War Paint Makeup bag from Smudge by JillyWhen Jill sent this parcel to our office, I got to thinking about our first meeting and just how different things are now.

It was a couple of years ago, I was delivering digital training across Yorkshire and she was working on the same programme. We connected immediately, two northern chatty lasses having a right banter!

Time rolls forward and she’s been a busy lady designing websites for businesses but also following her passion to launch her own cosmetics and skincare range.

Which is no mean feat.

I was genuinely over the moon to receive the parcel, all beautifully wrapped in brand colour tissue and tied with raffia string. I felt really proud of this gutsy lass.

Hidden within the parcel was a 100ml tube of Natural Tea Tree and Lemon Face Wash, £12 and a fab makeup bag emblazoned with War Paint (true enough most days!) which retails at £10.

The face wash is lush. A really subtle mix of tea tree and lemon, the lemon fragrance wins out for me, handy as I love fruity fragrances. My face felt really clean after using it and it’s especially good for oily skin (mine isn’t so I’d probably use the product every other day).

Jilly is developing a full range of skincare products and hand poured soy candles which are cruelty free, only tested on humans, organic and the ingredients are sourced in the UK.  Next on my list to try; the scrumptious looking lip balm and glosses.

If you’re keen to support small, local businesses, then jump over to Jilly’s website and take a look around.

 

Turtle Bay, Newcastle

As eating experiences go, this was a hot one! Turtle Bay, the Caribbean restaurant opened its doors in Newcastle with the same pizazz and panache as on their menu. When you think Caribbean, what comes to mind? I’ve never been before, but my imagination conjurers up balmy weather, white beaches, sunshine, cocktails and lots of coconuts! This new eatery had a lot to live up to.

As soon as we walked through the door, the well rehearsed staff greeted us personally, shaking our hands and introducing themselves. Nice touch. Immediately offered a cocktail, we were onto a winner.

So let’s start with those cocktails. Wow! They pack some punch (pardon the pun). With plenty to choose from, and some including a 63 percent proof white rum, you definitely need to leave the car at home when you’re having a night out in the Caribbean.

As a bone-fide rum lover, I was in absolute heaven as the rum stocked bar offers a choice of over 40 varieties.

Wandering around, there was a great atmosphere, busy, eclectic, colourful. I was already looking forward to trying the food. Having never eaten in a Caribbean restaurant, I didn’t have any expectations. But if you love all things spicy, I imagine you’ll want to move in.

Turtle Bay Cutters

To the food. The sheer volume we got to sample was staggering (thank you Turtle Bay Newcastle for looking after us so well). Deliciously spicy, the ‘Cutters’ (starters) are inspired by Beach Shacks & Street Hawkers across the Caribbean Islands… Jerk Pit Prawns, Duck Rolls, Jerk Chicken Wings, Pulled Pork Salads, Flat Breads, there are any amount of choices to nibble at and washed down with a soothing Banana and Peanut Butter smoothie, this first course was a real hit on our table.

(I wasn’t sure if that smoothie would work, but we couldn’t get enough of them. Like a pudding in a glass it tempered the spices).

The main courses kept on coming, ‘One Pots’ rich, slowly simmered & uniquely Caribbean of Goat Curry and the scrumptious coco-nutty Run Down; my personal favourite, creamy, flavoursome with just the right amount of kick. A variety of salads and Jerk Pit BBQ food, there’s enough on this menu to satiate any appetite.

Run Down

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay to sample the sweets, but we left with brownies packed in a cute little brown boxes so we were happy ladies.

Nicola and Suzanne

As you’d expect, the staff were lovely, informative and friendly. We really did appreciated the time everyone took to greet us personally and shake our hands. Great customer service always makes the difference when dining out, and this service was great.

Unapologetic Caribbean really works. The décor is great, the eclectic mix of colours and murals represent the food; loud and made to be seen. This restaurant, like the food is not shy or retiring. Fun and frolics, a place to enjoy with friends and go cocktail-tastic.

This taste of the Caribbean in Newcastle has made me want to book my plane ticket to the real place. But in the meantime, I’ll be back to sample the other 39 or so varieties of rum.

Nic  x