25 October 2015

MITN: Mog On The Tyne

Hey everyone,

As mentioned in my previous first, this is going to be my first in a series of posts regarding really fun and different things to get up to in the North East entitled 'Meanwhile In The North.' 

It's official: Newcastle has officially peaked.

Because it finally has...a cat cafe! 
(Well technically at the time of writing it now has two, but we're going to be talking about the first to land.)

Tucked in the small wind-y street of Pudding Chare is the place on every kitten's lips...Mog On The Tyne!

You are allocated an hour's slot for your £5 entry fee. This is to avoid the door opening and closing and risking the cats getting out, or being trampled with foot traffic.

(My only suggestion for this is as per the cat cafes I visited in Japan, I would have liked the option to pay various amounts to stay longer - in Tokyo these options came in blocks from as little as 30 minutes up to two hours. However as the cafe is incredibly popular right now, I'm not sure how logical this would be.)

Upon entry, your party enters and you remove your shoes in the lobby. You are welcome to go barefoot, wear socks/tights and the cafe also offers free slippers to use.

You are then shown into the cafe, choose a table and are given a menu of the food and drink along with a copy of the house rules and pictures of all the cats and their names.

You can view the house rules online before you visit, but it's a lot of common sense: no loud noises, do not wake sleeping cats, do not feed cats, no flash photography etc.

As I've mentioned, I'd been to cat cafes in Tokyo (where they originally began), and the procedure is pretty much identical. 

FUN FACT: I'm a qualified barista (twice actually - one for the UK and one to adhere to Australian standards) and have a nose for a good coffee. 
I ordered a cattaccino (cute, right?) which was delicious and came with an adorable cat paw in cocoa dustings. 

My sister ordered the hot chocolate, which arrived very pink and girly with lots of marshmallows. 

Hot chocolate and Cattaccino.

With the £5.00 per person entry fee, the price of food and drink on top of this is incredibly reasonable.

Due to health and safety reasons, all food is brought in from outside sources - sandwiches and pastries from The French Oven and desserts from my favourite bakery in Newcastle - Pet Lamb Patisserie. Both of which are just a hop, skip and a jump away at the nearby Grainger Market.

The Pet Lamb treats were delicious as usual, however the scone was rather disappointing - it arrived as a single square, toasted (my pet peeve - please don't toast scones!) and with only a little butter - no jam or clotted cream which was a shame.


The cats were very cute, unfortunately most of them had curled up for a literal cat nap during out slot. 
However when they did stir, they looked very happy, well kept for and enjoyed playing with the toys provided by the cafe. (Outside toys and snacks are not permitted.)

All cats come from Westgate Ark shelter in Newcastle and receive regular check ups from Tyne Vets. At night, the cats sleep in the shelter and a monitor links them to the staff's phones in case there is a problem. 

Overall I did enjoy my experience.

The owner Katie (noticeable for her luscious Yorkshire accent and bright pink hair) is very sweet, welcoming and friendly. When my sister told her she was visiting from university, she gave Nadia a logo sticker to put on her laptop to remind her of her trip.

However I found the other two staff members ("the cat nannies") although polite, were a little withdrawn when we went. I did however go back a second time and they were a lot more chatty.

I would have preferred a little more interaction like you get at my local shelters. As a Tripadvisor review suggested, some introductions to the cats would have been nice - however to be fair, this is not standard in cat cafes.

In total, the entry fee, two hot drinks and two snacks came to £18.00. This does seem a lot for an hour's entertainment but consider it pretty worth it for something different to do in the city.

If we had wanted a quick £3 coffee and sit down, there is a Costa around the corner.

Check them out at the address below. Booking is necessary.
24 Pudding Chare 
Newcastle upon Tyne 

Muchos love,

18 October 2015

MITN: Introducing Meanwhile In The North

Hey everyone,

I'm very pleased to announce the launch of a new series in these parts I've been planning for a little while now which is going to be called:

"Meanwhile In The North" 
(aka: 'MITN')

Newcastle Quayside. You are excellent.
(Credit: unknown. If this is your photograph, please let me know!)

I believe the North East gets a bit of a bad rap.

It feels like the mainstream media has no time for us unless it's a local celeb flashing their drawers on a night out after too many jagerbombs.
Or that tired picture the Daily Mail gets out every year of Christmas revellers in the snow wearing bodycon dresses, heels and not much else.

You've all seen it. They use it every December. Snore. Next!

And believe me we can take a bit of banter.
North East types are very self-deprecating folk who don't really take ourselves too seriously.

But what seriously gets my goat (and I love goats) is when people outside the region think that's all we have: binge drinking, punch-ups outside £1-entry-before-midnight nightclubs, drunken stag parties.

Aye it can be like that, but show me a student city in the UK which isn't.
And it's true that the North East promises a great night out. A great one, even.
But that's not all we're about.

And this is what the series is going to be covering: alternative things to do here, which you may not have heard of.

Oh and P.S:

There you are. Northerner in a coat.
Two different coats, even.
So there.

So I'll be very pleased to welcome you all to the North, soon.
Just please don't leave streaky San Moriz tanning mousse stains on the towels. It looks like something else.

Muchos love,

15 October 2015

Nice To Meet You - Again!

Hey everyone,

So it's here.
My beautiful design by Kaelah is up. We have a new URL and a new name and a new attitude.
Winter is coming. It's all good here.

My hiatus was completely unplanned, but necessary.
I've had over a year to reflect about my little space here on the internet, which has been my baby for six years now. I'm definitely ready to return.

Funnily enough, since being away I've actually gained quite a few new followers. Hello!
So just so we're reacquainted, I thought I'd just do a short re-introduction.

So my name is Carla, I'm 26 years old and live in a small town where a short lived sitcom was set just outside Newcastle, UK.
For those non-UK dwellers, it's waaaaay up in the North East not far from the Scottish borders.
Yes, I have a hilarious accent - ask Lauren.

Blogging has not and never has been my full-time job. Since graduating with a Media degree in 2010 I ended up working a few terrible jobs before going backpacking and ended up living in Sydney for the best part of a year.
I came home and now work in the travel industry with a group of crazy but lovely office mates. We eat a lot of cake.

Or "Shitney" if you are Hayley.

I'm also back at home.
With my mam and dad.
At 26 years old.

It's actually not that bad - I'm very close with both my parents. My mam ("Italian Catholic Mother") is hilarious and neurotic and Italian and everyone loves her.

My dad ("Papi B") is very quiet except when he's being a radgie (angry) and drinks a lot of real ales. He's like a bald Hagrid from Jarrow. Oh, and he also reads this blog. And quotes from it. Frightening.

Dressed like Tumblr girls. Halloween 1996-ish.

I also have a sister called Nadia (often referred to as 'Nooboo' and 'Little Boo' in these parts) who is equal parts my best friend and mortal enemy. I'm convinced she was sent to destroy me.

She's been "professionally procrastinating" in Glasgow for three years for uni, studying for a MA in English which confuses me as she can hardly string a tangible sentence together. The spelling needs work too.
She is finallyyyy going to start blogging too - so you should definitely go and follow her because she's proper babely and also you'll need to correct her grammar from time to time: http://nenbennie.blogspot.co.uk.

One of my biggest passions is aforementioned travel.
After living in Australia, I really got the bug for it and try to get away several times a year.

This means blowing off nights out with friends, meals out with family and I don't shop half as much anymore - but it's so worth it in my opinion.

With my buddy Hiro-chama at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo.

I've been lucky enough to see some wonderful places over the last few years, but my absolute favourite is Japan.
I've been obsessed with Japanese culture (*weeaboo alert*) since I was a teenager, and when I finally got to go last year it didn't disappoint. I'm going to do some separate blog posts about my 2014 trip as I travelled quite a bit around the country, and I was lucky enough to return to Tokyo this Autumn for another two-week visit.

Bread Meats Bread in Glasgow.
I spend more time thinking about this burger than I do about old boyfriends.

As the size of my arse will attest, I also love food.
Going to places and eating all the food is one of the greatest things in life. Nadia is my soul sister (as well as biological one) in this and whenever we're together, food is usually involved so expect lots of posts on our foodventures coming soon.

I am also blessed with the best gal-pals a girl could ask for.

Claire ("Bradders") lives ten minutes away and we've been best friends since the first day of our A-Levels at Newcastle College.
We meet up on a weekly/fortnightly basis to drink too much wine, eat copious amounts of pizza, and binge-watch 00s TV like Dirty Sanchez and The Simple Life. Or classic Disney films on a constant loop.

The Two Minnies.

Sam ("Francey") lives in London and works as a bigwig in telly.
After initially becoming friends on MySpace (LOL) we met in the cafeteria first semester at uni and discovered we share a mutual love for cocktails and bad Malcolm McDowell movies.
Although we don't see each other as often as we would like, but we are still ridiculously close.

Our friendship in a nutshell.

And that's pretty much what you can expect in the near future.

It's great to see you all again.
Did you do something to your hair? It suits you.

Muchos love,