I have just returned from a mini-break in Northumberland with my friend Emma. (By which I mean we stayed overnight in Bamburgh and then worked our way back down the Northumberland coast the next day). We had an amazing time and I couldn't quite believe that all this gorgeousness is on our doorstep.

 

When I first moved to Newcastle, about 12 years ago, I was a bit disappointed as it was a lot smaller than Manchester and London where I'd lived before. But over the years, I've come to realise that Newcastle is a vibrant (and affordable) city full of friendly people and lots of cultural interest, nestled between fabulous beaches and stunning countryside. No wonder some of the world's best photographers live up here!

This led me to start making a list of some of the things I love about living in Newcastle:
  • I can walk from where I live to a country park and see deer, kingfishers and red kites.
  • Everybody thanks the bus driver.
  • When I'm in the city centre, I often bump into someone I know.
  • In half an hour I can be wandering alone on a beach enjoying the cry of the gulls and the crash of the waves.
  • Nowhere else has the Shoe Tree!
  • We were the only big city in England that didn't have riots in 2011.
  • I can drive through the city centre with relative ease and without insane traffic jams. I can also park without having to re-mortgage my house.
  • Barter Books, Britain's biggest and best second-hand bookshop, is a short drive away in Alnwick (and it's in an old station!).
  • There are loads of castles in Northumberland. I love castles.
  • I can afford to do a job I enjoy at a charity and still enjoy a really good quality of life.
  • Strangers will happily strike up a conversation with you, or point you in the right direction if you're lost.
  • There are quirky little cafes, an art house cinema, a community farm, art workshops, some great pubs, a beautiful park, an excellent live music venue and a vibrant amateur theatre all a very short walk from my flat.
  • The Lake District and many beautiful parts of Scotland aren't very far away.
  • If I really do need to go to a massive city, London is only 2 hours 50 mins on the train, so I can pop down for a bit but can also escape again when I've had enough.
So there it is - I love Newcastle, and the North East in general. Now all I need to do is pass my Geordie initiation test by correctly pronouncing the phrase: "Gannin doon the toon on the Metro to buy a photocopier with Jackie and Nicola"!