Jam Jar Jesmond

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Another place that has been on my list for a long time, Jam Jar on Osborne Road has been open since early September 2013. I was meeting friends for brunch and couldn’t decide where to go, Sarah who works with me suggested Jam Jar and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself. (Great recommendation Sarah, thanks!)

We arrived just before 11 and were told that food wasn’t served until 11, so we ordered some coffee and totally ignored the menus for ages as we were too busy talking.

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Hello latte

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Bonjour Flat White

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Shot glasses full of sugar

I knew I wanted to order a breakfasty item, but wasn’t sure what to pick between Eggs Benedict and Pancakes. Tough decision I know. The decision-making process was difficult, I’m not going to lie. The pancakes were served with vanilla ice-cream – this was the deciding factor at the very last minute while the waitress was taking our order, I went for eggs benedict instead.

Yet again we were talking so much that I didn’t even notice that our food hadn’t arrived yet… the waitress came over to apologise and said our orders would be coming out next. This gave me time to walk around the place and take some photos! Such a cute little place (it’s not actually little, it’s loads bigger than I expected inside), but as there were people dotted about everywhere I felt didn’t take as many photos as usual… turns out I did.

Loved the eggs benedict, just the right amount of Hollandaise sauce, the bacon was crispy without being hard and the sautéed leeks were a great addition. My friends enjoyed their meals too, pulled pork bun and a fish finger sandwich (if my heart hadn’t been set on breakfast, I would have had the fish finger sarnie too).

Food pics first, then the snaps I took of the place itself.

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Eggs Benedict

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… and again from a different angle

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Fish Finger Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

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Pulled Pork Bun & Sweet Potato Fries (should have taken this from the other side)

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LOVE

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Was quite tempted to pick this phone up… I didn’t though.

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Was a bit transfixed by the neon jam jar… Kind of want one in my house.

I love places like this popping up around Newcastle and it’s always nice to visit Jesmond once you’ve managed to find a parking space (thanks Sav for the parking advice). I’ll definitely be back for food & perhaps even a few drinks in the near future. Loved the interior, especially the jam jar wallpaper – SO CUTE. Great lighting too. Would be harder to take pics in the evening without the natural light coming in though. (Blogger problems). I also liked that the tables weren’t super close to each other, I barely noticed the other diners. Staff were friendly and attentive, checking back now and again to make sure we had drinks, asking how the food was. If you’re looking for somewhere reasonably priced, cool and a bit quirky for a bite to eat, I’d recommend making a trip to Jam Jar.

If you’ve already been, would love to hear what you thought of it.

Thanks for reading!

Lane7 Newcastle

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I love bowling. It’s actually sad because I’m SO bad at it, even though I try really hard. We’ve had this team night out planned for a while, so thought it would be a good opportunity to take some photos and sample the food I’ve heard so much about!

Lane7 has been open for about a year now and it’s a bit embarrassing that it’s taken me this long to visit. It’s pretty different to any other bowling alley I’ve been to. In other words, Lane7 is much better than any other bowling alley I’ve been to. I love the dimly lit, stylish, spacious interior.  I wore a checked shirt and looked like I was turning up to work there. I was just trying to be a serious bowler, what’s wrong with that?!

The bar area is super cool with loads of space, bricks walls, brilliant artwork/signage painted on the walls and the kind of lighting that makes everyone look amazing.  There is a vast array of beverages to choose from, I was a bit disappointed that I’d brought the car as I couldn’t have a Cherry Fizz cocktail or my usual G&T! NEXT TIME. Plus, I needed to keep my head straight for the ultimate bowling battle later on…

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It’s nice to pose for a photo outside a photobooth, especially when you look this cute!

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Hi Pepper! Not quite the action shot you planned, but I told you I’d name-check you :)

The dining area is bigger than I was expecting and I really really love how it’s been furnished. The bright turquoise chesterfield sofas, wooden chairs and the lighting… oh and let’s get to the amazing menu… It’s safe to say we were all a bit excited about the food we were about to eat. Shall we all order corn dogs for starters? OK THEN. (We didn’t all order corn dogs for starters. Only 80% of us did). The highlight of the meal for me was my starter, popcorn shrimp – as recommended by our lovely waitress Amy Scott! She was brilliant, so attentive and accommodating as well as hilarious. We were too stuffed to even contemplate dessert. Disappointing effort on our part. The prices are pretty reasonable too, you can check out the menu here. YUM.

It’s time for some photos of food and the dining area!

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Delightful corn dogs

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Hickory smoked pulled pork

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Popcorn shrimp

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Truffle mac & cheese with fries

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Double cheeseburger – open

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Double cheeseburger – closed

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After being really slow at working out who owed what for the bill (sorry Amy), it was time to bowl! There are 4 lanes downstairs and 4 upstairs (upstairs you’ll also find ping pong tables, pool tables and wait for it… KARAOKE) and of course there are bars available both upstairs and downstairs. Handy! I’m a bit gutted I didn’t take a photo of the bowling shoes. Next time! (I’m sure I’ve already said that in this post…)

We were assigned lane 5, upstairs. It was pretty warm upstairs… or maybe it was the heat from the serious competition that was about to get underway! (Ha ha). Like the rest of the place, the bowling alley was dimly lit and just looked really stylish – I keep using this word, but it’s just REALLY cool. Perhaps I should google synonyms of ‘stylish’.

I won’t bore you with the details of our bowling battle, let me just tell you that I came last. Luckily I’m not a bad loser, I enjoy bowling so much that I won’t let it put me off from continually trying. SAD. As a fair sportswoman, it’s only right that I announce first to last place:

  1. Michael
  2. Linden
  3. Julie
  4. Sarah
  5. Ollie
  6. Me

Bowling pics?

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Professional bowler in our midsts. Check out that technique!

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Hi Ollie!

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A Julie style celebration :)

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Michael possesses a lot of bowling prowess. Look at him, he means business.

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On the way out I snapped these pics… oh and we also thought it would be nice if 6 people tried to fit into a photobooth :)

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Don't we look nice!?

Don’t we look nice!?

All in all, it was a great night out. I will most definitely be going back for more bowling, yummy food and a Cherry Fizz cocktail or two! It gets really busy so make sure you book in advance (for food as well as bowling lane/ping pong table/pool table/karaoke room). Each staff member I spoke to (I think I spoke to about 6…) was friendly, super helpful and genuine – it was really busy too so it was greatly appreciated.

If like me, you’re one of the only people left in Newcastle who hasn’t been to Lane7, get yourself there pronto! If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear what you thought and more importantly if you’d like to give me some bowling lessons?

Ritu & Jorin’s Wedding Day – Shortflatt Tower

Part three! I really thought I could do it in two, I couldn’t. Victoria was right.

The civil ceremony was to take place at 3.30pm at Shortflatt Tower in Belsay, just 20 minutes away from where the Sikh ceremony took place (read about that here). We had 2 hours between ceremonies to get ready. I took this time to go home (5 mins away from Ritu’s house), quickly iron the bridesmaid sari and then my mum arrived to dress me in the aforementioned sari. Don’t judge me until you’ve tried to wear a sari! It’s hard for some people (a bit like telling the time). My mum is a sari maestro, a true professional. I basically stand like a tree while she wraps, tucks, folds and pins. (Thanks mum).

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Topiary elephant!

Back to the matter at hand, the wedding of Ritu and Jorin! When I arrived at Shortflatt Tower, the sun was beaming, there was a slight breeze but otherwise the weather was perfect. Ritu was in the most breathtaking room at the top of Shortflatt Tower (named ‘Pretty Nell’) getting her hair done by Rani & having a bit of a breather before the next ceremony. Ritu was getting changed into outfit number 2 (of 3) with the help of Victoria and Gemma (bridesmaids). Wanna see? This delightful outfit was by designer Payal Singhal. So so beautiful! You’ll also see the gorgeous bridesmaid outfits which Ritu bought in India – the sari blouse is made from the Liberty print which features on the invitations. Everything was so well coordinated.

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Ritu checking on the marquee and that everything was running to plan. Yes really.

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Ritu’s lovely sisters and mum arrived, Sean took photos (I didn’t have shoes on and looked about 4ft tall) whilst outside people had started taking their seats for the ceremony! It was almost time…

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I handed my camera over to Ankush at this point. Well after the photo of the window below:

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Each bridesmaid was handed a different coloured hydrangea – matching the Liberty print theme perfectly. Wait until you see Ritu’s bouquet! Before we knew it, it was time for Ritu to walk down the aisle and become a Mrs! Ritu was to be given away by her uncle who was waiting to escort her. I could have burst into tears at this point. Weddings really are emotional.

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*Please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please do NOT fall*

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During the ceremony, there were lovely readings from Ritu’s sister (On Marriage, from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran) and one of Jorin’s Groomsmen (A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton).

The couple said their vows, exchanged rings and they were MARRIED!

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Love this photo!

As soon as the ceremony was over, there was a champagne reception, papri chaat was served and it was time for photos. Sean Elliott had us doing all sorts of things – kicking our legs out, Bollywood kissing the person next to us (what does this even mean Sean?!) and blowing the groom kisses! Soon after this the marquee opened for canapés to be served, along with the delicious meringues I posted a photo of in part 1 of wedding week!

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Ritu drew this!

I hope you’re enjoying the photos… there are still more to come.

The flowers arrangements were by the brilliant Helen and her team of florists at Bels Flowers. They were beyond breathtaking. The best flowers I’ve seen at a wedding without a doubt.

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The drinks were flowing, starters were being served and guests invited to the evening reception had arrived, so it was time to make our way into the main part of the marquee and await the entrance of our bride and groom! They were accompanied by Gaurav from Devastasian on the dhol – perfect! Check out dapper Jorin and Ritu’s gorgeous 3rd outfit! The final outfit of the day was Sabyasachi, from Bibi London.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? Provided by Coco Luminaire.

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Beautiful favour boxes – check out the coordination. Ritu drew this elephant!

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Pretty Bels Flowers arrangement

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Entertainment from Punjabi Roots Academy

Dinner was served promptly (catering was by Karma Foods and was delicious) and it was time for speeches. I didnt take photos, too busy laughing at Gary’s (best man) speech, and saying ‘aahhh’ at Jorin’s speech. When it came to Ritu to say a few words, she had lots of people in tears, at our table, Victoria and I couldn’t pull ourselves together until well into the newlyweds first dance!

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I didn’t take too many photos after this point – too busy busting some ridiculous moves on the dance floor to celebrate my best friend’s wedding. Here are a few final snaps:

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Gorgeous sister of the bride and her schoolfriend (and coincidentally, my lovely cousin)

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Mother and daughter :)

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I know this has been long (scarily, I haven’t even mentioned everything I wanted to, like how amazing the venue was for example, and what was inside the favour boxes… it could have been MUCH longer) but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and looking at the million photos I’ve uploaded!

Would love to know what you think :)

Ritu & Jorin’s Wedding Day – Sikh Ceremony

When you receive an invitation that looks like this, you just know that the wedding is going to be pretty special. Do you recognise the bride and groom on the front? They’re also found painted on Ritu’s hands with henna (see here). Ritu drew and designed the invitations herself (I KNOW) before getting them printed. The super pretty Liberty print border is the basis for the theme of the civil wedding – you’ll see what I mean a bit later on.

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Ritu asked the bridesmaids to be at her house on Saturday 30th August at 8am. I got there at 8.04am, fully ready (I’m talking hair, make-up and even red lipstick), excited for the day ahead. Fellow bridesmaids were already there, in various states of readiness, and Ritu was getting ready with Rani (hair) and Irene (make-up) whilst Sean Elliott (photographer) was already snapping away!

The Sikh ceremony ‘Anand Karaj’ (which means ‘blissful union’) was set to take place at 10am (it has to be before noon), we were running to track. Ritu already looked amazing and this was before her make-up was done.

Is it too soon for photos? Before sharing photos of Ritu on her actual wedding day, thought it would be cute to share the below snap of her on holiday in Nainital, India in 1990. Gorgeous!

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Ritu hasn’t actually changed… at all!

Ok, now for the ‘getting ready’ photos from Saturday morning… Ritu’s outfit for the Sikh ceremony was Sabyasachi from Bibi London. So elegant & entirely different to any wedding outfit I’ve seen before.

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Here’s youngest sister of the bride and bridesmaid, the lovely Jaspreet.

At 10 on the dot, the Gyaniji (priest) arrived with the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy scripture) and we were almost ready to go. As a sign of respect, all guests bow to the Guru Granth Sahib as they enter the ceremony before sitting on the ground, as well as ensuring that heads are covered at all times (this is very important).

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Sneak peek at the flowers by Bels Flowers above :)

Jorin, groomsmen, family & friends were accompanied to the house by a traditional dhol (drum) player and once they’d been received by Ritu’s family, they entered and were seated ahead of the ceremony beginning.

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Jorin and his groomsmen

Once we were all seated, heads covered, Ritu made her entrance with her two maternal uncles. I hadn’t realised Ritu was walking in and only managed to get one photo and it doesn’t do the moment justice. Here it is nonetheless.

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Once Ritu entered, the ceremony began. Jorin wore a palla (scarf) over his shoulder and the end of the palla was placed in Ritu’s hands by her uncle – symbolising that the care and protection of Ritu is now placed in Jorin and Gods hands.

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Four laavan (Sikh marriage hymns) are read from the Guru Granth Sahib, after each one the couple rises and walk slowly around the Guru Granth Sahib, Ritu is guided by her brothers as they make the circle around the Guru Granth Sahib. After completing each circle, the couple bow together to show that their understanding and acceptance of the laav and then sit down.

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Once the fourth Laavan is complete, the hymn of Anand Sahib is read and is followed by Ardaas (closing prayer). Following the Ardaas, the Guru Granth Sahib is opened to a page at random and a passage from the page is read to serve as a message of guidance for the day. Holy Karah Prashad (a sweet blessing) is served to everyone present. Langar is then served – this is a vegetarian meal served after the religious service. It stands for the principle of equality between all people, regardless of religion, caste, colour, age, gender or social status.

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Once everyone had eaten Langar, it was time for photos and then the bride and groom had to make a quick dash to get to Shortflatt Tower for the next part of the wedding day… the civil ceremony (followed by reception!). Bridesmaids had the job of getting ready into their next outfits… saris!

The third and final blog post about this fabulous day will be with you REALLY soon, I promise! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading :)

*Thanks Ritu for the very helpful booklet you sent alongside the invitation… the explanation of the Sikh ceremony has come in very handy*

Ritu weds Jorin – Pre-Wedding Fun!

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I am SO excited to write this blog post (and the subsequent one) as I get to re-live last week which saw one of my best friends in the world walk down the aisle and become a Mrs! This wedding has been over a year in the making after Jorin proposed to Ritu in Washington D.C, so fancy. Of course I was over the moon when Ritu asked me to be one of her bridesmaids :) Ritu and I have known each other since year 6 in middle school. Erm… that’s twenty three years ago.

♥ Congratulations Ritu & Jorin ♥

The celebrations began on Saturday 23rd when we met for Afternoon Tea at The Vintage Powder Room (read my post about this wonderful place here) and didn’t stop until Sunday 31st August!

I thought it was best to split the blog into two, pre-wedding and then the wedding day – seemed logical at the time… let’s see shall we!

The below pic was taken exactly a week before Ritu said “I do” – a picture of calm, right?

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Ritu has to be the most focused and freakishly organised bride ever – seriously, she didn’t stop for a second. The first time I saw her sitting down was when she was getting her bridal mehndi (henna) done on Wednesday night. She had no choice but to sit still and be waited on by her sisters and cousins until the henna was fully dry.

The henna artist was the very talented Akshee Shah who is based in London. You’ll see in the photos below just how intricate her work is, the design centres around the bride and groom (who also feature on Ritu and Jorin’s wedding invitations – everything is connected, you’ll see what I mean in the next blog post!).

It’s traditional for indian brides to get their hands/arms and feet painted with henna ahead of the wedding whilst the women of the family dance and sing traditional wedding songs, it’s a fun event. The bride-to-be usually leaves the henna on for about 6 hours to darken before scraping it off with a butter knife. I left mine on overnight, some may say that’s excessive… they’d be right. A mixture of sugar and fresh lemon juice is dabbed onto the drying henna.. the lemon juice helps to further activate the paste to help achieve a darker stain. The sugar helps the lemon juice to stick to the henna :)

Time for a few photos!

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Meringues for the wedding day! All boxed up and too pretty not to photograph… you’ll see these beauties again in my next post!

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The day after the Mehndi was the Lady Sangeet which is a big pre-wedding party hosted by the brides family (the groom and family are also invited to join in the fun). Ritu had family fly in from India and Canada whilst Jorin’s were here from New Zealand! The evening was filled with delicious food, traditional wedding songs and lots of dancing! Ritu & Jorin’s Sangeet was held at Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, music by the wonderful Sandeep and Gaurav at Devastasian (Devastasian also did my wedding!). As if this wasn’t fun enough, we were treated to entertainment from ‘Vakhri Punjabans Giddha Dancers’ with ‘Waris Punjab de’ on boliyan (singing). Giddha is a traditional Punjabi folk dance, I loved it & wish I’d taken a short video so you could see!

Gorgeous table settings by fellow bridesmaid and more importantly, youngest sister of the bride, Jaspreet!

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Awww! Don’t they look lovely :)

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The day after the Sangeet was BUSY, we had a run-through of what the bridesmaids and groomsmen needed to do on the wedding day and then some little bits and bobs had to be completed. Everyone mucked in and things got done, all left to do was to iron my outfits and get an early night as I needed to be at Ritu’s with the other bridesmaids at 8am, ready and raring to go! :)

One thing I did miss on the Friday evening was the Choora ceremony – this is where the maternal uncles of the bride put bangles onto the brides wrists after they’ve been dipped in milk and water mixture. The bangles are red and ivory coloured and can be worn by the bride from anything from a week up to a year – they’re a symbol of her being newly married. I loved mine so much that I wore them for a year. Ritu’s were beautiful and simple. I can’t believe I don’t have a photo to share with you.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this – there’s going to be another blog post documenting the big day coming soon!

Tyneside Bar Cafe

On Friday 22nd August at 4pm, the much awaited Tyneside Bar Cafe opened its doors to the public! I went along with my friend Julie in the evening, thinking we’d just stay for an hour… we liked it so much that we didn’t budge for 3 hours!

Part of the Tyneside Cinema (read my post here) on Pilgrim Street, the cafe is fully licensed and all food is made fresh to order using locally sourced ingredients. It was pretty busy when we got there and people seemed quite settled, but after sitting by the window for half an hour we managed to nab a table in the centre of the room. The bar area is pretty but as it was so busy I was a bit hesitant to take a lot of photos. There are plenty of tables with enough space to walk around to the bar/loos etc and at the back of the room is an open seating area with a curtained screen.

Open from 8am-late, the menu is pretty extensive (the breakfast and weekend brunch menus look delicious) and of course we ordered something to eat. Julie got the Royale with cheese and I got the Tyneside Cinema hot dog in a brioche bun. (I was getting some funny looks for photographing the hot dog). I drove into town so was on the soft drinks, I had the most delicious black cherry flavoured american soda, while Julie had Poretti beer.  I will not be driving next time :)

We bumped into the lovely Chloe and boyfriend Simon, who like us had popped in to see the newly opened establishment. They had a quick drink with us before heading off as they had other plans.

At 9pm, a Geordie rockabilly band (yes really) took to the stage and we absolutely LOVED it. The band – Sir Jac’s Bantamacs – are quite newly formed and are brilliant! The crowd were loving them too, we saw a couple of couples having a little dance – they really lifted an already great atmosphere. Took a few photos, looked a bit like a groupie.

There seem to be lots of event being hosted here too – live music on a Friday and Saturday night, every Sunday morning a movie classic will be screened to accompany brunch (what an amazing idea) and the weekly quiz night which used to be held in the old cinema bar, will move to the bar cafe. Anyone interested in giving quiz night a shot? I’m rubbish at quizzes but am willing to humiliate myself.

Time for some photos!

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It’s nice to be able to go out into town on a Friday night to somewhere super cool where the crowd is friendly, you can have a nice chat with your friends and don’t have to worry about being underdressed. I loved it and will definitely be back to try the brunch menu, but also for drinks in the evening. Let me know if you’ve been in over the Bank Holiday weekend, or if you plan to!

The Vintage Powder Room – Afternoon Tea

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When I saw Chloe’s (New Girl in Toon) tweet asking if any bloggers were interested in an afternoon tea meet-up, obviously I replied with YES! The meet-up was on Sunday and there were 6 of us in total at The Vintage Powder Room and Tea Shop (which is on Park View, Whitley Bay). I’d heard of this place from a friend who’d visited, but I hadn’t yet had the chance to visit.

I’ll admit I was a bit nervous/excited as I hadn’t met any other NE bloggers – turns out I needn’t have worried as everyone was so lovely and I had such a great time chatting (and eating cake/drinking tea). I’ve been tweeting Chloe for a bit now but hadn’t spoken to anyone else, I’d just been getting on with my little blogventures without even thinking about looking for other NE bloggers. Thank goodness that changed & thanks to Chloe for organising a great meet-up.

The Vintage Powder Room opened in October 2013, they offer hair and beauty treatments and are also a tea room with a great menu. Afternoon Tea was £12 per person and well worth every penny. Lou and Michael were busy setting up our table when I arrived and a few of the girls were in the powder room having some beauty treatments. Chloe was getting her hair curled and Kayleigh was having her nails painted. We moved through to the tea room after the treatments were done and the table just looked amazing. Anyone who has been with me on a blogventure will know how long it takes me to photograph everything before letting anyone touch their food…. well imagine 6 bloggers at an afternoon tea :) I LOVED THIS. We had finger sandwiches, scones, cream meringues, victoria sponge cake, pink lemonade (my favourite), tea and coffee. The time just flew by and Lou & Michael were pottering away in the background, bringing us more tea and hot water. The food was delicious and beautifully displayed. The Victoria Sponge was most definitely the highlight – you’ll see what I mean soon. I can’t believe I had to leave a big wedge of it. Poor show from me. Photo time!

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From left to right, Rachel, Kayleigh, Emma, Me, Lisa, Chloe.

I’d love to know if you’ve visited The Vintage Powder Room, or if after this post you plan to! I already have a 2nd visit pencilled in… and it’s soon!