See Santa at The Kingslodge InnEarlier this year we had the chance to pop to The Kingslodge Inn, Durham to see what we thought of it. And we loved it so much that I now run a monthly networking event for ladies there!

Well, they’re celebrating their first Christmas this year and we’re all welcome to join them.

They have a packed programme of events for all ages. Santa Claus is coming to town on Saturday December 3, and bringing some special guests from the North Pole with him. Children will have the chance to meet the man in the red suit and his elves, and receive a gift.

The fun continues on Saturday December 10 with the band Soul Central, then pop and rock disco and funk from The Flytes on Friday 16th, pop, rock and soul from The Casinos in Saturday 17, and superb folk covers and originals from Guilded Thieves on Saturday 17.

Each evening includes a three-course meal alongside the entertainment.

Christmas Day celebrations are now sold out but there’s still time to book to join them on New Year’s Eve when you’ll be transported back to the ’50s with Ruby & The Mystery Cats, a rockin’ quartet, who play wild and energetic rockabilly, rockin’ blues and rock ‘n’ roll music.

With a fabulous three-course meal, this is the perfect way to see Inn the New Year! The team are a really lovely bunch and their new Winter Menu looks fab too.

If you’re heading to Durham to the Christmas markets or just fancy exploring the wonderful Heritage Coast, or go shopping in the Metrocentre the Inn has 23 bedrooms and provides a Taste of Durham breakfast as part of your overnight stay.

You’re in safe hands as they hold an AA Dinner Award and the Taste Durham Highest Quality Assured Award in recognition of the quality of its home cooked pub food made with local and seasonal ingredients wherever possible.

Check the Inn out, we know they’ll definitely Welcome You Inn! #WelcomeInn

Nic 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

bump

This time last year I was well into my third trimester and a little rounded to say the least.

It had been five years since I was pregnant with Emily and my weight and fitness has been good, great, poor and very poor at different times over those years. I was 34 when I became pregnant with Emily and you’d think I’d be sensible at that age but oh no I definitely decided to ‘eat for two’ as the saying goes.

No no to caffeine – the first thing to go in my diet was coffee. This wasn’t a choice I in fact had no choice as even the slightest smell of coffee knocked me sick to the point of vomiting. En route to my H&S job I collected an intern each day and she insisted on bringing a pot of coffee into the car but I didn’t want to tell her and she seeming seemed oblivious to my retching. The saving grace is that it was summer and I could drive with the car windows down without question.

Cravings – pickled fish. In fact anything at all doused in vinegar. I was often found in the kitchen day or night downing shots of vinegar. It sounds absolutely disgusting now but truly vinegar at the time was akin to the finest bottle of Champagne well to me any way.

I also had a penchant to burrito’s and Doritos (taste buds have just gone off simply writing that).

This time round I was 39 when I found out that I was pregnant with little Luke and wanted to use Emily’s pregnancy as something to learn from but all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat nothing appeared to fill me. Weight was steadily going on and I was only ever weighed once and that was the initial appointment. Although a mature adult I acted like a child and didn’t know when to stop eating this had to stop. Then a light bulb moment I rediscovered my love of smoothies.

I had done quite a lot of reading and knew it was important to do the following;

  1. Eat atleast the government guideline of five fruits and veg per day.
  2. Eat starchy carbohydrates at every meal to fill you for longer.
  3. Have low fat dairy products twice a day to ensure your need for calcium is met.
  4. Ensure protein rich food factor at least twice a day.
  5. Remember you only need an extra 200 calories per day so restrict the intake of sugar and fat.
  6. Add natural folic acid into the diet which included leafy green veg (kale roasted in the oven with sea salt and a little oil became a snack staple)

Apparently you are only expected to gain 1lb a week if you started you pregnancy at a defined healthy BMI but those like me who sat above the healthy range only 1/2lb was acceptable. Yes I have heard it all before, “don’t gain too much weight, as it’s harder to lose it post-pregnancy, especially when you are an old mum”. Now stand back before I punch you, was often the thought running around my head whilst I gave a disingenuous smile to the wisdom giver, as they only meant well, didn’t they?

Now back to my love of smoothies. Rediscovered in month six whilst on a visit to Intu Metro Centre and there was a smoothie stand I was really hungry/thirsty and I was intrigued by the queue around the booth diagonally opposite from Greggs (I will forever love their sausage rolls). I can’t quite remember the name but it had a bit of everything in there.

Off home I went via the supermarket and health food shop to load up on smoothie ingredients a plenty. I got some fab ideas from Pinterest. I had a completely outdated blender and had already started looking up blenders when I came across Baby Moov a brand I wasn’t familiar and it’s Nutribaby I knew it was the product that did what I wanted. It steamed and blended and didn’t take up too much counter space. Alas I talked myself out of the purchase, I couldn’t treat myself to something that is aimed specifically at baby weaning. Absolute codswallop. If I’d bought it when I was six months pregnant and then used it for weaning (when baby turns six months old) I would have had the equivalent of a full term pregnancy of  use out of it equating to only £11 per month and then there was it’s future existence to. No brainer I shouldn’t have deprived myself. I do have one now though as I’m part BabyMoov’s 2016/17 cohort of brand ambassadors.

Over the next few months I’m going to let you see my Nutribaby in action and re-live those delicious pregnancy smoothies. They were epic and I hope you will enjoy them when you try them.

This is a collaborative post with Baby Moov #stresslessweaning

 

 

Who wouldn't want to go walking here?It’s January. Everyone hates January. The darkness. The wet. The short days. I could go on. I think we have to search for things to enjoy in January, so I’m sharing a favourite beach of ours.

This picture, full of winter sunshine, was taken at Druridge Bay, Northumberland in late December 2015 and it couldn’t have been more glorious. Cold, bright and beautiful.

For all of us living in the North East, we’re definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, walks and getting out into the fresh air. And mostly, they’re not overcrowded.

Druridge Bay is simply stunning. And at seven miles, is long enough to really get out and stretch your legs. We parked the car at the Country Park and set off for lunch at Amble. On this particular walk, we passed cyclists, surfers, a couple of horse riders (and the horses) and a few people surfing the sands which looked like awesome fun.

You’ll come across sections of the beach that are black; in the 19th century coal was mined nearby and some of it is still there on the sand. You’ll see anti-tank blocks and pill boxes too, on the coast to help ward off a German invasion during World War II.

 

Coal on the beach, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

From the Druridge Bay Country Park to Amble it’s 3.5 miles and should take about 70 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take pictures, collect shells and mess about!

The Old Store House, Amble

After about 3.5 miles, you reach the little town of Amble. You’ll see the caravan park on your left so be sure to come off the beach there. The sign is wonderful; Amble, The Friendliest Port!

A couple more minutes along the road, you hit The Old Store House. We’d never been in so we decided to give it a go.

Perfect for walkers, the floor is stone… no worry about the mess. The pub is light and friendly (as are the staff) and the food was perfect for us hungry pair.

Mike chose the Northumbrian cheese platter, which for £8.75 was about the best value, largest platter we reckon we’ve had. And for me, some sweet potato wedges, £3.75 and creamy garlic mushrooms on lovely toasted rustic bread £5.75, enough carbs to power us back along the beach.

We’d definitely recommend The Old Store House and you can see what you’d fancy on their menu.

If the sun does come out in the dreary old month of January, the blue sky on this beach gives a different meaning to January Blues.

Nic x

 

LoveNorthEast

South Causey Inn

Sometimes it’s the non-planned days out that are the best. After some debate about where to eat lunch (somewhere without the queues of frenzied-shoppers), Mike and I ended up at the South Causey Inn, somewhere I’d never been to before.

South Causey Inn is an independent hotel that has it all. The setting is beautiful, it’s situated in 100 acres of land in the beautiful Beamish Valley, close to the world famous museum.  It’s a hotel, restaurant and splendid event venue, including weddings.

But we just wanted a spot of lunch. And what a lunch it was.

As you can see from the photo, the portions are substantial, my “Slider” is considered a lighter bite! The honey BBQ pulled pork mini sandwiches (three of them!) were absolutely gorgeous, the meat was well-cooked and really tasty. The homemade red cabbage slaw set it off a treat, but the sweet potato fries were a little undercooked for me. £10.95

Mike’s cheeseburger was handmade (no packet burgers here) and came with onion rings, slaw, he upgraded to chunky chips (which were substantial and fabulous) and a really tangy homemade relish.

The staff were absolutely lovely, the venue is out of this world (if you like beams, fireplaces, and comfy couches) and we happily whiled away a couple of hours.

At £10.95 each, the meals were good value and I particularly love the amount of local produce used.

Nicola x