Wednesday 30 April 2014

Tea at the Towers

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning you'll know that Saltwell Park in the Low Fell area of Gateshead is one of my favourite places in the area to visit.  It's featured in my blog quite a few times across all the seasons whether it be a picnic in the Summer, Bonfire Night, Enchanted Parks at Christmas or a walk to see the Spring flowers

So I was a very excited to hear the news that Saltwell Towers, the beautiful gothic mansion in the middle of the Park, was going to be hosting "Tea at the Towers" on the last Sunday of every month.  The tea has only been running since March but being a pair of eager beavers we booked a slot for the April tea. 

Unfortunately on the day the weather was typical of British Spring time ... dark clouds, lots of puddles on the ground and frequent showers.  Not really what you want when you're doing a 40 minute walk to afternoon tea.   We embraced it though, and I was quite happy wrapping up in my big parka, putting on my favourite "stompy" boots and doing the up hill hike to earn my afternoon tea.

Saltwell Park

I think the promise of cake made us walk extra fast as we reached our destination in record speed and ended up having a lovely slow stroll through the park in the rain towards the Towers.  We stopped off at the lake and I attempted to impress Simon with my ability to name all of the water birds (the benefit of having grown up on the Norfolk Broads).    As we approached the Towers I actually quite appreciated how dark the skies looked as it made the lights beaming out from the windows of the Towers look really warm and inviting.

The Afternoon Tea was served upstairs in the gallery and the stairs to access it were roped off for a "private function" which made it all feel rather special. 

The Gallery is a great area at the best of times, it's very light and has beautiful big windows overlooking the Park, but it looked even better set up for afternoon tea.    There were a few tables dotted around covered in white tablecloths, each one already set up for afternoon tea complete with gorgeous menus.   

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park

The staff running the afternoon were amazing, they went the extra mile to make every guest feel welcome.  I'd actually say there are some afternoon teas I've had at grand hotels that haven't been as welcoming and accommodating as the people at Saltwell Towers.  We were very well looked after - our coats were hung up, we were offered endless pots of tea and there were plenty of people around to make sure we were happy.

I'd actually been a little bit of an idiot and had forgotten to mention my nut allergy when I booked.   I felt a little silly admitting it once they'd brought out the afternoon tea (bit late really!) but the staff didn't bat an eyelid and immediately brought me out some freshly made sandwiches on a separate plate and pointed out which cakes to avoid.   I was so impressed at how kind they were considering I'd made such a silly mistake.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park

I really wasn't sure what to expect of the afternoon tea, in all honesty I'd gone not expecting a lot and I was proved very wrong.   It was very professional, the servings were really generous and the delicious food was homemade on the premises.

The sandwiches were really lovely non-fussy fillings (our favourite) and were served on the tier with a beautiful little flower made out of a tomato and a cucumber fan.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park
The layer of scones was very generous, we got three each - cheese, plain and fruit served with strawberries and huge pots of butter, jam and cream.   My only real issue was that the plain scone was very crumbly as when I went to cut my scone in half, it unfortunately broke into a big mess of crumbs and a lot of it fell on my lap.   The cheese scone was amazing though, I slathered it in butter and would have happily had an entire plate full.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park

Of course, you all know that our favourite tier is always the cakes and Tea at the Towers did not disappoint.   We had a little square chocolate cake (I didn't touch it because of my nut allergy but it was clearly very good as Simon ate both bits!), a strawberry and cream tart and a lemon mousse.   Each cake was the perfect size and absolutely beautiful.
I'm very pleased to let you know that Simon has finally given me an afternoon tea name, and has chosen Margery.  I think he was hoping I'd hate it but in all honesty I am fully embracing it.   Maybe I should start up a new blog - Cecil and Margery do afternoon tea?!

Feeling rather full after the cakes it was lovely to be able to have a nice amble around the park before returning home.  We plodded amongst the bluebells and watched the squirrels. 

Saltwell Park

Saltwell Park

We had a really enjoyable afternoon and I really recommend that anyone reading this who is in the North East book up immediately!   The Tea costs £12.50 each and the next date will be Sunday 25 May.   You can book by telephone 0191 433 3267 or by e-mailing

Monday 28 April 2014

#EatSleepBlogRepeat : Bloggers Meet

Here in the North East we have a pretty epic collection of bloggers.  We come in a variety of ages and genders and all blog about different things. Some of my favourite blogs are produced in the North East and we have some fantastically talented people in this corner of the country.

At the weekend I attended "#EatSleepBlogRepeat", my fourth blogger event, where I got to hang out with some of my favourites.  We might not get all of the fancy launches up here in Newcastle but we do know how to put on a good meet up - they get organised pretty regularly, are well attended and we all love nothing more than getting together for a catch up over some food and drink (it's well known that us NE bloggers are all food obsessed!)

The event was organised by the lovely Paul from Taste of the North.  Paul was one of the first bloggers I got chatting to on Twitter when I moved to the North yet it took us a good 10 months to meet up.  I'm sure he's fed up of me now though because to make up for it I've seen him three times at various events in the space of a few weeks.  

Paul booked us a lovely little area in newly opened Music Slash Art (MSA) on Hood Street (just off Grey Street) in the City Centre.  I don't know much about it's former life but I'm informed by my Geordie blogging pals that it was originally the home of "Bar 42", a place that holds many a story from their youth.   MSA is a little basement bar which is a haven for lovers of comfy booths, good drinks and art work.  Unfortunately, being underground it's not the best for photographs so the below collection of pictures are what we managed to scrape together between us.

Each time I go to an event I'm so nervous, quite often I almost talk myself out of going at the last minute, which is just silly because I always have a fantastic time and meet such lovely people.

I met up with Kloe and Abbey who I saw a few weeks ago at the Gloworm Drinks Launch and being the eager girlies that we are, we were the first to arrive, which meant we got the pick of the seats.  

We were soon joined by Amy who I was so excited to meet for the first time.  I love her blog Cocktails in Teacups and she was just as lovely in the flesh as I imagined.  Coming from a small town between Edinburgh and Newcastle, she also has the best northern accent that I've heard since relocating and I'm dying for her to teach me it.
I was also excited to finally meet Chloe whose blog Prosecco and Pie I've been reading for a quite a while.   As a writer of one myself I really love North East lifestyle blogs, and Prosecco and Pie is one of my favourites, I'm always keen to see what adventures Chloe has been on.  Somehow we'd always managed to miss each other at previous events so it was fantastic to finally meet her at #EatSleepBlogRepeat.  

It was also my first time meeting Jeff from Newcastle Eats, Ashleigh from Sugar Rushed and clever foodie Gareth Kyle (who I'm secretly hoping can teach me to cook!), all local bloggers that I've been familiar with for a while.  I also had the pleasure of being introduced to some brand new blogs after meeting Steph of Jellybean Adventures and Christine of Diary of a Frugal Foodie.

Paul had arranged some glasses of fizz and some slices of cheesecake for us to enjoy whilst we were having a catch up which were greatly appreciated.  I'm not really used to drinking in the middle of the day so I will admit by the end of the afternoon I was a little tipsy.  I know this because after a while I started eating the chocolate and chilli popcorn sitting on our table even though I really don't like spicy food and I may or may not have danced around Tescos a little bit after the event, much to the amusement of Simon.

I'm not entirely sure where the afternoon went, but I know it went far too fast!   I think at some point after my first glass of fizz I might have signed myself up for a bloggers "Night on the Toon" so  I can lose my Geordie Clubbing virginity although, if I'm honest, Jeff promising me that a night on the  Toon always ends with a Greggs sausage roll was what really sold it to me.

I completely ran out of time to talk to everyone and only got to say a quick hello to Sarah and Hannah before we all grabbed our coats and headed home.   Next time girls!! 

As always it was an absolute pleasure spending time with my fellow North East bloggers and I can't wait to do it all again soon!

Thanks so much to Paul for organising such a great event, MSA for letting us loose in their bar and to all the local businesses who contributed to our goodie bags. 

Saturday 26 April 2014

Primark Haul - Comfy Casuals

Confession ... I went to Primark again today!

So, less than a week after my last Primark Haul video I'm here again.   Yet another one take wonder, and also under the influence of a few glasses of Prosecco I'd drunk at a bloggers event this afternoon.

Before watching I'd love if you could all just take a moment to appreciate that I've actually managed to make a thumbnail for the video so you have a rather fetching photo of me posing cheesily with my Primark bag which is a definite improvement to last week's video.   I'm feeling slightly proud of myself, I told you I'd get better!



Friday 25 April 2014

The Brownie Bar Newcastle

I've finally got to try out the Brownie Bar in Newcastle thanks to my recent addiction to the deal website, Living Social (if any of you have never heard of it please let me know and I might do a separate post on it another time because it really is worth telling you about). I tend to find new deals that I want to try on a weekly basis and quite often get so over excited I book them without consulting Simon and then have to confess all to him at a later date.  I just can't resist a good bargain, especially when it means I get to try somewhere new from my list.

When a deal popped up for the Brownie Bar I didn't even hesitate buying it, I've been wanting to try their goodies for ages.  The deal was a hot drink and two brownies each for £6.00.
The Brownie Bar bake the most amazing brownies which they serve at various markets in the area, from their counter in Fenwick and most recently from their very own little store in Eldon Square shopping centre.    The store offers a fully stocked counter of brownies and a few bar stools if you want to eat in so if you're quick enough you can grab yourself a lovely hot drink and chill out with some seriously tasty treats.

As we're getting old and enjoy a good sit down Simon and I ensured we got to Eldon Square early enough on Bank Holiday Monday to nab a stool and promptly ordered our two brownies and a latte each.

Being a nut allergy sufferer I checked with the Brownie Bar a while back that their base ingredients don't contain nuts and I was so happy when they confirmed that they don't.  I usually have to avoid brownies as I have to be very wary of people adding hazelnuts to the mixture.   The Brownie Bar clearly label all of the brownies that contain nuts so I was able to pick out exactly what was safe for me to eat.

Brownie Bar Newcastle

We chose two to eat there and two to take home in a paper bag for later.    The choice is absolutely amazing, think of a flavour combination and the chances are that the Brownie Bar make it - Chocolate Baileys, Malteser, Oreo, Mint Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Lemon Meringue .... (I could sit here all day doing this!)

Brownie Bar Newcastle

Brownie Bar Newcastle

I chose a Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Brownie and a Chocolate Orange Brownie whilst Simon also opted for Chocolate Orange along with a Millionaire Brownie.

I wolfed my first one down, it was absolutely amazing, so rich and gooey with huge chunks of raspberry.   I then immediately had my eye on Simon's and as soon as I saw some caramel oozing out of his Millionaire Brownie my fork was attacking his treat before he had a chance to stop me.

As you can imagine our second brownies didn't make it home in their paper bags, they were on our plate and in our bellies before you could say "oooopsie!"   So yes, we had two brownies in a row and yep we did feel a little bit greedy and full afterwards.

Brownie Bar Newcastle

Brownie Bar Newcastle

As well as all of the lovely flavoured Brownies on a plate, the Brownie Bar also serve them up with ice-cream if that takes your fancy, or if you're feeling rather clever you can buy a jar of ingredients to "make your own".

I'm now a massive fan of the Brownie Bar and I'm not sure how I'll ever make it out of Eldon Square without a paper bag full of chocolate goodies each time I go shopping.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Dined Out

Today I've got a bit of a treat for anyone in the North East loving a good food bargain.

Dined Out is a website run by two Northumbria University students, Andrew and Liam.  They spotted a gap in the North East market for a website that offers the customer a combined service of making a restaurant reservation whilst taking advantage of special unique promotions.

Having lived in London, I know how successful similar sites in the capital are and the North East was really crying out for something similar considering the amount of lovely restaurants that we have up here.

The guys have worked hard to get some really good deals on Dined Out, their intention is to give food lovers the chance to indulge in an exclusive dining experience that they won't find elsewhere.
Some of the names on board include Peace and Loaf in Jesmond where you can get 2 courses, a side and a drink for £15.95, newly opened Restaurant DH1 in Durham which is offering 3 courses for 2 and Quayside favourite Gusto where you can get a lunch course and glass of wine for £9.95.
There are many other gems to be found and more and more restaurants are getting involved as the weeks go by. 
The beauty of Dined Out is that unlike other restaurant deals you don't have the hassle of printing off a paper voucher and you don't need to mention the deal to your waiter.  Dined Out does all of the hard work for you so all you need to do is book your table online, pay a small £2.00 booking fee, show up, enjoy your meal and automatically receive your discounted bill at the end.

Dined Out fits perfectly with modern day living, being able to book a restaurant online whilst sitting on the Metro is exactly what we need.

Simon and I gave Dined Out a try last week and our biggest challenge was trying to pick which restaurant offer to go for, quite a few of them were on my list of places I'm still to try so I was a little spoilt for choice.

In the end we decided to go to Piccolino for the 3 courses for £15.00 deal.  I've heard great things about Piccolino so I thought it was about time we gave it a go.

We turned up at the restaurant and gave our name and were then automatically given the special Dined Out menu without even having to mention the deal. 

Sometimes set menus can be a little restrictive but the Dined Out menu at Piccolino was really impressive.  The first course was Tuscan and Rosemary Breads with olives and then we had a large choice of starters and mains to pick from.  There were at least three dishes in each course that I wanted to try so we certainly weren't limited in our options.

For starters I had Fried Calamari, quite often I find that calamari is caked in too much batter but this dish was perfect with a great light coating - leaving me room for my main course.

Simon went for King Prawns sitting on Ciabatta swimming in a lovely chilli butter sauce, I'm not a huge fan of spicy food but I tried a small mouthful and it wasn't too hot so I was quite jealous because it was delicious.

For the main course Simon opted for the Grilled Chicken Breast which he ordered with a side dish of potatoes.   He got such a generous portion that I decided I needed to help him out with them so I tasted a few and they were seriously yummy.

I had the Funghi and Prosciutto Pizza which was as large as my plate but I still managed to eat every last bite.

I'm thoroughly impressed with Dined Out, having befriended them on Twitter before their launch I know how hard they have worked to get their venture off the ground and it's lovely to see that the site works so well. 

I will definitely be using Dined Out again and am so excited to see what other restaurants and deals get added to the site as time goes on.

So next time you're wanting to treat yourself to a meal out without breaking the bank why not have a look at the Dined Out website to see what offers tempt you, or even better sign up to the mailing list here so you never miss a deal!

I was invited by Dined Out to try out their website.  They paid the cost of my meal and we paid the cost of Simon's.   All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

Monday 21 April 2014

The Sky Lounge at the Vermont Hotel, Newcastle

If you were to fantasise about sipping a nice cool drink on a roof top bar you're probably picturing yourself somewhere hot and glamorous like LA or Miami.  I can't imagine that Newcastle would have crossed your mind.

Well, let me introduce you to the Sky Lounge at the Vermont Hotel, Newcastle's only roof top garden bar that overlooks some iconic landmarks.

Sky Lounge Vermont Hotel Roof Bar Newcastle

As you all know I'm a huge fan of a good view, especially when it's a view of the bridges on the Tyne so I've been wanting to get up to the roof terrace for ages.  When I first discovered that the Vermont had the Sky Lounge I was really disappointed to read that it was only open for functions, which meant I'd have to keep my fingers crossed that someone would invite me to an exclusive party or wedding that was being hosted on the roof. 

You may remember that I was at the Vermont only last weekend with Sarah for a quick cocktail.   I took that opportunity to ask the bar man about the roof and see if I could get myself up there for a sneaky peak.  Unfortunately it was a no go as there was a function on.  So imagine my joy when I discovered that less than a week later the Vermont were opening the Sky Lounge to everyone over the Easter weekend, meaning that us ordinary folk could enjoy the sunshine and some amazing views for the price of a drink.  

I decided to debut my pastel pink H&M skirt and wore it with a grey t-shirt, denim jacket and a statement necklace I bought from Primark in Edinburgh.   I was very brave and decided to go for no tights, I regretted it a few times during the day.  Whilst the sun was out it was a little breezy, especially on the roof.

The lounge is on the 12th floor of the hotel and is pretty large.   The seats are comfy and also nicely spread out which makes it feel quite exclusive and intimate.  I think on a hot Summer's day there really would be no better place to relax with friends over a few drinks. 

Sky Lounge Vermont Hotel Roof Bar Newcastle
I can't even begin to explain how amazing the views from the roof are, you can see for miles and the view along the Tyne gave me goose bumps.  I really hope that the Vermont continue to open the roof up throughout the Summer so that everyone can have the chance to head upwards to see Newcastle at its very best.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Happy Easter

How amazing is it to have a four day weekend?  I really wish that every weekend could be like this, I've always thought that two day weekends aren't long enough, I really appreciate having the time to sleep, chill out, go on adventures and do boring things like housework.  A normal weekend just doesn't give you enough time to do all of that.

I hope you are all having a great break.  I'm so excited that it's finally Easter Sunday, as you can see we may have over done it with the Easter treats.

Simon surprised me by getting me a Thorntons egg, a Malteser egg, a Dairy Milk Hoppy Bunny and, my personal favourite, Disney Princess Kinder Eggs.    I'm so excited to discover what toy I might get,  Ariel is on the wrapper so I'm hoping for something Little Mermaid themed.

We also managed to pick up a few free Easter bits with our O2 Priority Moments - a mini fried egg slab from Hotel Chocolat  and a net of eggs from WH Smith.

I then got a few other things from the supermarket to fill up the fridge, just because I like to make sure that I've tried one of everything.  I couldn't help but get a giant dark Lindt bunny, some mini white Lindt bunnies, Cadbury's Crème Eggs, Caramel Eggs, Mini Eggs and Malteaster Bunnies.    Then just when we thought we possibly couldn't have any more chocolate Simon's Mum bought us an Easter egg each.

To finish off I bought a couple of packets of Hot Cross Buns from M&S.  They have the most amazing flavours there so it was hard to choose which to get but in the end I went for Belgian Chocolate and Toffee and Apple.

Don't worry, we don't plan to eat all of this at once, chocolate tends to last quite a while in our house and we are currently still working our way through Christmas chocolate.

The flowers were a beautiful Easter Posie that I picked up from Tesco for £3.00.   They looked beautiful in the shop with all the different coloured Spring flowers.  Unfortunately as soon as I got my hands on them they didn't look the same.  My flower arranging skills are horrendous.

We've spent all of today in the cinema for a proper chill out session, we managed three films in a row and I took a little box of Easter treats to keep myself going.  

I hope whatever you did today you had a great time with your loved ones.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Primark Haul

I hope everyone is having a great Easter Weekend, I'm having an amazing time and I honestly wish this weekend could go on forever. 

I've been back to Primark today and rather than photographing everything I've done my first ever video to show you my purchases.  Please be gentle with me, I had no idea what I was doing and did it all in one take (as you will be able to tell!) I waffle lots and, being a complete scruff, my hair is a mess!

If anyone has any tips (ie good video editing programs) so I can look more professional next time please do let me know .. or let me know if I'm a disaster on film and I'll promise not to make any more ;)


Friday 18 April 2014

Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House

If you've been reading New Girl in Toon from the beginning you'll know that Simon and I are huge fans of Jesmond  Dene House, a boutique hotel on the outskirts of Newcastle.  It doesn't matter how many afternoon teas we try, JDH will always be our favourite.  Simon is such a huge fan that every time we approach the hotel his face lights up in the biggest grin.  He'd happily move in today if he could.   

It was about 11 months ago that we were lucky enough to check in to a suite for the night to celebrate our first anniversary, it was back in the days before my blog had any readers so I'd love you to go check out the post here as we had such a lovely time.

We decided a while back that we'd treat ourselves to afternoon tea over Easter weekend and pretty quickly realised that a visit to JDH was long overdue.  

We were absolutely delighted to wake up this morning to sunshine and blue skies so I immediately raided my wardrobe to see if I could finally wear something new.

I picked out this beautiful paisley print dress that I got for Christmas and wore it with my blue peep toe heels.  It also seemed the appropriate time to debut my lovely bag from H&M, although Simon was a bit bemused at me taking such a large bag out to afternoon tea.

Sorry, few too many outfit photos there but I love the dress so much I couldn't pick between the photos!

We managed to get to JDH 30 minutes early, which was pretty clever really as it meant we got to enjoy some drinks on the terrace.  With the sun beating down on us making us feel really warm I decided to order my first Pimms of the year.  Apparently JDH have only just added it back onto the menu so I think my drink was actually the first Pimms made by JDH in 2014. 
Jesmond Dene House

We sat chatting in the sunshine, taking in the beautiful view and perusing the afternoon tea menu.  I really loved that I had my own "nut free" menu as being allergic to nuts can be a bit of a pain when you're an afternoon tea addict so it was nice to get some special attention. 

We usually take our afternoon tea in the Cocktail Bar but this time we decided for a change and booked to eat in the Garden Room, the lovely light conservatory looking out onto the garden.  I'm so glad that we did because it was the perfect room for afternoon tea. 

Afternoon tea at JDH  is £19.50 but it's worth every single penny.   The service is impeccable, the atmosphere is so relaxing and the food is gorgeous.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House
We started off with our sandwiches Roast Beef, Rocket & Horseradish; Mature Cheddar & Apple Pickle; Potted Salmon and Egg Mayonnaise.  They were lovely but in all honesty we raced through them to get to the sweet (we just can't help ourselves!)

As it's Easter weekend as well as getting a cheese scone and fruit scone with jam and cream we also got a little hot cross bun each.   It was such a lovely added touch.  Simon slathered his in jam and cream, which I think is perhaps a little strange?

The final tier was, of course, the cakes and I think it was probably the best cake tier we've ever had at JDH.   The selection was Rose & White Chocolate Shortbread (which I loved because it tasted of Turkish Delight), Sticky Toffee Cheesecake (Simon's favourite), Chocolate Marshmallow Truffle and Lemon Sponge & Vanilla Frosting.

Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House

We were pretty sensible for a change and attempted to eat everything at a steady pace (we have been known to wolf down an entire afternoon tea in less than an hour) whilst drinking copious amounts of tea (if you talk to Simon he will tell you that I more or less drained both teapots that we had and he didn't get much of a look in). 

I was feeling pretty giddy as the sun was out and so thought that it'd be the perfect day to give Simon an "Afternoon Tea Name" which I decided would be Cecil.   Personally I thought it was pretty funny but after a couple times of me asking him to "pass the tea Cecil" he started to refuse to answer to his new name.  Spoilsport!

As usual we were completely full to bursting by the end, I tried to convince Cecil (sorry I mean Simon!) to wheel me back up the hill to the Metro in one of the Garden Lounge chairs but he made me get up and walk.  

We've had such a wonderful start to our Easter Weekend so thanks to everyone at Jesmond Dene House for giving us yet another perfect experience. 

Thursday 17 April 2014

A Perfect Escape

As a child I loved reading, every night I would take myself to bed with a book and would spend a frantic hour desperately reading as much as I could before Mum or Dad would appear to switch my light off, even then I quite often sneakily carried on reading under the duvet by torch light trying to get to the end of the next chapter before going to sleep.  I loved adventure books and along with many other children my age adored getting lost in the worlds created by Enid Blyton.

Unfortunately as I grew older and entered my teens my passion for reading got slightly lost and was replaced by hanging out with friends and working hard for my exams which a few years later turned into hanging out with friends and working in an office. 

Reading is something I'm always wanting to get myself back into, demonstrated by my shelf of unread books.  I read quite a bit last Summer when we had lovely weather so am hoping that when the thick Winter tights come off this year that I'll also reach for my forgotten books and start reading again.

To fuel my desire to get back into my old favourite hobby I recently found myself in Barter Books, a second hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland which is an absolute paradise for book lovers or anyone wanting to rediscover their reading mojo.

Barter Books Alnwick

Its beautiful home is in the old Alnwick railway station and there are several nods to the building's former life with a model train running round on a track above your head and various pieces of memorabilia dotted around the shop. 

Much of the building has stayed the same including the old waiting room which is now a reading area complete with comfy seats and open fire.  It is the perfect place to relax and get completely lost in a book.  Unfortunately this time I didn't have the time to stop and unwind but I did peep my head into the waiting room and loved how quiet it was, it was full of people yet was so still and silent - the perfect place for a read.

Barter Books Alnwick

The Station Buffet is home to a little tea room serving sandwiches, baked potatoes and cakes, it's very popular and every seat was taken so I'm guessing the cake must be very good (I know you are all falling off your chairs that I went somewhere and didn't have cake!)

Barter Books Alnwick

The main space in Barter Books is huge, there are shelves upon shelves of books  all organised into different categories.  There is something for every taste and so much to look at.  

Barter Books Alnwick

Barter Books Alnwick

Barter Books Alnwick

I love that the shop is dog friendly, it was hard to know whether to get excited about all the books or all the dogs. 

Barter Books Alnwick

Dotted in between the shelves are lots of comfy chairs inviting you to crash with a book.   The shop has such a wonderful atmosphere, it feels like a very large old library and the smell of coffee and old books made me feel really happy and nostalgic. 

Barter Books Alnwick

In the past I've been pretty guilty of buying brand new books and then letting them sit on my book shelf for ages.  Barter encourages people to bring in their unwanted books in exchange for credit to spend on other books in the store.  Next time I go on holiday and want some trashy chick lit to take to the beach I know where I'll be heading to stock up!

Barter Books Alnwick

Barter Books also has a wonderful collection of really old books and a pretty cool claim to fame.   A few years ago they discovered a rare original of the famous WWII "Keep Calm" poster lying forgotten in a box of old books.   You can see the original in the shop and they sell replica posters for you to take home.

Barter Books Alnwick

 I loved my time at Barter and will definitely be back next time I'm in Alnwick, I can't wait to find myself something new to read and put my feet up with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
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