Great North Snow Dogs: The Dogfather with Rington's Tea & Al Buco

If you live in or around the North East chances are you’ll have stumbled across one of the Great North Snow Dogs over the past couple of months. Launched in September by St.Oswald’s Hospice these giant dogs have been positioned across the North East for the Snow Dog’s Trail and a fabulously worthy cause.

With over 60 dogs to be discovered, all sponsored by local businesses and commissioned by local artists as well as smaller Snow Pups which have been created by local schools.  Located on a trail that has been planned meticulously, with a downloadable App to find all of the different dogs, it has been not only great for keeping adults and kids entertained but also brought businesses new customers and has given the North East an even more community spirit. 

There’s something magical about the unexpected sight of a Snow Dog on your travels. Our trail has been short but has brought a smile to our faces as we’ve been out and about and come across one of the gorgeous Snow Dogs, each unique and offering a great level of joy. I want them all in my garden (if only it was big enough!).

Our journey began with a trip to the Sage to see Ziggy the Snow Dog (my dog's namesake) before we headed to my Grandparent’s in the Lake District. Despite having seen a few other dogs whilst in the car including the dog at the Blue Reef Aquarium, Tynemouth. The NUFC branded dog outside of St James, the Whey Aye black and white Snow Dog which has resided up from the Castle Keep and of course the leading fashionista of the Toon, Fenwick’s Houndstooth dog.

A couple of weeks ago we went to see Sunny Afternoon, the Kinks Musical (which was thoroughly enjoyable) at the Sunderland Empire and walking through the park we stumbled upon Luna, a space age themed design. Each Snow Dog has a story behind it and below them sits a plaque to give you a little more information about the artist.

Last Wednesday we were invited along to the Premiere of Rington’s Dogfather Screening at Al Buco. If you’ve never been before, Al Buco opened in March this year and is an authentic family run South Italian cafe tucked away down the shop side of Old Eldon Square serving up traditional Italian delicacies. Open Monday to Sunday from 10am until 9pm, this quaint little eatery seriously packs not only taste but a really relaxing atmosphere.

With an extremely competitive and reasonably priced lunch menu, you can enjoy two courses for only £8.95 or three courses for £10.95 and an evening dinner menu is also available, but for tonight, Al Buco were hosting a private function.

The Dogfather, a take on the Italian Mafia classic ‘The Godfather’, which is sponsored by Ringtons, a local business, which serves our nation with the finest teas, were the sponsors of The Dogfather, which had been positioned outside of Al Buco. Perhaps fate, an Italian Dog lapping up the mouth watering smells coming from that Italian kitchen. I almost feel a certain sense of sadness that soon The Dogfather will be shipped off to his new owner at the St.Oswald’s Auction and he will no longer look down over Al Buco, looking after the family.

Back to the evening, I adore an event, it’s always lovely to catch up with some of my favourites including Newcastle’s Number One socialite, Lady Pixie from Fashion Voyeur, Jasmine from Sparkle Spy (check out her guest post here) and of course the absolute doll that is Mandy from Mandy Charlton Photography. They’re always up for a great laugh and as the prosecco was poured and the glasses appeared to be bottomless we enjoyed Arancini, which is my ultimate favourite, the melted cheese in the middle inside of risotto balls were just to die for. There were endless amounts of garlic bread and bruschetta and the mini Panzerotto Pugliese were so tasty that a return trip to test their menu out is an essential.


Ringtons have generously sponsored the dog located in Old Eldon Square and for the evening, had partnered with Al Buco to give us an exclusive preview of their film ‘The Dogfather’ that they have created to celebrate The Great North Snow Dogs. Give it a watch and we can promise you’ll be in for a laugh. We certainly could tell that it was a great day in the office filming this! We requested to watch it again as we enjoyed it that much.

We chatted away and enjoyed the night, took some all important selfies with The Dogfather and then said our goodbyes to the fabulous staff at Al Buco and the team from Ringtons! I hadn't realised the extent of the fabulous selection of teas, ground coffees, biscuits and gifts that they manufacture all in Byker, right on our doorstep. With an extensive range you can't help but get carried away adding all these goodies to your online basket. If you're like me and the Rington's van doesn't stop at your house, have the delivery sent to you. It's as TEAsy as that.  

What a fantastic and enjoyable evening. Massive thank you to you both for having us!

Check out the Snow Dogs before they head to their new homes on the 29th November & stop past Al Buco when you find The Dogfather.