though, to all the mums out there who've been doing a grand job and continue to do so, WELL DONE AND THANK YOU AND YOU'RE AMAZING AND HAVE A LARGE GLASS OF WINE ON ME. 

For more information on the Mother's Day boxes French Oven Bakery have to offer, click here.

What have you got planned for the mum this weekend?

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