As if it’s three months since the start of lockdown. Looking back it seems a lifetime ago, yet at the time when we were only allowed outside for one hour a day it seemed uncertain when it would ever end. While June wasn’t quite as good weather wise as May, we’ve still spent a lot of it outside, something I don’t think I’ll ever take for granted again! Here’s what we’ve been getting up to over the last month.
Saturday 1st June was one of the hottest days yet, and we took our fabulous new picnic hamper up to Ingram Valley for the day. It was boiling, and quite busy up there but we got a secluded spot by the stream without too much trouble. We had an afternoon of picnicking, sunbathing and generally enjoying a much needed change of scenery. I might do a blog post on Ingram Valley, but I have already done one on our Andes picnic hamper. It was so useful!
Still on furlough while Kieran works means I’ve spent most of the week days pottering about. I’ve made some nice new dinners, and even finally caved and joined the banana bread bandwagon which passed an afternoon. Our walks in the evening and at weekends were still all we could really do before the restrictions eased more in mid June, so we did a few around Jesmond Dene, Tynemouth and of course the beach.
THe week when the weather was really bad was probably the one I struggled with the most, and it coincided with the video of George Floyd. I spent the whole week throwing myself into learning about racism and reading up or watching the programs that were being shared everywhere. If you haven’t yet I would really recommend watching some of the Netfix programs, Dear White People is a series and is really good at portraying the complex issues around racism.
On the Friday of that week I met up with three of the girls I work with for a very rainy walk through Jesmond Dene, and despite the downpour it really was the best thing I could have done. It was so good to see them, and we had a good catch up. I shared this blog post on why you should always force yourself to get outside for a walk even when the weathers bad, it makes such a difference to your mood.
As restrictions eased we got out and saw more people as the month went on, with a trip to Amble, and a few occasions where they came to us. The ice cream at Dibbley’s in Tynemouth is so good by the way, there’s loads of flavours, milk shakes, food and drinks that you can get to take away.
Tynemouth has become significantly more lively, with more places open for takeaway. The Priory even have music playing outside, and a great little hot dog and burger stand. Renee’s is also open, we had a sausage sandwich from there last week, and of course Lola Jeans is now open every day rather than just over the weekends.
We are still trying to support plenty local businesses, and it’s a lot easier now more can open up. We had our first Lola’s burger last week which was absolutely amazing, I can see why they keep winning battle of the burger. We did have a Nando’s and a McDonald’s once they opened, but we didn’t wait in any ridiculously long queues for hours. Both were exceptional!
The shops opened mid month, so a few days after they did I ventured up into Newcastle city centre for a look around, and to see what it was like. It was nice to be able to do it again, but it was a bit of a mixed experience, and I’ve not been back since. I’m only going to go if I need specific things, rather than for something to do like I always used to. I pulled together my thoughts on the socially distanced shopping experience here if you’re interested.
The main thing through June has been Kieran’s 30th. For a while I was really worried what we would be able to do if anything at all, and I had so many different scenarios planned to try and make it special. We decided to have a BBQ in his mums garden, with staggered guests throughout the afternoon. Before that on the Friday I arranged for him and two of his friends to play golf at Slaley Hall and he seemed to love that, he said it felt normal for a day.
The BBQ on the Saturday was a lot of fun, again it felt a bit more normal for a day having drinks and food with friends in the sunshine. He passed out drunk later on so I suppose he got the same 30th he would have had wherever we were!
The Sunday was his actual birthday and we spent it hungover. My main gift to him aside from the golf day was a trip to Paris. We were supposed to be in Palma this last week but we decided we didn’t want to postpone it for later this year. We have something else booked in September, and I don’t really want to travel somewhere that won’t be the same.
Instead I’ve booked Paris for next spring, a time of year that you just can’t beat in that city, and far enough ahead that hopefully it will all be ok by then. My lovely friend Laura Jayne Designs created me a gorgeous print of the itinerary I’ve planned, so I had something specific to give him on the day.
I’ve been thinking a lot about travel and the places I want to go to in future. I found from doing my virtual travel weekends on Instagram that there’s so many I’ve already been to that I really want to revisit. Usually I’m all for seeing new places, but there’s plenty reasons why you should go back. Now more than ever I think people will enjoy the familiar.
What I definitely don’t enjoy however is the increase in pointless instagram messages from online travel businesses. Of all the bloggers and travel lovers I know, I’ve yet to find one who enjoys this. One day with a particular irritation over this after so many messages, I wrote this on why it’s just unprofessional, rude and just plain annoying. One of those ranty posts but I feel it’s justified!
This last week of June Kieran had off, as it was when we should have been away, so instead we spent it having days out here. We spent an afternoon wandering through the Ouseburn which I loved, a few afternoons in gardens having drinks, another picnic this time at the Rising Sun, and a drive up to Craster for a walk to Dunstanburgh Castle.
It was a relaxing week, with lots of good food, plenty to drink, and rounded off with a takeaway Allards who never fail to disappoint. I’ll be writing up more posts with more details on some of our adventures soon.
On Saturday I celebrated one of my friends birthdays in her garden, for a BBQ in the rain. The bad weather didnt stop us and we had a great afternoon catching up over plenty bottles of Prosecco and wine. Kieran’s back to work this week so I’m trying to get back into a routine again, I’m doing lots of blog work, and trying to stay busy. We are also training Arthur to be on his own again, after 3 months of constant company it’s going to be interesting!
Who knows what July will bring, for the first time in a while we don’t have too much planned, and fingers crossed I’ll be back to work soon. I’m not immediately rushing back into pubs and restaurants from this weekend, the guidelines sound quite strict so I’m waiting a bit to see how it works out. I have been looking at a potential hotel stay later on in summer, so I put together this guide to some of the best deals coming up in the North East hotels when they reopen.
Hope however you spend yours that you have a great July!