Busy yet picturesque weekend!

It is quarter to three and I haven’t left the house today. I am having an enforced rest after the past rather hectic few days!

I met Jonathan on Friday afternoon. We had coffee and then went to Wetherspoons for dinner (rather boring chips for me, although I stole the mango chutney that came with Jonathan’s curry!). We took a rather circuitous route back to my house, and happened to be near the Sage at sunset. I had already walked about ten miles that day so I decided to sit down for a bit, and we heard an announcement that the Millennium bridge was going to be raised, so we stayed to watch. It usually looks like this:

The big building to the right of the picture is the Baltic, where Sarah, Jessica, Laura and I went last month 🙂

I took a picture when the bridge had been raised too:

On our other side, the quayside and part of the Sage is in this photo:

By the time the bridge was back down the sunset was getting rather spectacular:

After hanging around for half an hour we walked back to my house. On Saturday morning we got up relatively early, and caught the metro into town. After getting a coffee (or rather, Jonathan seems to live on coffee, I have chamomile tea!) we went to the Biscuit Factory, a lovely art gallery near the centre of Newcastle. It was such a great place to go, they have exhibitions and studios there so there was a really diverse set of art on display, from landscape photography to portraiture to some oddly phallic sculptures of conkers. (Jess, have you been? Come with me!!)

After getting Jonathan’s 65th coffee, we went to the Skyapple cafe, a vegetarian restaurant and cafe. Jonathan is a veggie too so he’s very good about eating at Katie-friendly places. Unlike my father, who insists on calling my favourite restaurant in York “the cardboard cafe” 😛

I did a very food-blogger thing and took a photo of our lunch, because the food looked so great! Jonathan had a houmous burrito and I had vegetable pakora (deep fried vegetables in chickpea batter) sweet chilli dip and the most immense “small side salad” ever. Hardly something to complain about though – I just ate all the interesting parts and left the lettuce! There was houmous, red cabbage, risotto, olives, cucumber and tomatoes and the aforementioned abandoned leaves.

Yeah, I’ll be going there again 😉

Unfortunately my stomach started playing up after that. I don’t know if it was the houmous (I’m supposed to avoid sesame seeds, but after doing so for a year I thought it’d be safe to try them again. Apparently not!) or the chilli, but something made my digestive system very unhappy. But it calmed down a little after half an hour or so and we went to Whitley bay for a couple of hours.

It was so pretty! And the weather was lovely by this point too, after starting out by raining all over us. We considered walking all the way to the lighthouse (in the distance, centre-right), but decided that we had walked quite far enough over the last couple of days, so caught the train to Jonathan’s house instead. After dinner I started feeling really sick – apparently egg, chips, and brown sauce containing several things that often trigger my IBS was NOT the smartest choice when I had already been feeling dodgy earlier on! I had to go and lie down and read some Terry Pratchett to recover 😛

On Sunday morning we went into Durham to find some ingredients for lunch, then came back and made vegan/gluten free apple crumble! I made rather too much crumble so I rescued some to use for pastry at a later date, but other than that it was really good. I really have to learn to make smaller (or less amazing, hehe) desserts, because Jonathan and I keep eating about six people’s worth of pudding and making ourselves feel ill! It was the pineapple upside down cake saga all over again. I forgot to take pictures of my crumble because I was too busy eating it. Despite saying we were going to stay indoors most of the day we still ended up going on an hour long trek after sunset, which was originally going to end at a pub ten minutes away but got a little sidetracked.

Yesterday morning we went into town, had coffee and then separate so Jonathan could go to an appointment and I could go home and recover a bit before my counselling class! I was quite nervous but everyone seemed really friendly, and it was such a similar set up to my last course that I felt really reassured. I’m a bit daunted by the prospect of sorting out training past this academic year (the foundation degree which I would like to start in September 2011 is much more intensive, expensive and involves placements!), but for now I am just going to try and get to know everyone.

So today I have grounded myself. I did an awful lot of walking over the weekend and then I didn’t eat too much on Sunday because I had been feeling so ill Saturday night, so I could do with a day of very little activity. Being at home doesn’t mean I’ve been sat around all day though – I’ve done my washing, changed my bed, finished my youngest sister’s birthday card and present (more on that in a later post!), made jam pasties and written this post! The jam pasties were made with the left over pastry from Sunday, and deserved a photo of their own because they taste so good 😛

Ha, they’re not very photogenic though! I used gluten free flour, vegan margarine, brown sugar and mixed spice, and there’s strawberry jam inside them. There was a third one but gluten free pastry is really crumbley and it fell apart rather when I took them out of the oven, so I ate it. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Now I’m off to be busy some more…counselling homework, another friend’s birthday present, emailing my sister, etc. Tomorrow I’m going to stay with Jonathan again, we have another really busy weekend planned and then it’s my birthday in eight days! I will be 26. I’m childishly excited 😉

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8 responses to “Busy yet picturesque weekend!

  1. Ooh gosh you’re making me excited about moving to Newcastle with all these new things I can do and see!!
    I’m glad you had a nice weekend 🙂 and the food does look yum!

  2. Getting on a bit? At nearly 26? There’s no hope for me then… I’m 45 in a couple of weeks!

    I’m glad you met Jonathan and are having a lovely time. You really deserve it; especially after so many years being ill.

    The pasties look lovely. I really like warm jam pasties. They remind me of when I was a kid and my Mum used to make them for me to eat with custartd. I know you cannot ‘do’ custard, but I can 🙂

  3. ~Jessica Zara~

    Ooh, I went to the Biscuit Factory twice a couple of years ago but I haven’t been back since. It’s actually my favourite Newcastle gallery because I believe it has a great mix of artwork, from slightly more avant garde and conceptual pieces to more commercial and realistic art too. There was a lot of highly expressive and Expressionist-inspired work when I went too. Only reason I didn’t return more frequently was that I didn’t have anyone to go with and I looked like rather a numpty (as Aisha would say) alone…or at least I felt like one. I would love to visit it with you some time ~ the PhD seminar madness doesn’t start until October 1st so I am free until then (well, there’s some prelim stuff and I have to give some presentations and talks…eek! They’re to prospective and current MRes students, so it shouldn’t be too bad. It’s chatting in the Pub afterwards that scares me!) Just let me know any time you want to go 🙂

    So pleased you got to try out Sky Apple! But boo to the IBS reaction…it’s odd, I liked the food there too but my IBS did not. And I should have warned you about their ‘small’ salads, which are indeed rather epic. I would have finished your lettuce for you though 😛 Actually, their portions are a lot smaller than they used to be! The side salad I got there, again a couple of years ago when I persuaded my Mum to come, was about double that size.

    Walking 10 miles must have left you pooped! Whitley Bay is gorgeous…walking along the sand there is so calming. We always used to take trips there when I was young and I’d bury my Dad in the sand when he fell asleep (hmph, he thinks veggie food is made out of cardboard too. His comments on vegan food are unrepeatable lol).

    Your photos are once again making me fall in love with a region I moan about too much. And I retract my statement that the bridge is a bit of an anticlimax…I obviously just hadn’t seen it at sunset!

    Glad the counselling course is going well and hope you’re still having a relaxing and restful day 🙂

    ~Jess~
    P.S Thanks for the hairdresser tips ~ I will be sure to assert my rights to a side parting next time 😉

  4. Cool! I absolutely have to come back up north just to see the amazing bridge transformation 😀

    And I want to go to this Biscuit Factory place too! Such lovely photos…and I like the idea of jam pasties. You so need a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, it’s awesome and outdoorsy and I reckon you’d love it.

    The beach looks gorgeous – I’ve always wanted to go to a beach in winter actually, when it’s stormy/windy/rainy to watch the angry waves…

    Glad to hear the counselling course went well, and if my own experience is anything to go by, those kinds of courses tend to attract their fair share of lovely people 🙂

    Sarah x

  5. Beautiful photos! Look at that sky! The beach picture is so pretty too. Makes me relaxed just looking at it. Glad to hear your class went well!

  6. The yummiest food never photographs well, its like that with some people too, photos just dont do them justice. It seems to be everybody’s birthday too this week! I know three other bloggers whose birthday is/was this week! Do you have any plans for the big day? Mine is coming up as well but I’m totally at a loss of what to do. My birthday hasn’t been very special since I was about eleven.

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