Behind the gram: New Girl in Toon
In a brand new series of interviews, HLN's Bekki Ramsay gets to know some of our favourite North East bloggers...
This week we’ve interviewed Chloe, otherwise known as the ‘New Girl in Toon’. For those that don’t know, Chloe started her blog back in 2013 with one aim – sharing her story as a girl from the South (Norfolk) as she falls in love with a city in the North (Newcastle).
Since then, sharing her daily trips and treats in Geordie Land has not only picked her up a following, of over 8,600 Instagram followers, but she’s now renowned as someone who knows everything happening in the North East.
But as an advocate for exploring every inch of the North East and a champion of supporting small businesses, how is Chloe adjusting to life on lockdown?
You’re an honorary Geordie as stated in your bio but for those that don’t know, why did you move to the North East?
I was living and working in London and then unexpectedly found myself in a long-distance online relationship with someone who was living in Newcastle. I was quick to tell him that I would never leave London for anyone and so for anything long-term to work, he would have to move down south.
But after visiting Newcastle, I realised pretty quickly how foolish I’d been. It wasn’t long before I’d fallen in love with the city and surrounding countryside – and of course, the man – and within a year, I’d decided to move to Newcastle.
I’m now happily married to this man, otherwise known as Simon, and have a fantastic new life in Newcastle. I definitely see myself staying here forever.
What a lovely start. What is it about the North East that you love so much?
So many things. The people are fantastic – I love that despite moving to a new city in my 30s, I’ve made so many incredible new friends. I’m not sure if that would happen quite as fast in other cities.
I also love the perfect balance of city, country and coast – I feel like we have a little bit of everything.
Sounds like you really do love exploring! Without the ability to do this in the current climate, have you taken up any other hobbies during lockdown? Or are you finding creative ways to ‘explore’ the North East from the comfort of your own home?
I love heading out on adventures so I was worried how I would manage to get through lockdown, but it’s actually been a great opportunity to slow down and discover new passions.
I’ve had a go at baking, learnt how to make the perfect jug of Pimm’s and I’ve also stumbled across some amazing pockets of beautiful countryside, just a walking distance from my front door.
I know you’re big on supporting small businesses, especially those based in the North East. Have you supported any since going into lockdown?
Yes! We are lucky to have so many incredible small businesses working so hard to give us the option of having delicious treats delivered to our doors during lockdown. Safe to say we’ve definitely taken advantage of this opportunity and have enjoyed some fantastic food from the comfort of our own home.
So far, we’ve had cakes delivered from Cake Stories, an afternoon tea from Café 1901, cookies from Cookie Freaks and ice-cream from Beckleberry’s. We may just be a household of sweet tooth’s in case you hadn’t noticed.
Once the lockdown is fully lifted and life can go back to as ‘normal’ as possible in the safest of manners, what are you looking forward to doing the most in the North East?
Simon and I have been talking a lot about booking a lovely overnight stay in one of our favourite hotels, such as Walwick Hall or Wynyard Hall. I’m also super keen to tick some things off my North East bucket list, which I haven’t managed to get around to since moving up here.
If anything, lockdown has made me realise how silly it is to put these experiences off, so I’m keen to go ghost hunting in Chillingham Castle. I also want to see the purple heather at Simonside and delve into the North East’s history by visiting the Victoria Tunnel.
Sounds exciting! As for now, what little luxuries are helping you get through lockdown?
I got a bath caddy for Christmas and have been making full use of it by loading it with tons of products. I’ve also been enjoying having time to try different bottles of rosé.
It’s definitely the simple things which are making me smile – such as the joy of not wearing make-up every day and allowing my hair to air dry.
What’s your go-to Greggs order?
Easy! Stotties! I once took packs down south for Christmas to hand out to my family.
Where’s your happy place in the North East?
Definitely Whitley Bay.
If you could only eat at one independent food business for the rest of your life, where would this be?
What is your favourite independent business in the North East (not food-related)?
For the Love of the North – I could spend a fortune in their shops.
Ant or Dec?
Any final words?
Relocating to the North East was the best thing that ever happened to me and I’m so happy that people have made me feel so welcome. I can’t imagine being anywhere else!
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