North East Family Fun

Family, Travel & Adventure

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland

Doxford Hall near Alnwick is a place I've often considered visiting but for some reason or other have never had the chance, so when I found out my gorgeous friend Claire was getting married there, I was intrigued to see what it would be like. It turns out that just like my friend, it's stunning & if you are looking for a luxury Northumberland getaway, I could not recommend Doxford Hall enough.

A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland

I have known Claire for 20 years now and she is one of those people who just light up a room when she's in it. She has such a kind and generous heart and is if you get talking to her you can expect to be there for at least an hour. It was an honour to be invited along and share her special day with David.

Wedding Outfits

I'm lucky to be attending another wedding in September so I wanted a dress I could wear to both. I found this gorgeous dress from John Lewis with I teamed with a pair of Hotter Shoes and a beautifully detailed cream bag from House of Fraser. 

A Perfect Wedding at Doxford Hall, Northumberland

If you struggle in heels I cannot recommend Hotter Shoes enough - they were so comfortable and I lasted all day, all night dancing and the 20 minute walk home from the bus at 1:30am in the morning. Definitely worth the investment. Steve looked very handsome too if I do say so myself (check out his guide to buying a suit here). 

The Ceremony

The ceremony was held in our village church which was lovely. Most of us know our vicar and he made us smile with his stories. The ceremony was personal to the bride and groom and really did not feel generic at all which can often be the case. The salvation army were there to keep us entertained as was the most fabulous male voice choir. Claire even surprised us all with a recording of her singing the most beautiful song as we all left the church. It really was perfect. 

We climbed aboard our coach which whisked us off to Doxford Hall. Claire had thought of everything and provided us with Pringles, Prosecco and Haribo! YUM! 

Doxford Hall Wedding Reception & Wedding Breakfast

Photographs at weddings always seem to take FOREVER but it wasn't the case here. Claire mingled between photographs and as I was there with friends, time seemed to fly by. We were greeted with Pimms & Lemonade on arrival (first of the summer for me) and enjoyed our drinks in Doxford Hall's beautiful gardens. 

Isn't Claire stunning!! I'm pleased we had the chance to catch up for a bit in the gardens too. 

Before we knew it, we were called into the hotel function suite for speeches (and food!). As is usually the case at weddings these days, the speeches were first. They were all from the heart and had us crying, laughing and even participating in a random game! 

The room was classic, elegant and understated. A beautiful location for a wedding I thought. 

This is the first wedding I've attended where we actually had to select our meal from a menu. Very fancy! I went for the salmon terrine and duck which were both delicious. Steve opted for the soup and chicken (also good). Not too many pics of food though as the Prosecco was free flowing by this point!

I loved the attention to detail with pretty table cloths and homemade truffles which were served with our coffee.

We headed to the bar before the 'evening do' and Steve had to order himself a martini. Very dapper! 

The Evening Reception at Doxford Hall

I loved how there was a face painter at the wedding and as well as the children having their faces transformed, quite a few of the blokes were turned into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the night. There was also a caricaturist who was actually pretty good too :-)

The cake was cut and I even managed to grab a slice (delish) before the Bride and Groom headed to the dancefloor for their first dance. 

By this point in the evening I started to feel ill and very, very tired. Silly me had enjoyed a day out with my friends and no children a little too much. I think I had probably consumed a couple of bottles of Prosecco by this point and mixed it with wine. Not good! So there was only one thing for it - a little disco nap at my table. I think I had a sleep for maybe 90 minutes but at around 10:45pm I woke up and had a brand new lease of life and I immediately joined the congo queue that was dancing around the room and from then on there was no stopping me. Steve, Jo and the rest of our friends danced the night away to songs old and new before saying our goodbyes at 12:30pm and hopping on the coach back home (via the 'sweet shop' table which I spotted out of the corner of my eye during the conga).

We had THE BEST time at Claire & David's wedding at Doxford Hall. Everything was perfect and it was such a treat being in the company of two people who are obviously so genuinely in love. I wish the happy couple all the very best for their future together. 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. 

Friday, 22 July 2016

What's on in the North East for Kids & Families 23rd & 24th July 2016

Let's hope for a nice and sunny weekend here in the North East - there's lots going on & places to visit. Here are 5 family events and days out for the weekend ahead:-

What's on in the North East for Kids & Families 23rd & 24th July 2016

Invasion 7 at Woodhorn

Sunday 24th July 10am - 4pm 
Woodhorn Museum, Ashington

Meet a HUGE host of science fiction characters including Daleks, Jedis and Superheroes during this fun-filled family event. With Ghostbuster slime time, a BB8 hunt, Star Wars academy and Costume competition to name just a few of the events happening, it's a must for any sci-fi or comic book fan. Also check out the brand new Pityard Play Area which opens on Saturday Entry is FREE but some events are chargeable and there is a small charge for car parking so make sure you take change (£3.50 per car). More information here. 

Viking Life and Times Lindisfarne Priory

Saturday 23rd - Monday 25th July 11am - 5pm
Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island

Explore a Viking encampment and imagine what life would have been like when Viking invaded Lindisfarne. Witness Viking training, combat and traditional way of life as history is brought to life. Entry charges apply (free to English Heritage members). More information here. Don't forget to check out the Holy Island Crossing times too!

Newcastle Falcons Beach Party 
Saturday 23rd July 11am - 1pm
Tynemouth Longsands Beach

Join Newcastle Falcons for their FREE family fun day including Rugby, Cricket and Beach Volleyball, Facepainter, Kick For Goal Competition and Sand Castle Building. More information here.

Toon Libraries Pokemon Lure Party
Saturday 23rd July 2pm-4pm
Newcastle City Library

North East Pokemon trainers assemble! Lay some lures, use some incense and see how many Pokemon you can catch. FREE Wifi (use GoDigital) and a cafe for refreshments. Free event. More information here.

Whitley Bay Sandcastle Competition
Sunday 24th July - from 10am
Whitley Bay Seafront 

Meet outside Rendezvous cafe for Whitley Bay's annual competition. You need to register your group on the day and are then free to create your masterpieces. Registration ends at 12:30pm, judging begins at 1pm and the winner announced at 2pm. There are prizes and goody bags on offer to the best entries (best sandcastle and best sculpture). Don't forget your bucket and spade! More information here. 

I think we're going to head to Woodhorn as I've always fancied Invasion but never had the chance. I think the kids will love it. Let me know what you're up to and have a lovely weekend whatever your plans are. 


Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Quayside Seaside, The Redhouse & Vicolo | Steve's birthday trip to Newcastle

Big Stevie Cool turned 35 this week and we decided to have a pretty chilled out day with no real plans. The kids were at school and the weather was slightly overcast but very warm with temperatures hitting the mid twenties. We headed into Newcastle mid-morning and had a lovely day just walking around and basically doing not much. 

Newcastle Quayside Seaside

We walked down to Newcastle Quayside first of all to take advantage of the lovely weather. There are FREE deckchairs and buckets and spades here and it is a nice spot to watch the world go by or catch 30 winks. Sometimes doing nothing is the best! We caught the Millennium Bridge opening up too.

Newcastle Quayside Seaside

I have visited the Redhouse on numerous occasions but Steve has never been with me so we decided to rectify this. Keen to avoid the smell and noise of the hundreds of birds around the Tyne bridge, we opted to sit inside rather than on the terrace. We managed to grab a table booth and the views were fab.

View of Tyne Bridge from the Redhouse on Newcastle Quayside

As it was a Monday, we ordered their Pie & a Pint deal for £8.99. You can choose any pie, any mash, any type of peas, any liquor plus any soft drink, house wine or a selected pint. Bargain!  I always order the same as it's lush - Minted Lamb Pie, Cheddar Mash, Minted Garden Peas and Red Wine Jus. Steve went for the Gammon, Chicken & Leek Pie, Confit Garlic Mash (OMG amazing - I'm ordering this next time), Mushy Peas and Meat Liquor. The music was right up Steve's street (Creedence Clearwater Revival & David Bowie were favourites) and I think as birthdays go, he was pretty much in heaven.

The Redhouse Newcastle Pie and a Pint Deal

I did want to head to Violets which is just around the corner to the Redhouse but silly me didn't check the website and they are closed on Mondays. So instead we climbed the Quayside hill (which seemed a lot harder than normal when it was 25 degrees!) and headed to Vicolo which had been recommended by both Katie Jane Online and New Girl in Toon. Vicolo is a little bar joined onto the side of the Tyneside cinema. It's small but perfectly formed. All of the outdoor tables were taken when we ordered but we quickly nabbed one when someone left. So if it's busy, don't be put off visiting. Tables free up quickly.

Vicolo Newcastle Outdoor Seating

The staff are super friendly and the coffee and cakes are lovely - we went for a Double Espresso and Sicilian Lemonade with a Pistachio & Strawberry Eclair plus the most delicious Cherry & Almond Fancier. The perfect cakes to celebrate with.

We ended our day at home - the clouds disappeared and it was a gorgeous sunny evening, perfect for a spot of tapas and sangria in the garden.

We usually plan to go away for Steve's birthday, but I will admit it was nice to have a lovely chilled out time at home instead. Maybe we should do this more often.

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers

Jack's school report this year described him as a 'very bright boy' and he is exceeding all of his targets for his age. I am glad he is doing well at school but at home, it's a very different matter. I know he is only 5 and part of me thinks he is actually too young to be completing homework anyway but then the other half of me feels guilty and I think we could do more. Jack has pretty much refused to complete any homework at all whilst in reception. He just point blank refuses. So anything that can help us with his home learning is always appreciated. 

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

Introducing the new Bing Magazine from Egmont. You may watch Bing with your little one on Cbeebies, we don't but were still excited to get our hands on a copy. I lived in hope that Jack might enjoy it.

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

Bing is a monthly magazine aimed at children aged 2-5 years and is based around the early years curriculum. It costs £3.99 and is available in most supermarkets and newsagents now.

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

What stands out for me in this magazine is that the activities are VERY short and will hold your little one's attention - perfect for children like Jack who aren't keen on educational activities at home. We enjoyed hopping along the page with our frog (good for pen control), reading stories, creating crafts (we made our frog a home), sticker fun, counting and tracing around numbers. Check out our video review below to see more:-

It didn't feel like work to Jack and he thoroughly enjoyed the activities. As with most magazines of this age, adult supervision is required for most of it (except maybe the colouring page) and it is nice to be able to do something together. Jack is in the top end of the recommended age bracket and he can write perfectly well without tracing or copying so this magazine certainly didn't push him and if anything it was a step backwards. I honestly didn't mind though as every little helps and it was just nice to see him actually put pen to paper.

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

In the first issue, your child will receive a FREE gardening tool set and squishy frog. We put these to good use straight away when Jack used his tools to help dad plant some new lavender plants. 

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

I loved how this magazine encouraged us both outside and to try a few new activities together.

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

Bing | A new Cbeebies magazine for pre-schoolers  - Issue One Review

I will be completely honest when I say that Bing is one of the better magazines I have tested. There are lots of short, easy activities to dip in and out of and it a nice magazine to share together. I think it's ideal to keep in the house for a couple of weeks and maybe complete one or two activities together after school or maybe after lunch in the school holiday when you need a bit of quiet time.

Let me know if you try Bing Magazine for yourself and how you find it.

This is a collaborative post. Please see our disclosure policy for further details. 
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