Thursday 15 January 2015

My North East Story: I Dream of Coco

Welcome to a new feature for 2015.  Each month I shall be asking a different North East blogger to share their story of the North East.

You can expect lots more tips of fantastic places to visit in the region as well as maybe discovering a new blog to get hooked on.

First up we have Kayleigh from I Dream of Coco, one of my favourite local blogs.  I'm very lucky to be able to call Kayleigh my friend and her blog is very true to her - it's warm, friendly and full of adventure.

My  North East Story

When Chloe asked me to write January’s guest post for her new ‘North East’ series, I was so honoured I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love the North East, and am so proud to be a born and bred Sunderland girl! So without further ado, here is my North East story.

1. What is your North East Story

I’ve lived in the North East all of my life. I was born in Sunderland and grew up in Thorney Close; a council estate which doesn’t have the most amazing reputation. It was a nice place to live when I was little though and even now there are people there who watch out for my Mam; there’s a real sense of community.

When I got older, I fell in love with Durham. It’s such a beautiful city and my boyfriend and I always
wanted to live there, so now we live halfway between Sunderland and Durham in a lovely little place called East Rainton.

I love the North East so much and although I dream of what it would be like to live in London, or even Paris, I can’t really imagine life without my North East roots!

2. Why do you love living in the North East?

I love so many things about living in the North East but because I was born in Sunderland, one of my favourite things is the football. I was brought up around football, I have two older brothers and my Dad used to manage various local teams in and around Sunderland so it was inevitable that I’d end up loving it too.

I’m a massive Sunderland supporter (sorry to any Newcastle fans that may be reading this!) and I always love to go and watch Sunderland at the Stadium of Light when I can. There just something about the union of so many people cheering on their team; the atmosphere is electric! Here it’s not just football; it’s a way of life. I’m quite a girlie girl but I love my football, always have and always will. I sing, I shout, I cheer and I absolutely love every second of it! Ha’way the lads!

3. Where's your favourite place in the North East to relax?

I’m quite a home girl, so my favourite place to relax is usually our little house, but if I couldn’t go there I’d always choose the seaside.

Growing up, I used to always look forward to the school summer holidays for family visits to Seaburn and Roker. 

We could spend a whole day playing in the sand, eating chips and ice cream and playing in the arcades. I’ve always found the seaside such a comforting and relaxing place and now we’re older, Chris and I often take the dog to the seaside (it’s usually Seaham beach now though) on warm summer’s nights and share a bag of chips. Chips don’t taste as good anywhere else!

4. Recommend me some yummy foodie places in the North East

I love eating out and there are lots of places in the North East that I think are amazing, so I’m going to go for the more obscure choices hoping I can offer a new place for you to try!

Okay, the first is right on my doorstep, it’s called ‘The Olde Ships Inn’ in East Rainton and the food is absolutely amazing and so reasonably priced. The fish and chips are the best I’ve ever tasted (away from the seaside that is!). The fish is always freshly caught but be warned, you need a massive appetite to manage the portions! The inside d├ęcor is like that of a ships, but is super cosy with roaring fires and cosy armchairs. The staff are lovely too.

The second is the ‘Italian Farmhouse’ in West Rainton, a super cute and reasonably priced Italian which you can read all about on my blog here. 

The final two are cafes/tea rooms starting with Serendipity’ in Sunderland which is my all time favourite pretty pink tearoom ran by my friends June and Robin, and 'Treats' in Durham, who serve slices of cake the size of your head (I’m not even joking!!). You’re welcome!!

5. Describe your perfect day in the North East

Although I haven’t really talked about it much in this post, my perfect day in the North East would probably be a days shopping in Newcastle City Centre.

I absolutely love the shops there, particularly Fenwicks and it’s the sort of shopping I can’t really do in Sunderland or Durham. It’s like a condensed London and great because it’s doable in a day.

Failing that, I always love a nice stroll around Durham in the Summer Sun.

I love the North East so much! Thanks so much Chloe for asking me to write this

If you're from the North East, or maybe even used to live in the North East and want to share your North East story ... drop me an e-mail at


  1. Aw thanks hun, I'm so honoured to be part of your blog :) xx

  2. Brilliant feature idea! I can't wait to keep reading each week! :) I guess it'll be good for you and your readers to find out more about the area, especially if you have people writing from various different places around the NE. :)
    Kayleigh, great first post. :) Lovely insight and pictures. The picture of the beach, above the picture of your dog is beautiful. Amazing sky.
    I love Durham, it holds many family memories for me and I really don't visit enough. (has now been added to my NY list of things to do! ) I can't say I know Sunderland that well, though I'm sure there used to be a 'Joplings' department store there?? We used to visit every December when I was younger and I used to love their toy hall. They had everything Barbie a girl could ever want! :) I liked visiting for our Cake Club. Roker looked like it would be a great place to walk. :)


    1. I am absolutely LOVING this new feature - reading people's stories and passion for the North East is so heart warming. I already have February and March posts lined up and I can't wait to get more!

  3. Great post Kayleigh! Wonderful to learn of your North East story!

    1. I'm hoping everyone shares their North East story :)

  4. I went to uni in Sunderland so this brought back many fond memories! Lovely read x

    1. I still need to explore Sunderland properly, am hoping to do a "Secret Sunderland" post later in the year as I know there are some beautiful hidden pockets to explore!

  5. Fab post! I look forward to reading them all!

    I was born in Sunderland too, although a Newcastle fan. My mam sent my to the final match at Roker Park in black and white. Ooops!

    Katie xoxo

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you, putting them together is proving to be so much fun!

  7. A really loveky post enjoyed reading this and I can see why you were the perfect person to go first on why you love where you live Lucy

  8. Thank you ladies for your kind comments! I really enjoyed writing this post! Wearing black and white at Roker park? I'm surprised your still alive to tell the tale Katie!! I was at that match too! And yes Caroline there was a Joplings it was amazing!!! Xxx

  9. I really enjoyed your story ^.^ I've never really ventured the Northern Lands since I'm stuck so far down in the South (Cornwall) :P I absolutely love seeing glimpses into other peoples lives and your corner of England seems so lovely :) I'm glad I'm not the only one so passionate about my home ^.^ There really is no place like home :)
    Thankyou for the follow :) I absolutely love your dress and necklace in the third photo from the bottom ^.^

    Sarah xxo

  10. Great story. I'm a Newcastle fan, but my grandpa was a Sunderland fan (from Washington). His sister still goes to as many matches as she can - in her 80s!

  11. Booo Sunderland!! hahah Just kidding, what a fab new feature - I'm gonna love reading this, such a great idea. And what a lovely story and photos.



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