My Fitness Journey

I’ve been gone a while… but I’m making a slow comeback. 2015 was a funny old year. Actually it wasn’t really funny, but it marked the year I started to prioritise myself and my health over a lot of other things… including blogging. After a bit of umming and ahhing, I’ve decided to add another category to my blog, Health & Fitness! I’m no expert but I am learning as I go along… so here goes nothing.

Warning: I’m about to get pretty personal…

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember and although I always maintained I was happy/healthy/fine/insert any other generic word that fits, I was kidding myself. I was unhappy with how I looked, how I felt and how inactive I was. I joined gym after gym, went a few times a year and made excuses about why I couldn’t go… all the while paying a nice monthly donation to whichever gym I was a member of at that time. Since 2005 I’ve been a member of Healthlands, Greens, Healthlands again, DW, David Lloyd, DW again, Springs and now Nuffield (formerly Greens).

In March last year I decided it was time I made some big changes rather than burying my head further into the sand. I’d tried the 5:2 fast diet in 2014 for a little while and although I was losing weight, I took a break from it and (surprise surprise) gained back a bit of the weight I’d lost – but not all.

I was introduced to the 5:2 by my aunty who has been doing it for a few years and has had great success. It’s a pretty simple concept, you fast twice a week, eating up to 500 calories on those two days (600 calories for men) and eat ‘normally’ the other 5 days. Anyone who is familiar with 5:2 will tell you it’s not a quick-win, you lose approximately 1lb a week and at first those fast days can be difficult to get through. Luckily, I’ve got my aunty (I call her my 5:2 guru) on hand for any motivation/support. I’m also a member of a few Facebook groups which help loads when I’m having a tough fast day, my husband has always been extremely supportive too.

When I first started, not many people had heard of intermittent fasting and I did get a few comments about how it didn’t sound safe/sensible… but I’d watched the Horizon documentary and had seen my aunty’s results first-hand so I just nodded/smiled and carried on. I’m not going to go into it in this post, but the benefits of fasting are wider ranging than simply losing weight, this knowledge helps keep me motivated if the scales don’t move one week.

Even though I was happy with my weight loss, I wanted to get more active, so in June I started dragging myself to the gym I was already a member of. I hated it. I hated myself for being there and was so self-conscious that everyone was staring at me. They weren’t of course. I was just being majorly paranoid.

I bought some new gym gear and this really helped me get motivated to exercise. This must sound really stupid, but it worked. I now have a patterned legging addiction and I call my first pair my ‘magic leggings’ because they were solely responsible for getting me to the gym.

Here are my magic leggings!

I bought these leggings for the gym and now I'm too scared to wear them 😂 #gym

A photo posted by shivaneeee (@shivaneeee) on

I now go to the gym 3-5 times per week and can honestly say I love it. I do a combination of HIIT, cardio and resistance training. I have a routine, I make sure I go straight from work a few nights per week and at the weekend I go first thing in the morning, so I’ve got the rest of the day to do chores/meet friends/binge watch series on Netflix. I find it helps to clear my mind after a busy day at work, I do have less sofa-time in the evenings but I can deal with that.

So far I’ve lost 59lbs and have gone from dress size 20 to 16, (I’m nearing size 14 I think) although I bought a size 12 dress last week which fits. I’m not a real size 12 (YET), but I’ve never bought clothes less than a size 18 since I was 18 years old. So for the first time in 18 years, probably longer actually, I’m happier with how I look and how clothes look on me. I still enjoy delicious food (if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know this!), eat out and order takeaways now and again… but fasting has completely altered my relationship with food. It’s changed forever. I no longer eat like I’m never going to find food again. It’s been a gradual lifestyle change and I feel so much more energised now I’m losing weight but I do sometimes forget how much weight I’ve lost… e.g. look at size 20 clothes in shops, assume I won’t be able to walk between cars parked closely together.

I’ll talk more about the changes I’ve made, food-wise, in my next post. I really hope this has been interesting, I know it’s a bit of a change from my usual ramblings!

To end, here’s a before/during picture (not “after”, because I haven’t reached my goal yet).

Thanks for reading x

Rossopomodoro at John Lewis


There’s a new eatery in town! Rossopomodoro opened shop in John Lewis, Eldon Square in early October and I was invited to pop along and check out their menu. Rossopomodoro have a few restaurants in the U.K but lots more in Italy, I’d heard the name but have never eaten at one. With the promise of chefs from Neapolitan pizzaioli families making dishes using ingredients sourced from the Napoli region, I was excited about my trip. So on a dreary Wednesday evening off we went!

Set in the middle of womenswear on the first floor, there are signs pointing you in the right direction. Despite this, I made my way up to lighting and had to traipse back downstairs. Stupid. It’s in the same place as the Brasserie used to be, overlooking Eldon Square. The decor is great, lots of white, very bright (perfect for taking pictures) and some lovely Italian themed prints hanging on the walls… The first thing I noticed was the huge wood burning pizza oven, it’s impossible to miss really… it’s massive and golden! Pretty eh.


There were a few other diners in when we arrived just before 6pm, and we got a nice table overlooking Eldon Square (where the escalators down to Waitrose etc are). We weren’t taken by the non-comfy chairs, but I quickly forgot about that as I tried to decide what I wanted to order.

DSC_0008 DSC_0046

I went with the Calamaro (fried calamari, courgettes, lemon dressing. £8.95) to start, my friend chose the Polpette (pork meatballs, amatriciana sauce, onion, bacon, tomato, chilli. £5.95).


My first impression of the Calamaro was a bit disappointing if I’m honest, not as crispy as I’d like and not as seasoned as I was expecting. My second bite (with the lemon dressing this time) was much better. There was a lot on the plate so I ended up leaving some. I enjoyed it, especially the courgette, but would try something else from the menu next time. My friend said the Polpette was delicious. It looked great, I’d like to eat it right now.

I already knew I was going to choose from the Gourmet Neapolitan pizza section for my main course, I picked the Cornucopia (buffalo ricotta, mozzarella, ham, Neapolitan salami; baby spinach, mozzarella, crispy pancetta; tomato, mozzarella, spicy spianata salami. £13.95) and my friend chose the Fru Fru pizza from the same section (buffalo ricotta, mozzarella, spicy nduja, smoked mozzarella, Italian plum tomato sauce, black pepper; pork & fennel sausage, friarielli, smoked mozzarella. £13.95)

DSC_0032 DSC_0034 DSC_0036



Fru Fru

Fru Fru

Here’s a little fact for you about Neapolitan pizza…It’s different to other pizzas because it’s got a charred crust and a soft juicy centre – this is why Neapolitans use a knife and fork (and not their fingers) when eating it.

My pizza was delicious, although as you can see from the photo, the pancetta isn’t particularly crispy. I much preferred the salami topped side. The tomato sauce was delicious and i loved the juicy centre, it’s all about the topping for me and this was really tasty. I can never finish a full pizza, but I gave this a pretty good go and only left a bit (I ate all of the salami bit).

I was quite full by this point but I’d taken a walk to the end of the restaurant to take some photos and saw a few of the desserts on offer so of course ordered something…

DSC_0041 DSC_0039 DSC_0044

My friend chose the Delizia al Limone (£7.95) and I chose the Tiramisù (£6.95) which I wouldn’t normally pick, but this was filled with Nutella cream. It did not disappoint, I mean, Nutella cream… I’d 100% pick this again. I had a taste of the Delizia al Limone (which was my 2nd choice btw) and was momentarily jealous that I hadn’t ordered it, it was so light and lemony – great food descriptions from me there! DSC_0060 DSC_0064

We both enjoyed our meals and found the staff very attentive, friendly and helpful (explaining what the green vegetable was on my friend’s pizza for example. Friarielli was the answer. Neapolitan broccoli). The atmosphere was lovely; relaxed and very informal. Service was much quicker than I’d imagined too. We’d polished off 3 courses in less than 1.5 hours (this included all the time I took snapping pictures and wandering around).


It’s not that often I fancy Italian food/pizza and when I do I usually head to Slice at the Grainger Market for a quick bite of pizza if I’m in town, but Rossopomodoro is somewhere I’ll go back to especially if I’m out shopping. Next time I think I’ll be trying the Carbonara e Nduja (rigatoni, spicy carbonara with eggs, nduja, pancetta, mascarpone, aged ricotta shavings. £10.95). I think this place is going to be very popular, although at the moment I’m not sure how many people know it’s there, it’s only been open a month so there’s plenty of time! We saw lots of couples hovering around outside looking at the menu, so I’m sure word will spread soon.

Have you been in yet? Tell me what you thought!

*Dinner was complimentary for review purposes. Honest review as always*

Fenwick Food Hall Newcastle

Fenwick Food Hall

Fenwick Food Hall has had a massive redevelopment, like MASSIVE. I went in last week without realising it had been finished and was in awe of how different it looked and just how spectacular it was. I was lucky enough to get an invite to the official launch event.


Before I get to the event, here’s a little story: When my husband first moved to Newcastle, it was one of the first places I took him. He tried to navigate the mighty Fenwick on his own a few days later and spent over an hour trying to find his way out. I shouldn’t laugh but ha ha ha. He has referred to Fenwick as my temple ever since. I can’t argue.

The refurbishment has been two years in the making and has undoubtedly cost some serious amounts of £££! It shows. It is brighter, modern and very inviting. You just want to spend time looking at what’s on offer.

I was most excited about trying some food from Ko Sai, Southeast Asian street food brought to us by Terry Laybourne. The food we sampled was delicious & tasted so fresh, this is going to the first place I head back to. I did pick up a menu at the time but I have misplaced it, sorry!

DSC_0007 DSC_0004

We basically did a big loop of the Food Hall, bumping into fellow bloggers on the way and sampling food as we walked around, drinks were being topped up too. Spoilt! Here’s a photo of myself and the lovely Chloe from Prosecco and Pie.


Rafi’s Spicebox was a real highlight for me, these guys know what they’re doing! Real authentic-tasting Indian food without the hassle of getting all the bits and pieces you need to make it. Just pop to Rafi’s Spicebox and you get whichever curry mix you fancy, they can tailor it specifically for you too, so if you want your tikka masala mix extra spicy, they’ll sort it! Just add liquid + your meat/fish/veg. I was told about this place by a friend at work before the event so I knew to look out for them. We got a curry mix each in the generous goodie bags after the event so think I’ll be giving one a try this weekend. DSC_0014 DSC_0015

As well as Ko Sai, Terry Laybourne is also the man behind seafood bar and fishmonger, The Saltwater Fish Company.  Oysters for £1 per shuck during Happy Hour people! DSC_0016 DSC_0019

There’s a real emphasis on local suppliers and produce, I was really happy to see that the wonderful Blagdon Farm Shop butchers have their own counter.  As well as this, there is a Naked Deli counter and also my favourite coffee in the city, Ouseburn Coffee Company… It’s like all my favourite things under one roof.


Treats from the Naked Deli

Treats from the Naked Deli


Fresh juices from Naked Deli Juice Bar

DSC_0079 DSC_0080

I can’t believe I’ve got this far in without mentioning patisserie/café/bakery Mason & Rye! This place has the most delightful looking patisserie treats, to eat-in or takeaway. It also has a theatre-kitchen, so of course I had a little peek to see the pâtissiers hard at work. Paris-Brest I’m coming for you!

DSC_0059 DSC_0055 DSC_0049 DSC_0048 DSC_0011 DSC_0010

I’ve got so much more to say but this post is already very long! Other things to look out for: Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar Fuego, I sampled a crispy paella ball (I’m sure that’s not the official name), I’d definitely eat those again. The alcohol hall with the super fancy enomatic wine dispenser is another highlight, the dispenser allows you to try wine by the glass as you peruse the selection of drinks available. I was chatting to one of the staff who explained all about the technology that prevents the wine in the dispenser from oxidising and also what temperature to serve red wine at… apparently in the U.K we serve it too warm.


The last thing I want to mention about the Food Hall is the Lauden Chocolate counter – I sampled so many of these on the night and I can honestly say it’s the best chocolate I’ve tasted! The passion fruit filled one (I was told by Sun that this is their most popular) was incredible. Look how pretty they are, you need to try them!

DSC_0035 DSC_0036

As we left, full of the amazing food and glasses of fizz, we were handed a bag full of goodies available to buy in the Food Hall, as well as a beautiful red rose from florist Diana Kay.

DSC_0075 DSC_0074 DSC_0072

I’ve raved about the new Food Hall to my friends and family, quite a few have already made their way in to take a look and all agree it looks amazing and the selection available is great. I can’t promise I won’t miss long-gone Fenwick Lunchbox and their legendary sandwiches just a very very tiny bit… (my all time favourite was chicken tikka with spicy onions). I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for those sandwiches, but Fenwick Food Hall has moved on and I’m really excited about it!

This is extremely long, so thanks for sticking with me. Here’s a quick recap of my favourite places took look out for: Ko Sai, Blagdon Farm Shop, Lauden Chocolates, Ouseburn Coffee Company, Mason & Rye, Naked Deli and Rafi’s Spicebox!

Have you visited yet? I’d love to hear what you think if you have! If you haven’t been in recently, be prepared for a shock of the best kind.

Cake Stories Jesmond


Cake Stories Coffee House & Cakery is situated on the ever-so-pretty Brentwood Avenue in Jesmond. They opened their doors about five months ago after spending lots of time developing recipes and getting themselves sorted. I decided to pop along with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. Cake, coffee and a good old catch-up were most definitely on the agenda.

When we arrived, the place was packed, always a good sign. We hovered around the front desk where all the cakes were and then took a pew up at the bench on the side of the room. I decided to hold out for a proper table before ordering cake. It wasn’t long before the best table in the house (in my opinion) became free and we made ourselves comfortable.

I had a nice chat with Hannah, who runs the business along with her parents and husband. She told me that all cakes and sweet treats are baked on site and my oh my they looked delicious! Hannah mentioned that since term started, it’s started getting a lot busier. Clearly the Jesmond students have taken a liking to Cake Stories. I did spot a table of girls with their laptops. Life is very different to when I was at university (1998-2002), we barely had the internet, ha ha. OLD. Anyway, I digress, as ever! A lunch menu is also available, I saw some yummy looking sandwiches being served up while we were still hovering.

I noticed from their Instagram account that they’re open until 10pm Monday-Saturday and until 4pm on a Sunday. I love that it’s open late during the week, a great place to meet friends for a cuppa and a slice of cake.

There was a really good selection of cakes to choose from, so we chose three items for the table :) I went for a salted caramel chocolate cupcake and a chewy granola bar (which I took home and ate on Sunday – totally gorgeous). My friend got the red velvet cake in a jar which I had also had a forkful of (I’m definitely ordering this if it’s there next time). To go with this, my friend went for the English Breakfast Tea while I got a flat white and then a cappuccino. I needed two coffees. We paid £15 (I can’t remember the exact amount) in total.

Picture time!

DSC_0008DSC_0013 DSC_0012 DSC_0014 DSC_0007 DSC_0005 DSC_0020 DSC_0021 DSC_0022 DSC_0025 DSC_0026 DSC_0023

Everything was brought over pretty quickly and I really liked the bright pretty plates & mugs. The mustard teapot was my favourite item (I’ve gone a bit mustard obsessed).

I enjoyed my flat white but the cappuccino was the winner for me, might have something to do with the chocolate on the top, maybe. The coffee served is their own blend and I recognised lots of their loose leaf tea from Pumphreys! It was the Sleeping Beauty Tea that gave it away. (Love this tea).

DSC_0036 DSC_0032 DSC_0039 DSC_0042 DSC_0040 DSC_0043

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Cake Stories, I’ve since raved about it to my friends and colleagues. I think a mid-week evening trip is on the cards :) Have you been yet? If not, I’d add it to your list!


Ringtons Tea


It won’t surprise anyone to learn that I (like most of the British population) enjoy a good cup of tea, so when I received an invitation to attend the #RingtonsXmasParty I jumped at the chance.


Ringtons humble beginnings date all the way back to 1907 and I was looking forward to learning more about this well-known local business.  First on the agenda was a little look around the heritage room which was full of things to photograph, ready?

DSC_0002 DSC_0004 DSC_0011 DSC_0012DSC_0015

After we’d taken photos, we were taken to a room upstairs.  The room was decorated for Christmas, complete with tree, Christmas crackers, music and of course pots of tea, this was the Ringtons Xmas Party after all!

Jon, the Director, joined us and gave us a bit of insight into how Ringtons came to be as well as a brief business overview, answering any questions we had.

History lesson:  In 1907 Samuel Smith moved to Newcastle from Leeds and started selling tea from a horse and cart with a £250 investment from William Titterington.  The company name Ringtons is made up from the end of William’s surname and the S from Smith (apparently, the sign-writer couldn’t fit Titterington onto the cart, so they came up with Ringtons!).  During the First and Second World Wars, workers were sent to war but their jobs were kept open for them when they returned.  It has always been a company that has kept its people at its heart.  Innovation is also an important part of the company’s history, for example, in the 1960s, when people didn’t think teabags would catch on, they invested in a teabag machine.  Today, Ringtons remains a family-run company with their roots firmly planted in the North-East.  They have 215 vans delivering to their 250,000 loyal customers, with a company turnover of £530,000,000!

Next up, we visited the tea-tasting room (which is north-facing, so it gets natural light and no direct sunlight) and were talked through the science of tea-tasting by expert tea-tasters and blend creators Dan and James!  The room was amazing, the benches were lined up with tea after tea, ready for us to taste.


The copper kettles have been there for longer than anyone who currently works there!

Despite being shown how to slurp the tea & spit it out into the spittoon, I was too embarrassed to do this so just drank the tea instead – yum!  We were taught all sorts of interesting tea facts, for example tea tasters use 6 grams of tea when tasting, but to make it more palatable for us, ours was brewed with 4 grams.  Did you know that when looking for a good quality tea, you want to look for a dark leaf? I didn’t.  Would you like to hazard a guess at how many cups of tea we as a country, drink every day?  Oh, just a mere 170 MILLION cups… that works out to 2,000 cups per second.  One hundred and seventy million cups of tea a day.

DSC_0037 DSC_0043DSC_0047

Ringtons 3 Christmas Blends, L-R, Christmas Spice, Spiced Chocolate Orange and Cranberry & Clementine

Ringtons 3 Christmas Blends, L-R, Christmas Spice, Spiced Chocolate Orange and Cranberry & Clementine

After tasting and learning about the differences between Black, Green, White, Darjeeling, Assam, Oolong, Yellow  fruit infusion teas (which often contain no actual tea) we finished off by tasting the three Ringtons Christmas blends (Spiced Chocolate Orange was my favourite of these three). From all the teas we tasted, I loved the Ringtons Darjeeling Tea and the Ringtons Jasmine Phoenix Pearls the most. It was clear after listening to Dan & James, that quality and consistency of their teas was of the utmost importance to them. They really know their stuff, as you’d imagine!  Despite tasting up to 400 blends per day, they both still sit down to a cuppa after work :)


We finished off the afternoon by sipping mulled wine, more tea and enjoying a festive feast & a natter in the Christmassy room.  Before leaving we were all handed a wrapped Christmas present!  In mine I got a Mr Moustache mug (hey, I’ve just been threaded), some shortbread biscuits and a pack of teabags!

DSC_0056 DSC_0065 DSC_0079 DSC_0098

Thank you Ringtons for a wonderful afternoon!  I learned so much and the passion of your master tea tasters has totally won me over, I’ve bought a box of your famous Ginger Snap biscuits from Fenwick Food Hall and am making the switch from Yorkshire Gold to Ringtons.

Before I go, the postcard from the gift set is just gorgeous so here’s a close-up.

Ringtons 30th anniversary staff day trip to Scarborough 1937

Ringtons 30th anniversary staff day trip to Scarborough 1937

I’d love to hear about your memories of Ringtons tea if you have any stories to share. Did your parents/grandparents get the Ringtons doorstep delivery? Do you get it now? Hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Osbornes, Scalini’s & New Northumbria Hotel – Jesmond

Last week I had a little adventure in Jesmond, courtesy of The Malhotra Group. The Malhotra Group own various bars, restaurants and hotels across the North East and we go way back… some of you may know my surname is Malhotra – but this isn’t how we’re connected (as Malhotra is my married name). In a nutshell, I’ve grown up with Atul – the Operations Director. Our dads are cousins and also grew up together in India. We lived in the same street in Gosforth as kids and I only wish I could put a photo of us in this post – but I haven’t been to my parents house to find one!

When I was asked to work with them to feature and review some of their leisure venues, it took me a little while to decide… I said yes and made it clear, that as ever I would be giving my honest feedback, which Atul wanted the whole time.

My first trip was mid-week, last week. I was invited to stay at The New Northumbria Hotel, dine at Scalini’s and have drinks in Osbornes. All three are on Osborne Road and if you’re from Newcastle, you have most likely been to both Scalini’s and Osbornes. I’ve got lovely memories of sunny Bank Holidays sitting outside sipping icy cold drinks with friends but must admit I hadn’t been recently so had no idea what to expect.

The New Northumbria Hotel

New Northumbria Hotel

New Northumbria Hotel

The hotel has 55 rooms and sits in-between Osbornes and Scalini’s on Osborne Road. I checked in, was informed of breakfast times (7am-9.30am during the week), given a wifi code (wifi is free, but each device needs its own code) and advised that check out was at 11am. If only I could check-out at 11am, I start my day job at 8.30am!


We were staying in a Superior room, on the 2nd floor with a view out onto Osborne Road. The room was really spacious and comfortable, not to mention spotless. Before my sister arrived, I took photos of our room, checked out the bathroom and did some extreme lounging on the huge bed with my magazine and a cuppa!

New Northumbria Hotel
New Northumbria Hotel
New Northumbria Hotel
New Northumbria Hotel
New Northumbria Hotel

After drinks in Osbornes and dinner in Scalini’s (read about that further down), we headed back to the room and settled down for the night. Sisters sleepover hadn’t happened in a while so we chatted, read and then told each other to stop talking and went to sleep. The room was quite warm, so we kept the desk fan on all night. Luckily the noise didn’t bother either of us and we slept really well. The bed was extremely comfortable. I expected to find the room quite loud, as we faced out onto Osborne Road but we heard nothing.

The bathroom was small but had everything we needed and most importantly, was very clean. The shower was powerful and I managed to avoid getting my hair wet which I class as a success. I really liked the toiletries provided and the towels were lovely thick fluffy ones, which you just can’t beat. We headed down for breakfast at 7.30am, early! I don’t usually eat breakfast until about 10am, at my desk… so this felt like quite a treat! We both ordered poached eggs with bacon and sausage, continental breakfast is also available. See the full menu here. The poached eggs were perfect, no trace of vinegar – I hate when poached eggs taste of vinegar! The bacon was crispy and sausages were some of the nicest I’ve tasted at a hotel breakfast. Here are some food pics, hope you’re not too hungry!

DSC_0169 DSC_0171 DSC_0172



Our room, for that night of the week would have been £80* (prices do vary), which I think is great value given facilities and location. As there is so much to do in close proximity, it would be a lovely place to stay if you’ve got a night-out with friends planned, or even date night in town/Jesmond. I would definitely stay here again, I left feeling relaxed, energised and well-rested.



If you’re from Newcastle and you’ve never been to Osbornes even once, then quite frankly, where have you been hiding?! Ha ha. We used to come here a lot, but as mentioned earlier just hadn’t been for ages. When I walked in, for pre-dinner drinks, it felt so familiar and lots of funny (hazy) memories came rushing back. The Malhotra Group have also changed things and smartened it up. It looked good. Cask & craft beers, cocktails & hardshakes, barrels as tables, with lots of nice added touches, especially in the area near the Diner. I love that little section the most.

DSC_0091 DSC_0114 DSC_0116 DSC_0118

There’s lots of outdoor space too (covered and uncovered), with the recently added Sheesha Garden (and TV screens showing sport, if that’s your thing).  Osbornes Happy Hour still exists! I was thrilled to hear this, that buzzer thing is far too much fun for its own good. Click here to find out more about when Happy Hour (or Happy HOURS) is and make a beeline for that buzzer, you’re guaranteed to win every time!



We ordered Cherry Lips and French Martini cocktails (£5.95) whilst we listened to some live music. The cocktails were delicious and I wished I’d booked our table for a bit later so we could have had a few more drinks :) I will be heading back with friends for drinks and food from the Diner, the menu looks delicious as do the hardshakes!


Live music!

DSC_0105 DSC_0110



I can’t tell you how often I’ve been to Scalini’s. It was the place my bessie Lisa and I used to head to, for a mid-week pizza, pasta and a catch-up (before she jetted off and moved to Canada and now Hawaii!). Again, over the past few years I stopped going to Jesmond as much, so hadn’t been in a while. Looks wise, it had changed a lot since my last trip!

We were seated at a lovely booth, with good lighting (this makes me so happy, no horrible flash needed!) only downside was the group of people sitting nearby thinking I was utterly bonkers with my camera. I’m used to that now though.


After cocktails at Osbornes, I was happy with sparkling water with dinner. I’d been eyeing up the menu all day, trying to figure out what I’d have. In the end I picked something I wouldn’t normally have. I already know how good the pizzas are so went for Antipasto Misto (£7.50) to start and the Porchetta (£14.95) for main. My sister ordered the Caesar Salad (£5.95) to start and picked the Pollo Griglata (£12.95) with picante sauce and season veg for mains.

DSC_0129 DSC_0130

My starter was very generous, we could have probably shared it, I had to leave some (in preparation for that dessert I already knew I was going to scoff).

DSC_0133 DSC_0138

The pork belly was stuffed with shallots, truffle and wild mushrooms, served on mashed potato and spinach, with a cider cream sauce to accompany it. It was the perfect choice for me and the sauce was delicious. I finished every last drop. My sister really enjoyed her food too, especially the chicken main. She also found her starter very generous and said she could have had it as a main. If like me you haven’t tried anything other than pizza at Scalini’s, I’d really recommend giving something else a try. There’s a lot more to this place than the pizza and pasta they do very well.

For dessert I picked the chef’s cheesecake which was Belgian Chocolate and my sister had the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Brownie. We had a taste and each preferred our own, but I would definitely give that brownie a go next time! I can’t remember the price of the dessert, I *think* they were £4.95 but don’t hold me to that! That caramelised banana though… dreamy!

DSC_0140 DSC_0148

The atmosphere was lovely too, quiet and relaxed. There was a group of friends celebrating someone’s birthday, lots of couples and people who’d come from a wedding, well that’s what we assumed as the ladies were wearing fascinators in their hair!

I was really impressed with the food and attentive service that we received but that I also saw each other table getting. I’m glad I gave something different a try (I still love pizza). I think next time I’ll try the salt & chilli fried squid for starters (that was my second choice) and perhaps one of their risottos.

Check out Scalini’s special offers here as they offer a 2 course special (between certain times) as well as Happy Hour!


Would love to hear what you think about the post as well as Osbornes/Scalinis & if you’ve stayed there, the New Northumbria Hotel! I appreciate this has been pretty long, thanks for sticking with me! Look out for more coming soooon :)

*Hotel stay, drinks and dinner were complimentary for review purposes. Honest review as always.

Les Petits Choux

Les Petits Choux is a family run cafe and patisserie on Leazes Crescent, which has been open for about three months. Run by two sisters and their mum (the chef), it’s a stones throw away from the bustling city centre, only a few minutes walk from Eldon Garden.

I liked their Facebook page when they first opened so LPC has been on my radar to visit for a while, but as you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for a few months. It’s been a hectic summer but I’m back and have something exciting in the pipeline, so stay tuned…

Back to Les Petits Choux! I went in today with a couple of friends. Initially we were just going for something sweet but as it happened, we were all pretty hungry so also had some lunch.

I opted for a chicken pesto flatbread (but was momentarily very tempted by the bacon & brie filling) and a cappuccino. The flatbreads are freshly baked daily on-site and are £3. The flatbreads were filled generously, delicious pesto chicken was literally falling out of my flatbread!

Pesto chicken flatbread

Pesto chicken flatbread

Roasted veg, beetroot & halloumi flatbread

You know what this is

The salad had a lovely balsamic glaze drizzled over it – yum. Really good value and the perfect pre-cake lunch.

For dessert, I got a slice of peanut butter & caramel gateaux. I KNOW. I also got a salted caramel eclair to take away. It’s in the kitchen downstairs right now.

PB & caramel gateaux and salted caramel eclair

PB & caramel gateaux and salted caramel eclair

Peanut butter & caramel gateaux

Peanut butter & caramel gateaux

The slice of gateaux may not look particularly large, but it was quite rich so just enough. It was touch and go whether or not I would be able to finish it, you’ll be relieved to hear that I managed. I did have to take a break though.

Les Petit Choux have a full menu of delicious patisserie items, alternating what they bake daily so not every item is available every day. They also offer made to order items, for example a towering stack of profiteroles covered in chocolate ganache. Yes please.

Here are some more pictures, you know me, snap happy.

For less than a tenner, I had lunch, cake, coffee and an eclair to take away. This place is a bit of a hidden gem, although having said that, every seat was taken while we were there, so word is definitely spreading.

We’ll be back, I can’t wait to try the Paris-Brest (which they normally do have on a saturday but not today sadly!). The LPC sisters were so cheery and friendly, service was brilliant and also quick without rushing us at all.

There’s a lack of patisseries in Newcastle and this fits the bill nicely. I know we’re getting a Patisserie Valerie soon, but I think I’ll still find myself here, away from the crowds.

Have you been in to Les Petits Choux yet?