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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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?

Lake District

After our little getaway to Nice in June, we decided to holiday a bit closer to home last week…

We’re not ones for planning too far in advance, so we booked ourselves into Low Wood Bay on Sunday night and set off on Monday morning :) The hotel is in between Ambleside and Windermere (closer to Ambleside) and this was our first time staying here. We will definitely be back, we loved it, but I hope we manage to book far enough in advance to get a lake view room in the main hotel building. During this trip we were in the “new block” which was perfectly nice, but the view wasn’t ideal – not a complaint, totally our fault we booked super late – I think we got the last room in the hotel!

We didn’t do too much, it was more of a chance to totally relax and recharge our batteries; day trips to Ambleside, Windermere, Keswick, Grasmere, lots of cups of tea and delicious food!

Here are a selection of photos from our trip (I’ve tried really hard not to post too many).

Low Wood Bay

Low Wood Bay



The walk from the main hotel building and the block our room was in...

The walk from the main hotel building and the block our room was in…


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Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water

Derwent Water







You know it

You know it



Low Wood Bay at sunset

Sunset at Low Wood Bay

Low Wood Bay at sunset

Sunset at Low Wood Bay

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos!

Ooo also, if you don’t already follow me on Insta/Twitter/Facebook – come say hello!

Instagram is my favourite – shivaneeee

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The Naked Deli – Chillingham Road


The Naked Deli on Chillingham Road Heaton isn’t new to Newcastle, but today was my first visit. It’s been on my list for ages and lots of my friends love it so I had pretty high expectations.

Everything on the menu is freshly prepared in their deli using “unprocessed, whole and natural state foods” and they only ever cook with organic coconut oil (who else is obsessed with organic coconut oil?! SO many uses… I use it as part of my skincare, haircare, tooth & gum care and also cooking!). I’m following the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet, luckily today was not a fast day so I was really looking forward to eating some good healthy (and tasty) food for lunch with my friend, Julie.

We got there just after 1pm so I wasn’t surprised by how busy it was, the lunchtime rush! All tables were taken and there was a long queue of people ordering to take out. This place is popular! I did feel funny in my jeans and t-shirt, at one point we were the only people not in gym clothes (I was wearing trainers though, phew!).

I love the branding – the logo is brilliant, it’s on the napkins, the stamp on the loyalty card and even on stickers underneath the little plant pots hanging up on the wall!

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I made my mind up really quickly, I ordered the chicken burger served on a portobello mushroom with sweet potato chips and fig ketchup. I hesitated a bit with the drinks, but went with the wheatgrass smoothie (with spinach, pear, grapefruit and ginger). Julie ordered the beef burger with halloumi, on a rye bun, with sweet potato chips, garlic yoghurt and a cold pressed juice.

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The burgers were £8 each, the smoothie was £3.75 and the cold pressed juice was £4. I really enjoyed my food, a mushroom instead of a bun – LOVED this. I’m all about the filling anyway, the bread just gets in the way and I usually leave the top of the bun. My husband says I have mushrooms with everything, he’s exaggerating obviously, but I do love a good juicy mushroom. The chicken was chargrilled and there were 2 fillets in the burger alongside avocado and crispy bacon. The sweet potato chips could have been a bit crispier for my personal preference but I still enjoyed them, especially dipped in the delicious fig ketchup.

I was totally stuffed, but knew I wanted to order one of the naked treats to go. I went with the raw snickers, which I’ve half devoured (accompanied by a mug of lemon, echinacea and ginger tea) whilst writing this post! All naked treats are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free… but NOT taste & flavour free may I add. Absolutely delicious. I can’t remember how much this tasty treat was, but on the menu it says ‘from £2’. Well worth it.

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I love the Naked Deli’s approach to healthy eating, it’s far from boring and there are loads of tasty sounding options, I can see why they’re so popular. I’ve got my loyalty card and I’ll be back soon – next time for breakfast! I’ve got my eye on an acai bowl or square sausage and eggs.

Have you been to The Naked Deli? If you have, I’d love to hear what you think (and what you order, because I’m nosey).

Post Box Ponteland – Afternoon Tea


Post Box Ponteland has been open for a couple of months now, I went along on opening day for breakfast (read about it here) and was hugely interested in what Alex & Hayden had in store for the future.

My friend was home from London for the weekend so I took this opportunity to get us booked in at Post Box for Ladies Afternoon Tea (they also offer a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea). Tea, cake and a good old chin-wag was definitely on the menu!

It wasn’t too busy when we got there so we had a few tables to choose from, I always look for the one with the best lighting. We managed to get a nice window table, perfect for photos! The waitress came over and we ordered an afternoon tea to share. There was a bit of confusion over what came in the afternoon tea but that was sorted out pretty quickly. My friend doesn’t drink tea so ordered fresh orange juice. Unfortunately they didn’t have any orange so she had squash instead.

The stand arrived, full of delicious looking items!

Salmon and ham & pease pudding finger sandwiches

Salmon and ham & pease pudding finger sandwiches



A different angle :)

A different angle :)


I love the little milk bottle to accompany the pot of tea, it’s the little touches that make the difference :) I got two and a bit cups of tea from the pot which was more than enough to wash down the cake!

Here are some better pictures of some of the food, I tried to keep my plate as crumb free as possible while I took the photos – I should have just asked for another plate. I’m silly.


Really liked the little salad and chopped up gherkins that came with the sandwiches. Again, small touches.

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This was AMAZING

This was AMAZING


Here are a couple of photos of the cosy interior, love those cushions.

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We were so full we couldn’t actually finish everything, so we got the rest of the cake packed up to take home. Everything was delicious, the sandwiches were filled generously and tasted really fresh. My favourite was the meringue with cream – the meringue was perfect and chewy, I savoured every bite. The scone was great too, we both agreed the homemade jam was particularly delicious!

Post Box is now open Friday and Saturday evenings as a bistro with an evening menu (check it out on their Facebook page – lots of delicious looking options to choose from) and they have an alcohol licence too. They also have live acoustic music fortnightly on Saturday evenings which must be lovely. I’m really happy to see how things have evolved in a few short months, Hayden, Alex and the team have certainly been busy.

I said it last time and I’ll say it again, I’m so happy they’re here, I’ll be back soon to sample the evening menu.

Have you been to Post Box Ponteland yet? Would love to hear what you thought if you have!


A week in Nice, France

Last week we travelled to Nice for the week, I’m not going to write a full post about our time away but I thought it’d be nice to share some photos :)

If you know me, you know about my love for France. I studied French at university and have spent 1.5 years living there, I spent a year in Aix en Provence as part of my degree and then in 2010 I worked in Paris for 6 months. The last time I was in Nice was 15 years ago and this was my husband’s first trip to France, so we were both really looking forward to it. Needless to say, it did not disappoint! The gorgeous weather, delicious French food and lack of schedule to keep to was exactly what we both needed.

We did venture out of Nice, not very far though, to Cannes and then to Monaco, both were lovely but we wanted to get back to Nice to explore the old town more and spend time lounging at the beach!

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Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos, I’d love to know where you’re off on holiday this summer!


St Mary’s Inn – Stannington


St Mary’s Inn, Stannington, isn’t far from the A1 but (wonderfully) still feels a bit like the middle of nowhere – if you ignore the new fancy housing estate immediately surrounding it of course! The last time I visited was in November, the week it opened. I got very lost because I stupidly followed the sat nav, not the directions I was given. I was panicking that I would have the same issue this time, but actually, it’s only 15 minutes from my house and very easy to find!

When we arrived, I wasn’t surprised to see that it was relatively busy, with people in the bar, the outdoor courtyard and restaurant area. We got seated in a different area than last time, it was much brighter which made me happy.


To start we both ordered the Potted Pork with House Pickles and Sourdough (£6.50).

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It was delicious, I’d certainly order it again. The pork was mouth-wateringly good and the sourdough was perfect, especially with the pickles. I could have done with a few more pickles (I’m a pickle fiend). I was dining with my friend (from France), who informed me that this is served with gherkins in France. I wouldn’t have said no to a gherkin or two :)

For mains we went with the Ribeye Steak with Béarnaise sauce with Fries (£16) and the Aberdeen Angus Cheeseburger (£10.50) with Bone Marrow and Parsley Fries (£3.50).



Both were good choices and we enjoyed our meals, especially the Bone Marrow and Parsley Fries which I would definitely recommend ordering! So much flavour. Julie’s steak was not as rare as she’d hoped for and she was a bit disappointed with the Béarnaise sauce, it was almost foamy.

For dessert, this Chocolate Brownie Sundae (£6.50) was calling my name and did not disappoint although I nowhere near finished it. It tasted even better than it looks. The rest of the dessert menu looked fantastic and there was a delicious sounding yoghurt panna cotta on the specials board, which I would have ordered had I not already set my sights on the Sundae!

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The service was as good as my last visit, staff were attentive, friendly and helpful but not overbearing. We had a few people serve us, including Victor Castro, the General Manager,  who was busy throughout our visit, chatting to diners whilst serving.

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Private dining room

Private dining room

Love this guy created by sculptor Gary Tiplady

Love this guy created by sculptor Gary Tiplady


This is where I sat last time

This is where I sat last time


I really enjoyed driving out to St Mary’s Inn, I love the ambience and cosiness (who doesn’t love a wood-burning stove?) of the place as well as the attention to detail with the furnishings. It’s also really nice to go somewhere out of the city centre for a change (with no parking traumas). The menu has plenty to choose from and has recently changed, you can check it out here.

Have you been to St Mary’s Inn yet? I’d love to know what you ordered and what you thought! If you’re thinking of popping in, I’d recommend calling up to book beforehand. Next on my list is the Sunday Lunch which I’ve heard great things about.

* Our meals were provided free of charge for review purposes, but as with everything on my blog, my opinions are 100% honest.