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Setting off from Leeds to Newcastle on a grey and drizzly day on Saturday to celebrate the launch of Esso‘s Synergy Fuels, the rain surprisingly and much to the awe of my kids, soon turned to snow on the motorway mid-journey.

We certainly didn’t expect it. And certainly not as much.

No snow in Leeds as we filled up-

Esso petrol station

Lots of snow on our way-

snow on the A1

Yet, we found ourselves in somewhat of a snow-scape on the A1, so much so, that my twitter followers were in complete and utter awe that we’d been enveloped in the white stuff, when other parts of the UK had none.

Snow envy swept my timeline as people asked me send snowflakes their way and started dreaming of a white Christmas…

Meanwhile, we were strolling at a snail’s pace on the motorway, unsure when we’d arrive in Newcastle, the snow making everything beautiful, noise from the roads cushioned and rather wonderfully festive.

The kids even sang Jingle Bells.

car journey with a kid

Then they got hungry. Bananas and oat biscuits just weren’t cutting it!

Two hours on, and one McDonalds later (I ate all of Peter’s fries despite stating I didn’t want any, natch)- and two kids anxious to exercise their legs, we arrived to the Toon, to twinkling Christmas trees and bright festive lights beaming down at us. Beautiful.

We drove onwards to Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle’s only independently owned boutique hotel, in exquisite residential area, Jesmond, a mere 10 minutes north from the city centre, ready to drop off our bags and explore our new home for the weekend.

Christmas tree

A Grade ll-listed Arts and Crafts building, it was once one of Newcastle’s most celebrated of locations. Bought in 1871 by Captain (later, Sir) Andrew Noble, a partner in Lord William Armstrong’s shipping and armaments company, the house was enlarged several times as Noble’s wealth and fame increased. Royalty and celebrities stayed here and were lavishly entertained.

After Noble’s widow died, the house had a chequered history – including time as a WW2 Civil Defence establishment (tunnels still exist under the house) – before it was converted into a hotel in 2005.

With toy soldier sculptures, wiry dogs and a very real and cute cat to welcome us at the entrance, along with the most spectacular Christmas tree I’ve seen outside of Regent Street at least, the boys, and I, simply oohed and aahed our way through to reception.
festive decorations at Jesmond Dene HouseJesmond Dene House hotelhuge toy soldier sculpture

We were then ushered into a bustling dining area reminiscent of the Ritz, where Christmas parties tucked into delicate sandwiches and cheese boards with wine, and took our seats in the quieter back room before being presented with a delightful afternoon tea for Peter and I, and fish and chips and petite pois for the boys.

afternoon tea

Perfect.

…Including a selection of festive sandwiches-turkey, cheese and roast salmon as well as mulled pear cheesecake mousse with a meringue on top, dark chocolate gateaux and of course cheese and sultana scones respectively, this was quite the pre-Christmas feast.

afternoon tea

I also ended up tasting the boys’ fish and chips too (for review purposes of course 😉 ) and as Oliver called them, they were, indeed, ‘posh fish fingers’- flaky cod in a light batter with bright green peas and crunchy fries.

Rolling back to our luxurious family room (one king size and two children’s beds for the boys), we felt like the lord and lady of the manor…The design was effortlessly British chic with monochrome wallpaper and striped embellished curtains-refined traditional meets modern-quirky. Just my cup of Earl Grey!

Jesmond Dene House hotel roomluxury hotel room

The hotel was seriously elegant, every style aspect considered from modern, bold paintings in the dining room to wooden fires and pretty pig ornaments the kids were captivated with.

-After refreshing ourselves in our room (water on the boys’ faces and a drop of Coco Chanel on my neck), it was time to hit the city centre.

And the whole experience was a pleasure.

What struck us the most was the sheer kindness of strangers everywhere we went.

On struggling to find change for parking, a kind lady offered to pay.

Another chap walked for ages to help us find a cash-point. We experienced such generosity and positivity at every turn, it truly made our trip a joy.

Cash now in hand we went shopping for matching festive PJ’s for the boys and some warmer pieces for Maman.

shopping in Newcastlechristmas shopping

stripy pyjamas for kidsbedtime3 year old watching TV

These stripy delights actually came in two pairs, the second will be adorned on Christmas morning…two early Christmas presents for the boys, Spy glasses that light up and a toy rocket was a special treat-and I treated myself to some warm and chic jumpers from the Oasis concession.

Items included a tomato orange jumper with cotton leopard print peter pan collar, a green silk/cotton mix top with lace embellishment on the shoulder, a monochrome patterned jumper people remarked was ‘festive’-it isn’t per se and I intend on wearing it all spring-and a black jumper with sheer sleeves that would work for day or night. Perfect,

I literally tried each one on within the 10 minutes before closing time (7pm) and was sold on every piece. It was lovely too to chat to the wonderful staff there who were excited to hear about the blog and my vlog, and asked when it would all be live. Hi ladies if you’re reading!

…Sunday saw us wake bright and early (is there another default setting for little people?!) for a delicious and relaxed breakfast back in the dining area on the ground floor.

restauranthotel breakfast

After inhaling ALL the carbs the previous day (and all last week for that matter), I was back to a more restrained and healthy way of eating so I lapped up scrambled eggs and fresh orange juice, letting the boys feast on toast and everything in between.

After the marathon morning eating session, it was time to walk off breakfast and what better place to start than exploring the surrounding wooded valley of Jesmond Dene, all beautiful twisted branches and cool, fresh air to put smiles on our faces.

It’s all so serene and relaxing there. The waterfalls and running river make for the perfect spot to wander around before a little log break when little legs become tired.

Jesmond playing outsidewalkwoodland walkwalk in the woodslogs

Then it was off to explore the Discovery Museum although the kids favourite spot was frustratingly the gift shop (why are these always in the entrance?!) but I love that Oliver chose a magnet set that made a twirling noise when thrown in the air in close proximity to one another and provided hours of fun. Xander was of course, desperate for a toy plane.

Discovery museumWe gallivanted through the rooms with purpose, admiring giant boats and a trip down memory lane on the toys of renowned store Fenwicks.

Nearby, was an inviting dance school whose warm cafe boasted toys in boxes for kids and a menu full of filling and wholesome food. Oh and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’ chiming from the speakers to get us in the festive mood.

We feasted on a tasty lunch of sweet potato fries, tuna salad and fish fingers and beans.

We then spent an hour walking around the city centre, listening to Street buskers play and ended up dancing in the street (OK that was just Xander)

Newcastle city centrefather and son

Then it warming up your with dark hot chocolate back at the ranch aka the hotel before anon-snowy (phew) trip back home to Leeds.

What a wonderfully festive weekend away.

Thank you Esso!

Don’t miss our video of our weekend away too here!

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53 Responses

  1. Shrona Fengins

    Having a weekend with a family in such way is like you have enjoyed a lot in Newcastle. Newcastle is a very nice place to visit.

    Reply
  2. Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life

    So glad you enjoyed your trip to Newcastle, I think living here I forget what a great city I live in as we live not far from Jesmond. I have not been to Dance city or the Discovery for years I really must visit again soon with my little ones. I adore your boys pjs they are very cute. xx

    Reply
  3. Mum in Brum

    Wow what a stunning hotel, looks like something out of a film! Love all of the festive decs at the entrance – that tree is amazing. It must’ve been frustrating travelling in the snow, but at least it got you in the festive spirit for the weekend! #Brillblogposts xx
    Mum in Brum recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Baby Isabella

    Looks like a lovely place to stay! Very festive 🙂 Can’t believe you got snow! Magic 🙂 love the boys PJs x #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Princess Dresses from MonsoonMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Ebabee

    Oooh… snow! Love snow although I am so enjoying this mild winter we’re having in London. Your weekend looks magical, festive and plentiful – just the way it should be! And the boys in those matching PJ’s – they look edibly cute! All that food is making me hungry… xxx
    Ebabee recently posted…Friday chat: New years resolutions for kidsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks sweetie, such a wonderful weekend for us all. I have matching PJ’s for Christmas morning too and the food was delightful. Really warm today in Leeds too! xx

      Reply
  6. Silly Mummy

    I want snow! I love snow! Need to move North again. That Christmas tree is beautiful. Looks like a lovely weekend. Happy Christmas! #brilliantblogposts
    Silly Mummy recently posted…How to (Not) Make Christmas Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*My Profile

    Reply
  7. OneDizzyBee

    This looks beautiful and magical, the perfect Christmas getaway! My husband is a British ex-pat and we live in the States, but now I’ll be bothering him about taking a holiday abroad next year!
    OneDizzyBee recently posted…Revelations of a Neophyte BloggerMy Profile

    Reply
  8. Sarah - Arthurwears

    Magical Vicki – i can’t believe you had snow how wonderful! The hotel looks amazing, I bet your boys were so excited – looks like it jumping on your bed!!
    Still dreaming about that honeycomb after seeing the pic on instagram! #brilliantblogposts

    http://www.arthurwears.com
    Sarah – Arthurwears recently posted…Presents suitable for travelling – babies and toddlersMy Profile

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  9. Julie Downes

    What a great family weekend away, hotel looks amazing and the food sounded scrummy too x #brilliantblogposts
    Julie Downes recently posted…A first (and maybe last!) haircutMy Profile

    Reply
  10. Samantha Rickelton

    Lush post – do you know what, the discovery museum and dance city are on my doorstep and I’ve never been to either!

    Whenever we visit an attraction and I ask the kids their favourite part Heidi will always say the gift shop too! OMG what are kids like!
    Samantha Rickelton recently posted…How to host a fantastic kids Christmas party for under £4 per headMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby

    Wow! What a fab Christmassy weekend away you’ve got! The hotel looks gorgeous and the food looks yummy… I think it’s a great place to visit with wonderful woods for some lovely walks. #brillblogposts

    Reply
  12. Sara at Handy Herbs

    Wow – what a stunning place and how lovely to have snow en route! It seems like you had a wonderful weekend away with lots of delicious food and fun family things to do! Loving the photos that have captured some special moments. Thanks for hosting #BrilliantBlogPosts and hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

    Reply
  13. Agent Spitback

    What a lovely weekend away! The hotel looks stunning and the food…let’s not talk about the food except that it’s carb-bolicious! I love the matching Pyjamas as well – too cute! Love following your adventures.
    Agent Spitback recently posted…A bit of Everything Week 10My Profile

    Reply
  14. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    What a fun filled family weekend away! It’s so fun that it snowed, it made it more magical even though it slows down the journey. Your video is really amazing, it looks so festive & the filming is so professional. My children’s favorite place is always the gift shop too – they know what they are doing putting them at the door 😉 #brilliantblogposts x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Holiday Hosting TipsMy Profile

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  15. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Oh Vicki, you guys certainly managed to pack in an awful lot into one weekend, and it all looks just gorgeous! The Newcastle tourist board should be thanking you!! Seeing your driving pictures makes me think of all the driving we’ve got to come over Christmas – only slightly more than we usually do, but I can’t wait! Although sadly I doubt very much that we’ll see flurries of snow! Beautiful post and pictures as always xxx
    Mama and More aka Zaz recently posted…Yoga take-outs – Open HeartMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Hehe love that, maybe I should tweet the tourist board (!)-thanks darling, love those special journeys over the festive period. Can’t wait to see you soon lovely xx

      Reply
  16. Nadia - ScandiMummy

    Looks divine! Love the boys in their matching jim jams 🙂 #brilliantblogposts

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x
    Nadia – ScandiMummy recently posted…MAGIC MOMENT MONDAYSMy Profile

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  17. Amanda Fulton

    What a deliciously Christmassy weekend! Cant choose a fave pic between the afternoon tea one and Xander with his JL moon bag!
    Amanda Fulton recently posted…Girl Power & New Year New You!My Profile

    Reply
  18. Morgan Prince

    What a lovely time you had! I love the Christmas tree photo, it’s just so amazing! It sounds like Newcastle is a nice place to visit, with kind people too. I’m not feeling at all festive this year, but thanks to your review (and pics) I’m getting there. xx
    Morgan Prince recently posted…Giving Back This December With #BlogItForwardMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks darling, the decorations were beautiful and Newcastle is a super town, loved it. Aw glad it’s getting you into a more festive mood, lots of love x

      Reply
  19. Kayla

    Looks like you had so much fun!! I’m so jealous you get to have a cold Christmas. It is so hot here in Australia!
    Kayla recently posted…TOP 5 SHOWS TO BINGE-WATCH ON NETFLIXMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw, a hot Christmas sounds lush too. My husband lived in SA and used to have hot Christmases too. Want to come visit Oz one day. Thanks so much for linking up xx

      Reply
  20. Rachel

    What a lovely review of a fabulous festive visit to Geordieland. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay and very jealous of your experience at Jesmond Dene House! May I also say what a gorgeous family you have!! Please come back again soon, you have to experience our beautiful beaches in summer! Rachel x
    Rachel recently posted…Rachel’s Last Minute Shopping GuideMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Rachel, we had an incredible time in Newcastle and we plan to return a lot next year, we absolutely loved our stay at Jesmond Dene house too xx

      Reply
  21. John Aams

    One thing’s for certain, they take their Christmas decorations seriously at Jesmond Dene House! Looks like a great venue with amazing grounds. Wherever will you get to next on your Esso Synergy adventure?? Thanks for hosting #BrilliantBlogPosts
    John Aams recently posted…Childhood and parenting, what’s changed over the years?My Profile

    Reply
  22. Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers

    Oh wow, that Christmas tree is spectacular! I would love to have a white Christmas at least once in my lifetime! #brilliantblogposts
    Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers recently posted…The Christmas Eve Box You’ll Want Your Other Half To Make YOU!My Profile

    Reply
  23. Mummy Fever

    Ah snow – how fab, my favourite kind of weather! i’m loving the PJs, would put all four of mine in them! #brilliantblogposts
    Mummy Fever recently posted…The solution to one busy mummy problemMy Profile

    Reply

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