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

We were invited to the Press Night of Les Misérables and had two complimentary tickets for review purposes.

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

Thursday 8 August 2019

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender

For many Summers now I have been desperate to visit a lavender field, but with no plans to visit Provence any time soon, where on earth do you go to find lavender fields in the North of England? We're not exactly spoilt for choice in this part of the world and there is, in fact, only one lavender field in the north of England that's worth visiting! Fancy a trip to Yorkshire Lavender?

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
Driving to Yorkshire Lavender is a bit of a commitment, a good hour and 35 minutes from Newcastle I wasn't sure if the place would be worthy of a road trip.  When you're travelling a fair way from home there's always the risk that your destination might not be worth the petrol!  But having had the idea in the back of my head for a while I decided to gamble and play guinea pig for you all ... the fact that I'm here writing a blog post says it all really doesn't it?

I LOVED my first ever visit to Yorkshire Lavender!

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England

I would drive there again tomorrow, without hesitation, if I could. Family run with a huge amount of love, Yorkshire Lavender is a hillside farm covering 60 acres of gorgeous gardens and lavender fields - and it's just waiting to be explored.

We decided to get ourselves there for doors open at 10:00 am, something I'm very glad we decided to do because Yorkshire Lavender does get busy, in fact an hour or so after we first arrived a coach rolled up and whilst there's plenty of space and it never felt overly crowded, it is so lovely to get there first thing and have a bit of time to explore the gardens before anyone else.

Where to Find Lavender Fields - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
Whilst I'm very very thankful that Yorkshire Lavender doesn't seem to suffer from the Instagram hype that some of the lavender fields in the south have (I'm looking at you Mayfield Lavender!) let's not pretend that people don't love to visit the fields for a beautiful Summer picture and during our visit we saw everyone from families to older couples and tourists hopping in and out of the lavender for a snap.

Yorkshire Lavender Fields

The prime spot for taking a picture has to the lavender maze. The lavender maze has the most impressive amount of lavender bushes, all tightly packed together into a sea of purple with paths running between the flowers allowing visitors the chance to walk amongst the flowers. There's no fear of trampling the plants to get an idyllic shot, there are plenty of openings and walk ways to allow you access without damaging the flowers.

Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender

It does, however, take a little bit of bravery. As someone who does have a bit of a bee and wasp phobia it took a lot of courage for me to step into the lavender maze, and although I knew the bees wouldn't hurt me, I had a few "OMG, it's on my skirt" moments whilst standing in the maze. At the height of the lavender season all of the bushes are covered in bees and when you stand amongst the flowers all you can hear is a gentle buzzing.

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - Trip to Yorkshire Lavender

I wasn't brave enough to go in too deep, instead making my way through to an opening pretty close to the main path. I saw plenty of people getting involved though and wading right into the middle of the maze, waist high in purple blooms until all you could really see was a head popping out above the lavender bushes.

If you are interested in photography the lavender maze with its beautiful flowers and drop dead gorgeous scenic views of the Yorkshire Hills is the part of Yorkshire Lavender to visit first, it's picture perfect and is definitely the first part of the site to get busy so try and beat the crowds and head there at the beginning of your visit.

 A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
After the slightly traumatic experience of standing that close to so many bees (yes I'm a wuss!) it seemed like the perfect time to visit EJs Tearoom to sample some of their incredible homemade lavender desserts. There were so many on offer it was a real struggle to come to a decision. The Lavender Cake sounded wonderful and the Blueberry & Lavender Cheesecake looked very tempting. In the end I just had to go for one of their famous Lavender Scones served with Lavender and Bluberry Conserve and a mammoth dollop of Fresh Cream (£3.75), all washed down with a Pot of Tea (Yorkshire of course!) (£2.00)

Those scones were amazing! The journey was worth it just for those scones alone let me tell you. I was worried they would be a little too perfumed for my tastes but they were absolutely beautiful - delicious scones with just the hint of lavender. The real star of the show though was the conserve, it was a delicious dark purple colour, runny, sticky and sweet and I tried desperately to put as much of it was possible on my scone although most of it ended up running down my hands. I loved it so much I had to buy a jar of it to take home!

A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender Tearoom
Next we decided to take a stroll through the lavender gardens.  Grown on the hills with the most spectacular view of the valleys below there are a lot of different varieties of lavenders to admire that come in different shades of purple and pink. The air was full of the dreamy scent of lavender which I particularly loved as it transported me back to my childhood when my Grandma would let me pick flowers from the lavender bush at the front of her house, I would roll them in my hands and breath in their amazing smell.

North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
As well as the most impressive amount of bees, Yorkshire Lavender is also home to a variety of beautifully coloured butterflies with the Painted Lady and Peacock particularly loving the flowers. I spent far too much time photographing all of the insects and would have happily spent an entire day there just doing that.

Yorkshire Lavender

Lavender Fields - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender

Although we spent most of our trip wandering amongst the lavender there are also plenty of other things  on offer including a Natural Wildflower Meadow, Mirror Pond, Sculpture Park and an impressive looking play area for the kids.

Of course, any great day trip ends by exiting through the gift shop and the one at Yorkshire Lavender offers a great range of gifts.  They have a great collection of lavender products including their own range made with oil extracted from the lavender grown on the farm. As well as gifts, beautify products and souvenirs they also have some great food and drink available to take home. As well as my jar of conserve I couldn't resist buying a bottle of special Lavender Edition Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin.

We loved our first visit to Yorkshire Lavender and I'm so happy that we have such a wonderful place in the North of England to explore the lavender fields. I cant wait to return again next Summer, something tells me that this will become an annual thing.

Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
What you need to know:
  • Yorkshire Lavender is open daily between the end of March and end of September from 10:00 am
  • Admission to the shop, plant nursery and tea room are free 
  • Admission to Gardens costs £3.50 for adults, £2.00 for children and £3.00 for concessions 
  • The best time to see the lavender is June - August. The last lavender is cut at the end of August
  • The Gardens are free to visit in March, April and September 
  • There's a large free carpark on site
Find Yorkshire Lavender at:

YO60 6PB

01653 648008

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery

Two years ago Simon and I enjoyed one of our favourite North East spa experiences to date, our first ever visit to the spa at Rockliffe Hall - it was incredible and is something we still talk about to this day. We loved the spa so much we decided to celebrate our second wedding anniversary at Rockliffe Hall last year but then unfortunately left it too late to book the suite we wanted so never got to go.  So when we discovered that Rockliffe Hall have a brand new afternoon tea experience we decided to take the opportunity to finally get to see inside the main part of the hotel and book a table in the Orangery for High Tea.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery

Rockliffe Hall is stunning and definitely the kind of place that you would want to celebrate a special occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries, a trip to Rockliffe really gives you that wow factor as soon as you make your way down the drive to the front of the hotel. Speaking of special occasions I must give a special shout out to Brenda and Bob, the really lovely couple we met during our High Tea, they were at Rockliffe Hall celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary, I truly hope that Simon and I will be celebrating the same milestone at Rockliffe Hall in 43 years time!

Approaching the beautiful entrance to Rockliffe Hall the incredible service starts before you have even reached the front door with someone ready to personally welcome each guest at the door. We have been fortunate enough to visit the best hotels in the North East and I have to say we have never had such a wonderful and warm greeting on arrival. We explained we were at the hotel for High Tea and were personally escorted through the hotel to The Orangery where we were welcomed in and shown into the beautiful room.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience

The Orangery is one of three dining rooms at Rockliffe Hall, and is the flagship award winning restaurant lead by Executive Chef, Richard Allen. The Orangery is well known for its garden to plate dining experience, offering diners beautifully created ala carte and tasting menus from Wednesday to Sunday evenings.  So it's very exciting that The Orangery is now open during the day for a modern version of High Tea, created to allow guests the chance to experience Richard's creations as part of a two course twist on an Afternoon Tea.

The Orangery is a beautiful room for High Tea, with stunning iron features, huge high glass ceiling (with the loveliest views of the top of the building towering above you) and the most impressive big windows offering views of the gardens and surrounding countryside. It's the loveliest spot to enjoy tea with a loved one, the perfect treat!

Rockliffe Hall High Tea

Just to offer you a completely balanced and honest review, as much as I loved our experience I do also have to share my one and only criticism of our afternoon at Rockliffe Hall and that was the choice of music that was being played as the background to our High Tea. The Orangery was beautiful, the service was excellent and along with our fellow diners we were all enjoying a truly special experience, however the pop music that was playing just didn't seem fitting to our surroundings, as much as I love modern music I much prefer to listen to some soothing easy listening or classical whilst indulging in such a special experience.

Now you may be wondering how High Tea differs from Afternoon Tea and although there are many opinions on what makes an experience "Afternoon" or "High", I tend to associate Afternoon Tea with the more traditional fare (think crustless sandwiches and scones served on a cake stand), whereas High Tea tends to lean more towards a light supper served with tea.

Rockliffe Hall Afternoon Tea

High Tea at Rockliffe Hall is a carefully created experience served as two separate courses, three savoury items followed by three sweet treats, all showcasing Richard's culinary creativity and craftsmanship. It's a truly unique way to experience the food on offer at The Orangery without splashing out on a full dining experience.

Our experience began with the savoury course, served on three different plates in the middle of the table we had a side plate each to eat from and a very generously sized teapot to accompany with the all important bottomless tea on offer.

Rockliffe Hall Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery

Our eyes were immediately drawn to the Wagyu Beef Burger, it's hard not to smile when you are presented with perfect dinky little burgers, they were just so cute. The meat was delicious, really tender and packed with flavour, served on very tasty mini caramelised onion brioche with a scrummy Yorkshire Relish filling they were so lovely.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea in the Orangery

Next up we enjoyed a Warm Whitby Crab and Wensleydale Cheese Tart, Simon had originally wrinkled his nose up a little (he's not a fan of cheese) but he was won over as soon as he took his first bite. The pastry was so buttery and the filling was delicious - I really wish that more afternoon tea experiences were a little more creative when it comes to the savoury elements of the tea.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea - High Tea in the Orangery

Our savoury course ended with Duck Egg Mayonnaise, Cured Cumbrian Ham, Pickering Watercress Open Sandwich. Can you believe how high the filling is piled up, it was a little tricky to eat whilst being delicate (even though I am not naturally a delicate person, I do try and retain some dignity whilst indulging in high tea!) The sandwich was so good and we loved the brilliant twist on an afternoon tea classic.

Rockliffe Hall New High Tea in the Orangery

We were given the option of a short break before our sweet course arrived which we thankfully took, our savoury bites were a lot more filling than we had thought they would be and we enjoyed chatting over our tea pot whilst we gave ourselves time to prepare for the cakes.

Rockliffe Hall the Orangery
The first of the sweet treats I wasn't able to have due to my nut allergy but as Simon munched on the Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake, Seville Orange Frosting and Matcha Tea he made a comment that he was so sad about my allergy as I was really missing out on a delicious cake.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea the Orangery

As I couldn't have the Pistachio treat I got to pick which of the other cakes I wanted two of so decided on the Raspberry Shortbread with Rockliffe Estate Honey and Candied Lemon. I've definitely mentioned on a few occasions that raspberry has been one of my biggest obsessions of the Summer so I was very happy with this treat. The zingy raspberries were perfection with the candied lemon and sweet honey.  I'm very glad I got to have two.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea in the Orangery

Our experience ended with the very indulgent Single Estate Chocolate Eclair with Salted Caramel Gold Leaf and we most definitely saved the best until last. This cake was something else, and the very best way to end our high tea experience. You honestly have to book yourself a high tea experience at Rockliffe Hall just to have the opportunity to try this for yourself, it was incredible.

Rockliffe Hall - High Tea Experience in the Orangery

After our High Tea I couldn't resist a little look round some of the rooms at Rockliffe Hall. As it was our first visit to the main hotel I really wanted a little taste of what life at Rockliffe is like, as I poked my nose in and out of the lounges and bar area I honestly couldn't believe how beautiful all the rooms are.  This really is a destination hotel and I can't wait to come back and experience it properly one day.

We really loved our High Tea experience at Rockliffe and although it's a bit pricier than your usual standard afternoon tea the quality of the food really does justify the cost and offers a great opportunity to try some really delicious creations in a different setting.
Rockliffe Hall

What you need to know:

  • High Tea is served in the Orangery daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • High Tea costs £35.00 per person, if you prefer Afternoon Tea, Rockliffe Hall serve their Traditional Afternoon Tea in the Club House and costs £25.00 per person
  • Upgrade to a Champagne High Tea and enjoy a cooling glass of Prerrier-Jouet Champagne for £49.00 per person

Find Rockliffe Hall at:

Hurworth on Tees
County Durham

01325 729 999

We were invited to enjoy a complimentary high tea for two in exchange for this honest review
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