I was born in Darlington, went to secondary school in Durham and am now based by the coast in North Tyneside. It makes for an interesting accent; I’m often called a Posh Geordie.
The best thing about living and working in the North East is that you can be a relatively big fish in a small pond if you work hard and build your networks. Also, the shared pride felt by the people who live here; we’re fiercely protective of the region and want everyone to love it too.
My favourite area of the North East is Durham. I have so many memories and life experiences wrapped up in my time there that I’m emotionally attached to it.
My favourite place to spend some quality leisure time in the North East is Waves in Whitley Bay. I hate to say it but I really enjoy my gym classes and I have two small boys who love the swimming pool so there’s something for us all. That said, a trip to Tynemouth Market can’t be beaten and we all spend our pocket money there.
I recently went to Kynren – An Epic Tale of England with my sister and the kids and I was bowled over by an absolutely spectacular outdoor experience, involving over 1000 volunteers. It was an incredible achievement by the organisers and I’m looking forward to next year’s show already.
My favourite place to conduct business away from the office is the upstairs bar in the Vermont Hotel in Newcastle because you can have a private conversation at a leisurely pace – and it serves the best fish finger sandwiches with mushy peas and chips for lunch. Pair this with a Sauvignon Blanc and creativity flows.
What ‘makes’ the North East for me is the absolute resilience of its people and how upbeat we are. As a region we’ve had to reinvent ourselves time and time again and there is an entrepreneurial streak within our DNA that cannot be quashed. It’s inspiring working with businesses doing groundbreaking stuff in emerging industries, especially when you place it in the context of our industrial heritage.
My ‘hidden gem’ in the North East is Seaton Sluice beach. I absolutely love it and regularly walk my cocker spaniel, Madge, there.
When I was little my grandparents used to come and holiday in Tynemouth and they would drive to the car park at St Mary’s Lighthouse. Now, the lighthouse is down the road and my partner and I regularly make it a destination for a run. It’s stunning as the sun is going down and the tide is coming in. It’s a great place for picnics too.
If I could change anything in the North East, it would be to have more routes from Newcastle International Airport. My mum lives in Nantes and it would be amazing to have a direct flight.