28 February 2017

Peru: A place I’d love to return to (with the kids)

If I mention the word Peru to my boys, they automatically think of and say Paddington. Who can blame them? Paddington has become one of most loved small bears around the world.

However, I would love one day for them to think of Peru as the mysterious, magical, special place that I discovered a few years before they were born, rather than a place where they think you eat marmalade sandwiches.

I'm continuing my 'A Place I'd love to return to with the kids series' with Peru. If you missed the first post in the series you can read all about our trip to Easter Island, and why I'd love to go again with the boys.

27 February 2017

Toy Review: Spy Gear Transforming Ninja Sword & Wrist Blaster (REVIEW)

*** Review ***

With two boys who love both karate and soft-dart style guns, I had no doubt that they would both jump at the chance to review two new Spy Gear toys by Spinmaster, a company that aims to design and market innovative products that "wow".

Toy Review: Spy Gear Transforming Ninja Sword & Wrist Blaster

24 February 2017

Everything You Need to Know about Fire and Ice In Durham

We had a full family day out in Durham today and took in all of the Fire and Ice Festival while we were there. If you missed it today don’t worry, it's back in Durham tomorrow - Saturday 25 February.

Everything You Need to Know about Fire and Ice Festival in Durham

23 February 2017

My Boys Art Club - February

I have just added my boys latest artwork to my online gallery on Pinterest. I do love having the boys art on the kitchen wall. In fact, at one time the boys were so prolific that we had nearly every wall covered. And some of it is really good. Yet we just don’t have enough wall space. So now every time the boys create something special I add it to an online gallery so we have a record of it in the future.

Check out My Boys Club online art gallery on Pinterest

22 February 2017

An evening at the theatre – Hedda Gabler at Northern Stage (REVIEW)

*** REVIEW ***
Two date nights in one week. We must have the Grandparents staying with us!

Last week we thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal at one of Newcastle’s newest restaurants. Date night two, however, is a very different occasion as we had received an invitation to the press night at Northern Stage for the production of their new version of Hedda Gabler, This is Not a Love Story.

Date Night: An evening at the theatre – Hedda Gabler at Northern Stage Newcastle

21 February 2017

Date Night in Newcastle: Chaophraya Thai Restaurant (REVIEW)

*** REVIEW ***
Friday night always used to be about going out, however now that we are older and parents, we often no longer have either the energy or the availability of childminders to go out on a Friday night. 

However, earlier this year we were invited to review one of Newcastle’s newest restaurants, Chaophraya. I asked if we could wait a few weeks until we had babysitters, of course, this was no problem, and it also turned our date night into a Valentines evening too.

Date Night in Newcastle as we Review Chaophraya Thai Restaurant

20 February 2017

Love Pandas? Enter our Bamboo Pete Clothing (REVIEW)

Love Pandas? Bamboo Pete is a clothing brand that depicts & promotes Pandas on its hoodies, tee-shirts, tank tops and sweatpants. I mean just how cute are these designs? The boys absolutely love them. And I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to run a competition for you to win Bamboo Pete clothing.

Win Bamboo Pete Clothing is free to enter giveaway competition with My Boys Club

17 February 2017

Our Five Favourite Breads We Can't Wait to Bake

*** Collaborative Post ***

We love bread in our house. I have posted before about re-discovering our breadmaker that had been lurking at the back of a cupboard. Now that I’ve found the time to get back into home-baking, I’ve decided it is also time to look for a new bread machine – one that’s not 15 years old!

As I’ve said we love bread of all types and I’ve been really impressed by the bread machine recipes by Panasonic. Whether it’s a veggie sausage sarnie, soda bread with homemade soup, a wholemeal crusty loaf, croissants, wraps or buns for our homemade burgers, it all gets eaten in our house.

16 February 2017

C’est Magnifique! As Cirque Comes to Toon: Varekai (REVIEW)

I am very lucky that I work with some world-champion amazing acrobats on a regular basis, who entertain audiences to raise money for their gymnastic club. Some of whom have joined Cirque du Soleil themselves and now perform shows around the world.

So when I received a press invitation to review a Cirque du Soleil show, Varekai, at Newcastle’s Metro Arena I jumped at the chance. Although I've seen many acrobatic performances for both entertainment and competition, this was to be my first Cirque show. And I was really excited.

Varakei, Cirque du Soleil's kid-friendly show, arrived in Newcastle on February 15 and will entertain audiences with five more enchanting shows until Sunday 19 February before heading to Leeds’ First Direct Arena, Genting Arena in Birmingham, Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena and The SSE Hydro, Glasgow and then onto Europe.

C’est Magnifique! As Cirque Comes to Toon. Review of Cirque du Soleil's Varekai in Newcastle on UK Arena Tour 2017

15 February 2017

FREE Family Science, Tech, Foodie, Arts, Craft & Heritage Events + Festivals during February Half-Term

Half-term is approaching so here is a handy list of many of the FREE events and family activities taking place during the school holidays to keep your children entertained in North East England.

Taking place in locations right across the region including Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham & Teesside I have categorised them as either Science, Tech, Foodie, Arts & Craft, Heritage and Festivals free family events and activities, to make it easier to search through. 

Simply take your pick from the 40+ free events listed below ... 


13 February 2017

Fire and Ice Festival in Durham City this Half Term

With so many FREE events taking place across the region this month and during half-term we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the lesser well-known ones.

On Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February ‘FIRE and ICE’ comes to Durham. This is set to be a stunning and spectacular event which will see the City come to life, with an ice sculpture trail lit by flaming beacons weaving its way through the historic streets of Durham. 

Ahead of Fire & Ice coming to Durham City in North East England here are five ways to get involved in the free festival.

It’s not just any ice that’s going to be on show at Fire and Ice in Durham either. The ice sculptures are being created by Glacial Arts - the creatives behind the ice work in Game of Thrones and you can see their team in action too at the festival!

12 February 2017

The Child & Parent Experience at a Minecraft Convention (Nethermined 3) (REVIEW)

Nethermined returned to Newcastle this weekend for its 3rd outing in the city and we were offered complimentary tickets to attend as a family. The boys were more than happy, to say the least!

At the Minecraft convention known as Nethermined, Minecraft YouTubers entertain the crowds with panels on 2 stages, some live gaming, a small number of hugely popular workshops, some retro games and merchandise stalls.

Nethermined 3 took place on February 11 at Northumbria University Student Union and promised to involve Live Minecraft gaming sessions, on stage competitions involving audience participation, Q&A Panels, Educational Panels, as well as meet and greets regarding the Minecraft / YouTuber experience. 

The parent and child's experience at a Minecraft Convention - Nethermined 3 Newcastle

10 February 2017

Fourteen Films for Valentines

Valentine’s Day can sometimes feel a little too commercialised for me if I’m honest. I’m not into big gestures of expensive presents and the like. A simple hand-made card or day out is much more up my street. Going out on the night itself as well as being expensive, is often hugely over-rated, with far too much pressure to have a great time. A good alternative is to cosy up and watch a great film!

9 February 2017

Brick Dinos at Woodhorn Museum – A Family Day Out (REVIEW)

Step back in time with Brick Dinos is what the promotional material says and that is indeed what we did when we headed to Woodhorn Museum on the opening weekend of this new exhibition in Ashington, Northumberland. 

Combining two of my boys most favourite things ever – dinosaurs and LEGO - I was pretty sure they were going to enjoy the day!

A family day out at Woodhorn Museum in Ashington Northumberland to see Brick Dinos exhibition of Lego and Dinosaurs

7 February 2017

Central Oven & Shaker Review ahead of National Pizza Day

Nearly everyone loves pizza. We all love pizza in this house, including our regular family pizza nights. To be fair what’s not to love? Especially now you can get gluten free, dairy free and healthier options too. So National Pizza Day on February 9th is one national day we are happy to celebrate.

Ahead of National Pizza Day we review Central Oven & Shaker one of Newcastle's newest Pizza Restaurants

6 February 2017

5 Vegetables to Spiralize when Courgettes are scarce

Having listened to the experts I've really got into spiralizing my vegetables over the past couple of years. I don't have a gadget or a machine, just a simple peeler style spiralizer that costs just a few pounds. However now that I'm used to 'courgetti', and have persuaded the family to eat it, we are struggling to find fresh courgettes in the midst of the courgette crisis.

Alternative vegetables to spiralise when there are no courgettes - carrots, leeks, sweet potatoe, cabbage and parsnip.

3 February 2017

A Light Lunch Recipe: Quick and Easy Quesadillas

Ok so it’s not January anymore, but I for one am still trying to keep up a semi-healthy lifestyle. Working from home means I have the option of making something light and tasty, to eat for lunch, and this recipe is one that I love. Mushroom Quesadillas are light, tasty, super quick to make and pretty inexpensive too! Great if you are trying to keep to a budget.


1 February 2017

20+ Free Family Events in February in North East England

Every month I aim to highlight some of the great FREE events, places, attractions and things to do with your family across Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Teesside, Durham, and Northumberland.

We are so lucky. North East England has so much to offer. There are many great paid for attractions and events as well, but as we head into February here is a list of over 20 family events you can enjoy for free across the month.

20+ Free Family Events in February in North East England in Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Teesside, and Durham

If you have a free event and would like it included this month or in the future, please email me at myboysclub@debsharratt.co.uk