Adventure Brown

Im Lew - A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I'm doing it anyway - expect all sorts of randomness.

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Me and my family love nothing better than an adventure, the kind where you can pull on your wellies and will away the hours exploring. Somewhere where we can truly be “outdoors” and sit around a fire with no electricity, no technology, no tv, just a bed to sleep in, a fire and the surrounding wilderness is the ultimate goal.



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Esk Yurt with the setting sun behind

There is one place that springs to mind when I think of these things and that is Wild Northumbrian, located in Northumberland. We were lucky enough to stumble upon this absolute gem of a place a couple of years ago and have had the pleasure in stopping with them a few times now.

I will give you a brief run down of the place and our experience there – but I think the photos do all the talking you need. It is just an amazing place. As I have said before in other photography posts – Northumberland and the surrounding areas has been named as a Dark Sky spot and is perfect for stargazing. There is nothing more amazing than sitting around your fire to a clear sky full to the brim of stars.

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On a clear moonless night you can see the milky way with the naked eye stretching over and above the site

The site on which it is located is owned by the family ran business; Unison Colour who handcraft pastels. On a weekday you can see them in production through the windows of the workshop – fascinating!




The land currently has 6 yurts, a shepherd’s hut and a bothy. However, from closely following their social media pages – I have recently seen they are introducing some exciting new facilities to some of the favourite accommodation choices on site this year! Each yurt is set away in your own space – some further away from the facilities than others but each equipped with the basic set up. A bed, pull out futons, a stove for cooking and heating, an outside firepit, bedding, cooking utensils and pans etc and a small starter amount of logs and kindling.But don’t worry you can buy more if you run out, there is a logs store near the toilet block where you can buy as many as you need, a trust tin is left with them so you can pop your money in. The yurts are lit on an evening by candlelight only, which make them very cosy and atmospheric. But bring a torch with you if your not too keen on lighting from days gone by.

A full list of provided items in each accommodation can be found here.

On site is a small shower block and toilets, as well as a communal kitchen with all the essentials if you want to use it. The facilities are cleaned daily and are kept to a good standard. There is plenty to do in the surrounding areas

Did I mention that the site is dog friendly too?? Always a bonus for us Doggie lovers who wouldn’t want to leave the mutt behind at home to miss out on all the exploring! Although I must add here – the first time we stopped Marley cried all night until we gave him one of our sleeping bags to curl up in as he was so cold!! It was November!

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Esk Yurt

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My cooking set outside the yurt

When you arrive you don’t have to check in, you don’t have to do much in respect of rules to be honest, other than obviously respecting the land. There is small car park to leave your car then you have to carry your bags to your tipi, my advice would be to maybe have a cart of some kind to pull your bags ect as depending which yurt your staying in – it can be an uneven walk. The Esk Yurt that we have always stayed in is through a gate opposite the car park and across the field. I have had the pleasure of exploring each site and the different yurts to take photos at our last stay and I can honestly say that they are all in amazing areas, each with their own quirky settings and image within the yurts.

Like I said its like truly living on the land, remember you don’t have a fridge so be careful what your bringing food wise. There is a fridge in the communal kitchen area if you wanted to bring perishable food and store it in there until use. However for me the excitement of cooking with produce that didn’t need refrigeration was a thumbs up. Each time we have been I have brought my own fire pit cooking bowl from Kadai to cook outside with as each yurt comes with a fire pit.  I must admit I have made a mean chilli when we have been here in the past – which I will get round to sharing the recipe with you all one day soon.

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cooking a chilli outdoors is amazing, plus the chilli keeps you nice and warm

We are hoping to get back soon for another wonderful stay – especially now they are building a yurt treehouse! Yes you read that right a yurt high up in the trees?!! How amazing does that sound? Once dates are released to book we will definitely be looking to see when we can get to stay and then sharing the experience here.

In the meantime go check out their website or social media pages. I have added a few of my favourite images below of our past stays here.

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Watching the stars on a clear night is a must see if staying here, its a sight you will never forget

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Inside the Shepherds Hut

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If you are wanting a no frills break away but with plenty of excitement I suggest you get booking up asap. It wont disappoint!

 

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A nice river where the kids and dog can splodge, don’t worry its not fast flowing

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Shepherds Hut

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Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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I was recently invited to one of Sunderland’s newest venues – The Bonded Warehouse. A while back it was published in our local press that the Fat Hippo brand had taken over the tenancy and was opening a new eatery in Sunderland. This really got my attention, the Hippo is my all time favourite restaurant, selling their hand crafted burgers. However, I found out that this wasn’t exactly true and in fact it was something a little bit more exciting for the City.

Meet the Bonded Warehouse – Sunderland’s newest and exciting venue for music, street food and hand crafted ales. Over the past couple of years Sunderland has seen its nightlife scene regenerated with a number of new bars opening its doors making Sunderland a new place to enjoy a night out, but what makes this newest venture so exciting?

Well the with the very successful burger chain The Fat Hippo behind The Bonded Warehouse it has been revamped to showcase  2 floors. Downstairs has been named the Tap House where you can see the doors opening from Wednesday through to Sunday selling small plates and a large variety of alcoholic and soft drinks. And at the end of every month there will also be a music and food event – so now you have something to look forward to after pay day!

Upstairs however is something a bit different. It has a wide open space which is perfect to hire out for weddings, christenings, and any other special occasions you may have. There is a good space at the bottom of the room which houses a stage for those music nights I mentioned earlier too.

Speaking of weddings there is a wedding fair scheduled to be held on the 10th February 2018 to showcase all that this newest venue has to offer.  And with a new Sunday club starting which is to be held monthly and a ticketed event with some good traditional sunday dinner offerings – its going to be a busy and vibrant place. I will of course be intending to check out the Sunday Club in the next few months with the family and I will share the review with you all in due course.

So I was kindly invited along to the first launch night last Thursday – when I arrived I was greeted at the door by Abbie who is the Fat Hippos and now the bonded warehouse Marketing Manager, I was handed a couple of tokens to be able to sample some free drinks or food from the street menu.

I had arrived early to get a feel for the place before the masses descended. The exterior didn’t look as if it had changed but the inside however was something totally different, and you can see that a lot of time and effort has gone into the interior design of the place – which I believe was designed by the talented Emmie Vincent, who has also worked on the renovation of Fat Hippo Durham.

It is the type of design that I love, a good mix wood and leather. Simple yet effective. Right down the middle of the Tap House was a long handmade wooden tall table with beautifully handmade brown tan leather bar stools, which were very comfortable.

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To one side there are a few tables with low hanging atmospheric lights, and at the rear of the room is a small stage area and more tall bar tables, ideal for the standing drinkers. What made the room standout was the beautiful hand crafted chesterfields made by the Chesterfields of London company. 3 in total, a long sofa situated against the wall for optimal viewing of the bar area, a smaller one on the opposite side of the room and a very artistic blue chesterfield – which added that pop of colour into the very rustic room. The quality of the seating is clearly visible and the workman ship second to none. A very good choice, these luxury sofas give the place a sense of sumptuousness.

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The actual bar stretchs from nearly one side of the room to the other, with the taps on the back wall separated by 2 large tanks of specially brewed ale, one called Bonded Tank Beer made by Allendale Brewery and the Bonded Session Larger made by Wylam Brewery Both of these ales will be permanent along with Blonde Star made by Anarchy Brewery co. and Caple Rd No1 made by Westons. I only had the pleasure of sampling two of the Bonded ales as i was driving, but both were very different flavours and both a good choice for a permanent ale.

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They were plenty of staff around to help and serve beer, food and ask questions, the bar staff were brilliant, working very hard to meet the needs of the customers, everyone had a job to do and they pulled it off very well. For the first night it seemed to run very smoothly and they should be proud of this.

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After a couple of hours of exploring the building downstairs, talking to the customers and staff, and generally talking it all in, Upstairs opened, and we were ready to sample the street food and live music .

Upstairs is where the venue or function room is, and where the music takes place. The room itself is a wide open space, the bar to one side, and a secret door near the bar, through this door hides something special which I never knew existed when i have visited in its previous form. A wonderful terrace with more handmade tables awaits outside. I can imagine in the summer this will be amazing for a chilled out drink, however the dark night made for a very beautiful scene, the outdoor area is on 2 levels with hanging lights around.

The food on offer will mostly be The Fat Hippos wonderful bugers which will take permanent residence here with other vendors taking up the offer to sell there fine foods on a monthly basis. On Thursday 4 foods stalls were available Fat Hippo Foul Play, La Petite Creperie and The Dough Bros Unfortunately I only tried 2 out of the 4, Fat Hippo its self of course (Im a BIG fan!) and La Petite Creperie.

The que for the food was very long and it looked as though everyone was sampling something from all vendors and by the looks on their faces – enjoying it.

For the pre launch we had the opportunity to listen to live music and sample the sound in the venue room. The band was Holy Moly and the Crackers who are a band made of 6 musicians. As soon as the music started we had people up dancing and getting involved with the music, the band itself were very good. The group were very multi talented, playing a range of instruments from base, guitar, drums, trumpet, violin and key organ. They were very impressive. and good luck to them for the future.

Overall the music was good, the food was good, the venue was good and the ale was good.

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Sorry – actually good doesn’t cut it, it was amazing, it truly was! The Bonded Warehouse is exactly what Sunderland needs, now people have a reason to come into Sunderland rather than leaving it for a good night out. It’s a stand out venue for a good time and a good night out with an amazing vibe.

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So what’s on?

February – To be confirmed, check back here for updates.

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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Since moving systems from Nikon to Sony I have found that some of my shots have became more refined, better if you will, Now gear isn’t everything, you can still achieve amazing shots with minimal gear, however, when I sold my Nikon camera I was able to afford some extras for my new Sony.

Meet the Lee 10 stop filter. a beast of a filter and a must have in every camera bag, I have always used cheap ebay filters and they have worked for me, they advertise to be 10 stops but in reality there more like 6 if your lucky, so getting an official 10 stop from a well known brand is a must, at least then you know what you getting.

I bought this and used it for the first time when I went to North Yorkshire with a friend. The river was fast flowing and the waterfall made for a beautiful shot. It was a great place to test the filter I had been wanting for such a long time.

 

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I was packing up my gear and on the way back to car when I seen this shot, a shot I never knew was there even though I walked past it to the waterfall.

It just goes to show that when your at a location you need to look about and scope the place out, you never know what type of shot your going to get.

If you wish to purchase any of my photography prints please free to email me at lewis@adventurebrown.co.uk

Photalife

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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When it comes to the age-old and slightly friendly animosity between the poles of England, you’re likely to hear one of two things. Either you believe that the south of England is awash with rude snobs, or the North of England is only good for people who eat chip butties twice a day and listen to Oasis nonstop. Of course, the Midlanders are chameleons who can interject on any ‘side’ of amusing debate, so we’ll leave them out of this for now.

This friendly debate might be amusing for a tourist to learn, and it should be of course. But for someone visiting the UK listening to this joking discourse, they might become confused. Just which part of the UK should they visit anyway? North or South? Well, our humble article will hopefully address this, showcasing what each end of the country does best, and how to craft a memorable trip within those parameters.

Sports = North

 

If you’re hoping to witness the beautiful game of football (soccer) during your stay here, then of course visiting London or southern clubs could be worthwhile. However, if you’re really looking for some truly incredible history, fan activity, and a brilliant time (as well as staying affordable,) then heading to the North is your best bet. Up here we have clubs such as Manchester United & City, Liverpool and Sunderland afc. There are a range of excellent clubs to check out, and some originally preserved stadiums that truly show the class and history of the game from decades past. Not only that, but visiting a stadium in the North always feels like more of a personal affair than down South, as clubs have become more and more corporate in the megacity of London, and surrounding it.

 

Luxury = South

 

Heading to London and finding luxury is one and the same thing. There is so much on offer down here that a trip will turn into a marvel and awe-stricken affair. There are a range of amazing stores such as Harrods, museums such as the famous Madame Tussauds, and incredible restaurants from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver amongst others. If you’re looking for particularly incredible accommodation during your visit to this vast city, then apartments from London Serviced Apartments can cater to your needs within a momentary booking.

 

Natural Beauty = North

Not only do the Northern counties house more countryside per square mile, but many are protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. From the Yorkshire Dales where J R R Tolkien walked and was inspired for his Middle Earth machinations, to the incredible quaint villages outside of Manchester, there’s no better area than the North of England to truly get a glimpse of what the English countryside is all about. There are often relaxed travel holidays here, such as a boating travel lodge on the canal from Liverpool to Leeds, as well as the more seaside faring beauty of Liverpool or Newcastle.

If you have the time, visiting both sides of the country can be a wonderful time for you, so be sure to pay them both a visit if you have the chance!

 

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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Even if they’re not inclined towards sports or athletic pursuits all parents appreciate the formative merits of sports for their kids. They help kids to get more active and lead more active lifestyles (increasingly important in the throes of a global child obesity epidemic). They allow children who are introverted and shy an opportunity to develop their social skills and interact with other kids with whom they wouldn’t normally have contact. They can encourage team building and leadership skills, aid concentration, promote self discipline in ways that will spill into their school work and can help keep mental health issues common in adolescents like anxiety and depression at bay. Moreover… They’re fun! They can be a great antidote to a stressful school day, a valuable bonding exercise for friends and a great way to give a child a sense of belonging and identity.

Of course, all these well documented benefits amount for little if your son or daughter happens to hate sporting activities. While this may be frustrating for parents, the worst thing you can do is pour on the pressure. Often, it’s far more helpful to try and identify the reasons behind their hatred of sports and work with them to help them find an activity that they will benefit from while still having lots of fun. So, let’s look at some common reason why kids may be sport averse…

They get no sense of reward

How long would you keep doing something if you saw no benefit to doing it? For those kids who don’t experience an immediate sense of enjoyment on the playing field, it’s difficult to equate sporting activities with any sense of reward, whatever their parents may say. Yet there are ways in which you can engender a sense of reward. Rewarding participation with anything from a trophy from Trophies Plus Medals to a fun day out out or a special dinner can work wonders. Of course, it’s also possible that they just haven’t found the right sport, in which case, encouraging them to try new experiences may bring with it its own rewards.

They get frustrated because they’re not good at them straight away

Children aren’t among the most patient creatures on the planet… Especially when it comes to themselves. Think back to when you were a kid. Did you hang up your football boots, your karate gi, your guitar or your ballet shoes because you got frustrated with your own lack of progress. Children need to be shown the rewards of perseverance even when their sporting activities seem like a chore.

They compare themselves unfavourably to other kids

There’s nothing more damaging to a developing psyche than seeing someone they know far exceed their capability in something they care about. In some cases it can drive them to push themselves harder, but in most it’s more likely to sour them on the activity altogether. It’s important to encourage your kids not to measure their performance by that of their peers, but of themselves. Encourage them to beat their own personal bests and reward that mentality when you see it in practice.

With just a little patience and a lot of understanding you can help you kids to lead healthier and more active lives.

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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