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Monday, 27 February 2017

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids

Ouseburn Farm is a FREE community farm and registered charity based 1 mile from Newcastle's city centre. There is free car parking in Foundry Lane Car Park (NE6 1LH) or it's a lovely walk along the Quayside from Newcastle city centre. For details of other car parks, public transport and detailed directions, scroll to the bottom of the Ouseburn website here. 

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids


Ouseburn Farm is generally open 9:30am - 4:30pm weekdays and 10:30 - 4:30pm on weekends, check the Ouseburn Farm website for up to date info.

The farm is small but perfectly formed. Entry is completely free but donations are welcome (remember this is a charity). You'll find the entrance just opposite the Cluny pub. I always love how you are greeted by this scarecrow and every time we visit he is different - in October he's usually surrounded by pumpkins and I love that in Spring his is standing in a bed of Daffodils. He always puts a smile on my face. 

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - scarecrow and daffodils

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - daffodils

There are three main parts to the farm I would say - an outdoor garden/allotment area, a farmyard containing animals and a building featuring indoor animals, a cafe and various other community spaces.
Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - giant giraffe

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - donations welcome

You can never guarantee which animals are going to be in the farm yard but I think that's all part of the charm. During our latest visit in February we found lots of happy pigs, sheep, cows, goats and guinea pigs. You'll often find chickens wandering around too.

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - pigs in the farm yard

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - cows

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - guinea pigs and rabbits

There is a fantastic community cafe and shop based on the farm where you can buy various plants and stop for a bite to eat. The cafe serves children's meals for £3, various cakes (£1-£2) and paninis plus homemade soup with big wedges of bread for £3.50. Their cakes are all baked on site and highly recommended. You can even try fresh mint tea that has been created using mint from the farm. We didn't stop for anything to eat this time but you can check out a sample menu here.

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - plants and veg for sale

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - cafes and small animals

There are more (smaller) animals to discover inside the farm centre. I must admit, I have a real soft spot for the turtles and tortoises! Too cute!

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - turtle

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - tortoise

As an added bonus, Ouseburn farm usually runs FREE school holiday activities. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for future events, here's an idea of what to expect:


Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - free half term activities
The outdoor area of Ouseburn Farm always inspires us to make more use of our own outdoor space at home. There are various plants and vegetables growing and we stumbled upon a fantastic little sensory garden too (now I want to build one!). 


Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - vegetables growing

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - wild garlic growing

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - sensory garden

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - sensory garden look

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - sensory garden taste

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - sensory garden touch

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - sensory garden smell

We normally spend around 20 - 30 minutes wandering around Ouseburn farm, longer if we stop for lunch. If you combine it with other attractions in the Ouseburn area, it's a nice little add on to make more of your day. I will be honest when I say that we never set out *just* to visit the farm - our favourite city farm is still Jesmond Dene (as it has a play park too) but if you're nearby I would definitely pop in and show your support.

A trip to Ouseburn always includes a little trip to Ouseburn Coffee (just across from Ouseburn Farm) where you can pick up bags of coffee or order coffee to take out - I swear the Espressos from here are the strongest I have tasted! Definitely worth £1.50 before heading home.

Ouseburn Farm Newcastle | A FREE Place to Take the Kids - take out espresso from ouseburn


Let me know if you've visited Ouseburn Farm before.

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Friday, 24 February 2017

Seven Stories Newcastle | Bears! | Exhibition Review


We are huge fans of the Ouseburn area of Newcastle and are always recommending a visit to this area of town when people call upon our advice. Seven Stories (The National Centre for Children's Books) sits right in the heart of Ouseburn and we are super lucky to have this multi-award winning attraction on our doorstep.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review


I have reviewed various exhibitions at Seven Stories in the past if you fancy a trip down memory lane:


I can hand on heart say that every exhibition we've visited has been engaging with lots of hands on fun. We were invited along to review the new 'Bears' exhibition which is open until February 2018. 


Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - Exterior plus river Ouse

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission


We usually park in the Foundry Lane car park (NE6 1LH) which is FREE and home to around 60 spaces. This car park can get busy during weekends and school holidays so I'd advise arriving early.

Alternative car parking:
  • Ouseburn South Car Park | FREE | NE6 1BU
  • Ford Street, Albion Road & Stepney Road are all within a 5-10 minute walk of Seven Stories

Check the Seven Stories Website for public transport details here.

Admission Prices (checked February 2017):

  • Adult | £7.70
  • Baby (under 12 months) | FREE
  • Toddler (1-3 years) | £2.50
  • Child (4-16 years) | £6.60


Family Tickets and Annual Passes are available. Check website for details. Admission is valid for a full day and you can come and go as you please, just make sure your hand is stamped.

*From 24th April 2017, Seven Stories will be closed on Mondays during term time*

Seven Stories Newcastle | Bears! Exhibition


Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review

We visited the exhibition on a rainy day in February Half Term and this new exhibition had been open less than a week. I am always honest in my reviews and I will say that I would never advise anyone to visit Seven Stories on a rainy day in the school holidays - it gets super busy and I have know the centre have to close to new admissions on occasion. I would recommend visiting after school during term time (the centre closes at 5pm) or on a super sunny day when it is likely to be less busy to make the most of your experience.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - Jack

You will find Bears! on level 5 and the exhibition does not disappoint. The exhibition focuses on various Bears! that have featured in various children's literature over the years. Expect everything from Paddington to We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Bear Under the Stairs and more.......

The exhibition is super hands on with lots of opportunities for fun. I loved the sensory wall featuring various types of real bears and explaining their habitats, what their fur feels like plus a few fun facts. My favourite bear on the wall is the 'Spectacled Bear' - what a name!

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - bears sensory wall

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - bear facts

Every corner of the exhibition and every single piece of space has been used up. There is something to look at or read wherever you look. I love that there are baskets upon baskets of books featuring bears across the exhibition and I imagine if your children are aged 3-5 years and you can visit during term time, you would have lots of fun sharing story after story together.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - baskets of bear stories

The attention to detail in the exhibition space is fantastic and we enjoyed following the paw prints around the room.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - footprints on floor

Back in 2013, we listened to story time in the attic and one of the books that was shared was called 'I Want My Hat Back'. We hadn't heard of this book before but we immediatly fell in love with it. It appeals to a very particular type of humour but it really tickled us. We bought our own copy from the Seven Stories book shop that day and since then it has been one of our favourite ever stories. We still laugh at it now. Anyway, we were delighted to find a whole corner of the Bears! exhibition dedicated to our much loved story, along with multiple copies of the book for you to enjoy for yourself. If you visit the exhibition, you must read this book. I promise you will giggle.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - I want my hat back poster

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - I want my hat back exhibition

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - bear from I want my hat back

This is a Seven Stories exhibition so of course it features lots of dressing up opportunities. You'll find lots of Bear costumes dotted about and of course lots of places to improvise and act out your favourite stories.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - bear dress up costume

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - goldilocks and the three bears review

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - sofa

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - bear story books

There is a bear trails throughout the exhibition and children are invited to bring their own teddy bears along to share the fun. If you forget your bear like we did (oops), there are plenty of teddy bears available for you to play with around the exhibtion.

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - kids on sofas

Seven Stories Newcastle | Parking & Admission plus Bears! Exhibition Review - entrance to bears exhibition

The Bears! exhibition was lots of fun and we enjoyed spotting characters from some of our much-loved stories plus meeting some new bears too. Harry (aged 10) enjoyed the exhibition but I think he is at the upper age limit. I would definitely recommend for toddlers and pre-schoolers during term time when it's not so busy - Seven Stories is a fab place to meet for a play date with your mum friends.  Children of Primary School age will also enjoy the exhibition.

There are a whole Seven Stories of fun to be had and the Bears! exhibition just forms one part of your day at Seven Stories. From crafts to regular story time, various exhibitions, sensory back backs, a story station plus one of the best bookshops in the North East and a coffee shop, you can easily spend half a day here.


Disclosure | We were provided with Press Tickets to review this exhibition. 

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom visits Newcastle - March 2017 | Win tickets to the show with meet & greet


Children's TV is sometimes mind-numbing isn't it! I used to find Thomas & friends the worst and I'll be happy if I never have to hear his voice again! haha! There are a couple of kids TV shows that are actually ok for grown ups though and Ben & Holly is one such show. Steve and I never minded when the kids would watch this and I swear my step dad secretly still watches it by himself and has a right old laugh! We loved Ben & Holly so much that back in 2013 Jack and I went along to watch a performance at Whitley Bay Playhouse and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I can't believe how small he was back then!


Harry, Heidi and Jack are too old for Ben & Holly now (sob) but I am delighted to have been provided with a family ticket to give away to see the tour when it visits Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House this March. The ticket also includes a special meet & greet with Ben & Holly after the show. You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. Good luck!

Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom visit Newcastle | 18th & 19th March 2017


"Somewhere, hidden amongst thorny brambles is a little Kingdom where everyone is very, very small'


What to expect


The blurb:- During the show, Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston the Ladybird (who is the cutest thing you'll ever see) clean up his messy cave, they go on a trip into 'The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum, even plan a surprise birthday party for King Thistle, and oops, let’s hope there’s not another jelly flood! (spoiler - there probably is).

Join Ben and Holly, and their friends on this exciting, enchanting and magical musical adventure packed full of games, songs and laughter. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family!

I remember the show being loads of fun for pre-schoolers and would definitely recommend to any Ben & Holly fans out there aged 0-5 years (and their grown ups). It's a fantastic first introduction to theatre. Don't forget to visit Meet & Treat across the road for a game of Guess Who and milkshakes before/after the show!

Check out the show's trailer here: 


Buy Tickets to Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom in Newcastle | 18th & 19th March 2017


Ben & Holly will be performing at Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House on the following dates/times:
  • Saturday 18th March 2017 at 1pm & 4pm
  • Sunday 19th March 2017 at 10am and 1pm 
Tickets are priced between £11 & £17.60 (including booking fees) via Tyne Theatre & Opere House website here or from the box office in person during box office opening hours. 


Ben & Holly Ticket Giveaway with Meet & Greet worth £60+


I have been provided with a family ticket worth £60+ to giveaway to one lucky reader. The ticket is for up to 2 adults and 2 children to enjoy the 4pm performance on Saturday 18th March 2017 at Newcastle's Tyne Theatre & Opera House. The Meet & Greet is after the show. 

To be in with a chance of winning, simply enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Good luck!




Terms and Conditions: Prize is 1 x Family Ticket (valid for up to 2 adults and 2 children) to see Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom at Tyne Theatre and Opera House in Newcastle on Saturday 18th March at 4pm with a 'meet and greet' after the performance.  Tickets are non-transferable to another date/venue/performance/time and there is no alternative. No refunds will be given. There is no cash alternative. Travel and extras are not included. Giveaway ends midnight 5/3/17. A winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and notified via email. 
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Meet and Treat Cafe Newcastle | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids

*This is a collaborative post 

We visit Tyne Theatre & Opera House quite a bit but I always run into the same problem - where to visit with the kids beforehand for a quick drink or bite to eat. I am not a fan of the usual Chinese restaurants on Stowell Street and trying to negotiate a hot all-you-can-eat buffet whilst supervising three kids is not exactly my idea of fun. So when Meet & Treat invited us along before this week's performance of 'So you think about Dinosaurs' at Tyne Theatre & Opera House this half term, I had my fingers and toes crossed they would be the answer to my dilemma. 

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House

You will find Meet & Treat on Bath Lane, wedged between the Fujiyama and Hana Hana and just a stone's throw away from the Tyne Theatre. They are open from 11am - 9pm and children are welcome at all times. Their menu is fairly eclectic featuring everything from Eggs Benedict to Mexican Chicken Burrito and their signature Asian small plates, soup and noodle dishes. Check out this post from Raspberry Kitsch if you'd like to get a feel for some of the stunning Asian food they serve up. They also serve an impressive range of hot drinks, shakes, smoothies and cakes which are what we had in mind for our visit. 

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - exterior and location

The first thing I will say about Meet & Treat is just how welcoming it is and fully inclusive to everyone. It truly is a cafe for young and old. They have highchairs for little babies, room for pushchairs and the staff helped an elderly couple in with their wheelchair and offered to store it by the counter rather than outside. Lovely. There's a variety of seating to choose from including comfortable armchairs and sofas, bright tables by the window or cosy tables nearer the back. We were chuffed to find a stack of board games, books and even craft materials for us to help ourselves to. SUCH a good idea! I can see us sitting here as a family for a few hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon over lunch and a game of scrabble.

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - free board games, books and crafts

The kids immediatly spotted Guess Who and set up a tournament as I ordered coffee and browsed the cake counter.

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Kids playing Guess Who

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Harry playing Guess Who

Heidi and Harry both ordered their favourite Sticky Toffee Pudding which was an epic portion and a bargain at £4.50. If your kids like sweet treats, there are also a selection of American style waffles to choose from. They thoroughly enjoyed their chocolate milkshakes too and at £3.50 they are very reasonably priced. Jack selected a Daim bar cake from the counter.

I am pretty sure the desserts and cakes are bought into Meet & Treat and not homemade but my three don't care about this and are only interested in if their cakes taste good - I am pleased to say they all thoroughly enjoyed their treats with their shakes and Daim bar cake proving especially popular.

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Sticky toffee pudding and ice cream

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - sticky toffee pudding and ice cream

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - chocolate milkshake in mason jar

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - kids chocolate milkshake

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - kids chocolate milkshake and cream

Meet and Treat is an Instagrammers paradise! From the perfect lighting to the beautiful tiled floor, branded mugs, chalkboard signs and even a few props on your table too. If your kids/teens love taking photos, they'll thank you for taking them to Meet & Treat.

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Instagram props

So with the kids happy eating their cake, drinking their shakes and playing Guess Who, I was left to actually enjoy a coffee and a slice of Oreo cheesecake in peace. Seriously with the kids entertained I could have brought along a magazine and enjoyed a bit of proper 'me time' - something I am really not used to in the school holidays.

The coffee at Meet & Treat is decent too - there's an extensive menu featuring everything from Espresso to Macchiato. There's a long list of iced teas and coffees too and even a Greek Frappe on the menu. I have my eye on their S'mores Hot Chocolate next time.

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - coffee cup

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Oreo cheesecake

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - Daim bar cake

Meet and Treat Newcastle Cafe | A Perfect Spot for Pre-Theatre Drinks & Cakes with Kids for Tyne Theatre and Opera House - blackboard

We adored our visit to Meet & Treat and it is now going to be our new go-to place for pre/post theatre treats/drinks/food. If you're looking for a child-friendly cafe to catch up with family or friends in Newcastle or meet before a trip to the Tyne Theatre, I can certainly recommend a trip.

I recommend following Meat & Treat and drooling over their foodie pics on Instagram here

Disclosure | We received complimentary food/drinks in return for this post. All thoughts are always 100% honest and our own :-) 

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