Kingslodge Inn Durham

Conversation is at the heart of friendship.

It’s on our strap line and it’s certainly true for Suzanne and I. But what we need is a lovely, comfy, friendly place to chat. One that’s so lovely, comfy and friendly you forget to take pictures of the wonderful food you’re eating!

The Kingslodge Inn in Durham one such place. Nestled in a street not far from Durham train station you will find the vision of the new owners coming to fruition in a cosy and welcoming traditional pub with top notch en-suite accommodation (we didn’t see it but the waitresses assured us that it was true), serving beers, local real ales and home-cooked food to appeal to the local community as well as visitors to the area.

With the help of sat nav we were welcomed into the Kingslodge Inn through the metal gates and into their own private car park.

The moment we walked through the door we were greeted by lovely staff who showed us to our booth. And then, we looked up and a couple of hours had passed! Partly due to the fact that we’d not seen each other properly for AGES, partly due to the fact that despite there being a plethora of signs saying to go to the bar to order we patiently waited (until we could wait no more) and thirdly but not least important, because the food was so wonderful we kept ordering, eating and chatting.

The perfect night out!

This would be a pretty useless review if we didn’t mention the actual food! So here we go…

Kingslodge-starter

This wonderful Antipasto was enough to whet our appetites. A tasty selection of cured meats, olives, bread and oils, is a lovely sharing platter (unless you are Suzanne and want to eat the lot). (I’m sorry Nicola but I don’t like sharing ^Suz)

And now we need to be honest….We were chatting away when our mains came and we completely and utterly forgot to take images (sorry but it’s your own fault Kingslodge Inn you shouldn’t have made us so comfortable). That has to be the best testimonial we could give, right? We ordered (and wolfed) down pan seared salmon with creamy lemon sauce, served with wild rice & broccoli and The Kingslodge Burger which consisted of Aberdeen Angus steak mince, topped with melted cheddar cheese & relish, served with fries, salad & coleslaw.

The salmon, rice and broccoli were all well cooked alas the lemon sauce was a let down for Suzanne and she’s glad she asked for it separately – it could just be her though as on the whole she’s not a lover of sauce on fish. The burger and it’s accomplishments were absolutely huge and ever so tasty.

Onto dessert…

Kingslodge cheesecake

Suzanne-icecreamThis cheesecake was as indeed very pretty. Different from the usual cheesecake, it’s a bit mousy but no less flavoursome for it! The sticky toffee sundae was as glorious as it looks below but well and truly defeated us. It was a little too much for one (you can see that it’s nearly as big as Suzanne’s head!), I’d recommend sharing it, unless of course you’re in the mood for a full-tummy treat.

We washed everything down with a couple of glasses of wine from a bottle of house red (the rest we took home) and we’d order the same bottle in future.

After we had finished and our plates were cleared we spent some time talking to one of the waitresses (I’m so sorry I didn’t take down her name). She truly seemed happy in her new role and loved that she was being developed and receiving a lot of training. Investment in staff is so important to both myself and Suzanne and so it was so nice to hear about her story so far and we wish her good luck.

Would we visit again, absolutely infact we can’t wait to try breakfast sometime soon.

I’ve also just visited the newest member of the Inn Collection which is The Commissioner’s Key  in Blyth Northumberland keep your eyes peeled for our review.

Take care

Nic and Suz x

One of us has a shoe obsession (Nicola) and one of us has a packing obsession (Suzanne). Sargasso & Grey have just become our new favourite brand.

After an awful lot of ‘ooooh look’ we untied the ribbon on the beautiful, sturdy grey box and found our shoes packaged in their own dust jacket, a sure sign that the contents is worth protecting!

sargasso Nic wearing

Why are they different?

Sargasso & Grey’s shoes are designed by women for women. Ladies, we know how painful shoes can be. The blisters, the squished toes and the pains in our joints. Still, time and again, we’ll buy shoes because we just love how they look, how they make us feel and give little consideration to the long term effect they’ll have on our feet and bodies.

The Sargasso & Grey designers are determined to change this. They design for comfort as well as style.

They say…

Create beautiful and stylish shoes which offer a bit more width at the front, giving your toes more wriggle room and your feet space to breathe. We believe that shoes should be comfortable, fit properly and be beautiful. The smallest details such as padded insoles, extra width, slightly wider heel base on stilettos can make the world of difference.

Why we love them…

Undoubtedly the shoes are lovely. Pretty and stylish.  You don’t just have to have wider feet to wear this brand.

The Ready To Wear collection (made in Spain) comes in a range of wide fit styles for just about any occasion. The Sargasso range is Handmade in England and come in EE width and half sizes between 36 -43.

No more squeezing your fit into shoes just a little too small and waiting for them to stretch or slightly too large so they slop off.

The nude court shoes that Nic is wearing in the photo above are cut higher up her feet than regular court shoes. No toe cleavage. The heel isn’t too high for discomfort, but high enough to be smart and raise confidence.

From the Ready To Wear range, there are a beautiful grey, pink and navy suede version on the website retailing at £125.

 sargasso suz feet

The wide fit sandal (from the Ready To Wear S/S 2016 collection) in navy suede that Suzanne is wearing above, is a lovely contemporary summer sandal that would compliment just about any outfit. They worked really well with trousers, but would be lovely with white jeans or any of the floral maxi dresses or jump suits that are everywhere.

And the heel means you won’t get calf ache. Find out more on their website and remember if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll receive 10 percent off your first order!

Suzanne’s off to get a pedicure, what colour would go best with these navy suede sandals?

 

 

Make Up Galle

Let’s not beat around the beauty bush. This Make Up Gallery range is cheap.

Each item was £1. It has to be, it’s from Poundland.

The reason I bought it was to try a blue eyeliner without wasting a lot of money on something I didn’t know if I’d have the confidence to wear. And, because I wanted a matt bronzer.

So I bought it, played with it, love it.

The bronzer is a little talc-tastic, I can definitely feel it if I’ve used too much. But the shade is lovely, it evens out my skin and doesn’t make me look like a glitter ball (I’ve found the highlighters actually make my laughter lines more noticeable) so it’s perfect for day use. The blusher is a coral shade, not my norm, but it stays put and is lovely on my summer skin tone.

Nic blue eyeliner

Nic x

 

First time Acupunture at Jesmond Natural Health and Fertility Clinic

Month by month the migraines were getting worse. It got to the point that I’d be in bed at least sometime each month, unable to see properly, squiggly lines jumping around my right eye, feeling sick, slurring and mixing up my words and unable to drive. On top of that my periods are no longer regular. Once a 24 -25 days cycle, they’re now 21 to 34 days apart.

Resulting in a heady mix of migraine nastiness each and every month.

Of course as women we all know about “The CHANGE.” At 39 it wasn’t totally inconceivable that I could be early menopausal. Ladies, have you ever heard of Peri-menopause? This is the name for the stage that is the run up to the menopause (which you’ve reached after your last period). When women talk about going through the menopause, they’re experiencing the changes that can last a decade or more until actual menopause.

I set about reading article after article, and headaches / migraines were mentioned so frequently, that I came to my own conclusion that there had to be a link between my periods changing and the migraines I was suffering. Oddly, my biggest problem with it wasn’t that they were actually happening or how poorly I felt, it was how it was affecting me at work. Running my own business means the impact of taking any time off is massive, but time off each month? Unthinkable.

Anyway, I altered my diet, drank more water, tried different foods at different times and did a bit more exercise, all of which helped me feel better but did nothing for the migraines. Stubborn as I am, I couldn’t face the doctor just yet; I made do with off-the-shelf migraine tablets.

Through an event I was running for Sparkle Communications, I met Louise and Laura from Jesmond Natural Health and Fertility Clinic. We were starting to work with them on their Digital PR and Marketing plan and, in the course of conversation, I told them about my migraines. The clinic provides a comprehensive range of treatments including Acupuncture, Reflexology and good old massage, and the team have undertaken specialised training in Fertility, IVF, Pregnancy and Pain management.

This service opened up old hurts; my one and only round of IVF failed. But sitting with Louise and Laura, there was something about Louise’s no-nonsense approach “I can cure them for you” that made me take note (and eventually cry with relief that someone ‘got it’). Being honest, until we all met, alternative medicine has never had a place in my life but as Louise has a BA, PGDip Acu and MBAcC it’s safe to say she knows more about Chinese Medicine than I do.

But when someone sits in front of you and resolutely says that they can help, it’s got to be worth a try.

After an introductory session to find out about my migraines and lifestyle, Louise got stuck in! The image at the top is of the first time I received acupuncture. The tension was so bad in my shoulders and neck I yelped as the needles were inserted, and the pressure in the front of my forehead grew at an alarming pace. After 30 minutes or so, when the needles were removed and I got up to get dressed and I’ll never forget that my head felt like it could fall right off my shoulders. It was so incredibly strange. Something had definitely happened. The next day, I spent in bed. I was head-achy, emotional, exhausted.

Me in month 3 acupunctureThe next session was just as exhausting. And I do mean exhausting. What ever was happening was wearing me out. But the tension in my shoulders and neck was different. I felt different.

In the first two months, I suffered a headache. I also suffered incredibly itchy skin on my back and legs for a couple of weeks. That was odd. But it passed (and Louise invested in some hypo-allergenic needles for me) I’d had four or five acupuncture sessions. But in month two, even though I felt rotten, I took tablets and stayed at work. No bed for me. That was a major improvement.

In month three, after  six or seven sessions of acupuncture, I didn’t have a migraine. At all. And you can see the difference in my body’s reaction to the needles. No angry red skin. I don’t feel any discomfort from the needles now, unless I am super tense in my neck or the base of my skull.

I can say, with certainty, that acupuncture is making a difference to me in my life. I understand that it helps release the tension in my neck and shoulders, which is turn makes me feel better. And I know that last month was the first month I’d been migraine free for years. I was sceptical for many years about alternative therapies. Now, because of the actual difference it is making, I am open to exploring these methods of staying healthy that have been used for thousands of years.

And Louise, Laura and the team are wonderful, lovely ladies whose only aim is to help us feel better. I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Nic x

For further reading try the British Acupuncture Council and 34 Menopause Symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bodhi and birch

Suzanne and I have known Elijah Choo the founder of Bodhi & Birch  for many years and the products within his great British brand are up there amongst our favourite skincare.

The beauty industry is a competitive world but Bodhi & Birch have maintained their ethics and principles; namely using the very finest ingredients which are ethically sourced without cheap additives.

The fragrances in this skincare range all natural. You can tell the difference between them and other brands who favour synthetic counterparts; they just smell real! The oils in all the products are the very highest quality and they’ve been formulated to relax, invigorate and match (or improve) your mood.

‘Eco-luxury bath, body and skincare designed to awaken your mind, indulge your senses and enlighten your skincare ritual to produce a range of luxurious skincare products.’

A little goes a long way with Bodhi & Birch skincare, so whilst the prices don’t match your average supermarket off-the-shelf products, they’ll last a long time. And there’s nothing just average about this range!

It’s difficult to say which is my favourite. The Ginger Brew Deep Tissue Massage and Body Oil is fabulous, neither too masculine nor feminine in fragrance, its superior quality means it doesn’t run out mid way through your massage. Our skin was left supple and soft for the following 24 hours after use and all of the niggling shoulder pain disappeared.

I adore the zesty Lime Blossom Hand Serum, the lime really awakens the senses and now a firm favourite. (I have a bit of a hand cream obsession, there are tubes in every bag, on my desks, in every bathroom…).

The Siam Ginger Bath and Shower Therapy is another vitalising product, not over-powering ginger just enough to help make getting out of bed and off to work a more pleasant experience. And it’s not too feminine a fragrance either, so if you have a man in your life they’ll probably want to . It doesn’t dry my skin and leave me itchy and scratchy. Just clean.

Neroli may not be my favourite fragrance but I love using high quality facial oils as part of my morning routine, and this one is absorbed so easily. It’s a real treat for tired skin. I think Suzanne will commander this for herself as she adores Neroli .

Bodhi & Birch was founded by the lovely Elijah Choo, who brings together Eastern and Western skincare and well-being philosophies in each of his expertly blended products. Each ingredient is ethically sourced from sustainable origins and are made in England.

At the moment there is a special offer on the Body Oil & Shower Therapy Duo – pop over to their website to check it out.

Nic x