Tuesday 5 November 2013

Our Newcastle Weekend

Part two of the UK tour - Newcastle. Again, journeying up there has become a bit of a tradition, and was actually my fourth time in a year! Must like it, eh?

A three-hour train journey made it a little late on Friday to go out and paint the town red, but meant that by Saturday, we were raring to go. We did, however, get in the festive mood by watching Halloween: Resurrection – a gripping and profound piece of cinema, we all particularly enjoyed joining in for Busta Rhymes infamous line : “TRICK OR TREAT, MOTHERF***A!”. Why it didn’t win awards, we will never know.

After decorating the flat and finishing our costumes (more on that later!), we headed out into town. My friend has recently moved nearer centre of Newcastle, so it was lovely to be able to walk in and really see city life. It’s so beautiful up there, with stunning architecture and wide open streets – it almost makes me favour the idea of making London’s Oxford or Regent Streets pedestrian. No shoving or chunks taken out of knees by shopping bags, what bliss!

My friend took us to Olive and Bean for lunch, a cafĂ© and deli on Clayton Street near Grey’s Monument. There was a bit of a queue, but understandably, because the food was absolutely delicious. As a table, we enjoyed a bacon, brie and cranberry Panini, a half bowl of chicken soup with a small mozzarella baguette, a chicken, sun-blushed tomato and pesto salad (which was enormous and unbelievably filling), and a Mediterranean platter. If we had had any room, we probably would have attacked the slabs of Rocky Road that they had behind the counter, but it’s always good to save something for next time.

After a rummage around the nearby shops for some last minute cobwebs, we walked back home and got ready for the evening ahead. Not only was this a Halloween party, but a Housewarming too. Fancy dress was optional but, surprise surprise, we went for it. If you’re a redhead and trying to find a wig-free costume idea, it can be a little tricky. Scooby Doo’s Daphne? Done. X-Men’s Jean Grey? Done. I’ve still got a few up my sleeve for future occasions, but for this event, it had to be Mrs Wilma Flintstone. My boyfriend was therefore Fred, and my beautiful friend and hostess, Betty Rubble.

Ok, I’m going to do the cost comparison of Shop Bought Costume vs Homemade Costume, but scarily as I’m writing this, I don’t know the answer. Let’s hope my theory that DIY is cheaper holds true!

To be Wilma you need :
White dress from ASOS : £10
Plastic white pearls from Claire’s : £3.50
Pearl earrings (that I painted white with nail polish) : £2
A donut ring for my hair from the party shop : £3.99
Total : £19.49
Escapade.com : £21.99 – Saving me £2.50 (phew!), and leaving me with a dress that I can wear come the summer.

To make the perfect Fred, you need :
3XL White T-shirt from Sports Direct : £2.50
White Leggings from ASOS : £6
One pack of Dylon dye in Goldfish Orange : £2.74
A metre of turquoise fabric from Peter Jones : £7.20
Total : £18.44
Escapade.com : £22.99, so a saving of £4.55.

It isn’t just about having the extra pennies in your pocket though; it’s about putting the extra effort in, and having fun whilst doing it. Betty’s outfit was also made from customized bargain items, and she found the plastic clubs and bones on Amazon for only a few pounds each. And the wig will come in handy for a Spice Girls theme, I’m sure (now that’s an idea… I wonder which one I’d be…).

Not only had she made an effort with her outfit, but our hostess had also been busy in the kitchen. As “Beetle” of the baking duo Beetle & Bear, we were treated to a range of Halloween treats; bone-shaped meringues, gingerbread crosses and gravestones, and spider web vanilla cupcakes. There was also delicious carrot cake, red with “blood”. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a love of creative bakes, make sure to follow the Beetle & Bear blog and Facebook page.

The party was a huge success and everyone loved the costumes. Awake until the early hours, all that could get us out of bed the next morning was the suggestion of bacon and fried egg sandwiches.
What would a traditional winter Sunday be without a big juicy roast? While the chickens turned golden in the oven, we popped out for a stroll along the Quayside to get our taste buds going. Just a few minutes walk from the flat, we went from the Tyne Bridge to the Millennium Bridge and at around 4pm, the light is absolutely glowing. The Stade was all kinds of amazing colours, but I have worked out that it’s beautiful no matter the weather. We walked to the other side of the water (dodging a musical parade that went past, with adults and children all dressed in cartoon onesies) and into the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. By the time we reached the viewing platform on the sixth floor, the sun was setting, and the lights of the Millennium Bridge had been switched on. It was stunning, and the faint music of the parade still drifting in the background painted a perfect landscape.

We walked back in the dark and enjoyed a delicious meal whilst watching Grease on the TV (it’s probably not polite to do a Greased-Lightning at the table, but who could resist?). I was sad to leave Newcastle, but having spoken of my return even before leaving, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I was back again.

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