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Can You Lose Weight Without Giving Up The Food You Love?


When it comes to trying to lose weight, one of the things that almost immediately saps a lot of people's motivation is the idea that they have to give up all of the food that they really love. After all, why would you want to spend your time feeling hungry and miserable, even if the long-term effects are positive? That's the thing about people; we often have trouble thinking long-term, especially when we're hungry! That being said, do you really have to give up all of the foods that you love? Well, the truth is that no, you don't! Here are a few simple things that you can do in order to make sure that you're able to stay in shape without giving up all of your favourite foods.
Try healthier alternatives
One of the most important things to remember is that there are almost always alternatives out there to some of the most unhealthy foods that you might be tempted to eat. Instead of eating recipes that are full of sugar, why not use pure maple syrup as an alternative? It's just as delicious, all natural, and way better for you. Similarly, cutting back on salt doesn't need to drain your food of all flavour. Take the opportunity to start playing around with seasoning and spices to bring more flavour to your dishes.   
Reduce portion sizes
Of course, one of the main things to remember is that it might not be what you're eating, but how much of it you're eating. If you're tempted by one of your favourite foods, why not just reduce your portion size? That way you get to enjoy it guilt free without worrying about the impact that it's going to have on your diet and lifestyle overall. After a while, you'll probably find that you can't believe how you were even able to eat the kinds of portion sizes you had before.
Save it for cheat days
Then again, sometimes you just need to indulge yourself for a while to get it out of your system. That's where cheat days come in. By setting aside a day every once in awhile to throw your diet out of the window, you're able to indulge in all of the delicious food that you've been abstaining from, just for a little while. As long as you can be disciplined all the time outside of it, having a single day where you go all out isn't going to do you much harm at all. A lot of the time, the work you put in at other times is the price you pay for being able to have the one day where you eat whatever you like without worrying about it.
No matter what kind of diet you're on, you're always going to need to exercise a decent amount of self-control. However, that doesn't mean that you should force yourself to be miserable in order to see results. The key is to find something that works for you and allows you to see the results you want while also letting to live a happy and well-rounded life.

South Africa: An Exotic Adventure


South Africa is a country full of warm beaches, dazzling forests and lots of fun things to do. It is a country with a lot of cultural hotspots, diversity and most importantly, great food. If you are ever planning on visiting this glorious country, here are some places you should definitely take the time to visit.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

If you are looking for Things to do in Cape Town, then this beautiful botanical garden is a place you should definitely not miss out on. It is nestles in the southern suburbs of the country and is 52,800 sq-km large.

Cape of Good Hope

Table Mountain National Park is perhaps one of the most famous tourist destination in the whole of south Africa, and within the park you will be able to visit cape point, which is a stunning spot of a romantic walk on a secluded beach or to take photographs of wild birds.

Apartheid Museum

If you are interested in the history of segregation in this country, then this museum could be a great place to visit and learn about the people who live here and their history.

Table Mountain

This breath-taking place may be one of the oldest natural landmarks in the world- aging at approximately 600 million years old. It is fill to the brim with wild flowers and plants, and is definitely one of the things you’d need to put on your bucket list for the trip.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is an UNESCO world heritage site, and stretches a staggering 200km. The park is home to a rich ecosystem with leopards, hippos, flamingos, elephants and giraffes. If you love wildlife this is a must-see.

Boulders Penguin Colony
You may think that penguins would be much more at home in the chilly climate of the south pole, but in fact there is one species who thrives in the African heat. The African penguin lives in this area of Simon’s Town, and live and breed on the sandy coves through the area. There are currently around 2100 penguins in this area.

Madikwe Game Reserve

If you want to see elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and wild dogs in their natural habitats, then the Madikwe Game Reserve is the perfect place to spend your time. You can rent a lodge in the reserve and enjoy a tour of the animals and safaris throughout the reserve during your stay.


La Motte

If you love wine, then visiting the place where shiraz grapes are cultivated will be the perfect place for you. You’ll be able to go wine tasting, enjoy specially made lunches and dinners, and explore the grounds of the estate.

Clifton Beaches

There are four beaches in the area of Clifton, each one of them is separated by a giant boulder. These are amazing spots for a calming day at the beach, sunbathing and basking in the summer air.

Constitution Hill

If you are interested in the legal and historical parts of this great country, then a visit to constitution hill will provide you with the perfect place to learn about the history of South Africa.

Keep In Shape Throughout The Day, No Matter Your Routine


Whatever it is you do throughout the day, it is always perfectly possible to stay in shape. You might have specific fitness goals, or maybe you are just hoping to generally lose some weight and feel better in yourself. Either way, you should find that it is relatively easy to do so, as long as you find a way to make exercise a part of your daily routine. In order to do that, you just need to know how you can fit in exercise in the different places in your day. Fortunately, there are always ways to do just that, and as long as you use your imagination you should be able to make it happen.
At Work
No matter what your job is, you are sure to be able to find a way to fit in exercise at work in some manner. Even if you have a stationary desk job, you can find plenty of ways to keep fit during the working day. All you need to do is learn some so-called ‘deskercises.’ There are plenty of these that you can do, and they are all effective in helping you to remain trim no matter what your work day is ike. Alternatively, you could use your lunch break to actually go the gym, or even just go for a run around the block. There is always a way to fit in fitness if you are serious about it, so you don’t have any excuses not to exercises at work.
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At Home
You don’t even need to be a member of a gym in order to be sure that exercise is a big part of your day. Even while at home, you can make use of your space to exercise in as many ways as you like. There are a number of workouts which lend themselves particularly well to the home, and if you like you can even start to build something of a home gym by simply reading through some recumbent exercise bike reviews and getting hold of one that seems perfect for your living space. With the right approach, you can easily turn your home into another great chance for working out and exercising. That means that even while watching television you can keep on with keeping in shape.
With Friends
Again, regardless of what your social life looks like, you can easily use most occasions as a means to ensuring your exercise does not go amiss. If you want to go on a mission to get in shape, then why not ask your friends if they would like to join you? You might be surprised at the number of people who are also currently wanting to get in shape, and this will mean that you can all exercise together. Exercising together has its own distinct benefits too, given the way in which you will encourage each other along with competition. Do this, and you will be sure to see some strong results.

Ramside Hall Twighlight Spa Session









I don’t know if it’s just me but I always find as the year is coming to an end I become a lot more stressed. I over analyse how quickly the year has gone and how little I feel I’ve achieved and with the stress of Christmas beginning all I want to do is find a way to escape and relax. And I think I’ve found the perfect answer. Ramside Spa twilight spa session is perfect for anyone like me who finds very little time to fit anything into their schedule. I find myself constantly juggling work, blogging, training and trying to fit in time for my family and friends. The reason the twilight spa is the perfect option is because it’s something you can enjoy after a long day at work, I can fit in a training session while I’m there in their state of the art gym and then I can relax in the outside heated pool, de-stress in the sauna or stream room and finish off being pampered with a back and shoulder massage. And to finish off the evening you get the chance to dine in their Thai restaurant Fusion, perfect light food which is just what you need after a spa session.








For me Ramside is in the perfect location, being just off the A1 it’s only a 20 minute drive for me from work so I don’t have to worry about travelling too far. Also the staff are brilliant, they are all very polite and helpful, and very quick to serve you a chilled glass of prosecco while you relax. What more do you need after a hard day at work? If you don’t want an alcoholic drink, Ramside offer a range of fruit flavoured waters freshly made on site available as and when you want. When we visited one of the staff were even handing out sliced fresh fruit, which was such a lovely extra.










Another thing I enjoy about Ramside is that when I’ve visited it’s never been overly busy, there are always other people there but you never feel like your sardines in the pools or steam rooms. I think this makes a massive difference and makes it a lot easier to relax when you have your own personal space. It’s definitely a reason I revisit.











I also loved visiting Fusion restaurant, I’ve always been a fan of Thai and oriental food with a huge love for sushi, so seeing sushi on the menu was a win for me. The food was very neatly presented and packed full of flavour, I went for the sushi starter and then the Singapore vermicelli both of which I would definitely order again. My sister ordered the vegetable spring rolls and sweet and sour chicken and they catered brilliantly for her seafood and nut allergies. You get a two course meal included in your twilight spa session and you do get quite a decent range of meals to choose from, it’s not the usual 2 or 3 options. The restaurant interior is very modern with an oriental theme, with nice chilled music playing that keeps your on that relaxed mood.







I think the twilight spa session is the perfect treat for yourself as well as being a perfect Christmas gift. If your buying it as a gift just make sure the recipient takes you with them. Currently Ramside offer two different twilight spa packages:

Twilight Spa Package
Arrival between 5:30-6:30pm
Two course evening meal served in Fusion
45 minute personalised facial or massage
Use of spa facilities until 9:30pm
Friday-Saturday £125

Or 

Twilight Catch Up
Arrival between 5:30-6:30pm
Two course evening meal served in Fusion
Use of spa facilities until 9:30pm
Sunday-Thursday £65

Is there any other North East spas you would recommend I visit?

Thank you for reading.

Ruth 


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A Guide To The Best Cities In The World

When it comes to experiencing the world, there’s no better way to do so than to visit some of its most magnificent cities. Traveling is an opportunity to experience other cultures, nationalities, and destinations. When you visit some of the major cities a country has to offer, you see a dense collection of cultural elements from that and many other nationalities. Visiting bustling cities is a chance to really have your eyes opened and experience as much as you can from your travels in a short space of time; you can’t explore every quaint little town in every country, as much as you might wish you could. Here’s a guide to the best cities in the world.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Let’s start off by talking about one of the most intriguing cities in the world. It might face some competition in the future but there’s no denying that Dubai is the most mind-blowing megacity on the face of the earth. With architecture that is both lavish and overwhelming, the city’s skyline rises far higher than the human field of vision. It’s hard enough to get your head around in pictures but it’s even more glorious in person. There’s something for everyone, whether you want a real-life camel ride or you’d rather ride in the cable car over the city because you’re more interested in the contemporary beauty of all those modern manmade structures. It’s truly a city like no other and that’s enough to make it one of the best cities to visit in the world.
London, England.
Where to even begin with this fantastic capital? London has far more to offer than rain and a slightly chequered history. The latter is fascinating, of course, but it’s the way in which this city’s past merges with its modern culture that makes the capital such an exciting place to explore. With the ever-growing skyline of pretty architectural masterpieces on one side of the Thames and historic buildings such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on the other, there’s a lot to take in on a visual level.
Of course, it’s the culture of the city which gives it some heart. If you head to bars such as Bunga Bunga in Covent Garden, which has burlesque, variety shows, and other forms of entertainment on offer, then you’ll get a real idea of the vibrant nightlife to be found throughout this great city. London also has beautiful art on display in the National Gallery if you’re looking for a daytime cultural experience. The list of things to do in the capital really does go on but we’d be here for days discussing it.
Prague, Czech Republic.

This huge capital of the Czech Republic offers beautiful contemporary and historic architecture. The beautiful city of Prague lies by the equally-beautiful Vltava river and is one of the most intriguing cities to visit in Europe. The food will impress you, above all else, because the local cuisine on offer in the capital is absolutely delicious. Head to quaint little places such as Café Savoy for breakfast and you could treat yourself to meals such as gruyere omelettes and French toast. One of the traditional Czech foods that you certainly need to try whilst you’re visiting this city is Goulash. It might be tasty anywhere else but it’ll blow your tastebuds away when you try it in Prague.

Places to eat in Prague...

Recently I visited Prague for my birthday. When arriving we had absolutely no idea where to go for food, and because of that I thought it would be a good idea to share with you the places I would recommend for you to visit from our experince. Don't get me wrong not knowing where to go adds a small element of surprise, but there is also that small amount of fear that your going to end up dining somewhere that isn't very good. So in this guide of places to eat in Prague I have found you somewhere to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.







So my breakfast recommendation is my number one recommendation, this is somewhere you have to visit if you ever travel to Prague This place is Café Savoy, and if I had to compare it to anywhere I would say its Prague's version of Betty's Tea Room.We visited Café Savoy on the morning of my birthday, with it being my birthday myself and Sean were in the mindset that there was no budget. Funnily this was probably one of the only times myself and Sean ordered exactly the same. We went for a gruyere omelette each and a portion of French toast soaked in maple syrup with fresh fruit. Not only was this an extremely instagrammable meal but quoted from myself and Sean , one of the best meals we've ever had. There were no faults, each part of our meal was amazing and we even debated trying to fit another visit in while we are away. This was actually a recommendation from 
‘thenopantslife’








Our second restaurant is somewhere we called in for lunch. And this was Restaurace Malostranska Beseda, just off the route from Charles' Bridge, the reason I would say this is the best place to visit for lunch is that it serves very traditional Czech food, and probably the best Goulash I had on our visit. As ive already said I had Goulash served with traditional dumpling, which was lovely and Sean had potato gnocci topped with bacon lardons and onion. Normally Sean lets me try his meal, as its nice to try what the other orders, however with this dish he had polished it off before I got the chance to have a try.
Also its the perfect place to stop off on your way to Prague Castle.





Finally we have our dinner recommendation, whether we are home or away mine and Sean's favourite cuisine is Italian. Okay that may be a lie, my favourite cuisine is Italian and Sean just comes along because he knows it'll make me happy. So when we spotted ad Italian restaurant when walking through the Old Town it was clear as day that this was somewhere we needed to visit, The restaurant was called Restaurante Taverna Toscano, the serve we received was fantastic. This was the only Italian restaurant I have been to that serves a cheese board as a starter, a range of different cheeses served with fresh bread and a pot of locally made honey. The perfect start to our meal, I went for the carbonara pizza and it was one of the best Italian baked pizzas I've ever tasted, topped with bacon, mushrooms, parmesan and a cooked egg. This was another restaurant we left content and happy.



Don't get me wrong there are probably a handful of different restaurants that serve up high quality foods but these are the ones that we got to visit. Myself and Sean also visited Prague's Hooters restaurant which we both enjoyed, however it was the typical American menu that you would expect.




One last recommendation from us would be to try the Czech tradition, Trdelnik, a sweet cinnamon bread baked filled with a range of toppings. You can find these on every street in Prague, and I think it is a must if you visit the city.

Thank you for reading.

Ruth 


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Review of Le Raaj, Sedgefield 

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30 things to do before I turn 30







(Photo location: John Lennon’s Wall, Prague)

So, a few weeks ago now I turned 25. 25 is one of those ages that doesn’t really mean much, the best thing about it is your wage normally goes up for the last time, other than that it’s not particularly special. So while on our little adventure to Prague for my birthday, I decided, with it only being 5 years till I turn the grand old age of 30, that I would create a list of 30 things to do before 30. 

I have made these pretty realistic, as it would be great if I could achieve them all, and with most things there is a cost joined to them all. And I don’t plan on entering my 30s absolutely broke. However some of them are things that I would cross of my lifetime bucket list

My main plan for the next 5 years is to have an absolute ball, do everything I would like to do and make as many memories as possible. If anyone has any ideas to help me through the list then please message me personally!

So this is the list I’ve put together:

  1. Visit at least 3 European cities . So far I already have a trip to Budapest booked for 2018 so there is one in the pipeline, I’ve also got a few other ideas of where I would like to travel to such a Barcelona, Venice or Krakow.
  2. Visit New York. This is one that will depend completely on our finances and whether we can afford it.
  3. Visit Cuba & Mexico.  This is our dream holiday and something we’ve talked about since we met, hopefully this will happen for our 10 year anniversary, 2021.
  4. Go on the London Eye. I love London, especially sightseeing but every time I’ve been I’ve never had the chance to go on the London Eye.
  5. See the Northern Lights. This would be a tick off my lifetime bucket list aswell as my before 30, I can’t imagine anything more beautiful to watch.
  6. Hit 4 stone weightloss. Currently I’m sat at 3.5 stone weightloss as you can read in my transformation story , so I feel like this is quite achievable.
  7. Qualify as a Dispensing Optician. This is the next stage in my career path and it’s where I would like to be in the next 3 years.
  8. Try Snowboarding. I’m already a skier, but I’ve never had the courage to try snowboarding but it’s definitely something I’ve fancied trying.
  9. Attend a Sushi making class. I’m obsessed with sushi, I love it, so would be really interested in learning how to make it.
  10. Climb Ben Nevis, if I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro surely this can’t be that difficult?
  11. Climb Snowdon, same as above. 
  12. Complete the Great North Run again, I complete the GNR 2 years ago and I plan to complete it again in 2018.
  13. Complete a Marathon, I’ve said for a lot of years that I would like to run a marathon for my 30th Birthday. Let’s start training ey.
  14. Go on a UK road trip, I have friends all over the country so this would be a great opportunity to catch up with them.
  15. Collect travel tickets for all holidays over the next 5 years, this is something I wish I started years ago.
  16. Take a cocktail making class, why not? I love a good cocktail. 
  17. Take a spontaneous trip with only 24 hours planning time. This will be so much fun, and I already know who I can rely on to come with me.
  18. Attend a festival each year. I’m hoping to try a variety of different festivals over the years, maybe some smaller ones than normal.
  19. Keep a journal , this will be difficult for me because I struggle to update social media regularly never mind write things down.
  20. Improve my photography skills. I’ve been looking at courses to help improve my skills, but I know so many different photographers maybe they could help me?
  21. Give something up for 30 days. Maybe social media? Or Nutella? Any ideas?
  22. Get a new tattoo. Something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, I would love to get one related to my trip up Kilimanjaro.
  23. Raise atleast £300 for charity, I hope to raise this in memory of my work colleague. 
  24. Visit a UK theme park. Believe it or not I’ve only ever been to light water valley, I’ve never visited Alton towers, Thorpe Park or flamingo land so one of those would be great, 
  25. Buy a house. This is the next step in my relationship and something we’ve been thinking about for awhile. 
  26. Go Camping in the wilderness. A few days in a field with no electricity, how hard can it be??
  27. Treat myself to a luxurious item, I’m not sure what this will be but why not treat myself with my hard earned money? 
  28. Visit a Yoga Retreat, this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, maybe it’ll teach me how to relax? 
  29. Save money on a monthly basis, this will be the hardest one for me.
  30. Write a list of 40 things to do before 40
So as you can see from the list, 90% of these should be realistically achievable and 10% can be achieved but all depending on finances and fitness. However I’m going to try my best to achieve 100%, what would be the point in doing this if it wasn’t my aim to complete them all. 

I’m going to update the list on a 6 monthly basis so that you can see how well I’m making my way through it, meanwhile I’ll also be sharing updates over on my Instagram so make sure you keep up to date with my recent posts. 

Like I said previously if anyone can help me with any of these or would like to do any of them with me then please message me personally, I could always do with the help and company. 

You will notice on my list I haven’t included anything blog related, and that’s simply because I want these to be life achievements rather than blog achievements. I hope to still be writing my blog when I’m 30, but if I’m not, I will still be making my way through this list. 

I’m really looking forward to turning 30 and being able to look back on all the memories that I have created, and of course sharing them with you all.

Here’s to the next 5 years.



Thank you for reading.

Ruth 


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My Kilimanjaro Diary

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A change is as good as a rest



Satisfy Your Travel Bug & Get Fit At The Same Time

It’s an old question - whether or not it is possible to both travel extensively and keep your body in the best shape possible. While we all know that you can often put on weight when you are holidaying abroad, can the opposite be true as well? As it happens - yes. There are ways of travelling in which you can help yourself to keep in the best shape you possibly can. If you take a look at the following, you will find that it is actually a lot easier than one might think. Consider these options next time you are travelling.
Extreme Sports Trip
One great way to ensure that you stay in shape is to take yourself on some kind of extreme sports trip. Instead of the usual relaxing at a hotel kind of holiday, you could instead consider something along the lines of skiing, snowboarding or maybe even surfing. Not only will these activities keep you in fantastic shape, but they are also enough reason to go travelling in themselves. Let’s take skiing as an example. Done right, this can be a hugely exciting way to travel the world. With all the luxury ski chalets to choose from, the beautiful heaps of natural snow on some gorgeous mountains with breathtaking views, and of course the skiing itself, you are bound to have both an enjoyable - and a slimming - time.
The Backpacker’s Dream
Many people would like to travel the world as a backpacker. There are a vast number of compelling reasons why this might be an excellent way for you to travel. But it is also true that it is a great way to keep your body in shape. It is rare that those on backpacking holidays put on weight, and you are much more likely to lose a lot of weight as you move from place to place carrying that heavy bag of yours. Backpacking might not be for everyone, but if you are keen for an adventurous time which will be kind on the body, this is an option you will definitely want to consider.

Image Credit
Globe-Trekking
How about a holiday centred solely around trekking? You can’t really go wrong here, so long as you choose the destination wisely. If you go to the Himalayas or the Annapurnas, for example, you will likely be blown away by some of the natural beauty that will surround you. And it’s almost impossible to go trekking up mountains without toning up at least a little. If you’re up for something a little kinder on the knees, why not consider the Serbian countryside - well known for being a great place to trek around. If you have a love of walking, then a trekking trip could take care of that and your body in one swift move.
If you usually struggle to keep in shape on holiday, then any of the above ideas will be sure to help you next time you want to travel abroad. As you can see, there is no reason you can’t tone up, slim down and still have a great time when you are on holiday.

The perfect Christmas gift for a mum that deserves to be pampered ...

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gifts for Mum? L’Occitane have the ideal gift. My mum has worked endless hours and endless days to provide me with the best quality of life she can. She has always gone without so that I could have everything I’ve ever wished for and more. Now is the time for me to start repaying her for everything she’s done. And what would be more perfect than her being able to pamper herself in the comfort of her own home? L’Occitane have released a bunch of gift sets to cater for every bodies budget, making it affordable for most. 



My favourite of them all has to be the Terre De Lumiere collection, this set includes shower gel, body lotion, and beauty balm aswell as including a bottle of the Terre De Lumiere perfume which I know my mum would love.



Second is definitely the First signs of ageing prescious trio, I’ve heard such great things about L’Occitane’s anti aging products especially their prescious balm. It’s no insult to bug someone anti ageing products, it’s a natural process that we all go through as we age. Especially when it comes in such a cute gift set.
Not only are these gifts perfect for you Mum, but they are well suited for your grandma, sister, girlfriend or even friend, at the end of the day who doesn’t love a good pamper?

Thank you for reading.

Ruth 


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A night at Ramside



Don’t forget to check out all of my new photos over on Instagram

Meat:Stack launch @ No.28









Tonight we celebrated the launch of Meat:Stack, the new face of No.28 restaurant, Newcastle. The idea behind Meat:Stack is to provide high quality real American cheese burgers, smashed on the grill and steamed with bakery fresh bread and gooey cheese, and that is exactly what they serve up. 

This evening was all about getting the chance to try what is on offer at Meat:Stack, and there certainly is plenty of choice. Whether your a beef lover, or you prefer chicken or if in fact you prefer the veggie option, there is a wide enough range to choose from. Luckily I was with the usual culprits, Zoe & Kayleigh so we choose 3 different burgers to try, this was so we could photograph the different options aswell as getting to try them. We went for two beef options and a chicken.



The West Coast Classic
Original Cheeseburger, secret sauce, lettuce & fixings.




Fried Chicken & Parmesan Sandwich
Southern fried chicken thigh fillets, Parmesan cheese, lettuce, honey mayo & fixings.



Mid-Western
Butter burger with French onions, whipped garlic and miso butter.










So the chicken sandwich was the one I specifically went for because I’m normally more of a chicken fan when it comes to burgers, however after trying the beef burgers I am definitely converted for my next visit. I’ve never known a burger melt in your mouth before, and the toppings on the ‘Mid-Western’ were to die for. In the best way possible the ‘West Coast Classic’  tasted like a posh version of a Big Mac stuffed full of gooey cheese, it was beaut. I’ll definitely be ordering it again next time.



We also got to try the Buffalo Chicken wings and they were amazing, just enough spice and super saucy, it’s not a good chicken wing if you don’t have sauce from ear to ear. 















No.28 has always given off a very relaxed atmosphere to dine in, its the perfect place to chill with friends with a bottle of prosecco or pop in for a bite to eat with work colleagues after a long day. And this is reflected in the presentation of the food, why try and dress it up for more than it actually is? If you go out and order burger and chips that’s exactly what you want! You don’t want a fancy garnish, or fine dining chips where you get 9 chips stacked like a Jenga game. You want greese and stringy cheese complimented by a stack of well season fries, and I must say the beef dripping fries were a perfect companion to the burgers. I can’t wait for my next visit!

Thank you for reading.

Ruth 


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My thoughts on Sunderland Restaurant Week


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Le Raaj, Sedgefield

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