It really does not seem like five years ago but when you look back at what has happened over those years you realise how fast time flies.
Mark truly is my rock. In the eight years we have been together he has supported me through so much,( I would like to think I have done the same for him). He has supported me through ups, downs and totally changed my approach to the world. Without his strength I would not be able to sit and write most of the stuff I do. We don’t get a lot of down time but we truly do savour every ounce of it.
We were both working on the day of our anniversary, so decided that we would leave any celebrations until the Monday night.
I don’t remember my 13th birthday all that clearly but what I do know is that there was never as much fuss made as there is these days about turning in to and becoming a TEENAGER.
I had only been back from Sweden for just over six months and was still finding my feet in a new school. Memories of the day are sketchy, but I remember cards that said teenager and I remember a shopping trip to Darlington in the days to follow.
These days however it would seem we make more of a fuss.
It is very scary to think I am now officially the maker and owner of a teenager. He has gone from a little dot too a teenager in no time. Of course I am very proud of the young man that he is becoming, but the hormonal changes are kicking in and my little boy is rapidly turning in to a stereotypical teenage boy…..via that lovely hormonal rollercoaster we all have to ride.
To celebrate Regan’s birthday, as we do every year, we had a party. It means he gets to see his family and friends the day before his birthday, and it has become a welcomed tradition. This year he chose a trampoline park.
Regan was staying at his Dad’s the night before, and where we usually ship his friends to Aycliffe too one of there entertainment centres, I didn’t feel comfortable driving lots of teenagers that I didn’t know that far without the Birthday Boy. So to Regan’s delight we decided that Infinite Air was the place to go.
We all had a lovely time, with the exception of Penny (my only criticism is that there is nothing for the under 6’s to do, last year we went to ROF59 in Aycliffe and they have a similar, yet smaller, set up. They have a generous play area for those not old enough to bounce. that kept her more than entertained. Infinite Air would benefit from a toy corner) and with food from Pizza Hut and a cake from Sweet Tooth Delivery they all had a belly full of food.
When Caitlin turned 10 we had a day with her on her own up at Intu MetroCentre and Regan (along with Libby and Liam) asked if they could do the same for their birthdays. We of course obliged.
Regan was over the moon with the presents and money he got for his birthday and was very eager to go on a spending mission.
I have to say, something I have learned over the years, that going shopping on a weekend 6 weeks before Christmas is never the best idea, and the car park at Intu MetroCentre proved that, but we did get parked and headed straight over to Bella Italia for our Lunch.
We are massive Italian fans and having never been to Bella Italia before we were quite excited by the prospect.
We arrived and were guided to a booth that had been decorated with balloons and banners. It was a lovely touch that was very much appreciated (the balloons are still floating around the living room now).
Our waiter was fantastic and took our drinks orders straight away, he had a remarkable resemblance to a famous person but I am yet to put my finger on who it is…
Anyway, I digress, we had a good look over the Menu and decided on our starters and main courses.
While waiting for our food Mark went on a wander, I would describe the restaurant as modernly authentic. It has plenty of memorabilia, retro tables and the Italian flag colours run throughout. (It seems everywhere we go at the minute Mark is taking inspiration for how to decorate our living room and kitchen, and Bella Italia was no different. We are having green to go with our current Red or so I am told)
Our starters arrived…..
Marzanini and plum tomatoes, rocket, red onion, garlic, basil and olive oil on ciabatta
“Fresh, light, lovely way to start a meal”
Pork & beef meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce with melted mozzarella and served with ciabatta
“Light, typically Italian Starter, very tasty and a perfect way to start a meal”
Not a complaint to be had. At this point our waiter moved on to other tables and we were introduced to our waitress, who was equally attentive. The wait for the main meals was not long and very soon we were tucking in…
Pasta tubes in a fiery tomato sauce, spicy ‘nduja sausage and pepperoni from Calabria, chicken, Luganica sausage, roasted red onion and green chilli, with cooling mascarpone
“Deliciously filling dish with a nice warming spice heat, that wasn’t overpowering”
Create your own pizza
Margherita with your choice of two toppings (Chicken and Pepperoni)
“I love a pizza, especially one I can pick the toppings on, this one was lovely”
Luganica sausage, Spianata salami, roasted red onion, mozzarella, Pecorino cheese and rosemary
“Mmmmmmm, pizza, a perfect marriage of toppings, perfectly thin and served beautifully”
At this point Regan started to get a tad apprehensive. Traditionally if someone is going to do grand gestures it is done over dessert. He was very nervous of what was planned, if anything, and took himself to the toilet.
Our lovely waitress came over to let me know that what ever he chose for pudding would have candles on it and “Happy Birthday” written on the plate. Perfect for the occasion!
When he returned we chose our desserts and awaited their arrival….
Shot Glass Desserts
A selection of favourite mini desserts
Salted Caramel Chocolate
Chocolate mousse with a salted caramel topping on a Bourbon biscuit crumb base
Creamy pannacotta with morello cherry sauce
Layers of fluffy lemon mousse with shortbread pearls, topped with limoncello lemon curd and whipped cream
And Regan chose…..
Cookie Dough Lava Cake
Chocolate chip cookie cake with a melting chocolate middle, served warm with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce
Regan breathed a sigh of relief and filled up on dessert. We agreed to share and so we did.
OMG, I love a pudding and these did not fail to impress.
Bella Italia, like I said, is somewhere I have never visited before and I really have no idea why, especially when we have one on our doorsteps here in Durham. We will be returning in the future as we could not fault the dishes, flavours, staff or the environment. Perfect place to eat especially with family.
We said our goodbyes and wandered on for Regan’s spending spree. We visited so many shops and seemed to spend in each one. GAME for games and headset, LEGO for erm….LEGO, Hawkins Bazaar, Disney, Argos and Sports shops……
Closing time meant a stop to the shopping, (which continued the next day) but we had a good day and that is the most important thing. Creating memories and I can’t thank Bella Italia for being a part of that.