A Morning in Padstow : What to do with Kids


A Morning in Padstow : What to do with Kids

Steve and I live for cookery shows. If you pop to our house it's very likely we'll have one on in the background. Not that we ever cook any of the recipes we watch being made on TV of course but it's nice to get some inspiration. Nothing beats embracing slow living and watching Saturday Kitchen in the morning with a coffee to start your weekend. Because of this, we've watched hundreds of Rick Stein shows and Padstow is somewhere we've watched appear on our screens as a must-visit foodie destination time and time again. We've probably wanted to visit for around 10 years and this February, we finally had the chance during our half term trip to Cornwall. 
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20 of the Best Places to Stay near Flamingo Land

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Flamingo Land Theme Park & Zoo is a fantastic day out in North Yorkshire. There's loads to do for all ages from extreme rides like Velocity and family rides like Splash Battle to activities for little ones including HMS Bouncy and the zoo which is home to sea lions, giraffes, farm animals, meerkats, lions, hippos and more. It really is a full day out and sometimes, the thought of driving home after a full day out is too much. So in this post, I've put together 20+ options for places to stay near Flamingo Land. There's something for everyone from budget camping and hotels to pubs with rooms and even a luxury treehouse. You can find out more about Flamingo Land here. Let me know if you have any recommendations for places to stay. 
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5 Days Out for Tweens and Teens at The Gate, Newcastle

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In my late teens and early 20s, The Gate was the place to be. Most of our nights out started here and I think Mood was one of my favourite bars in Newcastle. In fact, I am pretty sure it was in Mood that Steve and I first drunkenly raised the idea of starting a family together.

5 Days Out for Tweens and Teens at The Gate, Newcastle
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The Sands Resort Cornwall Review | A Family Hotel with Kids Club near Newquay

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The Sands Resort Cornwall Review | A Family Hotel with Kids Club near Newquay

The Sands Resort in Newquay, Cornwall is a popular accommodation choice for families with little kids. There's an abundance of activities and facilities on offer here and it feels like The Sands has everything covered from easy pushchair hire to baby listening facilities and it's own soft play areas. You can read more about staying at The Sands Resort with younger children over on my friend Emma's blog here. I could not find many reviews featuring families with older children though and I was keen to put the hotel through their paces and discover what was on offer during our stay with tweens. We stayed for 2 nights over February Half Term 2019.
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A Half Day Tour of Stratford-Upon-Avon with Kids (on a budget)

During our February Half Term trip to Cornwall, we stopped off at Stratford-Upon-Avon overnight to break the journey up. I was keen to visit the town on a budget as wanted to save the majority of our cash for our trip to Cornwall.

A Quick Guide to Visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon with Kids (on a budget)


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Sleeping In A Recycled Shipping Container At The Eden Project - Our Experience

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Staying in a Recycled Shipping Container at The Eden Project - YHA Eden Project Review

I planned our recent trip to Cornwall around visiting the Eden Project. It's somewhere I've wanted to visit for years and it did not disappoint (check out my 10 reasons to visit here). I've worked with YHA on a couple of occasions in the past and they invited me along to review YHA Eden Project a few years ago but it was a bit of a long way to travel for one night. So when I was planning my trip, I got back in touch and we organised a night in one of their recycled shipping containers.
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Tips for Visiting Chester Zoo from Newcastle

Chester Zoo is somewhere I've always wanted to visit. I've heard so many good things and it was number one on my list of places to visit last October Half Term. I booked tickets and monorail tickets in advance which set us back just over £100 for the 5 of us. Not the cheapest of days out so I crossed my fingers that it was worth it.

Tips for Visiting Chester Zoo from Newcastle


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What's On for Kids | North East England - March 2019


What's On for Kids | North East England - March 2019

Welcome to my monthly guide featuring what's on across North East England for children and families this month. Please remember to always check details before heading out as these guides are written in advance and events can change. I love March and I'm looking forward to lots of springtime adventures.
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Waterside Cornwall Review | Self-Catering Lodges Near The Eden Project

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Waterside Cornwall Review | Self-Catering Lodges Near The Eden Project

We started our February Half Term trip to Cornwall in the best possible way with a short stay at Waterside Cornwall. You'll find Waterside just off A30 outside of Bodmin and it's an ideal base for exploring Cornwall including the Eden Project (7 miles), the Lost Gardens of Heligan (15 miles), St Austell, Fowey and Mevagissey. Out of all of the places we stayed, Waterside was definitely the most central. Prices for a 3 bedroom lodge (sleeping up to 8) are available from £78 per lodge per night which I think is super reasonable. You can also pay a supplement and stay in a lodge with a hot tub and if there are less of you in the party, smaller lodges are available from £43 per lodge per night.
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10 Reasons to Visit the Eden Project in Winter

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The Eden Project is somewhere which has been on my list of places to visit for years. I remember driving past the quarry site when I was on holiday in Cornwall as a child and the project was in its very early phases of development and I'm delighted that I was finally able to visit with my own children this February Half Term.

10 Reasons to Visit the Eden Project in Winter

First impressions of the Eden Project are that it's huge. Kind of like a mini town. There are multiple car parks and it's so vast that there's a complimentary shuttle bus from the car park to the entrance (not needed on the way down but will save you climbing the hill on the way back). Despite its size, the Eden Project did not feel busy or overcrowded and although we visited in school holidays, I am guessing it's quieter in the winter months than summer.
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Northumberland in Bloom | My favourite gardens to visit with kids

I am showing my age here but these days I absolutely love strolling around a garden. I am going to be brutally honest here and say I actually prefer visiting gardens without the kids so I can actually spend time admiring the plants, flowers and wildlife but I do still like to bring the kids along to these kinds of days out too as gardens are always a nice place for a family walk with plenty to look at. My top tip would be to bring the kids there own camera and set them a specific challenge (eg take a photo of flowers from every colour in the rainbow). This will keep them out of mischief. We're super lucky in Northumberland to have many beautiful gardens on our doorstep and today I'm sharing some of my favourites with you. Let me know if you have any other recommendations for us to visit over in my North East Days Out Reviews and Recommendations Facebook group.

Northumberland in Bloom | My favourite gardens to visit with kids
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Lush Newcastle | Children's Birthday Party Review

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Did you know that Lush in Newcastle's intu Eldon Square offer children's birthday parties? Until last month I had no idea and after receiving a few messages after sharing photos across Social Media, I decided to post more information. Prices and details are correct as of Feb 2019.

Lush Newcastle |  Children's Birthday Party Review
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Gateshead ALive - 10 Events For Tweens, Teens & Little Ones This Spring

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I've said this a few times before but I absolutely love the diverse range of events Gateshead Alive put on throughout the year. Their events are always free or low-cost and there's something for everyone from messy-play parties to the chance to try animation for older kids and dance camps for tweens and teens. Here's my guide to this Spring's highlights, make sure you check out the Gateshead ALive Facebook page for full event listings and more ideas.
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5 of the Best Family Activity Holidays in Scotland

I absolutely adore Scotland and it's a place I'd love to explore more of in the next few years. So far I've only made it to Edinburgh, Dundee, Loch Ness and Glasgow and I know there is so much more to explore and discover. I think an excellent way to do this with older kids is to try a family activity holiday and today I am sharing 5 of the best I've found. Let me know if you fancy trying one of these breaks with your family:

5 of the Best Family Activity Holidays in Scotland
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5 Reasons to Visit the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing Exhibition at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens with Kids

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5 Reasons to Visit the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing Exhibition at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens with Kids

Have you heard the news? Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is hosting 12 of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings in a special exhibition available from now until 6 May. Tickets are just £2.50 per adult (under 16s go free but still need a ticket) and should be pre-booked with a time-slot in advance online to avoid disappointment (the exhibition has sold out over the last two weekends). 
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War Horse On Tour | Sunderland Empire 2019

We were provided with press night tickets in order to write this review. Post includes affiliate links.

War Horse | Sunderland Empire 2019


War Horse is a production I've heard a lot about over the last few years. After playing in London's West End for 8 record-breaking years and around the world to over 7 million people to rave reviews, I am delighted that this piece of theatre is heading to Sunderland Empire as part of it's UK tour. It takes something special for us to travel all the way to Sunderland from Northumberland but War Horse was more than worth the journey.
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Rainy Day Trip Idea : National Science & Media Museum in Bradford

Rainy Day Trip Idea : National Science & Media Museum in Bradford

The National Science & Media Museum is around a 2 hour 15 minute (easy) drive from Newcastle. It's FREE to visit and ideal for a day trip. We popped in on our way home from Blackpool last October Half Term and really enjoyed our trip. I'd definitely recommend a visit.
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Are You A Roadside Hero?

Written in collaboration with Bethany Taylor
As a family, we've covered a lot of miles driving around the UK and although we have a new Dacia Logan now, our previous cars weren't exactly reliable and we've experienced our fair share of breakdowns over the years.

Are you a roadside hero?
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What's On for Kids across North East England | February 2019 (including half term)


Welcome to my bumper guide to what's on in February (including half term) for families in North East England. Please remember, this guide is published well in advance and details do change so always double check details with the venue before heading out.

What's On for Kids across North East England | February 2019 (including half term)

Why not join our North East Days Out Reviews Facebook group here for more ideas? Please feel free to post your own recommendations and ask for days out advice in there. I'll be posting a new idea for a place to visit each day over half term in there.

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The Best Family Holidays in Spain | Reviews & Recommendations

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I have had a love-hate relationship with Spain over the years. It was the only ever place we went on holiday abroad as a child (and that was only 2-3 times) and the places we visited always had the 'Brits Abroad' feel to them which as I grew older, wasn't really my cup of tea. But as a young family, we were drawn to Spain as it was relatively cheap, sunny and very to easy to get to from the UK. It's the country we've probably explored and visited the most as a family and over the years, we've grown to love it. I love the authentic parts of Spain where you can stroll around harbours, eating tapas and drinking Cava while the kids play on the beach and Steve and I often talk about spending a couple of months every year in Spain when we retire (anyone else plan that far ahead??). I'm always looking for recommendations for places to stay in Spain so I thought I'd put together a round-up of reviews I've found across the internet. Let me know if you fancy any of these or if you have any other recommendations for places to stay.

The Best Family Holidays in Spain | Reviews & Recommendations
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How to enjoy time as a couple when you're on holiday with kids


I love going on holidays with the kids and enjoying lots of family time together - making memories and all that jazz but I equally enjoy grown-up holidays with just Steve where we don't need to be on high alert and keeping an eye on three kids constantly. My ideal holiday is a proper mix of time with the kids and relaxation/a break from everyday life for us grown-ups.


How to enjoy time as a couple when you're on holiday with kids

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Dippy On Tour | Newcastle Great North Museum Tickets


The Natural History Museum's iconic Diplodocus skeleton cast Dippy will take up residence in Newcastle's Great North Museum from 18 May - 6 October 2019 as part of a nationwide tour.

Dippy On Tour | Newcastle Great North Museum Tickets
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11 Things to do with Kids at Disney Springs Orlando, Florida


11 Things to do with Kids at Disney Springs Orlando, Florida

During our trip to Florida a few years ago, we did not have time to visit the Disney Parks but our hotel was just a 10 minute drive (or short Uber trip) from Disney Springs. Disney Springs is FREE to visit and you don't need a ticket. It's open during the day and evening and a fab place to visit for some retail therapy/to try something a little different or grab a bite to eat. We visited three times across the week and would definitely recommend trying to squeeze a trip in one evening if you're staying in the area. Here are my top 11 things to do with kids at Disney Springs:

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MAPS Festival - A Guide to this Brand New Festival for Newcastle & Gateshead | February 2019


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February Half Term is going to be EPIC this year. We're so lucky that there's so much going on in the North East (look out for my full guide at the beginning of next month) and one of the main attractions this year is the brand new MAPS Festival which takes place from 15 - 17 February across venues in Newcastle & Gateshead.

MAPS Festival - A Brand New Festival for Newcastle & Gateshead | February 2019
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Preston Park - Behind the Seams Review | 10 Reasons to Visit with Tweens and Teens

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Behind the Seams at Preston Park is an exciting new exhibition showcasing some of the best costumes from TV and movies. The exhibition runs until 3 March 2019 and is available during normal museum hours. Admission to the exhibition costs £5 per adult, £3 for concessions and under 16s are free. You'll also need to buy an annual pass to the main Preston Park Museum which is a steal at £5 per family, per year (up to 2 adults and 4 children) and gives you the perfect reason to re-visit.

Preston Park - Behind the Seams | 10 reasons to visit with tweens and teens
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Try the FREE Zog Trail at Kielder Forest


A new Zog Trail is launching at Kielder Forest this weekend (11 January). Perfect for little legs, this magical trail runs through the forest and promises the chance to discover lots of characters from the popular Julia Donaldson tale.

Try the FREE Zog Trail at Kielder Forest
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12 exhibitions in 12 months | An alternative resolution

NB - As part of my job, I have been paid to write about some of these exhibitions in a different post this year - these have been marked with (ad). I was not paid any extra or asked to share details in this post.

The new year is the perfect time to set a goal for yourself. 'New Year, New Me' resolutions just aren't for me and I'd much rather set a goal which I'm going to enjoy so this year I've decided I'm going to get out and see as many exhibitions as possible.

12 exhibitions in 12 months | An alternative resolution
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Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in North East England


Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in North East England

Officially, Chinese New Year 2019 begins on 5 February and continues until 19 February. We're moving into the Year of the Pig and I love this calendar below from https://chinesenewyear.net/ which explains more about when the celebrations will happen.

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Stay Active with the Family | 20+ Family Activities to try in North East England

Hands up if you over-indulged over Christmas? We certainly did - it's part of what Christmas is all about. I know it's a HUGE cliche but January is such a good time of year for a fresh start and to focus on eating right and leading a healthier lifestyle. I think it helps you to start the new year in the right frame of mind and counteract the over-indulgence of the festive season. The importance of staying fit and healthy is something I think we should all instil in our kids and staying active together as a family is important. After all, actions do speak louder than words. Today I'm sharing a few ways the whole family can stay active across North East England this year - why not challenge yourself to try a different activity each month? Let me know your ideas too.....


Stay Active with the Family | 20+ Family Activities to try in North East England
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The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside

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The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside

Something I am asked time and time again is, 'Where is good to eat near Gibside?' and now I'm pleased I can recommend this gem of a pub. The Woodsmans Arms is just a 6 minute drive from Gibside and the perfect place to relax with the family after a walk around the popular National Trust estate. Make sure you build up an appetite as the portions are super generous and you'll want to leave room for their sticky toffee pudding.
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What to expect from your child's first term at secondary school - a parent's perspective

Harry turned 12 in September last year and started Secondary School (year 7) in the same month. After almost 9 years at Primary School, he was more than ready to make the transition but as Harry is my first-born, it has been a bit like stepping into the unknown for all of us. I really wanted to share how his first term at Secondary School has been going and hopefully provide some insight into others who are making the transition next year.

What to expect from your child's first term at secondary school - a parent's perspective
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What's On in North East England for Kids | January 2019


What's On in North East England for Kids | January 2019

After hibernating over Christmas, I can't wait to get out and about in January again. I have a few days out planned this month including a trip up to Kielder to try the new Zog trail. I can't wait for that! January is all about being frugal too so please share any ideas you have for free/low-cost days out over in my North East Days Out Facebook Group here. 
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