Family Life With Tweens | Days Out | Holiday Ideas

The LNER Family Return Ticket

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London North Eastern Railway (LNER) runs trains between London King's Cross and key destinations such as Edinburgh, York, Leeds, Wakefield, Newcastle, Darlington and Durham. We first travelled with LNER to London Kings Cross during our trip to LEGOLAND this summer. We have travelled along this route a few times now and I have to say, I've been impressed. I was even more delighted to learn that LNER is the first operator on this route to offer families a dedicated money-saving ticket for east coast journeys.
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Confession time | Days out are not always fun at the moment

There's no doubt about it, parenting three kids who are close together in age is a tough task. Steve works full time/shifts and as I am self-employed and working from home, I would say that 90% of our day-to-day childcare falls onto me. Yes, I get a break when the kids are at school (thank god) but with little in the way of support from family/childcare providers, being responsible for keeping three kids happy and alive is a pretty full-on task (single parents I take my hat off to you as that's a different ball game altogether).

Sibling fighting in the tweenage years - you're not along
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Holiday inspiration for May half term 2019 | Eurocamp's five best-selling parks

All of the links in this post are affiliate links

We absolutely loved our first stay with Eurocamp this year and would highly recommend this holiday company to families who are looking for a laid-back holiday with good facilities. Eurocamp holidays offer fantastic value for money and they're especially great for larger families who may struggle to fit in one hotel room. Below are links to the five most popular Eurocamp parks which are ideal for a May Half Term break. All of the holidays mentioned can be booked with a £99 deposit and are priced at under £800 for the week (accommodation only). What a bargain! 

Holiday inspiration for May half term 2019 | Eurocamp's five best-selling parks
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Fish and Chips with Kids at Trenchers, Spanish City - A Review

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Fish and Chips with Kids at Trenchers, Spanish City - A Review - trenchers takeaway

Whitley Bay has turned into a bit of a foodie hot spot recently. I love that the town has received so much investment and there are now so many fantastic places to dine out when visiting the seaside town - we really are spoilt for choice. Nowhere is quite as grand and imposing as The Spanish City Dome though and it's re-opening has caused a bit of a buzz across the North East. We popped down one evening after school to try out their fish and chip restaurant Trenchers. Parking is plentiful in Whitley Bay and free after 6pm in the car park directly behind the dome. This was the first time I'd walked along this part of the promenade since it's makeover and it really is stunning  - walking along the seafront filled me with pride and I love that I get to call the North East my home.  I am biased but the North East coast is simply the best the UK has to offer. 
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Pirate Swimming Pools and Mermaid Lessons at Pirates Village, Majorca

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When staying in hotels abroad, the swimming pools can make or break a holiday for us. As a rule, I like it when pools are around 1 metre deep as this is perfect for Harry, Heidi and Jack - they can touch the bottom and the water is deep enough for them to practice their swimming too. When they were younger, I preferred shallow water up to their knees with little slides they could play with. During our recent stay at Pirates Village in Santa Ponsa, Majorca, I'm pleased to say that there were multiple types of pool for all ages and abilities. 

Pirate Swimming Pools and Mermaid Lessons at Pirates Village, Majorca - water fight
Slide/toddler pool 
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Visiting Palma Aquarium from Santa Ponsa


Visiting Palma Aquarium from Santa Ponsa - outside from car park

During our recent stay at Pirates Village in Santa Ponsa with Jet 2 Holidays, we decided to book a trip to Palma aquarium. We love visiting aquariums and had heard good things about this one - plus it seemed to be the perfect place for our group ranging from ages 3 - 50+.

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The Lovely Bones at Northern Stage | Review

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Every time Steve and I visit Northern Stage, we leave dreaming of the day where babysitters are no longer required and we can buy a Northern Stage season pass and visit the theatre on a more regular basis. Nothing fills my soul more than a night at the theatre and I like to watch everything from the classics to modern and contemporary. I would say that Northern Stage is probably our favourite theatre in Newcastle and performances here always inspire, encourage conversation, are progressive and break boundaries. We still talk about performances we watched at Northern Stage five years ago - they generally leave a lasting impression. 
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Do you make use of kids clubs on holiday?

2018 is the year we started using kids clubs on holiday - a whole 11 years into parenting! I have no idea why it has taken us so long as it's been a game changer for us this year.


Do you make use of kids clubs on holiday?  - face painting at kids club
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Where to watch a Fireworks Display in North East England (2018)


Where to watch a Fireworks Display in North East England (2018)

Please remember times and events can change (especially as the weather does). Always double check event details before heading out.

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Disney On Ice presents Dream Big - A Review

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We always have an amazing time when Disney On Ice rolls into town and tonight was no exception.  Feld Entertainment has once again pulled it out of the bag again with a fantastic show capturing all of the fun of Disney with some familiar characters as well as new girl on the scene Moana. 

Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big - A Review
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We're off on a multi-generational pirate-themed holiday to Majorca


This weekend we're jetting off to Majorca for the week. Well I say we but I actually only mean half of the family. I'm heading to Santa Ponsa with Heidi and Jack (who are still in Primary School and if you've read my post about my stance on term-time holidays, you'll know I don't mind taking them out of school every couple of years for 5 days when they are little).

Pirates village Santa Ponsa - Credit | Jet2.com holidays 

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A Guide to Gateshead Sculpture Day - A FREE Family Day Out | 30th September - Saltwell Park

*This is a paid collaboration with Gateshead Alive

A Guide to Gateshead Sculpture Day - A FREE Family Day Out | 30th September - Saltwell Park - boat building


If you're looking for something to entertain the whole family this weekend, look no further than Gateshead Sculpture Day. This year marks the event's 33rd anniversary and the theme is 'Around the World in 80 days'. I think the event's tagline says it all - 'Hammers, Wood, Nails....Make Things'. 
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What's On for Kids in North East England | October 2018 (including half term)



This guide is written in advance - please remember that changes can be made and to always double-check details before heading out. Some of the events mentioned require pre-booking.

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7 Ways to save money at the airport when travelling with kids

We've spent a fair chunk of this summer in airports and next week, Palma will be the 8th airport we've visited this year. I'm always surprised at how much airports vary in both style and facilities, from the grand scales of Schiphol and Charles de Gaulle to the smaller regional airports like Genoa, they're all different in their own way yet have one thing in common - they're all so expensive!

7 Ways to save money at the airport when travelling with kids
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Weekend smoothies your kids will love #EatLikeAPro

*This is a paid collaboration with Beko

We're proud to be working with Beko as part of their #EatLikeAPro campaign this year. Beko has teamed up with nutritionists from FC Barcelona to create healthy recipes for kids and the whole family to enjoy. The aim is to make healthy food fun and get us all eating more fruit and veg. You may remember at the beginning of the summer, we had fun creating these plate faces - this is something we've continued and is now a treat that the kids look forward to. This week though, we've turned our hand to making smoothies with the help of the Beko Vacuum Blender.

Weekend smoothies your kids will love #EatLikeAPro
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10 Fang-Tastic Halloween Events in North East England for Older Kids aged 8+


Halloween is fast-approaching and it's a time of year which my children love. Harry, Heidi and Jack are actually gutted that we're not going to be in the North East this year (we're taking a North West road trip during October Half Term) and I know they'd be happy with any of these events. Let me know if you 've booked anything yet.

10 Fang-Tastic Halloween Events in North East England for Older Kids aged 8+

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The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit


The Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland is such a magical place and somewhere I think everybody should make the effort to visit - especially if you are local. Shamefully, our last trip was in 2014 and we were well overdue a visit. 

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland - what to see and do during a half day visit
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The Pros and Cons of Blogging Full Time


Next month marks my third anniversary of working as a blogger full-time. It just seems like yesterday that I was handing in my notice into the NHS and I can't believe it's been three years. It's been quite a journey but I honestly wouldn't change it for the world.

The Pros and Cons of Blogging Full Time
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Scamp Theatre presents Private Peaceful | A Review

*We were provided with press tickets in order to review this show

Steve and I absolutely adore going to the theatre and every time we're lucky enough to catch a show, we always spend the rest of the evening wishing our lives away to a time where babysitters and commitments aren't a problem and we can visit the theatre on a more regular basis. 


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10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby

I love going out for walks with the family. It's always nice to get some fresh air into your lungs, it's good for your health and walking provides the opportunity to chat with each other and re-connect with the great outdoors.

10 of the best family walks in North East England with a cafe and play park nearby

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5 Reasons I Love Caravan Holidays

I am pretty sure that we've taken a caravan holiday every year for as long as I can remember. Our first ever holiday with Harry was to Reighton Sands Holiday Park near Scarborough when he was a few months old and it's a tradition that has continued over the years. Caravan holidays with toddlers are very different to caravan holidays with older kids but they're both have their benefits. There is a certain type of snobbery around caravan holidays but I honestly think I'd still enjoy the odd break away in a van if I was a millionaire. I love it.

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A family visit to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea


Today we have another guest post - this time by Amy Smith featuring the Northumberland seaside town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Now can you believe I've yet to visit here? I keep meaning to take the kids but then never seem to get around to it. I'm going to make a real effort to visit before the end of the year as it seems lovely and reasonable too. Plus it's just up the road! Over to Amy....


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Why you must visit the Fortune Cookies Chinese Van in Morpeth

Have you heard of the Morpeth Chinese Van? If not, you're missing a treat. It has to be the best place to visit in Northumberland for a cheap yet satisfying lunch. Fortune Cookies has been there for as long as I can remember and we visit a couple of times a year (I'd be there every week if I lived in Morpeth). Everyone you speak to who knows about Morpeth's secret will rave about how good it is. 

Why you must visit the Fortune Cookies Chinese Van in Morpeth

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A Short Stay in Windsor with Kids

This post contains affiliate links (marked with a *)

Windsor is somewhere I have always wanted to visit so when planning a trip to LEGOLAND® this summer, I decided to add an evening in Windsor onto our trip. I would have loved to take a tour inside of Windsor Castle but unfortunately, time wasn't really on our side and it wasn't meant to be this time - perfect excuse for another visit though! Return train travel booked the week before for 5 of us was £270 using our friends and family railcard*. We travelled from Newcastle to Kings Cross then caught the tube to Paddington before catching a 15 minute train to Slough and then a 6 minute train to Windsor. The whole trip took around 4.5 hours from the North East and was pretty straightforward.

A Short Stay in Windsor with Kids
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Coastal Adventures in Northumberland with Parkdean Resorts

*This is a collaboration with Parkdean Resorts

Some of the fondest memories from my childhood feature the traditional holidays we used to take by the British seaside - eating fish and chips by the sea (they ALWAYS taste better this way), spending hours running away from the waves and long walks along the coast talking about everything and anything with the family as the sun set. Happy days indeed. I love taking these kinds of holidays with my own children and the seaside is definitely one of our happy places and somewhere we head to spend some proper quality time together. There's something about the seaside that just makes you want to put away your phone and live in the moment.  

Coastal Adventures in Northumberland with Parkdean Resorts
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Disney On Ice Weekend at Blue Reef Aquarium (Kids Go Free)

*This is a paid collaboration with Disney On Ice and contains affiliate links

Disney On Ice has joined forces with Blue Reed Aquarium to host a special Disney On Ice weekend. For 
one weekend only, on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September, Blue Reef is inviting younger visitors to come dressed as their favourite Disney characters to access free entry

Disney On Ice Weekend at Blue Reef Aquarium  (Kids Go Free)
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8 Reasons to Visit Gateshead Quays this Weekend

*This is a paid collaboration with Gateshead Council 

I don't know about you but sometimes I feel like I've blinked and missed the summer holidays. I definitely haven't managed to see as much of the Great Exhibition of the North as I would have liked and time just seems to have slipped away. This weekend, I'm going to try and set some time aside to have one last #GetNorth2018 adventure before H, H and J go back to school and Gateshead Quays is the place to be. 

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20 Lodges with Hot Tubs within a 90 minute drive of York


 *This post contains affiliate links

Hot on the heels of my popular post '22+ lodges with hot tubs within a 2 hour drive of Newcastle', I've decided to share a similar post based around another of my favourite Northern cities. York is such a charming city with loads to do for both families, couples or groups of friends. It's one of my favourite places to book a weekend break. Let me know if you fancy any of the places mentioned. All lodges featured come with their own private hot tub. 

20 Lodges with Hot Tubs within a 90 minute drive of York
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Are Travelodge SuperRooms worth it?

*Post contains affiliate links

During our recent trip to Legoland, I really wanted to stay in Windsor. As somebody who is obsessed with the Royals, it's a town I've wanted to visit in forever. As a family of 5, trying to find a hotel room for one night in a central location that doesn't cost the earth is a pretty difficult task. Recently, I've been mostly booking two Travelodge or Premier Inn rooms for city breaks as I always know what to expect and they're generally the cheapest option for us. It's not ideal as it means that we're not all together but sometimes, needs must. Our trip to Windsor was booked fairly last-minute and I imagine you could get a much better deal if booked in advance.

Are Travelodge SuperRooms worth it?  (Travelodge Windsor Central Review) - superroom bedroom

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Embracing Water and Rain at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort

*This is a paid collaboration with Nestle Pure Life

After the glorious heatwave this summer, we have had the worst luck with the weather. It has poured with rain during our last three days out. We've decided to just embrace it though and true to form after the thermometer topped 26 degrees with sunny skies on the day before our visit, the heavens opened during our first trip to LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort. We didn't let the bad weather put us off though and we honestly had the best day. I've always read very mixed reviews about LEGOLAND® and thought it might be too young for our eldest Harry who is 11 but this wasn't the case at all. If anything, I think visiting in the rain is better as the queues were a lot shorter (around 20 minutes or less for a lot of rides). 

Embracing Water and Rain at LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort  - LEGO Ninjago Ride
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5 Things to do in Northumberland across August Bank Holiday Weekend 2018


*This is a paid collaboration with Great Northumberland

I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer. Helped of course by some fantastic events in Northumberland as part of Great Northumberland and the glorious sunshine, I'd go as far as to say it's been the best summer we've enjoyed in a long time. 


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CatPawCino | Visiting a Cat Café in Newcastle with Kids

*This is a guest post
Today we have a guest post from Amanda (check out Amanda's website here: www.amandaquinn.co.uk) who visited CatPawCino Cat Cafe in Newcastle with her 8-year-old son. I've often walked past and wondered what it's like and could definitely fancy a visit myself. Has anyone else tried it? Over to Amanda:

CatPawCino | Visiting a Cat Café in Newcastle with Kids - stroking a cat

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The Spirit Riding Free Stable Sleepover Competition

*This is a paid collaboration

The Spirit Riding Free Stable Sleepover Competition

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, we love to balance lots of adventures in the great outdoors with time chilling out and relaxing at home. Watching TV is always high on the agenda during our 'chill days' and today I am sharing Heidi's new favourite TV show with you.

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Tanfield Railway | Britain's Oldest Railway & a Picnic at Causey Arch

Step back in time to August 2012 and we visited Tanfield Railway to celebrate my mam's 50th birthday. We packed a picnic and really had a wonderful day - in fact, it's a day out we've talked about on many occasions since. I can't believe how little the kids look in this blog post and how quickly the years have flown by (alongside how much my blog has clearly improved since those early days).


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5 Reasons to Visit Future Homes Newcastle with Kids


*This is a paid collaboration with Newcastle Building Society 

The Great Exhibition of the North has had its ups and downs for me (which you can read about here). One thing I have loved about the exhibition is that it's forced me to discover new places in our city and learn about projects that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. One of those projects is Future Homes Newcastle.


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Danny and Clive - Cirque Du Hilarious | The Magical Mischief Tour Visits Tynemouth

*This is a collaboration with Cirque du Hilarious


I swear Danny Adams is the kids' hero. They absolutely LOVE him. H, H and J watch the panto at Newcastle Theatre Royal every year with school and if you've been along in the past 10 or so years, you'll be more than familiar with Danny & Clive. Their silly, slapstick and often close to the knuckle humour is adored by kids (and many grown-ups alike) and I'd go as far as to say the Cirque Du Hilarious are legends on the local theatre scene. I'm so chuffed that Danny and his brother Mick have been given their own CBBC show - it's going to be great. 

Danny and Clive - Cirque Du Hilarious | The Magical Mischief Tour Visits Tynemouth
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How to plan a trip to Puy du Fou with kids from the UK who don't speak French

*This is a collaboration with Puy du Foy

I am so excited to share with you our trip to Puy du Fou theme park in France. We spent *the best* two days here and I really would recommend this trip for all ages. Entrance fees are really very reasonable when compared to other top theme parks around the world (see here for details) and I'd recommend a short-break and staying on-site for 1/2 nights to get the most out of your experience (see here for details). Grab a coffee, because this is a LONG post - it's been a tricky task trying to capture the magic and scale of Puy du Fou and just how incredible it is but I hope this post will give you a flavour of what to expect. 

Puy du Fou Theme Park, France - Gladiator Stadium

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10 Reasons to Visit Seaton Delaval Hall

*This is a paid collaboration with Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall is a Grade I listed house in Northumberland. Situated just a few miles from my home in Cramlington, I remember driving past as a child and being told to look out for the infamous white lady who allegedly haunts the property - a girl who fell in love with the Heir to the Hall but died with a broken heart as the marriage was forbidden. I am sure I spotted her looking out of a window once! The hall was closed to the public during my childhood and it was one of those places you'd pass time and time again and wonder if you'd ever set foot inside. 

10 Reasons to Visit Seaton Delaval Hall

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A Luxury Family Staycation at Rockliffe Hall Hotel

*This post is a collaboration with Rockliffe Hall

Rockliffe Hall is a five-star luxury golf and spa hotel. Nestled in a quiet village on the edge of County Durham, I really believe this resort is one of the North East's best-kept secrets. You may remember we spent the most blissful spa day at Rockliffe Hall last year and I still stand by the fact that I think the spa here is the best in our region. I was delighted to be able to return this summer, but this time with kids in tow......

A Luxury Family Staycation at Rockliffe Hall Hotel

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Encourage Engineering in Children with The Holiday Makers

*This is a paid collaboration with Britmums and The Year of Engineering

We love getting out and about and exploring over summer - I'm a strong believer in learning through experience and really think that travel and days out help to broaden the horizons. It's impossible to plan a day trip on every day of the holidays though and we like to balance time at home with time out and about. However, I will admit that often it is more of a struggle to keep the kids entertained at home and I am guilty of resorting to using the Xbox as a babysitter in the holidays a little more than I'd care to admit. I am always on the lookout for free and educational games or activities that will inspire the kids and allow them to get creative so when I heard of The Holiday Makers, I knew it was something we'd like to get involved with. The Holiday Makers is a brand new hub packed with fun activities and challenges that will help entertain and inspire children and keep their minds sharp all summer long. 

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Les Ecureuils Campsite, Vendee - A Eurocamp Site near Puy du Fou (Full Review)

*We stayed at Les Ecureuils as part of a press stay in return for this review

Our main reason for staying at Les Ecureuils was its proximity to Puy du Fou. We were visiting the theme park for three days and wanted somewhere we could stay to extend our holiday and relax a little as a family. Les Ecureuils is around a 90-minute drive from Puy du Fou and was available during the dates we wanted. It seemed ideal so we booked up for 4 nights. 

Les Ecureuils Campsite, Vendee - A Eurocamp Site near Puy du Fou (Full Review)

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Win a skating workshop with the stars of Disney On Ice presents Dream Big

*This is a paid collaboration with Disney On Ice and contains affiliate links

Ever fancied skating with the stars of Disney On Ice? For the third year in a row, the Disney On Ice team is offering children aged 5+ the opportunity to win an hour's training session with professional skaters from the show.


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5 holiday experiences my children will never understand

*This is a collaboration with Hello Canvas

During our recent trip to France, I couldn't help but reminisce with Steve about what holidays used to be like for us in the 1980s and 1990s and how much times have changed for our own children. The holidays I experienced during my own childhood were never flash or expensive but were definitely from more a simple time and I hold many special memories from weeks spent in Scarborough or Cornwall. 

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FREE Nature Trail at Derwent Waterside Park, Consett

*This is a paid collaboration with Northumbrian Water

FREE Nature Trail at Derwent Waterside Park, Consett  - play park

I have been LOVING this gorgeous weather we've been experiencing lately. I'm definitely not the kind of person to complain about the sunshine and will never moan that it's too hot. Last week, we spent a beautiful summer's evening at Rockliffe Hall. I checked the weather forecast as we were packing our overnight bags and the warm weather was all set to continue. We planned to visit Derwent Waterside Park after our stay at Rockliffe Hall and I did not pack a coat for myself and Steve. In fact, I packed a lovely summer dress and sandals for myself and after watching Nomipalony's beautiful sun-filled Instagram stories from a visit to Derwent Waterside Park the previous day (you can read about Nyomi's visit here), I was looking forward to a gorgeous day of sunshine.

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Anyone else hate water parks?

I am one of those parents who will openly admit that I hate taking the kids swimming. I just don't find dipping my body in cold water filled with other people's body fluids to be that appealing if I'm honest. But if I've learned one thing in my almost 12 years of parenthood, it's that you can't be selfish when you have offspring and every now and then I grin and bear it for their sakes.

Anyone else hate water parks?  Atlantic Toboggan Vendee Water park pictures and review
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Durham University Botanical Gardens with Kids - A Review

*This is a guest post
Today we have a guest post from Helen who visited Durham University Botanical Gardens with her children this week. It's somewhere I've not visited myself but it looks lovely (and inexpensive). Let me know if you'd recommend. Over to Helen......

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Camping at Deer Shed Festival with Kids


*We were provided with press review tickets

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Love Super Wings? Check Out #SuperSummerMissions & Enter Our Giveaway

*This is a paid collaboration with Super Wings

Super Wings is a popular action-packed animation series aimed at children aged 3-5. The show aims to encourage problem-solving skills and explores different parts of the world. My almost-3-year-old nephew is a huge fan of the show and as Harry, Heidi and Jack are besotted with him, they often watch along together. I was therefore delighted when Super Wings asked us to be one of their official ambassadors this year and I can't wait to get involved with their #SuperSummerMissions across the holidays.


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FREE Woodland Adventure and Mud Kitchen at Beamish Hall


This Summer I am going to mix it up a little and I'll be sharing reader reviews alongside my own. First up is this review by Claire, featuring a new Alice in Wonderland Adventure experience at Beamish Hall. I love that it's free to visit (activity packs are an optional extra at £4 each). Over to Claire who attended the launch event......



FREE Woodland Adventure and Mud Kitchen at Beamish Hall

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