Saturday 31 October 2015

October Days

Welcome to a brand new feature!  At the end of every month I'm going to ask you all to grab a cuppa (and maybe some cake, you know I always support eating cake!) and have a nice little chat.  It's occurred to me that I'm usually so busy telling you about the latest restaurants and events happening in the Toon that I don't often get a chance to just sit and chat.  

One of my favourite things in life is Instagram and I'm forever snapping on my phone.  Quite often these photos never get used to on the blog so I'm going to take this opportunity every month to have a little browse through my Instagram and share a few stories of what I've been up to over the last few weeks.

Go Bold, or Go Home

I was having a little sort through my makeup stash a few weeks ago and stumbled across a lip product that came in My Little Box.  I'm not usually one for a bold lip but I gave the bright red colour a whirl and really loved it.  I think Simon got the shock of his life when he saw me and he did spend the rest of the day refusing to kiss me in case he ended up with a bright red mouth. 

I've decided no kisses is a small price to pay. I loved going bold for the day and I think I may start to have a hunt round to see what other colours I can find.  If anyone has recommendations for great bold colours for Autumn let me know.

The Cake Escape

I try to be healthy during the week (to prepare myself for naughty foodie weekends!) but this month I couldn't resist a "Great Cake Escape" one lunchtime.  The cosy Great British Cupcakery was the destination of choice and I indulged in a raspberry and chocolate scone filled with a very naughty amount of jam and cream.   Absolutely delicious and it kept me going for the rest of the day.  I think Cake Escapes may become a regular thing.

Autumn Days

I've been fully embracing Autumn this month and, dare I say it, feeling myself getting a little giddy at the prospect of Christmas.  Every time I'm out and about in the early evening and I notice it starting to get dark I feel a little flutter of excitement in my tummy!  Putting my warm coat and boots on has made me feel pretty happy.

Exploring Seaham

I finally managed to meet up with my good friends Kayleigh and Lisa this month after we'd all had a crazy few weeks that meant we didn't get a chance to see each other.  We decided to take a trip to the coastal town of Seaham and had cake in the rather lovely Lookout.  Seaham is pretty small but I can definitely see myself returning for a cake crawl, for somewhere so tiny there's a lot of places to eat!

Bridge Fail

The tourists visiting our beautiful city love to stand along the banks of the Tyne to watch the Millennium Bridge rise.  It's a pretty special bridge, being the only one of its kind that tilts to let boats pass underneath.   I discovered this month that as a local it can be pretty inconvenient when it rises when you're supposed to be on the other side of the river - not ideal when you're already running late!

Hunting for Iced Buns

It's not unusual for me to crave cakes after watching the Great British Bake Off but October saw me in a slightly ridiculous rush about Toon looking for iced buns after their appearance on the Bake Off.  Newcastle has more branches of Greggs than the average city but despite running into 6 shops in one afternoon (I wish I was joking!) I couldn't find one anywhere.  

In the end I managed to get my hands on a pack in M&S, which then obviously lead to me eating more than I meant to.

Halloween at Pet Lamb Patisserie

Happy Halloween!  Simon has literally been counting down to this day as he managed to convince me to buy a big bag of treats for any passing trick or treaters!  Anyone else thinking that he's possibly hoping that they'll never turn up and he can eat them all himself?

The lovely ladies at Pet Lamb Patisserie have been celebrating Halloween by decorating their pretty shop in the Grainger Market and are making some rather delicious Pumpkin Cupcakes.  If you're in Newcastle today make sure you pop along to check out the amazing goodies!

For more adventures from New Girl in Toon make sure you're following me on Instagram


Wednesday 28 October 2015

Wedding Chat: Budgeting for your Big Day

From the second you've said "YES" it can be pretty hard not to rush full steam ahead into wedding planning.  After all, this is the moment that many of us have dreamt about since we were little girls.  But to prepare yourself for the months of wedding planning ahead and to make it as stress free as possible it is essential to put on your sensible head and sit down with your partner to make a budget before you do anything else.

Funding a wedding is not cheap and even though there are a few corners you can cut, the wedding industry is big business and every little detail can add significant expense to your day.  Budgeting for your big day is no easy task!

The most important starting point is to work out how much money you have to spend on your wedding.  If you're lucky and getting some extra from relatives make sure you find out how much.  If you are paying for most or all of the wedding yourself put together a saving plan to work out how much you can realistically save each month towards your big day.

Newcastle Building Society have produced a really helpful Guide to Getting Married with hints and tips on setting up a budget, wedding savings account and wedding insurance which is a great starting point to planning your day.

Once you know how much money you have you can start thinking about the size and theme of your wedding.  Just remember, the more guests you invite the more expensive it will become.  You will be paying per head for the day guests with a small supplement for your evening guests so make sure you're only inviting the most important people to celebrate the whole day with you.

With an idea of your numbers and budget you can start looking at venues but make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money.   Some venues have an extortionate hire charge, some insist that you fill their accommodation for the nights before and after the wedding, some may not have their own linen, tables or chairs and some might insist on you using their expensive caterers.  It's worth taking your time and putting in the extra effort researching to make sure you are getting exactly what you want for the money that you are spending.

Once the venue is booked you quickly realise how much else there is to think about and budget for.  The all important wedding dress, rings, invitations, evening entertainment as well as easy to forget extras like wedding insurance.  Make sure that you fully research every element of your wedding so there are no expensive surprises.

Every couple has different priorities when it comes to a wedding.  Simon and I have decided that our priorities are investing in a great photographer and great locally produced food. We will be making sacrifices in other areas to make our wedding affordable for us.   Never lose sight of the fact that this is YOUR big day, don't end up spending lots of extra money just to please your friends or relatives.

I have a few ideas of how you can save some extra much needed pennies.  We certainly aren't going for all of these budget options, but they are things to definitely consider to save money.

DIY Wedding

If you love arts and crafts and have a great eye for detail why not put together your perfect wedding yourself.   Just remember that a DIY wedding can be very time consuming so make sure you have enough time to organise, and make sure you get some friends and family involved to help.

Dresses and Suits

If you don't want to spend loads of money on your wedding dress there are a few high street options.    BHS have a beautiful range of wedding dresses from as little as £85.00 and stores like M&S and Next have a great range of suits for the Groom and Ushers.  

Traditional bridesmaid dresses can be very uncomfortable, unpractical and unflattering!  Why not head to the High Street and find a dress from a store that you love to shop in yourself.  The ladies in your life will certainly appreciate having a dress they feel great in and can wear again.

Talented Friends

If you have a friend who bakes cakes, is great with hair and makeup or plays in a local band why not see if they'd be prepared to offer their services for your wedding at a discounted rate.  We have a great saying here in the North East - Shy bairns get nowt!

Trash the Tradition

A lot of people love wedding traditions but there are no rules to say that you have to have every element of a traditional wedding at your celebration.  Not incorporating some can mean saving quite a bit of money.  Maybe think of an alternative to using flowers or ditch traditional favours.


Wedding cars can be expensive!  Why not get your Dad to pick you up in his car and drive you to the ceremony?  My sister did this at her wedding recently and she really appreciated a bit of "normal" time just driving along the countryside with Dad.   A lovely and simple moment in a crazy day.

People make a Party!

Don't stress about spending loads of money on entertaining your guests. I've been to plenty of weddings where we've spent the entire night dancing to a Spotify playlist and it's taken us an entire night to even realise there isn't a DJ!  Your friends will make the party, and they don't need fancy lighting, an expensive DJ or a light up dance floor to enjoy themselves!

Win a £50 M&S Voucher

One of our favourite high street stores for wedding shopping is Marks and Spencers.  You can buy Wedding Flowers, Invitations, Wedding  Cakes and  Bridesmaid Dresses.  To help you on your way to planning your perfect wedding Newcastle Building  Society want to give one of you lucky lot a £50.00 M&S voucher. 

To enter just use the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 26 October 2015

The Bank, Low Fell

If you were to delve back into the blog archives to October last year you would discover a post about afternoon tea at The Bank in Low Fell.  It was a pretty standard affair and a little disappointing in parts, so we promptly forgot about The Bank and never went back.  It seems that others agreed with us and shortly after our visit The Bank ceased trading.

So when I heard that The Bank was back in the hands of its original creator, Kevin Brown I was keen to head over the water to Gateshead to see how things had improved.

One thing that I've always loved about The Bank is its stunning building, dating back to the 1840s its position on Low Fell's high street certainly catches your eye.  This year The Bank has had an extensive refurbishment and the original team are back and focussing on bringing "good food in great surroundings at honest prices".

Last Monday I was invited along to the re launch and with the promise of a four course tasting menu and live entertainment you couldn't get a better start to the week.

The Bank has certainly changed, gone is the old carpet and formal setting and instead we were welcomed into a perfect space with wooden floors and exposed lights.

With the beautiful sounds of acoustic musician, Gareth Beddard in the background a small group of us gathered in the upstairs restaurant to sample some food prepared by the Bank's original head chef, Lee Walker.

The new menu sees great quality dishes using locally sourced ingredients and our tasting menu began with a fantastic selection of starters.   Garlic and Chilli King Prawns, Creamed Mushroom Bruschetta and Charred BBQ Chicken.

This was followed by a Fish Course of Tomato Chorizo Cassoulet, Traditional Fish Pie with Creamed Potato and Gruyere Crust Tempura King Prawns!

My favourite of the course was the beautiful Chorizo Cassoulet, it had a sneaky little spicy punch to it, making it the perfect winter warmer now that the darker months are approaching.

At this point I should probably confess to you that we were supposed to be sharing this mammoth amount of food with the person opposite us, except I somehow managed to be sat opposite an empty seat so had a lot of food all to myself.  I promise you that I exercised a suitable amount of restraint, although it all tasted so lovely it was very difficult not to leave each plate completely clean.

The highlight of the evening for me was the Meat Course.  We were each given a generous selection of Fillet, Rump and Sirloin Steak along with a Rack of Lamb with a Wholegrain and Walnut Crust and Parisian Potatoes, Kale, Hand Cut Chips and Red Wine Jus.

The steak was absolute heaven, perfectly cooked and deliciously tender I would have happily sat all night eating plate after plate full. 

Our wine for the evening came from the Bank's wine supplier, Corney & Barrow.  Having lived in London for a few years Corney & Barrow are no strangers to me as one of the top wine merchants in the city and it's great to see them supplying wine in Gateshead.  We had a couple of whites and reds to try, chosen to perfectly compliment our food.

Now we all know I love my dessert so imagine my eyes when our last course of the evening was a selection of three.  Chocolate Orange Tart, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Poached Pear with Amaretto Ice Cream.  I enjoyed every mouthful of each so I really can't pick a favourite.  I would definitely order any of them off the menu again. 

Browsing through the Bank's menu on their shiny new website I can't help but make some plans to visit again.   With a delicious looking Sunday Lunch menu and Weekend Brunch I can see myself heading back to Gateshead much sooner than I expected.

Friday 23 October 2015

Desk Organising for Stationery Geeks

There's a room in our new house that Simon and I love to hang out in and spend most of our time.  The office!  Not being able to agree on the set up and refusing to share we ended up opting for a desk each which is a pretty fantastic setup.  It allows us to spend the evenings together, me sitting at my blogging desk frantically typing away and him sitting at his desk gaming with his friends.

My blogging desk is my pride and joy and I love gathering bits and bobs to make it pretty and functional.  I'm a definite office geek and it's great having a little space in the house that's all mine.

My latest obsession is my new organiser from Qwerkity, a site full of the most fantastic gift ideas when you want something a little fun and different.

Made of white wood and featuring three little drawers and thirteen different sized compartments I've had great fun stuffing this full of stationery.

Giving me the perfect excuse to go on a massive haul in Smiths and Paperchase (I may have gone overboard with the coloured Sharpies and did I really need those rose gold paperclips?) I now have pretty much anything I could ever need in easy reach.

I have to admit I'm spending quite a lot of time just gazing at my desk organiser, there's something about seeing all my stationery together in one place that makes my geeky heart sing with joy, I'm also quite smug about how beautiful and tidy my desk is looking when Simon is frantically scrabbling around his work area for a pen.

I'm thinking of ordering myself another one of these for my dressing table, it'd be the perfect place to store makeup and I also think it would be rather brilliant in our hallway as a storage place for the bits and bobs that seem to keep spreading themselves all over the house (it'd be great to solve the never ending problem of "where are my keys?")

With Christmas approaching why not sneakily leave the gifts for her section of the website open on your computer!

Let me know if my new desk organiser fills you with as much geeky joy as it does me!

Wednesday 21 October 2015

The Naked Deli, Chillingham Road

For a while now I've been wanting to visit the Naked Deli.  My friends have been keeping my Instagram feed full with beautiful looking food and colourful juices from the Deli in Chillingham Road and each time I've been more than a little envious.
There's just been one thing holding me back.  The Naked Deli use unprocessed food to create clean dishes and, as we all know, Simon and I are big fans of huge stodgy burgers and massive slabs of cake. We weren’t really sure that the Naked Deli was very "us"

With the rumour that Naked Deli could be opening a new restaurant in Gosforth and the news that their healthy takeaway food is now available in the new look Fenwick's Food Hall, we decided enough is enough.  It was time to be brave and go clean!
Everything at the Naked Deli is prepared fresh on site using whole and natural state foods.  Not a single thing on the menu is processed meaning there are no hidden nasties lurking in the food – you won't find any unwanted sugars or chemicals round here.

The Naked Deli's motto is "to look good naked, eat naked" – who doesn't want to look good naked? 

Simon and I are pretty much last to the Naked Deli party, we realised this when we showed up for lunch and just about managed to grab the last table.  The space is gorgeous and light, with exposed lights, white tiles and light wood furnishings but with only a handful of seats you have to be quick on your feet. 

With its location on Chillingham Road the Deli is hugely popular with students and attracts a lot of people who have just left the gym.  At one point, we were the only people there not in lycra and we did feel a little like we'd turned up to a fancy dress party but not received the memo.  Not too awkward, but it did make us feel guilty for having skipped so many gym sessions that week.

We'd just missed breakfast so turned our attention to the lunch menu which is served from 11:30am.

Simon is obsessed with juices (part of his one man mission to convince me to let him buy a Nutribullet) and so ordered the Naked Cleanse – Kale, Spinach, Lime, Ginger, Apple and Coconut.  All of the juices at Naked Deli are cold pressed on site and served in bottles so you can either drink them in the Deli or take them away.  The Naked Deli also have their own Naked Juice Cleanse programme which looks fantastic. 

I decided on a hot drink and ordered the Maca Almond Latte.  Wow!   It was one of the best Lattes I have ever had.  It tasted so creamy that it felt really indulgent – amazing to think that it was far better for me than my usual order at Starbucks!
The food menu is packed with so many delicious dishes I struggled to make a choice and ended up having to pick between four!
Simon went for the Crispy Quinoa Coated Chicken Fillets served with Baked Sweet Potato Chips and Dip. 

The chicken was delicious and it was lovely to be able to taste it properly without it being fried in nasty fats.  We quite often order sweet potato chips when we're out and about but these were different to any we'd ever had.  They weren't fried so were beautifully soft and served with a delicious dip that was homemade by the Deli.

I opted for Kale, Feta and Spinach Patties topped with two Organic Poached Eggs.  I'm a big fan of poached eggs but am used to having them served on a muffin so was curious to see how I'd feel about my eggs sitting on a bed of healthy greens.  My lunch was gorgeous and I didn't miss having muffins at all!
If, like us, you love your sweet treats you don't miss out at the Naked Deli.  They've built quite a reputation in the area for creating delicious clean cakes and biscuits using ingredients such as raw cacao and avocado.  The cakes are proudly displayed on the counter and they look just as good as any cakes I've ever seen in a bakery. 

Unfortunately for me and my annoying allergy they all contain nuts which is a bit of a disappointment but an understandable necessity to get a good taste and texture to the cakes.  So if someone could pop in and try out one of the Raw Cheesecakes or the Avacado Chocolate Torte and report back I'd appreciate it!
The big question on my mind as we had sat down at our table and glanced over the lunch menu was, "would eating clean mean compromising on taste"?   Now I realise what an absolutely ridiculous way of thinking.  It's quite worrying that we associate great tasting food with piles of grease and heaps of sugar.  Strip away all of the added extras that often appears in our food and you are left with food the way it is supposed to be enjoyed – fresh, filling and full of flavour. 

I for one am a convert and the visit to Naked Deli has made me realise that eating out doesn't have to mean consuming a ridiculous amount of sugar, salt, fat and calories in one sitting.  I will be back, and if you have always been curious about your local healthy eating restaurant I urge you to give it a go!  You may be surprised!

Monday 19 October 2015

Vintage Romance: Rose & Co

A few months ago, before the chaos of the house move, I was sent some Rose & Co goodies to try out.  As soon as I opened the package I knew that these were products I definitely wanted to save for the new house so they've been sitting untouched for all this time (I'm so impressed I managed to resist temptation for so long!)

Rose & Co are a Yorkshire based brand created by mother and daughter team Pauline and Caroline Rose who bought an old druggist shop in the Yorkshire village of Haworth.   The Rose ladies were determined to return the shop to its old Victorian splendour and are now the proud owners of a charming little apothecary complete with antique fittings, glass counters and old chemist bottles. 

If, like me, you are completely swept away by the Rose story you will probably love the Rose & Co products which are as beautifully romantic as the Victorian store they call home.  Rose & Co use locally sourced ingredients and many of their products are created using traditional handmade methods.

First up I tried a few bits from No. 84, the new signature range fragranced with rose, tea, violet, jasmine and iris enriched with cedar, amber and musk.

The Hand Wash takes pride of place in our new bathroom and looks absolutely stunning, far fancier than any hand wash we've ever had before.  I adore the pink and gold packaging and I'm hoping we still have some left when we welcome our first guest to the house!  The Hand Wash is really gentle and smells delicious.

Unfortunately the health and safety rules of living in a new build mean that we currently don't have any hot water coming out of our bath tap.   I'm missing my Sunday afternoon baths so much and you can guarantee that when we finally have some nice hot water my Rose & Co bath soak will be top of my pamper list.  I like to open it every now and again for a smell!

We all know how much I love my cupcakes so I did get a bit excited when I saw the last product from the No. 84 range.  A ridiculously beautiful cupcake soap.  It never fails to make me smile when I reach for it in the shower every morning and I'll definitely be buying another one when it's gone.

Saving the best for last, I am obsessed with the Rose Petal Salve.  It's fast becoming my "go to" saviour now that the colder weather has appeared.   When I'm not slathering it on my lips it's going on my dry elbows and cuticles and I've even used it to tame my brows.  
With Christmas approaching I definitely recommend giving Rose & Co a look, they have some great gifts for the ladies in your life.


Friday 16 October 2015

My North East Story: Ten Penny Dreams

When the lovely Amy from Ten Penny Dreams got in touch asking if she could share her North East Story I was thrilled.  Amy's blog is beautiful and an absolute dream to read.  Sharing her love of writing, reading and travelling it's easy to get lost for hours exploring!   Amy lives in Middlesbrough, an area of the North East I'm really not familiar with but her passion for her home town has made me want to jump on a train immediately!

1. What is your North East story?

I was born and raised in Middlesbrough and have always been proud to be a ‘Smoggie’.

Our town doesn’t have the best reputation in the national media, who only ever photograph the
industrial landscape and rundown areas. They don’t bother with the beautiful parks and the
landmarks or the public art. We have some fantastic places to visit in Middlesbrough, like mima, our
contemporary art gallery, or The Dorman Museum.

I studied at both Teesside and Newcastle Universities, and as a writer, try to get involved in some of
the cultural aspects of the area. We have one of the best writing agencies in the country in New
Writing North, and Teesside has a huge growing digital industry that’s full of local start-ups.

I write about the area regularly on my blog, as there so many things worth sharing.

2. Why do you love living in the North East?

I wrote a more in-depth post about this a few months ago, but the North East is a fantastic place to
live because it’s so varied and the people are so friendly and proud of the area. We have cities like
Newcastle and Durham that provide nightlife, shopping and culture, as well as stunning countryside
on our doorstep.

It’s also quite an unknown place, which those from outside the area wouldn’t necessarily think to
visit. That makes it all the more special to the people who live here, because we’re in on the secret!

3. Where’s your favourite place in the North East to relax?

Heading out into the countryside is always really relaxing, but I also love wandering around with
camera, taking photos and trying to explore a place with fresh eyes. There are some really fun and
quirky places to do that locally, like Teesaurus Park in Middlesbrough, which is full of dinosaur

If you’re more into pampering, there are some gorgeous country house hotels with spas in the area.
My favourite is Rockliffe Hall, just outside Darlington.

4. Recommend some yummy food places

Danni, beat me to this one with her North East Story, but my favourite place to eat out is The
Bay Horse in the village of Great Broughton, which is just outside Middlesbrough. They do the most
amazing lasagne: proper, chunky meat, tons of cheese, with hand cut chips. They also do a great
version of Middlesbrough’s very own dish, the parmo. If you’ve never had one, it’s chicken breast,
smothered in breadcrumbs, Bechamel sauce and cheese. Heaven!

I also love Lord Stones Café and The Blackwell Ox, which are both in Carlton-in-Cleveland. The
Blackwell Ox has a really tasty Thai menu and Lord Stones serves a great range of cakes and
sandwiches, plus it has a lovely farm shop. It’s actually a walker’s café, built into the hillside just
along the Cleveland Way, and has camping pods in the grounds.

There are also some great restaurants in Middlesbrough itself and in the nearby market town of
Yarm. We eat often at Starters and The Purple Pig.

5. Describe your perfect day in the North East

It would probably start with a long lie-in, before heading over to Carlton for a walk along the
Cleveland Way, stopping at Lord Stones for a drink and a snack.

Then we might head across to Redcar to wander along the beach at South Gare. It’s not the ‘nicest’
beach, but I love how rugged and industrial the landscape is. It’s a great place to take photographs
and I always feel inspired after I’ve been there. It’s also the same stretch of beach where the Dunkirk
scene in Atonement was filmed.

In the afternoon, we would call in at Teesside Park to explore the shops or catch a film at the
cinema. Then it would be across to Yarm for a meal and cocktails at The Purple Pig, before heading
into Middlesbrough for a drink at Mink Bar or to an event at mima, who sometimes run fantastic live
music evenings or garden parties to tie in with the launch of a new exhibition.

Make sure you check out Ten Penny Dreams!   All of the slots for My North East Story have now been taken ... it may well return next year so watch this space!

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Euro Hostel, Glasgow

Quite often when I'm planning a city break I really struggle to find hotels that are affordable.  If I'm rushing about during the day exploring somewhere new all I really want is a comfortable bed to rest my head for the night.

During our recent North East Bloggers trip to Glasgow we stayed at the Euro Hostel, which is a great city centre location and has private rooms from £20.00 or, if you're happy to share a dorm, £10.00.

Wanting to make the most of our girls weekend we booked into one of  Euro Hostel's brand new VIP Suites for an added touch of luxury.  The Suites offer accommodation for larger groups, sleeping between 2 and 20 at a bargain price.  Absolutely perfect for a girls weekend or a hen party.  Our suite slept 8 people and fully occupied only costs £21.25 per person (wow!)

Now I must confess that I had ideas of what the hostel may be like. Having never stayed in one before I was a little worried it'd be full of people half my age who would be making loads of noise and that our rooms would possibly be a bit tatty and perhaps not very comfortable.

I was so wrong!  Our suite was spacious, very clean (to the point that it smelt a little too strongly of cleaning fluid) and really comfortable. 

After quickly putting down our bags we decided not to head out into the city and instead popped down to the Hostel's own bar, Mint and Lime.   There were plenty of seats available and there was a nice atmosphere with a few people gathered round the TVs to watch the rugby whilst others chatted with friends. Looking round the bar I noticed people of all ages including a few older couples.  The Euro Hostel appeals to a wide range of people.

There are some fantastic offers to be had at the bar including pints from £2.95 and bottles of wine from £5.95, just what we needed after our train journey.

Feeling comfortable and settled for the evening we decided to spend the rest of the night in our suite.   Each suite has its own private lounge with a few welcome additions.  We had an HD TV (which unfortunately we couldn't get to work) and a football table.

We opened up some Prosecco and the hours flew by as we gathered round our quirky coffee table having a good catch up.

Before we knew it our beds were calling and we made our way into our bedroom.   Our room consisted of 4 bunk beds and I was immediately taken back to my childhood.  For a brief second I considered taking a top bunk, but then my sensible adult head got the better of me and I decided to go for a bottom bed. 

The beds were really cosy and each one came with a little shelf for your phone (please tell me I'm not the only person who has to check Twitter and Facebook before going to sleep!), reading light and plug socket.  We all appreciated the free Wifi and happily ignored each other in favour of playing on our phones before falling asleep.  You know you're with good friends when you can get away with burying your nose in your phone every now and again!

We all prepared ourselves to be woken up by loud neighbours but it didn't happen!  I had the best nights sleep, managing a solid 9 hours which is unheard of.

Feeling fully refreshed shower time was quick with 3 private bathrooms in our suite.  We all loved the large mirror in our bedroom complete with colourful stools, it was quite the novelty being able to sit together and do our makeup (I love having a nose through other people's make up stash).

Before breakfast we decided a little morning fresh air would be rather nice so we grabbed a few minutes in the Secret Garden, a lovely little outside space that's exclusive to the Hostel's suites.  The outdoor terrace is a great addition and the ideal place to enjoy a morning coffee or some alfresco drinks in the evening.

Having enjoyed our time in the bar the evening before we decided to return to Mint and Lime for breakfast which was a £5 all you can eat extravaganza.  I always get greedy at a breakfast buffet so helped myself to some cereal followed by a cooked breakfast, washed down with juice and tea. I almost picked up a blueberry muffin for later but then decided that might be a little greedy.

The Euro Hostel prides itself on bridging the gap between a hostel and a budget hotel.  That means it's great for the travelling student but equally as great for couples wanting a city break, friends exploring a new city or hen groups.   The one thing I learnt from my stay is to never judge something before you've tried it. Our stay was comfortable and relaxing and I wouldn't hesitate to book again.

You'll also find Euro Hostel in two of my favourite cities Newcastle and Edinburgh so if you're looking for fantastic budget accommodation you know where to head.
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