Tynemouth

I’m letting you into a secret this week. Tynemouth station is my favourite station on the entire network. Not because of the pubs or the fact it’s near the beach (although they are all pluses in my eyes – obviously) but I mean the actual station is my favourite – because it’s just so pretty. Despite being a Grade II listed building, it was on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register for buildings that need restoration in 2007 and in 2012 essential maintenance was completed whist still keeping most of its original features. The station is also home to a weekly market and lots of local businesses meaning there’s always something interesting at any given day.

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We were torn as to what to include on the WBMT because within a short walk of the station is a plethora of drinking establishments to choice from. This wealth of opportunity meant that we went slightly off piste and went to Porters Café and Bar which is right inside the station – as although technically not a pub, is the closest place off a train where you can get an alcoholic drink.

Porters certainly has the ‘Cosy/Casual’ vibe down to a fine art and if definitely on the café side of drinking establishments in the area however it has two pumps of draft ales on offer and wine of all 2 colours available by the glass or bottle, meaning which you’re enjoying a warm toasted ciabatta for bowl of soup, you can do so with some alcoholic accompaniment.

The décor inside is a mixture of practical sturdy wooden tables with local art on the walls and retro memorabilia dotted around the place. I absolutely loved the 50’s style Wurlitzer Jukebox in the corner – which is something I want in my mansion when I finally make millions as a professional transport network pub reviewer.

It’s probably worth mentioning that when the marker is on every Saturday and Sunday Porter’s gets extremely busy therefore if you were desperate for a drink you’d probably be better of making the short walk to The Head of Steam in Tynemouth Centre as a session pub Porter’s is not. However with live music in the evening and an array of delicious smells emanating from the kitchen it’s not a bad shop if you find yourself having to hang around for 20 minutes for the next train.

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Contact:

Station Terrace, North Shields NE30 4RE
Web: https://en-gb.facebook.com/porterscafemusicbar/

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

How Blogging Changed My Life

‘Blogging is a great way to show your talents and interests to prospective employers’ – Lauren Conrad

In the same way, before I got married, I never referred to Dave as my finance (he went straight from boyfriend to husband) I never refer to myself as a ‘blogger’ – I simply say I write a blog. There are some words that don’t sit right in my mouth. The blogging issue is mainly because I always only did it as a hobby, it was never my main source of income (or any source of income for that matter – until Santander start accepting mortgage payments in prosecco!) and something that I did on the side.

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Writing a blog has of course come with many, many positives. It’s the creative outlet I’ve been searching for for a long time and it feeds my need to be liked and accepted. I’ve had some amazing opportunities and worked with some fantastic brands like Coca Cola, The Inn Collection, Active Newcastle and Hotel Du Vin. Through these events I’ve met some people who I am genuinely proud to call friends like Cheish, Katie, Laura and Pixie. And I was even recognised at Wylam Brewery when someone approached me with her friend and said ‘oh my god you’re the prosecco girl!’ and hugged me so tightly I think she may have broken 2 of my ribs. That’s all incredibly cool for a girl with a B in GCSE Media Studies and who dropped out of A Level English because I was predicted a U.

Back in August though, my life changed drastically when I was offered a new job in business engagement, one of the main aspects of which would be producing new, original content. Granted it would be more writing business cases than reviews of the latest champagne bar but as someone who’s been a PA since they were 18 (i’m now 35) it is my absolute dream job. To be able to step away from a supporting role to be able to be more creative, managing my own workload and play a more active input into an organisation I’m incredibly passionate about. And it never would have happened if I didn’t write a blog.

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You see, word got round at work that I wrote a blog, and off the back of that I was offered more creative work, albeit within the confines of my PA role. People I worked with who hated having to write creatively would ask me to check over their work, then before long they were asking me to draft things for them. Before you knew it I had quite a portfolio of relevant creative experience I was able to use in my interview and let me tell you, when I got the call (while I was in the bath no less) to say I got the job I was the happiest little clam on the planet.

I’ve been in the job two and a half months now and I’m absolutely loving it. No longer and I tied to my desk being the main point of call and I am trusted to manage my own time and workload. I get to travel regularly up and down to London and Eastbourne (which makes me feel very grown up and glamourous) and when I’m invited to meetings it’s because my opinion is needed; not just to sit quietly in the corner and take minutes.

Getting acquainted with Southern Rail, hotel breakfasts and late train home treats are just some of the perks of the new job…

It’s not been without it’s challenges of course. In a meeting in my first month I was asked to give an update on a strategy and I assumed it would be a short verbal update round a table to about 10 people. When I arrived it was a group of 40 and I had to stand up at the front, mic and all. I really should have taken the hint when I was asked to produce powerpoint slides! So that was a big shock and not something I’ve ever had to do in any job before. The travel, however glamourous, takes a lot out of you (the 7:04 train to London has become my fortnightly frienemy) and as most of my team are based in Eastbourne, I sometimes feel quite isolated on my own up in Newcastle.

I can’t grumble though because this change is something I’ve wanted and needed for a really long time now and I think it just goes to show that if you plug away at something, eventually your passion and enthusiasm shines through and new opportunities will be opened up to you. It sounds cheesy but I never even considered myself to be that good a writer, so believe me when I say if I can do it, anyone can!

Tyne Dock

The original Tyne Dock station was opened on 19 June 1839, which would have been my brother’s birthday, were he the grand old age of 178 and was part of the Brandling Junction Railway linking Gateshead to South Shields. The metro station as it is now was opened four years after the metro first opened in 1980 when the network was extended from Heworth to South Shields.

If you leave platform two and walk over the footbridge probably one of the first things you’ll see after a social club and a local taxi office is the orange neon lights of the newly opened Man V Food restaurant, which as well as being an ideal stop off for a high quantity meat fix on your way to the docks (hello Sailor) has its own small bar area so is geographically the closest place to get a drink.

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We visited at about 6ish on a Saturday night and there was a nice buzz about the place. The staff were extremely friendly and seated us in a booth promptly and took our drinks order. It’s not often we eat on out WBMT visits but the smell of succulent barbequed animal was too much to resist, plus we needed something to soak up the two bottles of wine we found ourselves ordering.

The restaurant is everything you’d expect from somewhere who promotes you eat your body weight in meat; very modern. Very America and everything is XXL. For the sake of ease we ordered the four person sharing BBQ smoke tray at £44.95 between you. This comes with all meat dry rubbed and marinated, slow cooked and smoked and includes house nachos, pulled chicken, beef ribs, half chicken, spicy lamb sausage (which is pretty spicy!) chicken wings and pit beans. You ALSO get to choose 2 sides on top of that and 2 choices of sauce on the side.

We had a great time wading through all the flavours and considering took a good portion home with us, it’s exceptionally good value.  Booze wise the bar is pretty reasonably priced; the cheapest bottle of wine is £12.95; there’s cocktails all costing £5.95 and draught pints (including Brooklyn lager and Vedette from £3.60 a pint.

I know it’s not technically a pub but if you find yourself hanging about by the docs are any reason (hello Sailor) , in fact even if you’re not, it’s a really, really great place to visit. We’re already planning our next trip back to tackle the dessert menu!

Contact:

Hudson Street
South Shields
NE34 0AD

Tel: 0191 4567198

Web: www.manvsfoodgrillhouse.co.uk

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

Everything you need to know about Impostor Syndrome

‘I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’  – Maya Angelou

One thing I love in life is definitions, almost too much, I love it when I hear or read something, and i think ‘oh my god that’s so me’ I’ll be honest, usually it’s the lyrics to a Pink song. One thing that I keep on coming back to, and that not many people seem to know about, is the theory of Impostor Syndrome.

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Also known and fraud syndrome or the impostor phenomenon, impostor syndrome isn’t actually classed as a mental disorder or even a distinct personality trait (I tend to disagree on that one) but is something probably 99% of us have suffered from at some point in our lives and is a phenomenon that’s been highly researched.

I genuinely think for me, it is a distinct personalty trait of mine and is something that’s been inbuilt in me since I was born. For me, it’s so much more that simply just a lack of confidence, it’s the constant fear that despite evidence to the contrary I’m convinced i’m a fraud and that i’m going to get exposed in some way.

I’ll be honest most of my feelings of being found out or uncovered as a fraud relate to my work life rather than my home life, i very rarely find myself worried that I’m going to be uncovered as a bad friend or wife however at work I constantly have a feeling of ‘flying under the radar’ and that eventually it’s going to get discovered that I don’t have a scooby doo what i’m doing and will be given the boot. I’m also not good with praise, and if someone pays me a compliment I’ll often tell them why they’re wrong, if if someone likes my top i’ll tell them how it was only 99p on eBay, although I concede that’s less about impostor syndrome and more about me loving a bargain.

I’m a real sucker for over reflection and dwelling on anything i consider myself to have failed at or if I’ve made a mistake and I brush off any success as luck, or good timing. Honestly think to yourself, how often do you find yourself thinking ‘phew got away with that one’ when really you probably didn’t get away with anything, you succeeded because you did the right thing and the right outcome occurred.

If you look into famous people who have admitted to being sufferers, they’re all women, and yes there is a theory that it’s a particular trait of high achieving females (woohoo) I don’t really buy into that all that much because I know my husband, brother and dad all suffer to varying degrees as well, in fact I think i get most of my worried or anxious traits from my dad. I just don’t think men talk about it as much.

So being someone who loves to label themselves I was thrilled when I found out there was a name for all these horrible fraud like feelings I’d felt my whole life, the problem is, having a label on something doesn’t make it go away, sometimes getting what you want isn’t always the best thing in the world, because once you get what you want you then have to figure out what to do with it.

There are a couple of things I try and remember when I’m feeling like a particular big old fat fake to try and feel a bit better about myself:

  • If you’ve made a mistake and you’re dwelling on it, all you’re doing is keeping that mistake alive and present. How often do you go home and think about mistakes other people have made at work? What makes you think other people are thinking about you?
  • Mistakes are things you’ve done, not who you are. Making a mistake doesn’t make you a fraud, it just makes you wrong.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. As Baz Luhrman says; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself’. Things may be shit right now but they won’t be shit forever.

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  • Have one person who doesn’t allow you to wallow in self pity. I’m lucky, I have several who encourage and reassure me but also keep me in check when I need it!

If it is not addressed, victims can develop anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, depression, shame and self-doubt

Particularly common in high achieving women

Brushing off praise

Fear of failure

Being self deprecating

 

South Shields

South Shields is a funny one because depending on which mode of transport you arrive by, depends on which pub you’ll find first. If for example you arrive on the Shields Ferry (which is also operated by Nexus and accepts metro tickets) the first pub you’ll come across will be Alum Ale House, which is immediately on the left as you come off the boat.

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However keeping in the spirit of the guide and assuming most people following us will be using the metro that’s what we’ve gone with. As South Shields station is the end of the line you can only get off and on from one platform. So as you come out the station and turn right down South Shields high street the first pub you come to  is grade II listed building; The Scotia on the corner on your left.

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It’s a long, thin pub which you’d actually be forgiven for missing if you weren’t looking out for it  and if you go in from the pain street level you’ll find a small lounge area to your right with the main bar up some stairs straight in front of you. We ordered two pints, a medium glass of wine and a gin & tonic and it came to around £14 – not earth shatteringly cheap but not extortionate either and as most people seemed to be sitting around the  bar area we sat down in the lounge

 

Despite appearances from the outside suggesting that it may not be the most salubrious of establishments, I thought he décor inside was actually quite modern and trendy and wouldn’t be misplaced in a fancy overpriced gin bar in town. The seats were plush velvet all signs pointed to it having been given a bit of a face lift in recent times. It’s difficult in places like South Shields where there’s so much competition servicing one station; here’s a Wetherspoons practically next door and a large Gin Bar just round the corner so I wouldn’t be surprised if The Scotia was often overlooked. However for me, when it comes to pubs its quantity not quality that’s important so who says there isn’t enough of my wine money to go round?!

Contact:

1 Mile End Road, South Shields, NE33 1TA

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

More Bottomless Prosecco at Newcastle’s No28

‘I enjoy a Prosecco. It’s bubbly; it’s fun’ – Danielle Schneider

About 18 months ago one my favourite bars in Newcastle started a Bottomless Prosecco offer and the classy ladies (and gents) of the toon rejoiced! Since then the offer has gone from strength to strength with the bar being jam packed almost every Saturday and Sunday and while other bars have since followed suit with similar offers, No28 remains the original (and the best in my opinion).

When we originally visited back in July 2016 the offer was two hours of free flowing fizz and a choice of thai inspired tapas however since then they have introduced their own in house burger kitchen; Meat: Stack and as such the deal has changed slightly to now involve a burger and beef dripping fries (but still two hours of free flowing fizz – hurrah!)

I was a massive fan of the thai tapas (you can read my original review of that here) because it was the perfect amount of food for a snack to break up a shopping trip so i was initially concerned when I heard they’d swapped that out for burgers which with places like Fat Hippo and Byron right around the corner, there’s a lot of competition. HOWEVER these burgers haven’t been voted the best in Newcastle for nothing. They. Are. Delicious.

 

The menu is small but perfectly formed  meaning you’re not bogged down with loads of choices which are essentially the same thing (I’m looking at you Byron). We went for the West Coast Classic (the original cheeseburger with all the fixings – including their own secret sauce which puts anything Ronald McDonald can produce to shame) with beef dripping fries and our veggie pal had the Southern Fried Paneer and regular fries. In hindsight, these delicious burgers work perfectly with 2 hours of hard drinking and serve as ideal booze soakers – way more than the tapas did.

The ‘rules’ remain unchanged; Due to Newcastle City Council licensing laws the management reserve the right to refuse or withdraw service to anyone they deem too intoxicated, so again as long as you’re not a knob about it, the booze will flow as long as you’re in an appropriate state to accept it.

Bookings are opened up on a 3 month rolling basis and are available on a Saturday and Sunday, however if you’re planning a large party or stag or hen do send them a quick message on Facebook and they’ll probably be able to accommodate! Let’s be honest, you don’t get much for £25 these days and the fizz is as free flowing as you can get – the staff are super attentive and for the whole two hour we were there our glasses were never empty. And everyone know that empty prosecco glasses make the baby Jesus cry.

Contact:

No28, 27-29 Nelson St, Newcastle City Centre, NE1 5AN
Tel: 0191 447 5590
Facebook: www.facebook.com/no28ncl/

 

St Peters

St Peter’s station opened in 2002 with the rest of the Sunderland expansion and is pretty close to both Sunderland and Stadium of Light stations. In fact, geographically, St Peters station is actually closer to the football ground than the Stadium of Light metro station – fact fans!

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If you’re coming from Sunderland, exit the platform and down the stairs and start walking towards the big Tesco you’ll see in the distance. In about 5 minutes you’re come to a fork in the road which either leads off to the Stadium of Light on the left or a grand looking stone building on the right. Walk towards said architectural behemoth and you’ll fall through the doors of the Wheatsheaf.

 

This is the ronseal of pubs in that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Its proximity to the stadium means it’s your stereotypical pre match pub and much like The Strawberry next to St James’ Park, the walls are adorned with Sunderland AFC memorabilia. As you walk in there’s a lounge/ bar on the right and a larger area with a pool table, bandit machine and jukebox on the left.

Beer wise it was slim pickens with your standards of Carling, Fosters or Jon Smiths in plentiful supply, and I was ‘lucky’ enough to get the last glass out of a lowly bottle of white wine in the fridge – benefit of which was having a medium glass for the price of a small though so it wasn’t too bad!

It was pretty quiet when we went in at around 3pm on a Saturday afternoon which just a few locals hovering about . I can imagine on a match day however it’s a different story. They seem to have some good match day offers on and mid-week entertainment like open mic nights and karaoke to draw in a wider crowd.

Contact:

Address: 207 Roker Ave, Sunderland SR6 0BN
Phone: 0191 510 9826

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro pub adventure here