24 April 2018

5 things to do in Barcelona with kids (AD)

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in the world. Who could fail to love this beautiful city on the shores the Mediterranean Sea? It has art, culture, shops, history, attractions, sea & sand and football. 

The capital of Catalonia, it is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman remains and medieval quarters. So Barcelona with kids. It’s a city I think my boys will love and I’d love to take them there, so for this post, we’ve teamed up with Musement - a website that helps travellers get the best from destinations by providing a great choice of local tours and attractions bookable on multiple devices. So if you are thinking of planning a Barcelona family holiday, read on ...


5 family-friendly things to do in Barcelona

19 April 2018

Holidaying with Hadrian! A staycation at Hadrian’s Holiday Lodges on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland (REVIEW)

At the Heart of Hadrian's Wall, Roman Britain comes to life! As well as the Hadrian's Wall Trail, there are amazing Roman Forts such as Vindolanda and Housesteads, fantastic countryside and a wealth of accommodation too. 

We were invited to review some new luxury B&B lodges close to Hadrian’s Wall, aptly named Hadrian’s Holiday Lodges. In fact, they are just 120 metres off the Hadrian’s Wall Trail. So read on to discover how we found our complimentary two-night stay … 


17 April 2018

5 family-friendly places to see wildlife this spring in the Land of Oak & Iron (AD)

Spring finally seems to have arrived. How much better does it feel to see blue skies and sunshine? I know it improves my mood, and it’s great to be able to get out and about in the great outdoors on family days out and excursions again. In this post we are collaborating with the Land of Oak & Iron and today we are looking at the top 5 family-friendly wildlife spots to visit this spring in the Derwent Valley.
5 family-friendly places to see wildlife this spring in the Land of Oak & Iron

12 April 2018

How to make Peanut Butter at home

Peanut butter is so popular in many countries. It’s also very popular with my boys. Peanut butter is a food paste or spread made from ground peanuts. It often contains additional ingredients that enhance the taste or texture, such as salt, sweeteners or emulsifiers. 

However, you can avoid these additives if you make your own at home. And it’s so easy to do. You don’t need much more than peanuts and a blender and gives you a massive saving on the shop bought versions of the spread.



How to make Peanut Butter at home recipe


10 April 2018

A Family Day Out with Lowry, Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders are just over an hour away from our home, making a family day out to this part of our region, easily achievable for us. The border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed has the dubious title of being the most disputed town in the UK, as it has changed hands between the English and the Scots 13 times so far. 

Today, the town is the most northerly of England and located in Northumberland but the Scottish border is a just a couple of miles north of the coastal town. A couple of weeks ago we headed north up there on the A1 for a family day trip.

A Family Day Out with Lowry, Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the Scottish Borders

5 April 2018

20+ Easy Family Friendly Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Did you know that in the UK we throw away over 7 million tonnes of food every year? That’s nearly 20% of what we actually buy going into our bins. Some of this food will have sadly gone off, but what’s worse is that according to research by WRAP,  more than half (4.4 million tonnes) of this food that ends up in our waste collection, could still have been eaten, which equates to around 13 billion ‘5 a day’ portions.

Food waste can be minimised, and in this post, I’m highlighting some of the ways that I’m trying to cut down on my food waste and I’m sharing some other peoples really great family-friendly ideas too. We haven't eliminated food waste in our house, but we are trying our best. Read on to see how to reduce food waste - helping to save you money and saving the planet.


20+ Easy Family Friendly Ways to Reduce Food Waste

2 April 2018

7 Things To Do This Month - April

Well, April this year started on what was April Fools Day and Easter Sunday, but this month does give us two weeks of school holidays to enjoy, and hopefully some warmer and longer days with not too many April showers! We've been chilling out over the long Easter weekend and planning out our month ahead ... so here are 7 things we are going to be doing in April.

30 March 2018

Eating Out At Riley's Fish Shack – King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth

On a secluded cove, underneath Tynemouth Priory on the northeast coastline, you’ll find one of the most innovative and tasty places to eat, in the world, Riley's Fish Shack. In fact, when you are there you really do feel like you are on holiday, not just a few miles from home.

Tynemouth, recently named as one of the best places to live in the North, by the Sunday Times, is also home to Riley’s Fish Shack. It is exactly what it says – a shack (made out of two containers) on the beach (yes, on real sand) that is a restaurant that sells predominantly fish (and a few other things). And it's well worth a visit.

EATING OUT AT RILEYS FISH SHACK – KING EDWARDS BAY, TYNEMOUTH

28 March 2018

What's On in April - Free Family Fun in North East England - including Easter Hols

There are over 25 free family events and activities in the North East this April which include the Easter school holidays and Easter Bank holidays. So with 30 days, five full weekends, as well as two weeks of school holidays, there should be plenty of time in April to enjoy some quality family events and activities. 

What's On in April - Free Family Fun in North East England - including Easter Hols

26 March 2018

Play By Your Own Rules with Infinity Pitch at BALTIC this Easter (REVIEW)

For the next three weeks, Baltic, the Centre for Contemporary Arts, is inviting visitors to play by their own rules. Infinity Pitch is a new interactive art installation that is for everyone and open daily until Friday 15 April at Baltic on Gateshead Quays on NewcastleGateshead Quayside.


free Infinity Play at BALTIC newcastle gateshead Easter


23 March 2018

Tasting the Lunch Menu at Chaophraya Newcastle (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
There is no shortage of places to eat in Newcastle. There are so many different styles of venue to choose from, cuisines and costs. It’s not much more than a year since Chaophraya opened in the new restaurant quarter in Eldon Square, and we’ve already worked with the Thai Food restaurant twice. One for a late Valentine's date and another time to try out their Thai cookery school. So when we were invited along again I decided it would be the perfect time to try out their lunchtime menu.


Tasting the Lunch Menu at Chaophraya Newcastle


21 March 2018

Fighting Heart Disease with Vegan Mushroom, Fig and Spinach Pizza

I’m certainly not a Delia or Nigella. And I have no ambition to win MasterChef, however, food is one of the topics I really enjoy writing about on this blog. Whether that’s eating out or creating recipes for dining at home. I love cooking with and for my family, my boys like to get in on the act in the kitchen too, especially trying new recipes and foods, and creating dairy-free and meat-free alternatives to traditional recipes.

So I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to donate a recipe to Heart Research UK, a national charity who fund pioneering medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease as well as helping communities improve their lifestyles, and this week my recipe for a vegan Mushroom, fig and spinach pizza was published in their Happy Healthy Heart Cookbook.

 Fighting Heart Disease with Vegan Mushroom, Fig and Spinach Pizza


19 March 2018

Gateshead Theatre Show Promotes Children’s Online Safety (AD)

***SPONSORED POST***
Penguinpig is coming to Gateshead in June. A cautionary but beautiful story about the internet is told with puppets and is made for families ideally with children aged between 3 & 8 years old. 


Gateshead Theatre Show PenguinPig Promotes Children’s Online Safety

16 March 2018

Vote for Hall Hill Farm as #TourismSuperstar Voting Draws To A Close

My full-time job is not that of blogging but an independent PR & marketing practitioner. It's a role I've undertaken on a freelance basis for over seven years now, with clients, primarily in the tourism and leisure sector right across North East England. One of my first clients was Hall Hill Farm in County Durham, and their 26-year-old shepherd is currently nominated for a national Tourism Superstar Award. 

If you feel like voting for him there is still time, voting closes in the VisitEngland competition on March 20 via The Mirror newspaper website.



15 March 2018

#EatDrinkSunderland Returns to Sunderland For Restaurant Week (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
North East food lovers will be able to enjoy a range of top dining experiences at bargain prices, again as Sunderland Restaurant Week returns to the city between Saturday 17 March and Sunday 25 March. We were invited to a preview event for #EatDrinkSunderland with the organisers, Sunderland Business Improvement District, for a taste of what was to come. 
#EatDrinkSunderland Returns to Sunderland For Restaurant Week

13 March 2018

Exploring Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland

A few weeks ago we were enjoying a staycation in Northumberland just a few miles from Alnwick so we took a trip to Barter Books as we headed further into England’s northernmost county before heading home. My eldest was so captivated by the bookstore that he spent his own money on buying a hardback copy of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel.

barter books Alnwick Northumberland JRRTolkien

9 March 2018

Treat Yourself With Your Own Treatbox + Giveaway (REVIEW)

***REVIEW + GIVEAWAY***
How often do you treat yourself? We have teamed up with treatbox to offer you the chance of winning your own little treat. Just for you. 

Treat Yourself With Your Own Treatbox box of goodies

8 March 2018

Celebrating International Women's Day on My Boys Club

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. So I thought I’d take the time to outline some of the women I have admired most and celebrate their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. But also look at some of the women my young boys already know have contributed to our history; and also which women influence the influencers - I asked other mum and dad bloggers about their favourite historical female characters.

6 March 2018

Family Games Night Playing Quirky & Baffled with Our Tweens (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
Friday night is often family games night in our house. I’m a big fan of board games so I’m really pleased that my tweens seem to have my enthusiasm for them too. They like card games, board games as well as computer games, and I love how they all provide the opportunity to spend some quality family time together, creating important bonds and memories. Have to admit, we (I) do get a little bit too competitive at times though!

Review of Baffled and Quirky board games
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. It costs you nothing however if you do buy something after clicking the link then Amazon will pay me a small amount in commission - so thank you in advance if you do!

5 March 2018

7 Things to do this Month - March

Snowmageddon and the Beast from the East wasn't the start I was expecting for the month of March, and of course Springtime here in the UK. But it did turn our local park into a ski resort for a few days and we all remembered just how much fun sledging is, if not the road and traffic chaos that comes with so much snow. 

Anyway, the snow seems to be on the way out and now we can look forward to the month of March with St Patrick's Day and also this year Maunday Thursday and Good Friday.


2 March 2018

Win Snazaroo Brush Pen Face Paints

***GIVEAWAY***
We have teamed up with Snazaroo to offer you the chance of winning two packs of their new innovative face paints. Snazaroo’s innovative face paint Brush Pens are a clever combination of paint and brush that’s set to revolutionise both novice and professional face painting.

Win Snazaroo Brush Pen Face Paints


1 March 2018

What’s On - March – Free Family Fun Events & Activities in North East England

***FREE EVENTS***
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 March here is a list of 20 family events you can enjoy for free across the month.

What’s On - March – Free Family Fun Events & Activities in North East England

27 February 2018

A Family Day Out at Space Golf, Newcastle – All You Need To Know (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
Adventure golf has come to Newcastle. In the former Co-op Department Store building on Newgate Street, in Newcastle City Centre, sandwiched between Zaap Thai and the Premier Inn, you’ll find Mr Mulligan’s Space Golf.

I’m going to be honest when I first heard’ Space Golf’ I really didn’t know what to expect. But after meeting up with Adventure Leisure in the autumn, and hearing about their plans for adventure golf in the city, I knew it would be something my boys would love. So when we were asked to go along and review the first Space Golf after it opened during half-term in Newcastle, my boys didn’t need asking twice.

A Family Day Out at Space Golf, Newcastle – All You Need To Know

22 February 2018

Our 8 Favourite North East Coastal Family Walks - worth braving the cold for even in winter and early spring

The Lake District may have taken top honours in the nation's top 100 walking hotspots recently revealed in ITV's 'Britain's Favourite Walks: Top 100' but we’ve picked out eight of our favourite coastal places in North East England, that are perfect for family walks in Winter, and early Spring ... or any season really!

8 Favourite North East Coastal Family Walks

20 February 2018

The Cultural Spring Brings More Children’s Theatre to Sunderland & South Tyneside (AD)

***SPONSORED POST***
The first of four news shows aimed at getting more people to experience and be inspired by the arts arrives in Sunderland and South Tyneside later this week. Wee Red and Her Wolf, a tale inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, suitable for children aged 7 and over, will be able to be seen in five community venues in Whitburn, South Shields and Jarrow.


16 February 2018

Win a month’s supply of speciality coffee from Coffee & Kin! (REVIEW)

***GIVEAWAY***
If you are a caffeine addict like me then we have the perfect giveaway competition for you. We have teamed up with Coffee & Kin, who roast their coffee beans on Holy Island in Northumberland, to offer you the chance to win a month’s supply of coffee! 

Choose from coffee beans or pods to make your coffee the way you like it!

 

13 February 2018

A Family Staycation in Northumberland at Felmoor Park (REVIEW)


***REVIEW***

Forget Me Not Lodge has got to be one of the most aptly named holiday lets I've ever been to. Located just half-an-hour north of Newcastle, this family-friendly and pet-friendly, two bedroomed luxury lodge with a hot tub, is a perfect place for a family staycation in Northumberland and after our recent press trip there, one we won't be forgetting it in a hurry.


dog friendly and child friendly luxury accommodation in northumberland with hot tub

12 February 2018

Everything You Need to Know - Fire and Ice Festival - Durham 16-17 Feb 2018

FIRE and ICE in Durham is a stunning and spectacular FREE event that sees the City come to life, with an ice sculpture trail lit by flaming beacons weaving its way through the historic streets of Durham. This year it is returning to Durham for the third time during half-term on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February.

Everything You Need to Know - Fire and Ice Festival - Durham 16-17 Feb 2018


9 February 2018

What's On Feb Half-Term - Free family events in North East England

Last day at school for the boys and its February half-term already. I don't know about you but it doesn't seem two minutes since the boys went back to school after the Christmas holidays. 

So to help us all make the pennies go further and help us to pass the time frugally, next week during half-term, we've compiled a list of lots of free family events and activities taking place and don't forget to check out our A-Z free family days out right across the North East too.


8 February 2018

Building Big Ben - a 3D Ravensburger Puzzle (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
Jigsaw puzzles have come a long way since I was a child. The new 3D puzzles are amazing. These new jigsaws are not flat but actually create 3D shapes when complete. Read on to find out more about the 3D Big Ben from Ravensburger.

Building Big Ben - a 3D Ravensburger Puzzle

This post also contains Amazon affiliate links. It costs you nothing however if you do buy something after clicking the link then Amazon will pay me a small amount in commission - so thank you in advance if you do!

6 February 2018

A Spanish Lunch Date at Tapas Revolution in Newcastle (REVIEW)

***REVIEW + AFFILIATE LINKS***

I love tapas food. I always eat too much but I love the concept of sharing and of being able to try new foods without having to opt for them as your whole meal. So when we were invited along to Tapas Revolution in Newcastle to sample their Tapas menu we were eager to attend, so hubby and I booked ourselves a table one lunchtime for a lunch date while the boys were at school.


A Spanish Lunch Date at Tapas Revolution in Newcastle


This post also contains Amazon affiliate links. It costs you nothing however if you do buy something after clicking the link then Amazon will pay me a small amount in commission - so thank you in advance if you do!

5 February 2018

7 Things to Do This Month - February

February is only the second month of the year. Still mid-winter it does at least give us Shrove Tuesday, Chinese New Year, Valentines Day and half-term to take some of the gloom away. So here are seven things to do with and without the family, to eat, make and also enjoy in February.

7 Things to Do This Month - February

3 February 2018

The War of the Worlds at Northern Stage (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
On Stage 3 at Northern Stage in Newcastle, this week is a vivid new production that relocates H.G. Wells' iconic novel to the North East. We were invited to attend the press night last week and were rewarded with a brilliant night out, a great date night with a difference.

HG Wells The War of the Worlds at Northern Stage

2 February 2018

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun Events & Activities 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 30 family events you can enjoy for free across the month.

What’s On - February – 30+ Free Family Fun in North East England

30 January 2018

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the North East

The Chinese New Year is one of the world's most prominent and celebrated festivals in the world. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival in modern China, or simply the Lunar New Year, which celebrates the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. 

Celebrations traditionally run from the evening proceeding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February meaning the Year of the Dog starts on Friday, 16 February 2018.

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in the North East

29 January 2018

6 Ways to get fit and healthy in the Land of Oak & Iron (AD)

***COLLABORATIVE POST***
After overindulging at Christmas, many of us are feeling drawn to trying a new fad fitness regime. The start of a new year is when so many of us start to think (again) about keeping fit and healthy. We try to go to the gym, see how busy it is and are promptly put off enough and find it all so much easier just to head home and sit on the sofa (I do anyway).

But in this country and especially here in North East England we have so many beautiful areas of countryside and outdoor space just waiting for us to immerse ourselves in as we get active. And the Land of Oak & Iron, which focuses on the Derwent Valley and the surrounding area, following the River Derwent from Derwent Reservoir to the River Tyne, involving Consett, Rowlands Gill, Prudhoe and Whickham, is no exception.

Six Ways to get fit and healthy in the Land of Oak & Iron derwent valley

26 January 2018

Take It All On Board - Exclusive - Win a Signed Copy of the New Book (REVIEW)

On February 9, the 2018 Winter Olympics will begin in South Korea and snowboarding will once again be on our TV screens. I've been lucky enough to be working with a female snowboarder, now 48, who is also a performance coach in her day job, and who has written her first book all about gaining confidence and includes 8 steps to mastering the slope & life with confidence.

Snowboarding is perceived as a male-dominated extreme sport for young people but Kate a blogger, mum, guest lecturer and NHS management consultant didn’t take up the sport until in her 30’s. Not only have I interviewed Kate all about her book but I've got a copy of it to giveaway to one of you lucky readers too.


25 January 2018

How to Make Oat Milk & Dairy Free Vegan Milkshakes

***RECIPE***
Are you someone who can’t drink cow’s milk? Or someone who has chosen not to consume cow’s milk and follow a vegan or dairy-free diet? Do you know how easy it is to make your own plant-based milk at home? 

There are so many non-dairy and lactose-free milk alternatives such as soy milk or almond milk and coconut milk, but to make your own oat milk drink at home you just need two ingredients – oats and water ... and a blender.



22 January 2018

A Family Staycation in Durham at Radisson Blu Hotel (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
Earlier this month we took advantage of the boys' school holidays and stayed mid-week in Durham, to take up an invitation to stay at the four-star Radisson Blu Hotel in a family room.  So if you are looking for vacation or staycation ideas this year, read on to see what we thought...

A Family Staycation in Durham at Radisson Blu Hotel

18 January 2018

How to Make Chickpea Hummus – Four Ways

***RECIPE***
Hummus is one of those foods that yes you can easily buy, it’s available in shops and supermarkets everywhere. But it is also a food that is also very easy to make at home, not to mention so cheap too. Here is my easy hummus recipe for making hummus in four different flavours – including chocolate!

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

16 January 2018

Family Walks - A Circular Riverside Walk in Durham

Durham isn’t just one of the UK's heritage cities with a maze of medieval streets or the site of the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Durham Cathedral & Castle, or the location of a world-renowned University. It also offers a really pleasant walk along its river banks. Perfect for a family walk, family day and getting the kids some fresh air. It is like being in the countryside without leaving the heart of the city.


north east Family Walks - A Circular Riverside Walk in Durham

12 January 2018

Veganuary at JD Wetherspoons - Tasting The Vegan Menu at The Bishops Mill, Durham

A Wetherspoons pub isn't somewhere we often eat out on an evening, but we were in Durham and staying opposite the Walkergate Leisure Complex, which has lots of casual dining restaurant chains. 

The boys had decided they wanted burgers or hot dogs so as the Mexican and Italian restaurants weren't going to provide this, we took a look at The Bishops Mill menu. The boys were happy so we headed to The Bishops Mill in Walkergate to try out their menu. 

As it's also Veganuary this month we thought we'd test out their vegan offerings too.

vegan menu at wetherspoons durham
(Please note this post includes pictures of meat dishes as well as vegan dishes)

10 January 2018

Taking Your Tween to their First Football Match

Football is the nations favourite game. Over 13 million people watch a football match every year in the UK. Even more, watch on TV, and then there are the thousands of people, male and female, who play the game on a regular basis too. 

Newcastle United FC is our local team and one I have supported since I was a child. Over, 50,000 people watch every home game live in the stadium of St. James Park and I was really excited to get the opportunity to take my tween to his first footy game.



8 January 2018

5 Vegan Ways to Zing Up a Baked Potato and Beans (using items from the store cupboard)

***RECIPE***
I love a baked potato for lunch, especially during the winter months. It’s warming, tasty and also quick and easy to make if you opt for the microwave version – although an oven-baked jacket is so much better!

There are some great toppings out there to choose from, but not all are vegan.  One of my favourites has always been baked beans. Beans and potato just go so well together, but I’ve always cooked it with butter and added grated cheese. This month I’m trying to be not just healthier after the festive season but also a little more vegan too, it is January and Veganuary this month. 

5 Vegan Ways to Zing Up a Baked Potato and Beans

5 January 2018

Eating Out Vegan Style at The Ship Inn, Ouseburn, Newcastle

Ever wondered where you can find vegan food in Newcastle? And eat out as a vegan?

Eating vegan food whilst out is not always the easiest thing to do. So as January is increasingly becoming known as Veganuary I thought I'd share our recent experiences of eating out in a dedicated vegan pub with you. The pub is The Ship Inn, Ouseburn, Newcastle - luckily for us less than half a mile from our home! 

Eating Out Vegan Style at The Ship Inn, Ouseburn, Newcastle

3 January 2018

Watching The Snowman On Tour at Durham Cathedral (REVIEW)

***REVIEW***
Durham Cathedral was the penultimate stop for The Snowman on Tour show in 2017 and we were invited along to review the show.


1 January 2018

What's On January - 9 FREE Family Fun Events & Activities in North East England

Happy New Year everyone and to celebrate I am continuing the popular – FREE family event post into 2018. Every month I’ll 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.

To ease us gently back into the swing of things for 2018 we’ve compiled a list of free family events and activities taking place in January – in addition to the usual free attractions – to help us out as we recover from the festive season. North East England has so much on offer there are many great paid for attractions and events as well but as we tighten our belts after the festive season here are some events you can enjoy for free in January.

9 Free Family Fun Events & Activities in January 2018 in North East England