With milestone birthdays being so important in British culture, I wanted to ensure that my boys felt loved and appreciated.
But with weeks to go until H’s 40th and little C’s first birthday, I started worrying about special gifts.
Having just paid out thousands of pounds in upfront nursery fees, the purse-strings had been stretched to their limit and another splurge was not on the cards.
Despite my best efforts, I failed to secure a trip away or even a meal out via the blog because my Domain Authority (DA) wasn’t hitting double figures at the time. I knew I had to race to find the perfect solution.
Now I’d been told by my better and ‘more sensible half’ NOT to spend anything. He meant it. So with a miniscule budget and constrained timescale, what was a new mum over 40 to do?
As 40th and first birthday presents go for boys, they don’t get much better than getting up close to some of the world’s most expensive supercars.
So with that in mind, I made a date in our diaries for the free open-air NE1 Newcastle Motor Show in Grey Street, Newcastle at the start of July.
It proved to be the perfect present for everyone. There was power, there was grunt and a whole host of satin paint finishes as flash cars such as Lamborghini, Porsche and Lexus models rolled up one by one.
There was a fine display and while usually it’s the biggies that steal the limelight, the real showstopper for us was when little C got behind the wheel. It’s fair to say we had a job getting our young rookie racer out of his vehicle.
I’m sure it won’t be long before we’ll have the Disney Pixar film, Cars on the box every weekend too.
Now we’re big fans of Rolls Royce in our household. We chose a silver Phantom for our wedding limo and while some say it’s tacky, I love the Celestial Phantom model that has 1,000 fibre-optic lights in its roof lining. For H however, it’s all about the engineering and this blue model, pictured below, certainly had the crowds in awe.
The adrenaline was truly pumping as we made our way down Grey Street, weaving our way through the crowds, taking in the sights and capturing as many memories on camera as we could. For H, the fun really did start at 40.
OK, so we didn’t have the money for H to race around a real race track (his dream) or even indulge in a spot of pampering at a luxury spa (my dream). I had zero cash to wow either of them with – but working in PR, I’d put my ideas cap on.
We were living life to the full as a family and the NE1 Newcastle Motor Show proved the perfect spot to toast the future and it was followed by a delicious dinner at home.
The motor show, which was sponsored by DFDS, attracted 100,000 visitors over the course of two glorious days in the city centre. There was live stunt action and cars from across the decades appearing on Dean Street, Grey Street and even Northumberland Street, including H’s favourite, a BMW 2002 model which he remembered from his childhood. Lloyd BMW were Dealer Partner at the event and showcased some of its extensive collection, including an M1 and i8 model.
Dubbed locally as the ‘Goodwood of the North’, there was even a red Porsche on display in Northumberland Street with the perfect numberplate for our small, but perfectly formed family. The organisers – NE1 Ltd – certainly pulled out all the stops to make the two-day show a huge success this year with bigger and better supercar thrills covering two square miles of the city.
Now while motor enthusiast H was explaining all about his rare and unique access to some exclusive vehicles on the phone to the in-laws overseas, it was clear to see that little C loved anything shiny, particularly this Aston Martin, pictured below.
The boys got to talk to owners and experts at stands including McLaren, Bentley, Tesla, Infiniti and Lexus and they loved every minute of it. It was also great to see the Mercedes AMG simulator attracted plenty of attention at the Monument too. Little C was of course too small to test this out – although he was fascinated by it.
Back at home, we started our little birthday boy off in style with his very own Vtech Toot Toot Garage, featuring three floors of fun. He was elated and squealed with delight.
The fun didn’t stop there either as we also bought him an interactive Vtech Playtime Bus. With its glowing red headlights, little C can now play music, learn numbers and the phonetic alphabet at the touch of a button. It’s also easy to push along which enables little C to give his bus enough momentum to speed along the laminate floor. Note to parents: the batteries go forever, so be prepared for the sound of horns beeping, engine revving and the feeling you haven’t quite left the NE1 Newcastle Motor Show.