Bragg’s back >>
Living as we do in politically tumultuous times, it somehow seems apt to have Billy Bragg back with us. Legendary singer-songwriter and political activist Billy will be headlining this year’s Folk on the Tyne Festival on Saturday 27 July. He’s a mighty powerhouse of music and political passion and it’s great to have him hit the Sage stage, as energetic as ever with a 35-year back catalogue. Any Brexit musings should be interesting.
Fab feet >>
Can we love gorgeous pumps any more than we already do? These perfectly pastel pink suede Sevens sneakers are a springtime footwear friend that will work with everything – and make you smile. The Original 172, £85.
Always on the hunt for quirky places to stay out of reach of a Wi-Fi signal, we reckon this is the place to do your 2019 digital detox. Roulotte Retreats are quirky, restored antique French and Belgian caravans, which find their home in remote meadowland in the Borders – handy if you’re heading for the aforementioned Ridings. Listen to birdsong rather than phone notifications as you immerse yourself in blissful peace and quiet with good coffee and a great book.
Sweet stuff >>
There are doughnuts – then there are Proven Goods doughnuts. We have a sweet and sticky crush on the good things coming out of the Hoults Yard kitchen in Ouseburn. The cult concoctions, created by duo Joe Millar and Amber Lowe, have tapped into an artisan market for top-quality fresh, handmade doughnuts which are hand-rolled and baked in small batches. The dough is proven three times over 17 hours to develop the flavour and fried fresh five mornings a week. Seasonal fruits are used as fillings. One of the favourite flavours is rhubarb and custard – and The Homer is also very popular. Prices start at £2 for a single doughnut. Hunt them down in the Maling Court area of Hoults Yard, open Wednesday – Sunday, (10am – 3pm).
Festival time >>
Ever heard of the Ridings? Well if you’ve ever found yourself immersed in Siena’s Palio horse riding spectacular on a holiday in Tuscany, you might be interested to know that there’s a version a bit closer to home. In a number of towns in the Scottish Borders, the Common Ridings set summer alight with rides through the streets, flag-waving rivalries and a real spirit of patriotism. It all harks back to the days when townsfolk would ride out at territorial boundaries on the lookout for dastardly marauders.
Time for gin >>
You can always find a good reason to head to the foodie town of Malton in North Yorkshire – we think the Rare Bird Distillery’s Gin School is the best excuse to make the easy train journey. Immerse yourself in the whys and wherefores of the juniper stuff and try your hand at your own blend. The sessions include your own private blend to take home.
B the best >>
Another perfect blast from the past comes in the form of the B52s. They’ll be rocking their lobster on 29 June at Sage at a gig that promises nostalgia at its energetic best. Live that love shack moment.