Saturday, 15 July 2017

5 Reasons The North East is THE Best Place to live + Amazon Fire 7 Giveaway

1- The Mix 

Coast, Country, City?  We've got it all, and you don't need to go far to escape wherever you are get a change of scene and renew your spirit
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Courtesy of Here Come The Hoopers
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courtesy My Boys Club

 The north east is the best of everything, coast, countryside and city living on your doorstep! I love that it is a small city with great transport links to get to everywhere. I am forever recommending us as more than just a party city Helen from Nellys Cupcakes

2 The Beautiful Coast

With a coastline stretching from the top of Northumberland to the edge of Cumbria you will be spoiled for choice. Our beaches have won national awards and have been mentioned by almost everyone I spoke to when researching this list ...

I love living in the North East because you have access to a fantastic unspoilt coastline, Newcastle is a vibrant and compact city and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and places to take the kids plus we have places like Kielder and Hadrian's Wall on our doorstep - people travel across the world to come and have a peek and we are so lucky to have gems like this on our doorstep. Oh and the people are canny too - the NE has a real sense of community I think (Sam from North East Family Fun )

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Tynemouth Priory from South Shields Beach
Katie Jane Online

3 Community Spirit 

I've lived in the North East all my life and there is nowt like local folk to pull together in times of need, when my Dad (a miner) was on strike for months and months I remember neighbours bringing us food and helping us out, just recently during the awful Manchester Terrorist Attack a local family were stuck down there, safe in their hotel but terrified, a local taxi driver drove the hundreds of miles in the wee small hours to bring them home, and charged nothing! We may be made fun of for our aversion to coats and love of beer (a total stereo type by the way) but we' share our chips, or a cab anyway and always have a friendly hello. A friendlier bunch you will not find anywhere

'The history and the people are fantastic in the North East. I've travelled around the world and there's something magnetic about our region. The castles, stunning countryside and tales of places like Hadrian's Wall make it one of a kind.' 

4 It's Cheap

No seriously that's a good thing, you'll find our cost of living lower than your prices down South and lets talk houses!  With some of the cheapest house prices in the country and North East Exclusive mortgages on offer, you will get more for your money and a better deal all round. For example this 4 bed detached in essex will set you back a cool £1.8m or you can move 'Up North' and get this 4 bed detached for a snip at £330,000 yes folks less than a 5th of the price and just as nice!

It's reasonably priced so we can afford a house whereas if we lived in most other parts of the country we couldn't. I love how accessible it is to beaches, countryside, city - everything is on the doorstep. Our particular area (Blaydon) has lots of great schools too so it's good to have so many options. I think it really is the best place to bring up kids. 
Caroline from Sprog on The Tyne

5 Whats On Offer 
More like whats not on offer!Want the history of England  in a live show? Ok lets do Kynren. 80s, 90s and 00's pop stars providing free open air summer concerts? You got it. Top class food and drinks? Take your pick.
We have shopping galore, history a plenty, visitor attractions and art gallery's that will leave you feeling uplifted, so much scenery and beautiful architecture that we've had more Hollywood blockbusters being filmed here than I can recount but lets name drop Harry Potter, Transformers and Avengers just off the top of my head! We have more to do than days in the year and I defy anyone to be bored in our fair North East

I moved away 15 years ago, way before kids.
Its only now I realise how much there is for kids (despite having been a kid there myself!)
I see what people are doing and there seems much more to do than round here. I'm in Berkshire 

Plus the prices up there are fab!
 (Lorna on Facebook )

I live in an awesome part of the wold and I'd recommend it to anyone as would most anyone I know as you can see from the comments. To celebrate our awesome North East Newcatle Building Society have very kindly donated a brilliant Amazon 7 as a competition prize, simply fill in the raflecopter and we will chose an winner from the correct entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 7 July 2017

MOKURU The Next Big Fidget Toy

Stop the bis, move over fidget spinners MOKURU is the next big fidget toy. Well actually its pleasantly compact but you are all gonna love it!

"This handheld wooden toy was originally designed to test an individual’s balance and focus - now this simple design is testing the dexterity of fast fingered flippers everywhere. Crafted out of beech wood into an eye catching cool design, players can flip tip and spin one MOKURU or more.
Small enough to fit in a pocket or a purse, MOKURU is the go anywhere toy for all ages, a new game for kids to play in the playground, and for big kids to play in the bar, at a desk, or  to be played against others in competition. Players can refine their techniques until they become a MOKURU master. Fidget spinners are so over. MOKURU is the new black or, as the Japanese say,  Genbu. Also available in green (Matcha), orange, (Kirin) white (Byakko), red (Suzaku), blue (Seiryu)  and yellow (Inazuma)!"

This is how it should look ....

This is how we look trying to master the basic steps

Come back to our YouTube soon to see us when we become MOKURU Masters Though

We love how frustratingly brilliantly addictive this is and we've giggled, sighed, cheered and booed so much while we've all been trying to master even the most basic flip. Its so much fun, so portable and transportable its great for holidays or days out and I guarantee grown ups and children will love it equally!

I love that its simply designed and has no parts to break or lose unlike our figet spinners which lasted less than a day!

Id love to know what you think, will you be trying MOKURU? have you tried it already?

Monday, 26 June 2017

Slimming World Quick and Easy Creamy Pasta

This Slimming world quick and easy creamy pasta recipe is so easy to makeand is super tasty PLUS its almost syn free, has plenty of speed foods and is really filling

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tub tomato and herb Quark
  • 500g pasta
  • 1 Pepper de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 tin or 140g frozen sweetcorn 
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 dessert spoon of grated parmesan
  • Chilli Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt and pepper

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the stock cube, pasta, pepper and onion and simmer for 10 minutes

  • Take out 2 serving spoons of the pasta water and keep to one side

  • Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and a half teaspoon of chilli powder to the reserved pasta water and stir well

  • Add the sweetcorn and tomatoes to the simmering pasta and cook for a further 5 minutes, then drain well

  • Remove the pan from heat and retrn the drained pasta and veg to the pan
  • Pour in the reserved pasta water and mix in the tub of quark and one dessert spoon of parmesan cheese
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Stir well
  • Serve

Let me know when you try this yourself, I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Golden Child

Oh my Golden Boy happy happy birthday, last year I wrote about how the years are going too quickly (as I do every year) and I feel like I wrote it only yesterday.

What a fun packed year we have had with so many activities and days out, holidays and adventures

You have remained the funny cheeky chap who wins hearts wherever we go and my boy you melt my heart whenever I look at you. You make me giggle with your perfect comic timing and your funny funny facial expressions, you can always make me feel good with one of your all encompassing hugs and I love how much you adore your sisters and Daddy

We've had a bumpy school year and there have been many tears from both of us and I know school can seem imposing but your bravery and strength have carried you through. 

 I still know that you could rule the world so long as you knew Daddy or I were right behind you, soon you won't need us giving you that security you will know you are capable of anything and then the world will be your lobster. For now I'm happy to hug you tighter and hold your hand whenever you need it, and I shall do that forever and for as long as you let me.

You are my crazy dude, my handsome kind, generous and empathatic boy always wanting to make people feel good and always with a strong sense of what is right and just, one day you will be changing this world for good (and to us of course you already do) fighting for what is right, or perhaps your love of problem solving, lego build and logic will set you down an engineers path like Daddy but whatever you do this world is better for having you in it. We love you more than all the grains of sand on the beach and all the salt in the sea

Don't ever change your gentle ways my little Golden Child

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Education Quizzes

Don't worry it's not another SATS rant, I'm actually talking positively today about Education Quizzes, but not in the formal sense.

Peanut and The Golden Child get a lot of homework, a fair bit of which doesn't make sense to me! I know it's been a long time since I was in school but teaching  happens  very differently now so I'm often at a loss as to how to help them, especially Peanut with her key stage 2 work.
I  recently read about online education quizzes and had a bit of a light bulb moment.

The site has many sections each containing teacher written quizzes, we especially loved the KS2 education quizzes which really helped Peanut and I understand how to work through some of her trickier work by going through questions online together and getting answers straight away so we knew that we were on the right track

Education quizzes is a subscription scheme costing £9.99 per month with no obligation or minimum subscription length

Although the subscription cost of £9.99 may be prohibitive for some parents I like the fact that you can dip in and out when you need so if you want only one month you simply cancel your subscription and pick up later if you need to or you can have as long as you like on a rolling subscription , better still schools can sign up and subscribe for pupils  from only £2 per pupil per YEAR! I think this would be a great way to support parents and children out side of school.

Now you all know I'm against formal testing so while I see the benefit of this subscription in preparing for SATS that's not the biggest appeal for me. I'm more excited that I have a wealth of teacher created worksheets at my finger tips, so when we pack up for our family adventure and take time out of school I can test MYSELF to make sure I'm not doing a disservice to the kids' education while home educating. Alongside that there are Spanish quizzes which means I have a jump start on our family goal of learning Spanish on our adventure!

What do you think about this scheme? would it be something you could see benefit in? 

Monday, 22 May 2017

First-Time Buyer Information and Giveaway From Newcastle Building Society

I'm so happy to be able to be working with Newcastle Building Society and helping them spread the word about important fist time buyer information.

When i bought my first house, almost 19 years ago! I paid the princely sum of £19000! Looking back I can see how lucky I was in more ways than one. Not only did I only have to find 5% deposit but i somehow managed to find an awesome mortgage advisor who kept me calm during the ups and downs of house finding and buying.

Now I dont envy anyone of any age trying to get on the property ladder, my step daughter for instance is doing awesomely well in her own hairdressing business but as she works for herself many mortgage lenders are asking for extortionate deposits and up to 5 years of accounts so she is stuck paying pricey rental charges instead of investing in her own property.

Thankfully Newcastle Building Society are one of those company's who just get whats important in these situations.

Low deposits from 5%
Friendly helpful staff
Individual analysis for self employed applicants , requiring only 1 year of accounts or an SA302 form
Great linkable products like ISA's that give you cash back
Fabulous rates of interest
Really clear information

They are running two first time buyer events in the North East in June

1st June at Cobalt business park (lots of parking and really easy to get to)

and 15 June at Pleased to Meet You which is right in the city centre so really easy to hop off the metro after work.

There will be loads of information available and refreshents too (priorities right?) with lots of opportunity for you to pick the brains of the best advisors Newcastle Building society has to offer. Spaces are booking fast and are limited so to book your FREE space  asap email

Because they are geet canny, and they know what the important bits are when you first buy a house. Newcastle have put together this awesome giveaway including

A new house hamper, £50 Voucher for Next, for some nice new homeware accessories, £50 Voucher for Sainsburys for those import first meals (or some celebratory champers!) and a £50 for Wilkinsons for all the practical bits and pieces.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize worth over £200 just enter via the raffle copter below and a winner will be randomly chosen from the correct entry on 16th June 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

T and Cs no coash alternative, winner must accept prize within 7 days or it will be re drawn, decision is final, open to UK residents only.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Kazoops New Episodes on Cbeebies

We are very excited about Kazoops returning to Cbeebies If you've seen Kazoops already you are probably singing the theme in your head, if not then here's a quick run down...

Monty Kazoops, the little boy with a vivid imagination and a loyal pet pig, is back with brand new animated adventures in Kazoops, transmitting daily on CBeebies from Monday 17th April. 

 Monty Kazoop is a spirited boy of six, whose best friend is a pig called Jimmy Jones. In each episode Monty confronts a preconception about the grown-up world and sets out to challenge it, embarking on a wild imaginary adventure with Jimmy that offers them a fresh perspective.
 In each episode Monty and Jimmy use their imaginations to find ways to look differently at the world around them.  For after all, who says the world works the way grown ups think it should? Things can always be different if you just imagine...

Kazoops returns to Cbeebies today at 4.20pm and we've had a sneak preview of the first episode which is all about the power of day dreaming! The kids loved watching this and all three of them (ages 8,6 and 3) enjoyed the episode and are looking forward to the rest of the series. I love the music that goes with the shows and I think this series may be even more colourful than the last!

Don't forget to tune in today and let us know what you think.