Tuesday, 22 April 2014

We've Moved!

We've moved to proseccoandpie.wordpress.com

Don't worry, Prosecco and Pie still exists, we've just moved over to Wordpress instead of Blogger. You can still find all old posts, pictures and content over at the new and improved Prosecco and Pie lifestyle blog!

It was time for a change, a little re-design and some more space, so head on over to proseccoandpie.wordpress.com from now on to stay up to date on the best places to eat, drink and explore in the North East. 

See you there x

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

In Full Swing

Now and then I find myself thinking 'I wish there was something different to do on a Friday night', and if, like me, you've find yourself thinking the same then this post is for you...

To be totally honest, before Lane 7 was born if anyone mentioned going bowling I was less than enthusiastic. Rolling my eyes at the thought of spending my night jabbing at the machine when it inevitably froze just as I scored my fluke strike of the night, eating bad burgers and cold chips at sticky formica tables and choosing between a defrosted slushy or flat lemonade to wash it down with, bowling left little to be desired in the North East in my eyes. Thankfully Lane 7 has quite literally bowled us over (couldn't resist), with its effortlessly cool industrial interior, Lane 7 is a boutique bowling alley with a well-stocked bar, uber-cool bowling alleys, ping-pong, karaoke and MINI GOLF. 

Okay, okay, stay with me. 

When I was invited to preview Lane 7's limited-edition mini golf I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but keen to try something different I decided to go with an open mind. My partner in crime (who also goes by the name of Mam) and I were greeted with a free drink and a super cool custom built crazy golf course. 

If we were worried about being rubbish we needn't have. It doesn't matter whether your golfing prowess is limited to the highest score on wii sports or you're top of league at your local club, the course is so crazy that it's impossible to feel silly. We both felt like big kids as we picked our clubs, hit a few test shots and giggled our way around the course. The imagination and creativity is what makes it so fun, watching the person in front get a hole in one on a seemingly-impossible shot and clambering across the course.

Banish all memories of crazy golf at amusements or day trips to dodgy seaside towns; Lane 7's golf course is handmade, hectic and here for a limited time only. The music was loud, the drinks flowing and the level of golf played... erm, passable. Most importantly we had a good laugh; my favourite hole is definitely the loop the loop, and if anyone managed to complete the last hole I want video evidence, it is impossible!

Keep your eyes peeled for bigger and bolder things in Lane 7's Ball Room in the future, but for now get everyone together for a few drinks, bowling and mini golf from the 10th April - 11th June (click here to book your slot online or give them a ring on 0191 261 6161)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Country Escape: PART TWO

What is it about being away from home that makes you want to kick the covers back, rush out of bed at the crack of dawn and spend the day exploring?

After being woken gently by the early morning sun shining through the window I found myself feeling bright and breezy at 7am. Sneaking downstairs to let the dogs out, I put the kettle on and made a start on breakfast for Emily and I. Since we were only dog-sitting at my friend's beautiful farmhouse for the weekend, we had a lot of exploring to do and it was time to crack on!

The pretty village of Warkworth is only a short drive from where we were staying, and since Emily the Southerner had never been, off we went in my canny car Little Blue in search of an adventure...

The backdrop of Warkworth is dominated by the medieval ruins of Warkworth Castle. The castle was once home to the Duke of Northumberland and members of the upstanding Percy family who now call its not-so-distant neighbour Alnwick Castle home.

After crossing the mighty threshold and into the ancient ruins, Emily and I set off to explore.

Delving deeper into the ruins, we tried to picture what the towers, turrets, chapels and great halls would have looked like.

As a self-confessed medieval history geek, my time spent devouring Philippa Gregory's Tudor tales and watching umpteen David Starkey documentaries meant I conjured up images of great feasts by the fire, intimate ceremonies in the chapel and the hustle and bustle of servants clambering up and down to the beer cellar pretty easily, and it wasn't long before we had made up our own imaginary family whose trials and tribulations took place under cover of these old stone walls.

Emily waiting for a long lost love to arrive on horseback over the grassy verge... 

While I kept an eye out for armies on the march to invade our land.... 

 It wasn't long before my inner geek came out in full force and I fell in love with the lighting and romance of the old castle, casting shadows on nooks and crannies just begging to be explored.

The view of rural old Northumberland wasn't half bad either.

After all that exploring it was definitely time to head into Warkworth and show Emily the cute collection of shops, starting of course, with my favourite: Cabosse Coffee Shop and Patisserie.

WARNING: Anyone on a diet should look probably away now....

There's nothing I love more than chocolate, so when I spied the chocolate fondue set, I obviously had to try it. Ladies and Gentlemen feast your eyes on a pot of melted Cabosse milk chocolate, sugar curls, chopped hazelnuts, fresh banana and cream all served on a silver platter for you to tuck in. I think you can probably tell from the picture how amazing it was, and best of all it's only £6.95! 

After lunch we wandered along the gently sloping streets, popping our heads in and out of the lovely little gift shops. Two places you absolutely must visit are Gray's of Warkworth - a girlie gift shop filled with pretty scarves, jewellery and handbags, and Fenwick Gallery and Gift Shop which sells the work of local artists, craftspeople and jewellery designers. Emily and I fell in love with just about everything.

All too quickly it was time to say goodbye to our farmhouse and head back to Newcastle ready for work in the morning. Let's hope it won't be too long before I'm back in my spiritual home!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Country Escape: PART ONE

Just look at that view. There's nothing like lush green grass, rolling fields and being surrounded by wildlife to make me feel really happy. 

As much as I love Newcastle and living in such a vibrant, busy city, my heart longs for my own farmhouse in the country. I love the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside as weird as that might be. I love the smell of the hay from hay bales, the smell of the grass and the fresh air. Nothing beats the sight of endless open spaces and boxing hares, snuffling hedgehogs and gently grazing sheep. So when a friend of mine asked me if I would dog sit her two lovely labradors Gus and Cinders at their farm for the weekend, I couldn't wait to get my wellies on and play farmer's wife. 

Bringing with me best friend Emily along for the ride, we said goodbye to Newcastle and headed for a small village called Felton near Morpeth. 

Gus and Cinders were pretty pleased to see us and it wasn't long before we settled ourselves into Julie's beautiful farmhouse. 

Since I was the only one out of the two of us who is from up North, I felt duty bound to show Emily just how gorgeous Northumberland is. Bundling the two big labradors into the back of my car, our first stop was Druridge Bay which looked picture perfect in the afternoon sun.

It was lovely to see the dogs enjoy themselves and run freely on the beach. Thankfully the weather stayed nice too so we didn't mind getting wet as we walked along the seafront in our wellies. 

After a good frolic on the beach and the obligatory 'write your name in the sand' photo, we bundled the smelly, wet dogs back into my car and headed for a drink at the beautiful Northumberland Arms. The pub overlooks the picturesque River Coquet and we couldn't resist stopping to say hello to the ducks before going inside. 

The pub was just the right kind of busy for us to take a seat by the fire, grab a drink and have a chat while the dogs lay by our feet. The interior was beautifully decorated and the food smelled amazing. We promised we'd come back for Sunday lunch another time!

Once we were back home we fired up the AGA (or Emily did) and made ourselves a feast. Playing the perfect farmer's wife I set the table for tea before we all piled into the sitting room to watch a dvd, eat chocolate and chatter until the early hours. 

With the dogs snuggled in their basket, we headed upstairs to bed, but it wasn't long before a certain someone decided he didn't want to sleep downstairs and hopped into bed with us. Being used to my two little bichons, I don't mind sharing my bed, but I have to say Gus took up a lot more room than expected! 

After a brilliant first day, I couldn't wait to show Emily more of Northumberland tomorrow.

Stay tuned for part two to see what we got up to! 

Happy Birthday to my blog and I!

Prosecco and Pie is one year old this March!

It doesn't seem like a year ago that I took my first steps into the seemingly-scary blogging world, clueless about blogging platforms, coding and SEO, not least of all building the courage to share my ramblings with the world. The truth is, my blog was born out of a love of writing, talking/meeting new people and of course, two lovely little things called prosecco and pie. My blog is an online summary of what I do in my daily life, getting together with my friends and family, eating, drinking and enjoying life. 

I've met some amazing people, built brilliant friendships and learnt a lot from other bloggers over the past year. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has read my blog, whether you're a regular reader or a silent lurker checking back now and then to see what's new. You've not only inspired me to continue doing what I do best, but helped me build an amazing career out of this experience and long may that continue. Hopefully I've inspired you to visit some amazing places across the North East too. Our region is certainly spoilt for choice and I'm not done yet!

From one birthday celebration to another; I turned 23 on the 23rd of February and thought I'd share a few photos with you. Happy Birthday to my little blog and I. 

How better to start the day than with freshly baked cupcakes? 

Before being spoilt with gorgeous gifts and popping open a few bottles of prosecco with the girls... 

Next we headed to one of my favourite places - SIX at the Baltic. Where better to get dressed up and enjoy a few cocktails with the people you love? After slurping a few dirty daiquiris, fallen angels and breakfast @ Tiffany's we tottered back along the Quayside to meet a few more friends at Babucho and beyond to MSA

I spent my birthday surrounded by my gorgeous family, taking the dogs for a walk on the beach before coming home to a Sunday roast and this genius creation - a homemade profiterole tower with profiterole shaped candles and chocolate sauce made by my mam. Yes, it was as delicious as it looks, mmm! 

Profiterole towers are way better than birthday cakes. 

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Sweet Treats at the Theatre Royal

In between sampling some of Newcastle's finest restaurants for Restaurant Week, I also managed to slip in an early birthday present at the Theatre Royal this week. The Scottish Ballet were bringing their topsy-turvy fairytale world of Hansel and Gretel to town and I couldn't wait!

I've enjoyed going to the ballet ever since I was little, and that's all thanks to my Nanna, who insisted my older sister and I had to experience it at least once. I remember my first glimpse of a prima ballerina in The Nutcracker - utterly enthralled by the way she moved her body and tip-toed across the stage underneath a sky of gently falling snowflakes. My eyes darted from left to right following her sparkly tutu as it caught the light and I tapped my feet excitedly to the music from the orchestra; it was like I was under a spell. Although I didn't understand much about the story or the complex moves, the costumes, the set and the music kept me entertained.

So from that year on it became a tradition that Nanna and I would go see the ballet every Christmas and I saw them all as I got older - Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer's Night's Dream... dressed in my best ballerina-style outfit and usually sat on my nanna's knee because I was too small to see over the person in front. So this year when she saw that Hansel and Gretel was coming to the Theatre Royal a few weeks before my birthday, Nanna surprised me with tickets.

Although I'll be 23 this birthday, old habits die hard and I still can't resist wearing my own ballerina-inspired outfit to the ballet. Since I'm definitely too old to pull off a Barbie pink tutu (oh the good old days), I payed homage to those perfect sparkly costumes with a little sparkly skirt of my own.

Settling down into our seats with some sweets and a programe, we waited for the magic to begin...


The story started with a gaggle of school children following their enchanting new teacher around during lessons, to which she rewarded them with an endless supply of lollipops. Suddenly, the children began to disappear one by one until there was only Hansel and Gretel left. Brother and sister decide to sneak away from their parents during the night and go in search of their missing friends.

Before long they run into an ominous looking gang called The Ravens who seem to be accompanying their old school teacher. Rewarded with a lollipop, Hansel and Gretel continue on their way into the deep, dark forest... The Ravens follow Hansel and Gretel into the woods where a beautiful woman (who looks suspiciously like their old schoolteacher) makes her dramatic entrance from the sky and bewitches them into a deep sleep.

 Whilst Hansel and Gretel are under their sleepy spell, a series of vivid dreams occur on stage in which Hansel and Gretel are reunited with their parents and attend a magical feast.

Tables, chairs, chandeliers and food floods the stage while the bewitching lady/schoolteacher dances amongst cakes, pies and OTHER sweet treats on a table laid before Hansel and Gretel. This was definitely my favourite scene, it was so reminiscent of Disney's Beauty and the Beast when the food and furniture come to life before Belle's eyes.


After a short interval we returned to our seats. The set looked incredible as the curtain swept back to reveal an enchanted forest of gumdrops, lollipops and sweets.

Suddenly I felt eight years old again, completely taken aback by this magical world in front of me - the dancers' incredible costumes caught my eye reminding me of dainty pink french fancies, while the music pulled me deeper into this fairytale world, rising to a crescendo as Hansel and Gretel discovered the wicked witch and her gingerbread house.

After finding himself locked in a tiny cage, Hansel must rely on Gretel to steal the key from the evil sleeping witch before plunging her in the hot oven. As Hansel and Gretel jumped for joy the audience couldn't help but laugh at the witch who kept banging dramatically on the oven door.

The performance was certainly a topsy-turvy affair, I thought it had a very Tim Burton vibe about it which I loved. Anyone who has ever seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will understand the strange beauty that Tim Burton brings to his stories. I liked the way Hansel and Gretel's heroic and innocent nature was juxtaposed by the grotesque witch and their chain smoking mother and drunk father who come on at the beginning.

There was definitely a Tim Burton/Alice in Wonderland vibe to the set too - from the oversized sweets that hung from the rafters, the gnarled, almost skeletal outline of trees that were constantly in the background and even the almost grotesque scene of sweets and cakes piled high as the evil witch danced among them taunting Hansel and Gretel. We both had a brilliant time, and I found myself wanting to become a ballerina all over again. Although I have the grace of an elephant I've missed my calling to become a prima ballerina, I have signed up to a ballet class for beginners! If you can't pretend to be a ballerina and dance around your house then when can you eh?

Did anybody else see the show? I'd love to know what you thought of it! 

Please Note: I do not own the copyright to any of the images of the actual performance, these have been taken from the Scottish Ballet website for the purposes of illustrating this blog post and copyright belongs to The Scottish Ballet/Andy Ross/Christina Riley.