Friday, 20 October 2017

A Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick

Earlier in the year, slightly terrified at how fast I'm racing through my 30s, I created my 40 Before 40 List, an epic bucket list of all the things I want to do before I hit 40. Number 22 was "Visit the Cotwolds" and this week that dream came true with an idyllic stay at The Painswick.

When dreaming about my perfect weekend in the Costwolds I imagined staying somewhere cosy and beautiful, a home away from home, somewhere to truly relax. So I was over the moon when I discovered The Painswick, a sixteen bedroom hideaway and winner of the Sunday Times Ultimate Hotel of the Year. The search was over, this was going to be the cosy Cotswolds break that I'd dreamt of.

A Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick

The Painswick is snuggled away in the picture perfect village of Painswick in the Gloucestershire countryside - perfectly positioned for exploring the most beautiful villages in England, nearby Gloucester and Cheltenham or indulging in the ultimate shopping trip at Bicester Village. It is a dream location if the Cotswolds are on your bucket list.

Our drive to The Painswick was a good 4-5 hours from our home in Newcastle so when we arrived we were more than ready to throw down our luggage and relax. Welcomed in to the warm reception we were immediately asked if we'd like our bags taken to our room and given the grand tour of the beautiful hotel. After a tiring journey we loved having such a personal welcome and we instantly felt at home.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Lounge

Our Room at The Painswick

Our room for our two night stay was the gorgeous Toadsmoor, one of The Painswick's bigger rooms complete with some beautiful luxurious touches including a bed so huge I lost my husband for the entire night (secretly very happy about that!), a roll top bath and a really big shower.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Toadsmoor

There's a great range of room sizes at the Painswick and if you want to indulge in something even fancier then George's Suite is the ultimate treat and boasts a four poster bed, sitting room, log burner and a private balcony.  If you prefer the simpler things in life then the Small, Medium and Big rooms offer beautiful country hideaways to suit every budget.  If you fancy a look at the other rooms available head this way, I've spent far more time than I'd like to admit swooning over the photographs of George's Suite.

Important things first, we immediately stuck on the kettle and raided the wonderful little treats that had been left in our room.  Chef had been busy creating some delicious goodies and we were thrilled to discover a little dish of madeleines that we woolfed down as well as a jar of very indulgent chocolate cookies that were the gooiest we'd ever had and so good that I couldn't stop Simon going on about them for the rest of our trip.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick

 Relaxing in Luxury

Not being terribly good at switching off I was over excited by all of the relaxing on offer at The Painswick and struggled to decide what to do first. Take a lovely long soak in our ensuite bathroom (the clawfoot bath was something of a dream and made our tub at home look very boring!), put my feet up and work my way through the pile of glossy magazines left in our room, take a snooze in the delicious looking bed or treat ourselves to a massage at the hotel's treatment room?

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Bathroom

We eventually decided to make our way downstairs to the little bar in search of a cocktail or two, after battling motorways a drink is always needed!  Blessed with a beautiful warm October evening we took our drinks out on the terrace and enjoyed the last of the light as we admired the beautiful countryside views. We both agreed that it felt a little like we were on holiday in the Med and I can only imagine what a beautiful sun trap The Painswick must be in the height of Summer.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Cocktails

With drinks finished we decided to move ourselves to the games room for an enthusiastic game of pool.  Having not played since my teenage years, I'd forgotten how useless I am but we had a great time laughing at each others attempts to get the correct balls into the pockets and I was happy to discover that, despite winning, Simon really wasn't much better than me!  We followed this with a look through the board games on offer and decided to play Catch Phrase which, if I'm honest, got a little too competitive. Neither of us could remember the last time we'd enjoyed a Sunday evening playing a board game and it was the perfect way to unwind.

Having tired ourselves out with all the laughing we moved our evening to the lounge where some of the other guests were enjoying glasses of wine on the most comfortable looking sofas. Deciding to join them we ordered some drinks and managed to nab ourselves a prime spot by the fire. It was so lovely and warm and it took all my self control not to lie down on the huge sofa and have a little nap.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Lounge
Dinner at The Painswick 

We lost hours relaxing by the fire and before we knew it we were handed menus to make our dinner choices. I love being given a menu a little while before being shown to our table - we are people who struggle to make decisions so it's great being able to take the time to have a proper read through the options.

Although you can see a sample dinner menu on The Painswick website it changes regularly with chef Jamie McCallum creating perfect fresh and and punchy dishes to suit every occassion.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Fireside

Once we'd placed our orders we were shown to our table ready for our 8:00 pm booking. The restaurant was busy despite it being pretty late on a Sunday evening and there was a lovely atmosphere with a nearby table celebrating a birthday and other couples enjoying romantic meals.

We'd decided against having a starter but when the chef sent over a crab salad we couldn't resist tucking in. It was really light and fresh and the mango paired with the crab was spot on - the perfect start to our meal.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Crab Salad

We both decided to order the same for main course with the Beef Wellington served with Dauphinoise potato and buttered greens (£28.00) catching our eye. Served with a perfect pink centre, the beef was so tender and the pastry was so buttery - it was heavenly!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Beef Wellington
Despite being pretty full by this point we couldn't resist ordering a dessert and I decided on the Salted Dark Chocolate Cremeux with blackberry sorbet (8.00).  It was so naughty and rich and I loved the contrast of the chocolate with the salt and sorbet.

We went to bed with very happy and full tummies!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Dinner Menu

Days of Fun at The Painswick

The Painswick is the perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds and when we were planning our activities we were really spoilt for choice.

If walking is your passion The Painswick is a great place to stay and they have a full range of walks to choose from offering a variety of distances over all kinds of beautiful countryside. Each walk is helpfully printed ready for you to take out with you, unfortunately we didn't have the time on our trip to go for any walks but it's definitely something I'd love to do in the future.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Walks
If, like us, you just fancy a little potter the lovely staff at The Painswick can give you lots of recommendations of places in the local area to discover and if the weather isn't looking too great and you've forgotten your sensible outdoor gear they also have loads of rain macs, wellies boots and huge umbrellas to borrow, such a wonderful little touch. With plenty of towns to explore, historic houses to discover, food markets to enjoy and gardens to admire - there's loads of adventure on the doorstep.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Wellies

Prefer a more relaxing day? The Painswick just happens to be in one of the prettiest little villages in the Cotswolds with some stunning views and honey coloured houses to admire so I recommend a little walk just outside the front door to stretch your legs before returning to the hotel for an afternoon of indulgence.

The Painswick has two treatment rooms by Calcot Spa offering a variety of treatments including massages, facials, manicures and pedicures or you could maybe indulge in Chef's Afternoon Tea served from 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm on weekdays and from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturdays.

You can read more about our afternoon tea at The Painswick on the blog next week!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Afternoon Tea

Breakfast at The Painswick 

Breakfast at The Painswick is served in the restaurant between 7:00 am and 10:00 am on week days and until 10:30 am on weekends (with the added option of breakfast in bed if you fancy it!)  a fully indulgent affair with everything you could possibly desire ready for you to create your perfect breakfast.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Breakfast

Breakfast was included in our room rate but for those with a room only rate the Painswick Continental is £6.00 per person and allows you to feast from the buffet table with plenty to choose from including Greek Yoghurt, fresh fruit, pastries, mixed charcuterie and cheese, cereals, fresh bread, toast with jams and Rice milk Bircher muesli.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Croissants

As we were staying for two nights I decided to have continental one morning and save myself for a fully loaded breakfast on our last morning.

Simon thought about that plan for all of two seconds before ordering himself a sausage sandwich on both days!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Continental Breakfast

Day one and any thought that I was being sensible by just having continental flew out of the window when I managed to cover our entire table in food.

With so much to choose from it was impossible not to go overboard and I enjoyed delicious Greek Yoghurt with pineapple followed by Weetabix splashed with ice cold milk and then a couple of croissants with plenty of jam.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Breakfast Time

Hot drinks are included with your breakfast and we ordered an all important cafetiere of coffee, the perfect way to wake us up ready for a day's adventuring.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Coffee
What did I have my second morning?

Full English (£12.00) of course!  Served with eggs any style, crispy bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, hash brown and fried bread.  My plate came fully loaded and having been unable to resist some yoghurt and toast before it I unfortunately couldn't quite finish off the whole thing and was still feeling full come evening time!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick Full English Breakfast

Saying Goodbye

Check out at The Painswick was 11:00 am, allowing us more than enough time to get ready at a lovely leisurely pace.

It took us a while to say our goodbyes, as we'd made great friends with a couple of the staff and wanted to give everyone who'd been so kind to us a proper farewell.  When a hotel leaves you feeling like you've made friends it's pretty special and when we promised each person we'd definitely return we meant every word.

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick

As we gathered up our luggage we were given a little goodie bag for the journey home - a couple of bottles of water for the car, a discount voucher off our next stay and a shopping voucher for Bicester Village, a simple touch but something that we truly appreciated.  It's the little extras like this that truly sets The Painswick apart from other hotels.

Call me an idiot, I don't care, but as we pulled away from The Painswick to head back home my eyes were suddenly threatening to fill with tears. Saying goodbye was hard and I really didn't want to return to reality after such a wonderful break. We've been lucky that this blog has given us the opportunity to stay in some of the most amazing places but The Painswick really was something very special. Finding a hotel that strikes the perfect balance of comfort, luxury and warm friendliness is so hard which makes The Painswick such a great discovery. We left a huge piece of our heart behind and we can't wait to return!

Cosy Hotel in the Cotswolds - The Painswick

Find The Painswick at:

The Painswick, Kemps Lane, Painswick, Gloucestershire, GL6 6YB
01452 813 688

Rooms are available from £129.00 per night and can be booked via the website or telephone.

For a similar slice of country luxury, North East readers should check out my review of The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland - another hotel in the Calcot Collection

We were very lucky ducks and were invited to do an honest review of The Painswick - we received a complimentary night stay with dinner and breakfast and a press rate on our second night. All drinks and afternoon tea were booked on a whim during our stay and paid for with our own money.  All love is very much our own - we are smitten!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Halloween at Fat Hippo - The Hail to the String Burger

I can't say that I'm a fan of watching horror films, I hate the thought of being chased by clowns and the idea of exploring an abandoned house after dark terrifies me. Halloween is definitely something that I love to celebrate with food - let me raid the Trick or Treater's sweetie tub and I'm one happy lady! This year we decided to celebrate with the ultimate seasonal treat for any foodie - Halloween at Fat Hippo

Fat Hippo celebrate every great event with a massive monster of a burger and Halloween is no different. I found myself stalking them on social media for weeks in the hope of them revealing this year's Halloween menu and as soon as their "Hippoween" burger was announced I quickly booked us a table at their Jesmond restaurant on launch night.

Halloween at Fat Hippo - The Hail to the String Burger

This year's Halloween Menu at Fat Hippo is created by the Burger Lab; Fat Hippo's team of burger loving experts who release a special burger each month that can be ordered for a limited time. It's the special burgers that keep me going back to Fat Hippo time and time again and the Halloween creation is always very special.

The Halloween Burger Lab have created two tempting dishes for the Toon's foodies, starting with the all important burger! This year's creation is the "Hail to the String" (£11.90) - a double 4oz patty, Monterary Jack, dry cure bacon, pumpkin hash, roast garlic and bone marrownaise and sweet potato string fries all stuffed into a charcoal bun and served with handcut chips.

Halloween at Fat Hippo Menu

As we took our seat in the Jesmond restaurant I really didn't need to look at the menu, but still had to sit patiently waiting while Simon took a look (a completely pointless task as he always orders the same!). For some reason he's very set in his Fat Hippo ways and always orders a "Fat Hippo" burger and never adventures to the special menu, he just can't bring himself to miss out on his favourite

Simon's decision finally made I eagerly awaited my Halloween treat, mouth watering at the thought of what was to come!

Halloween at Fat Hippo Menus

Fat Hippo never fail to deliver something spectacular to the table and this year's Halloween creation is impressive. The Hail to the String is a thing of beauty! I loved the charcoal bun that gives the burger a fantastic Halloween look and with all the fillings spilling out this was a gruesome treat I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into.

Every Halloween I find myself obsessed with pumpkin but as I'm way too lazy to purchase my own and go through the faff of pulling it to pieces and working out how to cook it I always go out of my way to devour as much pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and of course the all important pumpkin spice lattes as I can find when I'm out and about.  Pumpkin in a burger was new to me and I was so excited at how it would taste.

Halloween at Fat Hippo Menu - Hail to the String

So, my verdict?

The Hail to the String is lush!  One of my favourite Fat Hippo burgers of all time - the pumpkin hash and roast garlic and bone marrownaise give it a beautiful seasonal taste and after I'd devoured it I realised that my mouth and hands were completely covered in so much messy sauce that I looked like an extra from a horror film. Don't bother splashing out on a Halloween costume this year, just eat one of these bad boys on your way to your party and you're sorted!

As usual there was no room for dessert (let me know if you ever manage a dessert in Fat Hippo cos I will be seriously in awe!) which is a shame because there's also a special Halloween treat for those with a sweet tooth.  The "Gimme Some Sugar Baby" (£4.95) is a baked blueberry cheesecake with Oreo crumbs, vanilla i-scream and spun sugar.  It sounds amazing!

We loved our Halloween date night at Fat Hippo and highly recommend you check out the menu! It's available now!

Halloween at Fat Hippo Menu - Burger Lab

Find Fat Hippo at:

Fat Hippo Jesmond, 35A St George's Terrace, NE2 2SU
Fat Hippo Underground, 2-6 Shakespeare St, NE1 6AQ
Fat Hippo Durham, 36 Saddler Street, Durham, DH1 3NU

Want to find out what else is happening this Halloween in the North East? Check out my Guide to the Best Halloween Events in the North East for Adults

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Botanist Newcastle Mezzanine

Just when I thought that the Botanist Newcastle couldn't get any bigger or better, they've surprised me yet again by opening up a brand new area for us all to enjoy!

The Botanist Newcastle Mezzanine
As well as boasting Newcastle's best roof terrace, the sweet Granny Smith's Room and, of course, the Toon's most famous indoor tree, the Botanist have now added the Mezzanine to their impressive collection of spaces.

We were invited along to the launch night of the Botanist Mezzanine to learn some more about what we can all expect from the Botanist's latest creation.

The Botanist Newcastle Mezzanine
The Mezzanine at the Botanist will be used primarily as a private function space for events accommodating up to 80 guests (so you all know where to host your next office party!) When it's not pre booked for an event the area will offer additional restaurant seating, adding up to 60 covers on the existing capacity!  Great news as the Botanist continues to be one of the most popular places in the Toon!

You're probably wondering exactly where you'll find the Mezzanine and how the Botanist have actually managed to find the space for it.  Well! If you venture up the spiral staircase to the balcony overlooking the bar, you'll discover the Mezzanine hidden away in the corner with the most perfect views of the bar below.

With a ceiling covered in beautiful blooms and hanging lights, I was stunned at how beautiful the Mezzanine is.  Perfectly matched to the rest of the Botanist, the new area is like a little indoor garden - picture perfect and a must for any Instagram loving Geordie.

The Botanist Newcastle Mezzanine

Easily the best spot in Toon for people watching, we had a wonderful night enjoying the views from the Mezzanine and sinking our body weight in Prosecco and endless glasses of The Botanist (still my favourite cocktail from their delicious menu!)

I have to say I always feel pretty damn lucky that we have the Botanist in Newcastle, with an enviable amount of bars and restaurants in the city, it really is the jewel in the crown and somewhere that I continue to return to time and time again!

The Botanist Newcastle Mezzanine
Let me know your favourite thing about the Botanist!

The Botanist, Monument Mall, NE1 7AL

Love the Botanist?  Check out some more of my visits! Gin Masterclass, Tipples and Tunes and the Winter Roof Terrace

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sachins - The best Indian Restaurant in Newcastle? Menu Review

I could never claim that I'm an expert in Indian food, in fact it's a type of cuisine that I've only recently started to enjoy. For years I avoided it, worried about my nut allergy and inability to eat anything spicy. It's only been in the last year that I've learnt that there's far more to Indian food than Vindaloos and Chicken Tikka Masala.  So I'm slowly working my way round all of the best Indian restaurants in Newcastle and my latest adventure took me to Sachins, one of the most popular in the Toon.

Sachins - The best Indian Restaurant in Newcastle? Menu Review

Sachins specialises in Punjabi cuisine and are well known for their delicate use of herbs and spices sourcing only the best ingredients. Having made their home in Newcastle over 30 years ago, Sachins is very popular with fans of Indian cuisine in the city so it was definitely time for me to head to their restaurant on the historic Forth Banks and discover if they truly are the best Indian restaurant in Newcastle.

I've come to learn that enjoying Indian food is all about finding truly great restaurants with expert chefs who use traditional cooking methods and fresh ingredients and Head Chef, Bob Arora, certainly knows a thing or two about preparing delicious dishes.

Sachins Indian Restaurant in Newcastle

There are two type of menus to choose from at Sachins, the a la carte from £8.95 and set menus from £45.00 for two. We decided to choose from the a la carte which was a perfect sized menu with plenty of dishes to choose from without being overwhelming.  The menu is easily split into different type of meat, vegetable, rice and breads which makes navigating it effortless - a "must" for someone like me who finds it so hard to make menu choices! With each dish clearly marked for dietary requirements I felt instantly relaxed about my nut allergy and the notes on spice levels was also very welcome.

Our evening began with a mountain of poppadoms (95p) with a fully loaded pickle tray, perfect for absentmindedly chomping our way through whilst having a gossip and perusing the menu.  It's crazy how easy it is to munch your way through poppadoms without realising how many you've had.  They are so moreish.

Sachins Indian Restaurant in Newcastle - Poppadoms

Although everything in the menu is clearly marked I made sure to double check with the waiter that I was able to order what I wanted and he was great at reassuring me and even recommended some dishes that could be customised to meet my dietary requirements. I love being able to relax when I'm eating out knowing that I have nothing to worry about.

For my starter I decided to start with a seafood dish and ordered the Salmon Kofta (£7.95) - delicately spiced salmon and potato koftas coated in breadcrumbs, shallow fried and served on a bed of salad.  It was the perfectly sized starter and it was so delicious it was gone in seconds!

Sachins Indian Restaurant in Newcastle - Salmon Kofta
Most dishes at Sachins are served medium level spice or above but some dishes can be prepared with milder spices so it's worth asking if you aren't too keen on hot dishes. That said, I decided to go for a medium spice dish and found it the perfect level for me - I'm feeling very proud of myself for having got a little braver in my spice journey!

I opted for the Lamb Pasanda (£11.95) - diced lamb cooked with mango and cream. I can easily say that in my great adventure to discover my favourite Indian dishes, this one has been my favourite so far.  It was so beautifully creamy and the flavours really hit the spot. I literally wanted to tip the bowl upside down and drink the left over sauce, it seemed a shame to leave it!

Talking of bowls - how amazing are these dishes?  I loved how the food was presented at Sachins.

Sachins Indian Restaurant in Newcastle - Lamb Pasanda
Of course no Indian feast is complete without some sides and we decided to share a bowl of Pulao Rice (£3.50) and a Tandoori Naan (£2.45)

I'm never sure how much food to get when it comes to ordering sides but sharing the two dishes was the perfect amount of food with our mains and left us feeling pleasantly plump without being overly stuffed.

We both agreed that the Naan was particularly amazing and like nothing we'd had before. The bread was so light and packed with flavour - I could have happily eaten a huge stack of them as a completely separate course! 

Sachins Indian Restaurant in Newcastle Menu Review
So what was the verdict? Is Sachins the best Indian restaurant in Newcastle?  I think it might be!  The food was fantastic with the most delicious flavours and I can't wait to tell everyone I know what a delicious dinner we had!

Have you ever been to Sachins? I need to know what to order on my next visit!

Sachins, Forth Banks, NE1 3SG

We were invited to Sachins for a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East

I love the idea of Halloween. Wearing a fun costume, eating toffee apples and carving pumpkins definitely appeals to me, but when it comes to the scarier side of the holiday I am, unfortunately, a complete wuss!

So this Halloween you wont find me staying up late watching horror films, getting chased by zombies or going on a ghost tour, the chances are I'll be safely tucked up in my bed.  Therefore I plan to enjoy my Halloween through all of you! Here's my round up of the best Halloween Events in the North East, and what I'd be doing if I wasn't such a chicken!

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East

Photo c/o The Scream Factory

Terror in the Trees at Beamish Hall

Enjoy (?!) a terrifying journey through the woods at Terror in the Trees at Beamish Hall guided only by the light of a head torch. You can expect an underworld of terrifying adventure with all manner of nasty creatures hiding behind the trees ready to chase through the woods. Run for your life to escape! Definitely one for the brave!

The Halloween Drive In at Wynyard Hall

Watch true classic horror movie, Halloween, at the Halloween Drive In Cinema at Wynyard Hall.  On 29 October they'll be hosting a very special screening complete with "live scary surprises" - do you dare?

The Scream Factory, Redcar 

The ultimate night of scares, I was invited to review the Scream Factory last year and very politely replied with a "HELL NO!".  If you love your scares with plenty of shocks and surprises then this will definitely be up your street. The North East's biggest live scare event promises to be better than ever this Halloween  - take a walk through the Scream Factory and face all of your biggest fears. Just don't blame me if you have nightmares, it sounds truly terrifying.

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East - Scream Factory

Photo c/o The Scream Factory

Halloween Haunted City Tours, Newcastle and Durham

Fancy exploring Newcastle or Durham after dark this Halloween? Join the Halloween Haunted City Tours as they make their way round the cities sharing gruesome tales and true ghost stories guaranteed to give you a fright. Explore the dark lanes and old ruins of Newcastle's Castle Garth or a lamp lit tour of a haunted farm in Durham on an award winning tour.

Experimental Diner, Sunderland 

The Experimental Diner is back and this time there's a slightly spooky twist. Enjoy Halloween at the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum. Enjoy your war time themed meal in an aircraft hanger and have a spooky guided tour of the museum. Food will be prepared by some of the regions top chefs who rise to the challenge of serving their dishes in the strangest of places! For a little taster check out my review of the Experimental Diner at the Newcastle Castle.

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East - Experimental Diner

The Linskill Chase, North Shields

Ever fancied being chased through an abandoned school by terrifying creatures?  I definitely haven't, but if that's what you're into you will love the Linskill Chase, the live action event promises to be one of the scariest in the North East with plenty of nightmares coming true as you battle your way towards the exit. 

Mine Shaft Thirteen at Brocksbushes

Every year Brocksbushes put on one of the scariest events in the Halloween calendar and every year I do a little shudder and think to myself "no thank you!"  It's hard to believe that the place with the epic cakes becomes the scariest place in the North East, and this year they are hoping this event will be their scariest yet. With reported sightings of mystery figures, odd illnesses and haunting whispers in the old abandoned mine - are you brave enough to enter Mine Shaft Thirteen?

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East - Brockbushes

Horror Movies Quiz Night at No 28, Newcastle 

One for the movie buffs, No. 28 at the Grainger Market will be hosting a horror movies quiz night and free movie screening of the classic movie "Halloween" on 30 October. Entry costs £1 per person and the winner gets a £50 bar tab. If that wasn't enough to tempt you, Newcastle favourites The Grind will be there serving up the best cheeseburgers in the Toon.

Adult Halloween Party at Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle is supposedly haunted (I have to admit I've had a few chills wandering around the corridors in the dark!) so what better place to celebrate Halloween than with an adults only Halloween Party at the Castle featuring a five course banquet, entertainment and disco. Who knows, maybe you'll even bump into the Ghost of Lady Lumley.

The Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East - Lumley Castle

The Baltic Night Time Zip, Newcastle 

One for only the most brave! Zip wire from the roof of The Baltic to the Sage at up to 40 mph in the Baltic Night Time Zip on 27 October! Tickets cost £50 and you can grab yours here.

Halloween Late at the Centre for Life, Newcastle

Centre for Life in Newcastle will be hosting their annual Halloween Late adult only event, promising a full on horror immersive experience. There'll be organ dissection demonstrations and a dinosaur themed house of horrors as well as the chance to enjoy the 4D motion Dracula ride.

 Best Halloween Events for Adults in the North East

Alnwick Castle After Dark

Explore Alnwick Castle After Dark this Halloween when the Castle throw open their doors at night for the first time! Brave adventurers can learn about the lost souls of ancient Northumberland with plenty of scares along the way. Limited tickets are available for this once in a lifetime Halloween night of fun.

Scary Burgers at Fat Hippo

The scariest burger in the Toon is back at Fat Hippo! Be prepared to see a burger like none you've ever seen before. The Burger Lab have been busy creating the Hail to the String; a double 4oz patty, Monterary Jack, dry cure bacon, pumpkin hash, roast garlic and bone marrowanise and sweet potato string fries served in a charcoal bun. I've already got my table booked!

Photo c/o Fat Hippo

Halloween Open Air Cinema at Middleton Lodge

Check out the Halloween Open Air Cinema at Middleton Lodge where you can enjoy a screening of classic movie Ghostbusters. Snuggle up under a blanket and enjoy popcorn, toffee apples and hot chocolate. Take your own carved pumpkin along to help light the night.

 Best Halloween Events for Adults in North East

... and for those who are wusses like me:

Eat all of the Halloween Cupcakes at Pet Lamb Patisserie

One part of Halloween I can definitely get involved with is demolishing a plate of creepy cupcakes from Pet Lamb Patisserie in the Grainger Market. They have the best selection of treats in Newcastle and I plan on filling my boots before returning home before all of the ghosts and vampires have a chance to get me!  (Please note that Pet Lamb is closed until 19 October as the lovely Kay is getting hitched!  So please don't go banging on their door for Halloween cupcakes until they're back cos they'll be after me!) 

 Best Halloween Events for Adults in North East - Pet Lamb Patisserie

I'd love to hear about your Halloween plans and if any of you make it to any of these events make sure you let me know all about your experience, I'd love to hear from you!

For more adventures across the North East be sure to check out New Girl in Toon on Facebook and Instagram

Monday, 9 October 2017

Lunch Menus and Deals on the Newcastle Quayside

This week is the end of an era for me. After 4 years working on the Newcastle Quayside, I'm moving offices to a completely different part of the Toon. Whilst I'm looking forward to having a new area to explore in my lunch hour I will definitely miss my beautiful strolls along the River Tyne and enjoying all of the tasty lunch menus and deals that can be found on the Quayside.

I'll be spending quite a bit of this week trying to eat my way round all of my favourites while I still have the chance and so thought I'd share with you my inside knowledge of the best places to go for a great lunch deal if you work on the Newcastle Quayside.  These places are all perfect for quick lunches with your colleagues and offer purse friendly prices and speedy service (although we have found that ordering ahead does help get you back to the office on time!)

Lunch Menus and Deals on the Newcastle Quayside

Pitcher and Piano

A favourite with office workers on the Newcastle Quayside, the Pitcher and Piano offers a welcome office escape with their beautiful River Tyne view. Their Lunch for Less menu is available Monday to Friday between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm where you can tuck into a lunch dish with a soft drink for £6.50. If it's been a particularly hard day you can swap your drink to a pint of Amstel or a glass of wine for an extra £1.50. It's also worth noting that if you sign up to their website they send out vouchers for free drinks each month.

Pitcher and Piano, 108 Quayside, NE1 3DX


My restaurant of choice if I feel like a slightly fancier lunch, Gusto is the perfect place to unwind after a busy morning in the office. Their lunch menu offers a selection of some of my favourite dishes from the main menu and you can enjoy 2 courses for £12.95 or 3 courses for £14.95 Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 5:00 pm. The best news is that my obsession, the Gusto Burger, is available on the menu along with some very tempting desserts including the very popular Bombolini.

Gusto, 106 Quayside, NE1 3DX

Slug and Lettuce

In the past you may not have considered the Slug and Lettuce a lunchtime destination but following a refurbishment last year the place is looking tip top and the cute velvet chairs and tiled walls has had me sharing photographs on Instagram on more than one occasion!  There's a set menu offering 2 courses for £11.95 or 3 courses for £14.95 (has to be prebooked) with plenty of lush dishes available on each course. If you're determined to stay healthy during the week the Slug have also introduced a guilt free lunchtime tipple with their skinny prosecco.

Slug and Lettuce, Exchange Buildings, Quayside, NE1 3DW

Las Iguanas

One of my favourite places to head for lunch on the Quayside is Las Iguanas, their lunch menu is fantastic with a great variety of food - so much so I'm still working my way through it. Served until 6:30 pm every day, dishes are all a very reasonable £7.50, £8.50 or £9.50 and I highly recommend the Cuban Sandwich! The perfect place to inject some flavour into your lunch hour!

Las Iguanas, 106 Quayside, NE1 3DX

Head of Steam

Formally the Eye on the Tyne, the Head of Steam on the Newcastle Quayside is the best destination for a cheap and cheerful lunch. With a lovely new makeover and purse friendly prices, a lunchtime sandwich with chips and a drink will give you more than enough change to go out for drinks after work!

Head of Steam, 11-17 Broad Chare, NE1 3DQ

Dobson and Parnell

Perfect for a business lunch, Dobson and Parnell offer a daily set menu served from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday  at £15.00 for two courses or £19.00 for three. Lunch includes complimentary still or sparkling water and tea or coffee. The menu changes but always serves up locally sourced, seasonal produce perfectly prepared.

Dobson and Parnell, 21 Queen Street, NE1 3UG

Caffé Vivo

If you fancy a spot of Italian during your lunch hour then CaffĂ© Vivo is the place to head on the Quayside for a bargain. Their Express Lunch Menu is available from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday and is a perfectly formed menu of sandwiches and salads. If you're feeling particularly hungry you can pick up a Soup and Sandwich Special for £10.00 or a Soup and Salad Special for £12.00.

Caffe Vivo, 29 Broad Chare, NE1 3DQ


Treat yourself to a lunchtime of indulgence at 21 where you can enjoy 2 courses for £19.00 or 3 courses for £22.50 as part of their lunch menu served Monday to Saturday 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm. The menu changes weekly which sounds like the perfect excuse to become a regular if you ask me!

21, Trinity Gardens, Quayside, NE1 2HH

So there we have just a few of my favourite lunch meals and deals on the Newcastle Quayside - make sure you let me know if I've missed out your favourite!

For more eating out guides for Newcastle check out: 5 of the Best Pizzas in Newcastle, the Best Burger Restaurants in Newcastle and the 10 Best Breakfasts in Newcastle