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

Finally! Bras you can sleep in…

‘For me, it’s hard to wear a bra the whole entire day if it’s got underwire’ Behati Prinslo

Part of me thinks an underwear post is long overdue however the other part of me thinks steer well clear, mainly because my dad is my biggest fan (hi dad!) And the last thing he wants to read about in my underkrackers

However, I have for a very long time wanted to write a post, the sole purpose of which is see how many euphemisms for boobs I can come up with, this is that post (sorry dad!)

I’ve wondered for a long time whether or not you should sleep in your bra. For the record, I never have as I always believed your bristols should be allowed to roam free at night having being caged all day. However I remember reading somewhere back in the 90s that Geri Halliwell always slept in hers as it kept her gazongas perky.

I asked some medical friends of mine their opinion and they reckoned that sleeping in your bra will probably make marginal difference to the perkiness of your jubblies – gravity, posture and age will take care of that for you, and will probably just be uncomfortable and give you a bad nights sleep.

Over recent time though I’ve hated the way my own bee stings look unsupported, the only time I would ever consider going braless would be in a heavily corsetted dress or top and quite frankly I was sick of fishing them out from under my armpits every morning (and I was off eating a marmite sandwich when chebs were given out) so if I struggle then other more blessed ladies must have a nightmare

It was on a hen do earlier in the year where I was introduced to these little beauts which seem to have been the answer to my saggy funbag prayers; bralets.

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They’re non wired, soft little miracles that are subtle enough that you don’t really feel them but give you just enough support that you don’t feel your maracas are half way round your back. They also came in very handy on a recent holiday where I was sharing a house with my parents and my in laws – they certainly didn’t need to see me walking around with my charlies fast and loose.

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These ones are from Primark but imagine they’re available all over – I know for a fact peacocks also sell them. I got the one above in the sale for £2 each

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And this pack of 2 (above) for £7. They also look really cute and you can barely feel them when they’re on.

No longer will I have to hold onto my nee naws when the doorbell goes and I’m still in my pyjamas at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon – hurrah!

Seaburn

Seaburn station was adapted from the old National Rail line when the Metro expanded to Sunderland in 2002. Some train services still pass through the station, but don’t stop and Seaburn is the second busiest suburban metro station on the Sunderland line (after East Boldon)

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If you leave the station form the main entrance and turn left, keep walking along that round for 5 minutes (past Sainsburys) and you’ll come across the Blue Bell on the right.

Apparently this pub has recently undergone a £120K refurbishment and it really shows. It’s often a wonder how local independent pubs mange to stay in business when others have the luxury of being sponsored by a brewery or pub chain to be able to  plough money into it, however The Blue Bell does seem to get the balance right between standard corporate pub and cosy friendly local. Simply put, it’s a safe pair of hands.

It’s modernly decorated with a nice mixture of tables for food and more relaxed booths to sit in for drinks. There was a good selection of real ale on offer (something which had so far been lacking on this leg of the tour) – wine is available from as cheap as £9.99 a bottle and although we weren’t eating, the food we did see looked hearty and plentiful. The sharing planks, which are £10.49 for 5 items looked absolutely amazing and who doesn’t love Pint & a Pint for £5.99 (Wednesdays only)?

Yes there are bandits dotted around and large plasma screens on the walls but you know it’s a better class of pub when it’s showing rugby rather than football! To be honest this is probably more of a family friendly gastro pub than it is a session pub with your mates but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all I’m sure those sharing planks have good beer soaking up abilities!

Contact:

Address: Fulwell Rd, Fulwell SR6 9AD
Tel: 0191 549 4020

https://www.greatukpubs.co.uk/bluebellfulwell

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

Pick of the Year: 2007

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  1. Jojo – Too Little, Too Late
  2. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
  3. Mika – Grace Kelly
  4. Fray – How to Save a Life
  5. Keane – A Bad Dream
  6. Take That – Shine
  7. Bowling for Soup – High School Never Ends
  8. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
  9. Fergie – Glamorous
  10. Pink – Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)
  11. Hilary Duff – With Love
  12. Ciara – Like A Boy
  13. Timbaland – Give It To Me
  14. Linkin Park – What I’ve Done
  15. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  16. Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)
  17. Jojo – Anything
  18. Rihanna – Umbrella
  19. Twang – Either Way
  20. Kelly Rowland – Like This
  21. Fray – Over My Head
  22. Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
  23. Kate Nash – Foundations
  24. Timbaland – The Way I Are
  25. Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
  26. Kanye West – Stronger
  27. Gym Class Heroes – Clothes Off
  28. Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come
  29. 50 Cent – Ayo Technology
  30. Shayne Ward – If That’s Ok With You
  31. Enrique Iglesias – Tired of Being Sorry
  32. Britney Spears – Gimme More
  33. Take That – Rule The World
  34. Backstreet Boys – Inconsolable
  35. Robyn – Handle Me
  36. Craig David – Hot Stuff
  37. Chris Brown – Kiss Kiss
  38. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
  39. Leon Jackson – When You Believe
  40. Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
  41. Bowling for Soup – When We Die

Newman’s Mexican Burrito Pie Recipe

‘It’s okay to treat yourself once in awhile. I’m not going to stop eating Mexican food!’ – Jennifer Aniston

Us Newmans, we like to eat, and one thing we like to eat more than anything in the world is Mexican food. In fact, if marmite didn’t exist, if only I could only eat one thing for the rest f my life it would be mexican food. It’s meat, cheese and some kind of flour/bread item, what’s not to love?

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So you know all those food porn videos that seems to be doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment, where someone makes a 6 tier rainbow cake in a 2 minute sped up video and makes it look as easy as putting your socks on? Well we actually attempted one of those recently after realising we had the majority of the ingredients in the house anyway. We substituted what was in the recipe to what we had in the cupboard and made so many swap outs that I believe we can now legitimately say we’ve crested our own dish.

So ladies and gentlemen allow us to introduce you to Newman’s Mexican Burrito Pie; a massive concoction of Mexican awesomeness including tortilla chips inside the pie – whaaat?!

Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

What you’ll need:

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  • 8 tortilla wraps
  • 500g mince
  • Mixed peppers
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 packet fajita mix
  • half a bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • loads of grated cheese

How You Make It:

  • Chop onions and add to an oiled pan. Stir around on a medium heat for a few minutes (I believe this is called ‘sweating’)
  • Once your onions are nice and sweaty add the mince and cook until part browned
  • During this process if it looks like there’s any access water, drain as much out as you can, there’s nothing worse than a wet burrito!
  • Add the seasoning then additional veggies and continue to fully brown the mince (took me a long time to learn ‘brown’ and ‘burnt’ are two very different things)

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  • Add chopped tomatoes
  • Again drain out any excess water
  • Grease a large pan with oil and lay down 7 of your tortillas, overlapping, in a flower formation, like thus:

 

  • Go in with your cheese, half your meat mix, then a tortilla chip layer (crunch down to flatten). Top with the remaining half of meat mix, the rest of the cheese. Like a beefy, tortilla-y cheesy lasagna

 

  • Place a final wrap on top in the centre and fold the rest of the wraps over.

 

  • By the time you’ve built this behemoth it should be pretty much cooked on the underside but have a check to see if it’s brown on the underneath. If so then flip over and cook in the pan for another couple of minutes until brown

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Et voila! When done, cutting into it should look a bit like this:

If anyone else tries it let me know how it turns out!