Watching The Ships Roll In – And Then We Watch Them Roll Away Again: Tall Ships Blyth 2016

Oh. My. God. I am on a complete and utter high after this weekend’s Tall Ships Event held in my very own hometown of Blyth!

Fave Ship Everrrr

Fave Ship Everrrr

Seen as though I am on my ‘summer holiday’ (private uh-hum ‘joke’ between me and the OH. Won’t bore you with the details but yes we did join the whose-had-the-hardest-day-brigade. Something I vowed I would never do. Bah). Sorry where was I? Oh yes, so seen as though I was off on Friday and I live right across the road from the beach, I thought it would be a marvellous idea to troop on over and watch the ships roll in (!)

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So, having fed, washed and dressed both myself and the baba in record time we managed to get out the house and over to the beach just after nine (major woohoo and high five). It was perfect timing to get caught up in the build-up atmosphere as staff, volunteers and visitors were trickling in.

It looks deceivingly quiet on this pic!

It looks deceivingly quiet on this pic!

The weather was unreal – blue skies with that lovely sunshine shimmering off the sea. Perfect Tall Ship Hunting Weather. Although there was a slight breeze which meant I couldn’t put the parasol up on the pram (had an experience down the beach once where this nearly blew off towards some unsuspecting sunbathers. Needless to say I was impressed at my most unlikely ninja reaction and I caught it just in time. Very unlike me).

Waiting for some Tall Ships, is that one in the distance?? Gorgeous morning though!

Waiting for some Tall Ships, is that one in the distance??!

So we sat and waited. I was a bit frightened In case I mistook random boats as Tall Ships – I mean, how tall are they anyway? Plus Ella was restless once we stopped so I did a lap of the beach, only to find I’d missed one as I came back to our Hunting Spot.

Never mind, like buses, none came and then two came at once. Just after an old lady pushing a dog in a pushchair asked me the way to the harbour (true story).

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Yey, I got my Ship Fix and we went home, saving ourselves for the evening where we could scoot off down to the harbour as a family to see them all.

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imageAs soon as the OH was in from work, we scrambled out the door and headed towards the Harbour via Ridley Park. Being a resident of Blyth and so close to the event itself, I was anxious that there’d be utter chaos with traffic and the temporary one-way system. Needless to say I was impressed the whole weekend with the organisation of not only the Tall Ships Event but for the traffic and parking measures that were put in place. As a resident it was minimal disruption and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing Blyth come alive these past four days.image

Ridley Park was a hive of activity itself with fairground rides, market stalls and it’s oh-so-famous playground water feature. We ventured along to the Quayside and swooned at the ships (and I also at an Orlando Bloom look-alike from the what I call Pirate Ship. I’m not too sure what it’s actual name was?? I couldn’t see the side or the flag on the top properly).

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My other favourite ship was the ‘Dar Mlodziezy’ near the end of the harbour right next to the stage and the bar

Where I spied them serving prosecco hurrah.

How convenient! image

A bit pricey (£9 a round for fizz and beer) but what the hell – what maternity leave? Remember I’m on my s-u-m-m-e-r h-o-l-i-d-a-y. So we had two rounds of drinks. YOLO

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We finished our night with a beer and a burrito (from the Zapatista stall). We got to eat in peace after Ella’s grandma kindly offered to take her back to hers and feed her while we ate. We sat in the lifeboat hanger where there was a band warming up and (selfish mother alert) I relished in the pretence of our old life and that we were out on a date.

Saturday we did it all again (minus the alcohol) with some friends and more family.

This time I purchased some amazing Cheesy Peasy Pease Pudding from the Pete’s Puddin Stall. Nom Nom.

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Sunday we gave it a miss as it rained in the morning and by the time the sun got out we resigned ourselves to the fact we were going to have a lazy day. So we stayed at home and ate Sunday dinner and drank wine.

As we have a baba it meant we missed out on the fireworks at 9pm (although if you stood in a certain part in our garden you could see them between the houses).

You could hear them though.

Which made me want to see them even more. By the time I decided to change out of my pj’s and run to the front of the estate to catch the finale, it was over and I was just a strange lady standing on a street corner breathless. Not something I want to be known for.

The calm before the storm - beating the rush at the Coastline. Major Tile Love for this place

The calm before the storm – beating the rush at the Coastline. Major Tile Love for this place

So Monday I desperately needed my Tall Ship fix. We made a day of it; getting up early and heading to Coastline for our breakfast and then walking down to the Harbour.

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This time we walked through the back of Ridley Park car park to the Harbour which we’d missed entirely in our previous trips. This was really good as it had the navy ship and helicopter’s.

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We walked into the town centre to see the fair at the market square, then back along the Harbour to see the ships one last time before they set sail.

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We had a pit stop at Ridley Park where tea and pudding was sorted for the evening by purchasing Sausages from The Geordie Banger Co and a Chocolate Tiffin Brownie from The Brownie Bar.

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For a Bank Holiday Monday the weather was unbelievable – perched on deck chairs by the water park while feeding Ella with all the hustle and bustle you’d have thought we were on holiday abroad somewhere.

Never seen Blyth Beach as busy!

Never seen Blyth Beach as busy!

It seemed like everyone else had the same idea as us – to watch the ships sail out from Blyth Beach. Which is obvious really I don’t know why I was surprised. Despite the crowds we still had an amazing view of watching them roll away again (!)

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What else was there to do now it was all coming to an end?

Sit on the dock of the bay wasting time? Or sit in the back garden drinking vino blanco? Guess what we chose.

Well done to everyone who was involved – you did Blyth proud and no doubt well and truly put us on the map.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Cruising the Coast to Crusoe’s 

 

Another Saturday morning and another Wilford adventure in search of a local haunt to stuff our faces.

I was originally booked onto two exercise classes at Xercise4less (trying to escape for a couple of hours me-time and leave the baba with the hubby, see how he likes it. Payback for when he sods off to football on a Sunday morning) but when I woke up, that flipping mam guilt voice told me we ought to do something as a family.

So, sounding like I was doing him a favour, I suggested I skip the classes and we all go out for breakfast (again!) I know, I know – I had an opportunity to escape and I didn’t take it. I’m sure I’ll regret it when he’s off to yet another NUFC match (eye roll).

Surprisingly, we arrived at a decision really quickly (which doesn’t happen often in our household – especially over what to eat and where).Turns out hubby wanted to visit The Royal Quays outlet in North Shields to have a look in the Nike store for some football boots. I struggled to think of somewhere near there to go so when he suggested we go to Crusoe’s in Tynemouth en route, I agreed. Wow.

Crusoe’s is on the beach overlooking the sand and the sea down from The img_0353Grand Hotel (where we had our wedding reception nearly nine years ago. Crikey it’s our ten year wedding anniversary next year eeek! I want to go back to Vegas to celebrate – minus a child in tow. He doesn’t. I’ve got a year to work on him plus I’m open to babysitting offers – please apply within).
Before I go any further – I know I’m not the most maternal of folk but I do want to add a ‘P.S I love my child’ in here. Despite the underlying moan tone I have on this blog toward little people – it is all in jest and I do have a heart.

I’ve cried twice this weekend; once (well numerous times actually) at the story, picture and video of five-year old Omran Daqneesh injured in the airstrike at Aleppo. I’m sure I’m amongst millions of parents who hugged their children a little bit tighter that night. His little dazed face and lack of tears are harrowing at how he accepts this as a way of a life; no emotion other than the sheepish look when he wipes his bloody hand on the chair after touching his little injured head. Totally and utterly heart breaking.

The other time was at a heart wrenching story that I came across on Instagram yesterday morning that I just can’t get out of my head.

Michelle and Andy Cottle experienced the stillbirth of their daughter, Orla, back in May. They’re cycling from Vancouver to the Mexican border in San Diego to raise funds for the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity (SANDS). I can’t begin to imagine the pain they are going through but the strength they’re showing is incredible and inspiring. They’re website is called Dear Orla and you can read more about it and follow their journey here. They both do a brave video (which you can also view on the website – have plenty of tissues handy!!) where they tell their story #CyclingForOrla. You can also donate here.

It puts everything in perspective and is all the more reason to spend time together as a family. I know I am lucky and I am thankful for what I’ve got.

Back to Saturday morning and after cruising along the coast from Blyth, we parked opposite Tynemouth Park again and walked img_0386down. We imagepassed an early morning running club – a brutal reminder that I’d ditched my own morning of exercise in favour of food. Ooops. Oh well, I’m trying out a buggy running club today so I’m hoping that redeems me. Should be interesting!

We both had bacon sarnies; I had my usual filter coffee and he had his usual diet coke. So predictable. I spied a gingerbread latte on the menu and made a mental note to return nearer Christmas for this festive tipple ummmm.

I’ve been to Crusoe’s once before and it was every bit as beautiful as Iimage remember; cosy and welcoming with it’s wooden furniture and twinkly lights giving it an almost festive feel. This was heightened by the slight autumnal chill on Saturday morning; grey skies and drizzle meant cardies had been replaced with coats. Otherwise we would have opted for outdoor dining.

 

Of course, nosy parker Ella couldn’t resist snapping up a perfect people-watching opportunity so out of her pram she came, perched on the table, catching the eye of a young couple across the room. I’m bias but she has such an infectious smile and she was bestowing it upon anyone who would take notice.

After breakfast, we walked back to the car and headed off to Royal Quays. Hubby didn’t get his football boots but I got myself some running trainers.

 

Yep, you read right running trainers.

But that experience is a whole blog post in itself.

As is the trip to Jesmond Dene we did afterwards.

So keep toot for those.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

Saturday Snaffles – Breakfast in Tynemouth

We seem to have fallen into a wonderful habit of going out for breakfast on a Saturday morning.

There’s nothing quite like us all piling into the car and going for an early (ish) morning drive along the coast in search of a bacon sarnie.

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Our pit stop this Saturday was Tynemouth Park. We frequented this last summer in the early days of my pregnancy. A lifestyle of eating and drinking on a weekend took a quick u turn when a panic-stricken husband was desperately finding things to do to entertain his sober, now insanely food-fussy  wife.

So Friday evenings were spent with me losing at the Lost Adventure Golf – alternated with losing copious amounts of two pennies in the nearby Whitley Bay arcades.

Thankfully on this visit, my appetite was fully restored and I wasn’t subjected to an ass whooping at the golf. Baby in tow, we went straight for bacon (and sausage) sarnies at the Clock Tower Café. They were delightful; both on brown buns and plenty of meat on them. We didn’t realise until after we ordered that if we wanted any sauces that they cost extra (25p each) so I trooped on back to the counter to grab a couple of these.

Washing it down with a filter coffee with warm milk (and a can of coke for the hot-drink-a-phobic that is the other half), we were both eyeing up the new Pirate Quest maze (can’t wait to take Ella bells in there when she’s older).

I wiped the crumbs off my jeans and the sauce off my face (I’m worse than a child) and we headed to show Ella the golf and the Jungle Wipeout.

Not that she was particularly interested.

imageShe was just pleased with herself that she’d managed to ‘negotiate’ with her dad not going back in her pram. A sign of things to come I suppose. Daddy’s. Little. Finger.

So we walked around the Boating Lake, me pushing an empty pram (still good exercise with an overstuffed changing bag attached) and the OH carrying a smug Ella. We remembered to stop and take some pictures this time as we’re usually rubbish at capturing family outings.

We passed a really cute old couple out walking their dog. They were so happy and content, when we walked by the old man grinned ‘you’ve got a better job than I have’ he said to hubby as he motioned to the dog tugging on his lead. The old man was on doggy toilet duties bless him – I was tempted to say he should see the state of Ella’s nappies. Or worse still, the tornado like explosions that splatter her clothing. Which normally happen in public (the Zoo in the lakes, a visit into work blah blah blah).

Not today though.

Phew.

We’d done it! Five months on and it’s still a pat on the back to  escape unscathed from any embarrassing baby-related incidents. Hurrah!

Our Saturday morning snaffling and cruising along the coast was a success!

Love Missuswolf xxx