Girl and the North East Wedding

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Crook Hall North East Wedding Venue on Girl in the North

I mentioned briefly in my last post that I don't write anywhere near as much as I used to, or come to think of it, anywhere near as much as I'd like to. Perhaps it's all part of getting older but I seem to have much less time than I used to!

So where have I been this time you ask? Well, four days after my last post, it was my birthday and something that still gives me butterflies when thinking about it happened. Whilst I would love to give you the full story in all it's glory (I'll keep that for another time), the shortened version is my partner in crime appeared in the living room with a birthday cake topped with a ring! I'm not sure how I coped keeping it a secret for a whole week but I managed and didn't put my foot in it once.

So I said yes, as you'll have already guessed or seen on Instagram. I knew Jay was the boy for me from the moment he took me for a parmo for our first date. The original plan was to have a long engagement, save more money and well pin more things to my Pinterest. However fate has played a hand throughout our entire relationship and sure enough, a last minute cancellation in the venue of our dreams (Crook Hall) meant before we knew it, we were getting married this July!

Everyone keeps asking me if I am stressed about planning a wedding, or if I'm pregnant and the answer, just so we're clear is no to both. It's been a doddle to be honest and lots of fun. There has been lots of meetings though and this combined with normal life and work and then a diagnosis of CFS for me has meant that while I had every intention of writing the next part of the story... it got put on the back burner and before I knew it, I had other things to write about online.

So apologies now that Girl in the North might become a wedding blog for a few months but as a soon-to-be bride I've been seeing a whole new side to the North East that I've never experienced before. There's so many wedding fayres, boutiques, craft stores and outlets I never knew existed that everyone should know about and I plan to come onto them later and I absolutely promise not to leave it till after the wedding, honest!

Where Girl in the North Began...

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Girl in the North

Just before Christmas I was invited to do a few lectures at a University and a College which all were all around a similar theme, ‘my career.’ I pulled together a few slides for a presentation and tried to think back to when I realised I wanted to work in digital. It wasn’t hard because I’ve known since I first got my hands on a computer!

I was lucky that my parents recognised that technology was going to be massively important for me in the future and they upgraded our Commodore 64 to an Acorn when I was still in primary school (I'm giving away my age here). It was in our dining room and being the creative soul I am, I used to host imaginary classes on how to use the computer to my imaginary students.

The PC was upgraded again when I went to secondary school and that was when I was first introduced to the internet - it was fascinating! No one at school agreed however, so my Mom enrolled me in a six week after-school course at a local college where I learnt how to use a search engine and browse the world wide web. For some reason one night, the computer I was using broke and the tutor let me use their PC instead which had a lot more programmes available and I came across Paint Shop Pro.

I managed to get my hands on a copy of PSP at home and I was hooked. Once I'd mastered making pretty looking things, I wanted to get them online and that was when I discovered code. I got myself a Geocities account and I began to write, not just html but about my life and what I was up to... an online diary as such. I progressed round various hosting sites, I had livejournals and deadjournals and domains which were named things that make me feel a bit queasy now. I experimented with different codes as they developed, had a Six Degrees account (the first ever social network), met people in online chatrooms (some of whom are still lifelong friends), discovered Adobe and I still hadn't even had my 14th birthday!

My PC's couldn't keep up with me and my parents were sick of the fact the phone line was constantly blocked but for some reason and I'm very thankful they did... they let me. I was obsessed with learning all things internet and throughout my teens I continued to learn and to write my 'online diaries.' They came in very different looks and on different sites which I'm sure if I tried hard enough I'd still be able to find. During school I suffered at the hands of some bullies who eventually found my online life but it didn't stop me. I did an apprenticeship, went to college and then to uni when I eventually decided to create a dedicated Girl in the North website.

The idea stemmed from three places: I wanted somewhere to write and to practice what I was learning and also people kept complaining there was nothing to do in the city I was living in and I wanted to prove them wrong. Finally I wanted a job.

So I hoped and figured that my blog could help me do that and I'm pleased to say that it did! I kept writing and learning and soaking up all the information I could until I bagged that dream job at the end of my degree and even then I kept learning new things.

I often get asked about the perks of blogging and yeah, they're a few! It's nice to get invited to places sometimes and even though I'm no fashion or beauty blogger, I love doing reviews! I have always wanted Girl in the North to be a positive place and so I adopted the policy if it ain't nice I won't write about it and so far it's worked. The one thing people always do ask now is why? And I guess it's because I've been doing it for so long that I don't really know how to stop!

Writing online / blogging for over 17 years has taught me lots and I don't just mean about the experimenting with code and battling with Photoshop! It's given me people skills, made me realise not everyone will like me, taught me to network and to accept what I can and can't change and probably most importantly how to take criticism. And this all leads me to my next story...

Spa in the City

Monday, 8 February 2016

Mineral House Spa

Katy Trouble Mineral House Spa

Spa days are my favourite kind of days.

Between myself and my Mom, there are few in the North East that we haven't been to. It's our one treat to ourselves and it's always nice to spend a bit of a girlie day together!

Our favourite spa haunts have up until now tended to be in a stately building out in the countryside - the kind where mobile signal is non-existent and you can really get away from the hustle and bustle. So we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle. We headed downstairs to the Mineral House where our mobile signal swiftly disappeared (don't worry, there is free wifi if you can't live without it).

We headed straight past the gym (hah) to the changing rooms where we were given the fluffiest dressing gowns and towels and were told we had the place pretty much to ourselves all day.

fun in the pool

So we took full advantage of the steam room and jacuzzi, and I had lots of fun playing in the pool.

Our treatments were heavenly. I don't know if you've ever experienced a 'wishy washy massage...?' You know the kind where you enjoy it but you don't feel like you got much from it. There's none of that at Mineral House.

I had an express facial and an Aromatic Back Massage and I slept like a baby that night. My skin felt incredible and all my tension (from hunching over a computer for years at work) disappeared.

Mummy Trouble said it was the best treatment she'd ever had in a spa - so if you don't believe me, you've got her word to go on!

It was exactly what the doctor ordered and we had the most blissful day. So much so, I've already got plans to go back with J for their brand new 'Spa in the City' offer.

Please note Mineral House did provide me with a complimentary trip for the purpose of review. Although this post is sponsored the above ramblings are my 100% honest opinion.

Soap & Glory Goodies

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Soap & Glory Product Review

Every year at Christmas since I hit my late teens, my Mom has always gone out and bought me the amazing Soap & Glory Boots trunk of goodies! If you know Soap & Glory, then you know which one I mean (and if you don't you need to make sure you read this post again before Christmas)! It's so so good and stuffed to the brim with body butters and facial products that all smell good enough to eat!

So back before the festive season I received an email inviting me along to a S&G event taking place in the Metro Centre. Unfortunately my Dad took a turn for the worst and I never made it along but I did receive a lovely early Christmas treat in the post! And as I explained in my last post, I've been meaning to write about it for a while but never got around to it.

Since receiving the goodies I've been testing them out and I have now completely converted to using the Total Drama Clean Cleansing Water. I don't really wear much make-up on a day to day basis but this stuff slices through my mascara and makes my skin feel super clean before bed.

I'm equally as addicted to the Fruitgo body mist, which now lives in my gym bag on rotation with another few that I already had... all the body mists smell divine! The Archery Brow Tint Crayons are amazing according to my Mom - if you know me well enough, you'll know I have no need for these as my eyebrows are 'tattooed' thanks to the lovely Yemanya. So you're going to have to take my Mom's word for it! I haven't yet tried the speed plump moisturiser, purely because I haven't run out of the one I'm using just yet.

My absolute favourite and staple make-up bag piece however is Sexy Mother Pucker. It doesn't really need me to tell you about it, it does what it says on the tin and I love it, as do millions of other bloggers. So the bathroom in my house is now absolutely full to the brim with the famous pink lotions and potions bottles, much to J's disapproval (I'm sure he sneaks some bubble bath every now and again). After all, who wouldn't want to smell like a sweet shop!?

Please note Soap & Glory did provide me with these complimentary products. Although this post is sponsored the above ramblings are my 100% honest opinion.