As a Cumbrian born and bred, I know it’s far from grim up North. We’ve partnered with The Cumberland Building Society to shine a light on all that is great about our county, through the #GrinUpNorth campaign.

When The Cumberland Building Society asked me to take part in their #GrinUpNorth campaign and profile my favourite place in Cumbria, my only issue was picking just one. I’m incredibly lucky to have the Lake District on my doorstep – in fact I probably have one of the most picturesque commutes to work ever, right through the heart of Cumbria. However, as well as the fells and lakes that this area is famous for, we also have the benefit of living next to a beautiful coastline that overlooks the Irish Sea.

St. Bees is a seaside village, just a few miles from our home and a great place to spend time. With the sun making an appearance lately (yes, despite popular belief we do occasionally see the sun this far north!) we’ve made the most of it and last week I took my two year old daughter Clara along to St. Bees for the afternoon while her big sister Izzy was at school.

There’s something very inviting about a flat stretch of sand; Clara certainly thinks so as she loves just running along, feeling the sea breeze in her hair. She was singing and laughing and throwing her arms out like she was having the time of her life. If there’s one thing that Cumbria has a lot of, it’s space. Space to explore, run free and expend lots of energy. Or, to just take a leisurely stroll and unwind after a long day at work, taking time to enjoy the fresh sea air.

St. Bees is a place that the kids are happy to visit no matter what the weather. If the tide is in they will run off all that energy in the play park, or sit on the pebble beach, looking for the perfect one to practice skimming the water. When the tide is out they have all that sand on which to just run and run. They can’t resist jumping in the water – fully clothed – and skipping along the shoreline in search of seaweed and the occasional Jellyfish.

Of course a trip to the seaside wouldn’t be complete without an ice-cream; the café overlooking the beach serves amazing Hartley’s ice-cream, which is made locally – another perk of living in Cumbria being the wealth of local produce. Strawberry is Clara’s favourite, as you can see from her face!

Getting back to nature is something that we should value even more in this age of technology and convenience – and the kids love nothing more than feeling the sand between their toes and dipping their feet in the waves. I don’t think I’d fancy swimming in the sea (it’s pretty cold at any time of year!) but there’s always people having a paddle in it, and Clara would have dived right in if I’d let her!

There’s a lot of great things about living in Cumbria, but having access to so many beautiful places right on my doorstep has to be the best. Many people visit my home county on holiday every year just to get a glimpse of the things that we are lucky enough to experience every day – and looking at this blue sky and golden sand, there is definitely nothing grim about living up North.

The Cumberland Building Society is honoured to be based in Cumbria; it’s a beautiful part of the country and there is so much to see and do. Plus, we are quite a friendly bunch of people, if I do say so myself! And that goes for our local businesses too. The Cumberland Building Society are extremely proud of the customer service they provide and their customers are the happiest in the UK, according to research by Fairer Finance.

As part of the #GrinUpNorth campaign, The Cumberland Building Society asked me to meet with one of their advisers to talk about mortgages. I’ll be blogging about that in the next couple of weeks so keep a look out for that post!

This post is sponsored by The Cumberland Building Society, which has 34 branches across Cumbria and North Lancashire offering mortgages, savings, current accounts and home insurance. It was named ‘Best Regional Building Society’ for a third year at the 2017 Mortgage Finance Gazette. You can find out more about The Cumberland and it’s services at https://www.cumberland.co.uk.

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