A UK Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio is a new creative brand from Character Options. The Design Studio is aimed at children aged 6-9 years old and comes with an RRP of £29.99. Heidi was delighted to be asked to put the studio through it's paces this week and let our readers know her thoughts.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Stuidio is nice and easy to set up and comes with a bumper pack of different coloured beads, jewels, tools, 5 design instructions and various connectors.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

The studio tidies away nice and easily and Heidi has already found a home for her studio on her bedroom desk.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

The aim of Gemmies is to create lots of sparkly collectables using the beads and jewels provided that can be enjoyed and displayed once used. There is a light on the Gemmie's studio where you can properly display your creations, however this requires batteries (which weren't included and we didn't have) so if you give this as a gift - make sure you also buy batteries.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

You simply roll one of the clear bands over the main tool until it clips in place.....

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

......and then clip the beads in place. You can make your own designs or follow the designs included. Heidi decided to create her very own teddy bear.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

The task in hand was fiddly, and the instructions fairly complicated for a beginner (they get easier the more you practice) but Heidi persevered.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Creating her teddy bear gripped Heidi's attention for a good hour or so.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

I clearly don't have as much patience as my daughter and noticed that there were online tutorials which I thought might have speeded the process along a little. Unfortunately, the teddy bear tutorial isn't available just yet. Grrrrr! I tried to persuade Heidi to make something else that did have an online tutorial but no she wanted to the teddy bear so soldiered on. There are lots of good tutorials here if you interested.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

We're getting there......

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

Here is Heidi's final teddy bear. Erm......she is pleased with it and that's the main thing. I personally think we should have started with something easier.

Gemmies Design Studio - A Review

There are plenty of gems and jewels included but if you do need to purchase more, the Gemmies Activity Pack (£9.99) will top up your collection.

Heidi spent 60 - 90 minutes creating a teddy bear using Gemmies Design Studio and said that although it was tricky, she enjoyed it and it was fun. I can see her using this design studio time and time again. Personally, I found it to be quite difficult to follow and I think adult supervision is definitely required for younger children, once older children get the hang of it though, they will fly and I'm sure many and hour will be spent creating weird and wonderful creations.

Find out more here:  www.character-online.com

Disclosure: We were sent this product in return for an honest review. 
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Friday, 29 July 2016

What's On in the North East for Kids and Families - 30th & 31st July


What's On in the North East for Kids and Families - 30th & 31st July


It's the weekend! Yeah! Here are 5 ideas to keep you entertained:- 



Cramlington Proper Food Festival
10am - 5pm  |  30th July - 31st July
Seven Oaks Park (opposite Vue Cinema)


With over 60 artisan food stalls, a licensed bar selling beers and cider, Wylam brewery, cocktail bar plus a selection of live entertainment, Cramlington is set to be transformed into a large outdoor picnic area this weekend. FREE ENTRY.



Kirkley Hall Summer Fair
10am - 4pm  |  Sunday 31st July
Kirkley Hall
Kirkley Hall's annual summer fair returns this weekend with lots of fun activities. Expect dog shows, treasure hunt, inflatable slides, magician, face painters, princesses and superheroes, punch and judy, crafts, stalls and so much more. Entry is £5 pp which includes entry to the zoo. Under 2's are free and there are additional costs to some activities.



Combat & Craft - A living history weekend
11am - 4pm Sat 30th July  |  1pm - 4pm  Sun 31st July
Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields


Arbeia Roman Fort will be taken over by Roman re-enactors this weekend and it's your chance to immerse yourself in Roman life. Look out for leather smiths, jewellers & blacksmiths plus find out how the Roman's cooked, what the ate and how they used falcons in day to day life. Don't miss the ultimate gladiator battle in the arena too. FREE ENTRY (donations welcome). 



Bents Park Summer Concert with UB40 
1pm - 5pm  |    Sunday 31st July
Bents Park, South Shields
Join UB40 at Bents Park for the park's final summer concert of the year. With hits such as Red Red Wine & I Got You Babe, I predict a fair few sing-a-longs. FREE ENTRY. 




Taste Tynedale
10am - 4pm   |   30th & 31st July
Hexham
Join Taste Tynedale for their first ever Hexham event. There'll be children's activities, live cooking demonstrations, live local music in the beer tent plus lots of local food to browse and buy. 


BONUS ENTRY - Meet and Greet Batman at intu Eldon Square on Sunday 31st July. FREE ticketed event. 



Let me know what you're up to this weekend and have a good one :D 

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

It was always our plan to go camping on the shores of Loch Ness this summer and it was something we were all very much looking forward to. Unfortunately though, our car broke down beyond repair and the disappointment on our children's faces that we might not make the trip was hard to see :-( Luckily, granny came to our rescue and let us use her car for the trip. Yeah! So we were back on. We booked to stay at Loch Ness Shores which is a 5* camping and caravanning club site. It is fairly pricey at just under £50 (non-members) per night for the 5 of us (although there are a lot of deals if you are C&C members & we'll definitely be joining next year) but we decided it would be worth it as it was one of the only places you could stay where you had immediate access to the loch and the wealth of 5* reviews about the site's facilities and staff convinced us it was the best option for us.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

We received a super warm welcome from the staff - we had been warned about a single track lane on the approach and that it could be a bit hairy but it was honestly fine - if you've ever been to Cornwall, you'll have experienced worse. The campsite is split into two levels and you pretty much have your pick of available pitches. We booked a pitch with electric hook up which was only a few pound more but 100% worth it. There was also a water tap between every 4 pitches which was handy not to have to walk far.

Unlike festival camping, C&C sites usually have an 11pm curfew which suits us just fine. Lights are out for the whole site at 11pm and a good night's sleep is guaranteed with no wild parties or late night drinking.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

We pitched our Skandika Kairo tent in no time and settled into our surroundings. Our three tend to stick together on holiday so they were under strict instructions to find new friends - and that they did! Most of the children gathered in the on-site play area on an evening (which was in our line of site from our pitch) and in fact they stayed there until 10:30pm on the first night joining in with a giant game of hide and seek with their new friends. Happy days :D While this was happening Steve and I just chilled outside our tent, taking in the views with a glass of wine or two. Blissful!

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

There is a large grassed area next to the play park for ball games too - everything has been thought of.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

On the lower level is where you'll find the site's main facility block. The showers are hot and bathrooms are SPOTLESSLY clean. I'm not sure how they achieved this as I never spotted a cleaner but they did! There is also a washing up area, laundry room and washing lines.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

One of the things I LOVED about Loch Ness Shores is that BBQs were permitted as long as they were off the ground and there are FREE fire pits dotted around the loch side for you to build your own campfire. Fire wood can be bought from the shop for £5 per bag. We enjoyed the best BBQ'd burgers from the local butcher and of course toasted marshmallows.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores has a fantastic reception area/shop which is a real hub of activity - here you will find knowledgeable staff, a small shop, an ice cream stall, a fridge and a freezer (which campers are free to use), a coffee machine, maps and guide for sale plus more...... it's open from 9am to 9pm too so there's always someone around to help.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shore all sounds pretty good so far, but it just get's better! The location on the loch side means that it is the perfect spot to hire a boat (around £10 pp) to explore the loch further. We didn't have the funds to do this during this trip (which was on a shoestring budget) but check out Penny from Parentshaped's video below:-


Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

The Airstream diner was another huge plus for us - located just next to reception, this quirky little cafe serves up the most delicious breakfast & lunch. The staff are super friendly and they make a mean waffle! If you can't be bothered to cook, it's so nice to have this option. Prices are good too (£3.50 for a half waffle and syrup - the half waffles are still pretty big).

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

There's even an under cover seating area between the loch and the diner should the weather take a turn for the worse.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - Airstream Diner Food

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - Airstream Diner Breakfast

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

The best thing about Loch Ness Shores though (along with it's lovely staff) is the location. Right on the banks of Loch Ness and surrounded by woodland walks, it is simply breathtaking.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - views

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - boats to hire

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - boats to hire

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

If you don't want to use your car, the village of Foyers is around a 20 minute walk away. Loch Ness Shores website says it's 20 minutes,  but I think it takes longer than this (esp with kids) as it is all up hill. Cameron's Farm shop is a lovely traditional Scottish tearoom with the cutest herd of highland cows in their fields and definitely worth the trek. Don't exepct a huge farm shop - it's only little but has enough supplies to get you through.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - camerons tearoom and farm shop highland cows

You will also find the most beautiful waterfalls within walking distance of the campsite. The Falls of Foyers are stunning and the picture really does not do them justice at all. 

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - falls of foyers view

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - Falls of Foyers Waterfall

There is a quaint little tea room in Foyer village along with a post office and village shop. We found the tearoom to be a bit on the pricey side (£4 for a slice of cake meaning we spent £20 on cake) and cans of pop were more than double the printed price on the can........It is still worth a visit though and the double chocolate cake went down a treat.

 Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review - Foyers cafe, shop and post office

Loch Ness Shores Campsite | A Review

Our time at Loch Ness shores was simply wonderful - woodland walks, Nessie spotting, freshly cooked American-style waffles, breathtaking waterfalls and views, kids making friends and playing games in the long grass, BBQs with locally sourced products, exceptional staff........ I could go on! The site was a wonderful base for our trip and we will no doubt return in the next few years.

Disclosure: We paid for our own camping trip 



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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Grainger Market Picnic & Free Movie with #NE1ScreenOnTheGreen

Have you walked past 'Screen On The Green' in Newcastle yet? Located outside old Eldon Square near Pizza Express, Nandos and Starbucks, you really can't miss the giant screen & deck chairs. 

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

Until 4th September, you'll find a huge selection of family movies, blockbusters & classic movies every day (with a break from 5th-21st August when the Olympics will be broadcast live instead).

Every Thursday, the screen will move down to the Quayside Seaside for a bit of a change of scenery.


ALL MOVIES ARE COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE

There are a few exceptions, but movies are generally every day at 12noon and 6pm. Highlights for us include:-

Sunday 31st July | Man of Steel (11am) & The Dark Knight (2pm) - don't forget to book your FREE ticket to meet Batman at intu Eldon Square on the same date)

Tuesday 2nd August | Minions (12 noon)

Wednesday 24th August | Jurassic World (6pm)

Thursday 25th August | The Little Mermaid (12 noon - Quayside Seaside)

Monday 29th August | Labyrinth (12 noon)

Wednesday 31st August | Inside Out (12 noon)

Thursday 1st September | Jaws (6pm - Quayside Seaside)

Friday 2nd September | The Lego Movie (12 noon)

Sunday 4th September | The Goonies (11am) 


What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer - Pet Lamb Patisserie

You aren't allowed to take alcohol to screenings but you are welcome to take along your own snacks from either home or nearby businesses. As the movies are free, I think supporting local businesses is the least we can do (a trip to the cinema once cost us £60 on tickets alone!) so we decided to head to the Grainger Market before a 12 noon showing of Matilda to pick up a picnic. First stop was the Pet Lamb Patisserie where the kids were spoilt for choice with the selection of homemade cakes, brownies and treats on offer. We left with 3 treats for £4.50 which considering we paid £4 for just one slice of cake in Scotland last week was a mega bargain.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer - Pumphreys Coffee

Next, we stopped by Pumphreys Coffee where a large Americano to take out was only £2 - I'd much rather support this local coffee shop than give my ££ to Costa or Starbucks. Please keep them in mind for your next caffeine fix.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer - Pizza by Slice

Our final stop was Pizza By Slice where you can buy EPIC slices of pizza on a shoestring budget. 4 HUGE slices of pizza fresh from the oven set us back £6.80. I packed the kids some water from home so our lunch total was £13.30 or £3.30 each. Not bad for a 2 course local, homemade lunch plus drinks and a movie!

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer - Grainger Market Picnic

We hot-footed it over to the Screen On The Green with our treats just in time for the movie starting. There still were a few deckchairs available but as I'd packed our picnic blanket just in case, we decided to set up camp on the grass. If you buy Pizza from Slice you need to start eating it pretty quickly as it soon gets cold when out in the fresh air.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

It wasn't all about the treats - the Grainger Market is a fab place to stock up on cheap fruit and these grapes were only 80p!

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

The movie was fab - despite building work, chatter and traffic, everyone could hear and see the screen perfectly. It doesn't feel like it is blasting loud but you also don't struggle to hear at all. The atmosphere was fantastic and some of the kids got up and started dancing when Matilda started working her magic. There are staff around too who regularly walked around and checked everything was ok. If you need the loo (which inevitably my three did) the toilets in Eldon Square near Waitrose are less than a 30 second walk away.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

The kids were impeccably behaved (they saved all their fighting for the bus home) and even though we have watched Matilda approximately 1 million times, it really held their attention. I am definitely going to return a few times over the summer and take my MacBook with me next time to get some work done whilst they watch the movie.

What's on at the Screen On The Green near Eldon Square in Newcastle. Free Movie and Film Listings this Summer.

If you are looking for a very cheap day out with the kids this summer, I honestly cannot recommend catching a movie at Screen on the Green enough - you can easily make a day of it and pair it with a couple of Newcastle's free attractions such as the new Baltic Playground Exhibition, the Quayside Seaside, Ouseburn Farm, the Laing Art Gallery, the Discovery Museum or the Great North Museum.

MummyTravels
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