Friday, 20 January 2017

A Weekend in Harrogate

I've been wanting to spend a weekend in Harrogate ever since I relocated to the North. Without even visiting I knew it'd be somewhere that I'd love. I just adore pottering around beautiful little towns. So when the opportunity arose to visit Harrogate this month I was so happy to be ticking something off my bucket list so early in the year.

I began my trip, like so many others, by asking my Twitter followers for recommendations. Easily the best way to get travel advice from locals, I was soon inundated with places for coffee and streets to stroll. There were way too many ideas for us to get through in one weekend so we'll definitely be needing a return trip to Harrogate, it seems one weekend is not enough!

A Weekend in Harrogate

We were staying just south of town at St George's Four, a beautiful one bed apartment. It was a very pleasant stroll from the heart of Harrogate. We had considered going for a run round The Stray first thing on Saturday morning but we realised pretty quickly that we had an epic amount of walking to do if we really wanted to explore Harrogate so our running shoes, thankfully, stayed at home.

Harrogate is a beautiful spa town, snuggled away in one of my favourite areas of the country, North Yorkshire. It's a brilliant mix of old and new. Whilst there are loads of modern shops, it's the independents that really give the town its character.

A Weekend in Harrogate

Our day began with a visit to Weetons Food Hall, a short 10 minute stroll from our apartment and a must visit for any foodie staying in Harrogate. The premium food hall stocks plenty of local produce and we picked ourselves up some food for the evening (whilst trying not to drool over the amazing looking breakfasts that people were tucking into!)

A Weekend in Harrogate - Weetons

Taking advantage of our early start we decided to continue our exploration of Harrogate with a little potter round the shops.

The town has a great range of high street favourites sitting alongside some high end stores. It's a fantastic shopping destination if spending money is your favourite way to enjoy a weekend. We had a very enjoyable mooch round the sales, with me lusting at the windows of Bobby Brown, Sweaty Betty, The White Company and Space NK - reminding myself that we still have a honeymoon to pay off.

Department store, Hoopers in Harrogate is one of only four stores in the country and a great place to window shop with plenty of designer handbags, clothes and makeup for me to gaze at.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Hoopers

Our tummies started rumbling pretty early so we stopped off for lunch at the first opportunity. We decided to go for something healthy so visited Filmore and Union, a small chain of eight restaurants through Yorkshire serving up delicious natural healthy dishes.

The lunch menu was insane, making decision making pretty difficult. Simon opted for the Filmore Burger - served on beetroot and hummus ciabatta with caramelised red onions, carrot & beetroot pickle served with paprika fries (£13.00). I love that even when we eat somewhere that promotes healthy food he still manages to order a burger.

Who could blame him though? It looked delicious, and definitely a lot less calories than other burgers.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Filmore and Union

I chose the Smashed Avocado on Toast with extra poached eggs - served with feta, pears, pomegranate and raw veg noodle salad (£12.00). It was one of the tastiest lunches I've had in a long time, absolutely perfect, really filling and it felt so good to be eating something that wouldn't leave me feeling sluggish in the afternoon.

I'm now on a one woman campaign to bring these guys to Newcastle!

A Weekend in Harrogate - Filmore and Union

We decided to spend our afternoon pottering around the beautiful parts of Harrogate, following the recommended routes that several of my twitter followers had recommended.

Starting with an explore of Montpellier Hill, Harrogate's best kept secret. Home to a beautiful selection of independent shops and pavement cafes all hidden away on picture perfect cobbled streets. It was a photographers (and shoppers!) dream.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Montpellier Hill

It's not unusual for us to get fixated on our photography when we're out and about and often you'll find us desperate to capture the perfect shot of a squirrel but this trip we became obsessed with photographing street lights! Possibly a little strange to some, but I think everyone will admit that these street lamps around Montpellier Hill are gorgeous!

A Weekend in Harrogate - Montpellier Hill

Our route lead us nicely to The Royal Pump Room Museum which is definitely worth a visit, even if you don't have the time to visit the museum itself. The Grade II listed building is a beauty and one of the finest pieces of architecture in the spa town. Originally a spa water pump house, it offered visitors a place where they could drink sulphur water pumped from a natural spring.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Royal Pump Room

Just across the road from the Royal Pump Room we found Valley Gardens, a huge park and garden covering 17 acres and featuring plenty of open space, beautiful flowers, architecture, pinewoods, an onsite cafe and a massive playground for the kids.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Valley Gardens

The Valley Gardens contain a greater number of mineral springs in one area than any other known place. The Old Magnesia Pump House is the crown in the beautiful park - almost completely buried under wild plants for years it's recently been restored and looks beautiful.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Valley Gardens Old Magneisa Pump House

With the Winter sunshine finally making an appearance we walked until our fingers were numb, our feet were tired and our tummies were crying out for cake.

A Weekend in Harrogate

No trip to Harrogate would be complete without a visit to the world famous Betty's Tea Rooms. I've visited the one in York before and been frustrated by the queue of tourists outside that make it so difficult to get a table and then left slightly underwhelmed by overly expensive sandwiches. I was interested to see how the Harrogate store would compare.

The queue outside Betty's at Harrogate was only a few people long as we'd been lucky and had arrived just before the 3:00 pm rush. We were impressed by how well the queue was managed and within a few moments we were inside, opting for counter service rather than waitress.  We got ourselves a table in the Montpellier Cafe Bar, great for people watching.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Bettys Tea Room

I was pretty unimpressed with the cake options at the counter, there wasn't much to choose from and everything was tiny and "cookie cutter perfect" - nothing like the huge slabs of homemade cake that I love to enjoy. Betty's is definitely somewhere for those that prefer their cakes delicate, probably not for a big greedy cake fan like me.

We opted for the Yorkshire Cream Tea (£9.95) served with an extra pot of Betty's Breakfast Tea (£3.70). Again I was pretty underwhelmed by the scones, they were tiny and nothing special, also slightly annoyed that the cream was so thick and cold that it ripped the scones apart as soon as we started spreading.

The pots of tea, however, were out of this world, proof that the very best tea really is made in Yorkshire.

A Weekend in Harrogate - Bettys Tea Room

I'm afraid I continue to be left a little baffled as to why people rave about Betty's - it really isn't worth the hype or money so from now on I'm leaving it to the tourists, I don't think we'll bother to try it again.

We were recommended some alternatives to Bettys if you are looking for cake Tilly Peppers and Mama Doreens, both on Cold Bath Road are supposed to be good, although unfortunately when we strolled past were very full with every seat taken!

We loved our weekend in Harrogate and I'm so pleased to finally be able to tick it off my list.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

A Weekend at St George's Four - One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

I'm really not a huge fan of January so when we were invited to spend a weekend at St George's Four, a beautiful one bed apartment in Harrogate, I knew it'd be the perfect way to keep the Winter Blues at bay. Giving yourself something to look forward to after Christmas is an absolute must!

St George's Four is just on the edge of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, a really pleasant 12 minute stroll from the centre of town and surrounded by plenty of amenities to make your stay stress free (the cute little wine shop at the bottom of the road was quite a find!).

Featuring a double bedroom, luxe bathroom (complete with underfloor heating and spa shower), fast free wifi and complimentary car parking - we had everything we needed for a truly relaxing weekend.

 St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

We arrived at St George's Four late on the Friday evening, feeling pretty exhausted after a long week at work. As it was so dark it took us a couple of drives up and down the road to find the right place but we were so happy when we found our weekend home and parked the car. The Georgian building was stunning! Parking was on the road outside the property and free with plenty of spaces, an absolute godsend when you're staying somewhere as popular as Harrogate!

The keys were accessed by a key security box which was easy to use and great for our late arrival, there's nothing worse than making a long drive somewhere worrying about arriving too late to check in! We quickly found our apartment on the first floor and eagerly made our way inside.

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

We noticed immediately how cold the apartment was so our first job was to work out how the heating worked. Luckily there was a helpful booklet in the lounge with all the instructions we needed to operate the heating and appliances.

Once we'd worked that out it was time to explore the apartment. Simon was particularly excited by the coffee machine and TV (complete with Netflix) whereas I was more giddy about the beautiful fireplace and King sized bed.

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

Quickly unpacking and putting on our PJs we stuck on the kettle and were so happy to discover complimentary tea and coffee as well as a fresh pint of milk in the fridge and a pot of chocolate snacks which immediately sabotaged our January diets!

The temperature in the apartment was a little hard to control with the bedroom getting very toasty and the lounge feeling pretty chilly but we happily spent our evening snuggled up in the lounge under some furry blankets as the room began to heat up.

The best thing about staying in a self catering apartment when you go away is being able to treat it like your home. I was so happy to be able to wander around in my Unicorn Slippers!

The open plan lounge with adjoining kitchen made it nice and easy to convince my husband to make me endless cups of tea whilst I buried nose into a magazine. If only he was this easy to persuade at home.

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

Our bedroom had everything that we needed. Clean towels, plenty of storage space and even a beautiful dressing table where I could spread all my products. Our first night in the huge bed and we were out like lights. I had a brilliant nights sleep and woke early the next morning full of beans ready to explore Harrogate!

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

After showering in the lovely hot waterfall shower Simon announced that one day he'd like to have a bathroom just like it.  It was very much a case of "bathroom goals" for him and I could see why. The beautiful dark tiles made it feel very luxurious and it was lovely and clean.

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

We decided to bring a bag of food with us, the beauty of self catering, so it was a quick bowl of cereal before we made our way out for a day of adventure.  The beautiful spa town of Harrogate is somewhere that I've been wanting to visit for the longest time, in fact I can't believe it's taken us so long to plan a little weekend staycation - it was definitely long overdue and just as beautiful as I had imagined (keep your eye on the blog tomorrow as I'll be sharing all the details of our adventures in Harrogate).

There are plenty of lovely restaurants and pubs close by and lots of recommendations in the booklet in the apartment. We decided to browse round the aisles of Weetons, a luxurious Food Hall just down the road from St George's Four. If you're away for a weekend treat then this is a great place to head for some fresh bread, cheese, pastries and meats for a slap up feast back at the apartment. We had a delicious meal of Mac n Cheese whilst happily reading in the peace and quiet or watching some trashy TV.  Bliss!

St George's Four One Bed Apartment in Harrogate

I loved spending the weekend without having to worry about doing housework or laundry, being able to truly switch off and enjoy some time with my husband was such a treat. I can find it pretty hard to relax when I'm at home, I don't often get to enjoy a nice peaceful evening reading a magazine as I usually end up feeling like I should be doing jobs.

I have to admit when we woke up the next morning we were a little sad to be leaving. For a short blissful moment we'd managed to convince ourselves that St George's Four was ours! We loved our little staycation in beautiful Harrogate and it's made us realise that we really should staycation a lot more than we do.

If you fancy staying at St George's Four in Harrogate then check out Harrogate Serviced Apartments where you'll also find equally beautiful apartments for families and groups up to 8. There's a minimum stay of three nights. All bookings can be done online, or for further information call 07860 142 965.

We were given a complimentary two night stay at St George's Four in exchange for this honest review.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Healthy Eating at Intu Eldon Square - Tortilla

It's January, so most people I know are on some kind of health kick. Whether it's Dry January, giving up chocolate or improving your exercise routine - a New Year means a fresh start! So you may be wondering how eating out can fit into your healthy new lifestyle? To help you out I've been investigating healthy eating at Intu Eldon Square.

My mission? To see if it's possible to enjoy a date night in January when you're supposed to be watching those calories and eating plenty of the green stuff. Simon and I are both trying to drop a few lbs at the moment ahead of our Honeymoon in March so I knew he'd be up for the challenge.

Our evening began at Giraffe World Kitchen where they have seven smoothies on their menu to help you along your way to getting your five a day. For those fully dedicated to the cause the Green Canyon (curly kale, banana, spinach and apple juice) is spot on, or for those of that prefer things a little on the sweeter side the Sunrise (orange, banana and strawberry) and Mango Lassi (mango, yoghurt and apple juice) are so good.

When it comes to eating out there's plenty of choice at Intu Eldon Square, especially wth the opening of the brand new Grey's Quarter.  You may be surprised to hear that many of the restaurants you'll find in the Mall offer healthy alternatives, comprehensive nutrition guides and staff who are only happy to advise you on ways to make dishes a little healthier.

We decided to try our luck at Eldon Square's newbie resident, Tortilla. Simon and I both love burritos so I was interested to see how we could make one of our favourite indulgent meals a little healthier.

When we arrived we told the restaurant that we were keen to know about the healthier options on their menu and were really impressed when they handed us a little leaflet about Nutrition at Tortilla. Did you know that a Medium Chicken Burrito at Tortilla has just 12.2 g of fat and only 4.1 g of saturated fat? Even when it's fully loaded it contains less fat than the most common sandwiches in other well known sandwich chains!

Impressive stuff!

At Tortilla you create your own burrito by picking out your Meal, Filling, Sides & Extras as you go along the counter, perfect if you're watching what you eat as you are in control of exactly what goes in. All of the fillings at Tortilla are fresh, all toppings are made from scratch and the guacamole is made from real Hass avocados.

I decided to majorly cut the calories by trying a Medium Naked Burrito (£5.20) - a delicious feast served in a bowl instead of on a tortilla.  Believe me this was a very difficult decision for me, I love tortillas and the thought of having a bowl instead made me feel a little sad.

To make the Naked Burrito extra healthy you can opt for lettuce instead of rice but I decided that was just a step too far for me! So instead I asked for a small spoonful of coriander rice and plenty of lettuce. Being able to control my portion sizes was brilliant! With that I added Black Beans (packed with plenty of protein) Grilled Chicken (the healthiest meat option), Onions and Peppers and Sweetcorn Salsa.  The thought of having no cheese at all was just too much so I asked for a tiny sprinkling but managed to say no to my other favourite thing, Sour Cream (sob!). I finished my bowl with a shot of Guacamole (80p).

I was impressed at how good my dish looked, it was the most beautiful rainbow colour, something that the experts say makes a pretty well balanced and healthy dish. Amazingly this mammoth feast came to just over 400 calories!  Not bad at all!

You might be wondering how on earth I know the calorie content of something I've created myself and that's because they have a very handy build your own burrito nutrition checker on the website which allows you to calculate the calories along with the amount of fat, carbs, protein and salt that is included in your meal!  Ideal if you are watching what you eat.

Digging into my bowl I was impressed at how good it tasted and I'd even say that I didn't really miss having a tortilla at all. The parts I really did miss though were the sour cream and cheese, it just wasn't quite the same without it!

So how did Simon do? He decided against having a bowl and instead teased me by building his burrito on a tortilla (£5.20).  He made sensible decisions though and said no to sour cream and cheese! His burrito came in at just under 650 calories, far less than our meals out would normally be!

We left Eldon Square with happy and full tummies but without having that bloated feeling that you get from overindulging on stodge. It's great to know that a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to mean a ban on enjoying nights out at a restaurant.

There are loads of things happening at Eldon Square this week to celebrate Newcastle Restaurant Week, check out the Food-elicious events and don't forget there are plenty of restaurants taking part in Restaurant Week.   There's also a chance to win a £50 Intu gift card each month by tagging your photos on Instagram and Twitter with #intueldoneats. Read here for more information and terms and conditions

This post was written in collaboration with Intu Eldon Square - our meal was complimentary but all opinions are our own. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Kidulting with Sweet Champions - Why I'm not a grownup at 35!

Over the last year Simon and I have purchased a car, got married and bought our first home together. So how come at the age of 35 I still don't feel like I'm a grownup?

Thankfully I'm not alone as, according to research carried out by Sweet Champions, 76% of Brits over the age of 30 confess that they struggle with the idea of adulting with many living their lives as if they were still in their teens or twenties.

With many of us settling down, getting married and having kids far later in life than our parents, it's no wonder that we've become a nation of "kidults", living Peter Pan lifestyles and refusing to grow up until we absolutely have to.

Being married to Simon, who is possibly the biggest kidult I've ever met, I love embracing my inner child and evenings spent eating sweets and sitting about in our onesies is pretty normal in our house.

There are 30 signs that show you are a kidult, and Simon and I thought it'd be fun to sit down and chat through the test to see if we're big kids.

30 Signs You're a Kidult - You:

1. Watch whole box-sets in a weekend

Me: You definitely do this! In fact I seem to remember that you keep watching things that we were supposed to watch together.

Simon: I can easily get through a whole box-set in a day but I don't think you'd ever be able to because you can't sit still for long enough!

2. Have a tattoo

Simon: Yuck no!

Me: I think we're both a no on this one, although I'd actually consider getting one if I wasn't a wuss when it comes to pain.

Simon: Really?

Me: Yep!

3. Have set up a Whatsapp group with your friends

Me: I have a group with my sisters that we chat on quite a bit. You're rubbish at it though, I quite often send you a photo through Whatsapp and it takes you forever to reply.

Simon: Maybe I'm just ignoring you on purpose?

4. Have used a snapchat filter on your profile pic

Simon: You are definitely a kidult when it comes to snapchat, you're always on there.

Me: It's true! I'm quite embarrassed, although if it wasn't for blogging I probably wouldn't have a clue what snapchat is, so we'll just blame the blog.

5. Listen to Radio One

Me: Never!

Simon: You always skip right past Radio One when you're station hopping in the car

Me: I'm definitely not cool enough to listen to Radio One, I probably wouldn't know what half of the music is that they play on there.

Simon: When it comes to music I'd say neither of us are a kidult.

6. Voted for someone on the X Factor

Simon: I bet you have!

Me: Just because I watch it, doesn't mean I vote.

Simon: Why do you still watch it?

Me: I honestly don't know, every year I say I'm not going to watch it anymore but I'm hooked!

7. Have gone to a music festival

Simon: No, it's really not my thing

Me: You'd hate the crowds and I'd hate the mud. When it comes to festivals we're definitely both boring adults. We'd much rather stay indoors in the dry!

8. Have bought a must-have pair of trainers

Simon: No

Me: This just makes me think of those people outside END in Newcastle who are always queuing up outside the store overnight for trainers. I just don't get it?

Simon: I've never really been into the whole trainer thing, especially because of what's his name!

Me: Who?

Simon: You know when trainers are affiliated with rappers?

Me: You mean Kanye?

Simon: Yep him!

9. Regularly raid the sweetie cupboard for treats

Me: You are the biggest kidult going when it comes to sweeties, I don't think I'm even aware of exactly how many sweets you eat a week!

Simon: And that's how it's going to stay!

10. Have ridden a scooter to work

Me: Why do I now have an hilarious image of you riding a scooter to work? I'm seriously tempted to buy you one now. I've never felt the urge to get one ,but I can really see you on one!

Simon: Is this just because I'm short? Honestly, I'd never ever ride a scooter to work!

11. Have owned a novelty phone case

Me: I've never owned one but I've certainly stopped to look at them in the shops, I could definitely be tempted.

Simon: I can see myself walking round with a batman or game themed phone case. Does that make me a kidult?

12. Queued for a new iPhone

Me: No! I pretty much wear mine into the ground before I replace it, I definitely don't feel the need to update my tech.

Simon: I'm really not loving iPhone at the moment and I'd never feel the need to queue for anything anyway, that's what the internet is for?

Me: Hang on a moment, didn't you go to the shops at midnight to queue up for a new Xbox?

Simon: That's different!

13. Downed a pint in one

Me: Gross! I just can't get on with beer, I've tried it so many times but I will always prefer Prosecco or cocktails.

Simon: Years ago, back in my younger years!  I don't recommend it, it makes you feel so bloated

Me: That's such an old man thing to say!

14. Have worn skinny jeans

Me: Regularly! Does that really make me a kidult?  Don't loads of people over 30 still wear skinny jeans?

Simon: No way! You'd have to pay me!

15. Have used a selfie stick

Me: I've not used one myself but I've had friends who've used them and I've been in the photo, does that count?

Simon: Probably not!  I've never used one!

16. Have eaten a sherbet fountain or Dip Dab

Me: I haven't

Simon: Yeah, have you really never had one? You must have done!

Me: Honestly, I haven't!  I must be far too grownup!

17. Have worn a band t-shirt

Me: Nope, I've always liked very embarrassing bands, I'm hardly going to walk around proudly telling everyone!

Simon: Yeah, Oasis

Me: Did everyone in Manchester wear Oasis t-shirts?

Simon: In the 90s yeah, well Oasis or Stone Roses.

18. Have worn ripped jeans

Me: I have a pair but you really don't like them! Why?

Simon: I just don't like ripped jeans!

19. Have gone abroad on a stag or hen do

Me: I haven't, but only because no one has ever asked me to. I'd love to go to a Vegas hen, how great would that be?

Simon: I went to Belgium on a stag a few years ago. I must be a grownup now though cos I spent most of the time researching restaurants so that I could take you.

20. Edit social media photos to make you look younger/more attractive

Me: Doesn't everyone do that?

Simon: I don't!

Me: Everyone does, that's what putting a filter on a photo is all about!

21. Have bought a pet rather than have a baby

Me: Ha!  Very topical at the moment as we keep talking about getting a kitten instead of a baby

Simon: We're definitely too kidult to look after a baby, it seems far more sensible to get a pet first.

22. Dumped a partner because you weren't ready for "anything serious"

Me: Bit late for that now!

23. Use nicknames for all your friends

Me: I don't really!

Simon: Some of them have names, I think it might be more of a guy thing!

24. Let your parents do your washing, housework, DIY or gardening

Me: I wish!  They live too far away and I'm pretty sure they'd tell me to go away!  I bet your Mum would do your washing if she were nearer

Simon: I'm not sure how good she is at DIY!

25. Have asked your parents to borrow money

Me: Not for a long time!  If I were desperate I'd ask but I'd definitely try and work out the situation for myself first.

Simon: I've not asked for a long time either. We must be grownups!

26. Watch shows like TOWIE/Made In Chelsea/Ex on the Beach/Love Island/Kardashians

Me: I am SO bad with trashy TV, I just can't get enough

Simon: I would never watch them!

Me: How come you know the names of all the characters then?

Simon: Because you always put it on when I'm in the room, I'm not actually watching it!

27. Have gone straight to work after a night out

Me: I definitely have some late nights followed by early mornings but I go to bed in between! I'm far too old now to go from one to another

Simon: I went to work on 3 hours sleep after watching the new Star Wars film recently

Me: I'm not sure that counts

28.Have stayed up all night playing computer games

Me: This is you!

Simon: It was before I met you, now you'd never let me play all night

Me: I would sometimes, but you're too old - you'd fall asleep by 1:00 am!

Simon: True!

29. Have worn fancy dress for Halloween

Me: We're not very good at that are we?

Simon: Yeah we're definitely not great at fancy dress

30. Have dyed your hair a crazy colour

Me: I used to dye mine jet black in my late 20s but I wouldn't do that now. I do quite like the trend of girls colouring their hair grey but I definitely couldn't pull it off.

Simon: I'm sure it wont be too long until we're both grey anyway

Me: Speak for yourself!

Having discussed the quiz I think it's safe to say that we both definitely show signs of being a kidult but we're more than OK with that!

Let me know your thoughts on the kidult quiz, I'd love to hear how many things you answered yes to!

This post has been written in collaboration with Sweet Champions

Monday, 16 January 2017

Weddings at Lumley Castle, County Durham

My own wedding back in September has left me with a real passion for the wedding industry in the North East and the beauty of writing a blog has meant that I'm able to indulge myself in all things wedding even though I'm no longer planning one myself. Today I'm very excited to tell you all about weddings at Lumley Castle in County Durham.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Simon and I fell in love with Lumley Castle when we went to an Elizabethan Banquet in their gorgeous Banquet Hall a few months ago. Pulling up the driveway and having our first look at the beautifully grand hotel I will admit my mind immediately turned to weddings - Lumley Castle is a stunning venue for your big day, and really does look like something out of a fairytale.

I'm sure so many couples dream of spending their special day as a Prince or Princess and weddings at Lumley Castle really have everything you could ever want to make the dream a reality. From turrets and towers to four poster beds and grand staircases, there really isn't any other wedding venue in the North East quite like it.

This is no ordinary wedding venue!

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

We started our tour by looking at the ceremony rooms available at the Castle and we were impressed by the choice.

Most wedding ceremonies at Lumley Castle are held in the stunning Scarborough State Room complete with feature fireplace, plush furnishings and huge windows overlooking the beautiful County Durham countryside. Thinking about walking down the aisle in the Scarborough State Room gave me goosebumps and made me wish I could have my day all over again.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Weddings of all sizes are catered for at Lumley Castle with a choice of seven state rooms available for wedding receptions perfectly suited for small weddings of 12 people right up to huge celebrations with 132 people.

The thing that really struck us on our tour was how gorgeous each room was - they were all so different from each other but equally stunning. Walking through each door into the rooms literally took our breath away and I could only imagine how special it must feel to be announced as Mr and Mrs at Lumley Castle.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Whether you want the fairytale dream of the Garter State Room, to become a Lord or Lady of the Castle in the romantic Barons Hall or just fancy a quiet family affair in the Northumbria State Room there's a room to suit every taste.

My favourite room is definitely the Barons Hall, its red walls and white and gold features give it an air of royalty and I think the Bride and Groom would feel very special sitting at the top table in a room like this. A posh affair for a King and Queen, a Medieval Banquet or even a Game of Thrones themed do, this room is the ultimate space for a wedding.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

If you prefer the idea of a beautiful English countryside wedding then the Baron's Garden at Lumley Castle is a beautiful location with plenty of overhanging trees to hang lanterns and lights and an aisle that can be festooned in beautiful flowers.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle have some great Wedding Enhancements to make your day truly special and give it that extra little touch of magic. From a savoury four-tier cheese cake to a Victorian post box and a candy cart they have it all. How about hiring the Ladies of the Court to sing at your reception or maybe ask the Traditional Scottish Bagpiper to welcome your guests?

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

My personal favourite that we discovered on our wanders were the added extras that really bring the grandure and magic of Lumley Castle to life. We were very lucky to meet Bilbo the Barn Owl who can act as ring bearer, delivering your rings in a real showstopper moment.

If you asked my husband what his favourite wedding enhancement was he would definitely say the Donut Wall where your guests can help themselves to a donut and then smother it in as many sauces and toppings as they fancy. A great way to keep guests entertained and well fed!

The problems I had keeping Simon away from that donut wall!

The wedding team at Lumley Castle have a great sense of fun and adventure so if you have an idea for your wedding that is a little unique or whimsical they should be able to help you. From Mad Hatter's Tea Parties featuring enchanted tables to flash mobs and petting zoos! These guys are ready to create your perfect fairytale!

Set in 9 acres of parkland overlooking the River Wear. The exterior of Lumley Castle provides some stunning backdrops for wedding photos right on the doorstep meaning less time getting the perfect shots and more time to spend with your guests.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Our afternoon ended with a nose round some of the bedrooms at the Castle and this was probably the moment where I truly fell in love. The bridal suite is stunning! Hugely romantic, the luxurious room is decked out in reds and golds with the huge four poster bed the main focal point. It immediately made me think of the Princess and the Pea, I'd only ever seen a room like it on TV before and Simon really had to hold me back cos I so wanted to climb into the bed and snuggle down for the night.

Each bedroom at Lumley Castle is completely different and each has its own charm. Whether its a bathroom hidden in a wardrobe (that blew my mind!), a beautifully ornate sink or a huge four poster bed - there are 73 bedchambers to choose from and each is the perfect mix of ancient history and modern luxury. A definite way to impress your guests and ensure they get a night to remember at your wedding.

Having planned my own wedding last year I know how the cost of weddings can make your eyes water so you may be surprised to hear that weddings at Lumley Castle cost from as little as £50.00 per person. There are plenty of packages available to suit the size of your celebration and budget and their prices are a lot lower than a lot of the other wedding packages I've seen at hotels.

Photo by Gasp Photography for Lumley Castle

Also if you book before 31 January 2017 you can receive your choice of candy card, cookie cart or donut wall, champagne glass tower, post box, wall of frame and place cards included for free in the cost of your wedding!

To inquire about weddings at Lumley Castle or to arrange a visit telephone 0191 389 1111 or e-mail

Let me know if you plan to get married at Lumley Castle or have ever been to a wedding there, I'd love to hear about your experience.