North East Family Fun

A UK Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog

How to Create Scary Apple Faces with PinKids® Apples

*This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy for details

We have always celebrated Halloween. As a child of the 80s, things were a little different for us and I remember dressing up in a decorated black bin bag and cardboard witches hat from our local Post Office - there were no elaborate or fancy costumes back in those days. What I do remember doing though is decorating apples with my brother and us both creating scary apple faces for Halloween night. Back then, you couldn't get your hands on pumpkins and decorating an apple was the next best thing. I am delighted that Pink Lady® have asked us to pass on this tradition and share it today with our readers as part of their Pass it On campaign. Let me know what you think and if your family has their own Halloween traditions. 

Creating scary apple faces is a tradition I have kept up with my own children - it's nostalgic for myself, easy and fun for kids and creates less mess than carving a pumpkin. We often host or attend a Halloween party and I like creating these as a healthier alternative for the Halloween buffet. This year, I picked up a few jelly eye sweets from Poundland and we used grapes as extra body parts and Halloween teeth we already had in our dressing up box (give them a good wash first). The beauty of creating these scary apples, is that you can use pretty much anything you have in your fridge and let the kids' imagination run wild. In the past, we've used raisins for eyes, strawberries for hearts and carrot sticks for arms. If you're using cocktail sticks as we do, make sure an adult supervises as they can be a little sharp.

We used PinKids® apples which are smaller but just as perfectly formed as their big sister Pink Lady® apples. They are the perfect apples for celebrating Halloween with little ones as they're the ideal size for little hands (and much easier for apple bobbing too). As I opened our bag of apples, Heidi actually jumped for joy (I am not exaggerating) and declared PinKids® to be her absolute favourite type of apple and she couldn't wait to get started.

What I like about this activity is that the kids can go as crazy as they like. Heidi decided to create a super spooky PinKids® apple face with two eyes, two arms and even used the stalk as a nose, where as Jack was a lot more, shall we say abstract!

Creating Scary Apple Faces is the ideal family activity and I couldn't help but get involved too. What do you think of my design?

We spent around 30 minutes on our designs and were all really proud of them. Of course, our PinKids® apples didn't last long and as soon as we'd finished, Heidi and Jack enjoyed eating their design afterwards - they had definitely deserved a snack and I love that this Halloween activity is something that actually encourages healthy eating on a day where sweets are normally the main focus.

Do you have a Halloween tradition that you've passed on to your children? Let me know if I've inspired you to create some scary PinKids® apple faces this year. 


5 reasons you should take your kids to watch a Newcastle Eagles home game at Sports Central this season

*This is a review post. Please see my disclosure policy for details

We've watched Newcastle Eagles play at home a few times over the years and have to say, it's one of our favourite things to do with the kids on a Friday night. It's always a good atmosphere, we usually win, the kids love it and Steve and I can enjoy a beer or too. Our latest trip was to watch Newcastle Eagles play London Lions - it was a tense match and we were behind at halftime, but the crowd really got behind the team and once again, we won. If you've never been to watch a Basketball game before, you don't need to worry too much about the rules. They are easy to pick up and follow and the emphasis is definitely more on fun than the technicalities of the game. Everyone in our family loves a night at the Basketball, it's always a hit with both us grown-ups and the kids. If it's been a while since you last watched a game or you're not sure what to expect from a match, here's why I think you should book tickets to a match this season.......

1 - It's a Friday night out

When you're a parent, Friday nights certainly change and nights out are definitely few and far between. A trip to Sports Central to watch Newcastle Eagles play provides you with the opportunity to head out for the night. It may not be the bright lights of the diamond strip but they serve beer and you can feast on nachos and hot dogs with a fantastic, vibrant atmosphere with lots of fun and noise - not really that different to nights out from your pre-children days right?  Games are always fast paced and never boring. You can't help but get involved and jump from your seat when we score.

2 - The team are fantastic role models

Our children are growing up in a celebrity culture where the role models they choose might not necessarily be the ones we had hoped for. I love that the Newcastle Eagles team are proper role models. They are fantastic to watch, at the top of their game and always display impeccable team spirit and never behave badly (well not from what I've seen anyway). Did you know that Newcastle Eagles are the most successful British Basketball team of all time? How amazing is it that we have this level of skill right on our doorstep. The players always have time for their fans too and will happily pose for photographs after the game.

3 - There's a fun, family-friendly atmosphere

It's really difficult to explain the atmosphere at an Eagle's home game but I'm going to try and give it a go! Basketball is fast-paced and pretty much end to end. There are no slow parts - it's always super quick. Fans show their support for the home team with chants around the court of 'Let's Go Eagles, Let's Go' and 'De-fence, De-fence'. You are prompted to join in with the sound system, visual clues on the scoreboard and some of the fans bring drums to really get the crowd going. The court host will encourage you all to stamp your feet and wave your arms and try to distract the opposition, there are horns, foam hands, buzzers and music. Swoop (the Eagles' mascot) will join in with the cheerleading squad and hi-five the crowd, the scoreboard seems to continuously change......but for me, the last 2 minutes are really electric. The crowd are all encouraged to stand and the cheers and support from the crowd as everyone really gets behind the eagles really is something else. I have not seen Harry and Heidi so swept up in the excitement like this in a long time. Whether they win or lose (but they'll probably win), you'll all leave the court on an absolute high.

4 - There's lots of ways to get involved 

When you spend an evening at Sports Central, you'll experience so much more than just a Basketball game. There are raffles, opportunities for kids to play on court during breaks, shoot-outs, the Zapatista Mexican Hat Challenge, 'Chuck a duck' where kids all throw a red duck onto the court and try and get the closest to the target to win a prize, there's cheerleaders, commentary, food and drinks, merchandise, fun with the much going on! Host Dan Black will also encourage the crowd to Tweet along and Harry was so excited when his Tweet was read out during a break. Newcastle Eagles also run a fantastic community programme and are often found out and about it schools so your children may recognise a few of the famous faces.

5 - Central location & discounted tickets are available

Newcastle Eagles home games are held at Sports Central at Northumbria University which is right in the heart of Newcastle. We usually catch the bus into Newcastle but you can also drive or get the Metro too - lots of options! You can pre-book tickets online and if you sign up to receive the Newcastle Eagles newsletter here, you'll gain access to exclusive discounts so this is definitely worth doing.


My Little Pony The Movie Launch & New My Little Pony Toys for Christmas 2017 (+Giveaway)

*This is a paid collaborative post & contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details

As a child, I remember playing with my neighbours' My Little Pony toys for hours. Every night we'd make up games and our magical ponies could fly, talk and were the very best of friends just like us. 20-ish years later and I love that My Little Pony toys are still just as popular today. Heidi and Jack are both huge fans of the franchise and are super excited that a brand new My Little Pony Movie is set to be released in the UK on 20 October 2017. To celebrate the movie's release, we hosted our very own My Little Pony party and Heidi invited a couple of her friends over after school to recreate the memories that I have playing My Little Pony back in the 80s. 

My Little Pony The Movie - A perfect treat for October half term

My Little Pony The Movie launches in cinemas this October Half Term (UK release date - 20 October). The new movie focuses on the magic of friendship and brings Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack, Rarity and Fluttershy together on the big screen for their most exciting adventure yet. The ponies will face their biggest friendship challenge yet as they venture through magical mountains and undersea worlds to try and save their home together. Check out the trailer below:

There's a fabulous new range of My Little Pony toys to coincide with the movie and Heidi and her friends loved them all! They'd make a fantastic Christmas gift for any My Little Pony fans this year. This post features:

*Twilight Sparkle & Spike the Dragon Friendship Duet - buy here
*Canterlot & Seaquestria Castle - buy here
*Seashell Lagoon Playset - buy here
*Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle - buy here

Heidi and her friends created an unboxing video featuring the toys mentioned below: 

It was so lovely watching the girls play together after school. We made a real night of it with My Little Pony playing on the TV and ordering pizza in. I really want to add that My Little Pony is not just for girls - these photos feature Heidi and her friends but Jack adores My Little Pony too. It's his favourite TV show at the moment, he loves playing with My Little Pony toys and I honestly think he is more excited than Heidi about the new movie. 

Princess Twilight Sparkle & Spike the Dragon Friendship Duet

We loved this duet as Twilight Sparkle and Spike sing together. The girls loved dancing along to the songs. The RRP for this set is £26.99 which I think provides pretty good value. One of Heidi's friends already has a large collection of My Little Pony toys and this is the toy she liked best! Find out more and buy online here.

Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle

Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle is the most impressive toy from the new range (and also the most expensive). She will make the ideal 'big' Christmas gift for My Little Pony fans. This toy is pretty impressive and says over 90 phrases and tells stories. Princess Twilight Sparkle's horn is magical - it lights up and if you touch it, that's when you'll hear her voice. The girls loved that this pony has poseable legs and you can move her into different positions. Find out more and buy online here. 

Canterlot & Seaquestria Castle

This castle is the toy that the girls were most excited about. It's pretty impressive and features a combination of 2 worlds. Our My Little Pony party lasted for 2.5 hours and unfortunately in this time, we didn't manage to fully build the castle. I think a combination of the excitement of all of the different toys, the pizza being delivered plus the girls just being together on a play date hindered my castle-building skills. I think realistically it would take an adult around one hour to build if they had no interruptions. The castle features lots of moving parts with an elevator and spinning octopus ride. We found that some of the parts fit very well together but other times it was a little more tricky. I am always 100% honest in my reviews and have to say, the castle was the only toy from the range I was disappointed with. In my opinion, it wasn't the easiest of things to put together. The girls were happy with it though and really enjoyed playing on multi-levels with their My Little Pony dolls. With an RRP of £79.99, this toy isn't cheap but you do get quite a bit included with over 30 accessories, a Pony figure and Spike the Pufferfish. If you're looking to add a few bits and bobs to your child's My Little Pony collection, this could be the set for you. I am also giving one away at the end of this post. Check out this video which shows off the set in all it's glory and find out more/buy online here. 

Seashell Lagoon Playset

The Seashell Lagoon Playset is Heidi and Jack's new favourite toy and despite being one of the cheaper sets, it's the one that caught their eye the most. They love that the pony figure has a mermaid tail and the set produces bubbles and mimics the underwater scenes from Seaquestria. Heidi likes the fact that this set has a hammock in it too as it reminds Heidi of her holiday to Florida. Personally, I love that this set takes up hardly any space and there aren't too many small parts that will end up lost. You can find out more and buy online here. 

Phew! My Little Pony fever has certainly swept through our house and I've already booked tickets to take Heidi and Jack to see the new movie over half term. I can't wait to treat them!

Terms and Conditions:

1 - Prize is one My Little Pony Canterlot & Seaquestrian Castle RRP £79.99
2 - UK entries and over 18s only
3 - Prize is non-transferable and no refunds are available<br />
4 - One random winner will be selected from all valid entries and notified via email. Delivery is included to a UK address
5 - Giveaway is not open to employees of Hasbro or North East Family Fun
6 - Giveaway ends on Sunday 5 November at midnight


Am I Number 5? The Impact of Heavy Periods on Work, Family Life & Travel

*This is a collaborative post. Please see my disclosure policy

Heavy periods affect around 1 in 5 women yet they still seem to be a little bit of a taboo subject. One of the benefits of blogging is that it gives me a platform to help and break down these taboos and today I am joining in with the 'Am I Number 5?' campaign and sharing my own story of how heavy periods affect my life. I hope that by sharing my story I will encourage others to realise that heavy periods are a medical condition and can be treated in a variety of ways - we don't need to suffer in silence. 

I’ve also had one nail painted a different colour to signify the 1 in 5 women affected by heavy periods. To take part in the campaign yourself, simply paint one of your nails a different colour and upload a photo of your painted nails to social media using #amInumber5 to help raise money for women’s health charities Wellbeing of Women and Endometriosis UK. For every photo shared, Hologic will donate £1 to their charity partners Endometriosis UK and Wellbeing of Women. Don't forget to set your post to public so it can be seen and the £1 donation made!  

My story

I guess my periods have always been fairly heavy but it wasn't until I gave birth to my children that they started to really impact on my life. My bleeding lasts around 4 days and it's the first few days that are really tough. I use double protection with heavy flow tampons/towels and have to change every 1-2 hours. Any sudden movements can lead to a 'gush' and accidents/embarrassment are just normal for me during menstruation. It has got the point where I will turn down social engagements of any type and I pretty much stay in the house apart from taking the kids to school during this time of the month. As travel is such a huge part of my life, I usually end up ordering norethisterone from an online pharmacy (it's a medication that delays your period) to take if I know my period is due during a press trip or a planned day out with the kids as there is no way I could manage to work during the first few days of my period.

Some may laugh and say that a period is no reason to stop work but if you do suffer from heavy periods or know somebody who does, it's important to recognise that it's actually a medical condition with both physical and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms for me include horrendous headaches the day before my period is due, pain, tiredness, cramping and at times I am physically sick and feel nauseous too. Then there's the impact of heavy bleeding and the embarrassment of 'leaking' which can actually feel more like flooding. There is zero chance of me going on a night out, organising a meeting, exercising or planning a day out if I know I'm going to be menstruating (unless I use the magic pill mentioned above). 

There are emotional impacts too. I feel so frustrated that I am held back and have to cancel plans, I can get very teary and irritable and definitely spend less time with my family and put a hold on work until it's over. 

I have been to my GP about this and they recommended I try using the coil which I just wasn't keen on. Their second suggestion was a type of hormonal medication but unfortunately, I found out when I handed my prescription into the pharmacist that it had manufacturing problems and was not available. Writing this post has given me a much-needed kick up the bum and I think enough is enough, heavy periods don't need to have a massive impact on my life and there is help out there. 

If you're in a similar position to myself, I highly recommend checking out for advice on the various treatments available before making an appointment with your GP or Women's Health Clinic to discuss and plan a way forward.

I watched my mum suffer from heavy periods for her whole life which resulted in her having an early hysterectomy in her late 40s. This is obviously a fairly extreme solution and something I am keen to avoid. I think the fear that this may happen to me is something that has prevented me getting proper help but times have changed now and there are a lot more options available to help women like me now when compared to 10 years ago. 

Help is available

I have researched a few of the different options available to help treat heavy periods and they include: 

  • Endometrial ablation  
  • An IUD coil
  • Dilation and Curattage
  • Hysterectomy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Resection and Rollerball Ablation

Prior to looking into this properly, I had no idea that there were so many options available. It's definitely time for me to head back to the GP and start taking back control of my life. 

Are you number 5 and one the 20% of women who experience heavy periods? I'd love to hear your stories so please message me or leave a comment below if you have anything to add or can recommend any treatments which have worked for you. 

I am working with Hologic and BritMums to promote the Am I Number 5? campaign. Visit for more information and advice. 


Win a Year of Unlimited Photo Books with the Popsa Unlimited Plan

A few months ago I discovered Popsa - a fabulous app that allows busy people to create their own photo books in a matter of minutes. The app is intuitive, auto-fills your selected template, can easily connect to your Facebook photos or camera roll and is super quick and easy to edit.

If you'd like to see just how easy the app is to use, check out my YouTube tutorial below: 

Popsa is a product that I have continued to use and today I am delighted to tell you more about the Popsa Unlimited Plan. This plan allows you to print unlimited 16 page A5 softcover photobooks for the duration of your membership and you'll only pay for shipping (usually £2.99). This plan is perfect for people like me who take lots of photos but rarely print them out as it's just so quick and easy to use. The Popsa Unlimited Plan is currently available with the following options: 

  • 1 month £9.99
  • 3 months £29.99
  • 12 months £99.99
  • 24 months £149.99

 When you purchase an unlimited package, you'll be provided with a code which you simply enter at check out every time you order a photo book. Orders really are unlimited too - if you want to order 5 books per day, you can. You only ever pay for shipping.

I recently used my Unlimited Plan to order a couple of photo books from our holiday to Florida this summer and it's lovely to have a physical reminder of our trip. The books have been sitting proudly on our coffee table and the kids have been proudly showing them off to everyone who visits.

The Popsa Unlimited Plan will also make a wonderful gift for someone who loves to create photo books, for new parents and those who love to travel.

I am delighted that Popsa has offered us a fabulous prize to giveaway to one lucky reader. Enter our giveaway using rafflecopter below for your chance to win a 12-month Popsa Unlimited Plan worth £99.99. This will allow the winner to order unlimited photo books for one whole year and only ever pay for shipping (£2.99 per book). 

Entry is easy via Rafflecopter - you can enter using one option or enter multiple options to increase your chances. Daily entry is available via Twitter.

Terms & Conditions:
1 - Prize is one 12 month Popsa Unlimited Subscription. Please see Popsa Unlimited terms here
2 - UK residents only
3 - Prize is non-transferable, there is no cash alternative and refunds are not available
4 - The giveaway is not open to employees of Popsa or North East Family Fun
5 - One winner will be selected from all valid entries and notified via email
6 - Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday 5th November 2017
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