Get ready for home truths...

The wait is almost over.

The wait is almost over.

The first-ever Homemaker exhibition - bringing together The Journal's prestigious property pull-out with the North-East's top class home, garden and lifestyle companies - is just a day away.

The event will take place at Newcastle's Metroradio Arena tomorrow [Sat] and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, with almost 80 exhibitors on display and a host of celebrities ready to offer their advice.

And visitors don't even need to have bought one of the advance tickets to attend the inaugural exhibition - anyone who wants to sample this exciting family event is more than welcome to turn up on the day.

Designer Linda Barker from television's Changing Rooms, the City Gardener Matt James, celebrity chef Paul Rankin and interior designer George Bond will be among the famous faces on hand for a chat and to offer hints and tips.

Among the scores of exhibitors are John Lewis, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and event sponsors Ikea along with North-East companies including The Bathroom and Kitchen Studio, in Kingston Park, and Theresa Spinks, of Burnopfield, Newcastle.

Journal Homemaker editor Karen Overbury [correct] said: "We have worked hard to bring together a wonderful range of companies, which will offer tips and all the latest looks and ideas for every part of the house.

"We also have experts and personalities galore who will offer advice, warnings and hints for the home and garden whether you're looking for a new sofa, planning an extension or thinking about buying or selling."

Ikea Gateshead store manager Filip Hajny [correct] said: "Ikea are delighted to be sponsoring the very first Journal Homemaker exhibition this year.

"We are very much looking forward to the event and meeting our many customers of the North-East in a new and innovative setting."

Among the other 78 exhibitors at the show will be Dickinson Dees solicitors, Bellway Homes and Henderson Fencing, of Hexham, Northumberland, and Newcastle's Warm Zones Ltd.

Visit the Homemaker stand, 46, on the day for a shopping bag and glossy brochure containing a full listing of exhibitors. You will also get the chance to meet the Homemaker team - Karen Overbury, Karen Wilson, Francesca Craggs and Mieka Schmidt. The stand will also feature a giant plasma screen giving details of the exciting competitions, which will be running in The Journal through April and May.

The Metroradio Arena Newcastle is 10 minutes away from Central Station and the Tyne and Wear Metro.

By car or coach, the arena is only three minutes from the A1 North - South route. Take the A184 signposted 'City Centre,' then follow the A189 over the Redheugh Bridge. When in the vicinity of the Arena, follow the signs to the appropriate car parks.

Public Transport

Take local bus services or the Metro to Central Station and the Arena is approximately five minutes walk away. All public travel information is available from the Nexus website or Traveline on 0870 608-2608.

Arena Car Parking

There are over 600 parking spaces available on site that are security patrolled. Alternatively, there are thousands of additional spaces located within five minutes' walk of the Arena in Newcastle city centre. Orange badge holders can park at the Arena free of charge at the designated car park, close to the entrance of the building.

Dropping Off & Picking Up

Dropping off can be made along Railway Street. You are advised to collect people from an area away from the Arena to avoid heavy traffic.

Taxis

Taxis can pick up on Railway Street/Arena Way before and after events. There is a taxi rank at Central Station.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer