A family of 5 with a zest for life

Sully from Monsters Inc. has taken up residence in South Shields - here's how to meet him (for free)


I have a huge soft spot for Monsters Inc. Released in 2001 when I was just 17 years old, I was obsessed with this film and still have my Sully soft toy my mam bought me from the Disney Store to this day. It's a film that has stood the test of time and my own children now love it just as much as I do. When I heard that Sully himself was going to feature in the Word's new Monsters exhibition in South Shields, I visited ASAP. Unfortunately, I made the rookie error of not checking Facebook first and the exhibition was temporarily closed for the day. I was gutted! So we tried again during May Half Term and this time, our trip was more successful. 



The Monsters exhibition continues at The Word in South Shields until 6 January 2019. It's completely free to visit and easy to get to with ferry, metro and bus links very close by. The exhibition is just on the right as you enter the building and I was honestly jumping for joy as I realised there was actually a mock-up of Boo's room. So cute! We visited during half term and it wasn't overly busy - plenty of opportunities to take photos.


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Sunday Lunch at The Coach House Otterburn (with kids)

*This is a collaboration with The Coach House Otterburn

We celebrated Father's Day a week early this year as Steve is sadly working on the official day (plus I'm heading off to Genoa with the kids for the weekend so we won't actually be in the country). We spent Saturday strawberry picking at Brocksbushes (watch our video here), eating ice cream at Wheelbirks and watching the football. Steve is the chef in our house and does 95% of the cooking so we thought it would be nice to head out somewhere a little special for Sunday lunch after a leisurely lie in. 

Sunday Lunch at The Coach House Otterburn (with kids)

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Why you should visit Alnwick Garden when the kids are at school


I love visiting Alnwick Garden. It doesn't matter when you visit, there's always something new to see, do and admire. The garden's hard-working team of gardeners seem to work non-stop and the garden is ever-changing with the seasons but always pristine and beautiful.

Why you should visit Alnwick Garden when the kids are at school


In the past, I've nearly always visited Alnwick Garden during the school summer holidays with Harry, Heidi and Jack and usually some of our extended friends or family too. It's such a fantastic place to visit with kids on a sunny day and the Grand Cascade makes a wonderful backdrop for your picnic. Little ones love playing with the water features in the serpent garden and the garden of fairy tales trail is always lots of fun. 


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10 of the best Northumberland beaches to visit with kids

We're so lucky living in Northumberland. One of the reasons I love it so much is our miles and miles of unspoilt coastline. We really are spoilt for choice and sometimes it can be tricky trying to decide which beach to visit for the day. I've put together a guide featuring 10 of our favourites (it isn't a comprehensive guide - just some of the places we personally love). Let me know if you'd like to visit any of the beaches listed or if you have a favourite.




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What happens at Durham Passport Office during an urgent lost passport appointment

So I lost my passport. The last time I physically used it was during our trip to Florida last year. I keep all of our passports together in a safe place and when I went to that place to check some details recently, mine wasn't there. I do remember that I needed just my own passport for something a couple of months ago and it was in my handbag for ages. Then I took it out and put it on my coffee table and then I vaguely remember moving it somewhere before our cleaner arrived. I have no idea where this place was though! I've searched high and low to no avail. I think it's probably in a bag somewhere (despite me checking every bag I own) OR it has ended up mixed up with some papers in our bin. I won't be making that mistake again and as soon as I've used my passport in future, I'll make sure to pop it straight back where it lives. I'd advise anyone to do the same!

What happens at Durham Passport Office during a lost passport appointment


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What's On for Kids in North East England | June 2018

June is a busy, busy, busy month in the North East. Not only do we have the launch of the Great Exhibition of the North and the impending launch of Great Northumberland to look forward to but we also have the hoppings and Father's Day to celebrate too.

What's On for Kids in North East England | June 2018



Events & days out to enjoy across June
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Harry's last term in Primary School - How we're preparing for the transition to Secondary School

*This is a collaborative post

Harry's last term in Primary School - How we're preparing for the transition to Secondary School

It honestly does not seem like two minutes ago that I was that nervous first-time mum visiting nursery school for the first time and worrying how Harry would get on without me. How would he manage the toilet? Would he make friends? Would he enjoy school? So many questions! How sweet does he look on his first day though! It's always tough when your child starts a new phase of their life but I think it's even more so when it's your first-born as it's all new to you as a parent too.


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Visiting Bamburgh Castle with Kids - Cost, Parking & Picnic Spots


Bamburgh Castle is a real stunner. As you approach the coastline, it's imposing and grand and you can't help but be impressed. The castle originates from 420 and was inhabited by Anglo Saxons from 590. The pesky Vikings invaded and destroyed the castle in 993 after which the Normans re-built a new castle which forms the basis of the castle we see today. These days, the castle is owned by the Armstrong family and is open to the public. You may recognise the castle from the films Ivanhoe, Macbeth, Elizabeth and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Visiting Bamburgh Castle with Kids - Cost, Parking & Picnic Spots

I'm ashamed to say it had been a number of years since our last visit (close to five I think) and over Bank Holiday weekend, a re-visit was definitely on the cards. The castle was holding a special Viking Invasion event which I won't go into too much as this was a one-off but if you're interested, you can check out my short video from the event below (and catch a glimpse of the epic drive up to the castle).


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