The travel video for our amazing holidays to NYC and Florida is now live! We got the chance to visit New York in February ask Jonny whisked us away to celebrate my 21st. You can read the full travel blog here. While we spent 2 weeks in the spring in Orlando, to celebrate Johns 25th – I am hoping to have the full blog post up soon! I had so much fun putting this video together, I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I do!
I have been wanting to visit The Herb Garden for as long as I can remember, so you can imagine my delight when my brother suggested it for tea! The restaurant is tucked away under the railway arches by Central Station in the heart of Newcastle and is very distinguishable due to the large white horse on roller-skates that sits outside! The gorgeous and very instatagramable interior is one of the main reasons I wanted to visit, and it did not disappoint! I was more than happy sitting and snapping away once we got inside. The tables are laid out in long sharing benches, which was ok for us as we went early so it was pretty empty, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much had it been busy!
The gluten free options were very limited – to just one dish! While the normal menu contained a feast of dishes, including their infamous pizzas, which my brother ordered. Our server informed me that the restaurant always makes sure their dish of the day is gluten free, so that’s what I settled for, a spicy vegetable aubergine bake with a side of new potatoes. Thankfully the dessert menu was more extensively catered towards gluten intolerance so at least I had more than one option there! I decided to get the gooey chocolate pot with fruit, while Matt got the chocolate brownie, which was also gluten free so I got a taste of that too, whether he liked it or not!
I am glad I finally got the chance to visit, but due to the limited selection for gluten free dishes, I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back anytime soon!
It was Johnny who suggested that we try the Fat Buddha for date night as he had eaten there before, and I am so thrilled we visited because it might be my new favourite restaurant in Newcastle! It’s marketed as an Asian Bar and Kitchen and decorated accordingly inside, with bold reds and gold’s splashed throughout and amazing feature lighting hanging from the beautiful celling in the main upstairs restaurant. Small Buddha ornaments are scattered around with a large golden fat Buddha sitting outside which is a great feature before you even enter the building. We had booked to sit in the upstairs restaurant; climbing the stairs you’re instantly struck with the beauty of it! Once seated we both ordered the restaurants signature cocktail ‘The Fat Buddha’, made up of; vodka, pineapple juice, apple juice, fresh passion fruit and a splash of their secret ingredient! I was so happy to see that there was a separate gluten free menu for diners like me to enjoy, and after much debate I decided to try the Wok Fried Sliced Chicken Breast with mixed vegetables and gluten free soy sauce. Johnny chose their Peking Chicken; crispy chicken breast cooked in Peking sauce with chilli, peppers and scallions. We also ordered some sides of salt and chilli chips and a bowl of egg fried rice for the table. When it all arrived, everything smelt and looked amazing, we both couldn’t wait to dive in!
We both had such a wonderful evening dinning out at The Fat Buddha. I can honestly say it’s some of the nicest food that I have ever eaten! The staff were also very attentive with our food and drinks and really helpful with any questions and concerns that I had over their gluten free menu.
After our meal we headed back downstairs to the bar to enjoy more of their gorgeous cocktails as we didn’t want our night to end! It’s such a perfect restaurant for a great night of food and drinking- we will definitely be back!
Cocktails are always a good idea, so me and my best friend Lucy jumped on a train and headed to Leeds for a day of drinking and shopping! We were desperate to try out the cocktails from The Alchemist in the Trinity shopping centre, which is right in the heart of the city and houses 120 shops, bars, restaurants! Located on the second floor of Trinity, this cocktail bar allows you to make the most of any weather, with its heated wrap around terrance showcasing the stunning city views. However we opted to sit indoors at the beautifully decorated bar. With the bartender only a few feet away to make our drinks, we definitely enjoyed ourselves, even if our purses felt very light by the end of our trip! For our first cocktail, we both ordered the ‘Screwball’ priced at £7.75 and filled with raspberry vodka, blue curacao, apple juice, lime juice, bubblegum syrup and white chocolate foam, its an adult twist on a childhood favourite! This drink tasted very different from any cocktail I’d had before, it was a lot heavier than the fruity ones I’d usually chose however it was my favourite shade of blue and filled with vodka so I think this has to be my favourite of the Alchemist’s cocktails that I tried!
Next up for me was the ‘White Chocolate & Raspberry Martini’ priced at £7.50 and filled with raspberry vodka, raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice and their special white chocolate foam. While Lucy opted for ‘The Colour Changing One’ priced at £7.75, containing reyka vodka, apple liqueur, sugar syrup and a secret ingredient to form a blue potion, then the addition of lime juice, apple juice and soda allows it to change colour! Although the bartender did advise me not to drink mine through a straw, I didn’t want to end up with chocolate foam all over my face!
For our last cocktail we both chose to oder a ‘Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri’ priced at £.725. These cocktails were a lot lighter, fruiter and were a great way to finish off our visit at The Alchemist!
With it’s unique and quirky interior, this cocktail bar is totally different to anywhere I’ve visited before! Situated in an ideal location to be able to grab a few cocktails whilst out shopping, their strong brand image and very individual identity, resulted in a such memorable experience for us! The bar staff were really friendly too and their recommendations were so helpful, it was also a plus being able to sit at the bar itself and watch them work their magic! Wether you’re living in Leeds or planning trip to visit then The Alchemist should definitely be on your list of places to visit!
I’ve been meaning to give Dominos gluten free pizza bases a try for awhile now, so when I noticed their lunchtime work deal offering small pizzas from £3.99 I decided to order myself a couple! Dominos gluten free crusts are only available in 8.5”, which is something they really ought to change, as it would have been nice to have the choice of a medium sized base at least- something that their competitors at Pizza Hut offer. If you look at the menu on the website all items containing gluten are clearly marked with a “G” which is really helpful when deciding which flavour to go for. The lunchtime deal offers small pizzas with only one topping from £3.99 which is a far cry from the regular prices of £10.99+ for a small gluten free base, so I decided to order two while they were so cheap; one ham and the other with chicken. Sadly none of their sides are gluten free which is shame as I felt something like their potato wedges could have been re-worked, offering more choice to gluten free customers. At least their famous garlic dips which sit in their pizza boxes are gluten free!
When my pizza arrived I was pleased to see the small bright yellow ‘GF’ stickers on each box, so I knew that mine hadn’t been mixed up with order pizzas and was the gluten free bases that I had ordered. They smelled great, however when I lifted the lid I was a little disappointed to see the bottom of each pizza covered with burnt cheese. I was also stuck with how small the pizzas were compared to the medium or large sized bases that I used to order before I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. The overall flavour and taste was fabulous and I particularly enjoyed the chicken pizza! Each base was light and airy, not soggy at all like most other gluten free pizzas that I have tried. I definitely believe they are a lot nicer than the gluten free crusts that Pizza Hut offers, which are very dry and bland in comparison. The only criticism I have for Dominos is the price of their pizzas, paying over ten pounds for a small 8.5” base is mad, especially for a student as most of their deals don’t include their small pizzas as an option, although the lunchtime work deal does offer a good compromise. I will definitely be ordering from them again, however I hope to see more variety in the size of the bases and the choices of sides for their gluten free customers in the future!
I wanted to do something memorable for my last week in Newcastle before I moved home for the summer, so Johnny suggested that we give ‘Exit’ a go. Having not previously heard of it, I decided to do some research before we booked. Exit is a live escape game located in Newcastle where you are locked in with friends and/or family and you have to solve a series of puzzles and mysteries to escape. You are given 60 minutes to work together as a team and reach the exit before the time is up! The price is £60 per game so the bigger the group the less you pay per person, however if you play as a pair like we did then this fee is reduced to £50. After reading the reviews I booked us into the ‘Save the City’ room, which although is rated medium difficulty, is said to be the easiest out of the 3 rooms on offer. Unsure of what to expect, we were greeted in the quirky reception room by a lovely and enthusiastic staff member and she told us all that we needed to know before being locked in our room. I don’t want to give anything away to spoil the experience, so this extract describing Save the City is taken from the Exit website ‘Above the busy streets of Newcastle’s city centre only you can stop the evil genius Ignatius Gouge, diffuse the bomb, and exit the game before its too late. Will you solve the clues, crack the codes and find the exit before the time is up?’.
At first we thought £50 for a couple was quite steep but after taking part in the game, we decided it was worth every penny. It’s difficult to put the experience into words, the hour seemed the fly by and unfortunately we didn’t manage to escape however it was such a unique and thrilling experience we will definitely be back to try the other rooms! Save the City may be for beginners but it certainly wasn’t easy- it was so exhilarating working together to try and complete the game, with music subtly playing in the background adding to the drama and becoming more apparent the nearer to the hour you get.
It’s hard to write about something without ruining the experience for others as this is something you definitely have to try for yourself rather than just read about it! I think we were at a slight disadvantage going in as a couple as the rooms take up to teams of 8 people, so we will certainly be gathering our friends together when we tackle the next room so we can hopefully escape this time! It’s definitely a one off and unique experience that you wont find anywhere else and with 3 rooms to try it’s well worth a visit!
During a recent trip back home I stopped at Badgers for a catch up with my best friend over some cocktails! Operated and owned by Ed Raban-Williams and his mother Sarah Raban-Williams, Badger’s is a cool new cafe bringing the city coffee culture vibe to the market town of Guisborough (North Yorkshire) and is located in the busy village opposite the church and renowned Priory. This was my first visit to Badgers since it opened as I have been living in Newcastle for university the past few months so it was nice to finally spend some time at home and get to try out the cocktails that they offer! During the day this quirky café serves tea’s, coffee’s and sandwiches before turning into a cocktail bar on an evening. They also host a gin night every Thursday along with a live lounge on Saturday nights.
I love how this small little café come cocktail bar is styled, it’s very rustic with exposed brick walls, wooden panelling and fairy lights glittering from the ceiling it’s the perfect setting for catching up with loved ones! The menu has also been lovingly designed to tie into the interior, running with the rustic theme the menus have been printed onto brown paper and attached to wooden clip boards. I was hoping that the cocktails would live up to the beauty of the place, and they certainly didn’t disappoint!
All the ones I tried that evening were priced at £6.75 which I thought was reasonable as you’d usually expect to pay around six or seven pound a cocktail when you’re dining out. To start with we both went with a Strawberry Diaquiri, described on the menu as muddled fresh fruit with white rum and lime juice served in a frozen glass over crushed ice. It was fabulous, especially on a warm summer evening…it was the perfect way to start our night!
Our second and third drinks were both Mojito’s with Lucy choosing to try a raspberry one while I opted for strawberry, before we both gave passion fruit a go! Described on the menu as rum & fresh fruit muddled with muscovado sugar, lime juice, mint leaves and topped with soda, they were everything a Mojito should be! Our whole evening at Badgers was gorgeous, I can’t fault the staff or the atmosphere and will definitely be returning, perhaps on a Friday night this time to take advantage of the 2 for 1 cocktail deal! It was probably a good thing that Badgers has only recently opened, as just a stones throw from my old college, I think I would have spent most of my time there- sampling drinks from their cocktail menu and lusting over their dreamy interior rather attending classes!
It’s been a busy month after 2 amazing trips abroad with Jonny and moving back up to Newcastle to start second year, I have barely had anytime to blog! My holiday posts will be up soon but in the meantime I thought I’d share my visit to the street food kitchen, Dabbawal, located in Jesmond. This was our first date night since moving back to Newcastle and after hearing only positive things about their menu and the gluten free options we decided to book up for Saturday night! We struggled to find the restaurant at first, as its not sat on the main row of restaurants, instead located down the back street behind Brentwood Avenue. However, once we did find it we were blown away with the modern and colourful decoration both inside and out, which only filled us with more excitement to try their food!
After we were seated inside the gorgeous restaurant, we were given copies of their extensive menu, along with some poppadoms and a homemade chutney selection to nibble on while we decided what to eat and drink. To start, we both ordered cocktails, I chose the Mitch Martini made up of Bison grass vodka shaken with passion fruit syrup, apple and lemon juice which was gorgeous while Jonny went with the Kaffir Lime Cosmopolitan consisting of; Indian kaffir lime leaves, Wyborowa Lemon vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice. Their menu is made up of a variety of meals such as small tapas dishes for starters or sharing options as well as larger curries for a bigger main course. As it is a ‘street food kitchen’ we decided to get a selection of the tapas dishes and some sides to share so we could sample a mix of classic Indian street foods. Each item is clearly labeled (G) if it contains gluten, which is great for gluten free diners to be able to easily see which dishes to avoid. After much consideration we eventually picked 3 gluten free tapas dishes; the Chicken Supreme Pakora Fritters, the Dabawall Grill and the Punjabi Chicken Lollipop as well as Pulao Rice and Masala Chips as sides to the meal which were also gluten free.
As we had ordered the tapas options, they each came to the table separately with the sides not being served until we were half way through the dishes, meaning we didn’t feel that we were eating our main course as dishes kept being brought to the table and interrupting us. Although the food was pleasant enough we were a bit underwhelmed after hearing only good things about the restaurant, we didn’t feel that we had been able to enjoy ourselves or the food. With the restaurant decked out in quirky, modern furniture and fittings, it is a gorgeous setting for a meal however the dining experience was disappointing and sadly we wont be returning as the whole meal came to around £60 which we is something neither of us can justify spending!