This Spring, Beamish Museum are holding the Great North Festival of Transport. There’ll be lots of vehicles, horses and mining banner parades. There are three different events on :-

The Old King Coal was on from 29th March to 2nd April and celebrated the North East mining heritage.

Today we popped long to the Great North Steam Fair which is running from 6th to 9th April ( you could still visit tomorrow if you’re interested). The event was jam packed with visitors and is host to a great line up of Beamish transport vehicles as well as numerous vehicles and machinery who are visiting for the Fair.

As well as a constant stream of vehicles through Beamish Museum, the Beamish Cog Railway (the world’s first 7 1/4″ gauge rack railway set) is running and costs just £1.50. There was around about a 45 minute wait for the cog railway during our visit but thankfully the level railway which runs near it, was running smoothly, with a fast moving queue. The level railway costs just 50p per person, per ride which is great if you’re heading to Beamish on a budget.

You can see the 15 inch gauge steam locomotive River Mite from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria if you pop up to the Pockerley Waggonway. Behind the Pockerley tram stop you’ll see an impressive timber logging display which was great to watch.

If you head over to the colliery you might spot Diane and Roger on the narrow gauge railway and Puffing Billy  visit who has joined the 1871 built Coffee Pot on a train of chaldron waggons.

One Saturday and Sunday, Beamish visitors can see the Durham Pals and Gordon Highlanders military re-enactment groups around the museum which are fab to watch.

Children can watch the Beamish Learning Team who will be demonstrating how steam engines work in The Pit Village chapel. Running times are 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm, sadly it was jam packed when we tried to pop in so we missed it.

The model tramway exhibition in the Collections Study Room is worth a visit, especially if you’re a model tram / railway fan.

As well as the displays and additional vehicles, visitors can check out the usual attractions at Beamish. The rest of the museum is running as normal and today, the atmosphere was lovely. Visitors were enjoying the sun, children were running round excitedly and we had a lovely time.

If you’re planning on visiting tomorrow ( 9th April) for the last day of the event, I’d recommend arriving early. When we arrived at 11.45, the queue was huge and spiraled right up the steps at the entrance. Similarly, take a picnic. The queues for food were really long and spending your day queuing will spoil your experience.

Next up is the Horses at Work event which is running from 21st to 23rd April. It brings the Great North Festival of Transport to a close with a an extravaganza of horses, ponies and horse-drawn vehicles. We’re really looking forward to this one!

Entrance to the Spring events are included with the cost of your entry and there are no additional charges.

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Whether you’re  heading abroad this year or just enjoying the sunshine in the UK ( keep your fingers crossed we actually get some) its important to protect your hair from the heat, sun, and humidity. The sun can damage your hair, fade colours and strip it of moisture.

These tips may help save your hair this summer.

Cover your head

Use hats to cover your head while you’re out in the sun. Not only will it protect your delicate head from the suns powerful rays, it’ll also stop your hair drying out and reduce colour fading.

Don’t wash

…. as often! Washing your hair strips away it’s natural oils and encourages your hair to produce addition oils which will in turn make it greasy. Leaving your hair for longer will help reduce dryness and protect it with the help of it’s own natural oils.

Use heated appliances less

Try to blow-dry and use other heated appliances less often. As you hair is already exposed to heat and humidity during the Summer months, using excessive heat can dry it out more and cause damage. If you can’t live without a blow dry, using a good quality hairdryer will make a difference. User cooler settings and keep the air flow well away from your hair.

Moisturise

Using good quality conditioners on your hair will make a huge difference. If you prefer using a more natural conditioner, try coconut oil or shea butter. Leave it on the ends of your hair overnight, it’ll help smooth, defrizz and moisturise sun explosed hair and make hair much more manageable.

Protect 

Whilst we remember to apply sun cream to our skin, our hair is often forgotten about. Try and use shampoos that contain UV protection or use sunblock along your hairline to protect your scalp. Wearing your hair scraped back and covering your parting will also help prevent your hair drying out and the soft delicate skin on your head burning.

Do you have any tips to keep your hair looking great this Summer?

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Earlier this week we were invited to watch a child friendly, sensory play called Dough! at Gateshead Central Library.

Dough! was created by Olivia Furber and Creative Scene and explores the ways life can be filled with colour and beauty, we just have to step outside of the beige world we’re used too.

The play was being shown in the Caedmon Hall within the library which is a lovely little venue with tiered seats and plenty of floor space.

Children were welcome to sit on the floor independently in front of the production on comfy cushions whilst adults could sit more comfortable in the theatre style seats.

As soon as we walked into the Caedmon Hall we could smell bread which I think was a nice way to introduce the theme of the play.

The cast was kept to a minimum with just three members : – Azad who is the bakery owner, Frankie who works in the cardboard box factory and a lady who sings enchantingly in both English and Urdu. She also plays the guitar and I suppose is the narrator of the story, although she doesn’t speak.

The cast of the play were on the main floor of the room with a small ‘set’ which featured a cupboard in which Frankie slept, a bakery counter and workshop and a small area in the centre in which the narrator sat.

The story starts off by introducing Frankie who works in a cardboard factory, doing what appears to be a very mundane job. Once day she delivers packages to a package to Azad, the bakery owner. Azad teaches Frankie how to make things from dough and she is excited and interested in the range of new smells, textures and tastes.

Azad and Frankie become friends, play together, have fun and bake tasty treats from dough to share with each other. During the performance simple set is changed round to depict both a Scarborough beach hut and a Pakistani house. I love how the focus is on the performance and the sensory aspect rather than complex backgrounds and outfits. 

After the performance, children were encouraged to take of their shoes and touch and play with bowls of dough. The cast of the show moved around the group of children, interacting with them and talking about the show and the dough.

There are some funny moments for children during the performance, with fits of giggles every time dough was thrown or a mess was made on stage. The little man laughed his little heart out and clearly enjoyed the show, particularly enjoying the interaction at the end.

The performance is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 8, though I think it’s probably more suited for 3 to 5.

* Our tickets were complimentary.

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A loft conversion has been at the top of my home improvement wish list since the little man was born. Despite the fact we have three bedrooms, we still feel like we’re lacking in storage and I dream of extra floor space.

One of the options we have, is to transform our loft space with a loft conversion. According to the Home Owners Alliance, a loft conversion can add up to 20% to the value of your property and can add an extra fully functioning room. Depending on your needs, you can add bedrooms, a bathroom or even an ultra glam dressing room.

A loft conversion is considered one of the easiest and most straight forward ways to extend you home – it’s MUCH easier than moving house at least! I think it’s a great idea if you love you home but you feel like you’ve outgrown it a little.

If you’re considering a loft conversions and found that your loft space is suitable to use, there are still a few things you need to consider : –

Planning Permission and regulations

Whilst a loft conversion doesn’t need traditional planning permission, unless you plan to extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds certain limits and conditions. Ensuring you follow the criteria that is set for loft conversions means you won’t get into any trouble or be subject to any fees or fines once the work is complete.

The contractor

Finding the right person to do the job is really important. Try and get a range of quotes from companies that come recommended from friends, family and online. Read up on customer reviews and check out websites like Rated People before making a decision.

Windows and lighting

Lofts are dark spaces so if you’re planning on creating a usable room, you need to ensure you allow in enough light. The best way to do this is with good quality windows and some roof blinds from the VELUX website to fit them. VELUX have a fab range of blinds, particularly their new Disney collection which features characters like Mickey Mouse, Bambi and and Winnie the Pooh and Princesses.

Decoration

Once your beautiful new room is complete, the fun starts. Using light or bright colours will make your new space seem even bigger. Using mirrors and white furniture will also give a sense of more space and reflect light from your windows.

Have you had a loft conversion?

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Bob is back! The nations favourite builder is back with a brand new DVD collection called Bob the Builder – Dig This. Released by Abbey Home Media on Monday 17th April, the DVD is filled with takes of teamwork and friendship between Bob and his fabulous friends. 

Whilst I’m hoping for Sunshine over the Easter Bank Holiday, the wonderful British weather is renowned for letting us down. Bob the Builder Dig This is the perfect back up plan. 

Grab your tool belt and hardhat and join Bob and his team as they construct projects using a foundation of determination and working together. With his business partner Wendy, apprentice builder Leo, and a team of machines, Bob is ready to get to work in Fixham and Spring City.

This team digs into any project, hammering out solutions to problems, all while building confidence along the way. No project is too big or too small – from fixing a leaky roof to repairing a skyscraper. After all, the fun is in getting it done! In Dig This, Team Bob are digging the foundations for a skyscraper in Spring City’s new business zone, but work has to stop when they come across some ancient Roman ruins.

This new collection features seven fun episodes: Dig This; Saffi’s Treehouse; Out of the Woods; Stormy Weather; Bear Mountain; Bentley’s Bones and Home on the Range.

If you’d like to win a copy of the brand new DVD, complete the Gleam form below.

Bob the Builder

Terms and conditions

The competition closes on 17th April 2017. The winner will be notified via email and if applicable, social media. The winner will have 28 days to accept their prize otherwise a new winner will be chosen. There is no cash alternative, and the prize is non-refundable and non transferable. The winner will be chosen at random and notified within 5 days of the end of the competition. Competition is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.

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