Thursday, 12 September 2019

Exploring Harrogate - A Day Trip to Knaresborough and Breakfast at The Wild Plum

This includes an advertisement feature with Mother Shipton's Cave

We spent quite a bit of the Summer exploring Yorkshire and I have to say I absolutely loved packing our glovebox with Percy Pigs and heading down to God's Own Country. Considering it's the largest county in England I've definitely given us a bit of work when it comes to properly discovering all that it has to offer but I'm certainly enjoying the challenge.

Our last Yorkshire trip of the Summer took us in the direction of Harrogate but having explored the town centre we decided to experience a different part of the Borough with a day trip to Knaresborough and breakfast at The Wild Plum.

If you fancy a day trip, this adventure will take you about an hour and a half from Newcastle with a little breakfast detour (because stops for food are a must!)

Exploring Harrogate - A Day Trip to Knaresborough and Breakfast at The Wild Plum
Breakfast at The Wild Plum

Yet again Instagram influenced my food decisions and I've found myself a little obsessed about wanting to try The Wild Plum ever since the most beautiful photographs of their dishes have taken over my feed.

To tell you the complete truth this entire day trip was more or less made round me needing to try The Wild Plum, much to Simon's confusion - he didn't quite understand why we needed to get up so early to get to The Wild Plum for opening! But with no reservations available and its popularity I knew we had to be first through the door.

Breakfast at The Wild Plum

The Wild Plum didn't just live up to my expectations, it exceeded them and then some! From the moment we walked through the door the service was exceptional with the friendliest staff welcoming us and giving us an above and beyond experience. I needed to make a few changes to my dish to allow for my nut allergy and they were so accommodating.

When visiting The Wild Plum the pancakes are a must, there is a reason they are "instafamous" and I really have never seen anything like them in my life - they appear in front of you in vibrant colour, packed full of incredible flavours and the biggest stack of food you have ever seen.

I opted for the Classic Pancakes (£12.50) - American style pancakes with seasonal fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup (minus the Nutella and Roasted Pecans) and they were absolutely incredible.

Since our visit they have had the most beautiful refurbishment, which now means that I have to visit again (I haven't told Simon this yet, he thinks that I've now ticked The Wild Plum off my list!)

Exploring Harrogate - Breakfast at The Wild Plum

Mother Shipton's Cave

Mother Shipton's Cave is somewhere I've been wanting to visit for quite a while but it wasn't until I was researching our trip that I realised the cave was in Knaresborough so a trip was a must. The carpark at the attraction is ideally located to walk into the market town or down to the river after your visit and once you've paid for your ticket at the entrance the wrist band allows you to come and go as you please.

Mother Shipton's Cave is the oldest tourist attraction in England and has been amazing millions of visitors for 390 years, it's an incredible piece of history and I love that it's been so popular with so many generations.

Exploring Harrogate - Mother Shiptons Cave

The site is made up of the Royal Forest of Knaresborough, The Petrifying Well and Mother Shipton's Cave - its an absolutely magical place to visit. The entrance fee is £10.00 for adults and £8.00 for children (peak) and if you're planning on visiting with children I recommend checking their website ahead of your visit to see if they have any special events happening which really will make your ticket great value for money.

I have to say I love a good English legend. The tale of Mother Shipton began in 1488 when she was born in a cave on a dark and stormy night after her Mother had been banished from the village after falling pregnant at fifteen with no idea who the father was. Who knows how she survived that night in the cave! After becoming separated from her Mother, Mother Shipton grew up in Knaresborough although spent a lot of her time in the cave, making a living by telling the future and warning locals of what was to come. Some of her predictions came true many years after her death including The Great Fire of London in 1966, she even predicted the year of her own death. Standing in her cave I got goosebumps thinking about all her prophecies that are still yet to come true.

I was most excited about seeing the Petrifying Well, where the magical waters turn all it touches to stone. First recorded in 1538, the Well used to be feared by visitors who believed that if they got too close they would turn into stone or a spell would be cast over them. Of course, it was later realised that the process is actually due to a high mineral content of the water, nevertheless it's still very impressive.

Mother Shiptons Cave

Many things have been turned to stone over the years and you can see some examples hanging from the Well including the famous teddy bears that take three to five months to turn to stone. I was so curious about them so was very happy to discover that in the small museum at the exit you have the opportunity to hold one and they really are turned completely to stone - incredible!

A few short steps from Mother Shiptons Cave you'll find The Wishing Well, it is a very old tradition that if you are visiting the cave you must visit for a wish. The rules are very specific, you dip in your right hand and make a wish, leaving the water to dry naturally and not telling another person of your wish! I obviously can't tell you what I wished for!

Mother Shiptons Cave - Wishing Well

The Museum at the exit of the attraction is well worth a visit with many items donated by celebrities that have been turned to stone. As well as recent items donated by stars of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Blue Peter there is also a hat worn by John Wayne and Agatha Christies hat. The most valuable item is a shoe left by Queen Mary donated from her visit in 1923.

Mother Shiptons Cave - Knaresborough

Exploring Knaresborough

Until a couple of months ago Knaresborough wasn't on my radar at all but after seeing some truly beautiful photos of the market town I thought it would be worth a visit and it truly was absolutely stunning, one of the prettiest places I have ever visited.

We began our visit pottering along the River Nidd, the perfect place to explore on such a beautiful Summer's day. If you love messing about on rivers in the sunshine then Knaresborough is a must visit. There are a couple of different spots along the banks of the river where you can hire boats and take yourself out for an adventure on the water.
Exploring Knaresborough

We're definitely more observers than action men so loved spending an hour or so sitting by the river watching the row boats go past, chuckling at those that were struggling and enjoying seeing the excited children's big smiles and the romantic couples out for a row. Maybe next time we'll give it a go.

Exploring Knaresborough Yorkshire

If, like us, you love the slow lane there are plenty of lovely places along the river for lunch or a drink. We set up camp on the terrace of the Marigold Cafe, the prime spot for watching the row boats and a nice menu of hot food and light bites. I went for a cheese scone which I enjoyed eating whilst watching the world go by.

It's worth knowing that Marigold also have an ice-cream shop just across the road, selling Yummy Yorkshire ice cream made in Denby Dale. They create the most incredible flavours and Marigold have up to 12 flavours available. I opted for Lemon Mascarpone and Ginger Crunch and it was incredible.

Exploring Knaresborough Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream

A few people had told me that the best part of Knaresborough was the waterfront and that the town wasn't really worth exploring but I'm very glad we decided to go and have a look because we discovered something quite different. There were some really lovely streets to explore and although we didn't have a lot of time to look properly what we saw we liked and Simon was thrilled to find The Sweet Cabin, a traditional shop that sold all of his favourites.

Exploring Knaresborough Town

For the very best views of The Viaduct (the very beautiful focal point of Knaresborough) a stroll up the hill to the Castle is a must. The views over the gorge are lovely, it's very much the kind of place where you use up your entire memory card snapping photographs because every time you turn a corner you're met with a view even prettier than before.

Exploring Knaresborough Viaduct

Whilst visiting Knaresborough Castle it's only right to say hello to the Castle Ravens but don't be surprised if you get a response. They talk to tourists! Not only do they talk, they talk in a Yorkshire accent and have been known to greet visitors with a cheeky "you alright love?" - they're incredibly mischievous and the most famous of all, Izabella has been known to fake illness only to fly off with concerned people's cameras and dump them on top of the castle roof (brilliant!)

Knaresborough Castle Ravens
We loved exploring the Harrogate area and discovering some new wonderful places to add to our favourites list. If you're after a really entertaining day trip that will appeal to the whole family I highly recommend following in our footsteps.

View From Knaresborough Castle

We were very kindly gifted complimentary admission to Mother Shipton's Cave in exchange for an honest review as part of this feature.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Lunch and a Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House

This is an advertisement feature with Jesmond Dene House

Jesmond Dene House really doesn't need any kind of introduction, the beautiful luxury hotel on the outskirts of Newcastle has been featured on my blog probably more times than anywhere else. We've been obsessed ever since our first visit, when we popped in for a quick cup of coffee and were so impressed by the incredible service and lovely surroundings that we haven't stopped shouting about what a wonderful place it is ever since.

Lunch and a Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House
We have celebrated so many occasions at Jesmond Dene House and the hotel has definitely been a very important part of our lives since I first moved up to Newcastle. From romantic overnight stays to Christmas parties with friends and afternoon teas with the Mother In Law - Jesmond Dene House has been there for it all and it is somewhere very special to us.

So when we found out that the hotel had enjoyed a refurbishment to celebrate their fourteen years since opening I was very excited although perhaps also a little nervous. When you love somewhere so much, change can be a bit of a scary thing. What if we didn't like what had happened to our favourite place?

Lunch and Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House
The changes at Jesmond Dene House have been happening steadily over the last few months with a lot of the public areas of the hotel including the Cocktail Bar and Grand Hall having a makeover as well as the guest bedrooms and suites. The Restaurant and Garden Room were the final part of the project and having only recently been completed we thought it was the perfect time to drop by to take a look.

It had been a while since our last visit to Jesmond Dene House, and with the arrival of head chef Danny Parker last year, we were more than ready to not only see the refurbishment but also enjoy a try of the new menus. Table booked for lunch we headed off to the Dene to rediscover an old favourite.

Lunch Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House
Shown into the new look restaurant for the first time, Simon and I really couldn't believe the transformation.  I honestly had never really found fault in the way that the restaurant looked before but thinking back to it now it was so dark, tired and dated and was in desperate need of a makeover. Just looking back through the photographs in my afternoon tea review from 4 years ago the changes are huge.

The new look restaurant at Jesmond Dene House is beautiful! So much lighter and brighter than before,  the room has a new carpet, beautiful new tables and chairs and is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or an evening meal.

Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House

If you want my personal recommendation, the very best table in the house has to be the one that we dined at, table number 7 by the window which not only means you can appreciate those beautiful big windows but also offers great contrasting views of both the garden and the next door Garden Room. It's also a pretty romantic spot if you fancy a date with your other half.

Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House - Restaurant
Just off the Restaurant you'll find The Garden Room, a beautiful conservatory overlooking the garden, it has always been one of my favourite places in Jesmond Dene House and is the room we ask to have afternoon tea in the Summer months. I never thought it would be possible to love The Garden Room more than I already did, but with its makeover it is even more beautiful than before. It truly brings the outdoors inside with the beautiful large windows overlooking the garden becoming a real feature of the room, perfectly complemented by the very swish new chairs and light fittings.

Refurbishment at Jesmond Dene House - Garden Room
Once I'd stopped walking around with my mouth wide open it was time to settle ourselves down for lunch.  As always at Jesmond Dene House I was given my very own "nut free" menu that offered me plenty of dishes to choose from along with the wonderful feeling of knowing that I wasn't going to have to have any awkward allergy conversations and that I was in safe hands.

Of course, I began our lunch by attacking the bread which was served beautifully on a wooden board along with some salted butter (delicious but a little too hard for spreading) and the real treat the parsley butter which was incredible. I will admit I was a little dubious when I spread a thick layer of green coloured butter on my bread but wow it was good and I'm now a firm believer that all butter should be served this way.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Bread

For my starter I opted for the Garden Pea and Mint Soup, Goats Cheese & Lemon with Toasted Focaccia (£6.50) - I'm sure you'll agree it's the perfect dish to compliment beautiful garden views. The soup was incredible, really thick and indulgent and even Simon who forever turns his nose up at the idea of anyone ordering soup for a starter, had to admit it was really delicious. Let's not judge that I also got to enjoy some delicious Focaccia after already munching my way through the bread board!

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Pea and Mint Soup
Simon opted for the Salmon & Cod Fish Cake & Roasted Garlic with Lime Mayonnaise (£7.50) - he very graciously offered me a little try and although incredible I still thought that I had won on the starters - he thought it was pretty even so we'll have to agree to disagree.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Fishcake

Next up was the mains and I decided to go for the Roasted North Sea Cod, Tomato & Chorizo Cassoulet with Borlotti Beans, Chickpeas & Butterbeans (£15.50) Absolutely delicious, it was a proper hearty dish.  Never one to resist a good meaty dish, Simon ordered the Braised Shoulder of Beef served with Tender stem Broccoli & Triple Cooked Chips (£22.50). He described it as "deliciously sticky" when I managed to get him to offer his review in the short amount of time I had when his mouth wasn't full. He polished off the entire dish in record time and declared that we should really go out for lovely lunches more often.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Menu

Ordering dessert was the biggest decision as the menu was incredible, I could have quite happily ordered one of everything and even when I narrowed it down I still had five favourites to choose from. I'm quite surprised I'm not still sitting there now trying to decide.

After a lot of mind changing I decided on the Strawberry Mousse, Mascarpone Ice cream, Macerated Strawberries and Ruby Chocolate (£8.50). The perfect Summer time treat, I couldn't believe how pretty the dish looked with all of the vibrant pinks and reds - a real treat for the eyes as well as my belly.  Often I really overindulge when it comes to dessert and pick something that's really stodgy so I really enjoyed the lighter option of the mousse, it was really filling without being heavy and such a great way to finish my meal.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Strawberry Mousse
I, very sneakily, managed to convince Simon to order another dessert that I was desperate to try - the Dark Chocolate, Vanilla & Coffee Opera Cake with Woodruff Ice Cream (£9.00) - not that he offered me much of it, I only managed to pinch a tiny spoonful but wow was it good. I love coffee flavours in dessert and this one really hit the spot.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House - Opera Cake
We absolutely loved our return visit to Jesmond Dene House and couldn't believe how much the refurbishment made us fall for the place all over again. We can't wait to spend many, many more years celebrating in our favourite spot in Newcastle.

Lunch at Jesmond Dene House

Find Jesmond Dene House at:

Jesmond Dene Road

0191 212 3000

We were treated to a complimentary lunch for two in exchange for this review.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

My August Days

This post contains an advertisement (gifted) feature with Ghetto Golf

This blog post was written before my month ended in the worst way possible, but as it was already scheduled to go - here it is!  My August Days.

Can you believe that Summer is over? Whilst the arrival of Autumn may not be official yet, I tend to start dreaming about Pumpkin Spiced Lattes and wearing boots as soon as September arrives and I may have already put in a few sneaky orders to update my wardrobe for Fall. But before I get completely carried away here's what happened in August that didn't make the blog!

Changing Tides 

It's not too often I'm spontaneous so when we jumped into the car one Saturday and drove down to Whitley Bay we were thrilled at the idea of finally seeing the seals. It feels like everyone has been seal spotting on the rocks surrounding St Mary's Lighthouse and I can't believe we never have. Unfortunately we still haven't actually seen them as we arrived at the causeway about 10 minutes before the hide tide which meant we had to cross back to the mainland before we'd even made to the lighthouse.  This is why I usually plan everything with military precision!

St Mary's Lighthouse - My August Days

On The Elmer Trail

Not just for the kids, the big kids love it too! The Great North Elmer trail has started and we have bought the app and started the hunt. There are over 70 elephants scattered across Tyne & Wear and we are loving the opportunity to explore more of our local area. The app costs 99p with all proceeds going to the brilliant St Oswalds and gives you access to a handy map and the opportunity to unlock all the elephants using the codes that you'll find on each one. Elephish at Spanish City in Whitley Bay was our first and we can't wait to find more. The trail is on until 1 November .. go go go!

Elmer Trail - August Days

Pizza at Di Meos

Shamefully we visited the ice-cream counter at Di Meos three times over the Bank Holiday Weekend, on our last visit I was pretty tempted to go in disguise to avoid my embarrassment. Our second visit was an extra special trip as we finally went behind the counter to discover their lovely little restaurant and sample the pizzas that people have been telling us to try for so long.  Oh wow! My Ham, Mushroom and Mozzarella was out of this world - proper authentic Italian pizza with the most incredbile crust and swimming in toppings. If you are yet to go you must make a plan!

Pizza at Di Meos - My August Days

Ghetto Golf

Most Sunday mornings you will find us enjoying a leisurely breakfast, perhaps doing some housework ... you know the normal boring grownup stuff. So when we found ourselves downing cocktails at 11:00 am whilst navigating our way round some crazy obstacles and bonkers experiences with a golf club in hand it was more than a little surreal. Ghetto Golf, Newcastle's brand new over 18s crazy golf course is now open at Hoults Yard and it's a hell of a ride! Dodge the giant arcade claw machine, avoid a Jeremy Kyle style TV brawl and whatever you do don't tell anyone what you saw at the Peep Show! It costs £10.00 per person to play and believe me the experience is like no other - think loud music, bright lights and an amazing immersive game ... you need to see it to believe it!

We were treated to a complimentary round of Golf with no obligation to share

Ghetto Golf - My August Days

Breakfast at Moose Coffee

Every time I got to Manchester I try and get a table at Moose Coffee and every time the long queues make us go elsewhere for our breakfast fix. So I was very happy to finally get myself a table this month, can you believe that despite arriving at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning we still only just managed to get a table? It seems people in Manchester are very early risers. Settling down for brunch I can see why this place is so popular, the menu is huge with every kind of breakfast dish you could ever imagine. I went for the Moose Berry Compote and Mascarpone Pancake Stack (£8.50) and it was really good and so huge I couldn't finish it!

Moose Coffee - My August Days

Bank Holiday on Druridge Bay

How incredible was the Bank Holiday weather? It was the long weekend we've all been dreaming about for years and wow did it give us everything and more. I have never seen the North East's beaches look so busy! We decided to spend a day on the Northumberland Coast where you usually get the sand to yourself but even Druridge Bay was packed full of eager people catching rays and splashing about in the sea. I spent most of my day running into the water to cool off and racing up and down the sand playing football with my five year old nephew, it seemed a good idea at the time but I could barely walk the next day. More Bank Holidays like this please!

Druridge Bay - My August Days

Central Perk 

Can you believe that Central Perk has opened in Primark! The replica coffee shop has arrived in the Manchester store with much excitement - I've never seen so many people wearing Friends slogan jumpers in one place before. The New York inspired menu is full of small lite bites and cakes at very reasonable prices and enjoying a latte by the window did make me feel like I'd jumped into my TV screen. It's well worth a look if you're heading to Manchester any time soon.

Central Perk - My August Days

Summer Time 

It's not too often that you'll catch me with this much skin on show but the Bank Holiday heatwave made me SO glad that I had purchased this beautiful co-ord from Primark - whilst Simon was grumbling his way around Whitley Bay on Bank Holiday Monday complaining how hot it was, I was as cool as a cucumber in my Summery outfit.  Pretty sure this was the first and last wear this outfit will get this year, I am more than ready to revisit my Autumn wardrobe and see what forgotten items I have for the cooler months.

In Memory ...

In loving memory of my Dad, he always knew about all of our adventures before I could tell him because he was my blog's biggest fan.

My August Days


Monday, 26 August 2019

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle - My Top 10 Christmas Events and Festive Films for 2019

This is an advertisement feature with Tyneside Cinema 

Yes, I really am talking about Christmas ... in August!  I promise you I haven't lost the plot, I'm just very excited to share the details of Tyneside Cinema's Christmas Events and Festive Films for 2019. Everyone knows that the cinema's special screenings and one off events are the most sought after tickets in Newcastle at Christmas time and if you want to get involved it's best to get organised before it's too late!

Tickets to the Tyenside Cinema Christmas events are now on sale and with a bumper schedule packed with the most amazing events it's truly going to be a festive season to remember this year. From the cinema's famous classic screenings to live choirs and themed food events you'd best get your diary out, there are an incredible amount of amazing things you'll want to get booked.

To get you started here's my pick of the top 10 Christmas Events and Festive Films at the Tyneside Cinema in 2019!

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle - My Top 10 Christmas Events and Festive Films for 2019

It's A Wonderful Life

Let's start with THE biggest Geordie tradition shall we? I really can't talk about Christmas at the Tyneside Cinema without mentioning It's a Wonderful Life -film fans flock to Newcastle every year to cosy up in the Tyneside for their traditional screenings of It's A Wonderful Life.  This year there is even more opportunity to see the classic film with over 40 screenings showing at the Tyneside Cinema over the Christmas period including an afternoon tea experience, a baby friendly screening and  ...

A Night of Good Cheer: It's a Wonderful Life
22 December at 17:30

Imagine settling yourself down to an evening at the Tyneside Cinema with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie before being treated to a live choir singing your festive favourites. Welcome to a Night of Good Cheer! This is a screening of It's a Wonderful Life with a difference! As if that wasn't enough once the movie is over the celebrations continue with an exclusive party complete with a glass of fizz, festive fare and live music until late.

 ... would now be a good time to confess that I've never actually seen It's a Wonderful Life?

Festive Afternoon Tea
Available from 1 December
From £17.50 per person

No prizes for guessing that I'd be all over this one eh? We all know how much I love an afternoon tea and the Christmas offering at Tyneside Cinema looks incredible. If you've never enjoyed any of the food at the cinema you are really missing out, their afternoon teas are so good! The Festive Afternoon Tea includes a Mini Christmas Sage Sausage Roll, Turkey & Cranberry Mini Roll, Mince Pie, Mini Yule Log and Cranberry Meringue Pie.

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle - Christmas Events and Festive Films Afternoon Tea

Die Hard Double Bill
Saturday 7 December at 18:15
Tickets cost £15.00

Every year Simon and I have the same argument. Is Die Hard a Christmas film? Simon is very much in the "yes" camp, I'm a little undecided! Whilst it may not feature much Christmas cheer it's an incredible classic movie and is likely to tempt even the biggest Scrooge in your house out for an evening of festive fun.  Watch the first two films series back to back at the Tyneside Cinema.

Please don't tell Simon I haven't seen the second film ... he might disown me!

The Polar Express Family Event
Various dates in December
Tickets cost £15.00

Ever fancied rocking up to the Tyneside Cinema in your PJs (if I'm being completely honest I have been known to drive to the shops in my pyjamas before so this is definitely up my street). Receive your golden ticket in advance of the screening to show the conducter when you arrive where you'll be treated to a hot chocolate and homemade gingerbread man before watching the Polar Express on the big screen! PJs and Dressing Gowns are encouraged and after the movie the kids get to meet Father Christmas and collect a present.

Home Alone Double Bill

14 December at 18:30
Tickets cost £15.00

It isn't really Christmas until you've seen Home Alone and all true fans know that it's best to watch the first two films back to back. Ask me to pick my favourite and I actually can't! Whilst I do love the original, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York has a special place in my heart and has had me dreaming of Christmas time in New York ever since I first watched it.

The Grinch Festive Family Event
Varios dates in December
Tickets cost £10.00

Meet the Grinch at the Tyneside's Festive Family Event where kids on the good list will receive a bright green Grinch Shake & cookie and have their photo taken with The Grinch (I've met him and he's absolutely brilliant!) before settling down to watch the movie.

Another Christmas classic I'm yet to see - something tells me I'll be spending most of December in the Tyneside watching all the festive films I've missed out on.

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle - Christmas Events and Festive Films The Grinch

The Holiday ... featuring The Survival Kit
13 December at 20:00
Tickets cost £20.00
Over 18s only

Want to know my favourite Christmas film?  It has to be The Holiday and the special one off screening at the Tyneside Cinema is right up my street as before the film starts you get a survival kit complete with popcorn, prosecco, chocolate and a handy pack of tissues to wipe away the tears (The Holiday always makes me blub so I will definitely need that kit!)

Christmas Eve at the Tyneside Cinema
24 December

Celebrating Christmas at the Tyneside Cinema is always special but this year it's going to be bigger and better than ever and if you really want to start your Christmas off in a magical way a visit on Christmas Eve is a great way to start the festivities.  With three screenings of It's a Wonderful Life or The Muppet Christmas Carol to choose from enjoy a classic movie followed by some food and drink in the Tyneside Bar Cafe - the perfect way to rest your tired legs after that frantic last minute shopping trip.

.. and all the Christmas Classics

If your favourite Christmas film is missing from my guide, do not panic! There are plenty of other festive favourites showing at the Tyneside Cinema during December including White Christmas, Gremlins and Scrooged!  Something tells me I'll be making a fair few visits.

I'd love to know what your favourite Christmas movies are and if you are planning a festive visit to the Tyneside Cinema this year.

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle - Christmas Events and Festive Films

Find Tyneside Cinema at:

10 Pilgrim Street

0191 227 5500

All prices and information correct at time of writing. Click here for up to date information about events and to book online

This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with the Tyneside Cinema.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Les Misérables at Theatre Royal Newcastle

This is an advertisement feature with Newcastle Theatre Royal

Every theatre fan in Newcastle has eagerly been counting down the days to opening night of Les Misérables at the Theatre Royal ever since the show was announced last year. It has felt like the longest wait so I am very pleased that the time is finally here, for the next eight weeks (one of the longest runs in Newcastle Theatre Royal's history!) Les Mis will be playing to packed out audiences in the Toon and I think for many of us it is going to be the highlight of our year at the theatre.

The new production of Les Mis has been touching audiences and breaking hearts since it first opened in 2009 to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary.  Having been seen by over 120 million people worldwide across 45 countries and in 22 languages, Les Mis is one of the world's most popular musicals and the chances are that even if you haven't seen it you will certainly know a number of its famous songs including I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own.

Despite its many accolades and huge popularity it may surprise you to hear that, despite being a huge fan of musical theatre, when I very first saw Les Mis on the West End stage I didn't really understand it. I'm sure many musical fans would be horrified to discover that it wasn't until I fell in love with the recent film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne that Les Mis finally had my heart.  I saw the film so many times at the cinema I lost count! Whilst many probably wouldn't ever admit to falling in love with such a stage classic on the cinema screen I'm just thankful that my eyes were finally opened to how amazing Les Mis is, even if it did take me a time to get it.

Les Misérables at Newcastle Theatre Royal

So, as you can imagine, I have been wanting to see it on stage again ever since, knowing that it would be a very different experience to my first time.

The evening finally arrived and I eagerly made my way to the Theatre Royal, tickets in hand and husband by my side. Whilst Simon would never be my first choice to take to see Les Mis (I'm yet to convince him how great musicals are) he had a very important role - quietly handing me fresh tissues when the tears inevitability start to roll down my cheeks, I knew he was my perfect date for the evening as he wouldn't mind if I spent the entire show having a little cry.

Les Misérables - Newcastle Theatre Royal

If you have never seen the show before you might be wondering why I was arriving at the theatre with packets of tissues stuffed inside my handbag so let this be a warning to you, it is a bit of a weepy story especially if you are a sensitive soul like me but, despite being a little sad in places, the show is incredibly uplifting and powerful and although you might be crying like a baby in places there is also plenty of opportunity to punch the air in jubilation, have a few laughs along the way and I promise you the music will give you goosebumps.

Based on Victor Hugos classic novel, Les Mis is a sung-through musical set in 19th century France that tells a story of passion, revenge, poverty and hope all set against the French Revolution. Relatable even to modern day audiences and with the most incredible soundtrack, it's a show that appeals to all on so many different levels and if you're a fan of great story telling and thrilling theatre it is an absolute must see!

Les Mis - Newcastle Theatre Royal
So how did I find my second watch of Les Mis? I absolutely loved it and, if I'm being completely honest, I would love to see it again! I was on the edge of my seat the entire performance and I have to say this was easily the most incredible show I have ever seen on stage (and I have seen a lot of shows!) the performances were faultless and the live music and incredible voices gave me goosebumps the whole way through the show. Perhaps the most important thing to tell you though is that Simon, Mr "I don't like musical theatre", really enjoyed the show as well. He spent our entire car journey home humming the tunes to himself and telling me how incredible the set and lighting was.

The entire audience at the Theatre Royal Newcastle definitely agreed with us, the standing ovation at the end of the show was like nothing I have seen before. Our hands hurt from clapping and the joyous "wooops" from the auditorium are something you vary rarely hear in a theatre crammed with Brits.

If you're yet to grab a ticket there are a few left and I urge you to get one while you still can, especially if you have never experienced the show before - the opportunity to see this brilliant show in Newcastle is one not to be missed

What you need to know:
  • Les Misérables is playing at the Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 5 October
  • Performances are at 7:30 pm every day with a 2:00 pm matinee on 17 and 24 September and every Thursday and 2:30 pm on Saturdays 
  • The show running time is 2 hours 50 minutes (including a 15 minute interval)
  • Ticket prices start from £23.50 - there are still some available but they are selling fast! 
  • Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or you can book online here.
Find Theatre Royal at:

100 Grey Street

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop

This is an advertisement feature with Katherine's Florists

I don't know about you but I am always on the look out for some kind of new and fun activity to put in my diary. I'm all about the challenges and, in an effort to keep life fun and interesting, I love to experience new things and gain some fresh skills in my spare time. So Katherine's Florists Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshops are right up my street.

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop

Those of you that know me will probably realise that flower arranging, or in fact doing anything that involves being creative with my hands, is a big challenge for me. I can't sew, paint or draw and often describe myself as a frustrated creative! As someone who loves to express herself through words and photographs I often daydream about having the talent to extend that into something a little more creative but don't often get the opportunity to "give it a go" in an environment I'm comfortable in.

Unfortunately not all of us were born with the creative gene and so when I first discovered Katherine's Florists flower classes I was delighted to find something I could really enjoy without worrying about whether or not I was actually any good at it.  You see the Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshops are perfect for everyone - whether you're a bit of an amateur florist who loves arranging blooms at home or just love pretty flowers but don't have a clue what to do with them - the classes are simple to follow with no judgement or pressure ... and they're really good fun!

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms

Katherine's Florists run the Bubbles and Blooms every month, offering guests the chance to create their own floral masterpieces under the watchful eye of their in-house experts (oh and did I mention there's Prosecco involved too?)

After enjoying my first experience so much I decided to return for the August workshop and so booked myself in for the beautifully Summer appropriate "Here comes the Sunflowers hand-tie Workshop" - now that the sunshine has finally arrived who could resist an evening filled with happy sunflowers?

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Workshop

Each class is limited to a small number, ensuring that you get plenty of opportunity to ask questions and have as much guidance as you need. It's the perfect place to develop your florist skills and hopefully make some new friends along the way. There were all kinds of lovely people in my class, from a couple of neighbours who loved flowers to the incredible lady trying wonderful new things as part of her battle with depression. Different things had brought us to the class but we all had one thing in common - our love of flowers (and fizz of course!).

Our class began with an introduction to Katherine's Florists sunflowers and a little chat about the meaning of the flower. It's incredible to think the emotions that we attach to flowers and giving your loved one a bunch can take on a great number of different messages depending on the bloom that you choose. Traditionally sunflowers represents adoration but I think to most of us we associate them with sunshine, their beautiful yellow colour being the perfect way to brighten up your mood.

Katherine's Florists Newcastle Sunflowers

Once introductions had been made and we'd had a bit of time to chat over our glasses of fizz, it was on to the important part of the evening, watching our expert florist create the hand-tie that we would soon be putting together ourselves. I'm not going to lie, when you first see a very talented florist creating a masterpiece in front of you your immediate reaction is "I cannot do that" but luckily there's plenty of help at hand and absolutely zero pressure.

Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop

The work stations in the flower shop has everything that you need to create your beautiful hand tie and I loved that we all had our own individual buckets of flowers and foliage to pick through to create our hand ties. Although we had seen how our expert had put together her arrangement we were all encouraged to pull together our display in whatever way we wanted. At the end of the day flower arranging is all about creativity and reflecting your own flair and personality.

Using my three sunflowers as my starting point I bound them tightly together before gathering a collection of green bells, ivy and bamboo to place round my creation to start giving it more of a "hand picked" effect. The beauty of a hand tie like this one is that there really was no wrong way of doing it and I really found myself enjoying putting together my creation.

Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop - Katherine's Florists Newcastle
The real beauty with the workshops at Katherine's is that you are encouraged to do as much of it yourself as you can (I will admit I'm a bit of a lazy quitter when I'm not good at things and if someone would let me I would literally stand back and let them do it all for me!) Of course, if you are completely stuck help is at hand, but the beauty of arranging flowers is that really there is no wrong or right when it comes to how your display looks!

The very best thing about Katherine's Florists Bubbles and Bloom Workshop?  You leave the shop with the most beautifully presented flower arrangement to proudly display in your home. Believe me there's no better feeling than informing guests to you house "I created that"

Sunflowers Katherine's Florists Newcastle

Whilst I may not be winning any floristry awards any time soon, the ladies at Katherine's always make me feel like I'm the QUEEN at flower arranging and I'm so thankful to them for their patience, skills and kindness.

If you're looking for a really fun way to spend the evening, the opportunity to meet some new likeminded people and perhaps push yourself a little out of your comfort zone, this is definitely the activity for you!

Sunflowers Workshop - Katherine's Florists Newcastle

What you need to know:
  • Katherine's Florists Bubbles & Blooms workshop costs £25.00 per person and includes expert tuition, a glass of Prosecco and the chance to create your very own display to take home and enjoy
  • Future Bubbles and Blooms Workshops are: 5 September - Harvest Festival Hand Tie, 3 October - Floral Pumpkin Workshop and 7 November - Festive Amaryllis Hand Tie
  • Workshops run the first Thursday of each month between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm at the Gosforth store 
  • To book call 0191 285 8213 or email
Find Katherines Florists at

59a High Street

0191 285 8213
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