North East Family Fun

A UK Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents

*This is a collaborative post

Did you know that May is National Walking Month? The sun has started to shine a lot more brightly in the sky and I think this time of year is perfect for getting back outside and enjoying some fresh air and the great outdoors. I have teamed up with Westfield Health's #WalkingLunch campaign again this year and I've been enjoying a daily lunchtime walk of at least 20 minutes. If you fancy finding out more about how you can join in and for your chance to win some fantastic prizes too, you can sign up to #WalkingLunch here (it's free and they don't spam you). 

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents


If you're looking for ways to incorporate walks into your lunch hour, I can highly recommend downloading the FREE Crumbs app - it features fun walking trails around lots of UK cities and is a fantastic way to get out and about and exploring your city with colleagues. Alternatively, if you work or hold meetings in Newcastle, check out this post featuring 5 walks in Newcastle that you can squeeze into your lunch hour

Back to today though and as it's half term next week I know that a lot of us will be at home with the kids so I thought I'd put together a few of the best pushchair-friendly walks around the North East. Now there will be no excuse for not joining in with #WalkingLunch - even during the school holidays! Let me know if you'd add any to my list and if you are inspired to get out and try one of these walks yourself, please share a photo using #WalkingLunch over on Twitter and check out others doing the same too.


13 pushchair-friendly walks to try in North East England



1 - Hardwick Park as recommended by Eden Markl

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - Hardwick park
Credit | Eden Markl

"Hardwick Park in County Durham is a Visit England accredited attraction and perfect for a stroll at any time of the year. The main park walk is accessible to all visitors and it's all flat with no steps so perfect for a pushchair. As well as historic parkland, a lake, woodland and wildlife, there's a visitor centre, popular cafe and full events programme including Toddler Trails and Tales." Find out more here. 

2 - South Shields Marine Park as recommended by Here Come The Hoopers

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - south shields marine park
Credit |  Katie Jane Online 

"You can have a walk up Ocean road to North and South Marine Park then onto the promenade. Plenty of play things in the park for babies and birds to watch in the lake. The Marsden rattler is lovely for a cuppa or Minchellas for ice cream." Find out more here. 

3 - Druridge Bay Country Park as recommended by Big Stevie Cool 

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - druridge bay

"It's free to park at Druridge Bay and the walk around Ladyburn Lake is around 1.3 miles long. It is all flat and suitable for pushchairs. There are stepping stones across the lake but if you need an accessible route, continue walking past them around the perimeter of the lake and you'll manage fine with wheels. There's a visitor centre, small park and you're right by the beach too." Find out more here.

4 - Durham River as recommended by Supermummy Secrets

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - durham river
Credit | Supermummy Secrets

"Durham river is the perfect place for a stroll with toddlers and pushchairs. You can stop and watch the various boats and ducks." 

5 - Derwent Reservoir as recommended by Sofa Stories

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - derwent reservoir
Credit | Sofa Stories

"Derwent Reservoir is lovely. Picnic and play areas on your walk. Also good area for jogging with a buggy." Find out more here. 

6 - The Coastal Route between Blyth and Seaton Sluice as recommended by Family Times UK

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - blyth beach

"The coastal route between blyth/Seaton sluice is lovely and there's a park at both ends to stop and have a play. The path is flat and perfect for pushchairs. You can stop for Fish and chips along the way too."

7 - Whitley Bay to St Mary's Lighthouse as recommended by North East Family Fun

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - st mary's lighthouse

"It's around a 4 mile round trip from Whitley Bay town centre in North Tyneside to the lighthouse and back. It's a straight path that again is perfect for pushchairs and you'll be rewarded with lovely views. If you plan a walk when the tide is out, you can cross the causeway to St Mary's Island with a pushchair too and you're lucky, you might spot some seals." Check out our blog review featuring this walk here. 

8 - Marden Quarry/Park as recommended by Babyfoote 

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - Marden Quarry
Credit | Babyfoote

"Marden Park is lovely too, and there are ducklings and goslings at the moment. The walk is around a lake from Marden Quarry. Nice little place for a toddle, or balance bike. There are ponies in the stables at the top. If you see the balloons out on the roadside then you know the stables are open and you can go for a pony ride (about £3 for twice round the yard, and help brush the ponies too)."

9 - Jesmond Dene as recommended by My Boys Club

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - Jesmond Dene

"I loved Jesmond Dene when the boys were little - a lovely, leafy walk, parking / public transport, a river for playing pooh sticks, play area, ice-cream good food and plenty of space for a picnic - not to mention the animals. It's fab." Find out more here

10 - Carlisle Park in Morpeth, Northumberland as recommended by Newcastle Family Life


13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - Carlisle Park


"We go to Carlisle park which is pushchair friendly and walk along the river path feeding the ducks. It always wore my two out and they would fall asleep in the buggy so I could go for lunch or a look around the shops in peace while they slept in the buggy." Find out more here.

11 - North Shields Fish Quay to Tynemouth as recommended by Babyfoote

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - Tynemouth
Credit | Babyfoote

"We really love North Shields Fish quay to Tynemouth and back. It's a lovely flat walk until right at the end when you've got two hills to get your heart beating and earning that coffee in Mr Woods or Dil and the Bear. Along the way you can go and see Collingwood, who was a very good human. Worth talking about with little ones."

12 - Newburn to Wylam as recommended by Sprog on the Tyne


13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - wylam park
Credit | Sprog On The Tyne
"It's a long one, but I really like the circle route starting at Newburn along to Wylam then back over the other side of the water. There is a playground at both Newburn and Wylam so the kids can run stretch their legs as well as being in the buggy, pretty much the whole 8 miles (!) loop is car-free so great for dogs too, and my toddlers love stopping at the little river beach at Wylam to throw in stones."

13 - Belsay Hall Gardens as recommended by North East Family Fun

13 of the best pushchair-friendly walks around North East England as recommended by local parents - belsay hall

I think Belsay's gardens are the prettiest in the North East. It's a beautiful 1.5 mile circular walk to Belsay Castle and back. The paths are pushchair friendly and you'll spot lots of exotic looking plants and flowers as you walk through the walled garden, woodland and quarry. There are picnic tables at the castle if you fancy packing some sandwiches and making the most of the countryside views.  Find out more here. 


So there you have 13 different pushchair-friendly walks to try with the kids this May. All of them have been tried & tested and are recommended by local mums. Don't forget to sign up to #WalkingLunch and use the hashtag online to find others who are doing the same. Let me know if there are any other walks you would add to my list.

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin

*This is a collaborative post and contains affiliate links

The new Braun Series 3 ProSkin is a real hero for sensitive skin, and launching just in time for Father’s Day it’s the perfect gift for sensitive dads. I’ve partnered with Braun to tell you about some of the times when Steve has shown his sensitive side.

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin

It's a running joke in our family that I apparently have a heart of stone - I didn't feel at all close to tears on my Wedding Day and did not feel overwhelmed with emotion after the birth of any of my children either. I was just pleased it was all over to be honest. Steve, on the other hand is the complete opposite to me and I'll often catch him with a little tear in his eye and it seems to be happening more often now he's getting older. Steve is a hard-working geordie man who loves nothing more than drinking a pint in the pub but I love that he also has a sensitive side to his personality. It was only this week we were watching Loose Women over lunch when they featured this video of a 10 year old asking his stepdad to officially adopt him and Steve started rolling his eyes at yet another 'viral video'. By the end of it though we had a little giggle as he couldn't help but shed a tear or as he likes to say 'had something in his eye'.  

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin

Our wedding day at Linden Hall over 10 years ago was a day that I'll never forget. I was just 22 years old and Steve was 25 - he was very much your typical lad from Wallsend and enjoyed nothing more than going out to the Bigg Market with his mates every weekend. I don't think I'd ever actually seen him cry before this point. So imagine when my surprise as I walked up the aisle and watched as welled up and couldn't stop the tears. From this point on, there was no stopping him.

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin

I love that Steve has a sensitive side and isn't afraid to show it and I think it doesn't matter what your gender is, if you need to cry, just let it out. It does you good! 

We're huge fans of the TV show Gogglebox and usually watch every Friday with a glass of wine or two. It's part of our weekly routine that we'll have a little bet now - who will cry first? Steve or one of the cast. 

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin

Over the years Steve's sensitivity has definitely worked in my favour. He can sense when I'm feeling emotional and will often surprise me with random bunches of flowers (or bottles of wine) as he's thoughtful like that and I wouldn't have him any other way. I'm proud that Steve's a #SensitiveDad and feel that fathers can absolutely be sensitive too, just like their skin.
  

The New Braun Series 3 ProSkin 


The new S3 ProSkin has advanced MicroComb technology which guides beard hairs into the cutting element of the trimmer reducing overall shaving time and thus skin irritation. To offer a comfortable shave three independently floating cutting elements and two SensoFoils adapts to every facial contour to offer a comfortable shave.

Why I Love Steve's Sensitive Side - A Collaboration with Braun Series 3 ProSkin
  • The ProSkin offers men with sensitive skin efficiency and comfort
  • The advanced MicroComb technology guides beard hairs into the cutting element of the trimmer reducing overall shaving time and thus skin irritation
  • To offer a comfortable shave three independently floating cutting elements and two SensoFoils adapts to every facial contour to offer a comfortable shave
  • The ProSkin is perfect for time-poor dads who want fuss-free results from their shave. Over 50% of men across the globe are being held back by sensitive skin
  • Men (30%) hate 3 things most when it comes to their skin: spots, dryness and redness
  • Two-thirds of men have delayed shaving because of their skin being sensitive. What they don’t realise is that a key element to maintain smooth skin is a shaver! 

It's not long until Father's Day and I think the ProSkin will make a perfect gift for a sensitive man in your life. Let me know if you have any stories of a time when a man in your life showed his sensitive side.

Disclosure: I’m working in a paid relationship with Braun and BritMums on their #SensitiveDads campaign. Fathers can be sensitive too, just like their skin. The new S3 ProSkin has advanced MicroComb technology which reduces overall shaving time and thus skin irritation
 
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Celebrating #TheBestofTimes with long summer nights and Kettler + Win a Heston Barbecue worth £599

*This is a collaborative post

Steve works every other weekend from 8am-6pm on both the Saturday and Sunday and when he gets home from work on those days we all practically dive on him as we all really miss him.  Especially me -  the days feel extra long when it's just me and the kids at home. So when Kettler asked us to join in with their #TheBestofTimes campaign which celebrates those people in our lives who are responsible for our best times, we decided to try and see if we could squeeze some extra family time into those weekends and create some extra quality time with Steve.



Obviously, everyone knows that we love our food so we decided we'd squeeze in a bedtime BBQ at 6:30pm as soon as Steve was home from work. We used our new Everdure by Heston BBQ which really helped to speed the process along. A combination of lighter nights, a huge cooking surface and no waiting for the grill to heat up meant that our barbecue feast was all cooked in under 20 minutes and we were sitting down and enjoying it together before 7pm.

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes

A BBQ always feels like a bit of a treat I think and the kids were super excited that they could work as Steve's (fully supervised) helpers by fetching him plates ect...... from the kitchen. It wasn't quite warm enough to sit outside and eat this time but I know over the next few months we'll be making the most of our time with Steve over the weekend with many more BBQs outside after work - I've already started researching the best Sangria recipes for the next time.

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes  - cooking skewers

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes  - cooking chicken

BBQs have always taken a bit of planning in the past. We've always relied on disposable BBQs which we've needed to buy or bucket-type BBQs which we've needed to fill with charcoal and wait to get to the right temperature. It's all a bit of a faff! With our Everdure BBQ we just need to turn the gas on and we're good to go. I honestly can't wait for us to make the most of the summer nights with many more BBQs this year. Sometimes it's the little things like relaxing together as a family in the garden with good food after a long day at work that really do make the best of times.

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes  - Heidi and Jack

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes  - corn and chicken on BBQ

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes


Win your own Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbecue worth £599 in our giveaway


To celebrate #TheBestofTimes , Kettler have provided us with one Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbecue worth £599 to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post. Good luck! 

Win an Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbeque worth £599 from Kettler with  #TheBestofTimes  - Heston and BBQ

Why we love our Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbecue:

  • Fast ignition, instant searing and variable heat means you are ready to cook in just a couple of minutes so your next BBQ is never far away
  • Sleek design that won't rust in a range of colours
  • Extra large cooking area
  • You can cook with the hood up or down
  • Super easy to clean
  • After cooking, the barbeque quickly cools

Enter our giveaway for your chance to win your own Everdure by Heston FORCE Barbecue here: 



  1. The promoter of this competition is Kettler (GB) Ltd, Merse Road, North Moons Moat, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 9HL.2 - To be entered into the prize draw, entrants must log into Rafflecopter with either their Facebook account or their name and email address. Once logged in, they will be shown the entry requirements of the giveaway. 3 - By entering into the competition, entrants agree to be subscribed to the Kettler (GB) Ltd mailing list. Entrants can opt out of this mailing list at any time. 4 - Kettler (GB) Ltd will accept entries for this competition from 00.00 on 22/05/2017 and will not accept entries sooner than this time. Kettler (GB) Ltd will close the competition at 23.59 on 04/06/2017. The prize draw will take place on or after this date. 5 - Entrants must be aged 18 or over and be residents of mainland United Kingdom. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the entrant agrees to abide by these rules. 6 - Entrants must enter the competition in their own name; you may not enter on behalf of another individual. Should you use a false name or email, or use an online user profile that is not linked to a real individual, or has been set up for the purpose of competition entry, you will be disqualified. 7 - Any person that is: (a) an employee of Kettler (GB) Ltd, (b) employed by any agency associated with Kettler (GB) Ltd or (b) an immediate family member of such employees is not eligible to enter the competition. 8 - One winner will be selected at random using Rafflecopter on or after the closing date of the competition.9 - The winner will be contacted via email within 48 hours of the competition closing. Winners who fail to reply to Kettler (GB) Ltd within 7 days of notification will forfeit their prize and another winner will be drawn. 10 - The prize is 1 x Everdure by Heston Blumenthal FORCE Barbeque worth £599(RRP). 11 - The prize includes a standard three year domestic use warranty as outlined on the Kettler (GB) Ltd website at the time of publishing. 12 - Delivery will be provided to mainland UK only as per Kettler (GB) Ltd standard delivery policy. Sprintshift couriers will contact the winner directly to arrange agreeable delivery. The winner will be given a 2 hour delivery slot on weekdays only, from Monday to Friday. 13 - The prize includes delivery within mainland UK, but not assembly or installation. The winning entrant will be required to provide proof of ID and sign for the prize on delivery. Delivery of prize will take place no more than 30 days from confirmation of winning entrant’s delivery details.14 - No cash alternative can be offered for prize.15 - The winner agrees to the use of his or her name and disclosure of county of residence relating to any post-winning publicity. Entry into the competition is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions.16 - Kettler (GB) Ltd reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time or amend these terms and conditions without prior notice, for whatever reason, and without liability for doing so. 17 - Kettler (GB) Ltd will always use your data responsibly and only collect, store and process your data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy & Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2011. 18 - By opting in to receive marketing communications from us, you consent to receive communications by email. We will store your details securely and will only use them for our own purposes. You provide permission to receive communications from Kettler (GB) Ltd about our products and services, exclusive customer offers, events and promotions. If you wish to have your details removed from our database at any time, please email us at laura.r@kettler.co.uk or call our Customer Care team on 01527 591901.




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Saturday, 20 May 2017

My childhood bedroom vs Heidi's childhood bedroom & My Little Pony Bedroom Giveaway

*This is a collaborative post

Today I have teamed up with Character World to bring you not one but two giveaways. The first giveaway is linked at the bottom of this post and is your chance win your own My Little Pony Bedding set featuring a duvet set, cushion and towel. The second giveaway is in association with Character World, IceLolly.com and Tesco. You can win a 7 night 4* all inclusive holiday to Majorca by simply sharing a photograph of your child's dream bedroom using Character World bedding - find out more details and enter here.



I thought I'd write a little light hearted post about how different my childhood bedroom was when compared with Heidi's. My own childhood bedroom was always immaculate (my mam was super strict about this whereas I am very laid back and Heidi's is therefore always messy) and there wasn't really such a thing as 'character bedding' back in 80s. I remember my bedroom was a fetching shade of peach with floral bedding in the early years and then as I turned into a teenager, I was suddenly inspired by an episode of changing rooms to create a bright pink, turquoise and black bedroom. What was I thinking?? Being an older child worked in my favour and I was allowed the biggest bedroom and it was huge with bunk beds, a desk and loads of space. I remember covering my bedroom mirror with stickers from my Smash Hits magazine and my walls were covered with Boyzone posters. 

Heidi's bedroom is tiny bless her. Due to there being a built-in wardrobe above the stairs, a full sized bed doesn't even fit in her current bedroom so she has to have a shorty bed. It's a good job she's little! It's a far cry from Heidi's first ever bedroom which she shared with Harry when we lived in an upstairs flat.....She'd love to have all of this space now. 

Heidi's bedroom may be small but she definitely makes the most of it. Character World bedding is so inexpensive and over the years she's had all sorts from Peppa Pig to Frozen, Shopkins to Monster High and now My Little Pony is her latest thing.

Heidi was keen to enter the IceLolly.com competition so styled her own pony-inspired bedroom using character bedding. She's made a My Little Pony reading corner with her books, My Little Pony toys and cushions. What do you think? 



Win your own My Little Pony Bedding Bundle here



You can win the My Little Pony Bedding Bundle pictured above by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Good luck!




Terms and Conditions: Prize is provided by Character World -  a My Little Pony Single Duvet Set, My Little Pony Cushion and My Little Pony Towel Poncho.<br />Prize may be changed to an alternative character/product of a similar value if those listed are not available. 
Item will be posted to any UK Mainland address within 30 days of the giveaway closing. UK Mainland Postage is included.  No refunds will be given. There is no cash alternative.  
Giveaway ends midnight 18/06/17. A winner will be selected at random from all valid entries and notified via email. 
Giveaway excludes employees and family members associated with Character World and North East Family Fun
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Our Whitley Bay Food & Drink Week | Monday 22nd-Monday 29th May 2017


Whitley Bay has had a bit of a resurgence recently and a place that was once known for Fish and Chips and Ice Cream is now becoming known for it's independent restaurants, cafes and bistros. So much so that Our Whitley Bay have decided to host their very first Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week which takes place between Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017. This is your chance to pop down to the seaside town and sample what they have to offer from a variety of special set menus, reduced prices and deals. Here are a few of the offers you can enjoy:

1 - Evan's Bistro 

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - chocolate brownie evan's bistro


  • 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £17.50
  • Book | 0191 2526532
  • View the special set menu here
  • Newly opened Evan's Bistro will be serving up North Shields Mussels, Traditional Northumberland Broth, Traditional Steak Pie and Homemade Sticky Toffee Pudding or Rich Chocolate Brownie as part of their special set menu. 
  • Read my review of Evan's Bistro here


2 - The Roxburgh

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Roxburgh House
Credit | Canny Food Blog

  • 3 courses £22 (Thursday, Friday & Saturday 6pm - 10pm)
  • Book | 0191 2531661
  • The Roxburgh is a small but popular restaurant in Whitley Bay. Diners can expect 'nose to tail' dining with as much as possible being locally sourced. 
  • Read Canny Food's review of The Roxburgh here



3 - Elder and Wolf 

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Elder and Wolf



4 - Hinnies 

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Hinnies


  • 3 course lunch and a glass of fizz for £16 (Tuesday - Saturday)
  • Book | 0191 4470500
  • You'll find Hinnies serving up lots of Geordie comfort food on Whitley Bay Seafront. 
  • Read my review of Hinnies here


5 - Ahar Indian Restaurant 

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay   - Ahar Indian Restaurant
Credit | Stephanie Fox



6 - Cornerstone Cafe

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Cornerstone Cafe
Credit | Canny Food



7 - Eden's Cafe

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Eden's Cafe
Credit | Feeding Boys


  • Homemade burger and soft drink £9.95
  • Eden's Homemade Cake and Tea/Coffee £5.35
  • Eden's Cafe pride themselves on their homemade burgers, pancakes, soup, cakes and scones. 
  • Check out this review by Feeding Boys


8 - Pantrinis

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - Pantrinis




9 - The Sandpiper 

Our Whitley Bay Food and Drink Week | Monday 22nd - Monday 29th May 2017 - offers and deals #OurWhitleyBay - The Sandpiper


  • 3 courses for £16
  • Book | 0191 2535050
  • View the special set menu here (please note the kitchen may have limited opening hours - you must phone and check before heading out)
  • The Sandpiper is a family-friendly pub with an outdoor children's play area. Their special set menu includes North Sea Fish & Chips and Salted Caramel Chocolate Pot. 
  • Check out our review of The Sandpiper here


Other offers that have caught my eye:

  • Smithy's Deli | Sandwich, pop and bag of crisps for £3.50
  • Salthouse | 1 course and drink for £7.50
  • Mama Rosa/Brunos | Pizza/Pasta and drink £5.95
  • 42nd Street and The King George | 50% off all food
  • Grey's Lodge | 2 glasses of Prosecco for £5
  • Tanner Smith's | 2 for 1 Gin
  • Olives at the Station | 2 courses and a drink £10
  • Relish | Buy one get one free vegetable and fruit smoothies
  • Boatyard | Brunch and a drink £7.50
  • Turkinaz | 2 course lunch for £9.99

Please remember, offers/menus ect....are subject to change. Please mention #OurWhitleyBay Food & Drink week when booking and on arrival and double check offers to avoid disappointment. You can check out any terms and conditions/time limitations and ALL of the restaurants taking part via the Our Whitley Bay Food & Drink Week event page on Facebook here.

Let me know if you're going to try anywhere and search #OurWhitleyBay across Social Media to find out where others have tried. 




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Friday, 19 May 2017

How watching the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium has inspired our family

*This is a collaborative post

If you follow us across any Social Media you may have noticed that we popped down to Wembley Stadium to watch the SSE Women's FA Cup Final last weekend. This was a massive deal for us and catching an early morning train down to London for the weekend was definitely worth it.


As a child,  the small business my dad worked for had a pool of NUFC season tickets that were shared between staff. My dad was able to attend pretty much every home game and myself and my younger brother would take it in turns to go along with him. Nothing beats the atmosphere of an NUFC home game when we're winning and I used to adore tagging along. It was in the glory days of Shearer, Ferdinand, Asprilla and Beardsley and watching them play was absolutely the highlight of my weekend. I specifically remember the day that my love of the game changed a bit and this was when NUFC were playing Liverpool at home. I couldn't wait to watch 'young' Michael Owen on the pitch and was a bit of a fan. We were big rivals at the time and I was really looking forward to what was all set to be a fantastic match. Unfortunately, my dad had other plans and although it was my turn to tag along with him, my dad opted to take my brother instead 'because he was a boy and would enjoy a big game like this more than me'. His words not mine! Oh how I cried that day and to be honest, football was never the same for me.

Fast forward to meeting Steve in my late teens and his family are HUGE football fans. I remember the first time I met Steve's mum she said to me that I'd better like football as if I didn't, I wouldn't fit in. Luckily I did and i fit in just fine. Steve's mum, dad and Steve were all season ticket holders back then and if they weren't at St James' Park watching a match, they were at home watching the football. So football has always pretty much been a strong part of our lives. With this in mind, it might shock you to hear that we've never taken our own children to watch a football match and to be honest, I'm not really sure why. So our trip to Wembley with Harry and Heidi was going to be their first ever experience of watching the beautiful game live at an elite level. 

Welcome to Wembley! 
I wasn't expecting it to be too busy if I'm honest and was slightly taken aback to see the area around the stadium packed with girl's football clubs, football fans and families enjoying a day out. We found our seats in the stadium and learned that there were over 35000 people watching the match with us. It was a record-breaking attendance and we were chuffed to be part of that.



As the match kicked off, I was pleased to see that the referee and match officials were also female. As we're from the North, we decided to support favourites Manchester City and it wasn't long before we were all jumping out of our seat, shouting and cheering along. We all really got into it! The atmosphere was electric and perfect for families. I didn't hear any swearing like I did in the old days back at St James' Park and the family in front of us shared their blow up banners around with the seats around them which was nice.


I wondered if watching Women's football would be any different to watching men play and Steve and I both agreed that there wasn't much difference at all. The ladies were all super talented, in their prime and fantastic role models to all of the impressionable young girls watching from the stands. If anything, I noticed that there was no diving or bad behaviour like there sometimes is in the men's game and Steve mentioned that there was a very tough tackle at one point and a player went down. She was helped straight back up again though and just got on with the job. Steve said if that had been in the men's game, he imagined there would have been far more drama, rolling around and a physio called onto the pitch. If you want to watch real football, put any pre-judgement you have behind and honestly, try attending a women's game and you'll notice the difference yourself.


I spend my life explaining to Heidi that she can do anything she sets her mind to - a doctor, astronaut, scientist, computer engineer.....anything! She currently wants to work in mountain rescue and I'm proud of that. I asked her at half time if she'd like to try football too and it was a definite yes. The next day we popped into Hamley's and bought Heidi her own football which she's played with non-stop ever since.


The game was fast paced and our team had a comfortable 4-1 win (yeah). It was all taken in good spirit though and to be honest we cheered just as loudly when Birmingham scored as when Manchester did.


Heidi had managed to get herself a prime seat and as the players walked past to collect their medals, she managed to hi-five a few of them. She was proud as punch and I can't explain how pleased I was as a parent to see Heidi looking up to and admiring these women. Proper role models!



When Manchester City lifted the cup the crowd went wild and I honestly felt a little emotional. Harry and Heidi were both cheering and jumping up and down and I think it will be one of those moments I remember forever. Well done ladies for making us proud!







You can read more about the FA Women's Super League here. Matches are played across the UK and Sunderland AFC Ladies are the team local to the North East. There are three home games left this spring:
  • 21/5/17 at 2pm - Sunderland AFC Ladies vs Chelsea Ladies
  • 31/5/17 at 7pm - Sunderland AFC Ladies vs Manchester City Ladies
  • 03/06/17 at 3:30pm - Sunderland AFC Ladies vs Reading FC Women

Sunderland AFC Ladies play their home games at Hetton Centre in Houghton Le Spring and tickets are a bargain at just £4 per adult, £2 per child or £10 for a family of 4. We certainly want to see more and will be attending a Sunderland AFC Ladies home game this weekend - we hope to see you there! You can book tickets online here. It looks set to be a family atmosphere with FREE bookable football skills sessions for kids before the game and the creation station will be in attendance to allow fans to create their own banners and masks.

Going back to my own experience as a child for a moment, I don't want anyone to ever tell Heidi that she can't enjoy something just because she's a girl and feel like I did. I truly applaud the FA's efforts to encourage girls into football and will do my best to support Heidi in playing and watching the game for as long as she's enjoying it.

When you take part in a blogging campaign that genuinely has such a positive impact on your family, it is such a good feeling and that's how I feel about the FA Women's Super League. The FA have a number of schemes in place to encourage girls into the game from Girls' Football Week to SSE Wildcat Girls Football Clubs. Heidi will be taking part in a few different activities over the next few months so keep your eyes peeled.

Disclosure | I am working on a paid basis with Britmums and the FA as part of this campaign. All thoughts, words and football enthusiasm are my own. 
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