First of all I’d like to thank all the fab bloggers who have read and shared my posts and kept the blog alive during my recent dose of writer’s block (if not whole life block, but that’s another story!)

Secondly my thanks also go to the book publishers who have very patiently awaited the reviews which will be going live later this week.

Don’t Blog if You’ve Nothing to Say

I recently read that you shouldn’t start a blog unless you have lots to write about and if you don’t have much to say you should stick to writing guest posts on other people’s blogs.

If only that were my problem.

My issue is that I have so much I want to write about (over 90 drafts at last count) I don’t know where to begin! And if I do start I blither on for hours about nothing. Anyway.

Half Term in Northumberland

Here’s a half-term catch-up including some fab local businesses in Northumberland, the county that won the 2018 UK’s Tourist Awards Gold award.

Image of Dunstanburgh Castle with clifftop flowers in foreground, Newcastle

We had a delightfully eventful half term at Kids of the Wild, starting on Monday with a blogger’s menu tasting event at Turtle Bay restaurant in Newcastle.

Turtle Bay Caribbean Restaurant

Caroline and I drove the hour from home, winging the parking in China Town where we happily discovered the restaurant was just 100m from a multi-storey car park.

Turtle Bay is a nationwide chain of Caribbean food restaurants who have just created a new children’s menu. Kids of the Wild along with other North-East bloggers were invited to be guinea pigs.

Turtle Bay Newcastle (OK, it’s a little south of Northumberland) is open plan and reggae themed with striking multi-coloured décor. The staff were welcoming and friendly.

We sat down to plates of fresh carrot, cucumber, red pepper and flat-breads with a smashed avocado dip and Caribbean houmous.

Image of girl biting into hamburger with plate of pizza and food on table

Little Turtles Kids Menu

It was excellent to start the kids with fresh veg (it stimulates the digestion if you didn’t know) and the dips were truly delicious although a little spicy for Caroline. Her suggestion to the Little Turtles menu makers is a little more tweaking, a little less spice for the kids!

Making Mocktails

The children helped make three mocktails a Sky Juice, a Sunsplash and a strawberry & vanilla Nojito. Great fun, sweet, fruity and delicious!

Image of girl pouring orange juice into cocktail glass

There was an engaging pirate storyteller before the mouth-watering mains – cheese and chickpea flatbreads, sweetcorn fritters, burgers and ribs.

According to Caroline, all these were perfectly spiced for children so a big thumbs-up from her.

Oh and the straws were paper not plastic! Fab.

Check out Turtle Bay’s new kids Little Turtles menu and find a restaurant near you on their website.

Swimming with Active Northumberland

Tuesday saw Caroline learning breast-stroke tumble turns at swimming. I can’t even do them! She has progressed from Level 3 to Level 8 since March, determined to catch up on last year’s swim ban due to her central line for cancer treatment.

Halloween & Dancing

On Wednesday, Caroline enjoyed a dance workshop and my sister came to stay. A quick beach walk gave us the energy for Halloween prep – pumpkin carving, making Caroline’s pumpkin guts lucky dip, decorating the house and finishing off her Katrina Calavera Day of the Dead fancy dress costume.

Pumpkin Carving Injury

In all my preachings about the importance of starting children outdoors as young as possible, and teaching them safe use of matches and knives from toddlerhood, guess who sliced through their thumb while carving pumpkins, completing the incision with a jab of the super-sharp whittling knife down the side of their thumbnail?! Ouch. That’s a bandaged thumbs up from yours truly.

Fortunately my sister and Caroline were on hand to patch me up with home-made micropore butterfly stitches.

Once again, Caroline said she enjoyed answering the door more than going Trick or Treating and I love that Halloween is about so much more than the sweets for her.

Image of two girls in fancy dress Halloween costume outside a decorated front door


The next day we took Aunty Joey to a pottery workshop. The fabulous Sarah at Rothbury Creates had offered Caroline a free workshop during her cancer treatment and we’ve only just got around to arranging it.

Caroline moulded a very delicate dolphin riding a wave (still on a high at seeing her first wild dolphins in Madeira; look out for the post) and was quite a whizz on the potter’s wheel.

Image of girl in bobble hat using potters wheel

Huge thanks to Sarah for this fantastic experience. To book a workshop or party, check Rothbury Creates website.

National Trust Cragside

After the MOST delicious sausage rolls we had all ever tasted (tandoori) from Rothbury Butchers we headed to National Trust Cragside for an afternoon in glorious Autumn sunshine. There will be a full post on Cragside in future but this time we walked the woodland trail from the Archimedean screw to the iron bridge and then drove the 6-mile carriage drive, stopping for views, lake meanders and the adventure playground

One Hour Outside

Throughout November, Zoe at Splodzblogz is running her #onehouroutside challenge so we posted some pics of our fun on the assault course.

It’s funny how an hour sounds so short a time yet trying to get an hour outside every day can be tricky. Why not join Zoe (you don’t need to be a blogger) and aim for an hour outdoors every day in November.

Devilish Dinner

Back home my amazing sister cooked a devilishly delicious post-Halloween dinner. Check out this vomitous guacamole starter – it was delicious, honest – and the (mozeralla and olive) eyeballs adorning the intestines of an apparently massacred Italian Bologneise chef.

Did anyone else have food this special?! I love my sister!

On Friday we viewed a nine-week old kitten which we had promised Caroline at the end of her treatment and, like the pottery, it has taken this long to organise.

My sister left and we headed south for a weekend with Caroline’s best friend, baby-sitting them while watching Strictly and enjoying BFF fun as only 9-year olds can.

Image of two girls balancing on pipe over river with autumn sun streaming through trees behind

We collected the kitten on the last day of half-term from Cats Protection League. Look out for a post but – trigger alert – here’s a big dose of cuteness until then.

Image of girl with tabby kitten tucked into front of pink dressing gown

Hope you all had a happy half-term too.

Look out for my forthcoming kids book reviews – some great Christmas present ideas – and then I’ll be catching up on our Madeira adventures and continuing my thoughts on Caroline’s cancer journey.