Tag Archives: sandra tang

Matalan Must Haves!

I’ve been seeing and hearing so much about Matalan recently and I have to say, I’ve been impressed. Some of their new collection is stunning AND their prices are incredible too. What’s brilliant, is although they’re quite a big company, not everyone has picked up yet on their great clothing range, so you won’t see everyone out and about in the same outfit!

I headed in and scooped up some great finds – including these three beautiful skirts!

Organza Insert Midi Skirt matalan

The two mini skirts on the left, in pastel pink and black were only around £14. You can buy the pink one here. (Check out the inside tags – very reminiscent of Max Mara Weekend!)

The pink gingham skirt has a delicate mesh panel and after I’ve bought it, I’ve noticed it everywhere from Elle to Grazia.

Organza Insert Midi Skirt matalan

Image: PR Shots

It’s absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to wear mine out. There was also a plain white version, which I was so tempted with too.

Check out all the latest fashions from Matalan on the website: www.matalan.co.uk

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Blackfriars at the Chef’s Academy, Newcastle College Review

What a delight! I was invited to the Chef’s Academy to experience a meal in association with Blackfriars. For me, the Chef’s Academy is a hidden little restaurant gem in Newcastle City Centre.

It’s within the Lifestyle Academy building in Newcastle College and way up on the third floor, which means it has great views of the city.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

The Chef’s Academy food is served up by the college’s student chefs and the venue often does collaborations with various top regional restaurants. This time around, Blackfriars chefs came in and helped to support the students in serving up a meal they could all be proud of. The menu looked fantastic and with seven courses for only £20, it was a complete bargain.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

We started with home-made bread, followed by an amuse bouche – spring pea pannacotta which was deliciously refreshing and sweet. All the dishes were incredibly well presented too.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

The spelt risotto of roasted shallot and artichoke, Ribblesdale ‘Parmesan’, truffle was gorgeous.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

This was followed by beetroot-cured salmon, cucumber, cream cheese and mousse. Now I have the salmon usually when I visit Blackfriars and it never disappoints. The presentation was immaculate and I was delighted by various little elements on the plate such as the cucumber jelly. I could have eaten this dish twice over.
blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle

The main course was seared Northumbrian lamb loin, crispy belly, carrot, Lowna Dairy Crowdie, basil puree. By this stage, I couldn’t believe that these were student chefs. It was all Blackfriars quality and perfectly done.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle review

With each course, it all seemed to get better and better and the dessert was really just outstanding. Apparently they serve this three-tiered brownie at Blackfriars, but I’ve never have it as I’m addicted to their sticky toffee pudding. However, after tasting this for the first time, it’s going to be my dessert of choice the next time I visit. If you’ve not had it before, it’s worth a visit – just to taste this. I say this and usually I’m not even a brownie person.

blackfriars newcastle college chefs academy food restaurant newcastle reviewOverall, I was so impressed as I’m sure you can tell by this rather glowing review. I have to say though, I’m not sure what it’s like each time as the students do work different nights and the college restaurant works with different eateries so there’s not really any stability in that way. That can be a bit of a shame as I would just love to have exactly this same meal again. However, it does mean that everything is constantly evolving and that coming here can be just that bit more fun than going to an average restaurant in town. To be honest, I don’t know what to expect the next time I come, BUT I can’t wait to find out!

For me, there’s several benefits to coming here. One, the views from the restaurant. Two, the service – the young staff here are also in training (and our young waitress was so lovely and sweet!). Three, the future talent – it’s nice to support young chefs before they hit the big time and for them, I guess it’s always nice to have a packed restaurant full of appreciative diners. Four, the price range – honestly, all their meals are a complete bargain here. For example, a two course lunch is only £6.50.

If you want to find out more and book yourself in, visit the Chef’s Academy website to view the menu and the visiting chefs – www.ncl-coll.ac.uk/lifestyle/chefs-academy


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