5 December 2018

Christmas 2018 - Enchanted Parks - Everything You Need to Know (AD)

We were invited to attend Enchanted Parks and received complimentary tickets, parking and food.

There is something special and empowering about being able to wander through an unlit park in the dark. Enchanted Parks in Saltwell Park in Gateshead, part of the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival, invites you to do just that and take your family with you.

So last night, following an invitation from NewcastleGateshead Initiative, me and the boys headed to this year’s Enchanted Parks - The House of the Lost & Found - where we had mystical adventure through Gateshead’s famous Victorian park, brought to life with light, sounds, fire, and performance.

Enchanted Parks 2018 in Saltwell Park, NewcastleGateshead - Everything You Need to Know


27 November 2018

Christmas 2018 – A-Z of Things Parents Love About Xmas

Now that it is approaching December and we are less than one month away from Christmas, then I really do start to feel Christmassy. I’m not yet jaded by the Christmas shopping – although I’m nowhere near finished, and I’m getting as excited as the boys about putting our decorations up next weekend.

So here are my favourite things about Christmas and a very comprehensive A-Z of things to love about Xmas suggested by other families.

46 reasons to love Christmas by parents


21 November 2018

Christmas 2018 – Where to watch Xmas Shows & Panto in the North East

Going to a pantomime or a Christmassy show is a lovely tradition for many of us here in the North East. Oh no, it isn't ... oh yes it is!

This year there are 19 shows on offer from traditional pantomimes such as Peter Pan; Christmas stories such as A Christmas Carol; and a modern take on Christmas with Mixtape Xmas Part - comedy sketch show and part music quiz – there really is something for everyone, and in places as far afield as Berwick and Darlington. 

Some we have been offered complimentary tickets* too, others we have bought ourselves. There are far too many for us to visit them all but if you do go to any of the following, I’d love to hear what you thought. Or indeed if you know of any more let me know in the comments.


Where to watch Xmas Shows & Panto in the North East

13 November 2018

Cooking with the boys: Homemade Pizza

Friday night is, more often than not, pizza night in our house. This usually means us buying frozen or fresh pizzas from the supermarket, sometimes creating our own with a choice of toppings. However, now that my eldest had started Food Tech classes at secondary school it’s all changed.

Cooking with the boys: Homemade Pizza

25 October 2018

16 FREE Firework Displays In North East England

Where will you be watching fireworks displays in the North East this year? 

As well as many displays with an admission charge there are plenty of FREE places to watch fireworks this year in North East England. Here are sixteen that we have found for 2018. Although they are all free events, donations are often 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. 

16 FREE Firework Displays In North East England


23 October 2018

Will the new Nighthawk Ride-On Make A Good Christmas Present? Review (AD)

My boys were asked to review the new Nighthawk Ride-On from Rollplay in advance of the UK launch. They loved to so much and its been really hard for them not to tell all of their friends about it. They are so relieved to be able to do so now … and invite their friends to try out the Ride-On that they received for their time and efforts.


Nighthawk Ride-On by Rollplay review


19 October 2018

7 Fab Family-Friendly Autumn Activities in Land of Oak & Iron (AD)

This post is sponsored by Land of Oak & Iron.

Well, it looks like summer is back with blue skies overhead, even if the temperatures are a little bit of a shock to the system. But this does mean we should have some lovely days over the coming weeks to enjoy some time outdoors. And the Land of Oak & Iron has some great events and activities on offer – no matter which of the school half terms you have this year.

7 Fab Family-Friendly Autumn Activities in the Land of Oak & Iron

18 October 2018

What’s On For Halloween in North East England

Yes, it’s nearly Halloween. With the school holidays and October half-terms spanning two weeks this year across North East England there are plenty of opportunities to get out there and celebrate ghosts, ghouls and of course carve pumpkins. We’ve scoured the web to pull together a list of wickedly fun Halloween events going on across the region, if you know of any more please do add in the comments.

What’s On For Halloween in North East England for Families


17 October 2018

Fans Theatre Show Goes on Tour (AD)

Do you love live music and theatre? 
Were you in a band when you were younger? 
Did you dream of being in a band? 

Then the latest show from The Six Twenty could be right up your street. Fans returned to Newcastle last weekend, to which we received an invitation attend the press night, and is now on a short tour taking it to Doncaster and London before one more performance in the North East in Sunderland at The Peacock in November.

#FansTour - fans by the six twenty theatre show



15 October 2018

Easy Recipe: #FreeFrom Flapjacks - Gluten free, dairy free & sugar free

Do you love flapjacks? I love them and so do my boys. I think nearly everyone loves a good flapjack – but sometimes though when we think we are being healthy, we realise we are actually eating a fair amount of sugar, without really knowing it.

So below you will find my recipe for Free From Flapjacks – which are gluten-free, dairy-free and have no refined sugar either. Please note they do contain nuts though.

Easy Recipe: #FreeFrom Flapjacks - Gluten free, dairy free & sugar free


13 October 2018

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage (AD)

I received two complimentary tickets to see The Lovely Bones so I could write this review. Images have been supplied by Northern Stage.

The Lovely Bones tour sees Alice Seabold’s novel bought to the stage for the first time. with the stage premiere of the world-famous novel, and one of the best-selling novels of the 21st century. I was invited to attend Press Night at Northern Stage this week and I took a friend along with me. We both loved it and here are 5 reasons why I think you should go and see it.

5 Reasons To See The Lovely Bones On Stage


12 October 2018

Save Money on Family Days Out with Go North East (AD)

This post is sponsored by Go North East.

Have you heard of Big Days Out? They are discounted family days out offered by bus company Go North East in North East England. And did you know they are not just for the summer holidays, but apply all year round including weekends and the forthcoming school half-term holidays too?

Save Money on Family Days Out with Go North East

8 October 2018

5 Reasons To Visit Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre (AD)

This post is sponsored by Land of Oak & Iron

The Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre opened in Winlaton Mill earlier this month. It is located just a few miles from the MetroCentre, close to the A1, the Derwent Walk, Red Kite Trail and the Coast to Coast Cycleway and is also the gateway to the Derwent Valley.

The centre provides a unique interpretation of the fascinating local heritage, heritage skills training for volunteers and has business units to support creative businesses in the area. In addition, the site is also home to a small café and gift shop, café shrub. As part of my day job, I have been involved with the launch of the new centre so here my five reasons why I think you should visit.




4 October 2018

What's On Free for Families in the North East - October

So it’s October. Nearly Christmas! But not quite and still half term to enjoy which this year spans two weeks across October and early November in the North East. Whichever half-term week your children have off school there are plenty of free family fun events and activities to enjoy an don’t forget our A-Z of free family days out across North East England for you and your family to enjoy day trips out together.


1 October 2018

What to Consider When Applying for a Secondary School Place

This is the time of year when lots of schools right across the country are holding open days to let parents and children see what they can offer in terms of education. Over half-a-million children will change schools between primary and secondary in England every year, and it is quite a stressful time for parents, and our offspring, as we try to make the best decision for the future of our child. 

We went through this process last year so I’m sharing our top tips on factors to consider when choosing a secondary school, and I’ve also spoken to other parents for their help too. Don’t forget if your child is in Year 6 the deadline to apply for a secondary school place is October 31, 2018.

What to Consider When Applying for a Secondary School Place

26 September 2018

Win a family ticket to see The Snowman on Tour in Durham this Christmas (AD)

Can you believe it’s only 90 days until Christmas? And this is already my second post about Christmas 2018

Just after Christmas The Snowman Tour returns to Durham Cathedral again this year following the success of last year's tour, which we were lucky enough to be invited by Carrot Productions along to see is as a family. And this year as my boys have decided they are too old I’m able to offer one of my lucky readers the opportunity to win a family ticket to see The Snowman over on my FACEBOOK page.

Win a family ticket to see The Snowman on Tour in Durham this Christmas


24 September 2018

Days Out in Devon – Cadover Bridge, Plym Valley, Dartmoor

Dartmoor is a place that we often drive across, on good weather days, possibly stop for a short walk and take in the views, or head to in search of Sunday lunch when we are staying in Devon on a family holiday, however it’s not somewhere we have spent a whole day in one place before on a family day out … until this past summer while on a staycation in Devon.

family-day-out-staycation-Cadover-Bridge-Dartmoor

20 September 2018

Prestige Hampers Review – Not just for Christmas (AD)

It's September so I think I can now write about the 'C' word!

I always associate hampers with Christmas. A little (or sometimes large) basket of treats full of amazing goodies that you can enjoy over the festive period. 

One of the best things about Christmas is the food and drink. I love the gift giving and being with family and friends, but its also so good to be able to indulge without the guilt that comes at any other time of year. Hampers, therefore, can make a great gift especially for those loved ones or are really hard to but for because they already have everything they need.  

18 September 2018

Frieze Sculpture 2018 in Regent's Park, London

I had to travel to London for business last week, and after finding myself with a few hours to spare before meeting up with colleagues, I decided to take a walk from Kings Cross along the canals, through Camden Town and eventually ended up in Regent’s Park where I very happily stumbled upon Frieze Sculpture 2018 – a free art exhibition featuring 25 works by contemporary and modern artists. It made for a very lovely Sunday stroll.

Frieze Sculpture 2018 in Regent's Park, London


13 September 2018

Family Theatre at Northern Stage this October (AD)

There is a whole host of family shows on offer at Northern Stage in Newcastle this October. From theatre inspired by much-loved children's books to dinosaurs, we preview them here for you ... and over on our FACEBOOK page there is the chance to win a family ticket to see The Snail and The Whale ...

Family Theatre at Northern Stage this October

11 September 2018

Days Out in Devon – Totnes Castle in Totnes

Totnes is a place that I’ve driven through many a time on route to other places in Devon. It’s a town in South Devon just 5 miles from the English Riveria but inland and located on the River Dart. Apart from stopping off there to watch a Newcastle United game one year in a pub and the end destination of the South Devon Railway where we visited the rare breeds farm, until this summer. it’s not a place in Devon that I’ve really explored even though I lived in the county for 2 years …  So if you want to find out more about Totnes and whether its a good place for a family day out in Devon, read on.




7 September 2018

#EatDrinkSunderland this September Preview - (AD)

Sunderland Restaurant Week is back this weekend from Saturday 8 until Sunday 16 September 2018, with plenty of top-notch bars, cafes and restaurants all involved again!

We were invited to a preview, a night of showcasing the best of the city’s food scene with organisers Sunderland BID where lots of eateries around the city shared with us the delights that will be on offer to customers over the next week.

#EatDrinkSunderland this September


6 September 2018

Book Review: Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything

I love second-hand bookshops. Leafing through other people’s no longer needed and discarded books that you’ve discovered on dusty shelves in a quirky retail environment is one of my guilty pleasures. Guilty, because I have so many books still to read. Yet a pleasure because I don’t think you can ever have too many books. And when your purchases also help Amnesty International, as they do from my local second-hand bookstore in Newcastle then, all the better.


Book Review: Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything

* Please note this post includes an affiliate link.

3 September 2018

How to Help Your Child Survive the First Week at Secondary School

Starting big school is such a big step for parent and child. My eldest starts Secondary School tomorrow. He is 11. And growing up fast. He’ll go out of the door by himself, wait for the bus and buy a ticket that will take him to school on time for registration and we won't hear from him again until after school. Up until now, it has been the three of us on the school run. Now it will only be two. Read on to find our 10 point plan to help both parent and child survive their first week at secondary school.

How to Help Your Child Survive the First Week at Secondary School


1 September 2018

Free Family Fun in the North East this September

It's September. I can't quite believe the boys go back to school this week and the summer holidays are over but that doesn't stop there being plenty of opportunities to get out and about in the northeast and enjoy some free family fun and activities. If you are looking to find out what's on this month for families here in the North East don't forget the Great Exhibition of the North is still on until September 9 and we've found these great events happening too. Check them out here.

whats-on-north-east-family-september


This is a FREE listing service for FREE events in North East England. If you would like to submit an event for October and beyond please email myboysclub@debsharratt.co.uk

29 August 2018

How To Prepare Your Child for Secondary School

How did you prepare your children for school? In less than a week my eldest son will start high school. Starting school is such a big deal at any age. It is one of life’s great milestones. And so memorable. 

It is such a big part of your life and shapes your future. From the inspiring (and sometimes not so inspiring) teachers to best friends, friendship groups and form classes. To education itself, the journey to and from and who you make it with. It’s such a big transition at an age, but this one, moving on to secondary school, I think is the one that defines you most.


how to Prepare Your Child for Secondary School 7 things to consider


26 August 2018

7 FREE Things To Do in the last week of the School Holidays

That's it, the last week of the summer holidays is upon us and schools go back next week. But don't worry if you are wondering whats on in the North East this week to entertain your family and children take a look at these 7 FREE family events in Sunderland, Darlington, Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Durham and Stockton.

whats-on-north-east-england-august

19 August 2018

7 FREE Things To Do in Week 5 of the School Holidays

Wow, week 5 of the school holidays and we are nearly through the six-week break. If you are running out of ideas and wondering what's on in the North East this week for families, then take a look at these 7 free family fun events happening across the region this coming week including Newcastle, Gateshead, Bishop Auckland, South Shields and Sunderland. 

whats-on-newcastle-sunderland-durham-south-shields

13 August 2018

7 FREE Things to Do in Week Four of the Summer Holidays

We are now into the second half of the school holidays and summer fun still doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are several ways to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank. So here are 7 free things you can do this week with your family in North East England now that we are in the fourth week of the summer holidays.

The weather is more changeable this week so there are some great indoor options included this week too.

whats on summer north east england


9 August 2018

Seven of the Best Summer Soups

Everyone I know seems to have grown courgettes this year. Requiring full sun to grow I’m not surprised that this summer, with the UK heatwave, has been a great season for courgette growers. We’ve acquired quite a few from a family allotment and have enjoyed quite a few bowls of summer courgette soup, creating a new recipe that is now one of our family favourites.

In fact, so many soups are easy to make from produce that is easy to grow in the garden from tomatoes to peas and rocket. It's not only healthy but frugal too - helping us to keep fit and keep money in our pockets. Read on to discover the recipes for seven of the best summer soups.

easy-Summer-Soup-recipes-Courgette-Rocket-Watercress-Cauliflower-Beetroot-pea


7 August 2018

How to play Frenetic in 5 Simple Steps (AD)

FReNeTiC is a board game which features the elements of the Periodic Table.  It sees players write down as many words as possible within 45 seconds from Element symbol tiles placed on the board. We recently received a copy to review and we also have one to giveaway!


How to play board game Frenetic

5 August 2018

7 FREE Things to Do in Week Three of the Summer Holidays

Can't believe at the end of this week we'll be half-way through the summer holidays! Summer fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are several ways to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank. So here are 7 free things you can do this week with your family in North East England now that we are in the third week of the summer holidays.


whats-on-north-east-school-holidays-free

3 August 2018

Free Family Days Out at St James Park with Get North! Family Expo Preview - (AD)

This weekend, Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 August, a two-day fun packed extravaganza comes to the home of Newcastle United, St James Park in Newcastle, as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. Here we preview the event which is part of the Great Exhibition of the North ...

Free Family Days Out at St James Park with Get North! Family Expo

2 August 2018

Antler Alpine Bar & Kitchen & Fat Buddha Review - (AD)

You may have noticed a new bar has opened on the roundabout at the end of the Tyne Bridge as you head into Newcastle. Swan House as I still often refer to it, or 55 Degrees North is now occupied by Antler Alpine Bar & Kitchen, with New Buddha continuing to serve oriental cuisine on the upper level. We headed to Antler for a cocktail on our way to review Fat Buddha for owners Chrysalis Leisure.





31 July 2018

First Person – free family theatre comes to Gateshead Quays (AD)

This post has been sponsored by Gateshead Alive.
First Person is a unique piece of public performance which is coming to Gateshead Quays next weekend on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August as part of Great Exhibition of the North in NewcastleGateshead - a free, summer-long celebration of the North’s pioneering spirit.

Outdoor theatre is often all about bringing original, exciting and different theatre, to an unexpected place. I love drama and theatre whether it is indoors or outdoors and the quirkier and more unexpected it is the better. The summer we’ve been having has been a great opportunity to see some outdoor theatre on all scales – so far we’ve seen Kynren and Out There and next, it will be 'First Person'. 


30 July 2018

My 5 Favourite Places to Photograph (AD)

This post is sponsored by Panasonic.
I have loved taking photographs for as long as I can remember. I’m not so keen on being in front of the camera mind you, much more comfortable behind the lens. I’m lucky to have travelled to lots of places where I’ve been able to take photographs that have created great memories for me. Here are five of my favourite places around the world to take photographs, I wonder where I’ll go next.


29 July 2018

7 FREE Things to Do in Week Two of the Summer Holidays

Summer fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are several ways to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank. So here are 7 free things you can do this week with your family in North East England now that we are in the second week of the summer holidays.


7 FREE Things to Do in Week Two of the Summer Holidays

27 July 2018

How to make a vegan burger - two easy recipes

Are you a fan of burgers? I have to admit the trend for eating burgers kind of happened after I became a vegetarian, so I'm one of those people who has never tasted a Big Mac, Whopper or Byron Burger, however, I don't object to vegetarian or vegan burgers, as long as they taste good! 

The UK burger market may be worth over £3b, but good vegan burgers are hard to find so this summer I've created my own vegan burger recipes.

How to make a vegan burger - two easy recipes


26 July 2018

10 Family Friendly Things to do in Land of Oak & Iron this Summer (AD)

This post is sponsored by Land of Oak & Iron
The Land of Oak & Iron has so many interesting places to discover. From historic places to finding out about the industry that shaped today’s landscape to countryside and woodland to explore by bike, foot or horse - all with superb parking, cafés, facilities, access and events, too, making it the perfect destination for a family day out this summer.

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.

10 Family Friendly Things to do in Land of Oak & Iron this Summer

23 July 2018

7 FREE Things to Do in Week One of the Summer Holidays

Summer fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are several ways to keep the kids busy this summer without breaking the bank. So here are 7 free things you can do this week with your family in North East England now that school is out for summer.


7 FREE Things to Do in Week One of the Summer Holidays

19 July 2018

Robots – Then and now at Life Science Centre Newcastle Review - (AD)

Robots – Then and Now is a new exhibition which can be seen at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle until 2 December 2018. This family-friendly exhibition, created by the Science Museum in London, celebrates the 500-year work-in-progress story of building automated machines. My Boys Club was invited along to review the exhibition ahead of the summer holidays.

Robots – Then and now at Life Science Centre Newcastle

16 July 2018

Backpacks & Bluetooth Speaker from Inateck Review - (AD)

I truly believe that you can't have too many bags, rucksacks or suitcases - they will always come in handy one day. I was recently offered the opportunity to review some Inateck products. This isn’t a brand I had really heard of but after researching and reading some reviews I decided to take them up on the offer. I was kindly sent a laptop backpack with a USB charging port, a flight approved anti-theft rucksack; and a portable wireless stand for phone or tablet. And one lucky reader will have the opportunity to win the wireless speaker stand too.


Laptop Backpacks & Bluetooth Speaker from Inateck Review
Please note this post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you make a purchase My Boys Club will receive a small amount of commission, however it makes difference to the cost to yourself for the products.

11 July 2018

30 Simple Summer Vegan & Vegetarian Salads

Salads really don’t have to be boring. There is nothing I like better on a hot sunny day than a crisp tasty salad, as either a light lunch or heartier evening meal. The weather this year has just been amazing for Britain. Some Italian friends at the weekend told me that a UK Heatwave is what everyone else in Europe calls summer – we did laugh but it’s so true.

But that doesn’t matter as this year has been a great year for experimenting with new flavours in the kitchen and here are my favourite veggie and vegan salads. They are tasty, healthy and full of flavour And I’ve also asked other food bloggers for their simple recipes … so no excuses not to have exciting salad dishes on the menu this summer.



9 July 2018

Out There - Unique Outdoor Theatre comes to Northumberland (AD)

"Out There" a unique outdoor theatre performance from Mortal Fools and Tyne Valley Youth Theatre is coming to Prudhoe this weekend - Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 July. We've been working with the organisers to bring you a preview. 



7 July 2018

Free family fun in North East England in July 2018

Looking for free family fun in July? I can't believe I'm going to say this but just in case you are getting bored of the sunshine and the beach there are lots of other places offering free family fun and activities during July across North East England.

Don't forget to check out our A-Z Free family days out across North East England and our A-Z of Family Attraction Annual Passes both with a handy location map!




5 July 2018

7 things to do in July

Wow, it’s the month of July already. Just where has the first half of 2018 gone? And how much are you enjoying this weather? I can't believe how sunny and hot it has been. Not so good for the garden and our fruit and vegetables that artryingng to grow, but the blue skies really seem to be lifting everyone's mood.


With 31 days this month, there is plenty of time in July to enjoy some fab fun days with the family so if you are wondering what to do with the kids, whats on in the North East or where to go, then take a read...


whats on in july for families north east england

4 July 2018

5 Reasons To Look Forward to #CIPRNorthernConf

Most of the time I’m a PR & Marketing professional rather than a blogger, and in addition to this, I’m also a volunteer for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, serving on the North East Regional Committee. If you don’t know much about the CIPR you can find out more here. But next week the CIPR AGM and Northern Conference all abour PR and the art and s cience of engagement, are coming to Newcastle and it's been a very busy few months organising the event. 

Now it's finally (nearly) here, these are 5 reasons why I’m really looking forward to it...





2 July 2018

Chopwell WoodFest returns in Land of Oak & Iron (AD)

This post is sponsored by the Land of Oak & Iron

This weekend on Sunday 8 July Chopwell WoodFest returns for a second year in the Land of Oak & Iron filling the Wood with crafts, entertainment and other delights for all the family. Families and visitors of all ages will be able to enjoy a fabulous day out in Chopwell Wood, try their hand at a host of heritage activities such as green woodworking, weaving willow, while kids can run wild in the Bushcraft Dell. 

So if you are looking for something to do this weekend in North East England read on ...

Chopwell WoodFest returns in the Land of Oak & Iron


27 June 2018

Why I'm Loving the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

It's the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia this month and I'm loving it. I'm not surprised that over 3 billion people watch this international football tournament every four years. 32 of the worlds best football teams, competing in eight groups - two, Iceland and Panama, for the first time ever in the World Cup, in 11 different cities. In 2026 it will be 46.

Still seems inconceivable that Italy and the Netherlands didn't qualify but that's the case this year, but we will still have 64 games of football in just under a month. So as we approach the end of the first stage - England play Belgium tomorrow to see who finishes top of their group - here is why I'm loving the World Cup with my family this year.

Why I'm Loving the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia


25 June 2018

5 Reasons to Love Kynren + Everything You Need to Know for 2018 (Review)

Kynren - An Epic Tale of England is an action-packed live blockbuster outdoor performance that takes you on an amazing journey through 2,000 years of history, myth and legend, all in a field just outside Bishop Auckland in County Durham. 

We recently attended the press preview night which also doubles as a full dress rehearsal and discovered that Kynren is a captivating experience for all the family, it really has to be seen to be believed! It’s so hard to describe as it really is best ‘experienced’ live, however, I will try my best …


kynren durham 2018 tickets kids parking review