The Purnells Final Curtain

Teesside favourites The Purnells play their final gig this weekend on Saturday night at the Georgian Theatre, Stockton. It will be a sad but doubtless unforgettable night as one of the area’s most exuberant live bands calls it a day. A great stage to bow out on also, the revamped Georgian is a fantastic venue now. With support acts of Be Quiet Shout Loud this show is not to be missed.

Singer Stu tells us that he may have some new masks up his sleeve, so expect theatrics and expect high emotion.

But hang on a minute, before the show I thought I would ask that, there Stuart Blackburn a few questions about the life and times of The Purnells.

Q: Do you remember The Purnells first gig?

Stu: Our first gig was at The Sun inn, Stockton. It was set up for new bands by Kingsley Chapman and we supported Be Quiet Shout Loud, so it’s great to be doing our last show with them.

Q: Is it important to you to really put on a show?

Stu: Massively important, who wants to see people just standing there? You have to go for it every time.

Q: There is real drama in the music as well live theatrics. Is that a key element to The Purnells?

Stu: I suppose it’s always just been something that comes out, a little bit of drama is always a good thing.

Q: You enjoyed working on the videos too didn’t you?

Stu: Very much so, it’s always been a regret we didn’t do more.

Q: Most of the band stayed together throughout. Did the different bass players add facets to the sound and direction?

Stu: Definitely, every bass player has brought something exciting to the table, I mean we liked Ian so much we let him stay!

Q: What was it like playing festivals?

Stu: Personally festivals have always been my favourite, maybe for the outdoor atmosphere but mainly because it’s not your crowd and you have to fight to grab and hold their attention.

Q: You must be very proud of the recordings. Some fine songs and great albums. Any personal favourites?

Stu: I’ve always loved the more bluesy ones, mainly because that’s my thing. I can’t really pick a favourite song, but if it’s dark and bluesy I’m probably a fan! I’m proud of all the albums we’ve done, I think Half Step Into the Shadow is my fave in a way because I’m proud of a lot of the lyrics on that album.

Q: You personally love putting your acting skills to the test on and off stage?

Stu: Again, it just kind of comes out, I do enjoy a bit of drama.

Q: What are you going to do with your masks now?

Stu: I may set up a museum in my garage! I could play the albums on repeat and serve chip butties or something; I think it’d be a winner.

Q: The album launches have always been special events. Very enjoyable to watch but must have been enjoyable to prepare and perform?

Stu: Very enjoyable to perform certainly, and we are at home when we play the Georgian. Enjoyable to set up? Not really, it is weeks of worrying if folk will turn up and alienating everyone with constant harassment to buy tickets. I don’t know how promoters do it everyday.

Q: Will there be excitement but also sadness for you all with the last show?

Stu: It’s very sad, as ten years is a long time. I think it’ll kick in on the night. I’m going to really miss it!

Q: Any plans for a Purnells tribute band in 10 years time?

Stu: We could form our own tribute band, there are many who say we have already! Why wait ten years? I’m free after Saturday!

The Purnells Final Gig – supports Serinette + Be Quiet Shout Loud – Sat 29 April Georgian Theatre – tickets £6 advance

Photos Tracy Hyman

Details and Tickets



National Vegetarian Week 2017

National Vegetarian Week 2017 is in a month and your resident veggie Love Middlesbrough Lass is coming at you with her favourite veggie friendly places in Middlesbrough- including where serves great poached eggs on toast and my fave veggie burger; you’ll never guess. You may be thinking, what has this got to do with me, I eat meat? But the idea of National Veggie Week is to encourage people to try being veggie for a week, or at least a day.

My all-time favourite place for food has to be Mohujos, almost everything on their menu can be made with their Veggie Chili and it’s Mexican food, who can hate on Mexican? Mohujos Burritos are massive too, it’s almost a food challenge to eat a whole burrito in one sitting.

I have a weakness for adorable tea shops and if you’re into the non-standard food, then The Olde Young Tea House is the best place. Not only to they serve awesome cake, but their menu is a refreshing change from cheese sandwiches and jacket potatoes with beans. They have a mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwich which is like pizza in a sandwich, and they do a grilled pepper and humus sandwich which is perfect for vegans (assuming there’s no butter involved). Did I mention that they have freshly baked cake every day? I want cake now.

Another place that is totally unexpected to be veggie-friendly is Roast, they don’t have much in the way of range but after a quick chat with the owner, they will take you seriously. I got a fresh batch of gravy just because the owner wasn’t quite sure that the gravy wasn’t contaminated (with meat that is).

Chilli Cake is awesome. I’m just going to put that out there, they’re awesome. They have a menu full of veggie food, and are super helpful. My favourite from there is the Posh Chip Butty, which is a chip butty, but with sweet potato and on ciabatta bread. It’s also a super awesome place to work. I have only been in the Hartlepool store, however I have been informed that they’re pretty much the same. So if you’re planning on a train journey, pop into Chilli Cake in Boho, it’s super awesome.

Poached Eggs are amazing but so hard to get right (trust me, I’ve ruined many eggs trying) but there are two places (very close to each other) that do the BEST poached eggs, and both use sourdough bread. If you’re with veggies then the place to go is Bedford St Coffee House, they have awesome poached eggs and a few other options, you can also have their soup of the day (it’s on the specials board, but might not be veggie). If you happen to be with meat-eaters who want something a bit fancier, then go to The Curing House. They have the poached eggs of dreams and they have a very long wine list for those of you who aren’t driving. The Curing House also happen to be having a Veggie night in honour of National Vegetarian Week; on the 17th May you can get 5 veggie courses for £25, I will definitely be going! Both these places serve Rounton’s Coffee (The Curing House getting it straight from Bedford St Coffee) and they both have great service.

My ultimate veggie burger of choice may come as a surprise given that I’m all about the independents, but seriously, if you want a good veggie burger with flavour and also don’t have £20 to spend on a meal, then McDonalds have the best. I was surprised as you are when I first tried this -mainly because I had no idea they served it- but it tastes too good to be true. I’m not sure if it’s vegan when you hold the mayo but it won’t hurt to ask and McDonalds fries are vegan so hopefully the vegans can get a meal from everyone’s favourite fast food chain. There’s also something familiar about walking into McDonalds with your friends, it’s comforting.

Middlesbrough Station Pop Up Shopping

If you go down to Middlesbrough Railway Station over the next couple of days you will see shops popping up all around you.

The next Middlesbrough Railway Station Pop Up Shops will be held this Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April from 10am until 4pm and the following lovely Traders will be present:

Tony and Cally from Black Heart Soap Creations
Brian from Victoria Jackson Renovated Furniture
Kirsty from Bookshop on the Wall
Angie from Fancy That
Emma from Emma’s Enchanted Crafts – SATURDAY ONLY
Nicola from Nicola’s Cake Corner
Wendy from Wendy’s Cards and Gifts
Julie from Hannah’s Sweets
Sharon and Ashley from Ashley’s Craft Designs – FRIDAY ONLY
Scoobie and Drama from Twisted Wood Creations
Claire from Super Geek Stuff – FRIDAY ONLY
Ali from Independent Phoenix Trader – SATURDAY ONLY
Angie from Mrs Bow-Jangles – SATURDAY ONLY
Jackie from Dog House Designs – SATURDAY ONLY

Please come and have a stroll around the Pop Up Shops where the stalls have been carefully selected for their quality and uniqueness, chat to the friendly stallholders who offer a diverse shopping experience showcasing handcrafted gifts including alternative soap bars, luxury whipped cream soap in a tin, bath delights (bath bombs), cushions, quillows, bunting, renovated furniture, preloved gifts, artwork, superhero and super geek gifts, silver and beaded jewellery, watches, purses, key rings, children’s books, knitted baby clothes, children’s handmade ribbons, bows and headbands, cards for all occasions, quirky frames and plaques, signs and wall hangings from recycled wood, delicious homemade cakes, sweets and so much more…..…..…..

Pop Up Shops are held the 3rd Friday and Saturday of every month and the event was the idea of Dave Mitchell Middlesbrough Railway Station Team Leader.

The Pop Up Shops are made up of 12 local independent traders with the aim of having a diverse range of items for perusal. It is a fabulous opportunity for both passengers and visitors to buy from local businesses from within the Station Concourse.

The dates for the remainder of the year are as follows: Middlesbrough Railway Station Pop Up Shops 10am – 4pm Friday April 21st Saturday April 22nd Friday May 19th Saturday May 20th Friday June 16th Saturday June 17th Friday July 21st Saturday July 22nd Friday August 18th Saturday August 19th Friday September 15th Saturday September 16th Friday October 20th Saturday October 21st Friday November 17th Saturday November 18th Friday December 15th Saturday December 16th.

‘Remember when you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.’

Vintage Bus Running Day

The 500 Group will be holding their Teesside Vintage Bus Running Day this coming Sunday, 23rd April, based at the Tees Transporter Bridge.

It is a real sight to behold with iconic old buses once again running along the streets of Middlesbrough and Teesside. Great to look at but even more fun to climb on board and take a trip.

There may be no free wifi on board but the engines chug and chunter and these vintage buses almost seem to have a character of their own.
The 500 Group hope to have buses operating on five routes linking the Transporter with Middlesbrough Bus Station, Stockton High Street and Yarm. They will have about twenty buses booked to attend and most will be running “FREE SERVICES.”
The event is designed to give pleasure to good local families and other
folks, as well as bus enthusiasts from all parts of the North of England and
Southern Scotland. A commemorative programme is available to buy with all the timetables included. There are normally stalls selling some great die-cast models. not come along to the Transporter from 10.30 am on Sunday 23rd and join in the fun?
You can also catch buses to the Transporter from Middlesbrough Bus Station or Stockton High Street as advised on the poster

Note: Only services provided by the 500 Group are ‘free.’ Normal fares will apply on public service buses.”


Love Middlesbrough Lasses bake!

Last weekend your Love Middlesbrough Lasses whipped out their aprons and made a (dare we say) delicious cake. Honestly, we don’t know what was more fun, baking the cake or eating it. You may have seen on our Instagram that we baked, and the result of that baking *Easter chicks alert*

To make your very own Love Middlesbrough Easter cake here’s the recipe.

300g Butter
300g Sugar
6 eggs
250g flour
50g cocoa powder
100g melted milk chocolate
1 tsp orange flavouring
½ tsp red food colouring

100g butter
175g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder

100g White Chocolate
Yellow Food colouring
Your favourite sweets (we love mini eggs)
Writing icing (sometimes called piping icing)

Large Bowl
Electric mixer
8” round tin
Love Mbro Heart Stencil


  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3, 160⁰C/150⁰C fan assisted. Grease tin or line with baking paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar together in large bowl until creamy and light.
  • Beat in eggs
  • Mix in the flour and cocoa powder in sections to avoid mess
  • Add milk chocolate, orange flavouring and red food colouring. Add more food colouring if necessary.
  • Pour into the tin and bake for 1hr 15 minutes or until spongey (it should spring back when you touch it)

  • Cool the cake on a tray while you mix the buttercream
  • Mix the butter and icing sugar together and add in the cocoa powder, you can colour this too if you would like. If it seems dry then add a splash of milk.
  • When your cake is cool, use your heart stencil to cut out your heart out, use a sharp knife and be careful. Cut the cake in half through the centre (horizontally) and separate the two pieces. We used two shallow tins so didn’t have to cut the cake in half.
  • Spread the buttercream over one side of the cake evenly (use a spatula if you have one, if not a butter knife will do) then put the cake back together.
  • Melt the white chocolate carefully (it burns easily) using 15-30 second bursts in the microwave or over a pot of hot water. Mix in the food colouring until it reaches your favourite shade of yellow
  • Spread the chocolate evenly over the cake, spreading it across the sides.
  • Go wild with decoration using your favourite sweets and chocolate. Use the writing icing to pipe your own message onto the top of the cake (make sure the chocolate is set before doing this)
  • Enjoy your creation, it won’t last more than a day if you’re anything like us.

You don’t have to do a heart of course, we just thought it was very appropriate, you could do any shape you wanted…

What did we do with our off-cuts? We made truffles!
We crumbled the cake up and added it to our spare buttercream until it was pretty dense, but still mouldable. We then rolled them into balls and covered them in a mix of icing sugar and cocoa powder. It’s all very haphazard, but they taste nice no matter how you do them. We recommend you leave them in the fridge if you’re not eating them all straight away. If you put them on a lolly-pop stick and cover them in chocolate then you have cake pops, unfortunately we didn’t have lolly-pop sticks.

What we want you to do now is go to the supermarket, buy your ingredients, then go home, get in the kitchen and bake! Once you’ve made your creation, take a photo and upload it to Instagram and tag us @lovembro so we can *drool* over your tasty creations!

Love Middlesbrough Lasses