Monday, 3 January 2011


For new year, Paul and I decided we wanted to be away from everything. As always- I'm sure the whole world agrees- New Year is overrated, over priced and over annoying. Since I spent December recording, and January will mostly be touring (CANNOT WAIT) we wanted to be completely secluded and cut off from everything. I think everyone always feels immense pressure to go out at New Year. It is the done thing. When actually no one ever enjoys it. I always seem to end up out of pocket, out of time, and out of control... sometimes... errrmmm This is the first year I've noticed myself and my friends addressing this fact and opting to do something different. Wooler- in Northumberland was our village of choice. The ice was kind enough to melt in time for my very lovely mum to drive us up there.

The hour and a half drive to the Cheviot Hills was mesmerising and makes me proud to be British. I sometimes forget the sites that this country holds. Living in London can make you absent minded about these things. Countrysides and seasides become distant memories, almost foreign places and are replaced by incredible architecture, the bustle and hum of living in a vibrant city, and equally as exciting. It is sometimes hard to believe and easy to forget the other. I love the diversity of this country.

We checked in at The Red Lion Hotel on the tiny cobbled high street. Tartan carpets, and twigs/ trees covered in fairy lights. Twin Peaks, meets Four Weddings and a Funeral (the hotel where Andie MacDowell stays in with good old Hugh Grant- everyone's favourite blithering fool. I wanna say The Boatman? Then I wanna die with embarrassment for knowing WAY too much about Four Weddings and a Funeral.... ANYWAYYY) Our room was beautiful. A stand alone bath in the middles of the room and a giant bed with lots and lots of cushions. Most important factor, you could watch TV from the bath (splendid.)

We then took my Mum for lunch at an old school kinda rough pub, The Black Bull. Not rough in a "We don't like outsiders" kind of way, more like a pub where it hasn't been decorated since the 60's, the customers also pretty much haven't changed since then either. Everyone knew each other. The food was absolutely AMAZING. Proper home made Granny style, meat and two veg. My mouth filled with saliva on the first mouthful- beautiful imagery I'm sure. It had that gravy that only Grannies can make? HOW DO THEY DO IT?! I guess you must reach a certain age and you get a telegram telling you how to do it or something? I'm hoping anyway...

We then went for a walk to explore. I love villages where you still buy from each merchant separately. The butchers, the green grocers, the bakers, the chocolatier (standard) I've also noticed that everyone says "hello" here. Slightly unsettling.

We bought some wine and went back to our hotel and watched Arabian Nights. It was shit. I was devastated to learn that Aladdin is in fact Chinese?!?! WHAT!? Disney did not portray him at Chinese, therefore he is NOT.

We had dinner in the hotel. I wasn't expecting it to be of fine dining standard, but it was. It was one of the best meals I have had in 2010. A close second to the 5 course meal in Marrakech earlier in March. For starters we had dolce latte with walnut and apple salad (I picked the walnuts out, cannot STAND them) Paul had duck terrine. For mains we had pork belly and chicken. Dessert was my favourite, which is actually very surprising as I am not a sweet tooth at all. I had coffee mousse with dark chocolate and biscotti. Paul had vanilla panacotta. All washed down with alot of red wine.

We toasted New Year with the worst red wine- totally my bad, shocking selection of mine- in the bath surrounded by fairy lights.

Truly my most favourite New Year for a while. Nothing but fond memories.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2011 bring you all you may wish for.


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