Winter Picnic in the Middle of the City

2 Feb

I’m not a winter person – growing up in Poland, I’ve seen enough snow to last me a lifetime, and the short winter days always make me feel a bit blue. Being a bit of a digital nomad, I was lucky enough to spend most of  Autumn and Winter in the Middle East, enjoying the clear blue skies and the summer sun… Sadly, sometimes good things come to an end and I’m now back in Newcastle, trying to find new ways of fighting the winter blues!

One of the things I love about spring and summer, and which I’m cruelly deprived of  in Winter, are picnics! You can only imagine my delight when I “discovered” Garden Kitchen – a wonderfully rustic café bistro in Eldon Garden offering an actual picnic menu, with food served on unbelievably cute, miniature picnic tables! The café itself  has a lovely, spring-like feel to it,  with light, wooden décor, watering cans, bell lights and lush plants adding even more charm to the place. Now to the most exciting part..the picnic menu! You get to choose between the signature Garden Picnic with a selection of finger sandwiches, soup, salads, lamb koftas, cheese and brownies (yum!); a slightly lighter, vegetarian  Allotment Picnic, and The Afternoon Picnic, which is what I opted for. Picnic menus change regularly:

Garden Kitchen Afternoon Picnic

Garden Kictnen Picnic Menu

Garden Kitchen picnic menu

The food, a delicious modern take on the traditional British cuisine, was served with a real attention to detail which I loved – from the teeny marmalade  jars, rustic wooden boards and the miniature picnic table, the whole experience was a delight! I’ll be sure to be back soon…

Bank Holiday Weekend in Newcastle: fun things to do for £10 or less.

23 Aug

Yay, Bank Holiday Weekend is coming up! If, like me, you want to spend it doing something fun and a bit different but without splashing out,  then read on!

Fine Dining for Less

Enjoy the last days of Newcastle Restaurant Week and indulge in Newcastle’s finest dining for as little as £10!  I’ll be going to Blackfriars –  they are serving a  2 course lunch time meal for £10 (Saturday only) – what a bargain!

Free Weekend Party Tunes

What better way to relax after a busy week than chilling to (free) live music? Click here and here for a list of venues and bands playing this Bank Holiday Weekend. If you’re feeling quite musical yourself, you may want to check out the Open Mic Night at Gotham Town (26th Aug, 20:30 – 23:30).

Comedy Night!

Make your Bank Holiday Weekend even more fun and drop by The Stand for a night of comedy. This Sunday night’s show is only $6 (£1 for members)! Click here for more info.

Get crafty – Newcastle Craft Fair

Enjoy local crafts, gifts, and yummy food at the Bank Holiday 2 Day Craft Fair.  The 50p admission gets you a free tea/coffee!

Family Fun 

For those of you wanting to spend quality family time this Bank Holiday, The Northubrian Piper is hosting a Wild West Fun Day on 27th August. Think Bucking Bronco, garden games, cowboy/cowgirl fancy dress and a BBQ. The event starts at noon and finishes at 6pm; admission is free of charge – yeeha!😉

If the weather’s nice (now, that’s a big IF!) and you feel like exploring, why not going on a trek through Jesmond Dene‘s Nature Trail? You could even bring sandwiches and drinks, and have a little family picnic!

Sales! Sales! Sales!

Enjoy the sales while they last! I went on a little shopping spree  the other day, and got myself a cute beret beanie from Accessorize  for only £3, and a lovely high low hem dress from Primark, discounted to £7 from £17. A tenner can go a long way!

Something for the soul…

Feeling spiritual? Weekends don’t have to be all about fun and games – if you feel like discovering your spiritual side, you’re in luck! Newcastle Buddist Group is organising a series of public lectures this Saturday and Sunday. For more info, click here. There’s a £5 admission to each lecture.

Spooky Ghost Walk for 2

Ok, so Halloween’s not quite here yet, but why not do something different (and slightly spooky) and go on a ghost walk at  Castle Keep? You’ll be accompanied by a paranormal investigator and psychic detective, and get to use video recording equipment, black scrying mirror, and even a ouija board. The walk is organised by Alone In the Dark Entertainment, but you’ll get a better deal if buy a ticket through Wowcher – only £8.50 for two!

Whitley Bay Film Festival

Whitley Bay doesn’t actually have a cinema, which makes the Film Festival even more interesting! Films are screened at the most unusual locations, such as the St Mary’s Light House, and range from cinema classics to new, locally-made films. Movies screened over the Bank Holiday Weekend cost from £8 to £10. Check out the programme for more info!

Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend! x

Rediscovering… Newcastle tea scene. My favourite places for a cuppa!

19 Jul

I don’t know about you, but I love relaxing with a soothing cup of tea – it just makes everything better, doesn’t it?

Newcastle isn’t short of  cafés with a delicious tea offering, and today I wanted to share with you some of my personal favourites. After all, what better way to start a blog than with a bit of tea chit chat?

Scrumpy Willow & The Singing Kettle, 89 Clayton Street

This quirky little café, tucked in between buildings on Clayton St, is  a perfect place not just for tea lovers, but for anyone with appreciation for organic, local products.  Aside from a nice selection of teas (Indian chai is my favourite!), Scrumpy Willow serves yummy home-made bread and cakes. All this at very reasonable prices, which is always a plus!

Scrumpy Willow and the Singing Kettle

Complemented by a green sachet window, the inside of the café is just as charming as its name – colourful paintings by local artists, bottle drip candles on each table, and a bunch of books lined up along the wall create a relaxed, cosy atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to enjoy a freshly brewed tea, poured from one of those old fashioned, metal tea pots!

Scrumpy Willow and the Singing KettleScrumpy Willow and the Singing Kettle

Ginger Snaps Café, The Green Ginger Arcade, Front St, Tynemouth

I love this place not as much  for its choice or quality of tea (sophisticated tea lovers might be slightly dissapointed as a cup of Twinings is as good as it gets), as for its unusual location and decor. The café is on the top floor of what used to be a 19C Congregational  Church, now converted into a small and wonderfully unique shopping arcade. And it’s just minutes away from Tynemouth sea coast!

The  café, hidden under a large archway, is  divided into a dining area  and a more relaxed, small living room-like space at the back, with comfy (although slightly worn out) couches and a pretty stained glass window. I really like the vintage eclectic feel of this place.

Aside from tea (£1.50 per person), the café serves cakes, soup and even curry!

Ginger Snaps Cafe

Ginger Snaps Cafe

A charming little place like this makes even regular tea taste special – especially when it’s served  in cute vintage tea cups!

Ginger Snaps Cafe

Tea Sutra Teahouse, 1st Floor 2 Leazes Park Rd

I’m really excited about this place because I “discovered” it only a few days ago and I fell in love! Here’s why…

Tea Sutra  is the ultimate tea heaven – with an ‘Oriental’ twist! It’s a tea house, so expect an amazing choice of tea –  they serve over 100 teas and infusions (plus a selection of vegeterian, gluten-free snacks to go with it)! Interestingly, Tea Sutra also offers wellness therapies such as acupuncture, hot and cold stone massage and reiki, so it’s a bit like a spa and tea house in one!

Even though Tea Sutra is in a central location, I felt like I left the everyday hustle and bustle behind the moment I walked through their door. Everything about this place is relaxing and soothing – the light, specious, Japan-inspired decor; the subtle music, comfortable cushions…and the amazing smell of tea filling up the entire floor! It might sound like a weird comparison, but the peaceful, almost meditative atmosphere remained me  a bit of a yoga studio.

tea house Newcastle

tea house Newcastle

tea house Newcastle

It took me a while to decide, but I eventually ordered Persian tea (£2.70) – which is black tea with flowers and spices.  Tea Sutra has a nice selections of books and magazines, so I was sipping my tea while reading haiku – how relaxing!

tea house Newcastle

Jesmond Dene House RestaurantJesmond Dene Rd

Ah, Jesmond Dene! I used to love going there in my student days, when I lived in South Gosforth. I never got the chance to enjoy the park’s little gem – the Jesmond Dene House, so I decided to make up for the lost time and spoiled myself with an afternoon of tea delicacies. For those of you who never been to Newcastle – Jesmond Dene House is a beautiful Georgian mansion, turned into a hotel/restaurant.

JDH Restaurant is definitely more upscale than the cafés mentioned in this post, but it’s a perfect place to visit if you want to treat yourself to a cuppa with a touch of sophistication. JDH serve their afternoon tea menu on weekends (make sure you book a table a couple of days in advance!). You’re given a choice of three mouth watering options, ranging from a whooping £28.50 Champagne Afternoon Tea to a more wallet-friendly Confectioners Tea for £13.00. Each set includes a selection of teas, scones and cakes, served on a three tired tray…All of them immaculately presented and to die for!

Jesmond Dene House tea

Jesmond Dene House tea

Jesmond Dene House tea

I ordered the mid range set, called simply Afternoon Tea. Finger sandwiches were fresh and deliciously tasty, scones – quite possibly the best I ever tasted, not too soft or too crumbly; the tiny cakes looked adorable – although they were a bit too rich for my liking. The service was a bit slow, but you really are in no rush when you’re sat comfortably by the fireplace, cup of tea in one hand, and a delicious macaroon in the other!

Well, that’s it for today – if you’re favourite café didn’t make the list – let me know, I would love to check it out!

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