Thursday 31 January 2019

My January Days

This includes collaborations with The Amble Inn and Helenlee Loves

I'm quite tempted to pop open a bottle of something fizzy tonight because, at last, we are at the end of January. Is it just me or was that a particularly tough one? An endless month, a six week wait for pay day and our first snow fall of the year - I'm very happy that we're done! Here are a few things that didn't make the blog this month.

The Fish Shack

I have lost count of the amount of times we've walked past the Fish Shack in Amble and I've said to Simon "oooh I really want to go there!" so when we found ourselves in the coastal town overnight I knew it was the perfect excuse to finally book ourselves a table. I am so happy that the Fish Shack open in the evening because if you thought the little wooden shack on the harbour looks cute during the day it's something else in the evening. With the ceiling decked out in fishing nets and fairy lights it's the perfect setting on a Winter's night and we stuffed ourselves silly with huge platters of fish and chips - absolutely lush, we will return!

My January Days - Fish Shack Amble

Solo Drives

My biggest achievement of the month was starting my New Year's Resolution of driving our car. Driving might not be the biggest deal for most people but if any of you've had a long break away from the wheel I'm sure you will understand where I'm coming from. Having lived in London for years with no need for a car I've really lost my nerve since moving to the North East but I've realised that I need to get my independence back and stop letting Simon chauffeur me round. My first trip of the year was a nice short drive to North Tyneside where I spent a wonderful day solo strolling the coastal road and indulged in plenty of coffee stops.  Here's to many more hours of adventures in the car!

My January Days - Tynemouth The View

Carvery at the Amble Inn

We enjoyed our first staycation of the year with an overnight stay at the brand new Amble Inn - the perfect spot for a Northumberland stay (it's very conveniently located at the gateway to the Northumberland coastal route) and after a lovely night's sleep we indulged in their first Carvery and wow it was good! Have to say I love a good "help yourself" and the opportunity to take a silly amount of roasties and hold off on the green veg is my idea of a Sunday well spent. Their carvery starts from £9.95 and is well worth a go if you're planning a walk out in Northumberland on a Sunday.

My January Days - Amble Inn

Gin Tray

Went to Ikea to look at wardrobes and came out with a gold tray for my gin - as you do! There's definitely been no dry January in our house and I have to say since putting together my gin tray I've been drinking more because everything I need is now in such easy reach. I've been getting very fancy every weekend drinking huge glasses of G&T with plenty of ice and a variety of garnishes and fruit - not sure I'll ever need to go out again!

My January Days - Gin Tray

Coffee at Rene's

I love discovering new places and quite often I have Instagram to thank for introducing me to the cutest spots that I never knew existed. This month I spent a lovely afternoon in Rene's of Tynemouth, the loveliest little coffee shop which is not only Instagram heaven (just try and resist taking a photo of your coffee in front of the wall prints and twinkling lights!) but also does a damn good cup of coffee. Unfortunately on this visit I didn't have room for any food so I will need to return soon for a little something, I had a mooch at the sweet treats and they looked very good.

My January Days - Coffee at Renes

Wardrobe Clearout 

Following my Style Makeover with Helenlee Loves at the end of last year she very kindly came over to help me out with my New Year declutter. We were ruthless in our clear out and I've been left with the tidy wardrobe of my dreams which has just been the best start to the year. She also gave me the most amazing tips to keep my space clear and I have to say starting your New Year with a good sort out does wonders for the mind. Following this I then got hooked on Marie Kondo on Netflix and am currently driving Simon mad by folding all of his t-shirts (if you know, you know!)

My January Days - Helenlee Loves

Warkworth Walks

Last Summer, when we spent a lot of our time driving the Northumberland Coastal Route, I was always envious of all the people walking out in the sunshine from Amble to Warkworth - surely one of the prettiest (and easiest) walks in Northumberland I've been wanting to do it ever since and we decided to give it a go one particularly blustery January morning. Although absolutely freezing, particularly for Simon who had forgotten his coat, it lived up to its expectations and once we'd warmed up with a cup of tea in a very quaint old tea room we agreed we'd love to do it again when the weather is warmer!

My January Days - Amble

For more adventures from New Girl in Toon make sure you follow me on Instagram. I post a new photo every day and you'll find video diaries featuring all my favourite North East adventures in my highlights.

This post included collaborations with The Amble Inn (complimentary hotel stay and carvery) and Helenlee Loves (complimentary styling service)

Wednesday 23 January 2019

How the North East is helping me to Beat SAD and the Winter Blues

This post includes collaborations with Katherine's Florists and Helenlee Loves

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I have been suffering very badly from SAD this Winter. It makes an appearance ever year however this time it came pre Christmas and took me completely by surprise - it left me feeling very low, tired and emotional and getting up each day to carry on as usual actually became a bit of a struggle. In an attempt to put myself back on track for 2019 I've been investing a lot of time in coming up with ways to beat SAD and the Winter Blues and the North East has really been helpful

Whilst I most certainly have my newly purchased Lumi light and sunrise clock to thank for helping me during the week - I have, for some reason, found weekends particularly hard and that's where I've been using my love for the North East to help pull me through the darker times.

How the North East is helping me to Beat SAD and the Winter Blues
If any of you are suffering from SAD this Winter, I thought you might appreciate reading how the North East is helping me to beat the Winter Blues.

Health Kicks in the North East

Starting with an obvious one, eating well and regularly exercising truly does help to keep things in life looking a little brighter. As much as eating cake and slobbing about watching Netflix sometimes seems very tempting I know that if I eat good quality fresh food and then push myself to do some exercise it will inevitably help me to get out of my funk. It's not always the easiest thing to do but the results are almost instant, something I have to constantly remind myself!

Check out my guide to Healthy Eating and and Fitness in the North Here.

Signs of Spring in Newcastle

I try to remind myself that Spring is just round the corner and so I wont feel this awful forever, and when that just isn't enough I enjoy heading somewhere where Spring has arrived early. Katherine's Florists have stores in Newcastle and Gosforth and they are an ideal place to go for bright blooms to brighten up your home. Their Spring collection has just arrived, the store is filled with the most vibrant colours and beautiful smells. Buying yourself a bunch of flowers will instantly give you a lift. At the moment I have the most beautiful simple bouquet from Katherine's on my coffee table - pink tulips, white roses and purple hyacinth - a daily reminder that Spring will soon be here!

Discover more about Katherine's Florists Spring Range here.

North East Winter Blues - Katherines Florists

Fresh Sea Air in Whitley Bay

I think it's important for everyone to have a happy place where they live, somewhere to escape to when you're struggling and for me it's Whitley Bay. I honestly can't tell you how important the little seaside town has become to me - I go there to clear my head and if I'm feeling sad a brisk walk in the sea air whilst doing a spot of dog watching and enjoying a coffee in a cosy local cafe is an instant fix. There's something so peaceful about being by the sea and with such a huge stretch of coastline in the North East there are plenty of beauty spots to choose from. Whether it's the bustle of North Tyneside or the serene views of Northumberland, there's no better cure for the Winter Blues.

Walking in Northumberland

We are so spoilt here in the North East and have miles and miles of beautiful walks and there really is no need to wait for the warmer months before getting out for an explore. Crisp Winter days in Northumberland can be stunning and without the throngs of tourists, our pretty villages can be deserted - you will have the hills to yourself and those picture perfect views will offer you hours of peace and quiet to recharge your batteries. Pack a flask of tea, take your favourite person and walk for miles!

To find out more about some of our favourite Northumberland walks in our guides:  Hareshaw Linn Waterfall, Low Newton Coastal Walk and Hadrian's Wall

North East Winter Blues - Hadrians Wall

Escape to Barter Books

Of course when the days are particularly dark, it's freezing cold and the rain is pelting down it's not always easy to get out and about in the fresh air and on those days I love to escape somewhere that's not only dry and cosy but also inspires me and makes me happy. Everyone has different triggers when it comes to SAD and for me being cooped up indoors always brings it on so to have somewhere indoors to escape to that doesn't make me feel worse is important. Barter Books in Alnwick is a perfect indoor escape - dry and warm yet the beautiful rows of book shelves make for a great adventure and curling up in the corner with something new to read is a great way to pass the Winter.

Fresh Starts with Helenlee Loves

I'm definitely embracing the "tidy house, tidy mind" theory this January and have been having a major clean of my house and it really does make you feel better. I spent a very productive afternoon with local stylist Helenlee Loves tidying out my wardrobe and taking out any clothes that didn't make me feel great. When you're feeling sad making the effort to make your home somewhere welcoming and tidy does wonders for your state of mind. I'm loving only having a wardrobe of clothes that make me happy and not having clutter all over my bedroom makes me feel so much calmer in the mornings and I tend to find that if I have a nice start to the morning my day gets off to the very best start and I'm far less likely to suffer later in the day.

Read more about my Style Makeover with Helenlee Loves here

North East Winter Blues - Helenlee Loves

Pamper at a North East Spa

We have a lot of wonderful spas in the North East and this is the perfect time to book yourself in for a pamper. I highly recommend booking a day with your other half or choosing a friend who brings out the very best in you and commit yourselves to a few hours of lounging about reading magazines, relaxing in the steam room and, if your'e feeling extra fancy, maybe even book in for a massage. As someone who finds it hard to really relax this is one of my favourite treats in the Winter months.

To find out more about some of my favourite North East Spas check out my reviews of Wynyard Hall, Rockliffe Hall and The Garage Spa

Make a North East Bucket List for the Year

To keep myself busy in the Winter months I do enjoy a good planning session so that I can have something to look forward to. Whilst we don't all have the money to be booking holidays to the sunshine in January, making a Bucket List for the North East is a very easy and cheap way of giving yourself things to look forward to. There are so many great things to do in the region and I find that by taking the time out in January to make a proper plan we actually get to tick things off the list. I'm working on my 2019 list and whenever I feel sad I look ahead to our future plans and it makes me feel a little better.

North East Winter Blues

I can't promise that any of these things are an instant cure and, in all honesty, I'm still taking each day as it comes with some days being far harder than others, but whilst we sit and count down the days to the arrival of Spring I hope that this gives you a little bit of inspiration to help pull you through.

If you've suffered from SAD this Winter and have any of your own tips of how to deal with it I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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.

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


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
TS18 3RN

This post was sponsored by Preston Park Museum.

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

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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