30 December 2014

Birthday Brunching at Arlo

My birthday is the 18th of December. There are worse birthdays, I know, but a week before Christmas is a funny one. Everyone is so money concious they usually can’t party and I don’t like to ask!

I had a few of the girls round for drinks and food on my birthday but waited until I spent the weekend in Newcastle with Aidan  to really relax and enjoy the start of being 24!

We kicked off the weekend with brunch in Aidan’s new local Arlo – my new favourite brunch spot! So much so that these pictures are actually from both trips we made that weekend, Eggs on Saturday and Waffles on Sunday (it was so good we had to go back and try more of the menu).

On Saturday we hunkered down in the warmth with coffee, tea and fresh orange juice. I absolutely loved that our hot drinks came with little bits of brownie – always the best way to start breakfast!

After having a quick glance at the menu we both knew what we wanted to order and after an even quicker moment it arrived at our table!

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Eggs Benedict (Poached Eggs, Hollandaise Sauce and Honey Roast Ham) for Aidan

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

 ...and Eggs Royale for me! I absolutely love eggs, smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce and I wasn’t disappointed!

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

The flavours hit the spot however, the sauce was served cold to us which I found strange! Perhaps it is the proper way it is served, let me know in the comments if it is! In the past I have always had it warm so it was a little strange to have it cold – enjoyable nonetheless!

I loved the addition of the mixed seeds on top and the touch of greenery underneath the eggs made me feel like I was being healthy!

On Sunday we indulged in our favourite – Bacon and Maple Syrup this time on top of waffles. The portion size looked tiny however I only just about managed to finish it!

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

You can say it... eyes bigger than my stomach!

The bacon and waffes were delicous and so perfectly cooked but the real star of the show was this...

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

My Big Hot Chocolate!

On the menu it was described as coming with some chocolate treats which I assumed was a few extra bits of brownie – I couldn’t believe my eyes when it arrived at my table.

Aidan looked like christmas had come early and happily munch away on bits of rocky road, malteasers and brownie galore!

Arlo Brunch Newcastle

Once we had eaten our fill of waffles, bacon and chocolate nibbles we made our way to Newcastle for last minute Christmas shopping, coffee shop hunting and a birthday dinner!

If you’re ever in the Jesmond or Newcastle area and want a nice place to brunch, lunch or dine then I would thoroughly recommend Arlo! The food was delicious and the service was so friendly and fast!

24 December 2014

DIY Scottish Tablet

Having lived in Scotland for 5 years now I wanted to bring my friends a little scottish treat when I met them for dinner and a christmas catch-up. Unfortunately these didn't make it to them because the mixture didn't cool in time (I have incredibly poor time perception sometimes) but I bagged them up and will hand them out to our lucky neighbours!

Scottish tablet is similar to fudge and, if you're feeling creative, you can add all sorts of flavours to them! I kept mine plain but added some festive sparkle with some sprinkles from Waitrose.

scottish tablet recipe

To make 25 - 35 pieces of tablet you will need:
1/2 pint whole milk
350g unsalted butter
1lb caster sugar
150g sweetened condensed milk

Using a large pan, heat the milk and melt the butter into the hot milk. Before the water reaches the boil, add and dissolve the sugar. make sure you stir often!

Bring the mixture to the boil and then allow to simmer. When simmering, add the condensed milk. the mixture will be a very light, creamy colour.

Stirring (very) often - pretty much constantly - allow the mixture to thicken until it is a deep caramel colour, don't panic if there are little brown specs that appear in the mixture - this happened to me and they disappear when you stir. 

The texture/consistency of the mixture will change quickly after around 20mins, maybe as long as 30mins from a watery simmer to a thicker bubbling. (the colour may also darken quickly at this point). 

To test that the mixture is ready, drop a little onto a cold side plate, it should not run and should be thick and sticky after 30 seconds. If you have a jam thermometer you need to aim for the Soft Ball temperature at about 235 degrees.

Once it is ready, remove from the heat and beat the mixture with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes or by hand for about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into two shallow trays (about 10" by 6") and allow to cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying! 

scottish tablet recipe

What are your favourite sweet treats? Do you make your friends presents at Christmas or do you buy yours?

If you make the tablet make sure you tweet me @lucylouharvey and show me how it came out!

23 December 2014

German Christmas Market

Aidan's brother and girlfriend were up in Scotland visiting and at this time of year there is nothing better to do than visit the Edinburgh Christmas Market. Unless of course you hate crowds and were feeling particularly fragile following a staff party - both applied to me. 

German Christmas Market

I decided that instead of feeling sorry for myself I would cure my prosecco headache with the only way I knew how... feeding it. I started off with the most delicious sausage I have ever had!

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

^ You can practically see the sparkle return to my misty eyes... 

After refuelling we wandered round all of the amazing food stalls, trying little morsels as we went.

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

My favourite stall was the Olive stall - you get handed a cocktail stick and are allowed to eat as many as you wanted! I am a huge fan of garlic stuffed olives and the ones I had here were delicious!

German Christmas Market

Aidan even found some new specs!

German Christmas Market

After a wander I decided it was time to sniff out some pudding to accompany the sausage I had demolished earlier. It came in the form of fresh doughnuts topped with chocolate sauce and lashings of cream.

German Christmas Market

Very hard to eat without getting it all over your face but, that's half the fun isn't it?!

German Christmas Market

What is better than one pudding?

Why, two of course! Off I marched to find my all-time favourite christmas market treat. 


I succeeded and valiantly appeared through the crowds clutching my prized pudding (half of it already stuffed elegantly into my mouth).

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

After doing another, very slow, lap of the market we headed for our train back to Stirling. Not before taking in the beautiful skies and lights that come with the dark winter's evenings.

German Christmas Market

German Christmas Market

What is your favourite part of the chrismas markets that are open at this time of year? I would love to hear them, leave yours in the comments below!

22 December 2014

Hot Chocolate Jar DIY

Hands up who hasn't finished their Christmas shopping yet.... yup, thought so! I'm feeling rather smug this year having finished mine in record time. However, instead of sitting back and watching the panic ensue I thought I would share a little DIY that might solve a few of your problems!

This is the perfect last minute Christmas gift or Secret Santa DIY and takes under 5 minutes to put together - you could even do it whilst getting ready for your christmas night out!

I always try and give a homemade gift when I have a tight budget and this year I had a hot chocolate lover and a budget of £10 for work's secret santa!

You only need a mug, recycled jar and the ingredients for a cosy hot choccie for this DIY and they were well inside my £10 budget!

I bought my mug from Marks & Spencer for £6 (P for Paula) which left me £4 for the rest of the goodies. I headed to Poundland and bought an Eco pack of Galaxy Hot Chocolate, Mini Marshmallows, Chocolate Drops and Sugar Snowflakes.

For those with sharp maths skills you'll see that that comes to £5 however, I didn't use all the marshmallows, chocolate drops or snowflakes so I think I can get away with it...

What you'll need for this DIY:
Hot Chocolate Powder
Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows
Sugar Snowflakes (optional)

A Jar (Mine was an old jam jar that (luckily) fitted perfectly inside my mug!
A Mug

Once you have all your ingredients then you just need to layer them up, screw on the lid and pop on a label!

And remember, when you're wrapping it don't turn it upside down... something I forgot. It didn't ruin the present just gave it a 'rustic' feel.

I wrote this little poem on the label of mine for some extra festive fun!

With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit...
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow.
It's sure to do the trick!
Let me know how you get on with this little DIY and tweet me your pictures to @lucylouharvey!

21 December 2014

Afternoon Walk In Newcastle

After pigging out on coffee and sushi we decided to go for a wander through Newcastle, it was a beautiful day and there was nothing better than wandering through the winding streets, weaving under bridges and admiring all of the old buildings and, of course, the bridges!

We headed for the Baltic, a huge art gallery with an amazing shop at the bottom filled with all sorts of goodies perfect for Christmas. The Baltic really reminded me of the Tate Modern in London and for anyone interested in modern art, or even hunting for unusual gifts this is definitely a spot for you to visit!

We were going to go for afternoon tea in their rooftop restaurant but unfortunately it was booked for a private function. So instead we headed down a floor to enjoy the beautiful views from the viewing platform...

Our bellies were soon rumbling after our huge walk so we headed back to Sunderland to meet Aidan's Auntie, Uncle and Cousin's Fiance for dinner.

We headed to the Italian Farmhouse in the Roker Hotel and it was delicious! The restaurant is incredibly cosy and had a real atmosphere from the moment we walked in.

A huge pizza oven dominated the entrance and I loved their wall decorations!

I didn't get too many snaps but you'll notice one thing... I had a very fishy meal! I ordered the fish platter for a starter and when it arrived I thought they had made a mistake, it was huge! If you're ever in the area and fancy a light lunch - this is what you should get!

Filled with a prawn cocktail, mussels, squid, pickled herring and bread it was a lovely starter and perfect for those of you that struggle to decide between fish!

My main was also fishy - prawns mussels and salmon in a garlic butter sauce. This was also incredibly tasty and the freshness of the fish really came through. However, Aidan wasn't as keen on his - he felt there was a tangy taste in the Salmon that didn't sit well with the rest of the dish.

We decided against pudding and waddled to the car, as soon as we were home we were plied with cheese, wine and all sorts of other treats!

I had a lovely first weekend in Newcastle and I absolutely loved my wander round - I found so many beautiful looking restaurants, I can't wait to go back and explore!

Where are your favourite spots in Newcastle? I would love to hear them, leave yours in the comments below!

15 December 2014

Nodu, You Make Miso Happy

After a really good coffee our next pit-stop was Nudo Sushi. The one thing that is usually a given when I'm visiting another city is that I will sniff out a sushi restaurant.

It is my absolute favourite thing! And from the look of Nudo's sushi it seemed like I was going to enjoy it...

Luckily for me there is a Nudo right in the centre of Newcastle so it wasn't too hard to find... I didn't take a lot of snaps because it is teeny tiny and always packed!

They have a huge range of sushi, soups and other treats on offer. It always takes me ages to decide!

We were only stopping for a ('light' bite... for me, my first of 2/3 'light' lunches. Sometimes I wonder if I'm related to a hobbit.

We decided on a Salmon Mix Maki to warm us up before the main event...

Which was a long Salmon Set full of Salmon Nigiri, Nudo Salmon Futomaki and Salmon Sakura Futomaki. Definitely my favourite set!

I love Salmon Nigiri and the other rolls were absolutely delicious!

I loved dipping, slurping and chomping my way through the seriously fresh tasting fish treats! Next time I'm in Newcastle I'll definitely be ordering enough to feed a small army aka one very hungry Lucy!

11 December 2014

Pinky Promise

After fleeting visits, and by fleeting I mean literally hours spent in Newcastle, I finally got to spend a whole weekend exploring!

If anyone has ever done the East Coast journey from London to Edinburgh you'll know that it goes through Newcastle and over the Tyne with the best views of the river and all of Newcastle's amazing bridges. I have done this journey more times than I dare to count and every single time I eagerly gaze out at the stunning view drinking it in and hoping one day I'll get to explore.

When I actually got to step off the train in Newcastle, ready to explore, I felt like I was meeting a celebrity! Spending the weekend with Aidan walking through streets, over bridges and looking at buildings I had admired for so many years was so exciting!

Our first morning in Newcastle was spent on the coffee hunt, I am a huge Cafe lover and Aidan loves coffee so we headed to Pink Lane Coffee for our first cup. Tucked away down a little lane just metres from Central station it is the perfect spot for coffee lovers and commuters sick of chain coffee shops alike.

The Coffee Shop has a really industrial feel to it with loads of lights hanging from the ceiling and plenty of well loved pieces of furniture. There is even a seating area outside made from wooden pallets!

I loved that the coffee theme ran through the whole cafe, coffee bean sacks featured on cushions, the coffee map on the wall and even seats were covered in the coffee bean sacks for a really cosy feel.

There was a huge selection of cakes and other sweet treats on offer, Aidan chose a piece of Salted Caramel Cake but I abstained - very uncharacteristically, I know -having had a huge bacon and egg roll only an hour before!

We settled at a cosy looking table at the back of the shop, admired the ingenious flower decoration (fake sunflowers in a jar filled with coffee beans) and eagerly awaited our coffees and cake. We had both chosen coffees off of their expresso menu which meant we could order our coffees however we wanted! Luxury.

I chose a lighter sounding bean as a Latte and Aidan chose the stronger bean as an Americano.

The coffees looked so beautiful when they arrived and Aidan's was so dark and glossy looking!

Although they didn't have any cream, Aidan's favourite, they did serve the coffee with the creamiest milk I have ever seen! And I hear it is all locally sourced too, which earns Pink Lane a few brownie points.

Now, I'm not too sure what to say about this cake because I didn't actually get to taste it.

The reason?

Aidan hoovered it up before I even got the chance! I'm going to assume, unless he informs me otherwise, that it was a delicious cake!

I definitely didn't hear any complaints...

Now, I do have something to admit, of late I haven't been the biggest coffee fan.

I'm not sure why, but I just haven't been enjoying the taste. However, I felt obliged to try one seeing as we were in such a coffee loving place and I didn't regret it!

The Latte was absolutely beautiful, so tasty and I didn't even put my usual sugar in it!

I polished off the coffee and I would've gone for another but we had to move on to our next adventure...

If you're ever in Newcastle or even have a long connection in Newcastle I would definitely recommend making a pit-stop at this Coffee Shop!

The guys really know their stuff when it comes to coffee and its definitely the best cup of coffee I have had in a long time!