All Posts By thecitycookie

Newcastle: A Foodie Weekend Guide

By Posted on 6 min read 2123 views
Wylam brewery sunday roast

NEWCASTLE GATESHEAD

I had the pleasure of visiting Newcastle for a weekend thanks to NewcastleGateshead.com. Their latest campaign, #TheTyneIsNow aims to show people that Newcastle (and Gateshead across the river) is an amazing, underrated weekend destination.

The “Toon”, as locals like to call it, will be hosting the Great Exhibition of the North this summer so it’s the perfect time to visit! Over 80 days, Newcastle Gateshead will be filled with amazing art, exhibits, and live performances. Head over there between 22nd June and 9th September to see the city buzzing even more than usual! 

Newcastle Queen Street Tyne Bridge
Newcastle Dean Street

How to get there

Virgin trains East Coast first class

Virgin Trains East Coast only takes 3 hours to get from King’s Cross in London to Newcastle Central Station. We travelled First Class which was fabulous as they served us a light breakfast and plenty of much-needed tea and coffee. The same journey would take you 5 hours by car, so I’d recommend opting for the train for a quick and stress-free journey.

Where to stay

Jesmond Dene House is a lovely boutique hotel in a quiet neighbourhood just a 10 minute taxi ride away from the centre. Rooms are spacious, beds very comfortable and service was friendly and helpful. They do a great afternoon tea, which was the best way to end our trip!

I stayed in the city center on my first ever visit to Newcastle and wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to go clubbing – it can get pretty wild! Jesmond is a very nice alternative.

Eat your way around the city

Around 90% of our time in Newcastle and Gateshead was spent eating delicious food, so it only seems right to make this guide a foodie one. We had everything from elegant dinner and afternoon tea to lunch in a shipping container and snacks at a fancy food hall.

What I love about Newcastle’s food scene is that there seems to be a real community of restaurateurs, pub owners, and local artisans. Ask questions and people will happily tell you about where their coffee/beer/cheese/chicken comes from. Geordies (as the locals are often called) take real pride in supporting small businesses and using local produce, which is really lovely.

Cook House

Cook House restaurant Newcastle

Head to Cook House for delicious food cooked by the lovely Anna Hedworth using fresh local produce. Eating at her restaurant feels like sitting in her kitchen – in a good way! Cook House was featured on Channel 4’s ‘Hidden Restaurants’ TV show and The Guardian has called it a hidden gem, so you know it’s good! Have a look at the website for supper clubs and food market dates, and keep an eye out for Anna’s upcoming book, merging recipes and stories of starting a food business. Her food blog is fantastic too.

Update: cook house has now moved to a bigger venue which is super exciting! I’ll be dropping by for some lunch next time I’m in Newcastle.

Wylam Brewery

Wylam brewery building
wylam brewery sunday roast


Visit Wylam Brewery in Exhibition Park for Sunday roast and craft beer. We were taken on a tour of the brewery and weren’t meant to eat anything there, but the lovely Dave couldn’t resist giving us a taste of the Sunday Roast. It was one of the best I’ve ever had! The roast pork was incredibly tasty. Book 3 to 4 weeks in advance to make sure you get a table – it’s very popular at the weekends.

Dobson and Parnell

dobson and parnell newcastle
dobson and parnell dessert

Book a table at the elegant Dobson and Parnell restaurant for a sophisticated meal. This is modern British cuisine with some pickling, curing and smoking incorporated. I really enjoyed my rack of Yorkshire lamb and the other girls only had good things to say about the halibut. Go for lunch Tues-Sat and get a 3 course set menu for only £19 – bargain!

Fenwicks Food Hall

fenwicks newcastle food hall

Visit Fenwick food hall for locally sourced treats including gin, baked goods, locally roast coffee, and cheeses from nearby farms. Try Doddington Cheeses or the Northumberland Nettle cheese, they’re delicious. Gin is the best selling category here and I can understand why: the variety of gins on offer is amazing and a pretty bottle from a local distillery makes for a lovely gift. The food hall reminded me of Selfridges Foodhall in London, but friendlier and with more local products. 

Grainger Market

Grainger market for retro signage and a variety of shops and cafes. One of Marks and Spencer’s original penny bazaars is here, and its beautiful signage dates back to 1895!

Try some freshly prepared dumplings from Nan Bei – I recommend the excellent house special!

Riley’s Fish Shack

rileys fish shack opening
rileys fish shack

Head over to the beach in Tynemouth for the best seafood in town, from a shack (two containers) on the beach. Riley’s is incredibly popular on a sunny day, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have a prime location on the beach next to Tynemouth priory and castle, it also serves up fresh, seasonal and delicious fish dishes cooked on a wood fired oven. The menu is ever changing but you can expect it to feature dishes like monkfish kebab, chargrilled lobster, and stuffed squid with chorizo.

House of Tides

If you feel like trying the very best fine dining in Newcastle, House of Tides is the place to go. This is the only Michelin Star in town, and Chef Kenny Atkinson has become quite the celebrity chef. He’s a double winner of The Great British Menu and is a regular on shows like BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen & ITV Saturday Morning with James Martin. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit on this trip, but the food has been described by the Michelin guide as “creative dishes which are well-balanced and attractively presented”.

Try some local watering holes

Ouseburn Valley is a fantastic place for craft beer lovers. Our guide for an evening, beer writer Alastair Gilmour, took us around this area of Newcastle and showed us all the best places. He is an expert and a fountain of knowledge, so check out his website and get in touch if you need a guide!

Cumberland Arms

Walk up a hill to The Cumberland Arms, my favourite of all the pubs we visited, and take a seat in the beer garden or inside by the log fire. The owner was happy to chat us through all of the different types of Northern Alchemy beers and I loved the sweet Pineapple IPA and the breakfast-inspired Marmalade & Assam Tea IPA.

Free Trade Inn

Head to the Free Trade Inn just before sunset to enjoy some real ales and the amazing views over Newcastle and Gateshead from one of its two beer gardens. Rumour has Jimi Hendrix used to spend time here!

Wylam Brewery

As mentioned above! The Tap Room is open Thursday to Sunday, and the beer is brewed in this beautifully restored building from 1928. There are tours of the brewery on Saturdays. We were told that it’s dog friendly, child friendly, and caters to everyone from hipster to hip replacement! Try the coffee-flavoured Macchiato beer while you’re there.

The Cluny

the cluny newcastle

Family-friendly pub by day, intimate bar venue by night – check The Cluny‘s website for listings.

Ouseburn bridge Newcastle
Ouseburn Newcastle
tynemouth castle and priory

More places to see

  • Quayside, as the banks along Tyne river are called, is lovely for a scenic stroll. Take in the views along the river, including some of Newcastle Gateshead’s seven bridges. For a spot of culture, visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art housed in an old industrial building on the Gateshead side. In the summer enjoy Quayside Seaside, Newcastle’s very own little beach.
  • Grainger Town is the historic heart of Newcastle, with classical architecture designed in the 1830s by Richard Grainger. Head South down Grey Street to admire some of the city’s finest buildings, including the much loved Theatre Royal.
  • Tynemouth Castle and Priory used to be one of the largest fortified areas in England, and enjoys views of the coast and out onto the North Sea. A nice picnic spot!
  • The Angel of the North is a huge sculpture in Gateshead that has become a symbol for the North East.
  • Next time, I want to visit Saltwell Park in Gateshead. It looks very pretty!
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Newcastle Blog

This foodie weekend made me fall in love with Newcastle. I had visited the city once before but hadn’t been convinced – it just goes to show that knowing the best places to go instead of just wandering around can sometimes make a huge difference! I can honestly recommend all of the places listed above, and would encourage you to start conversations with every local person you meet. They’re usually more than happy to recommend their favourite places and share interesting stories about their beloved Toon!

This post was written in collaboration with NewcastleGateshead.com. Thanks to them for organising such a fun foodie weekend!

A foodie's weekend guide to the best food, restaurants, pubs and breweries that Newcastle has to offer. Taste the best that the city has to offer in only two days.

Recent Favourites #1

By Posted on 4 min read 1358 views

Some recent loves…

Let’s take a break from all the travel chat, shall we? I’d like to share a few things that I’ve been loving lately – things that have impressed me so much that it would be a shame not to share them with you.

I’m hoping to do one of these round ups every couple of months, or whenever I have a long enough list of great finds that I just can’t keep to myself anymore.

 

les gambettes

Gambettes Box

My favourite ever monthly subscription! I’ve tried a few beauty, magazine and food subscriptions but have always become a bit bored of them. Every time, I’ve ended up with a bunch of beauty products I don’t use and a stack of half read magazines. Gambettes Box is different! Every month, this Parisian brand sends me two pairs of very chic tights. I’m always really excited to try them on, and have loved every pair so far! Usually the tights are black, although from time to time there’s a dark colour thrown in – never bright, and always elegant. Best thing is, I never have to worry about replacing holey tights anymore.

 

the ordinary skincare

The Ordinary

If you want powerful skincare that won’t break the bank, you should consider buying products from The Ordinary. This Canadian brand has had so much success that its products are constantly selling out, both in store and online. The reason for their success is that they take the frills away from skincare and offer simple, high quality formulations without the huge price margins of big beauty brands.

The products are a tad confusing at first: they all have complicated names and choosing the right range for you is never straightforward. Definitely read their regimen guide to find what’s best for you and read up on each product before you use it. There’s even a (sometimes terrifying) Facebook group for fanatics of the brand where you can ask questions and get tips from people who have tried the products before.

My favourite products so far are Niacinamide to help prevent blemishes and congestion (only £5!), Buffet to prevent ageing, and AHA 30% + BHA 2% as a weekly exfoliating facial.

The Ordinary promises “clinical formulations with integrity” – what’s not to love about that?

 

charlotte tilbury lip liner

Make Up Tricks

So I’ve never been the kind to spend a lot of time or effort on make up. I think it’s the French woman in me – I like to keep things simple. As a result of this, I’d never really given lip liner a try until very recently. Game changer! Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat pencil has the power to make any lips look fuller and more defined. I use it as a base for lipstick and it makes a huge difference. Another Tilbury product I’ve been loving is the Full Fat Lashes mascara. I’ve been using my tester for the past couple of months and will need to purchase the full size asap. It does what it promises, and gives me defined, clump-free voluminous lashes.

One more product that I absolutely love: More Brows by ModelCo. I first tried it thanks to a Birchbox subscription last year but have since repurchased because it is the best product for making my eyebrows look fuller and stay in place. I’ve tried Boy Brow by Glossier, which everyone seems to be raving about, but I like this better. I think it applies more evenly, without clumps.

 

Sezane Hope bag

Sézane Hope Bag

I was a bit reluctant to part with 200€ for this bag, but my Mum convinced me when we visited the Sézane shop in Paris. Having used it for a few months now, I can tell you that it was an amazing investment. It honestly feels like a much more expensive designer bag; the leather is super soft but sturdy and the light gold hardware is beautiful quality. Having it in black means it goes with everything and it makes any outfit look instantly more chic and put together. I can even fit my camera and my fat purse inside it. I know I’ll be using it for years to come!

 

Fight Klub

These classes have been a revelation for me. I’ve never been able to stick to a fitness schedule before, and have never really found any form of fitness enjoyable (apart from yoga). Fight Klub is the first fitness class that I actually find fun! It combines boxing moves (both with and without a bag) with drum and bass. The instructor is always super energetic and keeps the whole room going. He lets you go at your own pace but keeps the class fun and upbeat. No very difficult moves, but you’re guaranteed to end up sweaty!

There are classes all over London and in many other UK cities. They’re only £7 a pop so I’d urge you to give Fight Klub a go. I’ve been going almost every week since January and intend to continue, hooray!

 

That’s it for now! All of the things I’ve mentioned above are genuine favourites that I would honestly recommend to my best friends. Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below. It’s something a bit different from me!

Hotel Review: 1898 The Post in Ghent

By Posted on 4 min read 1973 views
1898 the post

1898 The Post Hotel

Last Christmas, I decided to treat my mother to something really nice – she deserved it! She lives in Brussels so I had the idea of taking her to a beautiful hotel for a night and spending a lovely weekend together.

After trawling through hundreds of hotels in Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent on Booking.com, I fell in love with 1898 The Post. Located in the heart of Ghent, this former post office was recently refurbished and turned into a boutique hotel. The building is actually one of the most beautiful in town and features on many postcards and Instagram shots! Having opened only a few months earlier, the hotel didn’t have many reviews, but photos of the decor won me over.

If you’re thinking of staying at 1898 The Post, here’s my review and many photos to help you decide!

  • ghent 1898 the post hotel bed
1898 The Post sink

‘The Letter’ Room

We stayed in one of the Letter rooms, a duplex with high ceilings and big windows overlooking Saint Michael’s Church.

We were blown away by the attention to detail that has gone into the decor. Every surface has a quirky vintage trinket or antique book on it. All the home accessories are available to buy, in case you feel the need to take that ‘Nostalgic Scrabble’ with you! Even the mini bar impressed me, with fresh citrus fruit and a tiny homemade bottle of Negroni.

The bed was so comfortable that I decided I had to upgrade my mattress and my pillows at home ASAP, and the green paint on the walls completely changed my mind about having dark bedroom walls.

Not only do all of the rooms at 1898 The Post look beautiful and sophisticated, but everything has been done to a really high spec. My Mum couldn’t believe how thick the curtains are!

The upstairs open bathroom overlooks the bedroom. As with the rest of the hotel, I loved the design of it – marble hexagon shower tiles included. Only tiny complaint would be that the toilet is downstairs but the sink is upstairs! If you want a bathtub you’ll have to book a suite because most rooms only have a (very nice) shower.

The Cobbler

It’s rare for me to want to have a drink at the hotel bar. Usually I’ll go out and find a cool bar elsewhere, somewhere locals hang out. With 1898 The Post, things are different! The Cobbler is the hotel’s very cosy cocktail bar, café and kitchen, and it’s very much in demand on a Saturday night! Luckily when we checked into the hotel we were told to reserve if we wanted to go for a drink there in the evening, so we did. We saw so many people being turned away!

It’s easy to understand why the bar is so popular, with its cosy interior, stunning views of historic Ghent, and impressive cocktail menu. Even if you don’t end up staying at 1898 The Post for the night, I’d recommend going here for a tipple or a hot chocolate. Top tip: don’t order the apple pie cocktail before dinner – it comes with a spoon!

The Honesty Bar

I love this concept: let hotel guests help themselves to drinks, and rely on them to be honest and write down what they’ve taken. The Honesty Bar at 1898 The Post is tucked away in a tower, and only hotel guests have access to it. It provides a nice place to go after dinner, when you’re not quite ready to go to bed but you don’t want to go too far from your bedroom. It really feels like someone’s warm and cosy house, where you can just help yourself to a drink and sit down for a late night chat.

I wish we could have stayed at the hotel more than one night to really make the most of this room!

In all honesty, I could not have designed a better hotel myself. Every detail is perfect, from the decor and the views, to the bar, the breakfast and the location. We loved every minute of being there, and we had to force ourselves to go out and explore the city instead of spending the whole weekend inside the hotel! I’ll admit it wasn’t cheap, but if you want to treat yourself or a loved one to a weekend in Ghent then this is the best hotel you will find. 1898 The Post is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at!

I paid for the hotel myself and I would 100% do it again!

The most beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of Ghent, Belgium.

A Londoner’s London Bucket List

By Posted on 6 min read 2826 views

westminster sunset

Exploring London as a Local

It’s always easy to overlook all of the amazing things on your doorstep. Growing up in Belgium, I didn’t realise that beautiful places like Dinant or Ghent were just a train ride away. Now, having lived in London for around 7 years, I often take the city for granted. I often think “I’ll do that one day” and put things off, which is a shame because I might never get around to doing them! So my new resolution is to do more things in London, including all of the things that have been on my bucket list for ages.

Tate Britain

A post shared by First Platform (@firstplatform) on

A post shared by Helen Cathcart (@helencathcart) on

I’ve always loved visiting Tate Modern, but I think going to Tate Britain when I was very young kind of put me off – I thought all that classic art was very boring at the time! (Thanks mum for dragging me there) Recently though, I’ve been thinking it’s time to pay the museum another visit. If anything, I’ll definitely enjoy the architecture and that beautiful spiral staircase!

Tower Bridge Glass Walkway

This is on my list because I’ve never done it, but I’m actually not sure if I’d enjoy it at all! I’m a bit scared of heights, and glass floors make me feel very uncomfortable. It does look like an amazing experience though, so I’m keeping it on the list!

Strawberry Hill House

Strawberry Hill House is a Gothic villa that was built in Twickenham in the 18th century. Isn’t it so pretty? I think it looks like it belongs in a fairytale! Have a look at pictures from Town & Country magazine to see what I mean. My plan for this summer is to have a picnic in the garden with the villa’s tower as a beautiful backdrop.

Make sure you check the opening days and times on the website before you go, as the house is not open every day.

Highgate Cemetery

A post shared by Arabella (@arabellabowen) on

Visiting graveyards isn’t usually on my bucket list, but Highgate is different. From its website: “Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839. It was run by a private company. But when in the 1970s they found it was no longer profitable to run commercially, nature took over and vandals had their day.” Fortunately, the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust took over in 1975 and rescued this amazing Victorian cemetery.

Many people go there just to see famous graves, like that of Karl Marx and George Michael. I really want to go on a guided tour of the spooky and overgrown West Cemetery, which is where some of the most beautiful Victorian monuments are. I bet the guides have some interesting stories to tell!

I hope I’ll get to meet the resident black cat one day.

God’s Own Junkyard

A post shared by zoz (@southamzoe) on

I’ve been meaning to visit the neon wonderland that is God’s Own Junkyard for years. Its owner Chris Bracey has built a whole career around creating neons for hollywood films, famous artists, music videos and fashion shoots. The “Junkyard” is his own collection of reclaimed neon signs, old movie props and retro displays. You might recognise something from Batman or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sitting next to a salvaged fairground piece. It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before! I want to go at the weekend when The Rolling Scones Cafe is open!
 

Inside St Paul’s Cathedral

A post shared by Time Out London (@timeoutlondon) on

A post shared by Visit London (@visitlondon) on

I’ve walked past St Paul’s countless times and have taken many photos of it, yet I still haven’t been inside!

At £18 a ticket (£16 online) it isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth going at least once. Highlights include the Whispering Gallery, which gets its name from a quirk in construction which means a whisper on one side of the dome is heard on the opposite side. Climb 528 steps and you also get a fab panoramic view of London from the Golden Gallery at the top of the Cathedral.

New Design Museum

As soon as the new Design Museum announced its opening in November 2016, I knew I wanted to go there. Initially what attracted me were some aerial pictures of the roof of the building, which made it look very cool – like a spaceship or some origami. Since then, the museum has had many interesting exhibitions but I still haven’t been! Who’s coming with me?

Maltby Street Market

On Saturdays and Sundays, artisan producers serve up their goods at Maltby Street market in Bermondsey. I’ve heard that the market is quite small, but the food looks amazing! I want to try the caramel hot chocolate with a marshmallow rim from Fatties Bakery some doughnuts from St John bakery (I’ve heard they’re amazing).

Update: went to Maltby Street on Sunday and it was great! Definitely recommend the hot chocolate from Fatties and we had some waffle with fried chicken which was great (although a bit pricy!). The market is quite small but has a nice atmosphere without getting crowded. A lot less touristy than Borough Market (which I love too).

The Emirates Air Line

A post shared by Thomas Pichler (@tjpvie) on

Again, I’ve been meaning to do this for years but just haven’t got around to it. Cable cars are always fun and I never get tired of a nice London view!

The Emirates Air Line takes around 10 minutes to connect the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. The journey costs £3.50 and you can use your Oyster or contactless card. I recommend exploring Greenwich while you’re at it – it’s a beautiful part of town!

Berners Tavern

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been yet, but I feel like Berners Tavern has become a real London classic. It’s run by Jason Atherton, the renowned chef that’s also responsible for Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social and my personal favourite, Sosharu. It’s the interior that’s the real reason I want to go there though: high ceilings, walls covered in beautifully framed art, and Grand Central-inspired chandeliers.

Who wants to go for brunch with me?

The Conservatory at the Barbican

Hidden in the Barbican centre, this conservatory houses over 200 species of plants. If you haven’t been to Barbican complex before, the brutalist architecture alone is worth a visit. The contrast between the lush greenery in the conservatory and the harsh architecture is pretty cool, if you ask me.

Top tip: Check the opening hours and dates before you go because the conservatory is only open on selected Sundays and Bank holidays.

I actually made it to the conservatory right after I started writing this post, so that’s one ticked off!

I’ll definitely be adding more things to this list at the same rate as I tick things off! One of my favourite quotes is “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” (Samuel Johnson) – because how could you get tired of this city when there are so many things to discover here?

What’s on your London bucket list? I’d love to know!

Review: Flying with Aeroflot – A320 & A330 to Tokyo

By Posted on 5 min read 2729 views

My Review of Aeroflot

I was on the train back from Gatwick Airport when I booked our flights to Japan.

London felt cold and a bit gloomy after spending three days on the sunny Spanish island of Fuerteventura with some of my closest friends. After scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, I turned to my emails for some kind of distraction on my way home. There it was! An email from Jack’s Flight Club made me sit up straight and open my eyes wide: Aeroflot were offering flights to Tokyo for £240! I immediately messaged Chris to ask him if I should book. It was around 11:30pm by then, and he was about to fall asleep.

Here’s our Whatsapp conversation:

I booked the flights there and then.

It literally took me ten minutes from telling Chris about the fare to booking us flights to spend Christmas in Japan. Never have I ever made a holiday booking decision quicker than that! Particularly as we hadn’t booked the time off work or mentioned to our parents that they may not see us at Christmas… but I was sure we could get around those issues!

It’s with Aeroflot but I’m sure it’s fine” – I hadn’t heard great things about Aeroflot but I wasn’t about to miss out on that AMAZING deal!

A quick Google told me I had nothing to worry about: although Aeroflot’s reputation was awful in the sixties and seventies, it’s now become one of the safest airlines to fly with. It gets 6 out of 7 stars from AirlineRatings, and even my uncle says that its fleet is very good (he’s in the biz).

So how was it? I promise to make this is a completely unbiased, super honest review! We flew Economy, so if you’re flying Business you can stop reading now, you lucky thing. Before you read I think it’s important to repeat the starting point for this review: the cost! Only £240 for a return trip to Tokyo. Chris was surprised that we didn’t have to fly the plane ourselves for that price.

 

Comfort

In total, we actually got to experience four Aeroflot flights (lucky us!): our first trip was Rome-Moscow-Tokyo, and the return was Tokyo-Moscow-London. We flew on the A320 from Rome to Moscow which was surprisingly roomy (see leg room photo above). The overnight flight to Tokyo was on the A330-300. I found the seats to be really uncomfortable. I struggled to find a good position for sleeping and my neck ended up feeling a bit painful. Maybe it’s because I’m kind of short (5’4, 1m64) but the cushion bit that sticks out just pushed my head forward, which is a super awkward position to sit in. I think there’s something wrong with the design! It’s something I’ve experienced when flying on older planes before. I hope that Aeroflot has improved this in its newer fleet, but if not, more consideration to passenger comfort wouldn’t go amiss.

Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Entertainment

Aeroflot only had entertainment systems on the A330 plane, so we relied on iPads and magazines on the four hour journey on the A320 from Rome to Moscow. On the longer flight to Tokyo, we fortunately had screens and a decent selection of films to choose from. Don’t get too excited – those screens are very clunky to use and kind of look like they belong in another decade, much like the chairs. Across the two long haul flights we did manage to watch a good selection of new releases, including Baby Driver and The Zookeeper’s Wife.

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

  • aeroflot-food

Food

I’d seen Aeroflot ads around London showing off their food, but I wasn’t expecting much from an economy class dinner. I was quite pleasantly surprised! The food I had definitely tasted better than the majority of the plane food I’ve tasted before (except for the millet porridge with pumpkin – weird breakfast). It was a great mixture of Russian/Asian inspired dishes. There was also regular re-fills for drinks and a snack bar for passengers to visit.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Extras

I couldn’t write this without mentioning the cute little Tokyo pouch we were given on the overnight flight to Narita Airport. It contained some lip balm (great for the dry cabin air), ear plugs (an essential for me), slippers, and an eye mask. The eye mask is brilliant, with one side telling air hostesses to wake you up for food and the other side telling them not to disturb you. A nice touch! We were also given pillows and blankets.

 

Service

Quick mention about service – Chris and I both thought some of flight attendants were not very nice. Very blunt, no smiles, bordering on rude. That’s across 4 different flights. They did nothing wrong, but I guess that we’re used to a friendlier service, even on budget airlines, which generally helps to make flights little nicer.

Rating: 3 out 5

 

moscow airport

Moscow Airport

I’m not gonna sugar-coat this: Moscow Sheremetyevo is NOT a nice airport. After getting a bus transfer from the plane to the terminal, we had to join a big, slow queue to get through passport control. Past customs, there isn’t much at all. The staff appear over-stressed and this gets passed on to the passengers.

Once you’re through the transfer gate you find a couple of shops selling Russian souvenirs and snacks, and a few unappealing restaurants including TGI Fridays and Burger King. The whole place was so crowded and was nowhere near big enough for the volume of people it’s taken on! This was on both journeys. We also had to take buses to and from the plane on each journey, which seemed to take an age. Cue the comedian (Chris *cough*) who said “oh, are we driving to Japan?”.

Luckily we were only at Sheremetyevo for a couple of hours each way.

Rating: 1 out of 5

 

Conclusion

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Now this rating doesn’t really reflect how we feel about the journey or Aeroflot. We were actually very satisfied, but this was principally down to the cost. If I factor that in, the rating would be closer to 4 out of 5. But there’s definitely some room for improvement.

It does feel like a budget airline venturing into the world of long-haul journeys, but when you’re paying a budget price there are certain compromises you’re willing to take. The great fare we got meant we had much more money to spend on the holiday, and we would 100% do it again. This may just take off!

 

Would I fly with Aeroflot again? Yes, definitely!

Would I choose them over another airline at the same price? Probably not.

 

Want to find your own cheap flight deal? Read my post to find out how.