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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

May Favourites - Vlog

My first ever 'Favourites' video. Check out what products I have been LOVING this month:-


Thumbs up and comments are always appreciated - let me know what you've been loving this month.
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5 ways I am looking after my heart

This year I am working hard to get fitter and healthier. I have lost 16 lbs in 6 weeks which I am super proud of but I'm not changing my lifestyle to lose weight (it's just an added bonus), I am changing my ways to lead a healthier lifestyle and hopefully lead a long and happy life.

I have a family history of early heart attacks and cardiovascular disease which puts me at an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a heart attack myself. My dad was in his early 40's when he suffered from a major heart attack and scarily I am only 10 years away from reaching this age myself and I really don't want to be in the same position.

5 ways I am looking after my heart

I have been researching how I can reduce my risk of developing cardiovascular disease myself and these are some of the changes I have made/am planning to make:-


1 - Cut down on saturated fat


5 ways I am looking after my heart

Eating a diet high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood which in turn can increase your risk of heart disease. As a woman, I should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat per day and I now obsessively check food labels to stay within my limits. The NHS has put together some tips on how to cut down on saturated fat which you can read here. 


2 - Green tea extract


5 ways I am looking after my heart - green tea

Green tea extract helps to regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease (along with other health benefits). I have tried drinking Green tea and I'm really not a fan so I find taking it as part of a daily heart health supplement is a whole lot easier. You can find out more about the benefits of green tea extract here.

3 - Cutting down on salt


5 ways I am looking after my heart

Cutting down on salt has been the trickiest of all - why does it have to be so tasty! Vegetables just don't taste the same without it. It's for my own good though as salt makes your body hold onto water which in turn increases blood pressure. I've found that adding herbs to your food rather than salt really does make a difference. 

4 - Exercising regularly


5 ways I am looking after my heart

Inactivity is one of the major causes of heart disease and I have definitely made more of a conscious effort to get up and move more. I walk a whole lot more than I used to (including a daily lunchtime walk) and once the kids are back to school after summer I will be re-joining the gym. Any sort of exercise benefits your heart, even if it is just a short walk.

5 - Reducing stress levels


5 ways I am looking after my heart

Although there is no direct link between stress and heart disease, stress certainly can contribute to your risk level and lead to risky behaviour such as over-eating, drinking too much and smoking. I am sure we all suffer from stress from time to time and I have found the best ways to cope with it are to go outside for a walk and get some fresh air and listen to meditation music for 30 minutes every evening. I honestly feel a lot less stressed by just making these two small changes. I recommend subscribing to Yellow Brick Cinema on Youtube where you'll find lots of relaxing music to choose from. 


I hope you have found the top 5 ways I look after my heart useful. Please follow Life As Mrs R on Instagram and Facebook where I will be posting similar tips and articles in the coming months.

This article is not intended to be used as medical advice - I am not an expert. This is just what has been working for me. Obviously, consult your doctor before making any lifestyle changes.

This is a collaborative post. All thoughts are my own.

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Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre

In no particular order here are my top recommendations for eating out with kids in Newcastle City Centre:-

The Botanist


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - The Botanist

The Botanist is probably my favourite place to dine with the kids in the city centre. There are good views, fantastic cocktails and the quirky children's menu is worth the trip. My children will often ask if we can go to the place where sauce is served in a wheelbarrow.


More Info:- Children's menu is priced at £5.95 for 2 courses. There is no childen's menu available online but please see our review in the link above for details. 

Tyneside Bar Cafe


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Tyneside Bar Cafe

The Tyneside Bar Cafe is a place I always feel welcome with my children. They sometimes show cartoons during the holidays and their children's menu features options such as dippy eggs and soldiers or pasta with homemade tomato sauce. 


More Info:-  Prices range from £1.50 - £4.75 per main course. Menu here


Las Iguanas


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Las Iguanas

Las Iguanas is our go-to restaurant for pre-theatre dining in Newcastle. As well as a decent early evening menu for grown ups & happy hour cocktails there is a very good children's menu available with Wacky Tacos and Crazy Quesadillas sitting alongside more traditional options. 


More Info:- Prices are from £5.90 for 2 courses plus a drink. Menu here

Gusto


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Gusto

My three children love making their own pizzas at Gusto where families are made to feel very welcome indeed. Children can also order a smaller portion of any pasta/risotto on the main menu if pizza isn't their thing.


More Info:- The children's menu is £6.50 for 2 courses. Menu here

Wagamama


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Wagamama

Kids love the range of mini Japanese dishes available at Wagamama and I love that sauce is served on the side so it's perfect for fussy eaters. Wagamama feels a lot healthier than most children's menus (although I don't know if this is true) and you can even order to take out and enjoy in one of Newcastle's parks or on your way home.


More Info:- Children's menu is priced from £3.50 - £4.95 per main course. Menu here

Fujiyama


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Fujiyama

Fujiyama may not seem like an obvious choice but Teriyaki cooking is fun and entertaining and a little bit different for kids. It may even tempt them to try something new.


More Info:- Set lunch from £10 (we usually buy two to share between our three children). Menu here.

Jamie's Italian


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian can be on the expensive side and we've encountered mixed experiences when it comes to service however there's no denying that their children's menu is fantastic.


More Info:- Children's menu is priced at £6.50/£6.95 for a main course, salad and drink. Menu here.


Lane 7


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Lane 7

Lane 7 isn't just a place to visit if you are bowling, the food is top-notch too and the environment is fun and friendly making it perfect for kids.


More Info:- Children's menu is priced from £5 for a main course. Menu here.

Mantra Thai


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Mantra Thai

Mantra Thai may not seem like an obvious place to take the children but their children's menu is a real bargain at only £4.95. If you are heading to a concert or show at Newcastle Arena, Mantra Thai's early evening special will go down a treat. They even serve chips if your children don't fancy rice.


More Info:- Children's menu is priced at £4.95 for a main course. There isn't an online menu but see our review in the link above for options. 

Blackfriars


Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre - Blackfriars

I haven't actually visited Blackfriars with our children but I have visited their sister restaurant Hinnies with the kids and we loved it. Blackfriars has a reputation for hearty, local food and is in quite a unique setting just behind Newcastle's Gate Complex. 


More Info:- A children's menu isn't available online, however smaller portions of favourites such as sausage and mash or fish and chips are available. 

Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre

If you are looking for somewhere to take the kids to dine in town, you won't go wrong with one of these restaurants. Why not join our North East Food Lovers Group on Facebook for more ideas and inspiration. 
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Monday, 30 May 2016

North East Family Fun on YouTube

We LOVE creating videos at North East Family Fun. Whether this be a regular trip to the park, a restaurant visit, a family day out, holiday review or a product we love - we're likely to want to film it.

There will be a new video every Thursday evening.




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Keeping the kids' bedroom tidy - will I ever win the battle?

My two boys share a double bedroom and little Miss is unfortunately stuck in the tiny box room. We have made the most of the space for them with bunks for the boys and a mid-sleeper for Heidi. What I wasn't prepared for when I provided the kids with their own space was just how messy they would be!

I'm not a tidy person but I'm not overly messy either. The kids however are a different kettle of fish. I will often find myself spending a couple of hours in their room sorting out their toys and clearing out their cupboards - where does everything come from??? Give it a few days and their rooms will be back to how they were before I started and it does make me wonder why I bother.

I wish Heidi's bedroom was ALWAYS this tidy

When I was growing up my bedroom was always immaculate. I just don't understand how my mum achieved this, especially as I'm not an overly tidy person.

New Term, New Rules


I think my children are old enough now to take responsibility for their own bedrooms and I have decided to set some new rules for the new term.

Harry and Heidi's jobs:-
  • Every day the children must make their own bed & open their curtains (20p per day)
  • Every Sunday night they must clear all rubbish from their rooms into recycling/rubbish bag (50p per week)
  • Every Wednesday night they must put all of their toys back into their homes (50p per week)
Harry and Heidi could potentially earn £2.40 per week doing this which I am hoping will help to motivate them. They have decided they are going to use this money to save for Shopkins (Heidi ) and a new computer game (Harry) which are both things they really want to get their hands on.


Using Jangle to help


Jangle is a completely FREE app that helps you teach your kids money skills whilst making your life a little easier too. There is absolutely no cost involved and it has been designed by Sarah Willingham (Dragons Den), pfeg and Experian. You can find out more and download Jangle from the App store here. You can have multiple users and there are pre-loaded activities for kids to take part in OR you can create your own activity as we did. 

Creating our own activity with Jangle
I like how you can negotiate with the kids to choose how much they will be paid (in this case 50p for tidying their room), you can select who will pay once the task has been completed (so you can get the grandparents involved) and you can see what your child is saving for (in this case Heidi is saving for some Shopkins).


When the activity has been completed you need to just click 'done' (once you've checked of course).


......and your child will be rewarded with a virtual 50p added to their pot. This is particularly handy for those days you don't have any cash on you (which is pretty much every day for me) as you don't physically hand over any cash until your child's target has been met. 


By completing the chore of tidying her room, Heidi has already hit 3% of her target. This visual really encourages H & H to keep going as they are desperate to reach 100% and earn their reward. I will probably add a few ad-hoc activities/chores during the holidays too which will give them a bit of a boost.

I know rewarding children with money for doing chores isn't everyone's cup of tea or parenting style but to be honest, I am at the stage now where I will try ANYTHING. I'm sure we've all been there. I would love to hear your tips for encouraging the kids to tidy their room and if you download Jangle yourself, let me know how you get on. 

This is a collaborative post, all thoughts are our own. 
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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

This was our first time visiting Birdoswald Roman Fort (Chesters and Housesteads are closer to us) but it was SOOOOO worth the journey. First of all, I would love for you to take a look at the little video I made of our trip below. It is the first time I have used my new vlogging camera (I ended up buying this one if you are interested) and I think you can really see the difference between using a proper camera and my iPhone.


If you like my video, don't forget to subscribe :-) 


Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

We settled on a sheltered part of the wall in the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a picnic from the on-site tearoom. Sandwiches, homemade flapjacks, fruit and juice all set us up for the afternoon's adventures. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

After our picnic, Steve and I found a lovely spot under a tree to relax and watch the magnificent kites dance to music as the kids invented their own game featuring Roman Hot Tubs and Jack playing the role of an alien called Yoghurt. That's one of the things I LOVE about Hadrian's Wall - it always inspires our children to use their imagination,  invent their own games and play amongst the forts. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

There were professional kite flyers in one of the fields who were skillfully flying their kites to music. I can't imagine how much practice it must take to do this! I can barely get a kite off the ground! There were also plenty of opportunities for children and grown ups to fly their own kites in the amateur field too. The sky was constantly filled with kites and against the backdrop of Hadrian's wall, it was very pretty. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

There was the chance to create our own kite (for free) and Heidi and I headed to the craft room to create our masterpiece. I was super chuffed when our kite actually worked and the kids had fun flying it along the wall next to the professionals. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

We spent 4-5 hours at the Kite festival and in all honesty if I didn't have to be home in time for my grocery delivery, we would have stayed longer. The kids made some new friends who they played with along the wall, Steve and I loved just chilling out and watching the kites/listening to the wide selection of music in the sunshine and we all enjoyed the challenge of creating our own kite and then developing our skills to actually fly it. 

The kite festival continues on Monday 30th May 2016 so if you are at a loose end, I would highly recommend a trip. There are lots of fantastic events planned for half term and summer across Hadrian's wall, so if you can't make the festival, check out other planned events.

Entry to Birdoswald Roman Fort is from £3.70  or FREE if you are English Heritage members as we are and there is no additional charge for the festival. The site opens at 10am with kite flying from 11am. Pack a picnic or visit the tearoom and make a day of it.

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

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Free events for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

We're off on holiday in just a few weeks time and needed to do some last minute shopping for sticker books/colouring pads/headphones ect...... well anything that will keep the kids entertained during our 36 hour coach trip to Spain. Shopping on a Saturday with the kids isn't usually my idea of fun so we headed to Dalton Park as I knew they had a few things planned over half term which would hopefully make our shopping trip a whole lot easier.

FREE Half term events at Dalton Park

  • Saturday 28th May: ‘Celebrating our Coast’ – special event with Heritage Coast Partnership.  This event is to ‘celebrate our coast’ and learn more about what to see and do along our beautiful coastline.
  • Monday 30th – Saturday 4th June: ‘Treasure Hunt’. Look for the hidden treasure along the mall. Pick up an entry form from Customer Service next door to Cadbury. See how well you do – and you might win a prize!
What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park
  • Monday 30th May, Wednesday 1st June, Friday 3rd June 12pm – 4pm: ‘Dalton is back’.  He’s cuter and cuddlier than ever – and he’s got some new green spots!  So come and say ‘hello’.
  • Wednesday 1st June 11am – 12:30pm: Meet “Red” at McDonald’s. Head to McDonald’s for a visit from one of the Angry Birds, Red!
  • Saturday 4th June and Sunday 5th June: ‘Playful Pirates on the mall’ 12pm – 4pm: Come and have some swashbuckling fun with the playful pirates on the mall.

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

First up, I loved the free play park and left Steve and the kids here whilst I browsed some of the shops in peace.

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park
Butter wouldn't melt! 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

For lunch we headed to Spud-u-like and I was impressed. My pesto and rocket potato salad was delicious and lunch for the 5 of us was only £25 including drinks. The staff were lovely and friendly too. 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

Lunch was followed by a trip to Millies Cookies where the kids picked a cookie lollipop each (cookie lollipop and a drink is only £1.99).

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

Reach For The Beach Festival


We visited during 'Reach For The Beach' day and there were lots of fun, free activities available. Crabtree and Evelyn invited us in to sample cakes. The lady in the shop was ever so lovely, entertaining the kids as I tried out some hand cream samples.

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

We stopped by the RNLI stall and chatted to the friendly volunteer about their service. The RNLI receive NO Government funding so rely on events like this for spreading the word and donations. Around 23 lifeboats launch in the UK every day however as this was bank holiday weekend the total was already up to 18 by lunch time. You can keep track of and view a map of the latest lifeboat launches here. It was a pleasure to speak to this volunteer and it has definitely increased my awareness.

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

Jack and Heidi were also ecstatic to be allowed a seat on a police quad bike and a friendly police officer even let them try on his helmet. 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

Heidi was super thrilled to spot two mermaids and we impressed with the girls from Let It Snow Productions who were lovely and applied a FREE glitter tattoo to Heidi and then posed for photographs. There were pirate ones for the boys too. 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park


There was a special space provided for lots of FREE beach-themed activities including crafts, touch pools, challenges, games and information. We loved it, especially as Heidi has been learning about creatures of the sea at school this term.

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

It was such a nice change not having to drag whiney kids around the shops. I either left them with Steve to take part in the activities or we did one activity followed by one shop then an activity again. It felt like a real family day out and not a chore. 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park

Of course we couldn't leave without popping into Cadbury which the kids described as 'chocolate heaven'. Heidi picked up these oreos which were a bargain at £1 a tub. 

What's on for kids this May Half Term at Dalton Park
Can't believe I managed to buy all this and more in a stress-free shopping trip! 

This was our first visit to Dalton Park but we're already planning another visit next month for Steve to buy a new suit. There are lots of shops but we found it to be specifically useful for shoes, sportswear, outdoor clothing, occasionwear and suits. All of the staff we encountered were super friendly, the food choices were healthy and delicious, parking was ample and free, there were lots of clean and accessible loos (important when you are out with little ones I think) and the kids were entertained. All in all a very successful shopping trip I think!

Find out more:-  www.dalton-park.co.uk


Thanks to Dalton Park who invited our family to spend the afternoon with them. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 


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