Bakers achieve their “dreams” by joining Bedford Street’s regeneration


Songbird Bakery has announced it’s joining Bedford Street’s thriving lineup of shops.

Selling bespoke, handmade sweet treats, the bakery is guaranteed to bring some colour and quirkiness into the heart of Middlesbrough.

Inspired by Baker Street regeneration success, the adjacent road is now striving to become Middlesbrough’s premium hotspot for food lovers.


Talks of Songbird began two years a go when Shelley Tyreman, 34, and  Claire Philpott, 27, realised they both shared a love of baking during their employment at Hobbycraft.

FOLLOWING THEIR DREAMS: Shelley Tyreman (left) and Claire Philpott (right)

FOLLOWING THEIR DREAMS: Shelley Tyreman (left) and Claire Philpott (right)

Through Shelley’s love of London bakeries and Claire’s flawless cake designs, they decided to bite the bullet and set up their own business.

Born and bred in Middlesbrough, they were certain that the borough market town was the right environment for them.

“Our vision is clear. We want our customers to be able to sit and enjoy our products in a London inspired market environment, in the heart of Teesside,” Shelley said.

“We truly believe Songbird’s slick brand and high quality products meet with the standards of this transformation and we are happy to be a part of this.

“This next chapter of our lives is so exciting and we hope you all join us at this monumental time.”

SONGBIRDS NEST: Their Bedford Street store is still undergoing work

SONGBIRDS NEST: Their Bedford Street store is still undergoing work

Songbird Bakery pride themselves on being cupcake specialists that  cater  for all ages and occasions.

Alongside seven other independent  food and  beverage businesses on Bedford Street, it’s definitely a place  for all  foodies to watch out for.

Joining the team managing their social media is Teesside University’s   Media student, Bethany Dean.

she said: “I’m over the moon to have the opportunity to build my PR skills with  such a lovely business. I cannot wait for them to open!”

Songbird Bakery is due to open within the next month.

For more information, check out Songbird’s website

Songbird Bakery can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram




MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU: Songbird also make a variety of novelty cakes

from Tside

Is Britain still a Christian country?


A Church service

A report compiled by a former senior judge into community, diversity and the common good, has concluded that Britain is no longer a Christian country and should adapt to recognise the plurality of modern day society.

The report marks the end of a two year commission chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss and involved representation from all faiths in Great Britain.

Its findings suggest that given the rise of non-Christians and Atheists, Britain must be systematically de-Christianised.

It says: “The number of people who have no religious commitment has been steadily increasing in recent years,” and as a result “a national conversation should be launched across the UK by leaders of faith communities and ethical traditions to create a shared understanding of the fundamental values underlying public life.”

The report has prompted a backlash from Church Ministers throughout the country, who challenge the extent of the claims.

Tside spoke to two serving clergy, Dean of Ripon Cathedral, The Very Reverend John Dobson and Canon Ruth Hind, also from Ripon Cathedral, to discover their views on the report’s findings.

“Reform must always be considered, but it may be that the report has come to too negative a conclusion in relation to Christianity and public life in this country,” Dean John said.

“The report suggests that as few as 4 in 10 people regard themselves as Christians now in Britain. But in some areas, such as this in North Yorkshire, that figure is more like 6 in 10. Frankly, there is nothing else in society that compares with that sense of affiliation – no political party would come near to that.”

Dean John

The Very Reverend John Dobson, Dean of Ripon Cathedral

Reflecting on the report’s call to move away from daily collective worship, particularly in schools, Dean John added: “Our concern is that it portrays a lack of understanding in matters of faith, in the practising of the Christian faith and in the contribution of the Church of England.

“Consider the reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Where is the opportunity to come together and reflect on that? It’s in that act of worship that brings the community together,” Dean John explained.

The concerns raised by Dean John about the dismantling of collective worship were shared by Canon Ruth Hind: “The idea of collective worship is not to convert children into a particular state of religious belief and most schools would allow people of any faith to take collective worship and explore a number of faiths and values,” she said.

“There certainly isn’t a sense in which we say ‘we believe’ and ‘you must believe’. I think that collective worship provides a space a space for children to reflect and a space for values to be thought about.”


Canon Ruth Hind of Ripon Cathedral

Canon Hind also said the promotion of British values in schools can be best served through collective worship, “the government’s agenda regarding British values can certainly be taken forward through collective worship.”

A statement released by the Church of England took a similar stance, challenging the report’s findings. They said: “If there is a significant problem with our schools it is that many of them are so popular that they are oversubscribed and not every parent who wants to can send their children to one.”

The Church of England’s comment is in stark contrast to the findings of the report, “In our view it is not clear that segregation of young people into faith schools has promoted greater cohesion or that it has not been socially divisive, leading to greater misunderstanding and tension,” the study said.


Inside Ripon Cathedral

The study was set-up by the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, with its purpose to consider the role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain. Public consultations were held over two years to gather research for the report.

from Tside

Students can nap in between lectures in the new ‘Snooze Room’

How many of us have been tempted to nod off during the odd lecture?

Well now Teesside University Students’ Union has  introduced a ‘Snooze Room’ to the campus giving you 45 minutes to have 40 winks.

This is the first in the North-East, and only the second in the UK, to give the students a space to catch up with their sleep in between lectures and seminars free of charge.

The room includes lockers so that students’ belongings are safe and secure.

Ear plugs and eye masks available to block out any disturbances.

Ear plugs and eye masks available to block out any disturbances.

Ear plugs and eye masks are also available for students so that they can have a better quality nap.

The Snooze room is a safe space where tired students can have a nap to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation.

Manon Goetschel, Vice-President of Welfare at the Students’ Union, who is leading on the project, said: “The snooze room is supposed to help the students’ mental health and memory.”

“When you snooze for about thirty minutes your brain cells basically reconstruct each other, so that when you then go to your next seminar or work on any sort of project, you’re more attentive to work, retain more information and your brain feels a bit more relaxed and focussed.

Manon Goetschel, vice-president of welfare at the Students’ Union, who is leading on the project outside the female Snooze Room.

Manon Goetschel, vice-president of welfare at the Students’ Union, who is leading on the project outside the female Snooze Room.

“Not only do students have a lot of studying to do, some sustain part-time jobs to afford their education.

“Many spend hours in the library trying to achieve their deadlines and they’re not getting a good night’s sleep; The Snooze Room is another way to help students and their well-being.”

Research shows that lack of sleep affects mood, and a depressed mood can lead to lack of sleep.

To combat this vicious cycle, sleep experts recommend that students prioritise sleep which is hard if students have a deadline to meet; this is where The Snooze Room comes in and saves the students.

Two of the sleeping pods in The Snooze Room.

Two of the sleeping pods in The Snooze Room.

Manon  said: “Every time someone comes in, they have to write down their student number and tell us if they’re male or female so, usually at the end of the week I get to know what school they’re from so it’s up to me to then have a look at it and see if there is something I can do to help these students.”

Manon  began a project last year called ‘Catching the Zed’s’ with the head of counselling and student services which was to help students understand sleep deprivation and the effect that it has on mental health and students’ studies.

From ‘Catching the Zed’s’, they then thought about the next step they could take to help students and their sleep patterns by researching about napping.

In American  a lot of universities  have nap rooms available for students to sleep.

The company Google also have pods that its workers can use to sleep and in Japan, many people go into ‘Snooze Hotels’ for a couple of naps to recharge themselves for the day.

This is where the project leader got her initial idea from to introduce The Snooze Room to Teesside University.

I asked students at Teesside University  students for their thoughts on the new Snooze Room.

Lauren Kuzyszyn, 19, studying paramedics, said: “I think it’s a great idea for all kinds of different students on different courses because It’s an opportunity for students who live far away to be able to restart and have a nap in case they had a bad night’s sleep the night before; had to work; study or have been on placement.

Lauren Kuzyszyn, 19, studying paramedics at Teesside University.

Lauren Kuzyszyn, 19, studying paramedics at Teesside University.idea for all kinds of different students on different courses becauseit’s an opportunity for students who live far away to be able to restart and have a nap in case they had a bad night’s sleep the

“I’m definitely going to use the Snooze Room when I’m on placement.

“As a student paramedic, I’ll be doing 13 hour shifts and then need to write essays so I will happily come to the SU for a half an hour snooze to refresh my brain.”

Paige Cummings, 18, studying English, said: “I think it’s a really good idea because it gives people who live really far away the chance to have a little snooze and even though it’s good for all students, it’s especially good for third years as they’re going through a really stressful time completing their dissertations.”

“The small 45 minute nap to get the brain focussed can be the difference between a 2:1 and a 1:1.

“Since I already live on campus, I won’t particularly use it, but I know a lot of people that would.”

Trach-Vi Phung, 19, studying Games Art, said: “I think it’s a really awesome concept as there’s students that have really busy lives and it gives them a chance to catch up on sleep.”

“Personally, I don’t think that I’d get a chance to use it as I have that much of a busy lifestyle and I don’t need to catch up on any sleep.”

The Snooze Room is situated on the second floor of the Students’ Union in the Endeavour and Resolution meeting rooms and is open Monday to Friday from 12:00pm until 4:00pm.

You  are able to book a 45 minute session at the Welcome Desk on the 1st floor of the Students’ Union.

For more information on The Snooze Room, you can visit their Facebook page: TUSU Snooze Room.

from Tside

Meet Jacqs Hit – a different kind of queen

“Anybody who can step out of the house with a pair of heels and some lipstick on their lips is my hero.”

The words of RuPaul, a world wide drag queen hero, have brought about an era of confident and fantastic drag queens.


Jacqueline Hit ready for the camera

Tside recently spoke to a young college art student, Jack Ogden, 19, who is a Teesside drag queen.

“My experience of Drag Idol has been so much fun, being from a smaller town going through to Newcastle every week to perform and meet queens I hadn’t prior has been amazing.

“I’ve been credited a lot on my look and my attention to detail, which makes sense from an artistic background and how much I want my aesthetic to get across and be enjoyed,” he says.

Also known as Jacqueline Hit, Jacqs Hit for short, he has been on the scene working in Darlington since September 2015.

From being as young as 16 Jack knew he wanted to be a drag queen in sixth form college.

With minor experience in drag, as pantomime dame in performance arts, Jack did struggle to finance for his dream.

“Being a drag queen on a budget is hard enough, but being 16/17 and a drag queen on a budget is near impossible without saving a lot of birthday money.”

However, this did not stop Jack becoming Jacqueline Hit, especially when he learned more about makeup and how to apply it.

Spurred on by his passion Tside asked about his best experience in the drag scene.

“One of my best experiences was meeting a drag queen from America called Raja Gemini who had watched the second week of Drag Idol and was very praising of my look.

“I’d gone as a Japanese spider demon for Angels and Demons week.”

Jack also commented that when he is Jacqueline he prefers the term ‘she’ and when as Jack, ‘he’.

“Then again I’ve so often been confused for a girl that neither she nor he make much of a difference, though when I’m presenting as female in drag it’s naturally more of a credit to my craft that I am spoken to as a woman.

“It’s fun seeing incredibly straight men very confused when they realise I’m a guy, even funnier when I’m wearing something fit to the skin and they’re trying to figure out where everything has gone,” he adds.

Alongside all of his trials and tribulations, Jack had a few fellow drag queens by his side.

Kitana has been a major support and guide in improving with Jack’s drag since starting, getting him his first gig.

Jacqueline Hit at Drag Idol (Photos by LAH Photography Louise Harvey)
Jacqueline Hit at Drag Idol (Photos by LAH Photography Louise Harvey)
Jacqueline Hit at Drag Idol (Photos by LAH Photography Louise Harvey)

Jack also added: “Miss Rory is currently my mentor in Idol and one of the most blunt Queens I’ve met, but so funny.

“Others I could name, but I don’t know how appropriate they are for an article, but even so, I wouldn’t be where I am without them all!”

Drag Idol is an opportunity for local drag queens to show their cabaret skills and gain more of a platform to network with other queens.

The competition winner will win a cash prize and the amazing opportunity to perform main stage at Newcastle Pride the year they win.

For any Queen that’s fairly new to a scene is a massive opportunity to showcase to such a large audience.

Jack said: “Being a queen that, aside from one gig in Middlesbrough, has only performed in Darlington, its an amazing opportunity to go to a place were people are specifically there to be entertained by drag Queens.

“It would be amazing to win, I will admit that I’m trying to get the crown, but even if I don’t win I have had an amazing experience and hope to get into working in Newcastle as a result of it.

“I want to at least make it to the final to be able to perform on the stage in Boulevard.”

Boulevard is a ticketed event meaning that those coming to it are serious about coming to take in what the queens have to offer.

Jack’s Facebook                               Jacqueline’s Facebook

BEHIND THE SCENES: Jacqueline and Kitana
Jacqueline Hit ready for a Zombie Walk (Photographer Howard White)

from Tside

X Factor Auditions come to Teesside

By Melissa Major and Eleanor Anderson

TEESSIDE saw the X Factor auditions come to town.

Researchers James and Janice set up in the Hillstreet Centre after coming from auditions in Scotland.

X FACTOR RESEARCH TEAM: Holding auditions in the Hillstreet Centre

X FACTOR RESEARCH TEAM: Holding auditions in the Hillstreet Centre

This is not the first Regional Tour to come to the area, it was only a couple of years ago that Teesside hopefuls showcased their talent to researchers.

James said: “We’ve been in Scotland at the beginning of the week where we saw over 120 people and this week we’ve come down to the North-East to do another week and a half.”


“It’s set up so people who walk by are able to drop in and audition or they’ve heard about it through the papers and social media.

“We wouldn’t dare make anyone feel uncomfortable, for example I wouldn’t say why have you come dressed like that.”

Auditionees can sing with backing tracks, acapella or bring their own equipment with them.

The process allows contestants to stand in front of the researchers who film the audition and take it back to their producers who decided who goes forward to the arena auditions.

Janice said: “We are not here to judge, we sit here and listen to the acts and then take the footage back to the producers.”

One member of the public decided to audition after seeing the posters when shopping with his family, he said it was entertaining, a fun experience and encourages the people of Teesside to give it go.

Due to the large number of auditionees if applicants have not heard from the team by July 17 they have not been successful this year.


TEESSIDE JOURNALISTS: Standing outside the the XFactor banner


from Tside

One Life game offers a new take on the survivor horror genre

Mortality in video games isn’t usually an issue, if you die you can usually just respawn from a checkpoint, or restart from your last save point.

ONE LIFE: The perma-permadeath game.

ONE LIFE: The perma-permadeath game.


Some games are a bit harsher but they don’t go as far as One Life. One Life offers a unique mechanic which means that if you die in the game you can NEVER PLAY AGAIN!

This concept offers an interesting take on the typical survival horror game by adding a new level to the players need to survive.

This is coupled with a need for food and water. There is also a need to defend yourself from physical threats such as zombies and even other players.

The defensive aspects of this game has raised some concerns with some members of the community. A youtuber known as Dodger has said: “I would have to make sure I was playing this with people constantly.”

This is because there would be such a skill gap between people who are already good at this genre and people who are just wanting to play the game.

There is also the idea of equipment which you have to consider, because the people who have played from the launch of the game and have managed to survive for a long time will almost definitely have the best equipment, either through picking it up off of dead bodies or from just finding it in the world.

A number of members from the community have agreed that hackers could be a major problem. Hackers have the potential to kill everyone on an entire server, or give themselves the most powerful weapons in the game. However the developers of the game have said that if a player dies due to server lag or hackers they can be revived.

The developers have also said that players will have a lot of control over where they spawn so they can easily meet up with friends and the need for food and water will be manageable.

Unfortunately these features does not mean the game will be any easier. On One Life’s steam Greenlight page, they say: “There will be various kinds of infected with lots of unique abilities.”

This feature among many others distances it from many other games of the same genre such as DayZ and H1Z1. One Life also offers the option to customise a “Battle truck” which is a movable fortress which you can upgrade with defenses and on-board crafting stations.

Though it has been argued by some members of the community that this game should be more like DayZ and H1Z1. In DayZ and H1Z1 you are in a zombie apocalypse and must manage defense, food and water like One Life.

However in these games your desire to survive is directly measured by how long you have survived in the game, because you have gained powerful weapons and equipment and you don’t want to lose them.

This gives players a chance to adapt to the game and learn how the game works. While One Life doesn’t give you a chance to do that it forces you to learn quickly, which may be appealing to some people, but for others it offers a level of difficulty they are not ready for.

This game has been Greenlit on steam, which means it will be coming to steam in the near future. At the moment they have not given a UK price but they have said it will be about $10 which works out as about £6.50.

There are a lot of people who think this is too much and would prefer it to be around $1, just so that for those players who start the game and then instantly die don’t feel like they have wasted money.

I personally will not buy this game, I think it offers an interesting idea and it could be something to look into in around a years time, but I know that I personally will not be able to handle the skill level required to play this game. Though I am sure many people who are experienced with this genre will enjoy this as much, if not more than similar games.

from Tside

Boro Defeat in Karanka’s Absence – Charlton vs Boro Match Report

An abject display by Boro  in the 2-0 defeat away to relegation favourites Charlton Athletic  did little to ease the pressure on the club, amid increasing speculation over manager Aitor Karanka’s future.

Is this goodbye for Karanka?

Is this goodbye for Karanka?

With automatic promotion rivals Hull City dropping points at home to MK Dons , the away team had the chance to seize the initiative, however Boro failed to capitalise.

Assistant Head Coach Steve Agnew took charge of the team for the fixture and made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 away to Rotherham in midweek.

Despite the Karanka talk pre-match, the first half will be remembered for the actions of the home supporters, who were protesting at the state of their club under their current ownership.


Charlton fans protest by throwing beach balls onto pitch

Charlton fans protest by throwing beach balls onto pitch

After only 60 seconds the home supporters threw vast amounts of beach balls onto the pitch, which caused a three minute delay. These same fans held a mock funeral before the game, were blowing whistles to distract the players and also walked out of the stadium after 74 minutes, which ruined the tempo of the game.

In-form midfielder Gaston Ramirez had the first real effort at goal on 19 minutes, but his 25 yard effort was tame and didn’t trouble the Charlton goalkeeper.

The best chance of the first half did come to the away side just before half time. Emilio Nsue made a bursting run down the right hand side and drilled the ball across the face of goal where Rod Fanni almost converted into his own goal.

At the start of the second half the tempo of the game increased, with both teams seeing an opportunity to pick up a valuable three points. The home side took advantage of the game opening up and opened the scoring after 56 minutes, with Jorge Teixeira beating Ben Gibson to the ball to head Charlton into a crucial lead, a lead they didn’t let go of.

The goal seemed to spark Boro into life, with Albert Adomah having two efforts at goal in a matter of seconds on 70 minutes, before a free-kick by Ramirez was parried over by Charlton goalkeeper Pope.

Albert Adomah despite his best efforts couldn't find a breakthrough.

Albert Adomah despite his best efforts couldn’t find a breakthrough.

With Boro desperate for a goal, on 75 minutes Agnew replaced his nephew Jordan Rhodes with David Nugent and swapped Stewart Downing with Cristhian Stuani.

These changes had no impact on the game however and Charlton pressed for another goal; on 80 minutes they added a second. Dael Fry failed to clear his lines and Harriott’s left footed effort beat Dimi to put the game to bed.

Championship top 3 as it stands.

Championship top 3 as it stands.

This result, Boro’s third away defeat in 12 days puts a dent in their promotion hopes, however they are still 2nd in the league with Hull having played a game less. They will hope to bounce back in a potential season defining game on Friday at home to fellow promotion rivals Hull in front of the Sky Sports cameras. But will Aitor Karanka take the helm for this pivotal game? Only time will tell.

from Tside

Teesside athlete aiming for Rio Olympics.

A TEESSIDE athlete is aiming to compete for the Great Britain team and make the Rio Olympics.

Sprinter Rachel Highfield has already competed for England before but is now setting her targets even higher with the dream to compete for Great Britain.

The 20- year- old is currently at Durham University but is still finding time for the high intensity training  and events.

Rachel Highfield Article

Rachel Highfield

Rachel competes in a number of events such as the 60 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres.

The 100 metres is Rachel’s favourite event and she has an impressive personal best of 11.9 seconds.

She said: “I enjoy the training which I think is the most important thing for any athlete in sport.”

“Being a student and an athlete trying to balance training and study can be a challenge, but I have a routine which helps me manage my time very well so I have time for study and training.

“The Winter training sessions can be very hard but I know they are for a purpose which help me push on.

“Summer training is my favourite because you are out on the track in the sunshine.”

Rachel has had many accomplishments already but the best of them was competing for England in the 200m at the Welsh International in Cardiff back in 2012.

Now Rachel has finished her indoor season, she has now started training for the outdoor season which begins in a a few weeks time.

And Rachel’s has a surprise role model.

She said: “My role model is Louise Bloor who is a runner for Great Britain, she is a very successful athlete for  Great Britain who also has a full time job.”

“I think that’s a great inspiration to me because I have to focus time on University and training, if she can do it then I can.”


Rachel Highfield

Rachel’S AIM this year is to compete in the British Universities’ Nationals which begin at the start of May and  also to compete at the senior British Championship Olympics Trials and to reduce her personal best time even further.

But the big dream for Rachel would be to represent Great Britain, and with the Rio Olympics coming up she is working as hard as she can to try and make the team.

from Tside

Super 8 reboot silences critics and proves big hit with the fans, says league boss

Super League Grand Final, Old Trafford


AS Leeds Rhino’s captain Kevin Sinfield hoisted the Super League Trophy high into the floodlit Old Trafford sky last autumn a record crowd of 75,000 plus were singing and chanting into the night. It was hard to think amongst these jubilant scenes that just 12 months previously the Rugby League world was on the verge of mutiny.

In 2014 Super League general manger Blake Solly announced that the competition was being rebooted into the controversial Super 8 format – a move that was greeted by everything from disbelief to outright contempt.

Looking back on the furore, which saw him denounced on TV and in the sporting press, Mr Solly believes the changes to the game resulted in one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory. The fans loved it and the critics were silenced.

“Unlike the last few years, every game was competitive,” the Australian born former RFL lawyer told Tside in a interview from the Super League HQ in Salford’s MediaCity.

“From the Widnes-Wigan draw in the first game of the season to Ryan Hall’s last gasp try against Huddersfield, every minute mattered. If you wanted to make the Super 8s you had to play your strongest team week in week out,” he adds.

The new spirit of competitiveness contrasted with previous years when fans had endured one-sided contests such as St Helens’ 38-0 destruction of Salford.

The improved quality saw the supporters turning out in record breaking numbers, from the sell-out crowd at Old Trafford to the massive popularity of the Magic Weekend in Newcastle when more than 67,000 fans made the trip up to the North East.

“We can’t wait to come back to Newcastle this year. There was just so much for people to do, the stadium is in the heart of the city, so the fans could make a real weekend out of it,” Mr Solly observes.

Super 8 emerged in the wake of a root and branch review of the game. “We held a review in 2012 because we knew we wanted to bring back promotion and relegation,” Mr Solly recalls.

In 2009 the Super League got rid of promotion and relegation in favour of a licensing process. This meant every three years teams would have to go through a rigorous application with the Rugby Football League to gain a spot in the Super League. The review marked a return to the old system which allowed clubs to – theoretically – move between divisions based on results

“We  wanted to reduce the number of teams in the league from 14 to 12, to make the games more competitive. There have been a few too many blowouts recently.

“So we looked at a number of different options for the Super League and we all agreed that the Super 8s was simply the best option,” he explains.

And with the success of the 2015 season it is hard to argue against that reasoning. Further changes are not being ruled out.

“This year we’ve increased the salary cap for Championship sides, so teams like the Bradford Bulls and Leigh have a real shot of getting promoted,” says Mr Solly.

He is also positive about other developments within rugby league. Asked about Wayne Bennett’s appointment as England head coach, he said: “I’m super excited, you couldn’t ask for a better guy to lead England. He’s won everything in the game. He’s not going to be hands on with the Super League but if he can bring success to England that is only going to help improve the Super League as well.”

Sky Sports airs Super League matches every week.

Tickets for the Magic Weekend are available now.

from Tside