Hopeless Romantics – a world premiere in Middlesbrough!

It’s not often that we get a world premiere of a play in Middlesbrough, but this week at Middlesbrough Theatre you can see just that – the world premiere of Hopeless Romantics! Written by Nick Lane and Fiona Wass and presented by Reform Theatre (in association with Harrogate Theatre and Middlesbrough Theatre) we were delighted to be invited along to see what it was all about.

I should probably start with a confession or two: the first, which will become obvious pretty quickly, is that I’m no theatre critic – I’ve never written a theatre review before in my life so look upon this more as a recommendation for a night out that just happens to take place in the theatre. The second is that I don’t really go to the theatre very much at all…but now that I have been, it’s definitely going to be something that happens more regularly!

Hopeless Romantics at Middlesbrough Theatre

Now you know all my secrets, let’s get going with the review. Hopeless Romantics – what’s it all about then? Well, there’s Alan, Zoe and a broken down car. There’s also the fact that Zoe is pretending to be Alan’s girlfriend at a big family dinner…it might not sound like much of a scenario but trust me, there’s real chemistry between the two actors, who are both totally brilliant by the way, and the first half flies by before you even know where you are! It’s funny and sweet and you can’t help but keep everything crossed that it will be a happy ending for them both.

Hopeless Romantics 3

It wouldn’t be a Love Middlesbrough Lass blog without some mention of a sweet treat, and lucky for me there’s a whole heap of them to choose from in the interval! Sweets, crisps and ice-cream are all available from the kiosk, and lots of flavour choices too. I opted for mint choc chip in a tub (so basically the BEST flavour) and Mr Love Middlesbrough Lass went for honey and ginger. Both were given a tip-top rating. There’s also a bar available upstairs if you would prefer to enjoy a fizzy tipple in the interval break.

Back to the show. More laughs, more great tunes, more touching moments. As it reached its end I was completely involved and without giving too much away, I might have done a little happy dance inside at the end result. Funny, touching and sweet, both actors truly did an excellent job and I would absolutely recommend it as a great night out!

Hopeless Romantics

There’s still plenty time for you to catch the show as it’s playing until Saturday 10th June, including an afternoon matinee. Tickets are £14.50, concessions £12.50, matinee £10.50 and can be booked by calling the theatre on 01642 81 51 81 or online www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk

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Local History Month highlights

As a Love Middlesbrough Lass I get to do and see some amazing things, and Local History Month was no exception. A month long celebration throughout May of Middlesbrough heritage, with a programme packed full of events, I  was so excited to decide where I would go first!

Middlesbrough’s Theatrical History held at Middlesbrough Theatre was presented by self-titled, local time traveller Martin Peagam and the Chair of Middlesbrough Theatre Ltd, Ray Burton. Martin started the evening with a fascinating insight into the theatres of Middlesbrough – I had no idea there had been so many or that they went back so far in history! His passion for the subject was evident right from the start and everyone in the audience was totally enthralled. Ray followed this with the history of Middlesbrough Little Theatre, as it was originally known, including how it was funded, a potted history of the group and some brilliant anecdotes from all-nighter dress rehearsals! The evening ended with a fab presentation, made by the Theatre technicians, of some of the famous names that have graced the stage over the years. The icing on the cake was when members of the audience were allowed to go on the stage and have a good look behind the scenes. All round, it was an excellent beginning to my first Local History Month!

Middlesbrough Theatre exterior 1957

Next up was the unveiling of the Tom Dresser statue in the grounds of the Dorman Museum. Strolling through Albert Park to get to the museum, I was amazed to see the size of the crowd, and it was particularly heartwarming to see lots of local school children there too ❤️ The event, held on the centenary of Tom Dresser’s winning of the Victoria Cross during the First World War in 1917, was really very moving from start to finish. The speech from Tom’s grandson particularly had me welling up and I might even have shed a tear or two… I was lucky enough to be given access to the statue close up to get some photos for Love Middlesbrough and it’s truly stunning – so much detail! The sculptor, Brian Alabaster, is a wonderful artist and I can highly recommend taking a look next time you’re at the Dorman Museum.

The following day, there was more history to come – this time a hard hat tour of the Central Lodge, Askham Bryan College, in Stewart Park. I have to admit I’m beginning to develop a bit of a fondness for wearing a hard hat – until becoming a Love Middlesbrough Lass I’d never worn one in my life, and since then, I’ve had one on loads of times!

An absolutely cracking tour, we got to see so much more than I had anticipated and there was loads of fascinating facts to go with it all from our wonderful tour guide, Francine Marshall. I don’t want to give too much away as you can request a tour for yourself (which I would highly recommend) but safe to say there are some real beauties along the way from tiles to doors to the graffiti…oh! Honestly, it was brilliant, and even Mr Love Middlesbrough Lass gave it a solid 10 out of 10.

 

My final event of the month was Putting Ladies on a Pedestal, presented once again, by our beloved time-traveller, Martin Peagam. I was introduced to some ladies of Middlesbrough that I had never heard of, and my history-loving head is intrigued and wants to find out more. As with all of Martin’s talks that I attended, it was highly entertaining and once again his passion and enthusiasm shone through. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak I absolutely insist you should go – Love Middlesbrough recommends for definite!

Local History Month 2017 was presented in partnership with Ageing Better Middlesbrough, and facilitated and supported by Middlesbrough Council, and coordinators Rob Nichols and Tracy Hyman from Discover Middlesbrough. I want to extend my thanks to them all – this Love Middlesbrough Lass loved every moment of it and I can’t wait for the next one!

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#UKCoffeeWeek

It’s UK Coffee Week this week (10th – 16th April) and two out of your three Love Middlesbrough Lasses enjoy a crackin’ cuppa or two, so we figured what better time to share some of our favourite places in town?! At the same time we can let you know a bit more about UK Coffee Week and how (and most importantly where!) in town you can get involved.

Great coffee, good will‘. UK Coffee Week is a nationwide fundraising campaign that takes place in thousands of coffee shops across the country.  100% of donations received from UK Coffee Week will go to Project Waterfall, an initiative dedicated to bringing clean water facilities to coffee growing communities.

One of our very favourite coffee stops in town (and an independent to boot!)  Bedford Street Coffee will be donating 5p for every cup of coffee sold to Project Waterfall. You can read the full story via the Love Middlesbrough website  and follow Bedford Street Coffee on Facebook to keep an eye on more fundraising updates and special prize draws!

Love Middlesbrough Lass: Claire ❤️

Up until a few weeks ago I had two solid contenders for the best coffee in town, and then boom – a new place opens and it turns out to be the coffee of dreams! So now I have a list of three places that I insist you visit for your caffeine fix.

1.  Off the Ground
Newly opened, Off the Ground is a coffee shop with a difference as it’s also a social enterprise, re-investing money back into the community. I love the decor, the atmosphere, the staff are lovely and yep, the coffee is delicious. It’s my new favourite place to go, both for a quick stop during the work week, and it’s ideal for a weekend afternoon, sipping your coffee and watching the world go by.

2. Bedford Street Coffee
When I think of Bedford Street Coffee I think quality – there’s something in those beans that just tastes rich and gloriously decadent! Add a brownie of the day to your order and you’re basically winning at life…

3. Espresso 10
It’s an unassuming stand in the middle of the street and yet Espresso 10 has to be in my top 3. It’s cheap, has loads of different coffees to choose from and it never disappoints.  Even Mr Love Middlesbrough Lass, who takes his coffee very seriously, assures me that the double espresso is as good as any he has had in Europe (and trust me when I say that is a whole lotta European coffee that has been consumed).

Love Middlesbrough Lass: Emma ❤️

Of course Claire and I will have some mutual favourites and I have a personal bias towards Bedford Street Coffee (being amazing coffee and selling some awesome veggie food) but I think Claire covered that place amazingly, other than the fact that the staff in there are amazing and I’ve never seen them frown. So, in no particular order, here are my top three coffee shops in Middlesbrough:

1. Cupeno
This place is morning coffee heaven. I change my entire route to get this coffee on a morning when I’m in zombie mode. It’s just the right sweetness (I’m a two sugar gal and this needs nothing) and they are so nice. It’s great to have a ‘Good morning’ with your coffee. I can’t complain about the price either, great value for money, hence why this is in my top 3 and have loads of options. They also offer breakfast and are open super early so can’t complain.

2. The Olde Young Tea House
My mum introduced me to this place right before my interview for this job (I’m adamant that it’s what landed me the job) and it was the cutest, most relaxing place I have ever been in. Funnily enough, we found out what the place was actually called from the Love Middlesbrough website… what a coincidence. This is a great place for a coffee and a chat, they apparently do good tea as well but we’re not here to talk about that. It’s one of them smooth coffees that you don’t even realise you’ve drank until you hit your forehead on the rim of the mug- or is that just me?! Either way, great coffee, and of course, cake. So much cake…

3. Esquires Coffee
This is actually a chain but really doesn’t seem like it. I discovered this place in my hometown and it was one of the few places I’d visit when I was in Middlesbrough before joining the Love Middlesbrough Lasses on a daily basis. This is such a great place with good coffee and very good service. You know to expect good quality, simple coffee when you walk in this place.

We have a few honourable mentions for independents who just didn’t make our top three: Mannequin Cafe, Goodbody’s Eaterie, TP Coffee House, and Cafe Zim, all of which do good coffee and should be tried as well.

We’ve talked mainly about the independents so far, but we have to hand it to the chains; they didn’t make it this big without doing something right after all. So, we’ve mentioned Esquires, but we also have Cafe Nero and Starbucks. We’ve also decided to give an honourable mention to our colleague Matt who said Costa Coffee was the only shop he visits.

We hope you enjoy the coffee and try some new places. Hint for students and those low on cash: Mannequin Cafe is amazing and around £1.20 to take out. Emma X

We’re always up for trying new places so if there’s somewhere you think we definitely need to try, shout out in the comments below. Anyone for a cuppa now…?

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#ETW17: English Tourism Week 2017

We kicked off English Tourism Week 2017 in style with the return of Orange Pip Market! It was of course, beautiful blue skies, and a massive turnout! With a crackin’ 26 traders, we ate ALL the food and drank way too much hot chocolate – we’re still dreaming of the artisan hot chocolate from Sprinkles of Yarm with homemade marshmallows *drools*

Vegan samosa

It wasn’t just Orange Pip Market for English Tourism Week, we were shouting about loads of other fabulous things to do in Middlesbrough.

Feeling hungry?

We love all our independents – shopping, food and all the other good things in life!

Out with the kids?

It’s a gorgeous, sunny day – let’s go to the park!

albert-park-grid

Got your running shoes on? PS. check out the fabulous Love Middlesbrough run which you can download here – it’s a heart shape just like us! ❤️

Culture vulture?

Dorman Museum in spring

We’ve already told you all about our InstaMeet but we couldn’t resist sharing it all over again because we had such an awesome time!

We hope you enjoyed reading the English Tourism Week blog posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. Shout out your suggestions in the comments below for where we should go next. Roll on English Tourism Week 2018…

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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#ETW17: Family-friendly Middlesbrough

The hardest thing of all when we started writing about family-friendly Middlesbrough was narrowing it down to a manageable list, so to help us out we asked a selection of Love Middlesbrough buddies to share their top picks and reasons why they are so family friendly. We’ve kindly included some direct quotes which you’ll see scattered throughout in italics, because we all know that there’s nothing better than word of mouth, from people in the know.

Middlesbrough Sports Village and Playworld
A popular choice, our family-friendly fans couldn’t recommend this highly enough! The soft play area has four floors and includes rope bridges, tunnels and so much more; there’s also a ‘toddle zone’ area suitable for little ones who are not yet brave enough to climb!funvillage-2_1

The soft play area is great, particularly for toddlers. They have a host of bikes available too which means all the family can get involved as they even have the bike trailer things for tiny kids.

It’s reasonably priced, well looked after, has lots to do and very clean. We often take all the kids there when we have visitors from London because they all really like it too. 

Playworld is open from 9.30am – 6pm, Monday to Sunday. Entry price is £5, for children up to 12 months old entry is £1. There are also term-time offers and children’s party facilities! There’s heaps of parking and easy access to all areas. Find out more at Middlesbrough Sports Village.

Stewart Park
Ooof – it’s really hard to choose just one thing to talk about for Stewart Park as there are so many brilliant things you can do! Take a stroll, feed the ducks, count the totem poles, visit the Farmers’ Market (the last Sunday of every month) and eat loads of tasty local food, swing and bounce in the playground, enjoy some cake in the cafe…the list well and truly could go on. It’s a fantastic park that has something for all ages, and best of all, it’s mostly free!

stewart-park-family-fun-2012-3…great for all ages, the park is great and it also has a swing suitable for children who use a wheelchair. The café is great, very friendly and really reasonably priced.

A brilliant all-rounder, it’s an ideal place to meet up with friends – they bring their kids, I bring my dog, we go for a stroll taking in all the delights of the playground and work up an appetite before we head to the cafe for a proper catch-up over some cake! 

…loads of space for picnics and games on the open grass, hide and seek in the woods and a play area suitable for a wide range of children. It’s pushchair and wheelchair accessible too. 

There’s loads of free parking available, including buggy-friendly and disabled spaces. Find out more about Stewart Park, including the opening times, but the best way is just to go and see it for yourself. It will only take one visit to convince you…

Teesaurus Park
Did you know we have dinosaurs in Middlesbrough? Well, we do, and we LOVE them! It’s one of those places that either you know about and go all the time, or you’ve never heard of it before and are amazed when you find out it exists.teesaurus-park Our top pick recommendation came from the former and they are frequent visitors.

Teesaurus Park is the best – we start getting excited as soon as we pull in to the car park (and that’s just the adults!) 

You can find the dinosaurs on Riverside Park Road, and there’s plenty of free parking available. In the spirit of total honesty, there’s not a lot else around there so we would recommend toilet visits before you head out, and take your own drinks and snacks if you want refreshments!

Dorman Museum/Dressers Tea Room
It’s free entry to the beautiful Dorman Museum (some temporary exhibitions charge a small fee) and there’s loads of stuff to do from family-friendly trails to heading straight upstairs to play with the amazing fish floor! There’s plenty of space for diving around and hiding in tunnels and just generally having an absolutely brilliant time! At the end of your visit you can pop in to Dressers Tea Room for an afternoon treat for all the family.

There’s loads of kid-friendly options [in Dressers Tea Room] even for the fussy ones…  

For some extra family friendly fun, there’s also the fabulous Little Lion sessions that run on Thursdays from 1pm – 2.30pm. The sessions are £1.50 per child and include a drink and a biscuit.

The Dorman Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm (last entry is at 4pm). Find out more and read some Trip Advisor reviews at the same time via the Museum website. While you’re so close, you should definitely include some time to call in to Albert Park which is right next door!

Cineworld Movies for Juniors
What do you do if it’s pouring down with rain and it’s the weekend and you’re desperate to take the kids somewhere? Cineworld in Middlesbrough have the answer: Movies for Juniors! From just £2 (£3.50 for 3D movies!) there’s animated and live-action films to choose from, available on Saturday mornings at 10am (times subject to change). Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult. You can also book in advance to avoid any queues.

Creams Cafe: ice-cream, crepes and more!
Creams was added as a last-minute top tip after a recent visit this past weekend. With a massive menu choice and a cool, kid-friendly interior, it’s a brilliant place for a weekend treat (for teens and adults too!). There’s ice-cream, crepes, waffles and loads of other tasty treats that will make you go all heart eyes emoji and wonder if you need one waffle or two…highly recommended! Visit the website for opening times and more info. There’s also an online menu…just saying…

As with all of our English Tourism Week posts we can only share small snippets or we’d be here all day and you would be too! You’re bound to have a list of all your own favourite places – feel free to share them in the comments below and let other families know about your special places. Sharing is caring 😃

Love Middlesbrough Lasses
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