10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard

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10 reasons I love my Family & Friends Railcard

I've bought a Family & Friends Railcard for the past 7-8 years. I love travelling by train and generally find it a lot less stressful than driving. I love not having to faff about trying to find parking spaces or being stuck in traffic jams and a train journey will normally get us to our chosen destination a lot more quickly than a car. A Family & Friends Railcard offers fantastic savings to families across a full year and costs just £30. For more information about the Family & Friends Railcard visit www.familyandfriendsrailcard.co.uk. Here's why I love ours: 
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Dining with Kids in London | Bubba Gump Shrimp Leicester Square Review

Whenever we visit London, I'm always overwhelmed by the choice on offer and struggle to narrow it down and pick somewhere for us to dine. This is even more difficult when dining with kids. We don't visit London too often and I feel like the pressure is always on to pick somewhere that both us grown-ups and the kids will enjoy and I also try and pick somewhere that isn't available in the North East too.

Dining with Kids in London | Bubba Gump Shrimp Leicester Square Review
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Experience Northumberland's Dark Skies with a Stay at Hesleyside Huts

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Experience Northumberland's Dark Skies with a Stay at Hesleyside Huts  | Rowan Hut Exterior

You'll find Hesleyside Huts in Northumberland National Park, just outside of Bellingham and under Northumberland's Official Dark Skies (the largest area of dark skies in Europe). The group of 5 Luxury Shepherd's Huts feel like they have been picked up and dropped in the middle of nowhere but are actually just off the A68 and not difficult to find at all. Each hut is furnished to a super high standard and provides everything you need to relax, unwind and switch off from the world for 48 hours.
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The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Markets in North East England 2018


I can't believe how quickly Christmas Market season has come around. As usual, I'm sharing my guide to the region's best Christmas Markets. I did ask via my Social Media pages for recommendations but if you missed that post and would like your event to be added, please add the details as a comment on this post and I'll add the details when I can. 

The Ultimate Guide to Christmas Markets in North East England 2018

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A lovely pub lunch & a trip to Corbridge Roman Town with kids

Last weekend, we decided to rejoin English Heritage. We've been members on and off over the past 10 years and decided it was time to rejoin. We're planning a couple of UK road trips next year and being English Heritage members will hopefully allow us to visit plenty of castles and historical sites along the way. It's £99 per year for a family to join and if you pay by annual direct debit you'll receive 3 months free. 

A lovely pub lunch & a trip to Corbridge Roman Town with kids  - temporary English Heritage card
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3 of our favourite child-friendly restaurants in Santa Ponsa

We love dining out on holiday and I always spend lots of time researching the best restaurants to visit when we travel to new destinations. Santa Ponsa is a bit of a weird one as there are a lot of typical pubs serving Full English Breakfasts and Sunday Dinners and cheap eateries serving up three courses for less than a tenner. This is fine if this is the kind of food you like, but for us, we always like to hunt out gems which are unique to the destination and offer either local food, gorgeous views or something we'll remember rather than a typical burger we could get from pretty much any pub in Newcastle. There are also some real gems in Santa Ponsa and dining out with kids was an absolute breeze. We stayed all-inclusive for the second half of our week so only managed to dine out on three evenings - if I was to have my time again, I'd probably stay self-catering for the full week as a few other places caught my eye too.

3 of our favourite child-friendly restaurants in Santa Ponsa

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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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