Saturday, 29 April 2017

Let's go fly a kite

It was half-term last week, so we took half a day off from work and decided to fly our new kite in Tynemouth. It's just a cheap kite which looks like a flying shark, and loads of people stopped to chat about it. It was an beautiful day in Tynemouth really sunny with good wind too.

Ready for launch
Best £4.99 ever spent
Frank's on the controls

The Kite was from Aldi and cost a measly £4.99 and is a really good flyer, takes a while to get your head around why it somersaults and how to stop/correct it (just pull the string in the opposite direction)

Buy Kite:

Tip: sun protection cream is advised here as you don't notice the heat with the wind!

Cullercoats: A former artists community

Walking down the fenceless sea defence is somewhat airy and a tad scary!
We played for ages with the kite before nearly crashing it into two dog-walkers we then decided to it might be a good idea to walk towards an adventure playground and accidentally found Cullercoats which has a really nice flat beach for playing games on with a really calm bay which is excellent for paddling, skimming etc.

The boys climbing over loads of rock pools
Proper good fun
There are loads of open caves and interesting rock faces to explore

We went round the back of Cullercoats harbour and found loads of rock pools and caves which the boys loved, playing skimmers into the sea, and climbing on the rocks

Cullercoats Church
To save a bit of money we parked up outside Cullercoats church as it's free on the main road, which meant we could go either way to Tynemouth or Cullercoats, we decided to do both!

Trainee Kayakers
We sat and watched people learning to kayak on the lifeboat launch ramp as the sun set over the North Sea, then climbed the hill back to the chippy for some essential energy then saw an awesome american car and decided we're all saving up to get one of these supercool beasts before driving back to Gateshead as the boys fell asleep in the car.

Dream Machine

Take a towel or something to lie on
Have something to eat before you set off as this stops the kids asking for things all the time!


Monday, 3 April 2017

The Secret Slide

We found Robson's Mill Junior Play Area by chance in Windmills Hills a while back and it's EPIC! It was a sunny day and we could see a long wavy line shining in the distance as we walked through Windmill Hills Park in Gateshead. Upon further inspection it turned out to be a really cool stainless steel slide, that just happened to be be really good fun. We spent around 30 minutes just having a laugh on the slide and to get back to the top you need to climb up ropes and slopes which just multiplies the fun!

Map Location:

The slide is situated behind the Windmill Hills Estate in Gateshead and is a true inner city park, within a lovely park walk. It's a great addition to break down a long walk to town if you're coming over from Bensham with the kids.

Oh! and did we mention the view is REALLY good on a clear day!

Can you see the slide?

When you see this you'll know you are here
Don't think Alf could contain his excitement

Up the logs 'n ladders 
A proper lush view! 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Healthy Lamb Burgers

This week we wanted some nice and healthy soulfood, so we made Lamb Burgers instead of using beef (which contains much more fat, which you'll see as you cook these off) with a minty raita, and red onions in Turkish flatbreads with a Bulgar wheat Tabbouleh salad which is lush and really fresh tasting. As usual we buy our ingredients locally which supports our local shopkeepers and keeps the money out  of the multinationals pocket therefore letting your area feel more like a community.

Alf's Lamb burgers look and taste delicious

We start by bashing up some sliced of wholemeal bread to make breadcrumbs in the food processor, then add this to the mince, with salt, pepper and garlic and rosemary crushed together to make a delicious smelling mix. This adds loads of flavour to the burgers.

Locally sourced ingredients (not sure why there is an aubergine in this pic?)

We buy our ingredients from a local world store which has dead friendly and personal staff, who know their stuff from butchers to bakers, fruiterers and the customer service is first class, fun and makes you smile, also feels like money well spent too! Try and find a local world shop, ask questions, talk to the staff and try new things... You'll probably end up with some new friends too!, who knows...


Alf's Proper Lush Lamb Burgers
Lamb Mince
Fresh Garlic
Red Onion
Homemade breadcrumbs

Alf's Homemade Raita
Natural yoghurt
Mint sauce

Bulgar wheat
Spring Onion

Decent sized potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Start by whizzing up some old bread in a food processor then add to your lamb mince in a large bowl with an egg, salt and pepper to season and then set about bashing up some rosemary with garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle (if you don't have one of these use some heavy to pulverise)

Leave to sit in the fridge for a bit to marinade/settle and then make into palm sized patties before pressing using something flat (we used a jug base) and add to hot oil in a frying pan or place in the grill.

While you're doing this place your Bulgar into a bowl and add the required amount of boiling water and cover with a plate or something similar. Chop up the spring onions tomato, mint and coriander and add into the grains once the water has soaked up (ideally let the Bulgar cool down). Squeeze in some lemon and add a little salt. (once you get into this stuff its super healthy and very low fat too).

Our Raita is more like our recipe so fill a nice bowl with natural yoghurt, add a teaspoon of mint sauce and slice up some cucumber and pop it in, stir it up and use this to serve on top of the burgers with the red onion or as a dip for your potato wedges.

For the wedges slice a potato down its length into wedges put into an oven proof dish toss in some olive oil and add some salt and pepper, cook on a temperature around 200 degrees until browned. These are delicious with burgers and add nothing to the cost of a family meal.

Bulgar wheat
Making breadcrumbs

Alf's adding lemon, mint, parsley, spring onion and tomato
Mix the lamb with breadcrumbs and add an egg
Mash up fresh rosemary and garlic cloves - this smells delicious!
Either fry in low fat oil or grill

Serve up and tuck in
This is a great family meal to sit around the dinner table and have a laugh and some nice conversation (make sure the kids turn the tele off too).

As ever we encourage the kids to prep and cook their own meals, as this is an essential life skill and under supervision use ALL the utensils to prep food.

Give this a go and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did, leave us a comment if you have any questions or want to share ideas etc.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

A Frozen Saltwell Park

We walked over to Saltwell Park in Gateshead to get out of the house away from the XBox and to shift some cobwebs and we were in for a real treat. The sun was setting around 3:30pm and I wanted to give my new camera a test drive.

The lake was frozen and the geese were skating all over the place although the swans had managed to peck their way through.

Saltwell Park has been the gift that keeps on giving since we moved to Gateshead six months ago, from adventure, play, food and drink, festivals and celebrations it really keeps on giving. An excellent place to bring kids of all ages with loads to do.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Gateshead to Newcastle on Two Wheels

After days of the boys eating selection boxes, playing FIFA '17, shooting unaware visitors with Nerf guns and general cabin fever related symptoms I decided we needed to get out into the open surrounding of Newcastle/Gateshead via the form of transport known commonly as a bike!

We chatted about where to go, and what to do... Our goal to purchase a new pair of school shoes, grab lunch and see the ever-so-pretty city that is Newcastle via Gateshead.

So before we even leave the gate you need to remember a few things

Be prepared and ready to roll!
The view from Bensham Bank of the River Tyne is very nice indeed! 


Lubricate your bike chain and any moving parts (GT85 (or similar) not WD40)
Test your brakes
Pump up your tyres to the recommended PSI
Pack your lock (essential if your leaving your bike anywhere)
Don't forget your bike helmet (if you don't have one, get one!!!!)
Pack some snacks (essential refuel material, Snickers are great or flapjack)

As ever in winter, it’s cold (even colder on a bike) so a good rule of thumb is to dress warm and you can always remove clothing if you get too hot: Be prepared.

As we are going to be going on a few minor roads, a bit of road safety training is required. We know some for you might think roads are dangerous for children, but a good cyclist knows how to ride roads well, and respect traffic, and the highway code, so this was a good starting point.

A rather poor photo of the Redheugh pheonix mosaic

So we started by going through the back alleys of Bensham toward Low Teams, via the old Redheugh Gatehouse, there's a cool mosaic of a Phoenix made from pebbles n stuff outside the house, we parked up here and then set off for the Staithes Café which is just down the road and round the corner. When we got to the Staithes Café we locked our bikes together, even though it's a lovely place remember most bike thief's are opportunists (just be aware).

One every tasty BLT

A cracking view of the Staiths minus Michael Caine!

Frankie flip-top head

Ooooh look at those cakes!

The Staiths Café
When we arrived we were freeezzing and a bit hungry too, so we ordered food and coffee (one of my favourite flat whites in Gateshead) Frankie ordered a B.L.T. which looked delicious, I had a bacon, sausage and egg butty (which is awesome, and totally hits the spot!). The prices are great and you always get good service, good prices and it's an excellent fuel stop if you're about to cycle/walk into town.

The Staiths Café is lovingly built into the former Taylor Wimpey sales office by Mark & Suzanne designed with a modern, clean aesthetic and a kind of general store vibe about it, and oh... did I mention the views of the Staiths, which was good for me today, as the day before I was watching Michael Caine chasing baddies around it in the Geordie cinematic gem that is Get Carter. You can sit outside if you're up to it mid-winter or bring your pooch and wrap up and sit outside on the terrace (the view at sunset on the terrace are memorable to say the least)

A frosty riverside

No shortage of cool bridges over the Tyne

That bridge!

Gateshead to Newcastle
We unlocked the bikes and very carefully pedalled towards Newcastle on a very frosty riverside path, past all the bridges towards the Swing Bridge, down the Quayside and past The Jolly Fisherman on he Quay which looks like at great place for date night in an old traditional converted public house just up from the courts. We went past the old burnt out Stereo nightclub which is covered in Graffiti (I quite like it!) then via the subway up to the new cycle road on John Dobson Street which is a welcome addition to the town for cycles especially young children and it's an absolute pleasure to ride down before locking our bikes at Northumbria University which is well lit, cctv'd and always has people walking in and out so you're bike are pretty safe if locked up.

Looks like a great place for date night!

The old Stereo nightclub plus some graffiti

We spent the day in town and had a walk around, just me and Frankie, bought some wooly hats before walking back to the University to pick up the bikes, switched on our lights, helmets on then pedalled home over the High Level Bridge into Gateshead up the hill and straight home via the cycle path! 

The John Dobson Cyclepath

Lights on afterdark!

Could you ever get bored of this view?

Two tone sunset!

Good Times!!!
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