Baking, food, general, lifestyle, review

Coffee and Chimney Cake at Carpathian Speciality, Whitley Bay

I try to keep my life as balanced as possible. I think the two things which I am known most for is my love of working out, and my love of food. I do the former, to enjoy the latter, and last week I enjoyed a coffee and a Chimney Cake with newly opened cafe ‘Carpathian Speciality’ Chef and owner, Tibor, and found out more about the popular Hungarian sweet snack.

Chimney Cake is a popular pastry specific to Central and Eastern European regions. What was once more traditionally a wedding pastry, then became a Hungarian street snack, and is now available in Whitley Bay.

A Chimney cake is essentially a donut, but rather than deep friend, the pastry is coiled around rolling-pin shaped moulds, then grilled on a rotisserie until golden, and finally dusted in sugar or other toppings, such as nuts, coconut, chocolate or sprinkles. The end result is a chimney shaped cake with a caramelised, sugary, golden-brown exterior and a soft and chewy bread like strip interior.

The Chimney cakes at Carpathian Speciality are entirely fresh as they are made to order. Ready in minutes and come served with a pot of freshly made custard, the cake is eaten by unwinding and dipping into the custard, and they are just divine. I’d possibly say even nicer than a donut, and healthier being grilled rather than fried. Bonus.

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Or if you’d prefer something to take away or which you can walk about with, a Doughcone may just be your thing. Once again, made using a yeast dough, it’s then rolled around a cone shaped instrument, and grilled. The cone I was kindly given was then filled with a layer of chocolate spread, then rice pudding, and topped with a whirl of cream and a maltezer.

I can’t wait to try one of these in the summer filled with ice cream. I felt less guilty for sabotaging my diet once again, upon being informed the Doughcones are only around 450 calories. Other fillings offered at Carpathian Speciality include Dark Bounty, Banoffee, Peanut Butter and Banana, Rafaello and Fruity.

Carpathian Speciality also has a wide selection of teas and freshly ground coffees which you can enjoy with your pastry or cheese or pesto scone, including Hawaiian coffee made with coconut milk, and Affagato, which is vanilla ice cream soaked in espresso.

Tibor is hoping to expand his menu to include Langos – another Hungarian food speciality. |A deep fried dough with savoury and cheese topping so quite similar to a pizza. And Milkshakes, Juices and even a range of fruit soups.

The Chimney Cake was absolutely delicious, and my two girls children thoroughly enjoyed the doughcone and we will definitely be back to try with other fillings.

To find out more about Carpathian Speciality and opening hours, then check out the Facebook Page

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Baking, general, hosting, lifestyle, party, party ideas

Our Sunday Superhero Party with Baking Mad

If there is one thing I love, it’s a party. But I’m more of a party goer than a host. I’ve only ever hosted one at home party before, and that was for my daughters 6th birthday last year. However Sunday gone I hosted a party for friends, family and their little ones, with no other reason than to pretty much showcase my baking skills.

Ok, I will admit, I have never made a cake before. Not from scratch anyway. Sure I’ve bought a ready mix and added an egg, but that’s as far as my baking skills go. I’ve always imagined it to be too much stress and too much mess.

However, when this beautifully packaged box arrived from Baking Mad  containing all the ingredient needed to whizz up a cake (except the eggs and butter), I was more than prepared to get stuck in and give it a go.

The box contained a booklet containing very easy to follow instructions and I had the ingredients thrown together and ready for the oven within minutes and just over half an hour later, I had three layers of a cake to throw together and decorate. (Apologies for the untechnical baking terms. I’m no Nigella). Ok, within an hour as when I went to check after 20 minutes, I realised I hadn’t turned the oven on

From a variety of themes which included Peter Rabbit, Pirates, Unicorns and Princesses, we opted for Superheros. My daughters love an opportunity to dress up as a Superhero, and let’s be honest, so do I.

After decorating the cake with buttercream, and a variety of superhero coloured sprinkles which I added (Halloween sprinkles), and finishing off with cake toppers, I then had a further task of making cup cakes. Which was actually again a doddle and mainly left upto my daughters age 6 and 9 to do.

Once cooked and again, decorated with buttercream, sprinkles and cake toppers, we were all set for our Superhero Party.

A few brightly coloured Superhero decorations also from Baking Mad, added an extra touch to the living room where I was to host my party, and at 1pm, my guests began to arrive.

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We had a fab two hours playing pass the parcel, musical statues, having a mini disco and of course enjoying the party food and the star of the show, the cake, which I have to say  was delicious. As were the cupcakes and went down really well with my guests, even my hubby who is often harsh with my kitchen skills. I did good.

Each child left with a superhero goody bag, again supplied by Baking Mad which I’d filled with sweets and pocket-money toys. The adults a Baking Made goody bag containing oven gloves, a tea towel and donut fridge magnet, kindly supplied by Baking Mad. I did also buy chocolate to add, but sorry guys, I ate it.

Although I will probably stick to a shop bought birthday cake in the future, I enjoyed having the opportunity to make my own cake and bake with my two girls. The kit is brilliant if like me you’re not familiar with baking, but wanting to give a homemade cake a go, as it was definitely so much less stressful than I imagined.

The kids retail at £44.99 but are currently 25% off  and can be snapped up online for £33.74.

The bunting and accessories (including paper plates, napkins, party bags, party masks) retail at between £4 – £10 but again, are currently 25% off

This is a sponsored post and I was also gifted the products, however opinions are completely honest and my own

Contact me at loualexa77@yahoo.co.uk to work with me

 

general, lifestyle

Meet Scott of Hamiedog Menswear

1. Tell me briefly a bit about yourself?

I’ve lived in North Tyneside all of my life and currently live in North Shields. I’m *just* on the right side of 40 and work for a local charity full time so most of my spare time and weekends is spent looking after the business.

2. What made you decide you wanted to start up a business in retail?

I have always been a follower of men’ fashion and just got a bit bored of the offerings and the limited choices available. I like to try things on rather than shop online and I hate huge big shops which are always too busy, too warm and have too many items on the rails so you can’t even look properly. It was never a long term plan however, I just had a bit of a ‘lightbulb moment’ when I was out shopping one day and that’s where it all started from.

3. What was the idea behind Hamiedog?

I’ve always thought that menswear was terribly under represented on the high street. Often in department stores, the mens section is in the basement or in a little corner of the first floor after being forced to walk through the ladieswear. There aren’t a great deal of menswear stores around anymore, less so for independent retailers. I really wanted to change this by being able to offer something which was fashionable but also affordable and perhaps a little bit different to the mainstream offerings. There are a few other independent menswear retailers here in the town but I think we complement each other very well and there’s not really any overlap with the type of goods we sell.

4. How did you get started in this business?

Sourcing funding was the biggest task for me because I had no savings that could be used so I started looking at startup business loans and support. There’s actually plenty of support out there and the process was much easier than I had thought. It does involve lots of preparation though, including writing a business plan and making predictions for sales and cashflow. Before any money is offered, they need to see that you’ve done the hard work and thought everything through properly. There’s only so much you can do of course, but I also had free sessions from business mentors when I was starting out and these were very useful.

5. What about your location. What made you decide on Whitley Bay as an area to trade?

The location of the shop was one of the most important elements for me and Whitley Bay was always at the top of my list. I had to balance things correctly because I didn’t want to start with too big a unit but also didn’t want to be away from a high street out of sight. Park View is a wonderful street and is full of independent retailers so when I saw there were a few small units available I knew that I had to have one of them. I did plenty of research to look at footfall and competition and realised that Whitley Bay was ideal. The shop unit that I chose did need quite a lot of work before it was ready to move into, so a lot of my budget went on rewiring, refurbishing and decoration and making the place secure. Prior to me moving in the unit was a chiropodist and has also been a barbers, sweet shop and offices so it has seen quite a few businesses come and go. Hopefully we will be here to stay for a long time because I can see that 2018 is going to be an exciting time to be in Whitley Bay when the Dome and sea front developments are complete.

6. How long have you been in business?

I got the keys to the shop in July 2016 and opened for business at the end of October 2016 so we’re still new and still getting established.

7. How do you go about getting the clothing which is in your store?

Initially, as a new business that was quite a challenge so I started with using wholesale suppliers for my stock. But after around four months I was approached by a local clothing designer and realised that using local suppliers was going to be a much more beneficial way of doing business. As we began to get more established, more local designers got on board and this has definitely been a massive turning point. Working with local businesses means that you have a much better relationship with your suppliers, on a personal level rather than on a corporate one. We’re really lucky to now have 8 clothing labels in store, all based in the north east.

8. What would you say is unique about Hamiedog Menswear?

The ‘shop local’ approach is something which has become very important for us. Because we have such a good relationship with our local suppliers it means that we can sell clothing items which are totally exclusive to our store that people can’t source from anywhere else. Fashion can sometimes be a bit too serious and we have proven in our first year that people like to wear things that are a little bit different to what everyone else has got on. Any t-shirt that has ‘Whitley Bay’, ‘North’ or links to Newcastle on it immediately becomes a best seller. People are proud to be from this part of the country and some of our pieces have made their way as far across the world as Australia. I would say that 80-90% of the stock that we currently have in store is sourced from our local suppliers and this has been so well received by our customers that sometimes it is hard to keep up with demand!

9. How do you market your business?

Marketing is always a bit of a tricky one but I have found the power of social media to be amazing. We post several times a day on Facebook and also use Instagram and Twitter. You have to make things interesting and appealing to users and ensure that you are responsive to any interaction on your pages. I have experimented with paid advertising in magazines and local publications but have found those to be disappointing so social media will be how we continue to market the business in 2018.

10. What made you come up with the name Hamiedog?

Coming up with a name took ages! I thought about using my own name but it just didn’t sound right, and I wanted to use something which was unique that nobody would have ever heard before. Then I remembered about my first pet dog when I was a young child – a Westie called Hamish. We used to call him Hamiedog and the more I thought of that name, the more I liked it as the name for the business. It is often a topic of conversation in the shop, people like to know the story (and how to pronounce it correctly) so it’s a good talking point.

11. If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out in retail, what would it be?

Follow your dreams and don’t give up. There were times when I thought I’d made the biggest mistake in my life by starting a business, and then subsequently being made redundant from my only source of income just as the business had opened, but I’m a firm believer of putting in the hard work and it will pay off. You’ve got to accept that you will make mistakes, it is totally natural and is part of the learning experience but it makes you stronger and helps you to plan for the future. But if you want something to work, you’ve got to put in the effort and give it time.

12. Do you trade only from the shop?

No, we’re online as well at http://www.hamiedog.co.uk.

13. How would you describe Hamiedog in 3 words?

Small, independent and funky!

14. What are your visions for the future with Hamiedog?

I’d like to continue to grow the business and would love to move into larger premises at some point, but larger premises bring larger challenges so we’ll see how this year goes before making a decision on that one. Our online store has started to become more popular so we’ll be investing in improving our website and building our current customer base. We also will continue to get involved in more local community events and shouting about how important shopping local is. I’m also planning on using more local lads for modelling and am always interested in hearing from local designers who need an outlet for their range. I think the future is bright, we just need more people to get on board and celebrate local businesses and our wonderful shops here in Whitley Bay.

For more information on Hamiedog, check out their website or Facebook page

 

Blogmas, general, lifestyle

Besties, Balloons and Blogmas Day 6

I realised last night just how much in need I was of a good night out and catch up with friends. We do see each other quite often, but we don’t always get time to sit down and talk about what is going on in our lives, and last night we got to do that.

We went out to celebrate some good news our really good friend Jeannie has had this past week. First of all let me tell you Jeannie is the kindest, most caring person you could ever meet. I’ve known her about two years I think and I can’t even remember how we became closer as friends.  But she is just sunshine, and she’s there whenever you need a friend. Obviously I’m not going to mention what her good news is, that’s not my story to tell. But she has so much to look forward to and last night we wanted her to feel like the special lady that she is.

So I popped out yesterday afternoon to get some helium balloons to decorate our table, and diamonte confetti. I chose three, two stars and a heart. Only I hadn’t realised how huge the heart was till I went to pick them up, so trying to navigate my way home with that flying in my face was interesting.

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I later on dropped them at the restaurant, went home to quickly get ready, and about three hours later (not even joking) I was good to go.

Jeannie chose to book a table at newly opened Italian and Mediterranean restaurant. I arrived first, then Jenny then the lovely lady herself along with Debra.

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We chose our food, then we were very kindly brought a garlic bread over to enjoy whilst catching up. The food was so nice and we all thoroughly enjoyed. And of course with it being a special occasion, there had to be desert. And there has to be food pics

The night went by too fast as we shared news of whats been going on since we last all got together, our plans for Christmas, and our excitement for getting together with even more of our friends at a party Saturday night.

As the night was coming to an end, we were kindly given a shot of Amaretto each. Jenny was driving so Jeannie decided we should share the third shot. j5 Then we left, balloons and all. We had issues getting the heart balloon in the car so decided it should fly out with window, me holding it. Which was fine until it blew off the ribbon and headed for space.

Reading over this blog it’s pretty boring. But I don’t need to include details of the night or any attempts at humour, or any major excitement. I just want to make it about Jeannie and for her to know just how awesome she is and we can not wait to watch, love and support her as she starts on her new journey xx

Blogmas, christmas, general, lifestyle, review

A local festive day with my girls

One thing which I love about Whitley Bay, is the sense of community. With a large number of independent business owners and sole traders, everyone supports each other. I’ve lived here most of my life, and it isn’t till this past year I’ve got to know other locals and often spot a familiar face when out and about.

In summer I enjoy the festivals. The singing, watching children dancing and all the delicious food on offer. I also enjoy the evening events which seem to be becoming more and more of a regular thing in the area, which is great as there is always something to plan with friends to look forward to throughout the year.

I love a Christmas market. Think I’ve been to two already this year and we’re only on to December 2nd. This afternoon, along with my girls we went along to Whitley Bay Station Christmas Fayre, organised by Stephen Andrews of Newcastle Building Society.

We arrived around lunch time and it was pretty busy and saw a large array of tables showcasing some beautiful products and information of services, including The Fostering Company, Based in Killingworth and ran by a team of people dedicated to helping children and young people in creating supportive, consistent and enriching fostering environments.

We first of all took a look aroud, soaking up the cheery atmosphere and listening to the choir sing.

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First off, the sweet cones caught the kids eyes, and mine too. I’m actually sat in the Crab and Waltzer as I write this having just had lunch and now passing time waiting for my hubby to come meet us. The kids are in the play area, and I’m feeling very tempted to tuck into one of them..

We then went to check out the fabulous work of  Sea Tern Print. A creative print workshop, and had a chat with local artist, Michelle who told me a bit about the Social Enterprise set up to help people using creative print activities.

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Then I noticed the Virtual Reality area, hosted by Pirate Escape, and Jessica decided to give it a go. She took a seat and was immersed into a fully interactive 3d virtual world, on a rollercoaster experience as we could see on the big screen.

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She only lasted a few seconds however, before declaring she was scared, which I can quite imagine. This is something I’d  like to give a go, along with the Pirate Escape with friends. We did a similar escape experience last year.

We didn’t escape in the hour. Doubt we’d have even escaped in two without a lot of input from the lads who ran it. But mainly because it was after a few bottles of wine, so I definitely think we need to give Pirate Escape a go, whilst sober. We’d smash it!

Speaking of alcohol,  I then got to sample the really, really delicious V Gallery Vodka and Rubis Chocolate Wine.

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If you think chocolate wine sounds amazing, the vodka was Marshmallow and Toffee with Fudge flavour and devine. I think I really need to stop saying that I don’t like vodka, because I clearly do, and I shall be buying some of the gift sets for Christmas. For myself.

We then popped over to meet Katie who runs Fun Little Foodies, an activity class which promotes an enjoyment of food and cooking for children, and the girls made a mini Christmas pudding out of a chocolate crispy bar and teeny tiny decorations to go on top

I then spotted a Facebook friend who I’ve yet to meet in person, Jill from Daisy First Aid, and The Family Hub – a play centre which incorporates a range of play activities for children 0-4. Jill kindly gave Emily a beautiful glitter Tinkerbell tattoo. Then both the girls had their faces painted.

Other stalls which were there, but I didn’t get round to stopping at as the sugar rush began to kick in with my kids which meant it was time to leave, included Pureknead, a bakery which sells a range of artisan breads, cakes, biscuits, sweet goods and more.

Nord, a bottle shop and tasting room based in Whitley Bay. Edens Cafe, located on Park View and ran by Janice and Robert. If you haven’t already been to Edens, you have to go. I can highly recommend their sandwiches.

Jason Friend Photography, award winning professional travel and landscape photographer, and the Whitley Bay Brewing Company, ran by Gary who also owns 42nd Street, another place I like to go eat with my family, or drink with friends.

Thank you so much to Martin and Julie from Olives at the Station, for inviting me along to blog.

If you’d like anymore information on any of the local business mentioned, then check out their Facebook pages

diet, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, wellbeing

Indoor Cycle at Studio Velo

Thismorning I went along to my first ever Cycle class. I love trying new things, and switching up my cardio routines, and have wanted to try spinning for a while. I’ve looked through the windows of a gym curiously and wondered if it was for me, but never felt brave enough to go along, worried I wouldn’t last the whole class. But a new studio has just opened in my hometown, and decided to give it a go.

The 45 minute session was held at Velo in Whitley Bay, and the studio iteslef has only been open a few weeks. It’s a small fitness studio with its own distinctive style, providing classes for all ages and abilities in studio cycling, Pilates, yoga, barre and dance.

I was greeted by Steph, the lady behind Velo with the idea was to open somewhere local, friendly and a little bit different to exercise. Ascetically, the studio was different to any others I have been to. I instantly noticed the trendy and modern design I have never seen before in any gym, and this I liked.

I then went up the stairs to a bright and well conditioned mirrowed studio with the bikes all set up ready for class.

In the studio I was greated by Cycle Instructor Kim, who made me feel comfortable and welcome, and spoke to one of the other girls who told me she wasn’t new to cycle, but this was her first class at Velo. This made me feel so much more at ease knowing I wasn’t a complete newbie.

I chose my bike, and once everyone had arrived, Kim explained to us a little about our bikes, and how to adjust them. Explained that our hands would alternate three positions throughput the class, and how to adjust the resistance.

Once we were all set, the music was on and we were off.  There is a little screen attached to the bike, which I really should’ve taken more notice of, but I think this displays your changing heat rate throughout the class

The class was based on HIIT routines, and Kim talked us through a mental visualisation of an outdoor workout, including gear changes and pedal speed. At the start of a track we were at the bottom of the hill and reached the top by the end. I found this visualisation helpful, as I was determined to reach the top of the hill without stopping, and with as much power as I could. The uplifting tunes which I particularly enjoyed, both gave me energy and kept me motivated. I just love music and find it so much harder to exercise without. I quickly found that we were cycling to the beat, upping the speed along with the tempo during a chorus.

I’m not joking when I say 15 minutes in and I had sweat dripping off me. I do a lot of fitness, and a lot of classess but I’ve never felt so worked, so fast. I’m really proud to say I kept up with the whole class, as I was worried I’d need to pause for a break as I’ve heard how intense cycling can be. Although we were told to go at our own pace as this is our workout, I was up off the saddle and back on the saddle the same time as the rest of the class. I probably could’ve adjusted the resistance a little higher at some points, but I’m confident I can push myself a little bit more next time.

By the end of the class I felt awesome. Exhausted, but awesome. This was a well structured class, which I found challenging, with excellent positive communication from Kim throughout.

Class was 9.30 thismorning, and it’s now early evening as I write this and I believe me, I’m feeling it

Thank you so much to Velo for inviting me along.

If you’re interested in trying Indoor Cycle at Velo, then check out their website https://www.velofitness.co.uk/ or facebook page

general, lifestyle

Gin and Vodka Tasting Event at Olives

This weekend saw Whitley Bays first ‘Weekend of Gin and Vodka’, providing an opportunity for local Gin and Vodka lovers to taste and appreciate the popular tipples.

Tying in with this event, Olives at the Station held a Gin and Vodka tasting evening last night, and I was kindly invited along to blog about the event.

Now I should probably point out that I never drink Gin, or Vodka. I stick to cocktails as I dread the actual thought of a hangover. My spirit drinking days are over. However, I have noticed a recent rise in popularity amongst Gin, and felt very tempted by all the different flavours so was more than happy to go along and see what it was all about.

I took along my friend who always sticks to Vodka on a night out, so thought it would be interesting to see her views on the range of Vodkas available.

This experience was a chance to sample a range of shots supplied from a variety of different brands, local business and distilleries including Hepple Gin, Gin and Vodka from Durham Distillery’s,  Alnwick Gin, The Geordie Gin Co, Black Cow Vodka, Graceful Vodka and ‘Old Tom’ Gin from Poetic License, and Tynemouth Gin.

Upon arrival, we were presented with a score card where we were able to rate a score 0-5, with 20 minutes to try each drink until the next was served.

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I did my maths and worked out that if I was to drink every shot, I was going to be quite merry in about 40 minutes, and unable to find my way home by 10pm. Panic!

However, we all had the option to drink each shot neat, or with a variety of mixers including Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon, or Lemonade, which gave me faith I could just perhaps get through the event, or at least half way.

This was blind tasting, and the first shot I tried with Fentimans Rose Lemonade which I love, ice and a slice of lime selected from a wide variety of accompaniments, and it went down a treat.

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Feeling hardcore at this point, I was and ready for shot number 2 and feeling more adventurous trying with lemonade and raspberries.

I changed up my mixers between each shot, and some I could only manage a couple of mouthfuls, but I think that could largely have been down to my choice of mixer rather than the Gin. I sat at a table of 3 other Gin samplers and every one of us enjoyed each shot, and our scoring similar.

I also found that after a couple of sips, the tastes changed and the one which I didn’t enjoy the taste of initially, actually turned out to be my favourite, which was Whiltey Bay Seaglass by the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation.

It had a taste which I recognised but couldn’t quite work out what it was until I heard Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation mention Turmeric.

The vodka didn’t go down so well on our table unfortunately, again with very similar scoring. My friend enjoyed only two out of the eight shots. I’ve never been a vodka drinker (my one and only night on vodka and orange put me off for life) but I did have a taste of the Thunder Toffee Vodka as the smell was divine.. It was suggested on our table it could go well in a coffee. Not something I would’ve thought of, but then again people think I’m strange for having enjoyed Malibu with Chocolate Nesquick Milkshake back in my party days (try it – a-ma-zing)

At the end of a very enjoyable night, the score cards were collected in and results announced seeing Newcastle Gin coming out on tops along with Annos Vodka, which was my friends top choice.

This event was a brilliant opportunity to relax, and to mingle, meet and socialise, and once again, fabulous hospitality by Olives. I especially enjoyed meeting Wil and Jade from Boda Home who we sat with and hearing a bit about their independent family owned store which I really need to visit. And Mark from the Whitley Bay Gin Corporation who told us a bit more about Gin, and how to drink it regarding choosing the right mixers.

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I know for sure, next time I am out (which is actually this weekend coming as my birthday approaches), I will defiantly be enjoying a gin or two. Maybe even more as I woke up with absolutely zero hangover. Result!!

 

food, general

Olives at the Station Gin and Vodka Tasting Event

If you haven’t already heard, Whitley Bays Weekend of Gin and Vodka is taking place on 20 – 22nd October, which will be an amazing opportunity for local Gin and Vodka lovers to taste and appreciate the popular tipples.

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To tie in with and celebrate this event, Olives at the Station are holding a Gin and Vodka Tasting evening on Saturday 21st October from 7 – 11pm.

This experience will be a chance to sample a range of shots supplied from a variety of different brands, local business and distilleries.

Whilst having a fantastic time, you will sample, taste, learn and have the opportunity to buy from a wide variety of Gins & Vodkas that you will not easily find elsewhere.

And if shots aren’t your thing, a variety of mixers will be available to try along with fruit and ice, so there really is something for everyone.

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On the night you will be presented with a score card where you will rate a score 0-5, and you will have 20 minutes to try each drink before the next is served.

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Everyone likes Gin or Vodka (or both), and this event promises to be not only a relaxed and chilled night, but an opprtunity to mingle, meet and socialise.

Tickets are £25, and the price includes all mixers and spirits, and can be reserved but must be paid for in advance and collected 7 days before the event

To register your interest in this event or for more info, check out the Facebook event page

Olives looks forward to sharing a gin or vodka with you.

 

 

dance, excercise, general, health, health and fitness, lifestyle, parenting, wellbeing

Clubbercise Mush Event

I know I should’ve written this way before now, but with it being the summer holidays and having two children to entertain, it’s often hard to find the time

But, as I mentioned in my previous blog, to wrap up the two weeks of promoting Mush – the free app for mums, I’d planned another Clubbercise event. I’d chosen the same venue as the previous one, as Flares as it is just the perfect venue for what I was looking for.

So after weeks of first of all getting myself in a right panic nobody would turn up, deciding what to wear and spending a small fortune on accessories and decs for the venue, the night was just brilliant. 

Along with Mel I arrived early to set up the venue. We thought having an electric pump, 45 minutes before the doors would open, would be more than enough time to inflate a variety of animals, palm trees, sharks and lilos and even a giant donut. However, the pump failed to do it’s job and I think we had our work out before it even began, by inflating them ourselves.  However, once done and put in place the venue looked ready for us to rock a Caribbean Neon party.

I think there was around 30 of us ravers who turned up in the usual neon, but this time with grass skirts, garlands and even flowery bras, to go with the Caribbean theme. 

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We were all just as rowdy and excited as the last event, and did our dance workout for around 45 minutes (I spent a lot of it taking pics/videos. Dancing wasn’t easy, and far too sweaty under a lot of pink and purple clip in hair pieces, a flower hairband and sunglasses)

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The girls were awesome, with their smiley faces, singing cheers and whoops. Seeing that alone made the night for me, as this is what it was all about – having fun with friends. And I know it’s always gonna be a good night with this crazy lot

The event itself definately ended on a high, with some of us even getting frisky with or riding on the ‘Dophin of Clubbalove’. You’re right Mel, Dave the Dolphin should to be your mascot and join us in every class.

We all stayed around for drinks afterwards, (like we were ever gonna just go home). My lovely friend Jeannie was lucky enough to have won us a VIP booth so there was 2 bottles of fizz and a giant Partini and a booth for us to sit and chat afterwards. We also decided rather than keep going to the bar, we’d all just order a cocktail jug for ourselves. So I was classy as always sat drinking 2 pints of Woo Woo, straight out the jug.

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We also found ourselve having a bit of a dance off with another group of girls in the VIP area, which is always fun. 

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I said from before I started my 5 weeks of marketing with Mush, I wanted to host an event which was all about forgetting about parenting duties for one night, letting our hair down, having a laugh, and remembering us mums can have fun too. Smashed it. Thank you girls all so much, for helping me do just that.

Thank you to Melanie once again for leading (and putting up with my often outlandish ‘Lou, we can not do that’ ideas), and Flares for their hospitality. The guys at Flares really are ace and could not do enough to help make us feel welcome, and the event a success. And they do awesome cocktails.

If you’re looking to make new mum friends, check out the app which can be downloaded via Play Store, and if you’re still to try Clubbercise, and think it may be the work out for you, click this link to find your nearest class.

Please excuse the poor quality of the video, but it’s from a Facebook Live

 

food, general, lifestyle, review

Our afternoon at Loca, Whiltey Bay

When I noticed on Facebook that a new restaurant in my small hometown of Whitley Bay was looking for bloggers to attend their Press Event, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d never tried my hand at food blogging before, but I was more than willing to give it a go.

I arrived at 1pm along with my friend Jeannie, a keen foodie with an interest in the current ongoing regeneration of Whitley Bay, fellow cocktail enthusiast and bad influence (we were trying out a new eaterie in town monday afternoon with a voucher she won in my fundraising raffle) and we were told to go head next door to the Italian restaurant, as Loca was very much still under construction, where we were then each presented with a glass of Prosecco, and a press pack.

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We excitedly took a seat near the back of the restaurant along with other bloggers and a photographer, and had a look inside our press pack, where we found information about the Latin American Restaurant & Bar, Food and Cocktail Menus, a small plastic bottle containing an invite to the VIP launch the following night, and some photos of some rather tempting looking deserts.

We had a look through the menu, in the meantime was offered another Prosecco, which we gratefully accepted.

Within 5 minutes of scouring the menu, I had already decided what I would be ordering on my first visit (it’s got to be a Brazillian xim xim Chicken Rice bowl), then Jeannie and I sat and discussed what tapas we shall order when we go with our friends. This was before even trying anything. But with tapas dishes such as Salmon & Scallop Ceviche, Lime, Tofu and Mixed Bean Salad and Chipotle bbq Baby Back Ribs, there is something for everyone. And of course there is a selection of Bocadillos (or sandwiches on spanish bread – thank you Google), sharing dishes, Ensalada (salads, yes, I was about to google that too, then common sense kicked in) and a selection of Little Locas for the kids. Childrens usual favourites of Chicken burger, Chicken Strips, Cheeseburger and a vegetarian option of a Tofu Pitta. Along with impressive selection of sides

Ok, that’s the food. Now lets move on to the cocktails. Wow is all I can say. I will first of all point out that we only expected to be sampling cocktails in little shot glasses, just to get the general taste, which is why we went by car rather than endure the 5 minute walk in the rain. Generous bar staff presented us with a selection of full-sized cocktails. First off I tried a Loca Colada. A blended cocktail of white rum, coconut rum, coconut syrup, fresh banana and condensed milk. Delicious.

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Then I tried a Galapagos Iced Tea served in a tall glass and I must say it’s something I wouldn’t even think of ordering, but definitely will next time I’m in Loca.

Then onto a Sensation Sours – something else I would probably avoid as it contains egg white, but again, very nice.

Drinks are very reasonabley priced at £7 each, or 2-4-£8 before 7pm or after 9pm.

After then hearing from owner Steve Welsh as to why he chose to create his own ‘Latino Bay’ at Loca, we were then taken for a look around the establishment, which was still very much a building site at this point. We could see with VIP launch night happening in just over 24 hours, the builders had their hands full and were probably looking at pulling an all nighter.

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But we could still get the general feel of the bar with beautifully decorated walls and as we went back to the Italians next door to sample some food, I’d decided I’ d definitely be there the following night to see the finished result.

We then spent about half an hour sampling some Tapas. Dadinhos, Avacado, Corn & Black Bean Tostada, Empanadas which were without a doubt my favourite, and Chorizo, Jalapeno and Cheese Churros which may sound strange as a starter, but were really nice, although I did think how some Nutella to dip them in would be great right now.

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We then had one more cocktail for the road, another Sensation Sours for me and I have no idea what Jeannie had. At this point she was ringing her hubby to come get the bus down to drive both her and the car home. So a quick obligatory snap chat selfie, we thanked the staff for their hospitality, then left, impressed (no, I haven’t misspelt p*ssed)

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We returned the following night for the VIP launch, although we didn’t arrive till just before 9. I go to a dance fitness class on a thursday night for two hours, and missing it is just never an option. Instead I took a change of clothing, my make up, and baby wipes and ‘freshened up’ in the toilets (I know. I’m a minger) and Jeannie and I met up with our other boozy friend, Jenny.

The building work was complete, and the interior stunning. The place was buzzing, music playing and drinks flowing. I feel I should add we did wait half an hour for the barman to make three cocktails, and for that reason we only stayed for one, but I’m sure this was purely with it being opening night and service will improve.

Guests were again presented with a selection of food to try, we had chips, a really decent sized bowl full and very tasty

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Opening night slow service certainly hasn’t put me off and I am keen to return again soon. There is a wide selection of cocktails I plan to work my way through and the Chocotorta looks just devine

Thank you very much to all at Loca for a fantastic afternoon, and evening and wishing you all lots of luck and success for the future.

To check out the menus, opening times and book a table at http://locawhitleybay.com/