I moved to the North East in 1996 for a job, settling in Newcastle. I met and married my lovely husband, Charles, and 17 years and two terrific children (Cat and Dan) later, I have never looked back!
I moved around a lot as a child and Newcastle is the one place that has really felt like home to me. It is such a vibrant city but has the wonderful Town Moor as an integral part so I always feel I am never far from the country. The architecture in town is amazing too. John Dobson’s Grey Street is truly majestic and contrasts vividly with the newly-developed Quayside – also breath-taking, especially when seen from the top of Sage Gateshead.
Since I have lived in the North East, I have met so many lovely people and have made some lifelong friends – I feel so fortunate to be living in this wonderful part of the country.
The best thing about living and working in the North East is working for a highly-professional, dynamic and forward-thinking organisation. Queensway evolved from a four-surgery dental practice in Billingham and, thanks to the vision of Paul Averley, is now a multi-disciplinary specialist clinic on three sites in Billingham, Darlington and most recently, Jesmond.
Carruthers and Kent is a fantastic enoteca just off Gosforth High Street. Owners Mo, Claire, Andy and the team are so friendly and welcoming – it is a great venue to go for a glass of good wine along with a plate of delicious food. It is the perfect place to meet friends for a catch-up.
Fenwick’s food hall is a cornucopia of wonderful produce and I thoroughly enjoy going to browse there, stock up on esoteric ingredients (I love to cook) and then sit down for a little something (the Happy Hour Oysters are fantastic value). The meat and fish is so fresh and the cakes are to die for – what else can a person need?
The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is a wonderfully-restored space with fantastic exhibitions, hands-on workshops and lovely restaurants. It holds a special place in my heart as Charles and I had our wedding reception there in 2003. All my Southern friends and relatives were extremely impressed when the beautifully-lit Millennium Bridge went up – they thought we had organised it especially!
The best view in the North East is from Cow Hill on the Town Moor. On a clear day, the panoramic view is extraordinary – you can see almost to the coast. I like to run (slowly) up there with my son, Dan, and we catch our breath at the top, drinking in the wonderful view.
My ‘hidden gem’ is my lovely hairdresser, Green Ginger, which is tucked away in Higham Place, opposite the Laing art gallery. Rusti and her team are fantastically talented and she has looked after my hair for 20 years.
I do the parkrun on the Town Moor most Saturday mornings. I plod round while my husband races round after Dan, our son, who is lightening fast. There are always plenty of friends and familiar faces to catch up with – it is a truly joyful family event.
If I could change anything in the North East, it would be the cold weather. My husband still calls me a ‘Southern softy’ but I can manage with just one ‘gansey’ occasionally – in spring and summer!