A Magical Christmas at Beamish Hall

So we’re now in December, which means that Christmas is coming and to celebrate we headed to Beamish Hall for their Magical Christmas event. It’s on Saturday’s and Sunday’s up until Christmas and runs every 10 minutes from 10am to 3.30pm. I had booked the 3.30pm slot as I wasn’t sure whether I’d be working or not but also thought it might be a bit more magical walking around the illuminations whilst it was dark. It was- but our Billy is still a bit small to enjoy it to the full as he was tired and cold. So if you have younger one’s, it might be best to book for earlier in the day if you can. Tickets are available here.

The story for A Magical Christmas is based on Believers. As believers of Christmas and Father Christmas, the children, aka the Young Adventurers, need to make their way through the trail within the woodland and collect Dust to give to Santa and his elves at the end- to help save Christmas! It starts at the entrance to the woodland where you’ll meet your first character and be given your map and pencil. You are then sent on your way to follow the map and trail, to find the answers to the clues and meet various different characters on your journey.

The trail ends at Santa’s Grotto where the story comes to a close and the children are sent on their way with a couple of little gifts- a story book, a certificate and your own magic dust- Santa explains what they need to do with it.

It took us around 1.5hours to complete the whole experience and it was absolutely fantastic! The kids were absolutely amazed the whole way round the trail and the story was brilliant- got us right into the Christmas spirit! Violet threw herself into it and enjoyed talking to each character and doing everything they asked of her. All I’m saying is watch out for the naughty elf- he had all the kids and adults laughing!

We absolutely loved our Magical Christmas journey- the whole production was amazing, massively appreciated how friendly the staff were and how great they were with the kids and it was absolutely worth every penny!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! And don’t forget your wellies!!

Mother Hermit x



What Wesley Wore- A Book Review

(Ad-Gifted- We were sent a copy of this book for the purpose of this review- all views and opinions are that of my own or my family)

Front Cover of the Book

What Wesley Wore is a book about acceptance which is written by Samuel Langley-Swain and illustrated by Ryan Sonderegger. Here is the blurb;

“All the weasels in Westburrow Wood are supposed to follow the rules and fit in.
So, imagine their confusion when they meet Wesley, a wacky weasel, who is obsessed with clothes!
As the other weasels plot and protest against Wesley, readers will be eager to find out what happens in this heart-warming story about acceptance.”

Now I’m not here to tell you what does happen at the end, so there’s no spoilers! But I have to say that I completely agree that this story is truly heartwarming.

Violet looking at the book pages

Violet started school September gone and we’re now at the stage where she absolutely loves to read books and she’ll try her best to read as much as possible on her own. This book was no exception to that and she managed it really well. The illustrations are beautiful too which adds to the experience of the story as it kept her interested in what was happening in each page. When I asked Violet if she could describe the story to me this is what she said…

“It’s about a weasel called Wesley who likes to wear really funky clothes but the other weasels think he’s silly for wearing them and they start to say nasty things and telling him to take the clothes off. It’s not a very nice thing for them to do because we’ve been learning in school that just because someone looks different, talks different or acts different to me, that doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is wrong and we shouldn’t be nasty because it can make the person feel sad and upset.”


She’s pretty much hit the nail on the head- and that’s coming from a five year old! I was really touched by how much Violet not just enjoyed this book, but understood what the meaning of the story is and could relate this to what she’d been learning in school. She did go on to tell me what happened at the end but as I said- I’m not going to ruin it for you! You’ll have to buy it for yourself as it’s available now from Waterstones.

I honestly feel that the author has created a bit of magic for kids with this book as it’s really important to teach them all about acceptance and touch on bullying even at such a young age.

This is a story which will stick with us for years to come- we LOVE it!

Vanessa x


Panto Review; Aladdin at Tyne Theatre & Opera House

*Disclaimer; I was gifted the tickets in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.*

Nothing say’s Christmas like a fun-filled family Pantomime! You’ll have seen on my social media that we were invited along to the press night of this years pantomime, Aladdin, at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House. The evening started out as a bit of a nightmare unfortunately as we couldn’t find anywhere to park so Gareth ended up dropping us off and went home! So he missed it but I have a feeling he secretly enjoyed the peace!

It’s no secret that I’m a panto fan and when I received the invite I was so excited, especially as it was Billy’s first time attending one. My sister and I took Violet to the Tyne Theatre panto a couple of years ago and we absolutely LOVED it, so we were hoping this years would be just as good, if not better.

I’m over the moon to be able to say that it was absolutely fantastic!! Charlie Richmond (Wishee Washee) and Lewis Denny (PC Pong) stood out for me again, although I still personally feel that there just wasn’t enough of Lewis in this years performance. Marcus Collins was proper fantastic as the Genie too, an absolute star. Nic Westaway played a cracking Aladdin and David Easter was absolutely brilliant as Abanazar.

I was a bit worried that Billy might not stay interested in the whole performance and get a bit adjitated but he honestly didn’t take his eyes off the stage. The kids got themselves right into it, singing along, dancing, shouting and booing at the usual moments and when the bubbles started filling the room at one point they were amazed! As a parent it’s absolutely incredible to see your kids face light up with amazement and this panto certainly did that.

You can book your tickets here which I would highly recommend you do if you’re looking for something to take the kids to over the Christmas break. They’re doing a couple of shows most days and it runs until the 5th of December.

Mother Hermit xx

May Half Term in the North East 2019

We have the in-laws coming up from Wales for this so we might not get out much that week, but I’ve been having a hunt online to see what’s on this upcoming May Half Term and thought I’d compile a bit of a list. Here’s what I’ve found so far…

Uniformed Services Fun Day Durham

This is held on Friday 31st May and it’s a day to meet your local Uniformed Services and find out more about what they do – great fun for all ages, throughout Durham City Centre. They’ll be posting updates closer to the day so make sure you follow the event on Facebook.

Mess Around Tyne & Wear

  • Despicable Mess @ Sport AT Kenton Saturday 25th May
  • Despicable Mess @ Lord Lawson of Beamish School Tuesday 28th May
  • Life’s a Beach Messy Play @ Hedley Hall Hebburn Sunday 2nd June

Preston Park Museum

Preston Park Museum have a wide range of events on during the Half Term week to keep all adventurers busy, including;

  • Bushcraft
  • Den Building
  • Survival Bracelets
  • Archery
  • Campfire Cookery
  • Owls and Alpacas
  • Giant Insects
  • Family Crafts

All of these events are FREE with your Museum Ticket…

Museum Admission

Adult £2.50

Child/ Concession £1.50

Family (2A+4C) £5

Under 5’s  Free

… and all tickets are valid for one year from date of issue. The car park is also FREE and there’s a huge adventure playground within the park.

Tanfield Railway

Tanfield Railway have an offer on the 26th and 27th May where kids can travel for £1 (Valid on all paying adult return travel tickets) They also have a couple of locomotion days on the bank holiday weekend- check out their website for more details.

Crook Hall

Crook Hall and Gardens are having a Peter Pan event on the 26th and 27th May where you can enjoy themed games, stories and a treasure trail around the gardens. Normal admission applies, have a look at their website for more information.

Elmer Family Day

This is a FREE Drop in session held at Gateshead Central Library on Thursday 30th May from 11-3pm aimed at 3-8 years.

Thought Foundation Birtley

There’s a few things on during the week at this quirky cafe/art gallery/relaxing space!

  • Sunday 26th Painting with Chocolate- Pollock Inspired
  • Tuesday 28th Half Term Special- Culture Club
  • Thursday 30th Bugs at Thought Foundation
  • Saturday 1st June Greatest Showman Day


Let me know any events you’ve seen happening!

MH x

Out of Date Mates Review

Weaning. It only feels like five minutes ago we were here with Little V and we’ve recently started the weaning journey all over again with our second baby B. I’ve heard a lot of parents say they hate the weaning stage, mostly because of the mess and constant battle of attempting to actually get some of the weird smelling, bright orange mush into baby’s mouth and not all over the floor or up the walls! I have to admit though, I love it. Experimenting with different tastes and textures and watching how baby reacts to each one. The hilarious faces they pull and sheer excitement at the feel of the mushy substance between their fingers- and sometimes toes!

The thing that does bug me about weaning though  is the amount of opened jars, tubs and pots that end up in my fridge! That and the fact that I can never remember which one I opened when and end up throwing away probably perfectly fine puree’s, because I have no idea what’s in date and what’s not. That’s where Out of Date Mates come in…

One of my fellow bloggers had mentioned last week that Out of Date Mates had posted a tweet saying that they were looking for parents, who were looking to start or had recently started weaning their little one’s, to review their product. I’ll be honest, I tweeted them straight away offering to help out before I’d even looked into what the product was- anything to help with weaning is a must- right?! Well in this case- definitely!

Out of Date Mates are very handy magnets which help you keep track of which baby food you opened when, so then you know whether it can still be given to baby or if it needs throwing away. You get seven magnets, each labelled with a day of the week, and a dry wipe pen so you can write the exact time of day you opened the jar. You can then pop the magnet to the top of the jar and chuck it in the fridge- how brilliant is that?! I’ve been using mine a few days and I love them! The guys also sent me some stickers which you can use on your own pots or pouches.

They come in 3 colour choices, baby blue, baby pink or multi coloured and each set comes with a dry wipe pen which can be easily rubbed off with a damp cloth- or your finger! They cost just £9.99 for the set which I think is a bargain for the amount of times they’re going to be used and how much they’ll help me to stop wasting baby food!

You can find Out of Date Mates on their website here. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy your weaning journey!

Mother Hermit xx

The guys at Out of Date Mates kindly sent me a magnet set with stickers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are that of my own.


Bobadeg Personalised Book Review

I came across Bobadeg one day on Twitter when I spotted a photo of a beautiful book with a child’s photo on the cover and thought I’d find out more. Little V is all things book these days so when the guys offered to send me a book to review there’s no way I could refuse!


Image taken from Bobadeg Twitter page

Bobadeg books are personalised stories for little ones aged 5 and under and to order there are a few things you need to provide. These are the steps I took to create Little V’s book;

STEP 1: Pick a Book. Sounds easy right? Wrong! They’re all so fantastic it took me ages to just choose one!

You can choose from;

  • I Can Fight Dragons (Boy or Girl version)
  • The Fairy Garden
  • The Funny Fish
  • The Jiggly Juggly Journey
  • The Swirly Twirly Kite
  • That’s Poo!

STEP 2: Pick a Size. There are two different sizes to choose from.

STEP 3: Complete your Personalisation Details. This is where you complete the personalisation boxes to give them the child’s first name, the message you would like to appear inside the cover of the book and upload a photo of the child facing the camera.

So easy!

I chose to have Little V’s book personalised with a message from her baby brother so I thought the best book to get from him would be ‘That’s Poo!’. When the book arrived I have to admit, I hid it from her! It’s just so perfect and I was terrified she’d ruin it with an outrageous toddler tantrum or the usual juice spillage, but I was totally surprised to see how careful she was with it when I eventually handed it over.

Her face lit up and we had a squeal of ‘that’s me!’ as she noticed her photo on the cover of the book. I sat her down and read the book to her, pointing out every little detail. Little V was absolutely amazed seeing her name and photo throughout the book and thought the story was absolutely hilarious! She’s in the faze of watching cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants, so anything silly or anyway linked with burps or poop is absolutely hilarious!

When I explained to her that the book was from her baby brother she gave him a little kiss and after reading the story about ten million times, she asked me to keep it safe for her. How amazing that a two year old realises how special something is.

As you can probably tell, we absolutely love this book. Every detail is perfect and the personalisation of it makes the story come to life even more for the little one’s.

I think this will be Little V’s special bedtime story from now on.

Prices for the Bobadeg books start from just £9.99 and you can create your own at their website here. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Mother Hermit xx


The guys at Bobadeg kindly sent me this personalised book for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Campfire Stew- Slow Cooker Style!

I made this for tea last night and thought I’d share my recipe as it’s so easy to make and a massive favourite in my house. You can alter the vegetables and spices in the recipe as much as you want and again, like my Macaroni & Leek Cheese recipe, this one is Slimming World friendly- in fact this one is totally syn free- massive bonus!



  • 1 Small Gammon Joint (All visible fat removed)
  • 1 chopped Red Onion
  • 2 chopped Peppers
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed or finely chopped- whichever you prefer)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of Smoked Paprika
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Chilli Powder (Add more if you like it spicy!)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Tomato Puree
  • 2 Tins of Baked Beans
  • 200ml water



Absolutely simple. Shove everything into the slow cooker, mix it all together and place the gammon joint on top of the other ingredients. Leave it to cook on high for 6 hours then turn it to low until you’re ready to serve it. Just before you’re ready to serve, use two forks to pull the gammon joint literally to shreds and mix it all up. That’s it- dish up and enjoy!

Mother Hermit xx

KidloLand App: Review & Giveaway

I received a tweet last week from the guys at KidloLand asking if I’d like to try out and review their app. Now I’d never heard of it before so I had a look at their Twitter account and headed straight to the Appstore on my Iphone. Here I found that KidloLand is an app aimed at children from 0-5 years old, full of nursery rhymes and educational songs. My daughter is absolutely obsessed with songs and nursery rhymes at the moment so obviously I went straight back to the guys and said I’d love to review!

I chose to download the Android version of the app onto my daughter’s Kindle Fire (Was actually mine until the day I went into labour with her brother but that’s another story!) The whole thing is very easy to use and you don’t need to be online to play it once downloaded. Little V is a pro when it comes to playing apps and once I’d shown her quickly what to do my assistance was no longer required. That was until she wanted me to sing along to the songs of course!

There’s loads and loads and LOADS of songs within the app, much more than what I was expecting. V has been learning a few in nursery so her little face lit up when she recognised some of them and each song is interactive so she’s been enjoying pressing random objects during each song, to see what they do. Along with the songs there are also over 100 games and activities, from jigsaw puzzles to dot-to-dot, it’s impossible for the kids to get bored- I can’t get V off it!

The brilliant thing about the app is that you don’t have to feel too guilty about letting them play on it, even for slightly longer periods of time (to get that load of washing in and sneak in a hot cuppa!), because they’re learning so much without realising it! Although you might want to make your little one wear earphones as if they’re anything like my V they tend to pick a favourite song and have it on constant repeat!

Image from Kidloland website

The app is free to download and comes with a few songs and activities on there already so you can try it out but it’s best to purchase a subscription to access everything within. You can find Kidloland in your app store Google Play or iOS, on Twitter, Facebook and on the website.

If you would like to WIN a 3 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to the KIDLOLAND APP, you can enter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The guys at KidloLand kindly gifted me a subscription for the app in return for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Mother Hermit xx

Cuddle Fairy

Guest Post; WILF Books- Sharing is Caring

How can we help our children to learn about sharing? 

This post was carefully selected by me, and is delivered to you via WILF Books , a sharing-­based,  children’s book delivery service.    ­­

Sharing is a super vital life skill, isn’t it? It teaches us how to co-operate with one another in our  everyday lives. It teaches us about compromise, that if we give just a little to others, we can also get  a little of what what we’d like too. It teaches us about negotiation, and how to cope with  disappointment. It’s a fundamental human value that makes us who we are.    We all recognise its importance, but how can we help our children to learn about sharing?

WILF Books



Well, first and foremost, we think it starts with you. Monkey see, monkey do. Children learn so much  just from watching what their parents do.  You’re their role model, and when you model good sharing  and *taking turns* in your family, it gives children a really great example to follow. You, as a parent,  can always facilitate and encourage sharing in everyday life, and here are five simple ways through  which to do that:

● Allow them to see it in others: Recognise it when your child sees another child sharing.  There’s nothing more beautiful (and cute!) than watching children share and play nicely  together, a little bit like grown­ups do. You can say things like: ‘Woah, wasn’t your friend  sharing her toys really well, that was really lovely of her.”

● Nurture it through play: It’s really fun to play little exercises with your child that involve  turn­taking, sharing and inclusive participation. Talk your child step by step through the  process of sharing, saying things like, ‘It’s your turn, then it’s my turn; you share the brown  bricks with me, and I’ll share the pink bricks with you, I’ll play with Buzz whilst you play with  Woody”.

● Pile on the praise: When the proud moment comes, and you see your child attempting to  take turns and share, be sure to lay on the praise, attention and all round good­will. This is  super important, and with consistent practice and positive reinforcement, will become second  nature in the minds of your little ones. For example, you could say things like “that was really  lovely the way that you let Charlie play with your helicopter, great sharing!”

●Have ‘the talk’ (not that talk!): Talk to your child about sharing before she goes on playdates  or trips with other friends. Reinforcing before, during and after playdates can really help build  their mental map for sharing. For example, you could say, ‘Rahul is almost here and you’ll  need to share some of your toys when he gets here. Let’s have a think about what he’d like  to play with, shall we?’ You can also talk to your child about sharing before all possible  interactions with other children, like nursery, pre­school or big school.

●Allow them to ‘own’ their sharing: Create an environment and culture that encourages your  child to want to share.  WILF Books  is develop on the value of sharing, delivering tailored and  personalised children’s books addressed specifically to your child, along with the opportunity  to share their own books with other children across the country. Take the time to sit with your  child to discuss which books they’d like to share each month, in return for new books that  they will love.


There’s sharing in everyday life, and then there’s developing a sense of sharing amongst the wider  society and community. In the globalised world within which we live, it’s more important than ever to  be able to share beyond our own personal boundaries and connect with those from other cultures  and backgrounds. By nurturing this connection, when a child reaches pre­school or school age  where community, creativity and play are championed and they begin to interact with people of new  cultures, they’ll be able to build more complex relationships with other children with the fundamental  foundation of fairness at the heart. Imperative in today’s world.

You can register your interest with WILF Books ahead of their upcoming launch,   here

I Created A Monster?! 

Holy crap, what the hell happened to my daughter?! Just five minutes ago she was a teeny tiny baby depending on me to feed her orange mush and wipe her bum fifteen million times per day- but now? She’s turned into some sort of bloody monster!


Don’t let the cuteness fool you!

Violet goes to nursery two mornings per week, simply because we wanted her to have those mornings to herself without her having to watch me with her baby brother. It gives me 6 hours to get some things done around the house and 6 hours for her to play, socialise and run riot without me having to be the one to chase her. If we could afford more mornings she’d be in there. No doubt.

So this morning I dropped her off and received the usual “Bye Mammy, pick me up later!” With a swift wave of her hand and abrupt back turn, she was off. Honestly, she may aswell just stick her fingers up at me. ‘That’s right woman, you go spend your morning tidying up so when I get home I can trash the place all over again…’ Seriously, I’m sure that’s how toddlers think!

I headed back over (literally over the road from our house) to pick her up for her finishing and walked in to see this sweet little angel sat singing a song about a bumble bee and she was concentrating on copying the actions with the words. She looked so cute and perfect, I could have cried! Once she spotted me I got a finger point and a “not yet Mammy, I’m busy singing a song” Fair enough. Once she’d finished she jumped up and ran into my arms for a cuddle. Awww I hear you say, I know lovely right? Wrong.

We headed out the door whilst she told me how much fun she’d had but as soon as we stepped off the school grounds all hell broke loose! First it was the screams for a dodie (dummy) which I didn’t bring, it’s literally a minute walk home. Next it was an attempt to run onto the road! Then she decided to throw herself onto the ground because I couldn’t carry her the twenty steps home because I was pushing her brother in the pushchair. When I finally got her home the tears started with the high pitched screams for juice. I gave her juice- more high pitched screams because I put the juice in the wrong cup. How dare I?! She only has one flaming juice cup! So that was thrown across the room and the screams continued as she threw herself to the ground. This bout woke her brother up who then started to scream because of the fright he’d just had! Violet continued her tantrum because now her brother was upset and of course it was all my fault and then I lost my cool and sent her to bed! With no argument she ran up the stairs, jumped into bed and within 5 minutes was knocking out some serious Z’s.

Wowza’s. In all of ten minutes she went from angel toddler to midget of mass destruction. The ‘terrible two’s’ are ending and the mighty ‘threenager’ mode is kicking in fast!

She’s waking up and I’ shitting my pants for the rest of the afternoon. The Malibu’s on ice for later…

…tell me it gets better?!

Mother Hermit xx


Midwife and Life