Lifestyle Blogger.

The Garage Spa ...

I've been looking forward to writing this post for a long time, because every time I visit The Garage Spa I fall more and more in love with the place. I've always loved a good pamper and spa day, but since they transformed this place, it has become my favourite spa to visit. And I think that is down to the fact that its a nice and exclusive spa, your not swamped with loads of people using the facilities at the same time as yourselves. Which makes it a lot nicer to relax with friends and family and have a nice chat rather than being sat in facility rooms with people you don't know making it a bit of an awkward atmosphere. Also the staff are so friendly and inviting, they go out of there way to make sure that we are all content and to see if we need anything. Which is always great because that's the perfect opportunity to ask to enjoy a glass of wine/prosecco as you chill.
There's a few things about The Garage Spa that have really stood out for me over my numerous visits, so I thought I would share those with you in this post.

First of all I wanted to talk about the pricing at the Garage, normally when you plan to book a spa day or package you also know that its going to burn a pretty big hole in your bank account. We are not talking small amounts, I've been known to spend just shy of £200 on a spa day before, and yes that includes food as well but it's pretty steep for just one day. Whereas at Garage Spa I always seem to get a very good deal, whether it be an afternoon session with light lunch, or an evening session with prosecco and nibbles. I very rarely spend much over £50 and I always leave feeling pampered. If you check out the Garage online over at , you will see the large range of offers and packages they have to offer. The package I've used the most is probably the Girl's night in package, this is available every thursday evening between 5pm-9pm I believe and it's only £49 per girl. I love this package because its the perfect after work catch up with the girls, you get full use of all the spa facilities, a 25 minute treatment, and nibbles and prosecco towards the end of the evening, you can't say no to a glass of bubbles after a good pamper. I've also tried a couple of the other packages and they've all been equally as great. Recently, my sister booked me in for a full spa day when I returned home from Kilimanjaro, with this I received 3 treatments, a mud bath experience, a pedicure and a full body hot stone massage. And with this we also got a 2 course afternoon meal. As I didn't book it I'm not sure of the full cost but I was told it was extremely reasonable for the amount I had done. Honestly, you wouldn't be disappointed if you signed up for one of the packages.

Location, is another thing that makes The Garage so convenient for me to visit as well as others.. As the spa is located on the A66 at Greta Bridge it is so handy for me to visit as I live about 5 miles away. Which means its very easy for me to get a lift to and from the spa, which is always great when you want to have a glass of prosecco. So it is perfect for me as it's so close to Barnard Castle, but I also think it is well located for alot of other people to visit. With the A66 being such a busy road, you wouldn't expect to have a nice tranquil spot like Garage Spa less than 400 metres from the road side. Thousands of people travel up and down the A66 each day, and it is a well known road, making the Garage easy to locate if your not from the surrounding areas. Also, with the Garage being part of The Morritt Hotel it is becoming a very well known spot, yet still had that exclusive feel.

Finally, the staff at the Garage spa really do make the experience more enjoyable. I am lucky to know some of the staff that work there quite well from living locally, however this never changes the service I receive. They are all very professional and friendly and are more than happy to help throughout your visit. From the reception staff who organise your whole day from start to finish, they produce an itinerary for you so you know where your expected to be and when, they give you a walk round the facilities explaining what you can gain from each room and answering any questions you may have. And even though they give you a print out of your itinerary they also come and find you 10 minutes before your treatments or food just as a friendly reminder, as it's so easy to lose track of time. And then throughout your visit they will pop round and check to see if your okay or if you would like anything from the bar, and if so this just gets added to your bill at the end of your visit, which is great as you don't want to be carry valuable around the spa wi
th you. Then there's the trained beauticians, and beauty therapists, all of which are highly trained and very professional. For some it may be a bit nerve racking going for a treatment as most people don't feel that comfortable taking off their swimwear in front of strangers, however the girls at the Garage try and make you feel as comfortable as possible and give you plenty of time to get yourself sorted. Also, the quality of treatment you receive is second to none, I haven't had one treatment there that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed.
Also, there is the kitchen staff over in the Morritt hotel, whether it be just nibbles or a two-course lunch, the food is always cooked and prepared to perfection with perfect presentation.

Time after time I continue to visit the Garage Spa, and each time I thoroughly enjoy myself. I would recommend here to any age group who are just looking for a lovely spot to relax. I have visited both with friends for a evening pamper, a hen do and a family pamper session, and each time its fitted the criteria perfectly. So get booked up and see if you enjoy it as much as I do, also they sell gift vouchers which would make perfect birthday or Christmas presents.

Newcastle Restaurant Week ... Marco Polo

With it being Newcastle restaurant week last week it would have been rude not to indulge. Myself, Zoe and Kayleigh decided we would head out on Thursday night and see what was on offer, unfortunately we were pretty unorganised and without thinking about booking a table till Thursday afternoon we ended up missing out on a couple of places we would have liked to visit. Oh well there's always next time.
We decided to go to Marco Polo's, who were offering 2 courses for £10 or 3 courses for £15. When you think about it that is a fantastic deal, how many restaurants do you go in nowadays and a main course can be easily over £15. 
The decor of the restaurant was very modern, we were sat by the window so we could get good lighting for our photos, typical bloggers.
Obviously the deal wasn't spread across the whole menu, but a fair variety of dishes were offered to us. And it was the perfect opportunity for me to try something new.
The service from the staff was brilliant, we weren't left for long before our order was taken and we were regularly asked if there was anything else we needed. Food was served pretty quickly and it was pretty obvious that most of it was freshly made.

Okay so from the menu this is what I choose...

Chicken & Fontina croquettes, Tomato and Nduja.
The only way I could think to describe these, is like fish cakes but with chicken instead of fish. They were so scrummy and the sauce had just the right kick to it.

Chargrilled Swordfish, Panzanella Salad.
Salad is normally the most boring option on the menu, but when its mixed with olives, avocado and crunchy croutons and topped with a lovely piece of grilled swordfish, then it is well worth ordering. I had never tried Swordfish before and was pleasantly surprised, its a very meaty fish and went really well with the oilyness of the salad. I will definitely be ordering it again.

For someone who loves coffee and ice cream, this is the perfect dish. And I am pretty surprised I haven't come across it before. The base of the shot glass is crushed up amaretti biscuits, topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, and on the side you are served a freshly made hot espresso. You pour the espresso over the ice cream and voila!! Coffee ice cream with a crunch, perfect finish to a lovely italian meal.

The whole experience at Marco Polo's was fantastic, service, food and company. I love that Newcastle restaurant week has found me a new place to dine. Where did you try? I'd love to know ready for next year.

North East Bloggers Picnic ...

North East bloggers picnic, Saltwell Park, Gateshead.
I couldn't not share with you the photos of our NE bloggers picnic, they are probably some of my favourite photos I've taken so far for my blog. Not only are the photos great but the company was pretty awesome too. This day was all about getting to know fellow North East bloggers, and also happened to fall on lovely Kayleigh's birthday, which gave myself and Zoe the idea of surprising her with an over the top picnic with decorations, prosecco and nibbles. This event had been set up for all bloggers and their families, a great opportunity for us to get together and for the mums of the group to bring along their children. Samantha who I believe organised most of the day had even organised for face painters to come along for the children aswell as organising goody bags for them all, such a great touch to the day, and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves. She had even managed to organise a competition to win tickets to see Disney on Ice, so exciting. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day either, we had blue skies and gorgeous sunshine. It was really lovely to meet the other North East bloggers and finally get to put faces to the names, after all we all do talk a lot on social media, sharing events, tip and other things with each other. I thought it was a really good idea to have a social event like this, where everyone can relax and feel comfortable, and the conversations just flow. I'm really looking forward to the next time.

So myself and Zoe spent days organising this picnic, and put alot of thought into what we were taking with us. We even choose a colour scheme for the day, sad I know, but as bloggers you do seem to put a lot more thought into things like this. We prepared some nibbles for the day, we had some sandwiches, crudites and dips, fruit kebabs and some little cakes. We had also decided to surprise Kayleigh with a birthday cake, because it wouldn’t be a birthday without a cake would it? It definitely made the effort worthwhile seeing how happy it made her, and it was lovely to get to spend her birthday with her. We chatted for hours, catching up and talking about everything blogging. It’s so nice to finally be able to chat with people that know the time and effort that goes into blogging, and its nice that we can all attend the same event for once. And what better way to enjoy a get together than popping open a couple of bottles of prosecco and blowing out birthday candles.

I hope you love the photos we managed to take. Days like this make me realise how great friendships can be when built around similar interests. Here's to blogging friends. CHEERS!!

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