Mandy Charlton - Photographer, Writer, Blogger

Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

This blog post contains no drama...

This blog post contains no drama, I just thought I would sit and write an update on a sunny June morning whilst the world is quiet and calm.  It's been the sunniest of weeks and life has had a gentle but upbeat pace for a little while and I for one, well I'm there for it, it's about time.  My businesses are far from perfect thanks to the "Pandemilovato" which just keeps on giving but last night there was at least an update that weddings have had the 30 guest restriction lifted so I hope this gives the couples the confidence they need to go ahead with booking their weddings and hopefully, me as their photographer.

Yesterday, after last week sorting out my wardrobe, taking 6 black bags to the charity shop and throwing away 3 black bags of rubbish, I commenced my quest to shrink myself enough to be able to wear all of the beautiful clothes I have left in the said wardrobe.

Mandy Charlton wears a gorgeous acai berry necklace, eco friendly from Philomena's Gift Boutique, a gift boutique full of gorgeous things for you and your home
Gorgeous necklace available from Philomena's Boutique

I have so many gorgeous dresses which just require a 2-inch shrinkage, I'm not going to get all obsessed about it but for a year I've not exercised enough and I've comfort eaten the contents of my home 132 times over.  I did spend a significant part of that scared to go outside and I think we're all a little heavier post lockdowns but I'm fully vaccinated now and I once again have things in my calendar I can wear dresses too so Pinch of Nom, Two Chubby Cubs recipe books and making sure I walk at least 10k steps every day and I reckon it's going to happen pretty quickly, (she said, hoping).

In February 2020 after being single pretty much since September 2014 I openly declared that I was healed, that I'd worked on myself enough and that I was ready to try dating again, I still maintain to this day that this statement did not make the pandemic occur nor did it make lockdown happen.  What actually happened was that I had another year to work on myself and honestly, I am in such great shape with my mental health, I've never been more stable.  In January I even got to reduce my meds to a half dose, and yeah, I will always have to take them but I'm about as well balanced as I could be and if this last year has taught me anything it's that I am at my best with lovely people in my life and that I don't want to be single for the rest of my life.  

Humans thrive in the right relationships, they bring out the best in each other, it doesn't mean they have to overwhelm each other's lives or be together 24/7 but I think (and I'm really channelling Simone De Beauvoir here) the right couple will enhance each other's lives, they will both have separate lives and go off and do amazing things and then they will come together and share those experiences, teaching each other things that the other might not know and when they are together because they're always growing and learning, they will be unstoppable.  No relationship will ever be perfect but if I've learnt anything from the past it's that if you can't communicate then you will always fail and that's the same for friendships and family relationships.  

I'm probably the least scared I've ever been about the future which is a huge statement for someone with anxiety but honestly, my anxiety levels have been much better lately and even using the metro seems to be a little easier.  I'm not saying I wouldn't feel scared in a crowd of thousands but I at least feel like when I go back to shooting full sized weddings soon with lots of guests that it will be okay.  My plan now is to hopefully take on more weddings, keep running the boutique but to do it all at a pace where I can squeeze in a great work life balance.  I gave up a lot in the past and really, photography will always be weekends but by taking less on and only really working 1 day at weekends I feel like I can achieve the peaceful, gentle and fulfilling life I really want to live.  It's not all about money, it never has been, it's about finding inner happiness, not worrying and about feeling genuinely fulfilled in my heart and soul.

Happiness, that's the real meaning of life and that starts with self acceptance, a little self love and learning to enjoy and appreciate the people and things you already have in your life for if you keep chasing happiness like it's always one more step and then you'll be happy, you never will be truly happy, it's taken me a long time to realise that but the future starts now.


Friday, June 04, 2021

What I did in May (ish)

The Whey Aye burger, Hardrock Cafe, Newcastle, mandy Charlton photographer, writer, blogger

Consider this a catchup post if you will,  what I did in May, it's one of those posts dear reader, when, I'll be honest, I just could never sit down to write in the last month, it's not that I didn't have things to write about, it's that I couldn't find the time or concentration to write about them.  My usually distracted brain was even less capable of concentrating than usual so let's just round that all up now.

During the last month, I found a new gentle rhythm to my life and about time really, life was slow and steady and it contained lovely people.  I walked as much as I could and when it was with friends it was even better.  My life had zero drama in it and my goodness, that's so refreshing.  I didn't have to walk on eggshells with anyone, I was just me and that was okay.

I finally managed to catch up with a couple of dear friends I'd not seen during the pandemic but now we're all fully vaccinated we can once again enjoy each other's company.  I'll skip most of May as I don't really remember it but I did go to the press launch of the Hardrock Cafe in Newcastle which was amazing, I've been a fan of the Hardrock Cafe brand for years and I find it quite refreshing that the Hardrock Cafe in Newcastle is light and airy with shades of grey and turquoise.  The menu is delicious and the "Whey Aye Burger" is the star regional attraction.  You can sit next to Taylor Swift's dress or Ed Sheeran's jacket, you can even read a love letter sent from Amy Whinehouse to her husband at the time.  It's a very special place and it's no surprise that it seems to be booked solid.  Abi and I tried to get a table this Saturday and it was fully booked until later than I usually like to eat.  We shall go though, and yes there will be margaritas in Kilner jars.

On Friday my old friend Ron came over for a live stream concert straight from Sage Gateshead.  In this year of pandemonium, the thing I have missed most of all is live music, and especially the crescendo of an orchestra.  We were invited by Sage Gateshead and they were also kind enough to send us a Sage Hamper fresh from Blacks Corner, a deli based in the northeast of England who they've partnered with to make concerts at home just that little bit more special.  I can tell you, the cheese we were sent was perfection and John Wilson's Summer Songs concert was a most brilliant start to the bank holiday weekend.  Sage Gateshead is actually making their first tentative steps back to having live concerts with audiences and they have a Bach to Bach concert on Friday 11th of June.  Even though they will only have an audience of 300 to begin with I feel like it's a beacon of hope and I hope that I will be able to get back inside one of the magical concert halls soon for some beautiful melodious music as soon as possible.  It's also very possible that in the future Sage will not only have live concerts but they will also continue to use the live stream facility to bring musical performances to audiences who have never been previously able to partake.  This excites me as the more you people you can bring music to, the better the world is in my opinion.  I would like to also state at this point (as I have on many previous occasions before) that I am an absolute RHS orchestra fangirl and my absolute favourite orchestra member to watch at concerts is the Timpanist, there's something magical about the Timpani as it's an instrument no one would ever grow up wanting to play due to the size of the set of Timpani drums but I've always been a bit of a fan of percussion and tuned percussion.

Over the rest of the weekend, I refreshed my hanging baskets, and on Sunday I went for a walk to Rothbury with Li continuing our 40 coasts and country walks book, I'm not sure we actually did the walk in the book but it was so much fun getting lost.  After breaking in (and out) of Cragside accidentally we've now both rejoined the National Trust as penance and so maybe this weekend we should just play it safe and go to a National Trust property.  On bank holiday Monday, I went to the Punchbowl with friends, I think this may have been my first ever time going to the pub on a bank holiday Monday afternoon, I had 4 gins but by the time I walked home I was sober again, it was such a wonderful afternoon and a reminder that good friends are a wonderful thing.  On Tuesday still, in my happy vibe, I took a chance and did a scary thing and met a new person for a walk, I'm not one for meeting new people and certainly not on my own but it was so much better than I ever imagined it could be, a testament to the fact that sometimes it's worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone because there are good things and new experiences to be found.

This weekend I am back to photography and have a busy June but there will still be time for walks with friends and shenanigans in the sunshine with gin or a crisp cool glass of rose, I've never really been a massive rose fan but on a warm evening, it's the perfect accompaniment.  I promise to try and do more updates in June and with any luck, it will be another gentle and lovely month, here's hoping!

Ways to support my writing

If you have enjoyed this article or found it useful and would like to support my writing I'd love a virtual coffee

I also have a lovely Facebook group I'd love you to come and join 

You could also come and follow me on Instagram  keep up with my adventures, I really am grateful for all

of your love and support.

Oh and of course, you could just treat yourself to something lovely from Philomena's Boutique, my gift boutique


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

A turbulent and troublesome week?

The Kelpies as a storm is coming, A turbulent and troublesome week, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

It's 7pm on an average Saturday evening, I'm watching Rocketman (because musicals make me happy) and eating a pork pie, yes, old school Ploughmans, don't worry I'm accompanying it with cucumber and some salted popcorn, I like to mix things up a little. I want to say it's been a turbulent and troublesome week but really it hasn't, mostly it's been filled with adventure and lots of walking.  Lots and lots of walking.  I saw the Kelpies, I went on the Falkirk Wheel, I took myself to the Botanic Gardens and felt happy as I walked, surrounded by nature feeling the sunshine on my skin the weather was colder than normal for this time of year.  

When I travel alone, I don't really get too many pangs of loneliness but I always wish I could share sunsets or beautiful vistas with someone special. It's taken me a long time in my life to find friends, I still struggle with the complexities of friendship, Abigail said to me, and quite rightly, that to be friends with me you have to understand that I see the world in a completely different way to everyone else.  I'd like to try and illustrate that but I can't because I've never lived that ordinary, neurotypical life.  I have wished on more than one occasion to just be like everyone else but no one has that magic wand and over the last couple of years, I've been increasingly interested in just trying to embrace all of my divergences and love myself more.

Look, this is as plainly as I can explain it but, on a good day my life is glorious technicolour, everything is vibrant, food tastes better, flowers smell amazing and I want to sing my way through the day (quite possibly why I love musicals so much).  I am confident that I have so many plans and ideas, and I can truly conquer the world.  On the good days, I am funny and great company to be with.  The flipside however is a dark and lonely place.  On the dark days, I am lonely, I am anxious, everything and everyone is grey, nothing holds any interest to me and I can't concentrate on anything or anyone.  You might assume I don't listen to people, but I'm trying so hard and failing. The flipside of me is a dark chasm, I assume everyone hates me and I'm suspicious of everything.  I have no energy, I eat everything in sight and all I want to do is sleep for days.

That paragraph is perhaps an oversimplification of how my general life works but should you have a spare half hour, please go and watch season 1, episode 3 of Modern Love, Anne Hathaway's interpretation of being a bipolar woman is my life entire.  Of course, I am medicated for that but what I'm not medicated for is the autistic part of my brain and when you put everything together, even with medication I can be a difficult and complicated person to love.

In some ways now, I think if I could just switch off that lonely part of my brain, the Achilles heel, I would do furthermore extraordinary things on my own and I would not worry that I was missing out on the things that neurotypical people enjoy so much.  Like visits to the pub and parties and crowds.  I do like occasional nights in the pub, I love to throw a good party but they all have parameters where I become exhausted and it can take me a week to recover from excessive peopling.

Look, I won't say, it's hard to be me because really, it's hard to be a human, especially this last year, sometimes it's been an emotional battle just to want to go on, to continue to not just give up completely but I am still here.  

It's now Tuesday and I went to bed very early last night because I could not deal with the day or the weekend any longer, I just wanted to sleep and forget, when I am depressed, the bed is my cocoon, sleep is the thing I love most and this morning outside it is gloomy.  The rain is falling and splashing against the window.  The cherry blossom still blooms though, it hangs heavy and abundant in the trees outside my window on the ugly urban estate on which I live, it reminds me that beautiful things still happen even on the darkest of days and as someone once said, what if things aren't falling apart? What if things are just shifting into a better place?

Thanks for reading, today and every day...

Ways to support my writing

If you have enjoyed this article or found it useful and would like to support my writing I'd love a virtual coffee

I also have a lovely Facebook group I'd love you to come and join 

You could also come and follow me on Instagram  keep up with my adventures, I really am grateful for all

of your love and support.

Oh and of course, you could just treat yourself to something lovely from Philomena's Boutique, my gift boutique

which is diverse, sustainable and totally lush!


Monday, April 26, 2021

Post-lockdown trip to Edinburgh - Part 2

So here I am, in bed at 8pm at night in a tiny wee apartment 4 floors up a winding spiral stone staircase, it was very much like climbing up the Scott Monument and I wasn't sure if I'd be sleeping in Rapunzel's turret.  Suffice to say, with a heavy case, when I made it to my room I did for a moment think I'd require a defibrillator. I sent Abigail the photo and she begged me to be careful, you know I can't even bring a bin in without having an accident.  There's no light on the staircase that I could see so I shall be only attempting this bad boy during daylight hours!

post-lockdown trip to edinburgh part 2, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

I actually didn't take a photo of the apartments because I was too busy doing a TikTok video instead, click through if you'd like a nosy, it's called the Robert The Bruce Suite and it's old, really old so I hope I don't get visited by any ghosts of marauding Scotsmen!

I should add that I think for £29 a night I got an absolute bargain and you can bet that it's quadruple the price ordinarily.

Since I arrived this afternoon I've done a good 15km walk but it had no purpose and I always seem to stress myself out when I walk with no purpose.  I'll be honest because I want to always be real.  My head is all over the place.  I was too anxious to go to any shops or cafes or restaurants. I did manage a takeaway Starbucks at teatime though.   From today you can actually eat indoors in restaurants in Scotland although alcohol is only served outdoors.  I think it's going to take me some time to adjust.

Cherry Blossom in Princes Street Garden, Post Lockdown trip to edinburgh, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger

The good thing about today is that Edinburgh has never seemed more beautiful, it's blossom season and Princes Street Gardens were abundant with cherry blossom, I sat for a while in the shadow of the castle and enjoyed a moment of sunshine and calm.  Edinburgh is the quietest I've ever seen it and that's good and bad, good, because I'm not ready for a hectic, crazy place just yet but bad because it doesn't seem like normal Edinburgh and that in itself is a little unsettling.

Tomorrow, I haven't quite decided what to do yet, I know I want to visit the Kelpies, the Falkirk Wheel and South Queensferry to view the Forth Bridge but I also feel like where my head is at the moment I might be better off getting myself on a bus tour for the day and then I don't have to worry about anything other than getting myself to the bus! Whatever I do though, you can be sure there will be photos.

New College Edinburgh, Mandy Charlton, photographer, writer, blogger


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Post-lockdown trip to Edinburgh part 1

Edinburgh in the fog in cherry blossom season, post lockdown trip, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Some people craved for the shops to reopen, some people craved for a beer in their hands in a pub, not me, the one thing I wanted to do was travel again and not just travel but to Scotland.

It's funny that each time I have an existential crisis I immediately head to Scotland at the first opportunity and with everything that's gone on in the last year, it's been thoughts of Scottish trips that have kept me going.  I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in the Highlands in late August and it really helped me to find myself again.  Over this last year, I have on one hand been hyper-focused on the person who I am and the person who I want to be but at the same time with the gaslighting and coercive messages to keep us in our homes, I feel the need to break free and reclaim my independence.

The first legal day we can return to Scotland is Monday, April 26th, and so I'm booked on a train to Edinburgh for a few days.  I have a new book of walks around Edinburgh, some that I've never done before and I have a yearning to finally visit The Kelpies in Falkirk. I am vaccinated and I will be carrying a box of lateral flow tests but for the most part, I'm pretty risk-free, I live like a hermit only enjoying the outdoor life and I will not be doing any mad shopping trips or even eating out, I shall be living on whatever I can pick up at the supermarket and having packed lunches/dinners.

The great thing about opening up again was that I knew that the early bird would get the travel bargains and so I managed to book an apartment on the Royal Mile next to the castle for £29 a night.  I'm going tomorrow afternoon until Friday and I haven't been to Edinburgh since December 2019.  It's probably longer than any other gap between visits as I usually head up at least 3 or 4 times a year.

I am happiest when I am travelling or having an adventure and I know now that I have no aim to be the richest person on earth but I want to always be free, being free is my ultimate life goal.  For much of my life I have ended up in situations where I've felt trapped and I've reclaimed that freedom over and over but really, there's nothing like reclaiming your freedom from the top of a big hill and this time, finally, I am determined to climb Arthur's Seat.  Nothing is going to stop me!

Travel in a post lockdown world is actually a pleasure, generally, apartments are super clean, the trains are empty and the streets are quiet, this is my chance to see Edinburgh without the craziness of the usual flood of tourists.  Now I realise that I am technically a tourist but I have so much Scottish blood, Edinburgh is my second city and the place I feel most at home after Newcastle.  Plus my love of Scotland is so strong I have no idea why I'm not living there yet, one day when I decide exactly where in Scotland I'd like to live it will happen.

A lot seems to be happening in my personal life at the moment, I am becoming more me, I am changing and evolving into a better person and I am shedding baggage and layers of things that no longer serve me, I have had a quest for many years to live a peaceful drama free life and finally, I seem to be achieving a life with the best people around me, the biggest adventures and ultimately, the freedom I so desire.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Why the last 12 months has changed my friendships

iris the rescue, why the last 12 months has changed my friendships

Friendship has always been a little weird for me, I think when you're a "neurosuperhero" friendship can be confusing at times.  Growing up, close friendships were never encouraged and so it really took me until my twenties to make real and lasting friendships.  I'm lucky I have friends now that I met in my twenties, mostly in dark noisy nightclubs and the afterparties where we solidified those bonds.

When I was married I was definitely not encouraged to have friends in fact anything that took away attention from the marriage was destructed or people have pushed away for various reasons and the friendships I made during that time will remember the struggles that happened throughout, especially towards the end of the marriage.

Since then though, finding myself and learning to love myself more, my friendships have flourished, there are not a lot of them but the friendships I have are just gorgeous wonderful things I treasure greatly. 

I find that at the age of 47, I do not want drama, I cannot cope with drama and I never want to feel like I'm a burden, a duty call, an appointment in between two more important things or even worse, an obligation in someone's diary.  That just leads to my mental health being even worse than you can imagine.

This last year of covid and isolation has brought about so many paradigm shifts in the friendships I hold.  There are a couple of friends I've only seen very briefly in more than a year but you can bet when we're all soon fully vaccinated I'll be inviting them over.  Then though, sadly, there are the friends who have drifted, the one in a coercive relationship who I can't say anything to because they're just not ready to hear it and the one I love dearly who's taken a vast proportion of the year off the internet for the sake of their mental health, I can't wait to see them again.

There are a small circle though that I speak to every week, some every single day and without them, I would have been more of a mess than this last year!!  My mental health has been up and down, I mean, my mental health has always been up and down so throw covid into the mix and you just have a big muddle of a mess.

I am definitely not the person I was 12 months ago, I have had to learn to love and accept myself for who I am, after all, I've spent weeks on my own with only my pets for company, when the only conversation you have is with yourself you really do start to find out who you are.

My view on friendship is this, I think some people come into our lives and they stay forever, I think some people come into our lives and teach us a lesson and then leave.  I've always had a simplistic black and white view of friendship.  I either like you or I don't like you and because of my neurodiversity there's very little in between and if I don't like you, I can't pretend to like you and that can sometimes be an issue in a group situation.

If I look at myself I try to be the best friend I can be, at the end of the day all I have ever wanted is for someone to love me back in the way I love them and I still haven't found that in a relationship so I put everything I can into friendship.  I want to cocoon friends, I want to give them love, advice, and I want to entertain them with not just company but also readily available snacks and drinks and hugs.  My home, me, I'm a safe space, you can feel your feelings whatever your feelings are and there are things that I know that I will take to the grave because I am the ultimate keeper of the secrets, partially because my memory is so bad "insert winky face here".

And so as we emerge from the nightmare of continual stop/starts and lockdowns I hope that in time I can throw the parties I used to love throwing so much and I hope that the friendships I have now are the ones I hold for the rest of my life.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Northumberland, 40 Coast and Country Walks, Part 1

There's a book called Northumberland 40 Coast and Country Walks and it's been the saviour of my mental health since the pandemic started. Last year just as restrictions were tailing off, my lovely friend Li and I started going on a weekly walk together, first, we went to Northumberlandia and then as we were talking and looking for ideas for other walks I realised I had bought the Coast and Country book years ago with the intention of doing all of the walks and blogging about it.  Life, of course had gotten in the way and I never started but now it was the perfect time and so we began.

The walks in the book are all between 2-10km and have varying degrees of difficulty, however, none are for professional level hikers and so Li and I thought we would be okay.  Now I must admit that I intended to blog about this from the start but I'd lost my motivation to write in the middle of the pandemic so bear with me as I do a bit of a catch up to where we are up to today.  We're not doing the book in any particular order, we both just take turns to pick a walk from week to week.

Walk 1 -  Hareshaw Linn 

Our first walk from the book wasn't actually planned from the book, it just so happens that it is actually in there but we walked to Hareshaw Linn, a beautiful waterfall in the village of Bellingham, a 5km walk through beautiful woodland, it's 10km there and back, dog-friendly but not buggy friendly and over all kinds of lumpy and bumpy terrains but well worth a trip, the book tells me that it was a big hit with the Victorians.

Hareshaw Linn, Northumberland 40 coast and country walks, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Walk 2 - Brizlee Tower, Alnwick

I'd seen mention of Brizlee Tower in a few books and guides about Alnwick and really wanted to find it, the walk takes you through Hulne Park, the Duke of Northumberland's Park, it's buggy friendly but there are no dogs, cars or bikes allowed and when I say buggy friendly, it's on the top of a hill and parts of the walk are quite steep, we did it on a warm day and at one point had flies flying around our head, yes, that is how fit we are!!  It's a splendid 14km round trip and honestly, I loved it although Li did curse me (she's since had her revenge though).

Brizlee Tower, Alnwick, Northumberland, 40 coast and country walks, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer Blogger

Walk 3 - Black Middens and the Reivers Trail

It was upon this walk that Li and I decided we should both order walking boots, we were proper walkers now and also we'd stood in a wet field and consequently had wet feet the whole of the walk.  This one is only a 5km round trip although we got a bit lost and did 8km!! Definitely not buggy friendly but dog friendly as long as they're on leads as it's on farmland, there are sheep and partly it's owned by English Heritage.  It's a collection of 2 Bastles, the old fortified houses found all over the borders of England and Scotland.  It was a walk where it was dry when we got there and then it rained a lot, a weird walk as it's not particularly scenic and one old ruin is much like another but we enjoyed the exercise.  It's one of the walks from the book that I probably wouldn't do again but I am glad we got to check it off from our list.

Black Middens and the Border Reivers Trail, Northumberland, 40 coast and country walks, Mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Walk 4 Lindisfarne, the Holy Island

I absolutely love Holy Island, it's such a special place and I needed no encouragement to go on this walk, it's a circular 5km walk and there's always the promise of homemade crab sandwiches at the end of the walk.  It's a joyful and easy walk, child friendly, dog friendly, no real massive hills but do bear in mind that we get 4 seasons of weather in one day in the north of England and so pack a coat. If you only do a couple of walks from the book or if you're on holiday and can only fit in a few this is one of my top recommendations, you can do it in half a day and combine it with somewhere else on the Northumbrian coast as we did and I promise you will have joy in your heart when you have completed it.  Don't forget to visit the distillery and also pick up the coffee which is made on the island.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne, 40 coast and country walks, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Walk 5, The Bamburgh Circular

This is a shorter walk which is why we decided to combine it on a day when we did the Holy Island walk, it's only 3.5km very little in the way of inclines except for crossing the sand dunes, great for kids, and bringing along the dog and you can always combine it with a trip to Bamburgh Castle which in my opinion is the best of the regions castle's, it's privately run and might not have the popularity of nearby Alnwick Castle but it's fun and I highly recommend going to see the implements of torture in the dungeons.

Bamburgh Castle, the Bamburgh circular, Northumberland, 40 coast and country walks, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Walk 7 - Morpeth Loops

This is another of my favourite walks you can do in Northumberland, it's fairly low effort, a couple of inclines, especially if you want to climb to the top of Ha Hill in the park in Morpeth but just a lovely wander, a 6km circular walk which we did early one Sunday morning but combined with a meal out or a trip to the shops and you could make this a full day out.  Morpeth is one of the friendliest towns in Northumberland with regards to taking along your dog so it's the perfect place for a pooch and you day out.

Morpeth Loops, Northumberland, 40 coast and country walks, Mandy Charlton, Photographer, Writer, Blogger

So, after the Morpeth Loops walk, it all got a bit tricky, I went off to the Highlands to find myself and then Abigail took me to Poland before she started uni, I shot some weddings and got back into shooting family portraits and before we knew it we found ourselves gradually becoming more restricted again due to the second wave of the pandemic.

The winter came and we ended up back in lockdown and I didn't see Li again until the restrictions started to lift, we've started walking again and done another 2 walks from the book and if you want to read about those, you'll have to wait for part 2, coming very soon...

If you'd like to get your own copy of the Northumberland, 40 Coast and Country Walks book, it's available on Amazon and you can let me know which walks you've enjoyed.

Ways to support my writing

If you have enjoyed this article or found it useful and would like to support my writing I'd love a virtual coffee
I also have a lovely Facebook group I'd love you to come and join 
You could also come and follow me on Instagram or  TikTok keep up with my adventures, I really am grateful for all
of your love and support.
Oh and of course, you could just treat yourself to something lovely from Philomena's Boutique, my gift boutique
which is diverse, sustainable and totally lush!

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