Wednesday 31 July 2013

Old Treasures

I can be a bit of a hoarder, I realised this after packing to move to Newcastle and spending hours and hours sorting out my room in London, desperately trying to work out what to get rid of and what I couldn't live without.  It was during this de-cluttering that I started sorting through my jewellery and came across two forgotten pieces that I'd never actually worn.

The first was given to me by my  Grandma on my 18th birthday.  She wanted to give me something special, but at the time I wasn't really sure what to ask for so just gave her a rather generic idea of "jewellery".   She went to the local jewellers and bought me a gold locket.  To be honest it wasn't really to my taste.  I felt a bit too young to wear it and the few times I tried it on I really didn't feel like it suited me.   Stumbling across it at the age of 32 I was SO excited to give it another try.  It is beautiful and I absolutely love wearing it.   I'm so glad that I found it and that I now get to wear something so pretty that has a real sentimental value.   My Grandma will be 90 this year and is still going strong, I loved showing her the necklace when I last saw her and telling her how much I love it.
The second I think was bought as a present by one of my sisters years and years ago (I'm hoping if she's reading this she forgives me for not embracing it when I was first given it).  Again at the time it felt a little too big for my tastes.  But now statement necklaces are  in fashion and I love that I have one that not many others have.   It's had quite a few outings already.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? 


Tuesday 30 July 2013

Monday Smiles

What a lovely relaxing weekend we've had.  Our diary is pretty full with plans in the next few weeks before our holiday so decided to spend this weekend pottering about without much of an itinerary (anyone who knows me well knows that it's not often I have a day without a plan).  We spent an enjoyable Saturday strolling round Eldon Square where I picked up a beautiful new dress in New Look, it'll be perfect for holiday and possibly for the wedding that we're going to in December.  Sunday was a complete chill out day, Simon spent the day gaming, which is something he's not really had much time to do since I descended on the North and I spent some time catching up with TV.  Although I did quickly pop to Primark to prevent myself going stir crazy .. I'm not very good at spending an entire day sat inside.

The highlight of my week was something that I'm afraid I didn't get a photo of.  This weekend was the Sunderland Air Show and although we didn't go I was very lucky and got a bit of a treat on my walk home on Friday.  Just as I was crossing the Millennium Bridge there was a loud roar of planes from behind the Baltic and the next moment the Red Arrows flew straight above my head and over the Tyne Bridge.  It was such an amazing sight and  I feel so fortunate to have seen it.
Hope you all have fabulous Mondays!

Thursday 25 July 2013

Cocktail Week

10 years ago I was quite the party queen, I used to love nothing more than downing cheap wine and dancing the night away to the cheesiest pop I could find.   I fear nowadays I've become a bit of a Nan and prefer to spend my weekend evenings snuggled up indoors on the sofa with my other half watching some trash I've stashed up on Sky Plus.

However, after realising last week that since moving to Newcastle (the party capital of the UK) I have returned to my  flat in the dark only twice I thought it might be about time to venture out.

So with the promise of very cheap cocktails and some enthusiastic guests to entertain we decided to head out for a mini night on the Toon to celebrate NE1's Cocktail Week.
I say mini as we managed three bars and were safely tucked up in a restaurant by 8:15 pm but it's a start and has definitely made us decide that we need to make more of an effort to see what the Newcastle nightlife has to offer.

Following the success of Restaurant Week the lovely folk at NE1 organised the first ever "Cocktail Week" with several bars around the city offering a selection of their cocktails at £3, £5 or £7 for one week only.
We started our night in Tokyo, a lovely little bar with a roof terrace, possibly a little chilly on this occasion but we braved it.  The bar staff in Tokyo really know their stuff, each cocktail was made with such care and so well presented and the drink list feels quite sophisticated.

This was followed with the rather disappointing Blackie Boy, we drank up quite fast and left.  On the plus side their cocktail menu was very cheap even without the offers of Cocktail Week.
Our last bar was Florita's, which I have to say I loved the second I walked into, it's an Hawaiian themed bar .. yes it's a bit cheesy, but  I was immediately at home with the colourful cocktail menu and bright d├ęcor.  Just take a look at all of the lovely cocktails they have on offer: COCKTAILS   The boys were very taken with their Zombie drinks, complete with novelty glasses and I have my eye on several cocktails that I'd like to try in the future (just as soon as they have pineapples back in stock!)

Roll on Restaurant Week!


Tuesday 23 July 2013

Monday Smiles

I am writing this on my brand new laptop.  About time too, my old one was several years old and although had served me well was beginning to sound, in Simon's words, like an asthmatic horse.  Sticking to what I know I bought a brand new HP and then followed that with a new camera.  Not being a pro photographer like a lot of other bloggers out there I've upgraded my existing camera and am now the proud owner of a Panasonic Lumix TZ40.  For anyone that's not amazing at taking photos but who wants a good, reliable camera  I really do recommend it.

This weekend we've had our first visitors to the North East, one of the girls at my old job in London came to visit with her new boyfriend and it was just so lovely to see a friendly face and show off my new home.   Unfortunately after weeks and weeks of hot sunshine the weather had a bit of a moment and turned fairly muggy, we didn't let that stop us though and like any good "Tour Guide Barbie" I made sure we had a busy itinerary to keep our guests entertained.  On Saturday we took the Metro to Tynemouth for some crazy golf followed by a stroll to our favourite ice-cream parlour, "Beaches and Cream".   Although completely shattered after the sea air we managed to follow that with a mini night in Toon to enjoy Cocktail Week before ending the evening at El Coto for some amazing Tapas.  Sunday's activity was an easy choice, a morning stroll through the Quayside Market where our guests bought jam and fudge to take back South and then a visit to the RedHouse (which I have been wanting to try for ages) for pie and mash.

Amazing weekend .. but I think it will take me a week to recover from all of the food .. my poor belly!


Wednesday 17 July 2013

Toe Dipping

Sometimes a trend comes along that you're not really sure fits into every day life, or simply doesn't suit you.  Anyone remember the awful "skirt over trousers" trend back in the early noughties?   Thank God that didn't hang around!
When printed trousers first appeared, I really enjoyed flicking through catalogues looking at beautiful young models wearing prints in wacky clashing colours and I kind of envied them.  Being quite a shy person, still getting used to my new body shape and now over the age of 30 I didn't feel like this was necessarily a trend that I could embrace yet I secretly wanted to be in the gang.
So for a while I was walking around my favourite clothes shops looking for the perfect trouser that would enable me to dip my toe into the world of patterned trousers without throwing myself in head first.  I was hunting for a quite a while and then one day the new H&M catalogue landed on my doorstep and these beauties caught my eye.
They are comfy and practical, yet still allow to me feel a little brave with their lovely shade of purple and subtle pattern.  The perfect trouser to test out a trend without going overboard.
Of course since buying them I have gone to the extreme and bought myself a far wackier pair, as seen in my earlier Metro Haul post.  I may now also have a few other printed trousers in my wardrobe!   So really I have to thanks to these guys that I found myself brave enough to do that.
Anyone else fancy a toe dip?


Monday 15 July 2013

Monday Smiles

The heat wave continues  :)  I like to rather smugly think that I brought the sunshine to Newcastle.  I think since moving two months ago we've only had 3 or 4 days of heavy rain .. amazing!   Next weekend I have my first friend from the South visiting so I'm just hoping that this amazing weather is still around for then, I want to be able to show off the beautiful North East in the sun.

Lots of things to get excited about this week. First piece of news, there's a Starbucks opening next door to my work ... WOOOOOOOOO!  This was met by mostly grumbles in my office, but having just moved from London it has to be said I've really missed having a coffee chain on my doorstep, and I'm happy that I now have somewhere warm to sit in the Winter months and watch TV on my laptop.   Secondly, our favourite hotel, Jesmond Dene House is having a refurbishment and the new works are going to include a spa, can't wait for it to open.

Here are some Monday Smiles: 

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Picnic in the Park

I think this has been the nicest July we have had in many many years, it certainly tops this time last year when every day we were getting soaked to the skin. I have been hearing many horror stories about the freak storm that hit Newcastle on a particularly wet Thursday last July when lightening struck the Tyne Bridge and everyone had to wade home from work through floods.  Lounging about in this hot sun it's very hard to imagine what that must have been like.
When Simon and I started dating and we were planning my first trip to Newcastle he was very excited about taking me for a picnic, unfortunately when the weekend came the weather wasn't delivering and then the Summer came and went and we never really got round to revisiting the idea.  So with the promise of a beautiful hot Saturday, this weekend we finally dusted down the picnic hamper.
There was only one place to head for our food .. Fenwicks.  The food hall in Fenwicks is one of my favourite places in Newcastle, I could quite happily spend hours wandering around looking at all of the delicious things it has to offer.  In fact, it's not often that we go for a trip to Toon without fitting in time for a little window food shop, therefore I've had my eye on the "Country Kitchen" counter for a very long time.  It's a wonderland of locally produced pies, scotch eggs, quiches, cheese, bread and cakes. 
Our chosen selection of goodies were: Quiche Lorraine, Ploughmans Scotch Egg, some lovely fresh bread which we had with Kildare Cheese and Wensleydale with Cranberry, strawberries and cream and our absolute favourite cakes from the North East, Lottie McPhees (little word of warning .. taking cupcakes on a 30 minute walk in the hot sun does not end well!). 
We spent the afternoon picnicking in Saltwell Park in Gateshead, which is such an idyllic place to spend the afternoon.  We split our time between lounging about in the sun, wandering round the lake, people watching or visiting the bunnies and birds.  Perfection!


As we headed home in the late afternoon Simon took me on a sneaky little detour to somewhere I've been wanting to go for ages.  The Suzuki dealership.  We've been planning on getting a Suzuki Swift for a while now and it's definitely something we need to be able to explore the area better.  Newcastle is such an ideal place to live as we're driving distance to North Yorkshire, the Lakes, Northumberland and even Scotland .. neither of us have owned a car for a while and we're a little giddy at the thought.  As soon as we get back from our holidays in September we are booking ourselves a test drive and I really can't wait!

Monday 8 July 2013

Monday Smiles

Being a bit of a foodie, there are a number of restaurants that I always knew I’d miss when I moved from London, one of them was Ed’s Diner.  Whilst I didn’t go often it was always somewhere that I liked to pop to every now and again to fill up my belly with burgers and milkshakes.  So I was VERY excited when I realised a few months before relocating that one was opening in the Metro Centre in Gateshead.  Simon and I had been planning on going to Cafe Rouge on date night this week but somehow we ended up with a craving for burgers which lead to Simon getting his first Ed’s experience.   It didn’t let us down.  Ed you have a new fan!
OMG how amazing has the weather been this weekend?  At times it actually felt like we were in another country.  I know quite a few people who have flown off on their holidays this week and I almost feel sorry for them cos they’ve spent all that money and are missing amazing sunshine at home.
We spent our Saturday having a lovely time working on our tans (aka trying not to let our pale skin go neon red) in the park.  More to follow on that later in the week.
In the meantime here’s a little sneak preview in Monday smiles:

Monday 1 July 2013

Monday Smiles

This weekend we were in Leigh visiting Simon’s family and friends and also celebrating his Nana’s birthday.  She turned 90 earlier this year so the family organised a photo shoot to commemorate the occasion.  At times it was chaos (if you’ve ever tried to co-ordinate a photo shoot involving 15 people including a 2 year old and a 90 year old you’ll know where I’m coming from)  but OMG so much fun!
Simon and I got to have a little bit of time with the photographer on our own at the end which was really lovely, we got to do three different poses so I’m very excited to see how they turned out.  Hopefully I’ll be sharing some of them with you over the next few weeks.
Highlight of the weekend, was probably finding “Barefoot” White Zifandel on the drinks menu at the pub, I may have actually let out a whoop! 
Here’s my other favourite things this week:
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