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?

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