So its bank holiday Monday and I’m at Doncaster train station waiting for a train to Newcastle with the bestie. It may not surprise you to find out (especially knowing I was responsible for booking) that we nearly didn’t make it to Newcastle…
Don’t get me wrong, I booked the hotel (quite a nice one at that) and I booked the trains. The issue I had was that the trains got us to Newcastle on the Tuesday and our hotel was booked for Monday night! So a slightly awkward phone call to the train company and £63 later we were back on track. As it turned out, Katie got engaged a few days before the planned trip to Newcastle so it seemed the perfect opportunity to celebrate the engagement. We boarded the train with bridal magazines in hand and a bottle of bubbles in the bag all set to start the weekend in style!
Now the first awkward moment of the weekend (I have quite a lot of awkward moments in case you hadn’t realised) came when we were in our seats and wanted to make a start on the bubbles. Normally I can pop the cork from the bubbles without problems (that makes it sound like I’ve had far too much practice) but when you attempt to do it in a nice calm train coach without drawing too much attention to yourself it becomes a challenge. I was conscious that the bottle had been in my bag all the way to the train station so there was the potential for an eruption of bubbles, as well as the possibility that the cork might be a little too keen to pop and cause injury to one of the innocent bystanders. Feeling like all the pressure was on me, I set to work and thankfully managed quite well (even if one of the passengers did jump like a shot had been fired).
With bubbles poured into our plastic beakers (because we are classy like that…) we set to work devouring the first of what I’m sure will be many bridal magazines. I feel like I should warn you in advance; Katie and Chris’ wedding may feature quite heavily in this blog over the next year or so (I’m quite excited in case you hadn’t noticed). So as we start to plan and get more involved with hen do’s and cake tasting all that jazz, this may become more like the diary of a bridesmaid (fingers crossed!) than my “Get a Life” blog.
We arrived in the city and set to work admiring our hotel for the evening! Now I’m not one to brag (okay maybe just a little bit) but I did a pretty amazing job at booking this hotel! We stopped at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle Stephenson Quarter, if anybody fancies a trip.
I suppose most of the time when you need a hotel it is just to sleep in, so it only really needs to be clean and well maintained, which this one definitely was. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have a little luxury and I felt like this was one of those occasions (it’s almost like I knew there’d be an engagement to celebrate). The hotel was beautiful! It had great reviews on Trip Advisor and as we saw more of the hotel I could see why. It was in a great location and the staff were brilliant, doing everything they could to ensure we were happy! Plus like I say it didn’t hurt that it was easy on the eye and the Gin bar was definitely an added bonus! Not only did we fall in love with the hotel but we loved that it was great value for money as well. It left me thinking that if this is what all Crowne Plazas are like then perhaps I should visit a few more! So don’t be surprised if this hotel features in my Get a Life blog in the future!
All checked in and a visit to the Gin Bar later, we set to work on a little shopping trip! Now if you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I’ve been on a few shopping trips and still can’t seem to find what I’m after. I’d like a nice dress to wear on my cruise and to my friend’s wedding, not a lot to ask for in my opinion. Each time I go shopping I come back with disappointed hopes and with some treat from Hotel Chocolat to help ease my frustration. So how well do you think this little shopping trip went? Yep that’s right! I came back with a Hotel Chocolat Easter egg (half price!) and an increasingly great fear that the guests at Jade’s wedding will be getting quite the shock from my “outfit”.
So with aching feet and arms disappointingly empty of bags we decided it was time for cocktails! Now our main reason for choosing Newcastle was because Rachel, a really great friend of ours calls it home. So it was a great opportunity for us girls to get together and have a catch up! I love the fact that sometimes you have those friends who are so good (especially if you’ve known them for a long time like in this case) that even though you don’t see them very often; when you do see each other it still feels like no time has passed. This quality time spent with my friends is just what I needed.
We tried out a few local places which I must admit were pretty good for cocktails but I’m not going to bore you with all the details of each and every bar we went to and what we all ordered (I bore you enough without all the added detail!) but I did particularly enjoy my trip to The Botanist so that deserves a mention!
I’d never been to the Botanist and it didn’t disappoint! Not only were the cocktails pretty spectacular but the food was gorgeous! This is definitely worth a mention because (as some of you may know) I have a chronic illness which means I have A LOT of dietary requirements. I try and cope with it as well as I can but I must admit that I often find myself staring at a restaurant menu knowing there is very little I can eat. So I end up being the person who eats the same thing each time. But this was not the case at the Botanist, I was spoilt for choice! With full stomachs (I mean really full! We’ve been eating all bank holiday) we had our first Uber experience and headed back to the hotel.
So after a great night’s sleep on the comfiest hotel bed I’ve known (thank you Crowne Plaza!) we headed down for our breakfast. I’m normally quite happy with the buffet selection available but it seems we could also order from the menu free of charge! Those little touches that make all the difference. After breakfast was a visit to the hotel spa (the Mineral House I think it was called). The spa was beautiful, quiet, calm and just what we needed. We headed to the pool and I even managed to do some swimming (check me out doing exercise!) before testing out all the usual spa facilities, all of which were definitely worth recommending!
Some of you may remember that as part of my mission to “Get a Life”, I suggested that you guys might want to challenge me to go out of my comfort zone and try new things! This was mostly forgotten about until in a haze of cocktails at the Botanist my lovely friends decided to bring it up! Their challenge was that I go on one date a month and I stupidly found myself accepting! So it seems Katie is taking charge and has set me up an account for online dating…She even got to work swiping on my behalf as we laid in our hotel room that night. It looks as though this blog is going to become more like Bridget Jones than I realised!