27 June 2015

NE Review | The Post Box - Ponteland

After seeing a blog post by Cloud in a Teacup last week I decided this would be a great place to try while I was in the area visiting Northumberlandia last Saturday.

It was a short drive to Ponteland from Cramlington where we found the cafe 'Post Box' in the centre of the village surrounded by banks (I have never seen so many banks in such a small area). As a newbie to the area I wasnt sure where to park so we ended up parking behind the HSBC bank/ Post Box as we knew we wouldn't be too long.

This cafe definitely has curb appeal; beautifully white with a flash of red from the tables and chairs not forgetting the Post Box sitting outside. If this was my cafe I would be so proud, its lovely with a great busy atmosphere (they even sell wine! eeek - if only I lived closer).

Image by Post Box Ponteland 

It was really busy in the cafe on Saturday lunchtime so I didn't get to sit at the window (next time), instead we sat near the counter which was still lovely and you could sit and admire the cakes.

Too rainy to sit outside :-(
After our long walk round Northumberlandia Miss SG and I ordered flat white coffees which was perfect with a yummy star shaped homemade shortbread on the side (what a lovely touch!). 

The lunch menu isn't huge but there is something for everyone. I had a hard time choosing between the Feta tart from the specials board and the Post Box Rarebit...

*Breakfast menu looked amazing so I will be back to try that - ASAP!

I decided on the Post Box Rarebit! SOOOOO nice! Salad came as standard and was really light and tasty. I probably shouldn't have eaten both slices of the bread but I did... oops.

Miss SG had the Post Box Hash who reviewed it as 'super yummy but I left a few pieces of the chorizo as it was very filling'.

After sitting so close to the cake counter we must have discussed trying each one available... we couldn't fit in a slice each so we decided to share the Carrot Cake with another fabulous coffee. As you might know I LOVE Starbucks but I would happily give it up if this cafe was my local.

I can highly recommend visiting this cafe in the heart of Ponteland Breakfast, lunch or even dinner on Fridays & Saturdays!

Thank you for Shivaneeee for bringing this treasure to my attention.

Love Miss K xx
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20 June 2015

NE Review | Northumberlandia - Lady of the North

This wasn't meant to be today's post that has now been bumped to Monday as I just couldn't wait to tell you about my adventure to Northumberlandia.

My friend Miss BW told me about this place agessss ago but I totally forgot to go so earlier in the week I made plans with Miss SG to go on a Mini adventure to Crammlington to visit the 'Lady of the North'.

I am a frequent visitor to Newcastle Airport and have never noticed this lady just before landing so next time I will be looking out for her.

Free Parking (donation of £2 is suggested on the entrance) but i think this donation is a small price to pay to visit this attraction.

Source - Aerial View of Northumberlandia

From the car park it is a 2 minute walk through some woodland on a dirt track not sure what condition this would be on a wet day.

There are a couple of maps at the entrance so you can plan your walk but after this there is no sign posting or information. I think it might be useful if there was a fact find at the different body parts to explain a bit more about the design instead I have had to google.

She is made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, 
she is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long

Map of the park
Here are pictures from today's walk (we spent approx 1.5 hours here but I think on a sunnier day we may have stayed longer as there was plenty of benches around the park to sit and relax). 

This was steepest part of the park to climb to the face but suitable for all ages as it is a gradual drop so it would be ok to take kids with you. Pushchairs would also get round ok if your wheels were ok. Wear sensible shoes as it is not a smooth surface.

Miss K pointing towards Angel of the North

After over 4000 fit bit steps around the park we were ready for a snack at a local cafe - review coming up next week!

Angel of the North is still great for a look and you could easily do both in the same day (17 miles south on A1). 

(Northumberlandia > SAT NAV NE23 8AU)

Love Miss K xx
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13 June 2015

Cars | Tour of the MINI Oxford plant

I Love my Mini CooperD and I can't believe I didn't know it was possible to do a factory tour... If you haven't driven a mini before you may not find this post at all interesting but I am on my 6th and will no doubt ever buy anything else.

My brother told me the tour was possible as he did it earlier in the year with some work colleagues. The company is based Oxford which turns out is a 4 hour drive from where I live so Mr P and I decided to book our place on a Friday afternoon tour and make a weekend of it.

We drove my Mini back to its homeland in green mode (diesel saving) we did the full trip there and back on one tank so I was pretty chuffed. 

My Mini wearing its delivery coat from when it left the plant to my local Mini garage - July 2014

Picked up and ready to GO! - July 2014
We parked up at the plant which was full of Mini's and BMW's belonging to staff and it was great to see so many in one place. We then made our way to the visitors centre to meet our tour guide and pay the tour fee of £17 each. 

We were welcomed by Terry our amazing and very knowledgable tour guide who had worked at the factory for over 50 years. Terry carried out the tour totally from memory and knew answers to any question asked and you could tell he LOVED the product. 


We had to wear black branded dust / anti static coats, safety glasses and an ear piece so we looked the part and could hear the tour clearly even in the noisy factory. 

We were ready to go...

Miss K in the 'uniform'
There was 14 of us who piled onto a bus to the first stop which was entirely machine controlled - This was so strange as I had no idea how the robots could work together so seamlessly with very little monitoring considering how expensive the product is and are trusted to make without supervision. 

They apparently have a 30 year work life however they have a large initial cost but will never take a day sick as they all have 1 spare part kept on site incase there is a breakdown. 

They did all the welding and bolting as part of the process plus handed the finished piece onto the next 'worker'.

Found via google
Found via google
Once the structure of the vehicle was made it is then painted but we were unable to go to this part of the plant as only a few staff get to go inside to keep it a very lint free environment. 

The last stop the bus to took us to was where the production line of interiors, doors and final checks are made. This part was probably the most interesting as you start to see shapes you are familiar with. There was at least 1 human working on each mini at one time so this is where the robots took the back seat.

I assumed it would be batches of the same colour or same type that would be bunched together with only the added extras being different. But I was wrong there was no order at all with different colours and models rotating around the factory including left and right hand drive, special edition John Cooper works, convertible models. 

The cars never stop the whole time in this final part of the process with the staff working on a moving floor with the doors stored safely and re added at the end once all the interiors are fitted, then once car has completed all tests it is driven off and either parked outside for pick up or sometimes driven straight onto a train waiting to be shipped abroad.. yes it had its own train line.

The tour took approx 2.5 hours, then there was an opportunity to visit the small museum where there were special editions that had been created or ones used in movies that were safely returned.

Miss K with the 7th Million Mini!

This one was my favourite - hard to maintain out on the road

Michael Caine special for his daughter

Special edition used in Austin Powers
Charlize Theron's car from Italian Job with dual steering wheels and a few dents
Hope you enjoyed this overview - sorry its not the normal post you would see here, back to normal on Monday with a bag review :-)

Love Miss K xx
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