As usual, an excess of food over Christmas and New Year...eaten my fill of smoked salmon, turkey, roast potatoes and sausages. Bizarrely, haven't managed to eat a single mince pie...though not for want of trying. They seem to have disappeared from the shelves of supermarkets. I know I should make my own, but when you're hurtling about the country from relly to relly it kind of takes a back seat.

In amongst the excess, tried the food at Popolo in Newcastle on Monday. It's a hip bar, with squishy leather sofas, cool artwork and usually packed to the ginnels. But the Morrocan/Mediterranean/Italian food's not much to write home about. Apart from a fantastic bowl of chips, it's underspiced and overpriced, at over £5 for two tiny bowls and two slivers of bread. Stick to the chips and the cocktails, and you'll do fine.


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