Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A Day Trip to Saltburn

Saltburn is a part of the North East coast that I've been very curious about for a while. A fair drive from our home, I've never been sure if it was worthy of a day trip and every time I asked people about it I was given mixed reviews. Not wanting to risk driving a long way for disappointment, it's been filed in the back of my mind as a "maybe one day" for a good few years now, until we found ourselves in the area and thought it was about time we gave it a look.

Saltburn is a little seaside town in North Yorkshire just a few miles from Middlesbrough on the North East coast and is filled with Victorian charm, smuggler legends and, I was hoping, the chance to finally try a Lemon Top!

A Day Trip to Saltburn
Arriving in Saltburn on a sunny Tuesday morning reminded me how beautiful it is to visit the coast on a week day in the Winter, parking was a breeze and, although there were a few people pottering about, the tourists were long gone, leaving just the dog walkers and locals behind. Bliss! The ice-cream shops may have long been boarded up for the Winter season and the beach huts sitting side by side in silence yet there was still a real charm to the seafront.



We began our trip with a walk along the seafront to Saltburn Pier, the perfect place to begin a day trip to Saltburn. Of course we got slightly distracted by the arcades and Simon spent a good while at the toy grabbing machines, something I'd usually roll my eyes at because those things are famed for gobbling up your money with limited chances of pulling out a toy but this time we were on to a winner. Finding a machine that actually takes a good hold of the toy we managed to win a red squirrel who we named Rocky and came with us on our adventures for the rest of the day (I promise we are grownups!)

Day Trip to Saltburn


Quitting while we were ahead (always a good idea in the arcades!) we took a little stroll in the Winter's sunshine along the pier. The last remaining pier on the North East Coast and, with only around fifty pleasure piers surviving in the country, it's a pretty special place to take a walk. Getting to the end and spending a few minutes just gazing out at the sea is the loveliest way to relax. With no gimmicky fairground rides or attractions cluttering the boards it has really retained its original charm and even won Pier of the Year in 2009 (who knew that was a thing?!)

Day Trip to Saltburn Pier
The Pier isn't the only special thing about Saltburn, the famous "cliff lift" has been attracting tourists for years. Unfortunately it was closed during our visit but with the carriages left stationary up the tracks you still get a great view of the lift and it really is a spectacular sight. On a clear day the view down the tracks and out to sea is pretty special and I think it has to be one of the best views in the North East.

Saltburn Pier


With no cliff lift in operation there was nothing for it but to walk up the cliff towards the town. The centre of Saltburn is a short uphill stroll from the seafront and the workout is definitely worth it for the lovely little collection of independent bars and eateries you'll find at the top. Although small, Saltburn is great for a stroll and I made a mental note of a fair few places I'd like to try on our next visit.

This time we were on the hunt for an indulgent hot drink to warm us up and The Sitting Room was the perfect spot. Cute and quirky with the loveliest vibe, their seasonal lattes and hot chocolates were just what we were after and I couldn't resist ordering a Luxury Spiced Pumpkin Latte (£5.00) - Baileys with Pumpkin Spice, Espresso, Steamed Milk and a mountain of Cream. Throwing booze into coffee is my kind of treat and it really warmed me all the way down to my toes - delicious!

Saltburn - The Sitting Room


Deciding we wanted different scenery on our walk back down to the beach we decided to make our way back down the hill via theValley Gardens, a beautiful spot for a Winter's walk. With a little mini train for the kids, a huge tea room and stunning Italian gardens it was so beautiful and peaceful in the Winter but we definitely want to return in the Summer months to see it in all its glory.

All that walking really builds up an appetite and with the smell of fish and chips in the air we decided that we needed a proper seaside lunch. There are a couple of beautiful looking seafront restaurants in Saltburn which offer windows overlooking the sea and we decided to go with Vista Mar, which had a nice variety on the menu as well as great views.

Saltburn - Vista Mar


The joy of visiting the seaside mid week is being able to take advantage of the fish and chip deals and we managed to get ourselves a huge fish and chips with mushy peas and a side helping of bread and butter each for £25.00 including two drinks.  Although we were really hungry when we had arrived after a few minutes of greedily wolfing this lot down it wasn't long before we were feeling very podged and couldn't physically fit in another bite.

When you are that full on delicious seaside grub there's only one thing to do - go for a nice brisk walk along the beach. With the last of the Winter sunshine still beating down on the sand we thought it'd be such a shame to cut our day short so ended our day with the nicest little mooch.

Saltburn Seafront
The coastline from Whitby to Saltburn is famed for its smuggler folklore. Remote coastal communities were ideal for smugglers as it was easy for contraband to pass from house to house with no risk of detection.  Saltburn was a haven for smugglers with its huge cliffs and coves. Perhaps the most famous smuggling legends centre around The Ship Inn, which you can still find today along the beach. I loved walking along a seafront with so much character and history, the perfect place to let your mind wander.

Saltburn Smugglers


Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to visit The Ship Inn on this occasion but as we also didn't manage to find a Lemon Top so that just gives us a perfect excuse to return in the Summer and, believe me, Saltburn has left us wanting more!

Saltburn Beach


If our little day trip proves anything it's that sometimes when people tell you not to bother visiting somewhere, sometimes they really don't know what they're talking about. Saltburn is the loveliest place to spend the day and we are over the moon to find somewhere else so special in the North East.
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Thursday, 10 January 2019

Preston Park Museum - Behind the Seams Exhibition

This is a collaboration with Preston Park Museum 

Every time I think can I really still call myself the "New Girl" I'm reminded that there are still so many places in the North East that I am yet to discover. Every month we try and visit somewhere new and for our first adventure of 2019 we headed to Preston Park Museum near Stockton-onTees for their Behind the Seams Exhibition.

Preston Park Museum - Behind the Seams Exhibition


Behind the Seams

If you are huge movie and TV fans like we are (you will find us in the cinema most weekends!) then you are going to love the Behind the Seams Exhibition which is bringing a handpicked collection of 35 costumes from some of the best loved shows and movies to the North East including Game of Thrones, Dowton Abbey and Titanic.

Preston Park Museum - Behind the Seams


The exhibition explores the story behind Angel Costumes, the world's largest costume house, who have won 36 Oscars for their work. Angels have been providing costumes since 1840 with thousands of their costumes having been worn by the world's biggest stars. It's not often that a true slice of Hollywood comes to the North East so the exhibition gives us all a rare opportunity to experience the glitz and glamour of the small and big screen.

Preston Park - Behind the Seams Exhibition


The Costumes 

The Behind the Seams Exhibition is displayed across two beautiful rooms of Preston Park Museum and there honestly couldn't be a more perfect setting for the costumes. With heavy dark wooden doors, ornate chandeliers and tiled floors I couldn't help but take a moment to admire my surroundings before having a proper look at the collection.

Preston Park - Behind the Seams


Each costume is accompanied by a display board telling you some facts about the film and costume.  We also found it helpful to consult our little guide book as we made our way round which told us more of a story about each piece (the book costs £1.50 and you can purchase it at the desk).  My movie loving husband loved that some of his favourite movie soundtracks were being played as made our way round, he's one of those people who can identify a piece of music from a film within the first couple of notes and he enjoyed guessing the soundtrack.

There was something for both of us in the exhibition - I loved the beautifully delicate dresses from The Crown and Great Gatsby and Simon enjoyed seeing some classic costumes from his childhood including Indiana Jones and Dr Who. I don't want to give too much away but I couldn't resist sharing with you just a couple of our favourite pieces from the collection.

Beauty and The Beast

We watched this movie in Miami when we were on our Honeymoon so it holds a very special place in my heart, having loved the original cartoon version as a child it was amazing seeing Emma Watson bring the role of Belle to life.  This stunning dress features in the opening scene of the film and I was interested to discover that the Beast's costumes were designed to make it look as though the characters in the castle had handmade them - such a fantastic design detail!

Preston Park - Behind the Seams - Beauty and the Beast


The Crown

This costume was worn by Claire Foy in The Crown and although based on the original coronation dress that the Queen wore, the team at Angels didn't have the luxury of being able to hand embroider four thousand crystal, gold and diamond beads to the dress!  Their creation is just as beautiful though and I was mesmerised by how sparkly it was. Out of all of the costumes we saw that afternoon this was the one I was dying to swish about in, it was so delicately detailed.

Preston Park - Behind the Seams - The Crown


Titanic

My family has a pretty important connection to the Titanic, my Great Grandad was a fireman on the ship and managed to escape the sinking boat on a lifeboat, so as you can imagine, the film always gives me goosebumps when I imagine what my Great Grandad must have gone through to escape.

Titanic won countless awards including Best Costume Design! The attention to detail was so precise that a number of vintage pieces were restored and used for the movie and as the ship used for filming was the reverse of how Titanic was originally docked in Southampton, all of the text stitched into the costumes and props had to be backwards so that when the film footage was later reversed to make the ship appear the right way round it would read correctly.

Preston Park - Behind the Seams - Titanic


Bohemian Rhapsody

If you have't yet seen Bohemian Rhapsody you really must see it as soon as you can, it's a fantastic movie and is definitely one of our favourites films of last year. On display at Behind the Seams  you'll find four costumes worn by the actors playing Queen.  I was interested to discover that Rami Malek (who did a fantastic job playing a very convincing Freddie Mercury) spent 50 hours in costume fittings and the real Brian May offered his own original pieces for filming including the personalised robe he wore in the "I Want to Break Free" video - amazing!

Preston Park - Behind the Seams - Bohemian Rhapsody


Preston Park Museum 

Having never been to the Preston Park before  once we'd finished at the Exhibition we decided to have a little potter round the Victorian Street where we walked the cobbles to discover what life was like in 1875 and I just about managed to drag Simon out of the traditional sweet shop without him buying anything (miracle!)

Preston Park Museum


If you want to turn your visit to Behind The Seams into a fantastic day trip there are also some really lovely river and woodland walks in the grounds. We enjoyed a rare glimpse of the January sunshine with a stroll and there were so many people out walking. Having made the mistake of not packing our walking boots we had to cut our potter pretty short so if you want go for a proper explore make sure you have some good footwear with you.

We absolutely loved our day following in the footsteps of the stars at Preston Park and now we've discovered what a great place it is we'll definitely be back for a visit next time we're in the area.

Preston Park Museum - Teesside

What you need to know:
  • The Behind the Seams Exhibition runs until Sunday 3 March 2019 
  • The Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm with last admission at 3:30 pm
  • Museum entry costs £2.50 for adults (£1.50 concessions) and the exhibition costs an additional £5.00 for adults (£3.00 concessions) 
  • There's a tearoom as part of the Victorian Street in the Museum or you can get snacks at the cafe in the play park. If you're wanting something a little more substantial I highly recommend a trip to nearby Yarm. 
Find Preston Park Museum at:

Yarm Road
Eaglescliffe
Stockton-on-Tees
TS18 3RN

This post was sponsored by Preston Park Museum.
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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Breakfast at Greyjoys, Gosforth

Simon and I recently found ourselves frantically dashing about Gosforth on a very wet and miserable Saturday morning looking for somewhere to go for breakfast. We had stomped our way up most of the high street feeling very underwhelmed by all of the menus we read until I finally remembered somewhere that I've been past on the bus so many times yet never visited - Greyjoys!

I pass a lot of places when I'm on buses and often find myself daydreaming out of the window thinking about all the cute little cafes and coffee shops I must visit. Unfortunately it's not too often that I actually make it to any of them, a sign perhaps that I should be writing them down rather than relying on my awful memory. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been past Greyjoys and thought about how we should pop in some time.

Breakfast at Greyjoys, Gosforth


Gazing at Greyjoys from the bus window I'd always imagined it would be pretty tiny inside so I was surprised when we pushed open the door to discover that the coffee shop goes much further back than I'd imagined and actually seats around 40 people for breakfast. That said, on first look I really thought we'd be turned away as it looked like every seat was taken. Luckily Greyjoys isn't the kind of place where people shrug their shoulders and chuck you back out into the rain and we were enthusiastically greeted at the door and, on discovering that we hadn't got a reservation, were told they would do their best to make room for us.

Initially we were going to be sharing a table, until a cosy looking table for two suddenly became available at the back of the room and we happily threw off our wet coats and settled ourselves down for a good look at the menu.

Breakfast at Greyjoys, Gosforth - Menu


The first thing I noticed, and something that always makes my proud North Eastern heart sing, was that across the top of the menu was a lovely list of all the local suppliers Greyjoys use to create their dishes. With loads of my favourites making an appearance including Charlotte's Butchery and Pink Lane Coffee - I knew that we were in very safe hands - this place was going to make a pretty fine breakfast!

The most important part of ordering breakfast is, of course, ensuring that you have a coffee in your hand as all the best menu decisions are, in my opinion, fuelled by caffeine. Simon ordered a latte which was really good although we both agreed perhaps on the small side. I'm the kind of person that likes my morning coffee in a cup big enough to swim in and this one was, unfortunately, over in a couple of sips.

Breakfast at Greyjoys, Gosforth - Coffee


There's no breakfast menu for Greyjoys available online so I thought I'd best share a little insight at what you can expect if you're planning to visit. The menu is absolute heaven, so much so there were multiple dishes I wanted to order. Split into Woodland Hen Poached Eggs, Bowls and Topped Sourdough Toast, highlights include Avo Toast, Za'atar Eggs and House Granola.

Struggling to make a decision, I eventually opted for the The Breakfast Bowl (£7.50) - bacon and halloumi, woodland egg, avocado, fresh spinach, baked tomato and sourdough - the perfect dish for a cold and rainy morning.

When it appeared in front of me I was over the moon,  all those stunning colours - if breakfasts had beauty contests I'm pretty sure this dish would win all of the prizes - just look at it! This was one of the best breakfasts that I have ever had.

Breakfast at Greyjoys, Gosforth - Dishes


Simon went for a breakfast dish that I've been wanting to try for the longest time but never quite got round to - Huevos Rancheros (£9.50) - rich tomato sauce, smoked chilli, bacon and avocado on sourdough. It looked fantastic and he eagerly tucked in, me helping him out with a good forkful every now and again. Around three quarters of the way through the dish he had to admit defeat as it got a little too spicy for him (Simon and I are both spice wusses so don't have the greatest tolerance for heat).

Breakfast at Greyjoys


We are so thankful that we've finally discovered Greyjoys and if you're yet to make it yourself and want a really fantastic breakfast with amazing warm and friendly service you must make a plan!

Find Greyjoys at:

75 High Street
Gosforth
NE 34AA

greyjoys.com/
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Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Top 10 of 2018

Can you believe it? The start of another brand new year. Before I throw myself head first into 2019 with a ton of resolutions and a diary of adventure plans I thought I'd keep with tradition and share my 10 most read blog posts of 2018. I love looking back over the last 12 months to see which of our adventures got the most page views and I'm over the moon that some of my favourite adventures of the year are the blog posts that you all seemed to enjoy the most too!

If you fancy re-reading any of the posts just click on the titles - enjoy!

The Top 10 of 2018 - New Girl in Toon


1. The Best Breakfasts in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Durham - 4 October 2018

Not only is this my most read blog post of the year, it has also become the most successful blog post of all time and I can understand why - there really is nothing better than heading out to breakfast with your loved ones and we have some delicious spots in the North East to enjoy a hearty start to the day. I shared some of my favourite places for breakfast in the area and there are some real gems to discover!

2. Why Whitley Bay is my Ultimate Seaside Destination - 24 August 2018

I think you can really tell when something is written straight from the heart so it's no surprise to me that this blog post about our love for Whitley Bay was read and shared thousands of times. I've had a real love affair with Whitley Bay in 2018 and it's become my happy place - my little seaside haven where I run to when things get tough and I need a break from life and some fresh sea air. If you're yet to fall in love with the North Tyneside seaside town then you really should give this post a read.

The Top 10 of 2018 - Whitley Bay

3. A Day Trip to Hexham - 28 March 2018

I can't believe that 2018 was our first trip to Hexham! Finally visiting was one of those brilliant moments where you discover somewhere truly wonderful on your doorstep and immediately want to tell everyone about it. We admired the breathtaking Abbey, wandered the pretty streets with no plans and, of course, sniffed out some good cake!

4. Walking Hadrian's Wall in Winter - Discovering Sycamore Gap - 18 January 2018

I love that some of my most popular blog posts of the year have been walking guides, it's a fact that I particularly enjoy sharing with my indoor loving husband who grumbles every time I mention it. We finally made it out to Hadrian's Wall at the beginning of the year and my little guide to walking to Sycamore Gap was very popular, if you fancy doing the walk for yourself you'll find everything you need to know here (I recommend you don't do it in Winter like we did - it's slippy!)

The Top 10 of 2018 - Hadrians Wall


5. A Guide to our Northumberland Coastal Route Road Trip - 14 August 2018

With the most incredible Summer of weather we really appreciated living in such a beautiful part of the world with endless road trips along the Northumberland Coastal Route. We must have journeyed up that stretch of road most weekends and spent many hours discovering new places, walking miles of unspoilt beaches, admiring beautiful castles and sinking pints in pub gardens - we became so passionate we decided to share our new knowledge with this epic all you need to know guide to the Northumberland Coastal Route - take a look and plan your own great adventure!

6. The Great British Cupcakery - The Naughtiest Breakfast in Newcastle - 3 April 2018

I celebrated my birthday this year with breakfast at the Great British Cupcakery. I use the word "breakfast" pretty loosely as I actually indulged in a giant Geet Big Shake whilst hubby ploughed into this Nutella French Toast. We realised pretty quickly that this may well be the naughtiest breakfast in Newcastle and it seems that residents of the Toon quite like a chocolatey start to the day because this post went crazy!

The Top 10 of 2018 - Great British Cupcakery




7. A Newcastle Food Guide - The Chains v The Independents - 21 June 2018

I had this blog post sitting half written in my drafts for the longest time, it was something I knew I wanted to write for a while but wanted to be able to dedicate enough time to do it properly. I love a cheeky Nandos as much as the next person but with such a wonderful community of local businesses and independent restaurants here in Newcastle I wanted to share some of my favourite alternatives if you fancied eating out and supporting local. I came up with alternatives to all of your chain favourites so if you want to try somewhere new this year take a look.

8. The Opening of Spanish City, Whitley Bay - 23 July 2018

I was very lucky to be invited to the opening of Spanish City in Whitley Bay back in the Summer and I'm not ashamed to admit that when I left the coast that day I had tears in my eyes. Seeing inside the dome for the first time was a pretty emotional experience and we've been so impressed by every visit that we've made ever since. We've enjoyed live music, had one of the best afternoon teas in the region, sunk a few cheeky G&Ts and had a chippy tea with a touch of class. The history and romance of the building has truly captured my heart and if you're yet to take a look what on earth are you waiting for?

The Top 10 of 2018 - Spanish City


9. Northern Things my Husbands Taught Me - 13 February 2018

I have to say I am truly thankful every day that I married a man from the north, being a southerner with more of those cliched southern traits that I'd care to admit to, I love that Simon has mellowed me a little with his lovely northern ways. He's taught me how to make a proper brew, introduced me to some very strange new words and has got me ordering extra gravy and enjoying chippy teas. This one seemed to get a lot of love from those who've also married the north, it seems there's a fair few of us!

10. The Best Gin Bars in Newcastle -  23 March 2018

If you love gin then you probably need to get yourself to Newcastle because the city is overrun with gin bars and they're all pretty fabulous. It took me a while to get round them all, but I did and then I put together this handy little guide for anyone who loves gin as much as me. Enjoy, and I'll see you in Dacantus?

The Top 10 of 2018 - Best Gin Bar




I'd love to take this opportunity to thank you so much for sharing our adventures in 2018 and I can't wait to discover even more beautiful places to share with you in 2019. I am currently working on my "must visit" list and have some real treats up my sleeve.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2019!
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