Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre

There's actually a couple of sneaky extra reviews in this post so just over 10 places for you to choose from when eating out in with kids in Newcastle City Centre.

Let me know your favourite spots as we're always looking for new places to try.

Top 10 Child Friendly Restaurants in Newcastle City Centre
Share:

Keeping the kids' bedroom tidy - will I ever win the battle?

My two boys share a double bedroom and little Miss is unfortunately stuck in the tiny box room. We have made the most of the space for them with bunks for the boys and a mid-sleeper for Heidi. What I wasn't prepared for when I provided the kids with their own space was just how messy they would be!

I'm not a tidy person but I'm not overly messy either. The kids however are a different kettle of fish. I will often find myself spending a couple of hours in their room sorting out their toys and clearing out their cupboards - where does everything come from??? Give it a few days and their rooms will be back to how they were before I started and it does make me wonder why I bother.

I wish Heidi's bedroom was ALWAYS this tidy

When I was growing up my bedroom was always immaculate. I just don't understand how my mum achieved this, especially as I'm not an overly tidy person.

New Term, New Rules


I think my children are old enough now to take responsibility for their own bedrooms and I have decided to set some new rules for the new term.

Harry and Heidi's jobs:-
  • Every day the children must make their own bed & open their curtains (20p per day)
  • Every Sunday night they must clear all rubbish from their rooms into recycling/rubbish bag (50p per week)
  • Every Wednesday night they must put all of their toys back into their homes (50p per week)
Harry and Heidi could potentially earn £2.40 per week doing this which I am hoping will help to motivate them. They have decided they are going to use this money to save for Shopkins (Heidi ) and a new computer game (Harry) which are both things they really want to get their hands on.


Using Jangle to help


Jangle is a completely FREE app that helps you teach your kids money skills whilst making your life a little easier too. There is absolutely no cost involved and it has been designed by Sarah Willingham (Dragons Den), pfeg and Experian. You can find out more and download Jangle from the App store here. You can have multiple users and there are pre-loaded activities for kids to take part in OR you can create your own activity as we did. 

Creating our own activity with Jangle
I like how you can negotiate with the kids to choose how much they will be paid (in this case 50p for tidying their room), you can select who will pay once the task has been completed (so you can get the grandparents involved) and you can see what your child is saving for (in this case Heidi is saving for some Shopkins).


When the activity has been completed you need to just click 'done' (once you've checked of course).


......and your child will be rewarded with a virtual 50p added to their pot. This is particularly handy for those days you don't have any cash on you (which is pretty much every day for me) as you don't physically hand over any cash until your child's target has been met. 


By completing the chore of tidying her room, Heidi has already hit 3% of her target. This visual really encourages H & H to keep going as they are desperate to reach 100% and earn their reward. I will probably add a few ad-hoc activities/chores during the holidays too which will give them a bit of a boost.

I know rewarding children with money for doing chores isn't everyone's cup of tea or parenting style but to be honest, I am at the stage now where I will try ANYTHING. I'm sure we've all been there. I would love to hear your tips for encouraging the kids to tidy their room and if you download Jangle yourself, let me know how you get on. 

This is a collaborative post, all thoughts are our own. 
Share:

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

This was our first time visiting Birdoswald Roman Fort (Chesters and Housesteads are closer to us) but it was SOOOOO worth the journey. First of all, I would love for you to take a look at the little video I made of our trip below. It is the first time I have used my new vlogging camera (I ended up buying this one if you are interested) and I think you can really see the difference between using a proper camera and my iPhone.


If you like my video, don't forget to subscribe :-) 


Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

We settled on a sheltered part of the wall in the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a picnic from the on-site tearoom. Sandwiches, homemade flapjacks, fruit and juice all set us up for the afternoon's adventures. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

After our picnic, Steve and I found a lovely spot under a tree to relax and watch the magnificent kites dance to music as the kids invented their own game featuring Roman Hot Tubs and Jack playing the role of an alien called Yoghurt. That's one of the things I LOVE about Hadrian's Wall - it always inspires our children to use their imagination,  invent their own games and play amongst the forts. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

There were professional kite flyers in one of the fields who were skillfully flying their kites to music. I can't imagine how much practice it must take to do this! I can barely get a kite off the ground! There were also plenty of opportunities for children and grown ups to fly their own kites in the amateur field too. The sky was constantly filled with kites and against the backdrop of Hadrian's wall, it was very pretty. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

There was the chance to create our own kite (for free) and Heidi and I headed to the craft room to create our masterpiece. I was super chuffed when our kite actually worked and the kids had fun flying it along the wall next to the professionals. 

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

We spent 4-5 hours at the Kite festival and in all honesty if I didn't have to be home in time for my grocery delivery, we would have stayed longer. The kids made some new friends who they played with along the wall, Steve and I loved just chilling out and watching the kites/listening to the wide selection of music in the sunshine and we all enjoyed the challenge of creating our own kite and then developing our skills to actually fly it. 

The kite festival continues on Monday 30th May 2016 so if you are at a loose end, I would highly recommend a trip. There are lots of fantastic events planned for half term and summer across Hadrian's wall, so if you can't make the festival, check out other planned events.

Entry to Birdoswald Roman Fort is from £3.70  or FREE if you are English Heritage members as we are and there is no additional charge for the festival. The site opens at 10am with kite flying from 11am. Pack a picnic or visit the tearoom and make a day of it.

Hadrian's Wall Kite Festival 2016 - Birdoswald Roman Fort

Share:

Advice for taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

Animal Inside Out is Gunther van Hagens' must see exhibition of 2016 with over 100 REAL preserved animals and specimens. You can visit the exhibition during Life's normal opening hours and entry is included with the centre's regular admission.

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

Due to the nature of the exhibition, it is recommended for children aged 8 and over. Life do advise that you know your children best and don't place any restrictions should you wish to take younger children with you. My three children are aged 5, 7 and 9 and are very curious about the world around them. They aren't particularly sensitive and I discussed what they would see beforehand and they were all excited.

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

I've included a few images from the exhibition to give you an idea of what to expect. There were lots of children there when we visited and it didn't feel gruesome at all to us. 

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Blood vessel capillaries

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Horse Skeleton

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Inside a human bone
It was fascinating looking inside animals and humans and seeing life from a perspective we haven't seen before. It prompted lots of questions from the kids such as how blood flows through the body, what blood is made from and the comparison of different organs in different animals (we thought a cat's heart is so teeny!).

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

I think the horse and bear were perhaps what could be considered the most disturbing but my three didn't raise an eyebrow, in fact the biggest comment was we couldn't believe how huge the bear was. 

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Inside a rabbit

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Capillaries of an Ostrich
Wow the capillaries inside an Ostrich was like a real piece of art - I would love to know how many hours it took to preserve this magnificent beast!

I think it's important to point out that no animals were harmed in the making of this exhibition - it has all been possible thanks to links to zoos and veterinary schools.

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

The final part of the exhibition really took our breath away - the elephant in particular was stunning and we couldn't get over the scale of it. Again the kids were just as fascinated as us and we were faced with a barrage of questions as we walked around. 

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Cross section of a cow
Heidi and Jack enjoyed looking at the cross section of the cow and we had fun finding all of it's stomachs.

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle

taking your children to see Animal Inside Out at Life Science Centre, Newcastle
Magnificent! 

Heidi (7) did make a few comments as we walked around, especially when faced with parts of her favourite animals (especially the cats). She wasn't upset but just a bit sad that they were no longer alive I think. All three children thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition though and it is such a good place to start conversations around anatomy that may not have happened otherwise (yes including how you can tell an animal is male or female).

From a grown up perspective I think this has been my favourite ever exhibition at Life. I studied Biology at A Level (and then part of a Genetics degree) and it certainly reignited my passion. I think if I had attended this exhibition as a child myself I would have left feeling inspired and possibly even encouraged to follow a career down this route.

There is so much more to enjoy....... 


Admission to Life Science Centre is £34 for a family of 4. This includes admission to Animal Inside Out but also the Planetarium, Experiment Zone, 4D Motion Ride, Brain Zone, Live Theatre Shows and much more.

Conducting experiments in the Experiment Zone


We loved the Planetarium & watched 'Live Skies' which is a 30 minute guided tour around the stars, planets and international space station above us. This was a lovely immersive experience and the host was funny and enthusiastic. We have certainly been encouraged to re-visit Kielder and check out the dark skies again. Apparently you can see around 3000 stars here compared to about 40 stars in the city centre. Amazing! 

More experiments
Harry was tall enough to ride the 5D motion ride and I have to say he LOVED it - he was buzzing with excitement as it finished and couldn't stop talking about it. For older children, this is not to be missed. Whilst he was taking this ride with Steve I took the younger two upstairs to the young explorers zone and they loved the 'play' shop and soft play area.


Jack's having fun creating music

Heidi is setting up a system of cogs

If you visit, I would highly recommend dining in the cafe. Food is fresh, reasonably priced and they stock Canny shakes which are a local business who donate 5% of thier profits back to Science at Life.


In conclusion, I think you know your own child. If they are curious, ask questions and don't have a sensitive nature, I think they will love Animal Inside Out and I would 100% recommend taking a trip. When they say this exhibition is 'must-see' I definitely agree and think you would be mad to miss out on an opportunity like this to hopefully inspire your children or at the very least start lots of conversations around life and anatomy.


Life Science Centre hosted a blogger's afternoon and we were provided with complimentary tickets. We were not obliged to write about our experience. All thoughts are our own. 

Share:

5 Reasons Why Indonesia Is On My Travel Bucket List

Indonesia is one of the (many) places I regret not travelling to when I was young and carefree with zero responsibilities. Known as the 'Land of the Dragons', it is a country steeped in history, culture and beauty. The best time to travel is between May and September and it is definitely somewhere we'll be stopping off on our epic round the world trip we have planned when the children are older.

We will probably travel via a cruise and stop off at a few other destinations as part of a longer trip, but it's just as easy booking online and hotels such as the Aston Anyer Beach Hotel are available with Ocean views and Wifi at seriously bargain prices (I'm talking under £10). In fact,  it is very possible to travel around Indonesia on a complete shoestring and spend less than £5 per day if needed.

Here are the top 5 places I would love to visit whilst travelling through Indonesia:-


Beaches

5 Reasons Why Indonesia Is On My Travel Bucket List - Bali beach
Bali Beach
I think it's fair to say that Bali has some of the best beaches in the world. White sands lined with palm trees and beach huts selling fresh, local food sounds perfect to me.


Borobudur Temple


5 Reasons Why Indonesia Is On My Travel Bucket List - Borobudhur temple
Borobudur Temple
The Borobudhur Temple is the world's largest Buddhist Monument. At over 1000 years old, the temple is still actually used for pilgrimage to this day and once every year Buddhists will visit to celebrate Vesak. Entry to the temple costs just 20 USD per adult. There are over 500 Buddha statues in and around the temple and they all look the same but on closer inspection, they all have tiny differences. Amazing!

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary


5 Reasons Why Indonesia Is On My Travel Bucket List - Sacred Monkey Sanctuary

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is dedicated to conservation of the area and is a research centre specialising in monkey behaviour. There are around 600 monkeys living in the forest and visitors are able to walk through the trees and observe the monkeys in their natural environment. 

Food


5 Reasons Why Indonesia Is On My Travel Bucket List

Of course food always features high on my list for reasons to travel somewhere and Indonesia is no different. Indonesian cuisine features complex flavours and spices and varies depending on which area you are visiting. An example of a popular dish would be Nasi goreng (fried rice) with Chicken and Satay sauce. You can dine in 5* restaurants or shacks on the beach in Indonesia, I am planning on doing both!

Sekumpul Waterfalls


The Sekempul Waterfalls are said to be some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali. The waterfalls are set in the middle of the jungle and guided tours are recommended. To get to the waterfalls you have to cross through waist-high water, descend slippery rocks and hike for mile (I can only hope it wouldn't end up like Danielle's experience of hiking Mount Rinjani). Despite the challenge, most people will tell you that the waterfalls are absolutely breathtaking and worth the journey.

So there you have my top 5 reasons to visit Indonesia. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward time and visit now! If you've visited, I'd love to hear your tips too.
Share:

Childhood Obesity in the UK

There isn't a day goes by when childhood obesity isn't mentioned in the media. As a parent, words such as 'exploding nightmare' and 'decreased life expectancy' are very worrying indeed. The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity found that 6.1% of under 5's were overweight or obese in 2014 compared to 4.8% in 1990 which is clear proof that the problem is growing rapidly.

The Government are trying to do their bit with a few rather controversial policies such as the new sugar tax and The National Child Measurement Programme, but in my opinion, I think a lot more could be done to address the issue.

Childhood Obesity in the UK
It's important to us to stay active as a family

It is well documented that both Steve and I are overweight and part of our reason for wanting to lose weight and get fit and healthy ourselves is to set a good example to our children. To me, it's no good telling the kids that they can't drink pop when we are sitting there doing it ourselves. They need to see us living a healthy lifestyle if we want them to do the same and this is one of the main reasons why we decided it was time for change. 

Focusing on PE and Sport


When I was at school, I hated PE and running around the field in the freezing cold was fun for nobody. Times have changed now though (thankfully) and all schools receive a PE and sport premium from the government which they can use to invest in PE and sport. I think this is a wonderful idea and I have already seen massive changes in the way PE is taught at my children's school compared to twenty years ago. Harry has just signed up to free Judo classes, Heidi plays football at lunchtime with a professional coach and Jack loves playing on the school play equipment at break time. 

Childhood Obesity in the UK


ESP (Education, Sport and Play) are the leading provider for outdoor playground equipment for schools in the UK and have teamed up with Roehampton University to carry out some independent research into the effects of installing Multi-Skills Zones and professionally training staff in schools. Here are some of the headline figures:-

  • An increase in 4.9 minute of Moderate to Vigorous Physical activity per child per day
  • 7.5% increase in observed physical activity levels
  • Overall, girls increased their activity levels more

All good stuff! Schools can use their PE and sport premium to invest in outdoor play equipment for Early Years Play (nature areas, roadways, play towers and music for example), Primary Years Play (such as Infinity trails, multi skills areas and trim trails) or Secondary Years Play (multi-skills zones, climbing equipment and even outdoor table tennis for example) which I think is fantastic as the equipment that's available can be used both in break times and during structured PE or sport lessons. 

Childhood Obesity in the UK

I think this is just the start though, and schools only have a part to play. A lot of the fight against childhood obesity is down to us parents. Although my children moan at me when I tear them away from their laptops to go on a bike ride, tell them they aren't allowed any more sweets or suggest we walk to the beach rather than taking the car, I hope that they will see in the future that it's all been for their own good. 


What do you think about Childhood Obesity in the UK? How do you think it should be tackled? 

This is a collaborative post, all thoughts are my own.
Share:

Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips

We are well-seasoned campers and Steve and I have loved camping for most of our adult lives whether this be in a pop-up tent at Glastonbury whilst pregnant, camping with a baby or a full-on glamping experience, we've pretty much been there and experienced everything. We have a few camping adventures planned this year already including the Corbridge Festival in July, Just So Festival in August and we are hoping to camp on the shores of Loch Ness and hunt for Nessie at some point too.

Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips


For us, camping is a fantastic holiday. It's a chance to get away from it all, enjoy the great outdoors, face a few challenges together and go on real adventures. There are hundreds and hundred of camping tips out there, but I have put together what I think are the top 5 things I've learned whilst camping with kids over the years:-



1 - Pack Wine


Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips

I can honestly not imagine camping without wine. Whe you are camping you have nowhere to go or nothing to see so nothing beats sitting outside of your tent and drinking a (not-chilled) glass of wine from a plastic glass. I know it sounds crazy but honestly, nothing beats it. Especially if the sun is shining. 

2 - Choose a tent that's easy to put up and pack away (and practice)


I'll never forget the first time we went camping and just didn't have a clue how to pitch a tent. For starters we pitched on a slope. I think it took us around 2 hours to put up a 3 man tent. Not good! Definitely take the time to practice putting our tent up at home first. 

Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips

There are so many tents available these days from pop-up 2 man tents for £30 to elaborate family tents that cost well into the hundreds. Our first family tent cost around £200 and I think £100-£250 is a good amount to spend on your first family tent. Make sure you read reviews from websites such as UKcampsite.co.uk before deciding on your purchase.


3 - Take sweatshirts/hoodies/onesies for night


Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips

Even if it is the height of summer, don't forget to pack sweatshirts and hoodies for grown ups and kids. They will probably still be playing out as the sun starts to set and they will need to wear layers in bed to keep warm in the UK, even in summer. 

4 - Don't forget marshmallows


Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips


Marshmallows are a camping staple and one of the things the kids get most excited about when we plan a camping trip. Toasting marshmallows on a fire is a real memory maker. If your campsite doesn't allow fires, it is possible to toast them on a BBQ or if you are really stuck you can make the kids hot chocolates and melt the marshmallows on top - it's still a treat. 


5 - Don't worry about the kids getting dirty. A 'wet wipe' clean is fine for a few days


When you take the kids camping for a few days, they will get dirty and you need to be at peace with this. Camping gives kids the ultimate freedom to run around, spend hours doing cartwheels, make new friends, climb trees and play in the park. There really is no point trying to change their clothes when they get messy. Just let them wear their old clothes and a quick wipe down with a wet wipe in the morning and night is fine. Make sure they wash their hands before eating though!

Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips

If you would like any more camping tips, Halfords have put together a comprehensive online guide to camping which is full of tips, camping recipes, buying guides, touring advice and much more. It is full of useful advice including pitch at the top of a hill to avoid flooding, don't camp near loo's and prepare food at home in advance and pack into zip-lock bags to take with you.

Camping With Kids - Our Top 5 Tips - Halfords Camping Guide

I would love to hear if you have any camping trips planned this summer.

You might also like:- Top 10 Places To Camp In The North East

Collaborative post, all thoughts are my own. 

Pin Me For Later
Our Top 5 tips for camping with kids this summer.

Share:
© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig