Male….13 years old….Christmas Buys??

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Strikes me that I can not be the only one that is having issues with ideas for my 13 year old Son for Christmas.

The main present thing is simple enough, with him leaving us the option of a couple of technological items.

It’s the stuff that fill out the pile, the stuff that you can tell other people he would like, that is causing the issue.

With Regan just having his birthday we wait until after to make him a list, that way he can get what he would like and the rest gets added to the Christmas wish list.

So, if you have a teenager like mine (mood swingy, grumpy on occasion, happy on others, little bit of a combination of all the characters from Big Bang Theory, and utterly charming), then this may be of use to you.

We sat the other night and went through some websites for things he might like and stuff to add to a list and this is what we came up with…..

“Gaming”

I refer to it as gaming because there are so many platforms these days that I can’t keep up. Once over I used to enjoy a game of Super Mario, but these days my poor little eyes can’t keep up with the graphics, causing me a migraine (I sound so old). This in turns means that I have lost touch with the platforms …(I did think I had found a game I could get away with when Minecraft came on the scene, but alas it also gives me a migraine.)

There are many games that he would like that are not age appropriate, but good old Mario and Pokemon have made the list…..

Super Mario Maker 3DS (GAME £34.99)

This game was released for the Wii U some time ago and both Regan and Libby enjoyed playing it. They were both hoping for it too make the smaller hand held console and here it is doing just that.

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Pokemon Sun/Moon 3DS (SMYTHS £31.99)

The games are released at the back of November and follow the same format as previous Pokemon games. I am not going to pretend I know more about it but there is a full description of the game here… Pokemon Sun and Moon.

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Funko POP

I didn’t quite realise how much of a “thing” these were until a couple of months ago. Regan has a few and wants to exted his collection. I have been trying for quite some time to get him to colect something and these seem to have become the in thing to collect. They are widely available online. Here is a selection of the ones on his wishlist….

Funko POP Newt Salamander (SMYTHS £9.99)

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Funko POP Bobble Winter Soldier (AMAZON £7.99)

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Funko POP Picc0lo (AMAZON £9.99)

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Funko POP Trunks (MY GEEK BOX £8.99)

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Funko POP Skyrin Dovahkiin (EMP £9.99)

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Hawkin’s Bazaar

I was introduced to Hawkins Bazaar by Regan’s Dad and I have done the honour of passing the love for the company on. When Regan said he had no idea what he would like for Christmas it was a site that needed to be visited for inspiration (then the Intu MetroCentre shop a couple of days later).

For those that have never hear of Hawkins Bazaar, in their own words….

Hawkin’s Bazaar is the home of great gift ideas, geeky gadgets, terrific toys and everything else that makes a perfect present!”

These are a few of the things that have made the shortlist…

Bat Signal (£20.00)

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Regan seems to have developed not only a collection of FUNKO Pop figures but the desire to collect various novelty lights, his collection includes a Superman Light. Darth Vader Lava Lamp, Pacman Alien….and a few more. To add to the collection he would like the Bat Signal.

Flashing Air Football (£13.00)

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Simply because……(apparently as it will work well on the laminate flooring!)

Captain America Vintage Canvas Wallet (£18.00)

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I am told this is because his wallet is “utterly rubbish”.

Colour Changing Egg (£6.00)

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Like I say, he has a thing for lights 🙂

There are so many more things that he has picked out but I would be here all day if I started to list them all.

Something Geeky

Regan has discovered a love for clothes this year and like any teenager is starting to care about what he looks like. When looking the other week we came across the Something Geeky website and he has found some stuff he has fallen in love with and, you guessed it added it to the ever increasing list.

Glow in the Dark Power Symbol Hoodie (£22.99)

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Pixellated Long Sleeve I need love T – Shirt (£19.99)

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Killing Zombies T – Shirt (£12.99)

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I realised very quickly that anything that I look at and think “Naaa” is actually something that he would probably appreciate. Shopping for a 13 year old is maybe not as hard as I initially thought…….

XXXXX

Proud Owner of a TEENAGER

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I don’t remember my 13th birthday all that clearly but what I do know is that there was never as much fuss made as there is these days about turning in to and becoming a TEENAGER.

I had only been back from Sweden for just over six months and was still finding my feet in a new school. Memories of the day are sketchy, but I remember cards that said teenager and I remember a shopping trip to Darlington in the days to follow.

These days however it would seem we make more of a fuss.

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It is very scary to think I am now officially the maker and owner of a teenager. He has gone from a little dot too a teenager in no time. Of course I am very proud of the young man that he is becoming, but the hormonal changes are kicking in and my little boy is rapidly turning in to a stereotypical teenage boy…..via that lovely hormonal rollercoaster we all have to ride.

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To celebrate Regan’s birthday, as we do every year, we had a party. It means he gets to see his family and friends the day before his birthday, and it has become a welcomed tradition. This year he chose a trampoline park.

Regan was staying at his Dad’s the night before, and where we usually ship his friends to Aycliffe too one of there entertainment centres, I didn’t feel comfortable driving lots of teenagers that I didn’t know that far without the Birthday Boy. So to Regan’s delight we decided that Infinite Air was the place to go.

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We all had a lovely time, with the exception of Penny (my only criticism is that there is nothing for the under 6’s to do, last year we went to ROF59 in Aycliffe and they have a similar, yet smaller, set up. They have a generous play area for those not old enough to bounce. that kept her more than entertained. Infinite Air would benefit from a toy corner) and with food from Pizza Hut and a cake from Sweet Tooth Delivery they all had a belly full of food.

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When Caitlin turned 10 we had a day with her on her own up at Intu MetroCentre and Regan (along with Libby and Liam) asked if they could do the same for their birthdays. We of course obliged.

Regan was over the moon with the presents and money he got for his birthday and was very eager to go on a spending mission.

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I have to say, something I have learned over the years, that going shopping on a weekend 6 weeks before Christmas is never the best idea, and the car park at Intu MetroCentre proved that, but we did get parked and headed straight over to Bella Italia for our Lunch.

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We are massive Italian fans and having never been to Bella Italia before we were quite excited by the prospect.

We arrived and were guided to a booth that had been decorated with balloons and banners. It was a lovely touch that was very much appreciated (the balloons are still floating around the living room now).

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Our waiter was fantastic and took our drinks orders straight away, he had a remarkable resemblance to a famous person but I am yet to put my finger on who it is…

Anyway, I digress, we had a good look over the Menu and decided on our starters and main courses.

While waiting for our food Mark went on a wander, I would describe the restaurant as modernly authentic. It has plenty of memorabilia, retro tables and the Italian flag colours run throughout. (It seems everywhere we go at the minute Mark is taking inspiration for how to decorate our living room and kitchen, and Bella Italia was no different. We are having green to go with our current Red or so I am told)

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Our starters arrived…..

Mark had….

Bruschetta

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Marzanini and plum tomatoes, rocket, red onion, garlic, basil and olive oil on ciabatta

“Fresh, light, lovely way to start a meal”

Regan had…

Polpette

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Pork & beef meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce with melted mozzarella and served with ciabatta

“Nicest and most tasty meatballs I have ever had”

and I had….

Insalata Caprese

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Buffalo Bocconcini mozzarella, Marzanini tomatoes, rocket, fresh basil and olive oil

“Light, typically Italian Starter, very tasty and a perfect way to start a meal”

Not a complaint to be had. At this point our waiter moved on to other tables and we were introduced to our waitress, who was equally attentive. The wait for the main meals was not long and very soon we were tucking in…

Mark had…..

Paccheri Calabrese

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Pasta tubes in a fiery tomato sauce, spicy ‘nduja sausage and pepperoni from Calabria, chicken, Luganica sausage, roasted red onion and green chilli, with cooling mascarpone

“Deliciously filling dish with a nice warming spice heat, that wasn’t overpowering”

Regan had……

Create your own pizza

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Margherita with your choice of two toppings (Chicken and Pepperoni)

“I love a pizza, especially one I can pick the toppings on, this one was lovely”

And me….

Luganica Rosmarino

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Luganica sausage, Spianata salami, roasted red onion, mozzarella, Pecorino cheese and rosemary

“Mmmmmmm, pizza, a perfect marriage of toppings, perfectly thin and served beautifully”

At this point Regan started to get a tad apprehensive. Traditionally if someone is going to do grand gestures it is done over dessert. He was very nervous of what was planned, if anything, and took himself to the toilet.

Our lovely waitress came over to let me know that what ever he chose for pudding would have candles on it and “Happy Birthday” written on the plate. Perfect for the occasion!

When he returned we chose our desserts and awaited their arrival….

I had….

Shot Glass Desserts

A selection of favourite mini desserts

Salted Caramel Chocolate

Chocolate mousse with a salted caramel topping on a Bourbon biscuit crumb base

Pannacotta

Creamy pannacotta with morello cherry sauce

Limoncello Tart

Layers of fluffy lemon mousse with shortbread pearls, topped with limoncello lemon curd and whipped cream

And Regan chose…..

Cookie Dough Lava Cake

Chocolate chip cookie cake with a melting chocolate middle, served warm with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce

Regan breathed a sigh of relief and filled up on dessert. We agreed to share and so we did.

OMG, I love a pudding and these did not fail to impress.

Bella Italia, like I said, is somewhere I have never visited before and I really have no idea why, especially when we have one on our doorsteps here in Durham. We will be returning in the future as we could not fault the dishes, flavours, staff or the environment. Perfect place to eat especially with family.

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We said our goodbyes and wandered on for Regan’s spending spree. We visited so many shops and seemed to spend in each one. GAME for games and headset, LEGO for erm….LEGO, Hawkins Bazaar, Disney, Argos and Sports shops……

Closing time meant a stop to the shopping, (which continued the next day) but we had a good day and that is the most important thing. Creating memories and I can’t thank Bella Italia for being a part of that.

Xxxxx

To learn more about Bella Italia you can visit the website or their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram