Saturday 31 December 2016

December Days

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas celebrating with your friends and family and are feeling suitably plump and relaxed. Here are the Christmassy things that didn't make the blog this month.

Festive Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House

Simon's birthday falls, rather inconveniently, a few days before Christmas. This year when I asked him what he wanted to do he announced it had been a while since we'd had afternoon tea at Jesmond Dene House. So we enjoyed a blissful afternoon sat by the fire munching our way through a cake stand of festive treats. We've been to Jesmond Dene House so many times but we both agreed that this was our favourite visit to date - it was so relaxing, the atmosphere was amazing and that fire got me very excited for Christmas.

Festive Afternoon Tea Jesmond Dene House

Christmas Sausages

What would Christmas be without a new Christmas jumper? There were so many that I had my eye on this year but it was good ol' Primark that came out the winner. As soon as I spotted this cute festive sausage dog print I knew it had to be mine.

Primark Christmas Jumper

Festive Cups

Did anyone count how many festive drinks they had during December? I'm such a sucker for the festive cups, I think I actually like them more than the drinks! This years offering from Costa were so cute. I seem to remember that this particular one was a Honeycomb Latte - delicious!

Costa Festive Cup

The Christmas Shopping Plan

I definitely have the key to perfect Christmas shopping! Split it across a few weekends and always start at 8:00 am on a Saturday in early December just as the shops are opening. You get a few blissful hours of peace and quiet before the craziness happens at which point you can hide in Fat Hippo eating festive burgers! Now if someone can teach me how to wrap presents effortlessly I'd be forever grateful.

Zapatista Nights

Somewhere in between the turkey dinners and the mince pies I managed a night at Zapatista Burrito Bar to celebrate the launch of their new After 5 Menu. I promise I'll be reporting back in full soon but in the meantime I had to tell you about their fantastic new cocktail menu. This beauty is the Classic Margarita and it's a delicious way to soothe your mouth after one too many jalapeños.

Zapatista Cocktails

Wedding Photos

We got our wedding photos back this month and I am over the moon with them. It took me a lot of research to find the perfect photographer for our big day, I wanted beautiful photos that told a story and our photographer Katie Byram really delivered the goods. I am obsessed with these romantic countryside photos of us in the long grass, it's hard to believe this was taken at Northumberlandia! I have loads more of our official photos to share with you next month and I promise I'll finally be telling you all about our wedding.

Katie Bryam Wedding Photographer

Festive Foliage at Dobson & Parnell

Anyone else completely obsessed with Christmas wreaths? I have to stop myself photographing my neighbour's front door every time I stroll past (I don't want them thinking I'm any crazier than they already do!). New restaurant, Dobson & Parnell opened on the Newcastle Quayside this month and it wasn't long before I spotted this gorgeous wreath hanging on their door - isn't it a beauty? Unfortunately I haven't stepped inside yet but I have a table booked for the New Year and I can't wait to give it a go!

Dobson and Parnell

Christmas Eve Traditions

Simon and I have been travelling between both sides of the family this Christmas with trips to Norwich and Manchester but we made sure that our Christmas traditions travelled with us. Last year we decided to do a few presents on Christmas Eve all with the theme of getting comfy and cosy ready for Santa. This year my new husband treated me to some snuggly new F&F PJs, a mini bottle of Baileys, an indulgent Lindt teddy and some unicorn slippers that I am completely in love with.

Norwich Roof Garden

It's crazy to think that I left Norwich 8 years ago, whoever could have guessed that I'd end up living over 5 hours north of the city where I grew up. I love going back to my home city and each time I'm amazed at how much it's changed. I'm constantly stalking Norwich bloggers to keep up to date with the best places in Norwich to visit and when my favourite, Shelley Beth, blogged about the opening of Rooftop Gardens I knew I had to visit so we made a plan for Christmas Eve. It exceeded my expectations with a beautiful marble interior, delicious cocktails (and hot chocolates!) and a large outdoor roof terrace complete with heaters, blankets and beautiful views of Norwich Cathedral - perfect for Winter snuggling.

Norwich Rooftop Bar

For more adventures from New Girl in Toon make sure you follow me on Instagram - I post a new photo every day.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Christmas in Manchester with Mercure Hotels

Every Christmas I have a huge list of things I want to do - watch festive films, eat my way through a tub of Celebrations, visit a Christmas Market .. the list goes on! Unfortunately time tends to slip away from me and so things never happen.

One thing that I say we'll do every year is spend a weekend enjoying Christmas in Manchester so when Mercure Hotels invited us over to spend the night at one of their hotels in Manchester it was like Christmas had come a week early.

Christmas Market Manchester

Snuggling up in our silliest Christmas Jumpers we set off bright and early for our three hour road trip down to Manchester, complete with Christmas songs of course!

The Mercure Manchester Piccadilly was easy to find and in no time at all we had parked up in the hotel's car park, an absolute treat when you're staying in a city centre hotel. We couldn't believe how central the hotel was with the shops a short stroll away, the train station just round the corner and a tram stop just outside the hotel. The Mercure is the perfect location for a city break in Manchester.

Our room was on the Eighth Floor and although small had everything we needed - the all important tea and coffee making facilities, super speedy wifi, wardrobe space and a desk for those wanting to work while they're away.

Mercure Manchester

I love when hotels leave little treats in your room and we were very happy to discover a bottle of Prosecco and a little tray of cakes in our bedroom when we arrived. As soon as we sat on the bed and realised how comfy it was it was pretty tempting to snuggle down with cakes and fizz and just spend our afternoon hiding in our hotel room.  But we had important things to do!

Starting with a tour of the Mercure and a little sample of their afternoon tea in the restaurant. Offering amazing views across Manchester, I love eating cakes whilst people watching and the restaurant is a prime location for that. If you're feeling a little guilty after eating cake the hotel also has a gym on site which I would have taken advantage of had I not been injured at the moment (honest!)

Mercure Manchester Afternoon Tea

Tour over and we were keen to get out and about to enjoy Manchester at Christmas starting with the famous Manchester Christmas Markets. There aren't many truly great Christmas Markets in the UK, if I'm being honest most of them are a bit of a disappointment. The Manchester markets, however are on a whole other level and if you plan just one Christmas City Break for next year make sure it's Manchester!

Each year millions flock to the markets and for good reason, spread over 10 different locations across the city it's one of the largest markets in the UK and boasts over 300 stalls and chalets all beautifully decked out in festive foliage and twinkling fairy lights.

Manchester Christmas Market

The showstopper of the Manchester Christmas Market has to be the giant Santa who watches over revellers from his perch above the Albert Square stalls (although personally I think he looks a little like Zippy from Rainbow!) He's really become the face of the market so getting a selfie with him is, of course, essential.

Our main priority was lunch but how on earth do you pick what food to have from all of the stalls? With great difficulty believe me! Serving up every kind of Christmas treat you can imagine our tummies wanted everything and we had to work so hard to resist rushing in the direction of the first amazing smell to hit our noses.

Manchester Christmas Market

I advise taking a look at as many stalls as you can before making a decision which is exactly what we did. I was so excited when I stumbled across Northern Soul serving the most epic looking grilled sandwiches I had ever seen. I kid you not, for a few moments, these bad boys made me consider relocating to Manchester!

Northern Soul Manchester

I enthusiastically chatted to the lovely guys behind the stall, mostly trying to persuade them to bring their mighty fine sandwiches up to Newcastle, and was happy to discover that they have a little place in Manchester's Northern Quarter so I will be definitely be paying them a visit next time we're around.

So, what did I have? Allow me to introduce you to the Mac Attack, a grilled sandwich stuffed full of mac n cheese - SO naughty but wow SO good! It was the best £6 I've ever spent and kept my belly happy for the rest of the day.

Mac Attack Northern Soul Manchester

Simon's not as mad on cheese as me so although he had a good few bites of my sandwich he decided that a trip to the Manchester Christmas Market wouldn't be complete without a sausage so headed off to find Currywurst which he happily tucked into.

A visit to the Manchester Christmas Markets just wouldn't be right without the obligatory mug of gluhwein in a novelty cup. Ignoring the fact that we seem to have travelled back in time to 2014! Each mug requires a deposit which you get back when you return the mug or you have the option of taking it home (if you fancied a souvenir from the wrong year!)

Manchester Christmas Market Mug

There's a huge variety of drinks on offer at the Manchester markets and having asked Simon to surprise me, he returned with a delicious cup of hot gluhwein with a shot of Amaretto. Wow! The added sweet kick really added something and I would have happily dived head first into a huge pot of the stuff.

Needing to finish our Christmas shopping we decided to spend the rest of our afternoon looking round the shops, something we weren't particularly looking forward to with our visit falling on what the press were calling "Panic Saturday" - we were expecting the high street to be pretty awful.

Well there was no panic in Manchester! Sure the stores were busy and the pavements were mad but the atmosphere was fantastic and our shopping experience was fun and bustling rather than stressful. Everyone seemed to be in such a good mood and I've never known a city to be so happy with Christmas cheer. Manchester does Christmas so well!

Manchester Christmas

When we finished our shopping we had a lovely little stroll round two of our favourite parts of Manchester, the Northern Quarter and Spinningfields whose bars and pubs were filled with Christmas shoppers and party goers. Families, groups of friends and work colleagues gathered in huge groups sharing Christmas drinks. The atmosphere was fantastic.

By this point our legs were beginning to get tired so we happily returned to the Mercure for some dinner. The Brasserie serves a wide range of internationally inspired dishes and we were happy to spot plenty of winter warmers on the menu (including Betty's Hot Pot!)

I started with a delicious Winter soup served with a chunk of bread and a huge amount of butter (which I obviously used in its entirety!).

Followed by a Sirloin Steak served rare (I have to have my steak as pink as possible!) with the hugest chips I've ever seen!

Despite being pretty full the dessert menu was irresistible as soon as I saw the locally inspired Manchester Tart on it. I'm such a sucker for trying out local dishes so had to order it. When in Manchester have a Manchester Tart!

We retired to bed with very full tummies and tired legs. With our room overlooking the busy Piccadilly Gardens we had worried that we wouldn't get much sleep but we collapsed into bed and slept the whole night through in our ridiculously comfortable bed! Our room was a little noisy from Piccadilly Gardens and although it didn't bother us, if you're looking for a peaceful stay it's worth bearing in mind and requesting a room on the other side of the hotel.

We awoke the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the Mercure breakfast before hitting the road back up to Newcastle. With a full buffet on offer we had our pick of a full cooked breakfast, cereals, pastries, yoghurts, fruit and toast. If there's one thing I love when I'm staying in a hotel it's a proper greedy breakfast and plenty of choice.

I went all out and had a big fry up which I thoroughly enjoyed - it was well cooked and really hot. Simon was more sensible and opted for cereal followed by some pastries which were unfortunately a little dry and disappointing.  He should have had a cheeky fryup!

Unfortunately I'm being a bit of a tease as the Manchester Christmas Markets are now over for another year but we'll definitely be making a plan to return in 2017 and you should probably all do the same! In the meantime, check out some Winter Breaks and Offers and plan yourself a fun city break in Manchester.

We received a complimentary stay at the Mercure including food and drink. This review is an honest account of our experience at the hotel.

Monday 19 December 2016

The Paradise Tree at Alnwick Garden

Following the success of Alnwick Garden's, A Christmas Tale, last year the Garden's festive light show is back again with The Paradise Tree, the story of a long forgotten seed found buried within the pages of a Hunter's dusty notebook.

You may remember that last year when we were making our way round the Garden for A Christmas Tale, Simon and I got completely lost and ended up doing the whole trail backwards which ruined the story. Luckily this year things are far better organised and there's no chance of missing the guide at the start of the trail. Everything is well laid out so it's impossible to accidentally stray from the path.

The Paradise Tree at Alnwick Garden

The scene was set by Marianne South, plant hunter and explorer, whose discovery of some magical looking seeds has got her very excited. Determined to plant them in Alnwick Garden she's eager to share her find with the people of Alnwick. It's many many years later and Marianne's notebook containing her precious notes and the curious seeds were finally discovered at Alnwick Garden and in the Potting Nursery the gardeners at Alnwick Garden work hard to pot the seeds and seedlings.

Following the paths of the Deep Forest we discovered loads of fruits from the Paradise Tree, the most beautiful colours hiding high up in the trees and glowing with magic.

The Paradise Tree at Alnwick Garden
We learnt more from the Head Gardener in the Laboratory who encouraged us to ask as many questions as we liked. His head projected onto the wall above us, it was truly magical when he answered all of our questions. There was an adorable moment when a young girl in our group started quizzing him on what he had had for breakfast.

Continuing on our quest the path twisted round the beautiful Singing Trees, lit up in vibrant colours, they sing to each other - remembering songs from lands near and far.

Eventually, just before our toes had got cold, we discovered the largest Paradise Tree in the Garden. Glowing with the most beautifully coloured fruit.

The Paradise Tree at Alnwick Garden
 Our journey ended with a trip through the winding paths of the Orchard. Lit by glowing lights it was a little tricky to guide ourselves down with parts of the path being in darkness. If you are planning a trip make sure you take a torch for this bit!

We enjoyed our visit to the Paradise Tree, however we did both feel that it wasn't as good as last year's A Christmas Tale. The lights are beautiful and it's always fun to explore Alnwick Garden in the dark, but with far fewer character performances, parts that didn't really seem to fit into the story and a lot of walking along unlit paths to navigate, we were left a little disappointed.

The Paradise Tree runs until Friday 23 December from 4:15 pm to 8:00 pm. Tickets cost from £7.00 and you can buy them here.

We received complimentary tickets to the Paradise Tree but all opinions are our own.

Friday 16 December 2016

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

Going for a pamper the day before my wedding was an absolute blessing and something that I'd recommend all brides do.  A chaotic day of rushing about like an idiot picking up cakes and suits, checking into various hotels and having last minute meetings with the venue made me feel exhausted before I'd even got up. Escaping for a few hours was the perfect excuse to shut off for a little while, leaving everything in the capable hands of the Groom.

I decided to go for three beauty treatments to get me ready for my wedding and House of Savannah in Newcastle was the only place I wanted to go. Their home on Old Eldon Square is stunning and walking up the steps and into their reception always reminds me a little of sneaking inside a beautiful old doll's house.

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

There are so many treatments available for brides at House of Savannah and they really do offer anything you could possibly want - from hair styling to massages, waxing to pedicures. As tempting as a massage was I decided to go the day before my wedding for beauty treatments to make me look extra special on my big day.

Greeted with friendly smiles I was shown up to the waiting area where I sat bare faced helping myself to loads of glasses of ice-cold water and lemon. For some reason I was so dehydrated the day before my wedding so I really appreciated the chance to guzzle down some water and take some time out to relax at House of Savannah.

Argh! I look like one tired bride to be! Pampering was definitely needed!

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

 My first treatment was an eyelash extension with Rosie. We discussed in detail the kind of look I was going for and what would best suit me and then I lay back on the bed for a good hour or so of shut eye - just what I needed after a day of rushing about. Having just got engaged herself, I had a lovely chat with Rosie about my obsession with North East wedding venues which made the time fly by. The treatment wasn't uncomfortable at all although keeping my eyes shut for an hour did prove a little tricky at times and all of that water I'd been drinking suddenly hit my bladder at the most inconvenient time.

When it was time to open my eyes I couldn't believe how beautiful my lashes looked - full and fluttery without looking overly done. Suddenly I looked far more put together even though I didn't have a scrap of makeup on my face. It's amazing how a full set of lashes can transform your face.

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

The lashes finished a little earlier than expected but Clare was ready for me to head straight for my luxury manicure and pedicure - something I really appreciated as a bride's time is precious!

She made me a lovely cup of tea (complete with chocolate!) to enjoy whilst having a look at all of the nail polish colours on offer.  House of Savannah use one of my favourite brands, Essie, for their treatments which is great as there are so many beautiful colours on offer. It did make the decision making process pretty tricky though.  Luckily Clare let me take my time choosing and was happy for me to paint each nail on my hand a different colour while I decided.

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

 It took me forever to pick and for a while I considered the options of a classic bridal pink, a slightly more daring purple (to match the bridesmaid dresses) or a nod to "something blue". I knew I wanted a colour that was a bit brighter than the normal safe bridal options so in the end went for "Splash of Grenadine" - a beautiful pink .

We began with my pedicure which involved a lovely soak in some warm soapy water followed by a general tidy up of my feet. I highly recommend booking yourself a pedicure at House of Savannah, it felt so good to get some attention paid to my tootsies and they've honestly never looked or felt better. Feet are not the most attractive part of anyones body and giving them some love is a great idea, I'm quite tempted to book myself in every few months to keep them looking lovely.

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

 As I was having my manicure Clare and I had a lovely long chat and it was so nice that she was so genuinely interested in my wedding plans and was so helpful when I needed to text the Groom or a bridesmaid every now and again mid treatment. 

So what were the results? Here's a sneaky selfie I took on my big day!

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

 My lashes were amazing - no mascara required and they still looked beautiful weeks later. My beautiful manicure got a lot of compliments on the day with everyone saying how much they loved the colour.

My time at House of Savannah was the perfect pre-wedding treat to calm my nerves and I wouldn't hesitate their treatments to other brides in Newcastle. I've definitely got the bug and am planning on booking myself for a massage soon!

Bridal Treatments at House of Savannah, Newcastle

Keep your eye out for Wedding Week coming to New Girl in Toon early January - I'll be sharing some of my official photographs taken by the amazing Katie Bryam and will be telling you all about the details of my beautiful Northumberland wedding!

Thursday 15 December 2016

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

Can you believe it, I've spent another evening in Eldon Square's new Grey's Quarter stuffing my face! You're probably wondering where on earth I'm managing to fit it all (believe me I am as well!). This time I visited new pizza place, PizzaStorm and took along my friend Sarah for "catch up and cheese" (this should definitely be a regular thing!)

The arrival of PizzaStorm in Newcastle caught my attention mostly down to their restaurant locations. Their other restaurant is in Wandsworth, South West London, very close to where I used to live. So seeing as they appear to be following me round the country it only seemed right to drop by and see what they have to offer the hungry shoppers of Newcastle.

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

PizzaStorm is a little different to the other restaurants I've visited at Grey's Quarter. Perfect for a quick break from shopping, it's more of a grab, eat and go place than somewhere to dine away the hours.

It's hard to explain the concept of PizzaStorm without using a very obvious comparison, the pizza place is very much "Subway does pizza". Greeted by a counter of toppings you move along picking out exactly what you want on your base before it's blasted in an oven for 180 seconds.

If decision making isn't your thing then you can choose your pizza from the "Hall of Flames"; a menu of seven pizzas each with delicious sounding flavour combinations. That does kind of take the fun out of PizzaStorm though so of course we went for "Craft Your Own". £8.45 for an 11 inch stone baked pizza with unlimited fresh toppings.

Our pizza creating began by selecting which sauce we wanted smothered over the base. With a choice of Classic Tomato Sauce, White Sauce, BBQ Sauce or Spicy Tomato Sauce, I found this the easiest decision of the process (I'm a classic tomato girl through and through!).

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

Choosing from 50 toppings however is not so easy!  My eyes were bulging at all of the little pots of toppings and Sarah and I spent far too long debating what makes the perfect pizza and which of the toppings would perfectly compliment each other.

In the end I went for the tactic of "all the cheese" (easily done when you have the great choice of Mozzarella Shavings, Cheddar, Goats Cheese, Hand Torn Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan and Ricotta) and Sarah went for "extra spicy".

With the base of our pizzas decided I covered mine in Baby Spinach, Red Onion Sweetcorn, Tuna and, my absolute pizza topping favourite, egg. I loved watching my pizza come to life before it was placed right in the back of the largest oven I have ever seen and I took a seat for the very short wait.

Our pizzas appeared a few minutes later and they smelt pretty decent. After taking the obligatory snaps for Instagram and helping ourselves to some garlic mayonnaise we settled down to tuck in.

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

It's important to note that I'm never going to claim that PizzaStorm make the best pizza in Newcastle and it does very much what it says on the tin. This is fast food and whilst it's no gourmet pizza, it's certainly loads better than the fast food rubbish you'll find out on Northumberland Street!

As with all fast food there are some obvious negatives, the base was pretty bland, my egg in the middle wasn't runny and the Mozzarella wasn't as deliciously stringy as I would usually like it but on the whole my pizza was enjoyable. The amount of toppings were generous and I loved the accompanying sauce which made a great additional topping. I also loved that it didn't leave me with a horrible bloated feeling afterwards, it was pretty light!

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

When it came to dessert there's one choice at PizzaStorm and that's Unlimited Ice-Cream. Costing £2.95 per person you can return to the ice-cream machine as many times as you like and cover your dessert in as much sauce and toppings as you can manage (for us this meant pressing down until chocolate sauce was running down our hands!). The ice-cream will be a huge hit with the kids (and probably husbands "hangry" after a shopping trip I should imagine!)

Intu Eldon Square: Grey's Quarter - PizzaStorm

PizzaStorm does a great alternative to the usual fast food chains in Newcastle and is a great addition to Eldon Square for shoppers looking to fit in a quick bite in their busy schedule.

We received complimentary meals for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop, County Durham

I'm the first to admit that I'm no wine connoisseur. I have no idea what wine compliments my food, don't really have a favourite and tend to pick out my tipple based on how pretty the label is. So when I was invited to Lanchester for an evening of Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop I said yes without hesitation.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

You'll find The Pip Stop in the countryside of County Durham, selling wine and beer from their beautifully converted 1950's car garage. Stocking a wide range of wines to suit every budget it's quite a shopping experience browsing the bottles in such a unique location.

The quirky decor shows off the building's heritage and we particularly loved the real Mini Coopers embedded in the wall - I know you're all thinking it's my awful parking but I promise you they are supposed to be there!

Pip Stop Lanchester
The Pip Stop host regular tasting events throughout the year with themed tasting evenings and wine walks, allowing you to travel the vineyards of the world without leaving the North East.

We were invited to the Christmas Wine Walk, preparing us for the festive season with a little introduction to what wines are best to pair with our Turkey, Cheese Board and Mince Pies. In the running for husband of the year, Simon was "Designated Dave" for the evening as I happily skipped about the Pip Stop browsing all the bottles - if you like your wine this really is the ultimate shopping destination.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

Tickets to the Christmas Wine Tasting cost £10 which included all of the food samples and 12 tokens which are exchanged for a glass of wine from the selection at the tasting counter. The event offers great value for money with generous glasses of wine served for your tokens.

The event was really relaxed which the amateur in me was thankful for. I don't know about you but I've found there's often a certain amount of snobbery attached to wine and there have been times where I've felt pretty embarrassed that I quite like a nice sweet bottle of Zinfandel. There was no pretentious swishing about of glasses at the Pip Stop, instead we were left to enjoy our night with the  staff on hand to explain what wine pairs well with festive treats and give recommendations.

At the Pip Stop you are encouraged to enjoy wine with friends and form your own opinion on each wine because, at the end of the day, everyone has different tastes. I really loved this attitude towards the tasting and it made me feel really comfortable.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

There was a good variety of white, red and rose wines at the tasting table to try - each one paired with traditional Christmas foods.

I eased myself in with a glass of Chateau Gairoird, a beautiful light pink rose with notes of white peach, strawberry and grapefruit. As it's light it's perfect with seafood canapés so I enjoyed my glass with some prawns from the tasting table. At only £10.99 a bottle I could definitely see me enjoying this one with my Starter on Christmas Day.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

Next up I went for a white, the Silver Creek Viognier had notes of peaches, pears and apricots and we were recommended to try it with Turkey as a great alternative for those that don't fancy a red. Changing wines throughout your courses isn't a must and this wine is so beautifully light and fruity that it works well with multiple courses. At only £6.49 a bottle this is a great addition to your Christmas wine selection.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

I'm not usually a fan of dessert wines but I gave the Deen Vat 5 a go, just so I could justify helping myself to some of the mince pies on offer. A sweet wine with apricot and citrus - it was enjoyable but a little too much for me. I think I'll stick to having a cup of tea with my mince pies!

I will admit things got a little fuzzy at this point as I was having such a lovely time chatting to people in the shop and swiping greedy amounts of cheese from the Cheese Board. I know there was definitely a beautiful glass of Riesling involved as Simon I strolled around the store picking out Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Wine Tasting at the Pip Stop

  I really loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the Pip Stop and their Tasting Evenings make a great night out. If you fancy trying out one of the Pip Stop Tasting Evenings for yourself here's what you can expect in the New Year:

January 26th - Gin Tasting

February 9th - Beer Tasting

February 23rd - Wine Tasting

For more information on the the Pip Stop including their Tasting Events check out their website here.

We enjoyed a complimentary evening of wine tasting - we will definitely be returning!
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