Friday, 9 August 2019

July Trips and Bucket List

The experiences marked * were press events, where food and drink was provided.

Now that I have started doing these monthly round-ups, it has made me realise even more how quickly the months go. Scary stuff! Do you remember those old (fake) aunties who used to coo over you and say 'I remember when you were this big'... well that's me now as the weeks just fly by.

I haven't actually been anywhere outside of North East England in July. Bad travel blogger alert! However, I'm not going to preach to you about affordable travel and then go away every single month. I have had a local few weeks after having our holiday in June and moving house. This does mean that I have had the chance to discover so many local gems that I am really excited to share with you so keep on reading to find lots of new things to do in the North East. 

Local Days in July

Garage Spa, Barnard Castle

I started the month with a spa day with some friends. I usually go for Rockliffe Hall, Brimstone, Ramside or Seaham Hall (read my review here) when looking for a North East spa day. This time, however, we were meeting a friend who lives in Leeds and wanted somewhere which would be in between Leeds and Newcastle.

I have wanted to visit the Garage Spa in Barnard Castle for a long time, and this felt like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. The Garage was voted the Best Boutique Spa in the 2018 Good Spa Guide Awards and I can definitely see why.  For just £59 each we got to use the spa facilities for a blissful 4 hours, as well as enjoying a 25 minute taster facial and a light lunch. 

Now I don't know about you, but food is my favourite part of any day out. When I read 'light lunch', I expected what I've had on previous spa days: a small sandwich maybe and some crisps. Not this time! We visited on a Sunday and our two course offering was a huge, delicious Sunday dinner. Not wanting to ruin the chilled vibe for my group, I disappointingly didn't take any photos, but take my word for it that the food was delicious and this was brilliant value for money.

The spa itself is amazing. The changing rooms are individual with a toilet, shower and changing area inside a large cubicle for each person. It was totally ideal to have the privacy and space to get ready, and it added a really exclusive feeling to the spa. 

There are various hot tubs with different temperatures and my two pregnant friends were ecstatic that one was cool enough for them to be able to use it! There is an outdoor sauna inside a shepherd hut and a lovely courtyard with seats to enjoy on a nice day. Moving inside there is a steam room. more hot tubs and various lovely relaxation areas. Our favourite room, which could also be used by the pregnant ladies, was the salt relaxation room. It had a mild temperature with gorgeous beds to lie on and could be enjoyed for a longer period than the hotter rooms.

I got a summer facial as part of the package and it was so lovely. I left wishing this place was on my doorstep as I'd definitely be in for regular treatments if it was! If you are looking for an affordable spa day then I can't recommend the Garage Spa enough.

Ghetto Golf, Newcastle*

Early in July I was invited to check out the new, crazy, amazing golf venue in Newcastle at their launch event. It was an absolutely incredible evening and I just can't wait to go back with a group of mates. Read my full blog review here to find out everything about this exciting new launch.

Everyman Cinema, Newcastle

In July I finally got to visit the newest cinema launch in Newcastle, Everyman Cinema. I had heard great things about the chain from friends who live in Leeds so was really excited to have our very own. We went to see the new Lion King film, which I had mixed feelings about but would still recommend seeing for the amazing CGI technology alone.

The cinema itself is seriously plush, and just the place to go if you want a treat. We started with a drink in the bar which is gorgeously decked out in jewel velvet tones, with a great selection of drinks. We ordered some food before making our way through to the cinema where we settled into our comfy sofa made for two. 

The food was nice: we sampled a pizza, burger, popcorn, and homemade brownie which was served warm. Overall I enjoyed the cinema but would save it for a special occasion as it wasn't that affordable: our night cost over £80. I'll keep an eye out to see if they post any offers as I would be back straight away if so!

Tyneside Cinema Christmas Launch*

On the theme of cinemas, I was kindly invited to the Tyneside Cinema Christmas launch party (in July!) which I wrote a separate blog post about as I was really excited to share their upcoming events with you. You can find that post here with full details of what is coming up.

I am hoping to book in for their Speakeasy event soon, where the film is a surprise and food is themed, as well as getting my tickets for 'It's a Wonderful Life' with afternoon tea in December.

Banyan, Newcastle*

Banyan is one of my favourite new places in Newcastle. Situated where Jamie's Italian was, next to Monument, it's the ideal place to meet up with friends for Friday night cocktails. One Friday in July I was kindly invited to visit with two friends and sample some cocktails and nibbles. 

We had such a good catch up and really enjoyed the food. I love the cocktails at Banyan, usually switching between Geisha Girl or Gin Garden depending what mood I am in. This is the ideal venue if you still like to go out but want to be able to get a seat and chat (wow I sound old!).

This was the platter we shared, with the beetroot hummuss and beautiful calamari being the highlights for me. Definitely recommended to share with cocktails!

Eden, Newcastle*

July was a month of blog events, and I was very excited to be invited along to the launch of Eden in Newcastle. Those of you from the city will know this venue as the Gate, somewhere I spent many a drunken night in my university days! It is a huge venue with multiple rooms, dance floors, bars and karaoke pods. I absolutely love karaoke so will definitely be getting a room booked at Eden for our next night out.

It has a botanical theme, and I was surprised to see there is a beautiful-looking restaurant out of the back of the ground floor. I never noticed this room in the venue's previous life as Tiger Tiger, but I can't wait to try it for a meal! Definitely check Eden out if you're younger and more lively than me - I don't think I will be gracing the dance floors any time soon but can tell it's going to be the next big place for a night out in Newcastle.

My Current Bucket List

Another month, and no holidays booked. I saw someone mention 'notripophobia' on Twitter, i.e. the fear of not having a trip booked, and this is totally me! (Completely tongue in cheek of course.)

I am constantly keeping an eye on flights to New York in December and will be booking this if Jet2 shows any sign of dropping the price... 

We are also looking for a little last minute week away in August. A typical holiday: food, booze, sun and chilling. I am a bit out of my depth with this, which sounds ridiculous, but having a Turkish dad means I visited Istanbul every summer and didn't do the usual Spain, Tenerife, Greece packages etc. If anyone can recommend somewhere nice for adults with a good beach, cheap flights from Newcastle and tasty food then I'd love some recommendations!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this roundup of July's shenanigans and it has given those of you in Newcastle some inspiration for new things to do. Hopefully in my next roundup post I will be chatting about wherever we end up on a last minute holiday in August - watch this space.

Thanks for following my adventures. Melis x

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Ghetto Golf: New Crazy Golf in Newcastle upon Tyne

Ghetto Golf Newcastle - tunnel of love

Are you looking for an affordable, fun night out in Newcastle upon Tyne that's a bit different from a Friday night down at the pub? I think I've got just what you are looking for. Think crazy golf, food, drink, ridiculous banter, and you've got a vague idea of what you are letting yourself in for...

Ghetto Golf: Crazy Golf for Adults

Ghetto Golf opened its doors last month and I was grateful to be invited down to the launch party to play a round of golf and enjoy some complimentary food and drinks.

I didn't really know what to expect at all. I am a huge lover of crazy golf and thought this might be similar to what I've played before but with a few drinks chucked in. It ended up being completely different to anything I've experienced before, and just the fresh experience that Newcastle needs. I'm telling you, if you visit this place, leave any expectations at the front door because I guarantee it isn't like any other crazy golf you've played before.

Ghetto Golf-Crazy Golf Newcastle

I am torn between sharing the huge number of photos on my camera roll, but it's also one of those places where part of the fun is the pure shock and delight of discovering what each hole has to offer!

Ghetto Golf: The Visuals

Every hole has been well thought out with Newcastle references all over the place. It's really hard to pick a favourite but I loved the Jeremy Kyle hole complete with a stage to get your selfies on. The whole place has definitely been well planned for those fellow Instagram addicts, and there are countless places to snap amazing photos of your night!

Ghetto Golf Newcastle- Jeremy Kyle

Other favourites were the hole designed to look like the Crown Posada, one of Newcastle's most traditional and well-known pubs, and a particularly gruesome hole which looked like a men's toilet, complete with graffiti adorning the walls.

I couldn't help but get seriously excited by the hole pictured below, designed to look like a giant grab machine with all the cuddly toys 6-year-old me would've wanted.

Ghetto Golf - Grab Hole - Newcastle

I could share photos for days but the lighting was too dim to do justice to all of the creativity that has gone into the venue, so it's best to visit for yourself. I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see people's faces when they discover each hole for the first time.

Ghetto Golf: Food and Drink

You'd be forgiven for expecting any food and drink on offer to be nice, but maybe nothing amazing as the selling point is the golf. If I tell you I'd definitely go back just for the food alone then that gives you an idea of just how good the food from Apocalypse Cow was!

I tried the pulled pork burger (£8) and it was a plate of absolute juicy delicious-ness. Highly recommended. I also pinched a few of the cheese and bacon burger fries (£6.75) which were fantastic as well.

The best way to describe the food is luxury 'junk food', similar to what you might find in an American diner. The quality was exceptional and I am sure that anything on the menu would be fantastic, as I have seen nothing but glowing feedback from other bloggers. It is exactly the kind of food I crave on a Friday night after a long week, so this would be my ideal time to book in.

Ghetto Golf Apocalypse Cow Food

Throughout the course of the night it's safe to say I tried quite a few of the cocktails on offer (all purely for the blog of course, I'm dedicated!)  Every single cocktail was delicious and of really high quality. 

A special mention goes to the bar staff who offered us extra drinks as we made our way round the course and had great knowledge of the drinks on offer. Fear not, if you run dry there is a bar situated halfway round so you can remain topped up.

Ghetto Golf: Prices and Booking

It is a bargain price of £10 per person for a game of 18-hole crazy golf at Ghetto Golf Newcastle, which is great considering the high quality of the course. Even when you add food and drink to this price, it still remains a great affordable option for a date or night out with friends. 

Ghetto Golf is a strictly 18 plus venue and they have a challenge 25 policy, so remember your ID if you are lucky enough to look that young! With holes like this one, and another themed around Amsterdam's famous red light district, you can see straight away why it is a strictly adults-only venue...

Ghetto Golf Adults Only Newcastle

Whilst you can pay on the door, I can tell this is going to be a seriously popular venue so book here to avoid disappointment. I had food before playing golf but I think next time I would switch this order, as the food is just so good and filling. I think it would be nice to head home in a food coma after your meal!

All that is left to say is thank you so much to Ghetto Golf for hosting me at the launch party, and for Stuart from the blog Go Eat Do who made a fantastic crazy golf buddy for the evening. Check out Stuart's blog for lots of travel, food and Newcastle inspiration. 

Will you be booking Ghetto Golf? Please let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Moving house budget tips and tricks

Getting keys to new home on a budget

If you read my post all about what I got up to in June, you'll know that I've just bought a house! Exciting times, but expensive times as well. I read a couple of moving house blog posts and check lists before moving, but now I've done it (for the second time) I feel like I've got a few extra easy budget tips up my sleeve to help those who are also planning a house move.

Whilst moving home is never going to be cheap, you have probably saved long and hard to get to the point of putting an offer in on a property so every little helps to build that bank balance back up.

If you love reading money saving tips, then check my most read post: how I afford to travel as all of my day-to-day budget tips can help you cut back whatever you are saving for!