Newcastle

Messy Play at BALTIC

Messy Play at BALTIC

Last month we went to messy play at the BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art. I’m the type of parent who likes to be out and about pretty often, but planning crafting and sensory play activities at home are well outside my comfort zone. Which is why I love classes like this, as the kids can play in all the sprinkles, flour and paint they like, but it doesn’t fall to me to clean it up.

Great exhibition of the North with Tyne and Wear Metro

Great exhibition of the North with Tyne and Wear Metro

Tyne and Wear Metro recently got in touch to work with us on a Great Exhibition of the North family day out. To celebrate the amazing exhibits, inspired technology and innovation, Tyne and Wear Metro have launched a limited edition design of their Pop Pay As You Go card and a Great Exhibition of the North adventure book.

Scran with Santa 2017 - Grottos with grub across the North East

Scran with Santa 2017 - Grottos with grub across the North East

This week Fenwick's breakfasts and teas with Santa went on sale...and went off sale. They sold out in a day. Whilst you might have been too late for those the good news is that this year there are SHEDLOADS (over 30 in fact) of other dining with Santa options. Tonnes of them, still with availability, so if it's not Christmas to you without feasting with Father Christmas then read on and decide if you would like, breakfast, lunch, tea or ice cream with the big man.

Parents of the North - Sarah - Curlystiltskin

Parents of the North - Sarah - Curlystiltskin

Hello, the Parents of the North feature is back, after a brief hiatus whilst I was on holiday in deepest darkest Hertfordshire. Today's features is from Sarah, who not only runs her own online store full of kids clothes and toys, but she is the owner of one of the most stylish kids in the North East. Sarah is mum to the gorgeous Coco who looks picture perfect everywhere she goes, and is the perfect walking model for Curlystiltskin, which is Sarah's store. I have followed both Sarah's personal account @cocoandliquorice and @curlystiltskin for a while now, and she is always off somewhere interesting, so was high on my list of people ask to feature in this series. As expected she didn't disappoint and her post is full of ideas for places to explore. I particularly liked her honest response to the question about child-free time. Not only does Nat run a gorgeous children's store, but she used to work for the English Heritage, so knows her way around a family friendly visitors destination. Basically she is far more qualified than me to run a family blog - so lets all promise that we aren't going to burst my bubble and mention it to her okay? This post is a lovely long one, with lots of recommendations, and details about Nat setting up her own company. I loved it - Enjoy.

Parents of the North - Kathryn - Brilliantly Social

Parents of the North - Kathryn - Brilliantly Social

Welcome back! I hope you are all well. Today's Parents of the North features Kathryn who runs Brilliantly Social - a North East social media management company, and Studio Paradiso - who provide painting holidays in Tuscany. She is also the owner of two very brilliant bairns. I asked Kathryn to tell us what she loves about the family friendly North East, as her instagram page (@brilliantlysocial) is jam packed with days out and kid friendly activities. She is also a huge fan of colour so it's a seriously pretty feed to follow. If you enjoy this feature then check out our previous posts here for loads of great ideas.  If you fancy featuring then please get in touch via the contact us page.

Not only does Nat run a gorgeous children's store, but she used to work for the English Heritage, so knows her way around a family friendly visitors destination. Basically she is far more qualified than me to run a family blog - so lets all promise that we aren't going to burst my bubble and mention it to her okay? This post is a lovely long one, with lots of recommendations, and details about Nat setting up her own company. I loved it - Enjoy.

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure

 * This is a collaborative post

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure is coming to The Metro Arena this October and we can not wait to go. Like most kids I loved Disney when I was little. I played my tape of The Little Mermaid over and over until the film came off and I honestly thought that if I used a fork to comb my hair that it made me more mermaid-like.

Parents of the North - Natalie - The Simply Small Co

Parents of the North - Natalie - The Simply Small Co

Welcome back to the Parents of the North feature, where I've invited local mams and dads to spill about why they love to raise their kids here in the North East. This week its Natalie from The Simply Small Co's turn. If you didn't catch last week with super mam of  almost 5 kids (she's 39 weeks pregnant) Jayne's post, then check it out here. If you fancy featuring then please get in touch via the contact us page.

Not only does Nat run a gorgeous children's store, but she used to work for the English Heritage, so knows her way around a family friendly visitors destination. Basically she is far more qualified than me to run a family blog - so lets all promise that we aren't going to burst my bubble and mention it to her okay? This post is a lovely long one, with lots of recommendations, and details about Nat setting up her own company. I loved it - Enjoy.

Parents of the North - Jayne and Co

Parents of the North - Jayne and Co

Welcome to our brand new series! I'm really excited about this one! One of my favourite things since starting this blog is getting to know other local mams, and through the wonders of social media seeing their updates, where they have visited and often discovering new places. So Parents of the North is my way to showcase some of that. There will be a new post every fortnight, and will feature mams and dads who are up for telling us a bit about their life with kids in the North East. If you fancy featuring then please get in touch via the contact us page.

#NewcastlewithKids - April

#NewcastlewithKids - April

Hello, this is the second in my series of nosing on instagram pics and where people have been taking their kids in the past few weeks. I run the #newcastlewithkids and #northeastwithkids hashtags - use these on your photos and I'll pop over and give you a like, comment and might even ask if it's okay to include your photos in an upcoming blog post. They are great hashtags to find a bit of inspiration about where to visit with kids too. Don't forget to use them over the Easter Weekend and whilst you are over there, don't be shy, give me a follow too. 

Five Theatre Shows for Pre-Schoolers

Five Theatre Shows for Pre-Schoolers

Just a quickie for me today. This posts doesn't have all of my usual random musings, but instead is a roundup post of a the pre-school theatre options on offer over the next few months. There aren't many big shows which are suitable for pre-schoolers, but after seeing Stickman, The Scarecrow Wedding and The Hungry Caterpillar all advertised recently I thought I'd pull together all of the offerings from local theatres so they were in one place. I've loved looking at all of the trailers, some of the staging looks fab.

#newcastlewithkids - February

#newcastlewithkids - February

Hello, February is over! In the blink of an eye. I'm so looking forward to the lighter nights in March. Summer is just around the corner... right? As always there are a whole host of events for kids, or places to visit, and this post might give you a few ideas. If you'd like my handpicked picks delivered to your email inbox every fortnight, then you can sign up for it here: Bubele. 

Another great place for ideas is Instagram - even soft plays look more appealing through a filter! I was surprised that there wasn't a hashtag which brought together all of things that you can do with kids in the North East, so I started my own. Check out #newcastlewithkids for some ideas about places to visit, and if you are on instagram then (a) follow me and (b) use the tag #newcastlewithkids on any photos you are uploading of the places you've taken the kids. Include anywhere in the North East anywhere that is travelling distance from Newcastle. 

Winter Farm Trips - free days out

Winter Farm Trips - free days out

This week one of my readers got in touch to ask for some suggestions for a winter's day out. Their toddler is turning two at the end of January, they had wanted to visit a farm, but found that lots of the bigger farm attractions are closed until the February half term. 

So I had a scout about and there are a few options still open if you have a child obsessed with Old McDonald, or just fancy a getting some fresh air and letting the kids have a run around outside. The best bit? Most of today's suggestions are free, or you just need to spend the price of a cup of coffee in a tea room. 

BILL QUAY FARM (FREE)

South Tyneside

Bill Quay Farm is lovely. It's pretty small. The type of place that we visit pretty regularly but only ever stay about 45 minutes. There are sheep, pigs, cows,  geese, goats, chickens in barns and fields outside. Some of them are obviously used to visitors as they'll come right up to you and there are signs up letting you know which of the animals you can touch in their pens. There is also a small animal room where you can see things like chinchillas and hamsters etc in cages. There is a cafe, but this is now closed until summer. The farm is a registered charity, and whilst they are free to visit they always appreciate donations. If you are looking to make a day of it, then it's pretty close to Role Play in Hebburn, a fab kids play centre that I always recommend. You can read about our visit there on this blog post

Baby-friendly exercise class timetable for In and around Newcastle

Baby-friendly exercise class timetable for In and around Newcastle

Happy New Year! I hope you had a fab Christmas and New Year, ours was wild. We were up until 4am! Lets not dwell on the fact I'd gone to bed at 11:30pm, and it was a crying baby, as opposed to a dancing all night which had me up that late. If you are anything like me then you'll be feeling a bit sluggish from overindulging on the kid's selection boxes and Christmas leftovers. I'm desperate to do a bit of exercise, I'm even itching to go out for a run. A phenomenon which lasts about 36 hours from New Years Day, only to disappear again for another year.

If you are looking to exercise, but have an entourage of a small person and their many many 'essentials' with you at all times, then don't worry. The North East has loads of brilliant options, there are actually 30 classes on each week across Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside where you can exercise without needing childcare. Many of them run by fellow mums, for parents to exercise without needing any childcare. The ones run by the councils are even FREE! I included some of them in my Gan on Bring the Bairn post about parent-friendly local companies, but since then have heard about loads more, and as it's the New Year thought it would be a good time to pull them all together in one place. Just by writing this post I'll get fitter won't I? That's how it works?

Merry Sprogmas Day 2 - Childcare whilst you shop in Newcastle and Sunderland

Merry Sprogmas Day 2 - Childcare whilst you shop in Newcastle and Sunderland

Welcome to day 2 of my North East advent calendar. Today I have a real treat for parents with children over 5 - fun activities for them. So far, so what... but wait. You are actually allowed to leave them. Freedom can be yours for a couple of hours. You could do some Christmas shopping, go for a coffee, or you know sit in a darkened room rocking in a corner - whatever floats your boat. Newcastle people there are spaces available this Sunday (4th December), then Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st December. In Sunderland there are two dates, Thursday 22nd or Friday 23rd December. 

James and the Giant Peach - Northern Stage

James and the Giant Peach - Northern Stage

On Friday we went to the Northern Stage to see the production of James and the Giant Peach, and it was AMAZING. Really amazing. The staging was spectacular and it was properly funny. We'd been offered two press tickets, but as the show was advertised as being suitable for kids aged 5 and upwards, the toddler and baby were staying at home. I thought it would make a nice night out for my nephews and niece, especially as I don't do anywhere near as much with them now that I'm pre-occupied with my kids, so I bought an extra 3 children's tickets.

The evening performances start at 6pm, and last two hours, including an interval. The kids with us were 13, 11, and 10 and the timings suited us really well. Any earlier and we would have struggled to get there on time with school pick ups. The 8pm finish meant we had enough time to grab something quick to eat afterwards without feeling like we were going to run into the Geordie Shore crowd. 

Piccolo Music Classes - Now in Gateshead

Piccolo Music Classes - Now in Gateshead

Heads up Gateshead, there is a new pre-school class in town. The team from Piccolo Music have responded to popular demand and now offer classes on the other side of the river, and you can find them every Friday morning at the Winlaton Centre.

Have you been to a Piccolo Music class before? They are different to any other baby groups that I've been to. The class is based around music and movement, and I think the best way to describe it is professional. Professional but relaxed. Confused? Read on, surely I'll make some sense at some point wont I?

Tumbles and Grumbles - Paediatric First Aid Course - North East Wide

Since starting this blog we've had a ball visiting all of the all of the classes and events that we've been lucky enough to invited to. I think today's blog is my most important one to date though, and the one that I'm most grateful that i've had the opportunity to attend. A fortnight ago I went along to a Tumbles and Grumbles baby and child first aid course and it was brilliant. It wasn't until I was sitting in the class contemplating how I would respond if either of my kids were hurt that I realised I literally wouldn't have had a clue about the right thing to to. 

In the blog posts I write about the places we've gone to I try and explain our experiences, but not urge people to go to the place we've visited, or book the event we're talking to as who knows if you'll enjoy a kids activity as much we did. Lets face it toddlers can be awkward little things, you might have a completely different time to us. But for this class I would whole-heartedly recommend it. Whilst still in the class I decided that I'd book my husband to go on it too. If you've done first aid before, or if you are someone who has to read or sit in front of a computer to learn then it won't be for you. But if you are someone like me, who has never had any first aid training and gets the most out of learning by watching, doing and asking questions, then I can't imagine anyone going along and not getting something out of it. 

Little Learners PreSchool Classes

Little Learners PreSchool Classes

Do you take your little ones to any pre-school classes? There are lots of different ones to choose from and it can be hard to find out exactly what you're in store for, so hopefully that is where I can help. I've been visiting a couple of different classes over the last few weeks, and I'll be posting photographs and details about them, so it should help you to decide if any of the classes are right for your baby or toddler. 

First up is Little Learners. I've followed the Little Learners's account on instagram for a while now, so I knew from their photos that messy play was a big part of their sessions. We had wanted to go along to their incredibly popular pre-school festival during the summer but unfortunately already had plans the day it was held, so it wasn't until Halloween that we got to accept their invitation to try them out. 

Scran with Santa - Grottos with grub across the north east

Scran with Santa - Grottos with grub across the north east

Can you believe we have only just had Bonfire night and I've already started banging on about Christmas? It's 7 weeks until the big day, but festive events start from early December so if you are looking for family Christmassy things to do in the North East then it is time to get booking.  

Hot on the heels from the sell out successes that were Halloween parties (where it seemed that any event with a couple of cobwebs in the window were fully booked back in September, leaving us unorganised parents wondering where to take our little pumpkins for their obligatory photos and E numbers) are the Christmas events! 

If anything I think the tinsel is a bigger seller than the Halloween parties. So many festive events are sold out already! Our chances to sing Christmassy power ballads with Chalk, join the Snow Puppies for a party at 7 Stories or take the North Pole Express from Tanfield Railway are gone. The tickets disappeared shortly after they went on sale!

There are still lots of family festive events to choose from though, so keep your eye's peeled for my upcoming posts with loads of suggestions. But what is Christmas without a mince pie? I'm always first in the queue for every buffet I've ever been to, so I'm kicking off the Christmas posts with one devoted to food. Below are the places you can feast with Father Christmas.

Cristal Yoga - Mum and Baby Postnatal Yoga

Cristal Yoga - Mum and Baby Postnatal Yoga

This week I was asked if I'd like to come along and try a postnatal yoga class with Cristal Yoga. I actually used to be quite fit, I have run the Great North Run twice, and I could mime along to Jillian Michael's Shred DVD as I'd done it so many times. But that was before children. Since having my second baby, I have promised myself time and time again that I'll do an exercise DVD whilst she naps, go for a run on a weekend, or go swimming when the kids are in bed. Well I have broken all of those promises. I will use any excuse not to do it. The rational part of me knows about all of the endorphins, that I'll feel loads better afterwards etc. But the bit of me that wants to sit on the sofa absentmindedly flicking through instagram always seems to win.

In the past when I've actually managed to keep up with a bit of a fitness routine, I've had the most success with classes, as when I book I feel a responsibility to actually turn up. This class is one where you  bring the baby along, so not only can I not use a lack of babysitter as an excuse, but it's also an opportunity to meet up with other mums and have a bit of adult conversation.