Friday, 21 October 2016

The Word - National Centre For the Written Word

It was a bitter sweet moment when I had to turn down an invitation to the official launch of The Word in South Shields. I've watched the building works with fascination so to find out I wouldn't be in the country for launch day was sad news! Never fear Michelle from Word Struck was happy to be my eyes and ears for the day.
So here's what she had to say .....

Wow was the word on many lips and reflected in the expressions of many lucky enough to attend the official opening of The Word – The National Centre for the Written Word in South Shields, just a few days before it opens to the public.

Stepping into this landmark modern building in the Marketplace, just a hop skip and jump from the ferry landing, your eyes are drawn up into a huge bright and airy atrium.
A spiral staircase leads you up and around each of the three floors like a giaqqnt shell, welcoming you inside and inviting you to explore many different types of stories.

The Word is the new home for library services and the South Shields local history archive, but it’s so much more than that. You will find 72,000 books here, ranging from children’s to adult fiction, reference to local history. But as you take a look around, you’ll also see public access computers, a vibrant creative maker space with 3D printers, giant touch screen tablets and telescopes that take in even closer views over the river.

There is plenty for all ages to discover and explore - from the colourful and easily accessible children’s books, to a space dedicated to the North East dialect, where you can test your knowledge of words such as ‘oxters’ and ‘claggy’.

In Storyworld youngsters can truly lose themselves in a book with projected backdrops and sound effects taking them on an underwater adventure, or jetting off to outer space.

On the ground floor, a special exhibition space celebrates South Shields born Ridley Scott and how he tells stories through film. It features replicas, costumes and movie clips from some of his most famous work, including Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and The Martian. Looking through the programme of events on The Word’s website, there’s plenty to keep younger ones engaged through the half-term holidays, including workshops to make comic books, spooky Halloween crafts, Lego model building and even the chance to learn how to control a Mars Rover.At a time when many essential services are under threat of cuts and closures, there may be questions over whether spending so much money on a library, arts and cultural centre is a good investment. As part of the opening ceremony, local writer Ann Cleves spoke passionately about how grateful she is to local libraries that supported her books being published. Thanks to those books, the television series Vera is now available in 130 countries and attracting visitors from the USA and China to visit locations featured, including South Shields. South Tyneside Council Leader, Iain Malcolm also celebrated the vision that brought The Word into being, speaking of it as a place for the future where young people can keep pace with technological change, while appreciating the rich cultural history of South Tyneside.
The official opening was all about welcoming this great new resource, and its popularity will need to be road tested with families, the local community and visitors. But judging from the enthusiastic response of the school children in the library spaces, it was proving to be a hit.
With so much to offer for old and young, locals and visitors, those interested in the future and those exploring the past, it deserves to be well used and become a well loved treasure.

The Word opens to the public on Saturday 22 October

Saving Money In The Kitchen and £50 Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be working with Newcastle Building society on a series of Vlogs about saving money in the kitchen, this first video shows my ultimate time saver, cheap, nutritious and super quick tea. Perfect for a rushed evening or a late dinner, we all know how that feels? Starving kids and after school club means you aren't home until 6 or later and there is nothing ready, well worry no more this recipe is super simple, quick and cheap! This recipe has never failed to provide clean bowls and the kids actually regularly ask for 'noodle doodles' so it must be a winner!


Heres our video...

and that's how easy it is! A perfect 'bowl and spoon' easy dinner


Always a clean bowl when we make this

Next month we are creating a video full of money saving kitchen tips, so we would love to hear your best money saving ideas

Now then because the Newcastle Building Society are canny as can be they have offered us a £50 M and S gift voucher to giveaway, entry is really easy, simply watch the video above for some inspiration then enter via this raffle copter, a winner will be chosen from all correct entries

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T and C's
No alternative prize will be offered, Winner must confirm acceptance within 7 days or an alternative winner will be chosen, no cash alternative, raffle copter draw is final, winner must have filled out the entry correctly to be


Autum Activities with Toddlers

Today I have a guest post full of Autumn activities from Amanda who blogs at Motherisms


1. Go on anature walk

We love goingfor a walk to our local park in Autumn, and collecting leaves, acornsand conkers on our way. Armed with a carrier bag, Freyja usually setsoff on a little hunt to see what she can find.




2.Leaf printing
With the leaves you collect on your walk, rubsome paint on them and print them onto paper. You could use a paintbrush to do this but Freyja prefers to use her hands! Maybe in thekitchen is a good place for this activity - near the sink to cleanpainty hands! Here's some we did last year:

3.Halloween salt dough decorations
This really simple recipe forsalt dough is easy to make. Check out
TalesFrom A Geordie Goth's postfor more information! Kids of all ages can get involved with this Ithink. It's easy and fun to make!



4.Potato pumpkin printing
This is a great activity for kids of allages. Check out out this post from
RockAnd Roll Pussycat.Just cut a potato in half, and then carve a face into the choppedside. Dip into orange paint to create some fabulous pumpkin prints!


5.Pumpkin carving
We love this one! I usually buy a little childrenspumpkin carving set from the pound-shop for this activity so thatFreyja can get involved safely. We slice off the top, and then startto remove the seeds and pumpkin from the inside. (Save this for laterto make some pumpkin soup, and bake the seeds to add them to yoursoup! Recipe to follow - my Dads!)

6.Cotton bud skeletons
All you need for this is some black card,cotton buds, googly eyes and some pva glue. Just arrange the cottonbuds on the card to resemble a skeleton and stick in place usingglue. Add some googly eyes to finish!

7. Chocolatefireworks
These are so easy to make and always go down a treat inour house! Just dip the end of a chocolate finger in some warm water,and then dip that end into some sprinkles to look like a firework!



8. Bonfirecakes

Bakesome cakes, and decorate with orange icing. Butter icing piped onwould probably work best! Then add some chocolate sticks to resemblea bonfire!


Ilove these ideas and there is certainly enough to keep anyone busyover half term, thanks for sharing with us Amanda


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

October Half Term - 5 Juice Festival Activities for Under £5

If you are looking for things to do in the NorthEast you should look no further than Sam at North East Family Fun, she really is the font of all North East knowledge she is also awesome at budget days out, we all know October Half term can be an expensive time of year. The weather isn’t always the best and with Christmas on the horizon, budgets often don’t stretch to big days out. Thank goodness for the Juice Festival which conveniently falls across October Half Term and is the chance for families and under 25’s to enjoy and explore art, dance, theatre, film, hip-hop and more.

Today Sam shares 5 Juice Festival Activities that are either FREE or under £5

Juice Festival 2015

Big Juice Family Day | Discovery Museum/Trinity Square | FREE
The Discovery Museum in Newcastle and Trinity Square in Gateshead are hosting a Big Juice Family Day on Saturday 22nd October from 11am-3pm. There will be lots of fun and exciting activities plus special preview performances from some special Juice guests. No need to book, just turn up. 

Six Legs | Gateshead Central Library |  £3
Gateshead Central Library will host this special performance on Tuesday 25th October which includes puppetry, performance and audience participation. Six Legs is recommended for children aged 4-7 years and lasts for 1 hour (performances are at11am & 2pm). Book online here.

Great North Explorers | Great North Museum (Hancock) | FREE
Simply turn up and keep your eyes peeled for some special pop-up performances around the museum throughout the day on Wednesday 26th October. The museum’s collections will be brought to life like never before.

The Big Juice Read | Newcastle City Library/Gateshead Central | FREE 
Head to Gateshead Central Library on Thursday 27th October between 2pm-4pm OR Newcastle City Library on Friday 28th October between 2pm-4pm and join in with their Roald Dahl celebrations. There will be themed crafts and activities plus workshops exploring the wild and wacky world of Roald Dahl. 

Downside Up | Northern Stage | £4
Downside Up is a unique opportunity to not only dance on the floor but also wrap yourself in cocoons and enjoy flying through the air on aerial trapeze. Watch dancers climb, fly and spin and then give it a go yourself at Northern Stage. You can take part on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th October at 10am and 1pmFind out more and book here. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Schleich Giant Volcano With T-Rex

Our new found love of Scheich is absolutely no secret so we were very pleased when this Scheich Giant Volcano landed on our doorstep.

It's a really lovely plays set filled with features that will spark hours of imaginative play, take a look at our video....


We Love

  • Great quality
  • It's huge! I mean you really get plenty for your pennies
  • The dinosaurs are great, filled with detail and they can be used with other Schleich dinosaurs to increase your play
  • The features are loads of fun with tumbling rocks and falling icicles there's lots to do
  • Schleich are such a lovely longstanding brand who build on the educational value of imaginative play, their toys are high quality simple but filled with features.

Room For Improvement

  • The build is tricky, you really have to ensure each step if fitted perfectly before moving on to the next, and build it where you want to play with it as it does not transport well

You can find out more about Schleich products on their website




Thursday, 13 October 2016

Baby Loss

This week has is baby loss awareness week and Facebook has been awash with candles and pictures showing support and rightly so, when statistics tell us that 1 in 4 women will suffer miscarriage or baby loss it's something we should talk about, there should be no taboo around the subject but I believe there is.

I've been looking at the people on my timeline who've posted to say they are that 1 in 4, people who've never mentioned it, and I'm sure some of the people on my friends list would be surprised to hear I've been in their shoes too, but why, do we avoid discussing it because it's too upsetting, or do we live in such a polite society that we worry about making people feel uncomfortable? 

Let me tell you why I don't discuss it..

I suffered an early miscarriage, we weren't actively planning another and to be honest I wasn't even 100% sure I was pregnant when it happened it's only because everything wasn't 'normal' that I went to see a doc, who suggested an early miscarriage, sent me for a scan and confirmed 'yes that's what happened but it all seems to be happening as it should so we don't need you to come in to hospital and we'll check again in a couple of weeks to see that you are back to normal' 

Well there you go, I'll be back to normal, and I shouldn't feel sad because I never knew it was there right? Yet I felt quite sad indeed but very confused as to why I should, I mean we weren't having anymore, I barely knew s/he was there and I already have my family we hadn't longed for this little bundle but I do still remember around 'would be birthday' time and certain moments. I still wonder if it would have been a he to keep us even or a she to continue the outnumbering! 

But the problem is talking about it is strange, people never know what to say or how to behave when you talk about it so most people who have suffered miscarriage tend not to bring the subject up, we'll all be very British and keep a stiff upper lip. The thing is though foe new mums and those trying it's important to hear your story, whether it be an early miscarriage or later on, we should share our stories so others can feel less alone, so they know the warning signs and they understand that any worry is worth mentioning to your midwife, they are always happy to reassure.

So if you are one of the 1 in 4 women who will have suffered from baby loss, no matter when it happened, please speak about it if that helps you, remember birthdays if that helps or don't if it doesn't, there should be no shame, no blame and no embarrassment around baby loss it can be heartbreaking or surprisingly for some a strange numb experience early miscarriage especially is a hard one to talk about, should you feel grief? Well only if you do, I have rad post from women who have said well i dint even know before it was gone so I have nothing to grieve for. There is no right or wrong to how you should feel and you should not ever feel like you will be judged because of how much or little grief you have felt. There are no hard an fast rules but talking about it may help others and you feel less alone.

There will be a wave of light on 15th October at 7pm

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Yvolution Strolly Compact

You pick a toddler ride on from any toy store and I garuntee we will have tried it! I kid you not I have been the owner of too many to mention, so I can tell you with gnuine expertise that The Yvolution Strolly compact kicks the butt of any one we have tried (and it really is a lot that we have tried )

So first of all check out our Vlog

We Love

  • Its well built
  • Really Sturdy
  • Comes apart and folds to go in the boot of a car
  • Is suitable across a huge age range right up to 4yrs
  • Termite is happy to pedal herself but I still have the safety of the handle
  • It turns into a super cool trike with an awesome retro look to it
  • Its better than any similar parent toddler ride on we have had
  • The tummy bar opens from the middle so no tricky contortionist tricks to get your toddler in
  • The bag is roomy enough for the paraphernalia that goes with toddlers 
  • The choice of colours is awesome 
  • Its the perfect solution for helping inspire confidence and independence whilst keeping them close

Room for Improvement

  • The build was a little tricky, the handle bar need extra attention to line up and bolt together properly, but once sorted its brilliant
  • The price is high BUT you will get years out of this,and will e able to sell/pass it on for years to come. Although the rrp is £199 you can find it some high street stores a lot less expensive than that
You can connect with Yvolution on Facebook