Image from Northumberland National Park

Were ever you are in the UK you will no doubt be within reach of one of our fifteen National Parks. From the Brecon Beacons to Yorkshire Dales there is certainly something for everyone.

For our National Parks Week experience we visited Northumberland and more specifically Walltown. We’ve never visited this section of Northumberland National Park and were pleasantly surprised as to what was offer. For two days during NPW the site is transformed into a playground filled with adventure aiding imagination and encouraging all to try something different.

Duncan Wise, Visitor Development and Marketing Manager of Northumberland NP joined us in Newcastle and gave us a running commentary along the route to the site (watch out for 2017 when a huge development is occurring because of Lottery funding).

We sampled archery, a zip line, climbing wall, animals and pizza-making. I always knew I had a girly girl yet dare-devil daughter. It was truly apparent in her determined climbing of the wall in slippy trainers and her three go’s on the high zip wire (you weren’t getting me up there). I was even more super proud of Emily at her third go on the zip wire. There was a boy behind her (aged 10) who kept telling his mum just how nervous he was and she calmly turned around waited for him to finish talking to his mummy and said;

My mummy helps people stay safe and she has let me go on here and I’m her most precious poppet so it must be really safe (looks around for my confirmation). That’s right isn’t it mummy?

Heart melts!

After the activities we headed for pizza making. This was a little too popular and it would have been great if more people had been on hand to help. The pizzas were however very tasty!

I was very gutted when Emily decided she was too old for storytelling which I found very strange as we have two stories every single evening but I peaked in the tent and saw that there was a heavy infant contingency if there had been an older group I’m sure she would have actively listened.

On a usual day there is woodland, meadows, wildlife lakes, car parking, toilets, café and firm paths (although access to these in places was quite wet). There are several pleasant circular walks with access for all inclusive of  wheelchair and buggy users (I opted to leave my one year at home and would definitely pop him in a carrier).

Nearby you have Carvoran Roman Army Museum and Hadrian’s Cycleway. Getting to Walltown is easy via the Hadrian’s Wall Bus and there is also an onsite car park (£4 / vehicle all day, with tickets transferable to other National Park car parks along the route of the wall). If you come on your bike there are lockups.

Walltown is a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site perfect for viewing the dark skies over the Northumberland National Park. We are heading back in September to do a guided walk we’ll let you know how we get on.

#Top tip: Wear appropriate footwear in the form of wellies or walking boots. When the site is affected by rain (we are talking the north of England here) is can get rather squidgy underfoot in parts.

Love from

Suz and Emily x

 

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?

 

 

Tupperware

So then, what do they have in common? They are both brands that we as consumers use on a daily basis to refer to vacuums and plastic containers.

Actually not one hundred percent true. When people used the word Hoover instead of vacuum I would shudder. It was a pet hate of mine but a couple of weeks ago when thinking about how much Tupperware I have in my life a lightening bolt went off in my realisation that I had been in fact been guilty of double standards all of these years (apologies to all those people who have put up with my wrath of branding), Hoover did a fantastic job of getting into the minds of consumers even though Dyson came first.

The featured picture isn’t really a true representation of all of the plastic containers that live in my cupboards but there is always room for more and the children do need their own (don’t they?)

babybowlsWe’ve been testing out these six bowls for £7.99 from Babymoov. Even though there are to help with our #stresslessweaning Emily my six year old decided that the pink and purple bowls were hers and not necessarily for food.

The bowls have a capacity 250 ml (perfect size), a rewritable surface and has an airtight cover.

These bowls came with instructions, I know right, who needs instructions to use the bowls? Ermmm, that appears to be me. After several attempts I simply couldn’t get the lid to make a safe fit so I enlisted the advice of a fellow Babymoov ambassador who instructed to place on in a circle action rather then putting them directly over the bowl and pushing down. Alas this didn’t lead to a perfect seal which is absolutely okay for home use but I may be a little reticent to venture into the picnic bag with any wet items but would use for dry items and hope that I get the lids on well enough not to dispense the contents all over the bag.

These bowls are really easy to get clean and are dishwasher friendly too.

Look out for the next #stresslessweaning #messisbest post which sees us trying the Babymoov lunch set.

 

 

 

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