31 December 2017

2017: The My Boys Club Year in Review

What will you remember about 2017? There have been 365 days of political turmoil, tragedy and disaster and economic uncertainty, but it has also been a year that saw fab films, great music, a broadening of political understanding, and a Royal engagement.

For My Boys Club, we travelled the length and breadth of the UK, cooked vegan and vegetarian recipes, ate out at some amazing restaurants, shared giveaways with our readers, highlighted hundreds of free family events and activities in North East England and got on our soapbox too (but just a little bit). 

Anyway, as we await the 2018 Winter Olympics, World Cup, and a Royal Wedding, here is our monthly highlights and most read blog posts from 2017. 

2017: The My Boys Club Year in Review

28 December 2017

8 Ways to have Free Family Fun on New Year’s Eve in North East England

Sunday 31st December is the last day of the year in 2017. It is New Year's Eve. Many people will see the old year out with a party, welcoming in the New Year with toasts of champagne, fireworks, first-footing, singing Auld Lang Syne and exchanging good wishes for a 'Happy New Year'. 

How will you and your family be celebrating? We've compiled a list of FREE ways to have some family fun in North East England on New Year's Eve from 10am right up until midnight. 

21 December 2017

How To Spend Christmas Morning With Children

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reportedly choosing to spend Christmas morning with children, namely Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as the newly-engaged couple are rumoured to be spending Christmas Eve with Meghan's future in-laws.

Before I had children of my own, Christmas morning as an adult was so different to now. Often spent nursing a hangover from Christmas Eve celebrations. All that changes when you become a parent though.

On Christmas Eve, no doubt we’ll be wrapping the final presents, prepping the veg for Christmas Day and enjoying the food and drink that has been left out for Santa & Rudolph. But what about Christmas morning? How do you spend it with kids?


How To Spend Christmas Morning With Children


19 December 2017

Dining Out in Hexham, Northumberland

***REVIEW***
Have you been to Hexham? The picturesque market town in Tynedale is one of Northumberland's most beautiful and historic places. It is located in the heart of the beautiful Tyne Valley just a few miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. We were recently invited by the Hexham BID to sample some of the amazing food now on offer in the popular town.



18 December 2017

15 Ways to Re-use Plastic Household Waste

Have you been watching Blue Planet 2? I have found the series both an amazing spectacle and yet so saddening too. All of that plastic floating around the ocean, and even worse damaging the innocent wildlife,  has been a reminder of the danger that our fragile world is in. 

It may seem to be a daunting, and sometimes impossible task to save the planet. But there are small eco-friendly things we can do to help. Re-using plastic waste is one of these things and in this post, we have 15 different ideas on how to do just that, to do our bit to help protect the future of the planet.


15 December 2017

Sleeping beauty - The Geordie Panto Opens in Gateshead

There are lots of Panto's on offer this year in North East England - OH NO THERE ISN'T - OH YES THERE ARE - but one of the most 'Geordie' ones is on at Gateshead International Stadium with a Geordie Panto version of Sleeping Beauty. 

We headed along on press night to see what Gateshead's only Panto had to offer OH NO WE DIDN'T - OH YES WE DID!


Sleeping beauty - The Geordie Panto Opens in Gateshead

8 Stocking Filler & Xmas Present Ideas For You & Your Partner

If you are anything like me and hubby you’re too busy rushing around trying to make sure that the kids have a great time this Christmas that it’s all too easy to forget about yourself or your partner. 

We are constantly being asked what we’d like for Christmas and most of the time I just don’t have an answer. I don’t want to say something too expensive so I’ve come up with a list of last-minute buys that mean the presents under the tree for you and your partner won’t be the same as last year. 

So with just 10 sleeps until Christmas Day here are STockign Filler & Xmas Pressie ideas for you and your partner.

8 Stocking Filler & Xmas Present Ideas For You & Your Partner

Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It costs you nothing but if you do click a link and make any purchase then Amazon will pay me a small commission, so thank you if you do.

14 December 2017

7 Top Toys for Over 7s (Tweens) this Christmas - Boys or Girls

Christmas is only a couple of weeks away but there is still time to sort your way through all the presents and gift ideas for your tweens, whether they are a boy or girl.

7 Top Toys for Over 7s (Tweens) this Christmas - Boys or Girls

Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It costs you nothing but if you do click a link and make any purchase then Amazon will pay me a small commission, so thank you if you do.

13 December 2017

How Would You Build Your Dream Bed?

***Collaborative Post***
What kind of bed do you have? What bed do you dream about?


A good night's sleep is incredibly important for our health and wellbeing. In fact, it is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. But as sleep deprived parents we know only too well that getting enough sleep is not always possible. Cats on the other hand always seem to have a good sleep. They always look so comfy in their beds and on ours. Think they must be able to teach us something!



Here are some tips for getting a better nights sleep and we ask other parents (sorry not cats) what their dream bed would be ...




12 December 2017

The Hullabaloo in Darlington - Everything You Need To Know

The Hullabaloo opens today in Darlington and is the only specialist children's theatre north of London. I was privileged to work on the PR for this great new place for children and their families to enjoy right here in the north east of England, and here is everything you need to know...

The Hullabaloo childrens theatre in Darlington

11 December 2017

Thai Cookery Experiences at Chaophraya Newcastle

***REVIEW***
Do you love Thai food? Do you wish you cook a meal to the standard and quality you’d expect to find in a restaurant? Did you know you can learn to do just that at Chaophraya Restaurants – including the one in Newcastle?

Thai Cookery Experiences at Chaophraya Newcastle

8 December 2017

How to Make Rudolph the Reindeer Gingerbread for Christmas

***RECIPE***
Gingerbread is a popular Christmas treat all over the world.  You can even get the wonderful smell of gingerbread from a candle. However if a gingerbread house seems a little daunting try making our Rudolph Ginger Bread Biscuits instead - they are really easy and your children can help too.

How to Make Rudolph the Reindeer Gingerbread

7 December 2017

Family Lunch at Bistrot Pierre in Middlesbrough

***REVIEW***
A few weeks ago we headed south to Middlesbrough to experience some new food. And no it wasn’t a Parmo.  It was for a family lunch at the newly opened Bistrot Pierre Restaurant in the heart of Middlesbrough. We had been invited to review the restaurant which opened in September.

Enjoying a Family Meal at Bistrot Pierre in Middlesbrough

6 December 2017

Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 ... Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

***REVIEW***
Last night we went were invited along to review to Enchanted Parks 2017 – The Inventors Ball at Saltwell Park, in Gateshead.

It’s a popular after-dark arts adventure in the atmospheric setting of Saltwell Park. The annual event, which sees specially commissioned artists transform Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a magical and mythical wonderland, will run for six nights in total.

Everything You Need To Know About Enchanted Parks 2017 Now That We’ve Been to The Inventors Ball

5 December 2017

Tasting the Christmas Menu at River Beat in NewcastleGateshead

***REVIEW***
Christmas means a time to eat, drink and be merry. 'Tis the season for indulgence, and Riverbeat on NewcastleGateshead Quayside has upped the game with the introduction of an Asian Style Christmas Dinner on offer during the festive season.

We went along on a snowy November evening to try out the new menu...

Tasting the Christmas Menu at River Beat in Newcastlegateshead

4 December 2017

7 Festive Things to do This Month - December

Christmas is a time for family and community and for sharing love and wellbeing. It's a time for fun as well as peace, love and understanding, Yes, December can get busy, sometimes too busy but I'm also very grateful for the amazing things we get to do, see, eat and discover in the festive season. And here are seven things we'll be doing this month, now that it is December.

7 Festive Things to do This Month - December

2 December 2017

Alice in Wonderland - The Festive Production at Northern Stage

***REVIEW***
It’s official. The Christmas Countdown has begun in our house. The tree is going up this weekend. We are off to visit Santa for the first time, today. The advent calendars are being enjoyed, the Christmas cake has been baked and we’ve been to our first Christmas Show – Alice in Wonderland at Northern Stage in Newcastle.

Alice in Wonderland - The Festive Production at Northern Stage

1 December 2017

Silicone Baking Cups & 3-in-1 Slicer Giveaway

***GIVEAWAY + AFFILIATE LINKS***
A confession here.  I am one of the world’s biggest fans of kitchen gadgets and accessories.

So when I was offered the chance to review some Silicone Baking Cups & 3-in-1 Slicer giveaway, plus the opportunity to offer a lucky reader the chance to win both, I obviously had to say yes!

30 November 2017

30 WAYS TO HAVE FREE FAMILY FESTIVE FUN IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND THIS CHRISTMAS

There are so many fabulous family festive activities in the North East at this time of year, but it can soon start to add up and make a big dent in the Christmas budget. So with just less than a month left until the big day, here are 30 FREE ways to get your family into the Festive Spirit this Christmas in North East England.

30 WAYS TO HAVE FREE FAMILY FESTIVE FUN IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND THIS CHRISTMAS

29 November 2017

How to make eco-friendly xmas baubles for just pennies

We love Christmas. The decorations go up at the beginning of December in our home so it's nearly time to put them up and I can't wait. 

Over the 30 days of November, lots of Xmas decorations are being made by children to decorate their homes this festive season. And this year thanks to this Kid Made Christmas Decorations initiative by Mum in the Mad House, we have some new additions to add to our traditional decorations - Eco-friendly and frugal Xmas Pine Cone Baubles. 


28 November 2017

Creating Family Photo Memories with the Popsa App in Just 2 Minutes

***COLLABORATIVE POST***

What do you do with all of the digital photographs you take? Are they sat in a cloud? Posted on social media? Or even just still on your phone?

I regularly make photobooks using my digital photos so when Popsa, a new app that allows you to create photo books in a matter of minutes, asked me to test out their new service I couldn’t wait to give it a try...




27 November 2017

12 Books for Tweens this Christmas

I always think I’m really lucky that my boys love reading. They’ve always loved their bedtime stories, still do even though they are now tweens, they love audiobooks, listening to stories as well as reading them too.

12 Books for Tweens this Christmas

Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It costs you nothing but if you do click a link and make any purchase then Amazon will pay me a small commission, so thank you if you do.

24 November 2017

How to Make an Egg-Free Omelette

***RECIPE***
There are lots of reasons why people don't eat eggs. Some people have an allergy and follow an egg-free diet, some people follow a vegan lifestyle and others simply don't like them. 

However, I do eat eggs, but this recipe using just chickpea flour is an amazing substitute for people who don't, for whatever reason. It's really tasty, filling, cheap and really quick to make too. And I now often choose to make this dish for lunch rather than use eggs.

How to Make an Egg-Free Omelette


23 November 2017

Getting Crafty with Ezee Beads

Last Christmas my youngest, then seven, really wanted a toy he’d seen advertised on TV which had beads that you stuck together just with water. After a bit of searching, we discovered it was Ezee Beads. It was added to his list. He also told Santa in person that he’d like it, and Santa duly delivered it on Christmas Day.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It costs you nothing but if you do click a link and make any purchase then Amazon will pay me a small commission, so thank you if you do.

22 November 2017

Pioneers of Pop at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle

Have you popped into the Hatton Gallery yet? We did just that recently, following its £3.8m redevelopment, to see the Pioneers in Pop exhibition. The first exhibition at The Hatton Gallery located on Newcastle University campus since it re-opened in October.

Pioneers of Pop at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University - newcastle the birthplace of pop art

21 November 2017

Indulging in the Luxury Collection at Crêpeaffaire

***REVIEW***
Tucked away under the escalator in intu Eldon Square in Newcastle, you'll find Crêpeaffaire. A small crêperie where you can enjoy freshly prepared French-style crêpes, whatever your craving, at any time of the day. 

The restaurant is also celebrating its first birthday this week after opening in the recently developed Greys Quarter of Eldon Square a year ago. It was also one of our significant anniversaries last week, so hubby and I were delighted to receive an invitation to try out the new Luxury Indulgent Crêpes and Shakes that are now on offer at Crêpeaffaire in Newcastle.

Indulging in the Luxury Collection at Crêpeaffaire in Newcastle

20 November 2017

11 Non-Alcoholic Christmas Gifts for Gin Lovers

Gin is England’s national spirit and there are few things more English than a refreshing gin & tonic. Most of the most famous gins you see around the world hail from the UK so what better gift to give this Christmas to any G&T lover than a non-alcoholic one to accompany their favourite tipple or be a much-loved stocking filler.



Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It costs you nothing but if you do click a link and make any purchase then Amazon will pay me a small commission, so thank you if you do.

16 November 2017

Thai Food for a Tenner in Newcastle

Did you know you can get a two course Thai meal and a soft drink for just £10, in the heart of Newcastle?

The Zaap Thai restaurant, located on Newgate Street in Newcastle, in the building that formerly housed the COOP deparment store, offers such a deal on weekdays between 11am and 6pm.

Thai Food for a Tenner in Newcastle at zaap thai

14 November 2017

10 Things to Expect at Lumiere Durham 2017

Lumiere, the UK's largest light festival returns to Durham later this week, for a fifth time, lighting up the historic city's skies from Thursday16 - Sunday 19 November. 

Organised by Artichoke and Durham County Council the free biennial festival brings some of the world's most innovative artists and light designers together in a breath-taking and spectacular programme of artworks across four dazzling winter nights in the north east of England.

10 things to expect from  Lumiere Durham - #LumiereDurham2017

13 November 2017

Staying at Sleeperz Hotel in Newcastle (And being a tourist in your home town)

***REVIEW***

It’s not often that you get to be a tourist in your own city. But that is exactly what we did during the last half-term break. We were tourists in NewcastleGateshead. A place, where I have lived for over twenty years, and where the boys have always lived. It was great. It has given us all a totally new perspective on the place where we live. And we didn’t just have day trips every day either, we actually stayed in a hotel too. A Sleeperz Hotel.

family room review Sleeperz Hotel in Newcastle


10 November 2017

Fireflight at Fire Station Sunderland – Everything You Need to Know

***COLLABORATIVE POST***

Fireflight - a spectacular free family-friendly outdoor event - will be performed in Sunderland this week - here is everything you need to know!

This one-off performance will take place on Thursday 23 November, when more than 100 local performers will feature in the event which will officially open Sunderland’s newest arts hub, The Fire Station.

Fireflight at Fire Station Sunderland – Everything You Need to Know

8 November 2017

Premier League Primary Stars - Has Your School Signed Up?

***COLLABORATIVE POST***
Earlier this year the Premier League introduced a new initiative called Premier League Primary Stars. Not just about playing football, this initiative uses the appeal of football to engage and inspire young people to learn and develop important life skills. 

My Boys Club have been asked to get involved and find out more to encourage parents to register their schools to this free initiative.


Premier League Primary Stars - Has Your School Signed Up?

6 November 2017

Free Family Fun in North East England in November

It may be November now and we’re starting to get used dark evenings and chilly mornings but that doesn’t stop the family getting out and having some great days out together. Bonfire night may have gone but we’ve found plenty more free events and activities offering plenty of family fun this month.

There are plenty of free Christmas Markets to visit this year and also lots of Christmas Light Switch-On’s too. And don’t forget our A-Z Free family days out too across the North East – many of these places are open all year.

Free Family Fun in North East England in November


3 November 2017

Where To Watch Christmas Lights Being Switched On in North East England

That's it. Fenwick's Christmas Window for 2017 has been unveiled and it’s Paddington. It's always a closely guarded secret but did you guess correctly? I think a lot of people did this year. 

I'm definitely starting to feel Christmassy and I've even had my first mince pie of the year. Soon though, it will be the jingle of sleigh bells and the rustling of wrapping paper which can mean only one thing, that Santa Claus is on his way. 

So now that the countdown to Christmas has begun, when and where will you be able to see the Christmas Lights switched on this year across North East England.

Where To Watch Christmas Lights Being Switched On in North East England

2 November 2017

7 Things To Do This Month – November

We are fully into autumn now. The clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing but there is still so much to see and do, both at home and outdoors – just make sure you wrap up warm. 

Here are 7 Things to do this month now it’s November.

7 Things To Do This Month – November


1 November 2017

Christmas Markets with FREE ENTRY in North East England

Get your Christmas shopping all wrapped up with over 30 Christmas Markets and Fairs across North East England that have FREE entry for all this festive season. 

Starting this weekend this includes events in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Shields, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Durham plus many more ... so there are plenty of places to go to find that special gift this Christmas between now and the end of the year. 

Christmas Markets with FREE ENTRY in North East England

30 October 2017

Enjoying The Discovery Adventures Podcast by Land Rover on Family Days Out

***Advertisement Feature***


What do you do when you are in the car? Do you drive in silence; listen to the radio, CDs or playlists? What about when the family is in the car? 


29 October 2017

15 FREE Firework Displays in North East England

***FREE FIREWORK DISPLAYS***

Where will you be watching fireworks this year?

There are plenty of FREE places to watch fireworks this year in North East England. Here are fifteen that we have found for 2017. Although they are all free events, donations are welcomed. So get the family together, wrap up warm, stay safe and take note of The Firework Code and head to an organised Bonfire and Fireworks display. 


Where to watch FREE fireworks displays on bonfire night in north east england


27 October 2017

How to Make Homemade Rocket & Spring Onion Soup

***RECIPE***

One of the things I adore about autumn is making homemade soup. A bowl of soup is nutritious, filling and packed with flavour, and it really is easier and quicker to make than many people think. 

Some of my families favourite ingredients for soup are tomato, beetroot, sweet potato, lentils, spinach and good old leek and potato. In fact, that soup is always our starter on Christmas Day! 

So here is my recipe for Rocket Soup - which I created after buying the wrong ingredient. 

How to Make Homemade Rocket & Spring Onion Soup gluten free dairy free

25 October 2017

Seventh Generation Household Eco Cleaning Products Review + Giveaway

***SPONSORED POST + GIVEAWAY***

I’ve yet to find anyone who really, really loves cleaning. Some people may not hate it, but let’s be honest it’s a chore we could all do without. It’s also a really important chore though, but is one way to make us feel better about cleaning to use eco products?

We already make a few of our own cleaning products, often using lemon juice and white vinegar as ingredients – they do work but they do leave a different kind of smell and don’t cover all cleaning tasks. So what would we think of the plant-based environmentally friendly products that we were invited to try by Seventh Generation?

Seventh Generation Household Eco Cleaning Products Review + Giveaway



23 October 2017

Despicable Me 3 Pencil Holder & Storage Box Jigsaws

***REVIEW + AFFILIATE LINKS***

My youngest has always loved jigsaws. From a large Gruffalo one, when he really young, to a world map and a solar system, they really capture his interest and he always wants to finish them.

We were asked to review some new Despicable 3 Jigsaws from Ravensburger recently. Now my youngest not only loves jigsaws but totally adores Minions too. He still adores his Tumbling Stuart which still makes us all laugh. So I knew he’d be perfect for this task – he is 8 years old.




22 October 2017

The Famous Five Adventure Game App Review

***COLLABORATIVE POST***

Who remembers reading The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton when they were young? 

I had every book in the series. All were well-worn, with a creased spine, over-thumbed pages and folded corners. I loved reading them over and over again. We’d also play The Famous Five, me and my friends that was, pretending we were having adventures. The difference was we were all girls and we didn’t have a dog, lashings of ginger beer or adventures for that matter. But it didn’t matter we loved the books.

So when I was approached recently to see if I’d like to review the 21st century version reboot of the books - a mystery game app called The Famous Five Adventure Game - I didn’t hesitate. 

The Famous Five adventure game app review


20 October 2017

5 Family Friendly Things To Do Before Christmas In the Land of Oak and Iron

***COLLABORATIVE POST***

It seems a long time ago now, but I actually grew up in a place that is now named the Land of Oak and Iron. Sounds really cool and mystical, doesn’t it? And actually, it is. It’s a place that is bursting with acres of beautiful natural woodland, rich in wildlife, and also has a whole industrial and cultural heritage to celebrate. 



Plus, it is less than 30 minutes away from Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland. So before Christmas why not try pumpkin carving, follow the red kite trail, find woodland sculptures, discover the power of water and choose your Christmas tree in the Derwent Valley.


5 Family Friendly Things To Do Before Christmas In The Land of Oak and Iron


19 October 2017

Free October Half-Term Family Fun in North East England

***Regional Events***

This October we have found over 30 free family fun events and activities taking place across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham. There are Halloween themed events and activities, science-based fun, nature, comedy and plenty of pumpkins too. So wherever you go we hope you have a spooktastic time!

free halloween family fun in north east england this October half term

18 October 2017

Espresso Maker and Wine Preserver Giveaway

***GIVEAWAY + AFFILIATE LINKS***
A confession here. I am one of the world’s biggest coffee fans. It is always my first drink of the day. I love a skinny latte or a black coffee with ginger syrup, and for when I’m feeling the need for a caffeine pick-me-up, an espresso too. 

So when I was offered the chance to review a coffee maker and to add to that a wine preserver too, plus the opportunity to offer a lucky reader the chance to win both, I obviously had to say yes!




17 October 2017

Fun Family Walks - Northumberlandia in Northumberland

Have you been to Northumberlandia? We met up with family and friends there a few weeks ago and it has to be said it is a fab place in Northumberland for a fun family walk.

16 October 2017

Where To Book A Family Holiday in Late Autumn

***COLLABORATIVE POST***
This warm weekend has made me realise just how much I've missed the sunshine recently. Suddenly I'm longing for a bit more of it and craving another holiday. Have you ever taken a late-autumn break?

Where do you holiday? Where do you go and how do you choose where to go? And is it different now to before you had children?  With so many places in the world offering different things,  it's sometimes not so easy to choose. Which is where companies like Tots to Travel can help with their experience of crafting perfect family holidays.

15 October 2017

The Hilarious World of Julius Zebra with Gary Northfield

*** REVIEW + AFFILIATE LINKS***
Gary Northfield has been writing and drawing comics since 2002. He has regularly worked for esteemed magazines such as The Beano, The Phoenix, National Geographic Kids and The Dandy.

He regularly visits schools and libraries, teaching kids of all ages and abilities how to draw comics and cartoon characters. We were lucky enough to be invited along to a workshop at Seven Stories recently where we were introduced to the hilarious world of Julius Zebra.

The Hilarious World of Julius Zebra with Gary Northfield

13 October 2017

How To Make A Dairy Free Nacho 'Cheesy' Dip

***RECIPE + AFFILIATE LINK***

If you are looking for a dairy-free alternative to a cheesy nacho dip then try this recipe. It's basically a carrot and a potato and a few ingredients out of the store cupboard. Honestly, it's that easy. It's also dairy-free, gluten-free and suitable for vegans too.

How To Make A Dairy Free Nacho 'Cheesy' Dip

11 October 2017

Getting Outdoors in Northumberland with Footprints on the Moon

***REVIEW***
Did you know that behind the Visitor Centre at Plessey Woods in Northumberland there is a forest school? 

Hidden away under a canopy of trees you will find Footprints on the Moon – who invited us to unleash our inner wild one Saturday afternoon to try out their new Exploring and Survival Forest School.

Getting Outdoors in Northumberland with Footprints on the Moon at Plessey Woods
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...