At my usual knitting group on Monday evening I realised that I had no plans for Tuesday - my first day in almost three weeks with only one child to keep track of. So I asked for suggestions of things to do. Obviously if you ask this question among knitters you get answers that involve yarn, and one suggestion was to take a trip to Whitley Bay, and visit Ringarosie.
I've been following Ringarosie on Facebook for a while, and love to see her updates, which include lots of beautiful hand dyed yarns. So why not, a day out at the seaside and a little yarn shopping always makes for a good day.
And so on Tuesday morning I drove to Whitley Bay (in spite of the total lack of sunshine), and spent a good half hour browsing Ringarosie. I had a great time. The shop has an excellent range of stock, with a good selection of cheap acrylics for those on a budget, lots of baby yarns, and lots of more expensive ranges, but overall a good balance and I think every knitter could find something they liked. I liked the table of sock yarn, lots of choice, and a few sample socks so you could see how the yarns knitted up. The shop also has a good range of needles and notions, and a large selection of buttons (I adore buttons; 20 might have slipped into my basket). The only issue I had was that it was a little tight in places with the pushchair, but next time I'll take my daughter in her carrier, which would solve that!
I left with two balls of Rico So Soft Prints, a yarn I'd not seen before, but will make a lovely stripy cardigan for my daughter, two balls of Sirdar Heart and Sole (which is one of the things I was specifically looking for; I wanted a couple more skeins of basic sock yarn to work with while I'm still experimenting with fit and patterns), and a skein of hand dyed sparkly teal sock yarn, which will be turned into a Hitchhiker. I could have bought a lot more!
Once I'd finished yarn shopping, we had a walk along the seafront (we didn't go down onto the beach as it was high tide, and pushchairs and sand do not mix),then headed back up to the town to have a browse round the other shops. Whitley Bay is a classic Victorian seaside town: lots of beautiful large Victorian houses (many of which have been converted into hotels and B&Bs). It's seen better days, and there are lots of charity shops, but there are also lots of little boutiques and small quirky shops, so I had an enjoyable couple of hours browsing. It is the sort of place I could fall in love with, especially as it is so close to Newcastle.
I had wanted an ice cream, but I couldn't find anywhere selling them in an obvious manner, so settled for afternoon tea instead. I stumbled across The Vintage Powder Room while I was browsing, and lunch was lovely - they were happy to serve afternoon tea for one, and didn't mind me sharing it with my daughter.
Having finished lunch we drove home again, just in time for the sun to come out. All in all a lovely day, and I'll definitely head back to Ringarosie.