Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A few last minute festive treats to make with the kids

Last minute treats to make with the kids - Family Makes
If you're looking for a few last minute treats to make with the kids, Family Makes save the day with this post. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Afternoon Tea with Santa in Newcastle - Wyevale Garden Centre Gosforth Review

Credit - Newcastle Family Life
Lindsay from Newcastle Family Life enjoyed Afternoon Tea with Santa at Wyevale Garden Centre with her two little ones recently and it sounds like they had a wonderful time. I have to say it sounds like a bit of a bargain with tickets for little ones priced at £10 including afternoon tea, story time with Santa, biscuit decorating and a lovely gift too. You can read Lindsay's full review and book online here. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Where do you buy your Christmas Food?

I am not brand loyal at all when it comes to shopping for Christmas food and I also can't think of anything worse than walking around the supermarket with a packed trolley and spending £300 a few days before Christmas! I've tried a few different methods over the year and thought it would make a good topic for a blog post. I'd love to hear what you do in the comments......


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Paddington Bear themed Christmas Present Ideas

*Post contains affiliate links

Paddington fever has certainly swept the nation and even more so in the North East. We have our very own Paddington themed window at Fenwick and a pop-up Paddington Bear themed cafe too. We're off to see the new movie on Sunday and I know my kids would love to receive a Paddington themed gift on Christmas day this year. Actually, I'd like to as well! Here are my top suggestions for the best Paddington Bear themed Christmas Present Ideas. 

Paddington Baby Booties - buy here


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Why the 21 Taste Tour is a Perfect Gift for Foodies this Christmas

*This is a collaborative post

Have you heard of the 21 Taste Tour? The experience is available to purchase as a gift voucher and is such a unique way to sample some of the best food Newcastle has to offer. Basically, you spend the evening hopping between three restaurants (The Broad Chare, Caffe Vivo and 21 Newcastle) and sample one course in each. I tried out the tour last week with my friend Nyomi and have to say it's one of the best foodie experiences I've ever experienced in Newcastle. If you buy this voucher for a loved one, you're not only giving them the gift of food, but also the gift of time. You spend one hour at each restaurant and the change of scene means there's always something new to talk about. I don't remember the last time I spent 3 hours in a restaurant talking with my friends and the Taste Tour provides you with the opportunity to do just that and enjoy some real quality time together. 

Our evening kicked off at The Broad Chare. This pub is one of our favourites (check out my Sunday lunch review here) and was super busy which is always a good sign. We popped upstairs to the restaurant and were shown to our reserved table where we were informed we could select 2 bar snacks and a drink each. Nyomi went for her favourite beer and I opted for a nice glass of Merlot. There was some deliberation over which snacks to order but in the end we selected the Pork Crackling, Monkfish Cheeks, Cheese Croquettes and Cauliflower fritters. I will be honest when I say I don't even like Cauliflower but just went with them as Nyomi wanted to give them a try and oh my word I am so pleased I did - served with curried mayonnaise, I have been banging on about these fritters to poor Steve ever since. We'll definitely return during my birthday night out next month to order more. I think this is part of the beauty of the Taste Tour - as it's all pre-paid it's kind of like being given a license to try something new. Our bar snacks were a bit of a carb fest if I'm honest but we were in our element indulging in these treats and chatted away as we cleared our plates and finished our drinks. Before we knew it though, an hour had passed and as the clock struck 8:15pm, it was time for a change of scene with Caffe Vivo next door.....

Nyomi had never visited Caffe Vivo on the Quayside and was really excited to try somewhere new. Vivo is one of my favourite restaurants in Newcastle, it's always busy, you are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome, the food is always spot on and service is attentive and friendly. I've literally never encountered a single fault during any of my numerous visits over the years. Caffe Vivo is where you'll enjoy a main course and glass of wine. Our server informed us we could order anything from any menu. Browsing the a la carte, set menu and specials, we were spoilt for choice. I nearly always order Chicken Milanese at Vivo and was nearly tempted to stick with my favourite, however my eyes were drawn to the steak which was available at no supplement so I decided to go with this in order to get the best value out of the tour. My steak was perfectly seasoned and served with the best rosemary potatoes - absolutely perfect.  I decided to stick with another glass of red and must say I felt like I was in foodie heaven! Nyomi opted for a salmon dish from Vivo's set menu and thoroughly enjoyed this dish too. Nyomi mentioned that Caffe Vivo had really impressed her and I know she'll definitely be back soon. I think this is another good reason to buy a Taste Tour voucher - it allows you to try new places you may not have otherwise discovered.

The only negative I would say about the Taste Tour is that you're always watching the clock. I was conscious that we needed to be at 21 for desserts at 9:15pm. I don't think it would really matter too much if you were delayed and I have to say service was all swift and perfectly timed so it's not a huge issue but if you're someone who hates to be late like I do, you do feel as if you need to keep one eye on the clock. 

21 Newcastle is just around the corner from Caffe Vivo and The Broad Chare and we arrived just in time for our final reservation. I will say that the Taste Tour is so well organised - every single member of staff knew we were there for the tour and were able to explain exactly what was included at every step (it's easy to forget a few glasses of wine in). 21 is where you'll be treated to dessert and coffee. As one of the more expensive restaurants in Newcastle and only somewhere I've visited once before (and even then it was during restaurant week), dining here really did feel like a big treat for us both and was a lovely way to end the evening. Again, we could order anything from the dessert menu and despite feeling rather full from our previous courses, I could have easily ordered every single dish. It's all super tempting! I finally settled on the Chocolate and Boozy Cherry Marquise. It was boozy, indulgent and beautifully presented too. Definitely one of the best desserts I've eaten in a long while. Nyomi was delighted to find that cheese was included as an alternative to something sweet and was in her element picking out a perfect selection to end her meal. 

I honestly can't recommend the 21 Taste Tour enough. So many people have messaged me saying they'd never heard of it before and that it's such a good idea and I absolutely have to agree. In fact one of my friends has already booked and I enjoyed it so much that I've asked for another Taste Tour voucher from my parents this Christmas (fingers crossed!). 

The 21 Group Taste Tour is probably the most unique dining experience in Newcastle. For £45 you can enjoy:

7:15pm - 2 bar snacks and a pint/glass of wine at The Broad Chare
8:15pm - a main course and glass of wine at Caffe Vivo
9:15pm - dessert/cheese and coffee at 21 Newcastle

In the name of research, here's how much I would have spent without the voucher:

The Broad Chare (2 bar snacks and a large glass of wine) - £13.75
Caffe Vivo (steak and a glass of wine) - £28
21 Newcastle (dessert and coffee) - £13
Total = £54.75

So I actually saved nearly £10 using the voucher too. 

You can buy a voucher for the 21 Taste Tour online here. I think it makes the perfect gift for couples who appreciate good food and are always looking for something new to try. If the Taste Tour doesn't tickle your fancy, the 21 group sell a range of gift vouchers for all occasions and budgets

Would you like to try the 21 Taste Tour or do you know someone who'd appreciate receiving this gift for Christmas?


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

24 Christmas movies to watch in December

*Post contains affiliate links

I probably watch the highest concentration of movies EVER in December. I would say I pretty much watch one a day! There's something so nostalgic about watching old 80s movies with the kids or heartwarming romcoms whilst wrapping gifts with a glass of sherry! My all-time favourite Christmas movies are Love Actually (always the first one I watch - I cry every time), The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus the Movie and Elf. As a family we're fans of Home Alone, Arthur Christmas and Nativity. Steve will usually go on and on about Die Hard being the best Christmas movie. I'm not so sure about that but I've included it anyway. 

24 Christmas movies to watch in December

If you're after Christmas movie recommendations, here are a few to get you started.......

Let me know which Christmas movie you'll be watching first.


Monday, 30 October 2017

50 Ideas for your Child's Christmas Book Basket or Advent Tree

*Post features affiliate links

Ever since my Harry was tiny we've had the Christmas tradition of our own Christmas book advent tree. We started it off with 12 books and then gradually built our collection. Once you've made the initial investment it's a lovely inexpensive tradition and bringing the same books out year after year always brings out those feelings of nostalgia. My children's reading habits have changed quite a bit since the toddler years now and every year I tend to replace a couple of the younger books with something new. 

The idea of a book advent tree is that every evening, a book is unwrapped and read before bedtime OR you can simply create a Christmas book basket and leave it in a place your children can help themselves to. 

If you're looking for new ideas for Christmas books this year, I have 50 ideas for you below. Simply click on the images to read more. Let me know if you have a favourite Christmas book to add to the list. 

 Let me know if any of these books are favourites in your house.

Pin Me For Later 

50 Ideas for your Child's Christmas Book Basket


Monday, 23 October 2017

Traditional Dresden Stollen | Christmas Recipe

Traditional Dresden Stollen | How To Rock At Parenting Blog
If you fancy trying something a little different to a traditional Christmas cake this year, why not bake this Dresden Stollen? You can find the recipe by How To Rock At Parenting here. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Win an Award Winning Northumberland Christmas Pudding with The Proof of the Pudding

Christmas Pudding is a massive part of Christmas for us. For years ours was always made by my grandad and it's the part of my Christmas dinner I look forward to the most. Unfortunately, my grandad is now unable to bake due to ill health and I'm no cook so over the last few years I've bought homemade Christmas Puddings from local businesses and one of my favourites in The Proof of the Pudding. Homemade Christmas Puddings really are 1000000% nicer than a shop-bought/manufactured one and it's an area of Christmas I won't scrimp on.

Based in Northumberland, you may recognise the name as The Proof of the Pudding appeared on the Christmas edition of BBC's Countryfile's showcasing their award-winning Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding.

I love that these puddings are genuinely homemade from a farmhouse kitchen in Northumberland by Susan Green. As well as Christmas puddings, there are a few varieties of steamed pudding to choose from including Sticky Toffee, Spotted Dick and Sticky Ginger.

The Original Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding

This pudding was rated 20/20 by The Independent and is homemade in a Northumberland farmhouse kitchen using Susan's traditional family recipe with a generous slug of Alnwick Rum. It's fruity, boozy and everything you'd want from a Christmas Pudding and more. Available in sizes small, medium or large, you can order direct from The Proof in the Pudding website or ask a local stockist to reserve one for you. You can pick one up from Fenwick Newcastle too. Order books are also open for new stockists.

Win an Award Winning Christmas Pudding

For your chance to win an award-winning Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding for your family this Christmas, simply enter using our rafflecopter below. You can enter using all options or just one. Daily entry is available via Twitter. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Prize is one medium sized original Christmas pudding from The Proof of the Pudding including delivery to a UK mainland address
One winner will be selected at random from all valid entries
UK entries only
Extras not included and no alternatives or refunds are available. 
Giveaway ends midnight 12/11/17


Monday, 16 October 2017

Cranberry Infused Gin Recipe

Cranberry Infused Gin | Supper in the Suburbs
If you know someone who loves gin, I'm sure they'll really appreciate this homemade gift this Christmas. It looks pretty too! Follow the recipe by Supper in the Suburbs here. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Fenwick Newcastle | A nosey around the Christmas Department & Christmas gift ideas for 2017

One of my favourite places to spend the build-up to Christmas in Newcastle is Fenwick. Their Christmas department really is the best in the region and over the weekend I spent a good hour browsing all of the treats they have for sale. I could easily buy a gift for every person I know here - if you're stuck for ideas of what to buy someone, a trip to the Fenwick Christmas department on the second floor will sort you out! 

First of all, there's Paddington bear which seems to be a running theme throughout the store this year (is this a hint to the window theme I wonder??). There are lots of Paddington-themed gifts for sale which are perfect for little ones and their grown-ups too. I highly recommend a trip to the pop-up Christmas restaurant which is Paddington themed this year. Serving delicious cakes, afternoon tea, marmalade sandwiches, turkey sandwiches and more with Christmas songs playing in the background, you won't want to miss out. Read more about the Paddington Bear restaurant here.

There are SO many decoration options to choose from either from the Paperchase concession or the main Christmas department itself. With tree ornaments, elaborate centrepieces, table decor, foliage and wreaths, stockings, lights, trees and more. You really are spoilt for choice.

I love that there's an 'elf on the shelf' section too - you can buy your elf his own pet or clothes this year!

I am so pleased that foxes are in vogue this year - they're my favourite!

If you'd like to get your hands on Christmas Monopoly, Fenwick has it in store......

There are loads of fab ideas to fill your Christmas Eve boxes and I'll be popping back in a few weeks to stock up and make a start on ours. I've bought these hot chocolate stirrers for the last few years and they are lovely stirred into warm milk on Christmas Eve.

I also think these rice pudding bottles are super cute! 

Honestly, when it comes to hot chocolate making, Fenwick have you covered. They have a whole section dedicated to creating an ultimate hot chocolate treat.

Nevermind the kids, I would like these mini gingerbread men with salted caramel dipping pots in my Christmas Eve box!

Along with these bottles of 'make your own melt in the middle chocolate pudding'. 

For the drinkers amongst us, you will be in heaven! There is an actual Gin Lane featuring so many different types as well as a nice selection of Champagne and spirits and ideas to pimp up your Prosecco.

Fenwick really excel themselves with their stocking fillers and smaller gifts I think. There are so many gadgets and novelty items that will put a smile on your loved-one's face this year. There is even a whole section dedicated to unicorns!

Light boxes are apparently still a thing and there are a fair few to choose from at Fenwick - from pens to write your own messages to retro letters and magnets. There is a light box for every occasion!

Finally, there's a nice selection of local gifts too. I love giving Geordie themed presents and these ones caught my eye.....

This is just a teeny, tiny peek at what's on offer. There are festive home fragrances and candles, christmas cards, wrapping paper, books, chocolates......pretty much everything you need on one floor!

I love that you leave via a Paddington Bear themed escalator or lift. Cute!

You'll find Newcastle's Fenwick Christmas department on level 2. If you're looking for somewhere to dine, check out these options all available in store:

Let me know if you've visited yet and if anything has caught your eye. 

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