North East Family Fun

A family of 5 with a zest for life

10 things that happen to every parent during a UK heatwave

*This is a collaborative post

If there's anything us Brits love doing, it's talking about the weather. With another heatwave predicted this weekend (woohoo), I thought I'd share a few funny anecdotes about what happens to every parent during a British heatwave - brace yourselves!

10 things that happen to every parent during a UK heatwave #heatwave #UK #Parenting

1 - We panic buy a new summer wardrobe 

After spending what seems like an eternity in jeans, jumpers and winter boots, it's a bit of a shock to the system when the sun does decide to make an appearance. I don't know about you, but my children's summer clothes seem to disappear every year and on that first day of sunshine I can be found googling the best Groupon discounts for TK Maxx and stocking up on summer essentials, panic buying summer dresses in Primark and adding multi-packs of shorts and t-shirts to my weekly shop.

2 - It takes an hour to leave the house

Leaving the house during a heatwave with kids around is like a military operation. There's sunscreen to apply 30 minutes before you leave, sunhats to locate, scooters to dig out of the garage and raincoats to pack 'just in case'. It's a wonder we actually ever make it outside.........

3 - Bring out the BBQ from Winter hibernation 

BBQs and heatwaves go hand in hand and it's not unusual for us to invite our friends and family over for a bit of an impromptu get-together. It's only then do we realise that our BBQ has been in hibernation over winter and needs a good clean so we pick up a disposable from the corner shop and use and wonder why we bothered investing hundreds of pounds in a 'proper' BBQ.

4 - We all flock to the coast and soon regret it 

I do this EVERY TIME the sun makes an appearance and instantly regret it. Heading to the beach during a heatwave is good in theory but in practice, you spend the whole time in a traffic jam, will struggle to find a parking space and then when you do get there it's absolutely freezing thanks to the lovely North East Coast breeze.  Next time I suggest a trip to the beach, please remind me that it's much easier (and nicer) to stay inland during a heatwave please.

5 - We spend ages filling the paddling pool after school

Why are paddling pools so deceiving? By the time we get home from school and manage to fill the pool with lukewarm water, the sun has gone in and the kids are no longer interested. I think there should be some kind of legislation imposed on all paddling pools that forces manufacturers to prominently display how long a pool will actually take to fill.

6 - Every meal becomes a picnic and must be eaten outside

One thing I love about heatwaves in the UK is that the kids can eat outside. Every meal is instantly more fun when it turns into an al-fresco picnic. The kids eat more, I don't need to sweep up the crumbs and everyone is happy. It's win-win.

7 - We find joy in hanging the washing on the line

Before becoming a parent, I would have laughed out loud if you'd have suggested hanging the washing on the line would bring me joy. I'm not ashamed to say that now it does and yes, I am one of those people who will probably post a photo of this rare occurrence on Facebook. Anyone else the same?

8 -  Deciding what your baby will wear at bedtime is tough

Why does nobody warn you about this dilemma when you're pregnant? Trying to decide what to dress your baby in for bed during a heatwave has to be one of the toughest parent decisions - do they wear their normal pjs and a vest, just a vest, do they need a lightweight baby sleeping bag? Or no sleeping bag? What about just a sheet? Will they be ok just sleeping in their nappy? What if they kick their blanket off during the night and end up too cold? Is it ok to leave their window open a little? Agh! The questions and worry are endless! If you're struggling with this, I've found this online checker from the Gro Company to be pretty good (although it obviously does not replace official advice).

9 - We start looking for shade after 30 minutes 

We look forward to the sun all winter but as soon as it hits, we can only last 30 minutes and then need to set up camp under a tree.

10 - It's the talk of the playground

During a heatwave, it's all we can talk about. The school gate chatter is filled with 'isn't it a lovely day', 'it's going to get up to the mid-20s later', 'have you got your paddling pool out?', 'oh where did you get those flip-flops?'. Honestly, we are weather-obsessed (but I secretly love it).

Enjoy the heatwave this weekend! We've got to make the most of it. Let me know if any of the things on my list ring true for you. 

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10 things that happen to every parent during a UK heatwave #heatwave #UK #Parenting


The Ultimate Guide to What's on in the North East for Kids | May Half Term

I don't know about you but I am SO excited for May Half Term. The prospect of (hopefully) sunshine and no school runs is the kind of thing I look forward to these days. We actually have ZERO plans for Half Term this year. Steve is working the full week and the boys have just finished their SATs so I didn't want to pack too much in. We're going to have a chilled week and just plan some impromptu days out on the day - it's exciting not knowing where the week will take us! I'll share what we're up to in my North East Days Out Facebook group so make sure you click here to join. Most of our days out will be via public transport as Steve will be using our car for work. Let me know your plans or if you'd like me to add your event in the comments.

The Ultimate Guide to What's on in the North East for Kids | May Half Term

Here are a few general ideas to keep the kids entertained, scroll down for ideas relating to specific dates. Please remember that times etc... can change and some events may need to be pre-booked. Always double check details before heading out.

Events happening across the week

The Ultimate Guide to What's on in the North East for Kids | May Half Term

Whitley Bay is fast becoming one of my favourite towns. It's full of lots of lovely independent restaurants who have joined forces to bring local people some fantastic dining offers across the week. You can find the full list of restaurants taking part over on Facebook here -   details of new offers are posted regularly. I highly recommend visiting Evan's Bistro (who are taking part in this offer Tuesday-Saturday). They have a toy area for kids, board games to play and their menu for this week just looks incredible. I can't believe it's just £12 for three courses. Take a peek at their special food and drink menu here. Children's meals are just £4.95 for a main, 2 sides, a drink and ice cream.

26 May - 1 June : Wild West Week at Whitehouse Farm - find out more here
26 May - 3 June : Animal Antics at Alnwick Garden - find out more here
26 May - 3 June : Stick Week at Gibside - find out more here
26 May - 3 June : Ultimate STEM Challenge at Cragside - find out more here
26 May - 3 June : Kayaking and canoeing at Cragside - find out more here
28 May - 3 June : Half Term Fun at Delaval Hall - find out more here
28 May - 1 June : Half Term at Cherryburn - find out more here

  • Woodhorn are running their Little Leeks sessions and kids Pitman Painters tours - find out more here
  • Great Nort Museum (Hancock) is closed from 21 May - 21 June

Recommended and reviewed: Places to visit over May Half Term

Try the FREE Highway Rat Trail at Kielder - review & info here
Enjoy a FREE Sculpture Trail around Thornley Woodland Centre- review & info here
Try the FREE Plessey Woods Art Trail - review & info here
Visit Ouseburn Farm (also FREE) - review & info here
Spend the day at Alnwick Garden - review & info here
Visit Beamish by bus - review & info here
Take a trip to Blyth Beach - review & info here
Visit Butterfly World & Preston Park - review & info here
Walk around Druridge Bay Country Park - review & info here
Take a trip to the Farne Islands - review & info here

If you're always looking for new places to take the kids or would like to share a few local gems with other North East Parents, why not join my FREE North East Days Out Facebook group? There are almost 2000 local members and it's a fab place to share photos and recommendations or ask for ideas for places to visit around the North East. You can join here.

The Ultimate Guide to What's on in the North East for Kids | May Half Term

Saturday 26 May

Sunday 27 May

Monday 28 May

Tuesday 29 May

Wednesday 30 May

Thursday 31 May

Friday 1 June

Saturday 2 June

Sunday 3 June

I say this everytime but we really are spoilt living in the North East - there is SO much do see and do. Let me know which events take your fancy and don't forget to share photos from your days our over in my North East Days Out Facebook group. 

Rising Sun Country Park | A Pushchair & Dog-friendly Walk in North Tyneside

Fun fact - the Rising Sun Country Park used to face onto our back garden and it's a place we used to walk through and around a lot when Harry and Heidi were little tots and we lived in Wallsend. We don't visit as often as we used to now but it's still a family favourite and a lovely spot for a family walk, cycle, scoot or picnic. The country park is dog-friendly too so a fab place to head out with your four-legged friend. As the park is inland and quite sheltered, it can also be a bit of a sun trap so it's perfect for a sunny day. 

If you're visiting by car, you'll find the entrance just before Asda Benton (postcode NE12 9SS). Just follow the road and you'll find a large, free car park just by the visitor centre (disabled parking is available on sie). You can catch the bus to Asda Benton and easily walk there too. The countryside centre and car park is open every day of the year (the area around the countryside centre is closed between Christmas and new year). The visitor centre closes at around 4:30pm on a weekend and 7/8pm on weekdays. Check opening times here. 

Rising Sun Country Park | Child & Dog-friendly Walks 

One of the reasons we love the Rising Sun Country Park is that it's home to lots of easy walking routes which are all very well signposted with maps available from the centre, maps signposted around the park and lots of colour-coded route signs. You can choose a walk around Swallow pond where you can admire the wildlife through bird hides, woodland walks where you can pond dip from the special viewing platform, climb up the pit heap if you're feeling energetic or if like us, you just fancy an easy stroll to the community farm from the visitor centre (this route is completely flat and around 1.5 - 2 miles in total).

The paths are covered in small pebbles in places but Heidi managed with her scooter just fine and it wouldn't be any trouble for a pushchair or bike.

The walks take you past fields of horses, flowers and other wildlife and if you're lucky, you may spot the Rising Sun stag.

Rising Sun Community Farm 

The Rising Sun Community Farm is in the centre of the country park and very easy to reach on foot from the countryside visitor centre, even for little legs. It's FREE to visit and there always seems to be something different to see every time you visit - sometimes there can be loads of animals, other times hardly any but that kind of adds to the excitement and as it's free, we can't really complain. 

During our visit in April, there were so many geese waddling around the farm. They are so funny to watch!

We also spotted calves, rabbits, chickens, donkeys, horses and Shetland ponies. There were also goats and sheep in the outer fields but we couldn't see any pigs on this occasion. The Rising Sun Farm is a working farm and a good opportunity for children to learn where their food comes from. They often run events using the produce from the farm for a feast.

You can sometimes buy vegetables and duck eggs from the farm shop or stall with honesty box but this was closed today. The current crops seem to be blooming though.

Rising Sun Country Park | Visitor Centre, Park & Cafe 

The Rising Sun Country Park Visitor Centre is the main hub of the country park and is honestly such a good spot to take the kids for a run around after school on a sunny day. There are so many facilities including: 
  • Children's sheltered play area
  • Water play area (currently out of order - no word on when this will be resolved)
  • Sandpit
  • Cafe
  • Picnic areas
  • BBQ areas
  • Toilet facilities 
  • Exhibition centre
  • Venue hire
  • Walking routes and info

The cafe is really good and serves homemade breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, cakes and tray bakes alongside snacks, ice creams and drinks. The prices are very reasonable and if you can grab a table on the outdoor terrace, there are gorgeous views of the pond and countryside from the slightly elevated position.

We spent around 2 hours at the Rising Sun Country Park during our last visit but it's the kind of place you could easily spend all day. It's a lovely spot for a day out with friends and we'll definitely be visiting many more times over the year. It's a true North Tyneside gem!

If you enjoyed this post and are looking for more ideas for places to visit across North East England, why not join my FREE North East Days Out Facebook Group? There are almost 2000 members and it's a fun and friendly place to share recommendations for places to visit, post photos from across North East England and ask for advice from other members. You can request to join here.

Let me know if you love the Rising Sun Country Park as much as we do or if you're planning on visiting this summer. 

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Rising Sun Country Park | A Pushchair & Dog-friendly Walk in North Tyneside


Matilda the Musical UK Tour - A 5* Review

*We received complimentary press night tickets. Post features affiliate links

The story of Matilda is one that I vividly remember from my childhood. Roald Dahl really did have the gift of perfect storytelling and I remember checking this book out from the library (in true Matilda style) and it really capturing my imagination right from the first page. I felt Matilda's loneliness with alongside her, laughed at the mischief in class and spent far too long daydreaming what it must be like trying to eat a huge chocolate cake in one sitting! The original story was published in 1988 and is now 20 years old. It's a story that has stood the test of time though and my own three children now love Matilda just like their mam.

Matilda the Musical UK Tour - A 5* Review

The story of Matilda has not only been adapted into a popular film, but it's now available to watch live on stage as Matilda the Musical. The show began life at RSC's Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2010 and transferred to London's West End in October 2011. London is a bit of a trek for us Northerners though so I'm delighted that the show decided to tour the UK from March this year and is currently enjoying a stint at Sunderland Empire until 2 June (see here for details).

Matilda the Musical UK Tour - A 5* Review
How scary is Miss Trunchbull
Matilda the Musical has received 5* reviews from across the globe and has won an incredible 85 international awards including 16 for best musical. We are super lucky to have the chance to watch such a critically acclaimed show on our doorstep. 

Matilda the Musical UK Tour - A 5* Review

I sent our guest theatre reviewer Kim along to press night - you can check out Kim's review below:

"Last night, my daughter and I visited Sunderland Empire to watch Matilda. I had heard great things about it, so I was expecting it to be good. I was not disappointed. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of the whole production.

From start to finish, it was non stop. It was funny, it was emotional, it was full of drama. The songs and choreography were fantastic, and all the children were fantastic. I was completely mesmerised by Matilda - her songs and monologues were just flawless, and she totally captured your attention.

There were illusions and tricks, some of which I’m still not sure how they were pulled off, but I won’t spoil any surprises on what they are!! My favourite part from the book and film is the part with Bruce Bogtrotter and the chocolate cake, and the musical scene of this was just as good - very funny!

There were laughs throughout from the audience from both adults and children. From start to finish it was 2 1/2 hours, but this flew by. The whole show was fantastic, I couldn’t fault a thing. The actors, the orchestra, and the production team all did an amazing job, and I honestly cannot believe they do this every night on a tour, as it is so full on!

If anyone gets a chance to see this show, I would recommend it 100% - it’s definitely been one of my favourite visits to the theatre." 

Matilda the Musical UK Tour - A 5* Review

There are lots of children taking the dreaded SATs this month, and I reckon a trip to see Matilda the Musical will be the perfect half-term treat once they're over and very fitting for this time of year. Matilda the Musical really does sound fantastic and I think it's a show that's not to be missed.   You can find out more and buy tickets online here. 

Do you have any plans to watch Matilda the Musical? 

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Matilda the Musical UK Tour - 5* Review


Which is the best resort in Majorca for your family holiday?

*This is a collaborative post 

I've just booked a family holiday to Majorca for later this year and really cannot wait. It's an island I've visited twice in the past and as with all holidays I book, I spent what seemed like forever researching everything from flight times to which were the best areas for families. From analysing a list of villas in Spain to reading Tripadvisor reviews and asking friends for recommendations - no stone was left unturned! I've popped all of this research into a blog post featuring the best family resorts on the island and I hope you find this post useful if you're thinking about heading to Majorca any time soon.

Which is the best resort in Majorca for your family holiday?  #Majorca #Mallorca #FamilyTravel #Balaerics

Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands and super popular with families travelling from the UK. There's lots of fun packed into the island with stunning beaches, watersports, boat trips, water parks and theme parks sitting alongside welcoming bars and restaurants. Majorca's Winter temperatures are usually double those in the UK, meaning it's a nice destination to visit in the quieter months as well as the height of summer.  There are multiple daily flights to the island from the UK - airlines flying to Majorca include British Airways, Thomas Cook, EasyJet, Iberia and Ryanair. Below are five of what I think are the best resorts for families in Majorca - there really is something for everyone! Let me know if you've ever stayed in Majorca and if you have any recommendations in the comments.

Santa Ponsa - best for families looking for a lively resort

Santa Ponsa is the area of Mallorca we've decided to stay in September. We settled on this area as it's nice and lively with loads to do for families including theme parks, water parks, aquariums, go karting, water sports, boat trips...... plus it's just a short 30-minute transfer from the airport so ideal for my toddler nephew who will be travelling with us. Santa Ponsa is also close to the beautiful city of Palma and the lively resort of Magaluf where you'll find even more activities and it has good public transport links if we wish to explore the rest of the island.

The nightlife is busy in Santa Ponsa and there's a main square where families are welcome and live acts perform every evening. Plus there are lots of lovely restaurants around the beach and in the town to choose from - some areas can get a little lively in the evenings so it might not be for you if you're looking for a quiet family holiday. We're bringing the grandparents with us though and are hoping to book them in for babysitting and sample some of the nightlife around the Irish Quarter without the kids.

Palma Nova - best for beach-loving families

Palma Nova is always an area of Majorca that I'd associate with clubbing and 18-30s holidays but if you stay in the quieter part of the resort near the marina, it's actually an ideal spot for families. Palma Nova is popular with ex-pats and because of this, is fairly busy even during off-peak holiday times so perfect for a winter break. There are three beaches in Palma Nova with the best probably being Playa Carregador - this blue flag beach features fine white sand, crystal clear waters and a children's play area along the promenade. Palma Nova is perfect for beach-loving families as there's a huge range of watersports on offer with more activities and waterparks being easily accessible in nearby Magaluf.

Cala D'or - best for families who enjoy charming coves & good food

Cala D'or is made up of five small bays lined with whitewashed bars and restaurants. The resort has a more upmarket feel to other areas of Majorca and there are lots of lovely restaurants to choose from along the marina where the children can play on the beach as grown-ups sip a glass of cava. Families will enjoy the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters (the beaches are small and do get busy in the summer months), cycling, water sports and boat trips.

Puerto Alcudia - best all-round resort for families with something for everyone 

Puerto Alcudia is probably the most popular area in Majorca for tourists. I stayed here around 10 years ago and although I didn't fall in love with the resort, there was still loads to do for families and the biggest draw is the island's largest beach which stretches for over 10km. Expect lots of facilities for families including family bars and restaurants, crazy golf, waterparks, go-karting and more. There's also a beautiful marina which is lovely for an evening stroll, drink or meal and I really think Puerto Alcudia is the place for you if you'd like a real mix of beautiful beaches, stunning marinas plus family activities. If you fancy escaping the beach, the town of Alcudia is a couple of miles inland and home to medieval ruins and the best market on the island.

Puerto Pollensa - best for a relaxing family holiday in a traditional resort 

Puerto Pollensa was once a traditional fishing village and has now grown to a large marina and bay. Old meets new as half of the resort is built along a purpose-built prom and the other half is more traditional in style. This resort has a real traditional charm and is popular with returning visitors who like a more slow-paced and relaxing holiday. As well as enjoying the beach, families can try their hand at watersports, enjoy boat trips, visit the popular market, explore one of the resort's beautiful walks or even hire a bike.

Let me know if you've ever visited Majorca or have plans to visit soon and which is your favourite resort on the island. 

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Which is the best resort in Majorca for your family holiday?  #Majorca #Mallorca #FamilyTravel #Balaerics

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