The Spanish Course and the Wonders of Cantabria

The essential difference between those who travel to a place and those who go on a holiday is their willingness to embrace the local lifestyle. That is what The Spanish Course is all about: a willingness to live like a local in the wondrous region of Cantabria learning about a new culture, sharing your own and taking advantage of the numerous experiences offered by the region while refining your Spanish language skills.

Body & Pole Fitness Studio: An empowering world of poetry in motion

Regardless of its history, pole dancing is rapidly entering and breaking down the confines of dance as an art form to embody a celebration of the unbelievable capabilities of our bodies, its beauty and restrictions. I caught up with the inspiring Sarah Guthrie, owner and main instructor at Body & Pole Fitness Studio, to find out what makes pole-dancing such an amazing and addictive form of workout.

The Mockingbird Deli and the Sands of Time

The Mockingbird Deli had stood out from the start. The shop sign, a mockingbird hanging in simplistic splendour guarded a doorway to a place where time stood still. The regulars, sitting outside, watched the world go by in forgotten happiness, ice blocks slowly melting in their wine glasses. And in the window seat, a studious reader pondered over the news as he dug his feet in the sands of time…

The Revival of Teesside Cat

Quietness. There was a break. Unannounced. Not a crash. (Well, not quite). Delicate. Unexpected. So quiet that hardly anyone noticed. A sudden tweet-free, instagramless, social media wipe out. A slow disintegration. Cat disappeared. Swallowed up by the graceless reality of curiosity… I took a break from blogging. It was unintentional but unavoidable. So why did it happen? And what can readers expect in the future?

Dogtowns of the North East

Skateboarders look at the world around them differently. By using their skateboards, they interact with the urban environment in a more expressive way than the rest of us. Since the 1970s, they've been reimagining the possibilities of town centres, city streets, barren spaces and rundown neighbourhoods — the 'Dogtowns' of the world. The original inventiveness, brotherhood and fearlessness of these skateboarders crafted a new way of life. This unique skating culture spread out across the world and I recently ventured out to catch a glimpse of it here in the North East.

The Golden Smog: The Best in Real Ale & Smoggie Hospitality

Stockon’s first micropub, The Golden Smog, is the realisation of John Christie’s dream to offer fellow smoggies the best British and foreign beer around. Tucked away in a side alley, it does much more than uphold the original tenets of the pub. By offering the realest ‘real ale’, an open, warm atmosphere in which friendships are born and a sense of community is strengthened, it also represents the very best of Teesside and the hospitality of its people.

Durham Pride 2017 Through the Eyes of a Volunteer

Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Violet. June sets off another burst of rainbow-tinted Pride festivals. On the 29th of May, I volunteered to help out at Durham Pride 2017. As one of the smaller Pride events in the UK it still has all of the flamboyance and colour characteristic of these celebrations. And at its heart it exudes values that reach far beyond the LGBT community. Inclusivity. Acceptance. Love. Timeless values that we can all embrace.

Velvoir: The Machine

The creations draw us to the humans, but to go on making the creations the humans need to fit into the Machine and to fit into the Machine they need to make certain sacrifices. This is the third and last piece on Velvoir, which deals with what it means to sacrifice everything to fulfil your dreams.

Hairstyling in the Heart of Sunderland with Jonathan Pickup

With several British Hair Award nominations and a commendable career working for the hairstyling super-brand Toni&Guy, Jonathan Pickup continues delivering elegantly tailored styles in his own salon for new and long-standing clients in the heart of Sunderland. Classic aesthetics, the brutal lifestyle of premier hairstylists in London and the need to settle down — we chatted about this and more during an afternoon of hairstyling madness.

Velvoir: Creations

Overt sexuality, gender ambiguity and a hypnotic range of sound textures: these are some of the ingredients that come to mind when one thinks of Velvoir. As one of the most forward-thinking bands in the North East (and possibly in the country), what they embody goes much deeper than a desire to shock. This is the first of three pieces in which I aim to explore the power of their music.