I just had to share some photos of THE most delightful garden party I’ve ever been to!

To be completely honest, this was a HUGE milestone for me. I used to attend pretty much every launch I got invited to and there were a lot! When I was in my twenties and Project Manager on Juice Festival based within NGI I was connected to every single arts and cultural venue in Newcastle and Gateshead and that meant people invited me to things!


First night theatre shows, festival drinks receptions, launches, gallery openingings. There were free tickets galore! Looking back it was pretty glamorous! Some highlights were definitely meeting my childhood hero Quentin Blake, Sting and Ian McKellen. (Not all in the same room! 😂 )

Anyway… life moves on and so did we.

When you’ve got a small human to take care of your priorities change and you just can’t go out as much.

As I went on maternity leave, started more freelance jobs the invitations stopped coming through. We don’t have family near-by to look after the little one and so when I go out now it’s usually on my own.

I didn’t really think about it too much and actually to be invited to Newcastle from where we live and have to hold conversation in the evening was a bit of a living nightmare for a sleep deprived and barely surviving working mum 😂

Anyway fast forward 3 and a half years and twice in two weeks I’ve had delightful invites to two WONDERFUL events as part of my work with National Trust and I couldn’t have been happier to RSVP.

I actually bought two new dresses for the occasions! (I’ve realised my hem line now I’m 36 could do with being longer – really need to pass on some of those old dresses!)

On Friday, I was invited with some young people I’m working with to attend the launch event for Andrew Burton and Fiona Curran artworks at Gibside.

I arrived early as I wanted to have a little time to explore and form my thoughts before seeing anyone I knew and I actually had the whole garden to myself for 30minutes. I grabbed a super delicious coffee from the friendly cafe staff and had the most enchanting time amongst the artwork and the flowers!

There were Canapés, champagne, conversation – the artworks respond to Mary Ellen Bowes story and suffering in the 1700s and for me make her story and contemporary art both accessible and poignant housed by her history and one of the most stunning gardens you could ever visit which is testament to her incredible legacy!

The artworks are commissioned by Newcastle University and the programme is called ‘Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Sector’ it’s a research project calling us to comment on how experiencing contemporary art in the heritage sector makes us feel and how it might change our opinion. I really felt the connect to Mary Eleanor and being at Gibside over 200 years after she was re-contextualised her powerful revolt!

You can see the art work until 30th September 2018 and I’d recommend a 5.30pm timeslot on a Friday evening to experience it at a quiet time! Gibside is super family friendly too!