From a good ol’ mug of Yorkshire tea to the best white hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted, Off the Ground is the place to be for all you hot drink lovers, and even furthermore you can pair these with the most mouth watering salted caramel brownies in the world (honestly, believe me on this one, this is pure fact).
The staff are an absolute ten out of bloody ten, the décor of the place is cool as f*** (paintings, sofas, glass tables, cactus plants, THE LOT) and they also play some right good music; BUT don’t panic because they have it on a very, VERY nice volume, well, low enough for me to concentrate on writing this anyway.
Moving on, for the people that know me; or you know, those who just have me on ANY social media platform, you will understand this place is pretty much a home from home to me. I receive messages constantly telling me that I’m ‘never away from the place’.
Isn’t everyone like that with where they live though?
Furthermore, this, what can only be described as a, funky coffee shop, is perfect for any individual, male, female, those who prefer not to say, young or old, I mean apart from the fact they don’t sell gin at 9am, but that’s a whole other story. But what I’m trying to say is that this place is somewhere I know I can visit no matter how I’m feeling, I’ve been after many hospital appointments, even sometimes before, because I know the only thing that can take my mind off a nurse asking me how happy on a scale of 1-10 I am, is a cup of tea whilst listening to music, and for me, Off the Ground is where I can do so.
April 2018 was the month I discovered Off the Ground, and even though it had been open much longer, the day I walked by, looking in I noticed a library full of book in the back left corner, that was when I knew this was a place to make people like me ,who are considered ‘medically unwell’, feel on top of the world… and god was I right.
Peaceful, relaxing, chill, are the only words I can think of which describe the place I go no matter how I’m feeling; anxiety levels drop rapidly and the bad thoughts disappear.
Emily is currently studying journalism at Teesside Uni and you can keep tabs on what she is doing on Instagram @em.tyler and Twitter @emtylerjourno.
I’m Faye, I’m a 25 year old living in the UK. I found out I was Coeliac (Gluten free) in 2015. I’m a massive foodie and love to treat myself to delicious snacks, however I also try to eat a fairly healthy and balanced diet as well as go to the gym on a regular basis. A lot of people ask me What do you actually eat then? I won’t go into a lot of detail because it’s a food blog and not all about me! But feel free to get in contact with any questions. This is my first time writing a blog that has been posted online so bear with me!
This little health deli is located on Norton High Street, Neanderthals serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. At the deli there are a lot of gluten free options, I enjoy (because I’ve had these several times, oops) a plate of delicious protein pancakes that were really, really spot on. I have had a couple of varied toppings including berries, bananas & poached eggs with bacon, all topped with maple syrup glaze. You can also pick up cakes and cookies which are jam packed with protein to take away. To die for? Yes! I’m sure I will be visiting there again very soon.
Go visit their Instagram page, Neanderthals Health Deli or have a look at my blog @glutenfreewithfaye for food galore!
Don’t forget if you have an Independent Teesside card you are entitled to 10% off, even more reason to take a trip down.
A Stockton artist, who is now enjoying success through her new freelance graphic design business, has taken her love for her hometown and turned it into vintage style prints now on sale at a local independent bookshop.
24-year old Abby Taylor, a graphic design graduate from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), began working as a graphic designer in 2015 after gaining a first class degree at the university-level campus in Hartlepool, alongside working on freelance projects to develop her portfolio and client base and challenge her creativity.
After winning an art competition in Hartlepool in 2017 to create large-scale posters for the railway station with her partner Owen Smith, and receiving a further commission by Hartlepool Council, the success gave Abby the encouragement she needed to leave a job that was no longer fulfilling or challenging her, and go self-employed.
Over the past year, Abby has built up her graphic design and illustration business and is now taking commissions from local business and organisations across the Tees Valley, with clients including Tees Music Alliance, CCAD and the National Museum for the Royal Navy.
Following the success of the railway artworks featuring local Hartlepool landmarks in a nostalgic 50s style, the talented young artist took the concept and her fondness for Stockton to create images of its iconic town hall and high street.
Abby explained: “Stockton is where I grew up and where I currently live so it holds a lot of dear memories for me. I was determined to pay my beloved town homage and decided to create an exclusive print, working with the same style of illustration that I have used for other clients, including Cleveland College of Art and Design and Hartlepool Council."
“Drake, a local independent bookshop, struck me as the ideal home for my prints. Having recently won The British Book Awards’ Independent Bookshop of the Year in the North category, Drake has a fantastic reputation and is a place I often visit. Throughout the year they hold author events, book clubs and activities to get children and adults excited about reading. It was the sense of community for bookworms that drew me in, and confirmed for me as the right place for my prints.
“The store is beautiful and cosy with an exceptional collection of hand-picked books. I went in and met with the owners, Richard and Melanie, proposed my idea and showed my existing work. When I asked if they would be interested in stocking artwork that depicted locations in Stockton, they said yes, they would love to, and I was over the moon!”
This is the first artwork to be sold at Drake and Abby has created the Stockton High Street illustration – available in both A4 and A5 – in her trademark vintage style.
Richard Drake from Drake – The Bookshop, said: “The clean style of the prints was something we really liked from the minute we saw them and we felt they were in keeping with the no-book products we stock. It’s also great to be able to support someone local as they are starting out in business.”
Abby has also created illustrations of CCAD’s campus buildings, including the new multi-million teaching facility, 1 Church Street, the existing teaching facilities in Church Square, and the former Post Office building in Whitby Street, which is undergoing a transformation into a studio and business centre for people working in the creative sector. The images from 1 Church Street are currently being used in a promotional campaign by the specialist art and design school across the UK to potential students.
With a number of projects on the go, Abby is looking forward to the future and reaping the rewards for her hard work. She added: “It’s been just under a year since I became self-employed, and although it has been hard – learning things like pricing yourself, and making sure all the paperwork is correct – it has made me so happy and I’ve been working with some great clients. Self-employment also gave me the freedom I needed to work on passion projects, like the Stockton prints.”
To see more of Abby's projects or to get in touch, visit iamabbytaylor.com
Salsola are a female fronted northeast band that have been gigging around the area since November 2017. Quickly growing in popularity, the band are lined up to play the BBC’s Biggest Weekend Fringe in the Georgian Theatre on the 28th May (including radio play on BBC Tees).
Early this year Salsola began recording their Debut EP ‘An Ordinary Thrill’ in Nemix studios, Newcastle, choosing to put down 5 of their most popular tracks from their live set. This is to be released on the 2nd June, with an EP launch party in the Causeway Hartlepool, with support from local boys Giraffes. A proportion of the profits from the EP sales and all the door money for the event will go to local charity The Butterwick Hospice.
Salsola are a 4 piece made up of guitarist and vocalist Vicky Wright, guitarist Peter Wright, bassist Kev Kaye and Luke Murray on drums.
If you’ve not heard of Sofar Sounds then let me take you on a little journey.
Ever been to a gig or show that was so full of nattering voices that you couldn’t hear the band that were playing? I have, mine was the Cattle & Cane Christmas show a few years back. It was so busy, which was mint, but so loud that me and my friend ended up leaving because we couldn’t hear a thing.
That’s how Sofar started back in 2009. Two guys, Rafe and Rocky, decided they were sick of not being able to hear the music they’d paid to listen to that they put on a show in their living room. Just in their living room, invited a few friends and everyone sat on the floor and listened… So 9 years later, Sofar - Songs From a Room is now in 398 cities worldwide and killing it!
Sofar Middlesbrough started back in August last year and are absolutely loving it. We put on secret, intimate shows in and around Middlesbrough. We don’t announce the line-up because, well, you’re just gunna have to trust that we know what we’re doing when we pick our acts, and the venue is a secret until the day before. It’s not a mad night out, it’s an opportunity to be a part of something, the support the little (Boro) man.
The mint thing about Sofar is that it’s a grassroots, locally grown, all about the little guy, massive global community that packs a punch. Any profit we make goes straight back into making Sofar Middlesbrough the best it can be and the scope for promoting the independent businesses as well as artists in and around Teesside is insane. So far (haha – sorry) we’ve been in Rotten Scoundrels Barber Shop, The Start Studio, Bedford Street Coffee and the House of Blah Blah to name a few. And we’ve had some amazing local and not so local artists – Tom Joshua, Cattle & Cane, Mali Hayes, Cape Cub…
For Middlesbrough to have this is incredible. We’re sick of the bad press, we’re sick of being associated with statistics and depravity… Middlesbrough is so much more than just one of the most deprived towns in the country. It’s full of culture, full of passion, creativity, innovation, music, art, amazing coffee, sick food… There’s so much more. And if Sofar Middlesbrough can do our bit by showing people that, then we think we’re onto a good thing!
Each month we have a new incredible venue, with three amazing artists, sometimes from the area sometimes from a little further, and people come and sit on the floor with a bev and enjoy amazing unplugged live music… consider this your invite!
Sign up for tickets and info on our upcoming shows at www.sofarsounds.com/middlesbrough
I live for food and I’m a massive advocate of Teesside, I set up my blog to share my food journey around the area as well as my cooking and baking habits. I’ve tried a lot of Teesside’s restaurants and always get asked where’s best to go, so I decided what better way to shout about Teesside and let people know what’s available than a blog so I created The Teesside Foodie to do just that!
Top 8 Teesside Happy Hours
Whether it’s a weekday or a weekend we all love a happy hour, but knowing what places have this cracking time or what day can be tricky to find. There’s nothing worse than arriving somewhere 10 minutes after happy hour/early bird, to make life a little bit easier I’ve rounded up a few of Teesside’s happy hours that aren’t too bad on the purse strings.
1. The Curing House, Middlesbrough
The Curing House is one of Middlesbrough’s best restaurants as listed by Tripadvisor and I can’t disagree! They have the best beef dripping chips and of course unbelievable charcuterie boards and there early bird menu is a must to try.
Early bird menu | 5-6pm | Tuesday - Saturday
£16 for 2 courses
£20 for 3 courses
2. Barbarossa, Middlesbrough
I’m still yet to try Barbarossa but I’ve never heard a bad review! They apparently serve the best pizza in Teesside and if you’re free from 4:30pm - 6:30pm you can get their famous sourdough pizzas from £5.96!
3. Brasserie Hudson Quay, Middlesbrough
Another independent to mention is Brasserie Hudson Quay, each day they have their market menu between 12pm and 2:30pm and oh my it all sounds so good!
Market Menu | 12:00 - 2:30pm
2 Courses £11.95 / 3 Courses £14.95
They also have a steak and pasta night every Thursday from 4pm which is worth a mention! You can get sirloin steak, beef dripping chips and salad or any pasta for just £20 for two people. (How insane?)
Another added bonus, if you’re an Independent Teesside card holder you can get 20% off food and drink when eating from the evening a la carte menu.
4. 12 Harland Place, Norton
I’m pretty certain I’ve had everything from the teatime menu and it’s always delicious. It’s amazing value and who can say no to a 12 Harland Place dessert either? I definitely recommend the braised beef and the pear and amaretto cheesecake!
Teatime menu | 4:00pm - 6:30pm | Monday - Saturday
2-Courses: £14.95 / 3-Courses: £17.95
5. Muse, Yarm
Their food is always beautifully presented and of course it goes without saying that it always tastes amazing. Their Prix Fixe menu is a great way to try what Muse has to offer, you won’t be disappointed!
12pm - 2.30pm | Monday - Saturday
5.30pm - 6.30pm | Monday - Friday
Two Courses £16 or with addition of paired wines £24/Three Courses £19 or with addition of paired wines £31
6. Jolsha, Norton
Jolsha’s banquet meal is hard to believe! They are one of my favourite Indian restaurants in Teesside, they’re banquet is jam packed with so many choices unlike others.
Every Wednesday and Sunday night, 4 course meal, £10.95
7. The Peppermill Bistro, Billingham
The Peppermill Bistro’s Early bird menu is again a great way to try what they have to offer, as a Billingham girl it’s hard to believe we have such a great restaurant in such a small town. So many people have never heard or visited Peppermill- it’s a must!
Tuesday - Thursday | 5pm - 7pm
Friday & Saturday | 5pm - 6pm
1 Course £13.00/ 2 Courses £16.50/ 3 Courses £20.00
8. Cafe Sapore, Hartburn, Stockton
Again I’ve never tried Cafe Sapore but I’ve heard a lot of great things! I thought I would include a Sunday Lunch option with 1 course £10.95/ 2 courses for £13.95/ 3 courses for £16.95.
They also have a steak night each Wednesday from 5:30pm to 9pm.
Choose from a Sirlion or Ribeye steak, hand cut chips, salad, a choice of sauces and a glass of red or white wine £29.95 per couple. This cafe-deli-bistro sounds right up my street!
I recently retrained as a florist, whilst re-training I have been a finalist in a Smithers Oasis Floral Competition and won a competition to design, create and present a posy to HRH Princess Anne (January 2017). This then gave me the confidence to start my own business “Plant Preservation Society” Established March 2017.
The concept of the Plant Preservation Society was to change peoples perception of of household plants. We do this by sourcing unusual plants and presenting them in a unusual way.
We are based in Billingham but trade on local artisan markets in the surrounding areas. One of our first markets was Orange Pip Market in Middlesbrough. We are a unique independent local business which sells unusual plants & gifts in upcycled materials and containers with a twist!
For any enquires please contact us/follow us via facebook, Instagram & Twitter
“We plant, you preserve...it’s a Plant Preservation Society!
Location: Billingham & Surrounding Artisan Markets
Mobile Number: 07557108148
Address: Bonington Crescent, Billingham, TS23 3WJ
Open All Hours & days
I’m Fran, the guy behind Franafel's Community Kitchen, a soon-to-launched Teesside venture, which will teach cooking of healthy plant-based dishes from scratch on a budget. The classes and courses will utilise local ingredients, wherever possible, which are local, organic, seasonal and 100% plant based.
There’s a significant need in our area to address issues of poor health and Franafel's is preparing to help. Through a series of fun and educational classes, participants who sign themselves up, or who are recommended by other organisations, will learn:
As well as gaining confidence from immediate new skills, cooking is proven to be therapeutic and social.
I am looking for potential partners and/or investors who are interested in supporting a venture which can help the health of Teesside residents.
As I continue to develop Franafel’s Community Kitchen I have recently started up “pop up kitchens” in venues across the area. Essentially I find cool, interesting bars and pubs in Teesside that have a kitchen and I cook a two course meal for £10. My food is Vegan, meat and dairy free.
My last pop up kitchen night in Teesside was at the Hambletonian in Norton where locals enjoyed a pathia veggie curry and sticky toffee pudding! My last event was in Scotland at the Hemelvaart Bistro, Ayton. The feedback has been great and it makes all the hard work worthwhile!
My next pop up kitchen will be at the wonderful Hope and Union bar in Stockton, 10 Silver Street, TS18 1SX, 18th January 2018 from 7pm. It's behind the Georgian Theater.
Tickets are available online here:
or can be purchased directly in the bar or reserved via the facebook page event:
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
These last few years Stockton has become a great night out with lots of great new bars and eateries. And being January, why not try Veganuary or at least for one night and come along to my pop up kltchen night :)
Franafel's Community Kitchen Company