Nancy Straughan is a Newcastle-based photographer, stylist and creative business mentor championing ‘real living’, with a passion for authenticity and beauty in the everyday.
Having lived in London for nearly seven years, Nancy returned to her roots in the North East with her husband in early 2019, ahead of the arrival of their baby girl, Peggy. Her studio is now based in the trendy, leafy and creative area of Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne, close to where she grew up, and a spot she credits as being “the perfect place for good coffee and creative chats!”
She’s very kindly opened up her Little Black Book to Fabric of the North, and shares her crème-de-la-crème of Newcastle below…
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Favourite local creative? My friend Pip is a really talented florist, she also owns a lovely flower and homeware shop, The Flower Folk, down the road from us which is so handy! I also really love the pottery that Kiln produces, it’s also a very cool cafe / bar that I went to a lot pre-baby! I really like the Japanese style of their ceramics. Then I have to mention Northern Loom, which is a lovely local creative brand. I went to uni with Sarah who creates really beautiful and calming wall hangings, I wish I could weave like her!
Most visited arts venue? The one thing that Newcastle is lacking in is more galleries, we have the Baltic which is pretty famous but people forget that’s in Gateshead not Newcastle! The Laing Art Gallery has had some great exhibitions recently and you can’t beat the Theatre Royal for stunning architecture, it always hosts fantastic plays and ballets.
There are so many incredible restaurants. The food scene up here is just as good as London!
Most inspiring piece of architecture? Newcastle’s Grey Street is voted the finest in Britain, the grand Georgian architecture is stunning. It’s a beautiful street that winds down to the river Tyne and when you walk down it you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
Favourite shop? This is a no brainer, it has to be Re-Found Objects. It’s a bit of a cult favourite, if you know it, you love it! Re (as I call it!) stocks a wonderful selection of homeware, stationery, cookware and bath products. It’s a bit like a mini department store and it specialises in global and vintage pieces.
Local coffee spot? We live right next to OCC, a local coffee roasters and cafe. They also have a few pop ups and smaller cafes around the North East, like their cart in Tynemouth Market (also a fab place to shop and eat!) which always has a long queue.
Restaurant for a celebration? There are so many incredible restaurants. The food scene up here is just as good as London – I should know as I lived in London for 8 years and ate out a lot! My personal favourite is Cookhouse but there are honestly so many other great foodie spots.
Spot for a lazy weekend brunch? I’ve already mentioned Kiln so I’ll choose somewhere else (their brunches are great though!). If you fancy a trip to the beach and don’t mind sitting in a deckchair I highly recommend Riley’s Fish Shack, incredible fresh seafood but done in a very modern way.
Place for a staycation? I love the North East coast, almost impossible to choose just one spot! I really love Druridge Bay, a stunning golden sandy beach with unspoilt sand dunes. We had a lovely family holiday nearby in February and I’ll always remember that break as it was Peggy’s (my daughter) first time on the beach.
Next trip? I’m desperate to stay in Kielder forest and do one of their dark sky: stargazing holidays. It’s the second largest area of protected night sky in Europe, and apparently one of the best spots to stargaze.
All imagery © Nancy Straughan, used with permission.