A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
Published November 20th 2014
Light up Your Winter Days With A Little Fairytale Magic
Ways to Make Your Winter Magical in Newcastle 2014 In the bleak mid winter, frosty winds made moan Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…… So the hymn goes
Snow Covered Beach and Piers at the Mouth of the River Tyne
Just a few weeks ago, we were basking in 'an Indian summer' with temperatures worthy of an English summer's day, but now the clocks have changed and 'nights are fair drawn in', it's like someone's flicked a switch and turned off the British Summertime.
But don't worry, it doesn't have to be that bleak, there's nothing like a winter festival to brighten up the winter days and there's plenty going on around the North East this 2014/15 season
There's Enchanted Parks, camel trains and street entertainers, jingle bells and Christmas lights and loads more seasonal delights to make your winter magical.
Newcastle City Centre Christmas Decorations - image from the Met Office.gov.uk
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and everywhere you go Christmas trees adorn our town centres and shopping malls are aglow with Christmas cheer throughout December and into January.
In Newcastle City Centre the cast of this year's Tyne Theatre pantomime 'Cinderella' joined highly popular Metro Radio breakfast presenters Steve and Karen when they switched on the Christmas lights on Thursday 20 November, 2014 at Newcastle's Grey's Monument. The event traditionally signals the start of the winter frstivities in the city.
Meanwhile a huge extravaganza is planned at intu Eldon Square on Sunday 23rd November when none other than everyone's favourite ogre, 'Shrek' will be switching on the magnificent display of 100,000 lights and 25,000 baubles at intu Eldon Square to celebrate the joy of giving this Christmas.
Shrek and Fiona to delight the crowds at intu Eldon Square for the Christmas Lights Switch-on. Theatre Royal image
Starting at 11.30 a.m. there will be face painting and 'Shrek' craft making sessions followed by brass bands and a sing-a-long as the party gets underway with the 'switch-on' timed for 1p.m.
Following the sell-out performances of 'Shrek the Musical' in London's West End, the production is set to arrive at Theatre Royal Newcastle in March 2015 so the lovable green ogre, along with Princess Fiona and is making an advance appearance to the North East to come and meet everyone herel
While down in my neck of the woods at South Tyneside, home grown X Factor winner Joe McElderry will be doing the honours with the help of the borough's Mayor Cllr. Faye Cunningham on Saturday 22 November in King Street South Shields.
Hairy Bikers to Switch on Lights at intu MetroCentre - Facebook image
And if this isn't enough to whet your appetite why not pop along and see Si King and Dave Myers, better known as 'The Hairy Bikers' celebrity TV chefs, who will be performing the switch-on at intu MetroCentre on Sunday 23rd November 2014. The celebrity cooks will be joining in the fun provided by the mall's own Metrognomes between - 5p.m. as they prepare to switch-on the Christmas lights at Europe's largest shopping centre with the help of Santa Claus at 4p.m.
Me in my second childhood outside Fenwicks window Newcastle a few years ago.
Here in the North East generations of children have grown up with the magical annual event that is Fenwick's Christmas window. The prestigious department store which dates from the 19th Century, stands in Northumberland Street at the heart of Newcastle city centre and entertains thousands of local shoppers each year with an elaborate animated window display, to the delight of adults and children alike.
Fenwick's Alice in Wonderland Window Display 2014 - courtesy of Avril Molloy
Once again the Enchanted parks theme returns to light up the winter evenings with a beautifully themed winter walk with glorious illuminations as part of the Newcastle/Gateshead regional Winter Festival supported by the Arts Council for England.
The event takes place between Wednesday 10 - Sunday 14 December at Saltwell Park, Gates head where you can enjoy a guided walk through the park with illuminated pathways and installation as the park is once again transformed into a winter wonderland. This year's theme tells the 150 year old story of Estella, 'The Stargazer of Saltwell Park'. The event will be held between Wednesday 10 December and Sunday 14 December 2014 in the park and there is a strict 15minute timeslot allocated for each admission to the park in order to maintain the flow of visitors and prevent queing.
Tickets cost £7.50 adults and £1 for under 18s. Children under 3 go Free.
As this is an outdoor winter walk please dress accordingly for the occassion. For loads more information and directions please click here.
Tickets are on sale now from www.enchantedparks.com
Camel Train Procession and Illuminations
We Three Kings - Camel Train Procession down King Street South Shields
We Three Kings of Orient Are ... In a more traditional celebration of the Nativity, there will be a camel procession leaving from South Tyneside Museum on Ocean Road, South Shields on Friday 5 December between 5-6p.m. The procession will be accompanied by street entertainers and will make its way through the town centre along King Street South Shields towards the lovely old church or St. Hilda adjacent to the town's Marketplace, where St. Hilda's Garden will be adorned with stunning illuminated displays such as reindeer, polar bears and of course Santa Claus. The display will be on until the end of December and the whole event is FREE.
Illuminations in St Hilda's Garden, South Shields - image from southtyneside.gov
South Shields is easy to reach from Newcastle on the Tyne and Wear Metro system, with the town's main station situated in King Street.
The animals are well cared for and you can find out more about their welfare here.