You may remember that last weekend’s post was all about the joys of one of our normal, healthy weekends in the Lake District countryside. Well hold onto your seats because this one was completely different. As I mentioned on Friday events had conspired to enable Mr MC and I to combine a karate competition with taking the boys to see their lovely grandma thus giving us a night out on the ‘toon’ in Newcastle. And a night in Newcastle is never a restrained affair.
I started planning it a few weeks ago and booked us into the very dramatic Royal Station Hotel because Mr MC has often mentioned seeing it when he was growing up and wishing he could stay there. We then started to discuss what we might do in the evening. Now I had in mind a sophisticated meal and maybe a drink or two in an urban wine bar – the sort of thing that just isn’t an option around here. Well each time I told him this he started to chuckle, telling me that there is no such scene in Newcastle and I should just leave the evening in his hands. Knowing him as I do, alarm bells began to ring, he was already reminiscing about the places he used to go to when he was 18. However he spends 99% of his life living on my home ground so it seemed churlish to deny him a trip down memory lane.
After a 6am start, we dropped the boys off at grandma’s at 8.30 and I drove to the karate venue with Mr MC and the youngest so that I could take a train into Newcastle. I haven’t mentioned it before but I have a passion for rail travel. I’m not a train spotter I hasten to add, there’s just something magnificent in the Victorian architecture of railway stations and I had always wanted to arrive in Newcastle by train across the Tyne. So by 9.30am I had achieved a small life ambition and I then had a lovely morning wandering around the shops alone, pleasing myself, stopping for a coffee when I felt like it, lingering as long as I liked – all the things you can never do with a family in tow.
By 2pm I’d had enough, I was astonished that there wasn’t a Zara (yes I had planned to go and buy the top that I featured on the blog on Friday) and had only bought a Christmas wreath when I headed to the hotel for check in. You will be impressed to hear that I went to the gym, although rather half heartedly, and then relaxed with a book (I’m reading Us by David Nicholls – can’t put it down) until Mr MC arrived. I had thought he might be feeling weary after a day of karate but no, he was raring to go. Now as you know, when I started living by the Slimming World way of eating over a year ago, I pretty much stopped drinking and so my wine legs are very feeble but I was really looking forward to a glass of something chilled and lovely in the sophisticated venue that I had in mind. Here I am before we set off:
- Whistles blazer
- Mango blouse SS14
- M&S coated jeans
- Clarks leopard print shoes
- Zara clutch SS14
You will notice that I had already flouted the Geordie convention of no coat, no bag. My sisters-in-law have special pockets in their underwear for their money and lipstick – something I will acknowledge as practical but not chic! We didn’t get off to a very good start – I rejected the first 3 bars he had chosen for not quite, actually not even remotely, hitting the sophisticated vibe I had in mind. By the time we got to the fourth I was willing to give in to the lure of ‘the best margarita in the toon.’ So here we are, and of course in Newcastle drinks never seem to come in ones and it was served with a chaser of something sickly sweet which I thought I should just get on with.
I’d forgotten how much I like margaritas but after another one realised that we needed to eat – quickly. Walking through the notorious Bigg Market we spotted a little Italian down a side street that looked authentic and was wafting tantalising garlicky aromas into the night air. It seemed promisingly busy and we managed to get a table – only to then spot the specials menu:
The Geordie inside my husband lit up and yes he did order the deep fried belly pork, along with garlic bread and a ‘volcano’ – which turned out to be a type of calzone with every pizza topping they had thrown onto it. One happy man. I meanwhile picked at a sea bass that they had promised was fresh and I suspect it was, once, when it was originally put into the freezer. Anyway the margaritas and the prosecco worked their magic and I didn’t really care. In fact I started to remember just how much fun Mr MC and I have when we get away from everyday life, as you can see:
So the sensible plan would have been to retire to our lovely hotel room and, given that we’d had a busy day since our 6am start, get some sleep. But no, Mr MC still had old haunts in mind and wanted to see what was up the road…then round the corner…then…I won’t bore you with pictures of everywhere we went but here’s one that shows that we did, at last, find one nice pub with lovely wine (yes I had now moved from cocktails to chasers to prosecco to wine – this woman who rarely drinks) :
And surely that was enough. It was after all nearly pumpkin hour. But pumpkin hour is when they start charging for clubs and there was one that Mr MC had heard about that we apparently really had to try:
It was aimed at an older crowd (as you can see from the two gentlemen ascending the stairs) but the music was very good – soul, funk, jazz and even some disco. So there we stayed until some time after 2am I was firmly on soft drinks by now but we still danced with abandon and laughed as if there was no tomorrow. The whole evening did us so much good, it reminded us of our wild London days when we first met. The next morning maybe less so – I don’t bounce back like I used to, even with the extra hour that the clocks gave us and a big bacon breakfast. So you will understand why, despite the fact that I had packed a very carefully planned overnight bag, there is no photographic evidence of Sunday’s outfit. Midlifechic it was not.
So after encouraging you to spend your weekends mindfully last week, today I’m reminding you to pepper them with mindless ones. I definitely don’t look it but I feel 10 years younger just knowing I still have it in me. However normal service has been resumed and today is our Boden party to raise funds for the Church roof so I will be dusting off my halo and encouraging the ladies of the village to treat themselves to something new. Tomorrow I’m off down to London for a photoshoot with Woman magazine which is exciting. I’ll be back on Friday to tell you how it went and to show you my pick of the new Boden collection: there are some lovely pieces. Don’t forget to keep in touch.