Rain!!! ….Where to go now?

When you plan something outdoors with the kids and you get up to torrential rain…..yeah, that!

At the beginning of the School Holidays I promised that we would try and do at least one thing each week that meant the kids leaving the village.

We visited the beach, we had a baking day, we visited parks and so much more.

Plans were made for when Mark had shifts we could work around and on this very rainy Monday morning we were supposed to be going to Beamish Museum. (As you will know we did go, but we waited until the next day when the forecast and skies looked a little brighter).

The kids were hyper and staying at home would have just been unfair and the “I’m Bored” phrase would have been used to the extreme. To be fair, I was surprised at how little it was used these holidays, I was expecting it from day two but it took almost a week to start.

Taking to Google I started hunting for something to do that wouldn’t be too busy and something that would keep them all entertained.

The list started with Indoor Play Areas, for all there are some fantastic ones in the North East, they aren’t my favourite place on earth, especially on a rainy day.

Next was Outdoor activities, unless we were prepared to get soaked then that was a no go, so that left us with Museums. Something we have so many of, it is hard trying to pick one that would suit all of them and also one that Regan and Libby have not visited before.

Bags packed, kids dressed, phone charged (essential for photos) and amidst questions, we bundled the kids in the car and set off up to Newcastle.

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Regan is on of those children that like to know where, when, how, why, how long and what route are we taking. (I can’t say anything because I was the same, I now understand why my mum used to get so frustrated). They were all told Newcastle was our destination and that was that.

Pulling in to Times Square car park Regan knew where we were going, Centre for Life in Newcastle seemed the perfect place for a rainy day. Although Regan has been before on numerous occasions he had not seen the “Animals Inside Out” Exhibition so seemed a perfect idea as Libby and Penny have never been and they do cater for all ages.

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First things first, we went and got some breakfast. In all the rushing about getting the kids in the car, Mark and I had forgotten to eat.

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Libby and Penny were taken with everything there was to see. During the holidays admission for a child was free with every paying adult. So for the five us it cost £28 and Penny, being under 4, was free.

The kids chose the direction we went in and we arrived and the Ice Wall first, they were all having a touch, play and feel. It was indeed ice and it was absolutely freezing.

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Everything, with the exception of the exhibition, is so sensory, perfect for all ages as you aren’t wandering around all the time saying, “don’t touch”, “look with your eyes and not your hands” and “get off”.

We played with flying bags, spinning objects, blocks that looked like something from Tetris.

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Next was the theatre for “The Crunch”. We sat at the back for the food based show. There were some fun experiments all based in and around the food we eat and the digestion process. Part of the show involved audience participation, so of course we volunteered Mark.

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Mark, along with two children took on the protein challenge…..

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Yes, he had to try a Meal Worm, not only did he have to do that but he had to bring them up for us to try. Regan refused, Libby refused, so that left me and Penny. We went for it and I have to say they weren’t all that bad, tasted very nutty. Penny had four, she enjoyed them that much. (I will not be eating them again if I can help it, tried once and taste never forgotten).

The show was really informative for the kids and they thoroughly enjoyed the pops and bangs along the way. On the way out we were all given free lanyards with codes to play a related online game.

Next was the brain zone.

Penny lost a bit of interest in this area as it wasn’t as playfully hands on but she was fascinated with the pretend fake floor.

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Libby and Regan enjoyed playing with the games, touching the brain, looking at the actual human brain and looking at the tricks and brain games that were there to have ago at.

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Mark was keen to move on to “Animals Inside Out“, the exhibition that is on until the 3rd of January.

The Centre for Life website says this about the exhibition:

“Thanks to the science of plastination, invented by Dr Gunther von Hagens, each animal has been painstakingly preserved allowing visitors to see what lies beneath nature’s skin in intricate detail.”

Watching things on the TV with this kind of graphic detail fascinates Mark and I. To think that somebody has had the patience to do this was intriguing and I must admit I was very unsure as to what we would see.

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How would I describe it?

Amazing…..To be upfront and personal with such large animals was mind blowing for the kids. I didn’t realise how much would be preserved. Blood vessels, muscles, perfect bone structures, pieces of skin and eyes. It really was fascinating. The kids all got something out of it, different levels obviously but they all found something interesting.

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Dog catching a frisbee and an Ostrich…

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Shark……

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Aerial view of the Giraffe…

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Shark and Sheep…..

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Two creatures lurking at the bottom of the sea and a horse head..

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Giraffe and Elephant…………..

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Libby and a Cow …..

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They also have a human body on display, obviously due to the sensitivity of identity and intimate body parts you are unable to photograph it. Libby found it very funny that the human was a man, very funny that he had a willy and even more funny that she was looking at him.

From the mouths of kids, “Mam, what’s those dangly bits?” ……..

It really is worth a visit I must say. I was concerned that it would be a bit gory but it really wasn’t. You are that interested in how much detail there is and how much time has gone in to preserving these huge and tiny animals that you forget what it is you are actually looking at. They aren’t dead animals but pieces of art.

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Next we moved on the the Planetarium, they alternate between star shows and a story aimed at under 5’s. The older two weren’t keen and neither was Penny until it started but she loved it as did Libby. The story is “Little Bear Goes North” and it is screened on the ceiling of the Planetarium for them to watch and listen. It only lasts five minutes but well worth a visit in the middle (If you have a child that needs a sleep take them to this, it will sooth them and maybe even get them to sleep.)

We were told about the 4D ride on the way in and Libby was told she was just big enough to go on. The Ride is called Pacific Rim and involves lots of Motion and Water, or so I was told when Libby, Mark and Regan came out, soaking. I was supposed to go on with them but Penny wouldn’t let me out of her sight so Mark got the job. Libby had been quite scared and wasn’t keen on the motion so maybe not for little ones but Regan and Mark said the effects were very good.

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Unfortunately the ride is currently out of order due to a technical difficulty but if you fancy a look up then check the website just here…..

While Dad, Regan and Libby were on the ride, Penny and I went to explore the other downstairs areas that we had not seen yet. We looked at and played with magnet blocks and marbles, strong electrical magnets, motion wheels, music wheels and lastly we found the sand with colour changing lights under.

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Penny loves her sand at home, so it was no surprise she wanted to be and playing with that. We spent a good twenty minutes scooping, moving and making shapes in the sand. Turning the lights on and off and making them change colours.

By this time the rain had cleared up, Mark and the kids had rejoined us and we were all hungry. A wander up to McDonald’s was a unanimous decision, so off we went.

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Mark and I love Newcastle for many different reasons but we decided with Libby’s new found love of football we decided to have wander up too St James’ Park.

Walking up to the ground never fails to move me and like a blubbering idiot that I am I was in tears by the time we got to the East Stand Corner. For all Regan has a cool exterior to him I have to say he was taken a back by the sheer size of it when you get up close. Libby could not quite get her head around the fact there was a football pitch in the middle of it.

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We had a wander round the Club Shop and then up to the Main entrance. It has been a while since I was last up there and it was lovely to see the Bobby Robson statue. It certainly boosted my appetite to get to some games this season.

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It was scorching at this point and we had three very grumpy children so we had a slow walk to the car, taking in the city walls,  with a history lesson from Mark and then we took a steady drive home.

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All in all in was a very impromptu day and a lovely one at that. I do love days like that, but could only ever do them with someone in tow. I am not as impulsive when I know I have to do it on my own.

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Football Firsts……

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At the age of 12, I was introduced by my Mum and Uncle’s to the world of football. Born and bread Newcastle fan I had never really taken it all in until we moved back from Sweden.

My Dad loved his football, and as a youth and a sailor caught the eye of a scout for Leeds United, he didn’t take up the place however.

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Many years later however he played a part in setting up a company football team while we were in Sweden. I enjoyed going to watch them play. The water bottles would be my job and shouting for the Multico team. It was fun at the time, but more fun was when they decided in closed season, to take part in the volleyball league so as to occupy their time. These men had no idea how Volleyball worked. I went to watch every match, and every match they won, match after match after match. They only went and won the competition. Beginners luck is the only way to describe it.

So, as I was saying, with 3 season tickets in the family, I started to go to the matches. I learned the names of all the players and my life soon revolved around Newcastle United. When I say my life revolved around it I mean every newspaper article I cut out and stuck in scrap books, my walls were covered half and half with NUFC posters and Take That posters with the odd Just Seventeen hottie thrown in for good measure. (I still have these along with signed annuals in the cupboard)

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In the summer of 1995 I spent all my time with my best friend and Mum (occasionally Dad) at the Newcastle United training ground at Maiden Castle in Durham. We got autographs, pictures with the players and even spent time talking to the players of the time. It was a magical summer.

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(Steve Watson, Lee Clark, Scott Sellars, John Beresford, Darren Peacock and Les Ferdinand)

My late teens were spent in the same way, going to the matches and those I didn’t attend were watched on the TV.  If I couldn’t get my football fix from a Newcastle match I would find a team I could watch.

On the 1st of January 1997, along with my Uncle and Aunt we went to the home game against Leeds. With it being New Years Day we had been in the pub before hand and rushed in to the ground. For anyone who hasn’t been to a game, they sell raffle ticket type things on the way in “Geordie Jackpot” top prize being £2000. We rushed in and I stood behind a gentleman awaiting to buy my ticket, he insisted I go before him and we rushed up to our seats.

Half Time came round and the winning numbers were paraded round the ground. Now I hadn’t even looked at my ticket as I was in such a rush to get to my seat. My Uncle said oooh it must be someone who came in around the same time as us as my ticket is only a few numbers away. I checked mine, and I was indeed the winner.

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Our faces were in the programme for the first game in charge for Kenny Dalglish. The money I won got split between my Mum, and two Uncles and me, after all it was their tickets and they had always said if one of them won they would split it.

The memories are flooding back …….

Mark is football mad and loves Liverpool. He has always liked football, always followed his team and loves any football match he can get too, Liverpool or not.

With 6 children you would think that one of them would be interested in football, just one. To be honest we were starting to lose hope. Jordan and Regan enjoy a kick around but that’s about the extent of it. If you asked them how the off side rule worked they would look at you as if you were an alien. Mark held out hope for his youngest son but again he likes a kick about but he enjoys dancing a little more.

The girls, well Caitlin loves anything girly and Penny is too young. When Libby told her Dad that she would love to go and watch a football match both our hearts skipped a beat. Could Libby possible the one, the one Mark could pass on all his useless football trivia on too, the one that followed in Mummy’s football footsteps?

Whilst browsing through Social Media a couple of weeks ago Mark discovered that a local team had free admission for under 16’s. He didn’t want to start with the big teams and wanted to take her to a lower league game first. Then if she enjoyed it, we could look at taking her to see Newcastle play.

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Chester Le Street Town FC play at Chester Moor, which is just off the A167 on the outskirts of the town. The ground is charming and reminds you of how the grounds used to be. Playing in the Northern League, it is well worth the look out.

We kept it a secret, not until we got off the Go North East 21 service at Chester Moor did Mark tell her where we were off too. Excited is an understatement.

Entry for Adults is charged at £6 each, Concessions £3, with under 16’s gaining admission for free.

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We went and sat down in the stand and watched the teams, Chester and Ashington CFC, warm up. Answering a lot of questions for her we were ready for the match but not before a visit to the Clubhouse for Marks obligatory pie and Bovril. The Clubhouse has a good selection of beverages and snacks, all at very reasonable prices.

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The joy of going to a ground like this is the children can go for a wander. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be in the seats, stood at the side of the pitch or sat on the hill next to the stand.

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Taking in every second though it got to half time and yellow and red cards were explained, offside rule was tackled and corner balls/goal kicks followed.

Half time brought another visit to the Clubhouse and Libby came back with a pie. Now for those of you that do not know Libby, she is the fussiest of eaters and her weekly Menu is so limited, for her to come back with a pie, and for her to then demolish half of it made my day.

The second half was spent with Daddy sat at the side of the pitch and asking more questions.

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Sadly with five minutes to go Chester were trailing 4-2, so we decided to start walking towards the exit. As we walked up the ball went out and Libby went chasing after it to kick it back in with encouragement from the Ashington player who was waiting for it. This without a doubt put the silver lining on her night.

You can see from the photos how much she enjoyed it and if your little ones enjoy football I can’t recommend it highly enough. In her words it “was one of the best nights ever and a fab surprise”.

They often organise fundraising events and I am informed the free under 16’s is something they are hoping to keep in place for a while.

For all the latest information about Chester Le Street Town and their fixtures, you can visit their website and social media pages, these are:

Web: http://www.chesterlestreettownfc.co.uk/

Twitter: @CestrianTweet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chester-le-Street-Town-FC

Back 2 Life….

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My holiday is officially over and I am back to the keyboard to type it all up for you.

The last few weeks have been manic and I have so much to tell you, share and get your opinion on.

First and foremost I would like to update you on the Gorlins Syndrome stuff.

As you are all aware I have been advised to try the Erivedge Treatment. Anyone who likes my Facebook page will also be aware of the dilemma I faced a few weeks ago, however for those of you that don’t here is the dilemma I faced….

After deciding on a start date to commence the Erivedge Treatment I received to letters in the post. One was the confirmation from the Northern Centre for Cancer Care to confirm that I was indeed embarking on the Erivedge Treatment and the other was from the University Hospital of North Durham with a date for surgery to remove the BCC’s I currently have.

Now the dilemma comes from the fact that I want to get rid of the BCC’s I currently have, yes the Erivedge course may get rid of them but it could be months. When I get a BCC my mind takes over and I am not settled until it is gone. Here I am with 6+ and I have the opportunity to get rid of them, but I also have the opportunity to keep them at bay.

After consulting my Gorlins friends I decided that I would ask the team at the Freeman Hospital if they would be happy for me to have the surgery to remove the growths I currently have and then embark on the journey they are offering as a preventative rather than a cure.

Phone call made I awaited a reply and to my great relief my Oncologist is more than happy for me to do this.

Decision made I also decided that if I am going to start from scratch with no BCC’s it is vitally important that I uncover the areas that are hiding at least two BCC’s and get rid of this hair. As you all know the chances of me losing it when I start the treatment are high so I figure lets do this thing properly. Hair off before my pre consult for surgery and fingers crossed all the BCC’s are removed in one fell swoop.

How am I feeling? Well I am relieved to not be in two minds of which direction to take. I have been given the chance to take both options and that’s great. Not looking forward to the surgery, but then who would be? Also, I am apprehensive about the next new step. I am not a fan of new things, creature of habit springs to mind. All I can do is go with the flow and not worry about things I can’t control.

Anyway on a happier note, what have I got coming up over the next week for you to read about?

We have been so busy with days here, there and everywhere. Here are a few teasers for you:

Girly Night’s…..

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Date Night….

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Impromptu Family Day….

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Libby’s First Football Match…..

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Results Day….

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The Journey Across the Border….

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Haven Holiday…..

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Zoo Adventures…..

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Kids in the Kitchen…..

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Nothing beats a cup of tea….

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I also have a few books to review for you, I will hopefully have an update on my college adventure for you (what a nightmare that is proving to be, yet again), a list of hospital visits and some exciting things coming up this week to also tell you about.

Thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoy what I have to come over the next few days….

For now…

Mwah

xxxxxx