An A-Z Guide to Coral Island, Blackpool

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Coral Island is Blackpool's largest free admission indoor attraction. There is loads of pirate-themed fun to enjoy for all ages. From traditional 2p machines and Bingo to the latest VR games and Camel Derby, there's plenty to keep you entertained & Kids Eat Free at all of Coral Island's restaurants too. Conveniently located on Blackpool Seafront just by the tower, it's a brilliant destination to head to for a bite to eat and some family fun.

An A-Z Guide to Coral Island, Blackpool

As there's just so much to do here, I have decided to put together a handy A-Z guide featuring just some of the fun you can have at Coral Island Blackpool. You can find out more over on their website here:  https://www.coralisland.co.uk/
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A Short Break in Leeds with Holidays by National Express

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A Short Break in Leeds with Holidays by National Express

At the start of July, we spent the weekend in Leeds and had such a lovely time. We booked through Holidays by National Express who offer fantastic value short breaks around the UK. We decided to visit Leeds.
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The Ultimate Guide to What's On in the North East for Kids | Summer Holidays 2019


Welcome to my guide to what's on in North East England over the school holidays this summer. If you're looking for more ideas or visit somewhere and would like to share with others, please join and post in my UK Days Out Facebook group here. We'll be out and about most days and the best place to see what we're up to is over on Instagram Stories here.

The Ultimate Guide to What's On in the North East for Kids | Summer Holidays 2019
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Falling Foss Tea Garden (near Whitby)

I'm not sure where I first read about Falling Foss Tea Rooms but it's been on my list of places to visit in North Yorkshire for what feels like forever. I'm so pleased we made the trip recently as it is such a natural beauty spot and a real hidden gem.

Falling Foss Tea Garden (near Whitby)
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Kynren 2019 & A Summer of Historic Events | #Durham19


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Kynren 2019 Review & A Summer of Historic Events | #Durham19

I'm delighted to announce that I've been asked to be a regional ambassador for #Durham19 this year - an unmissable year in Durham packed with festivals, events, exhibitions, performances and openings. There is a packed programme of events taking part across the region and I am so excited to be part of it. Across the year, I'll be sharing some of Durham's top family days out and activities and I kicked things off in style with a trip to watch a rehearsal of Kynren, An Epic Tale of England and take a peek at their plans for this year's shows ahead of their season launch on 29 June.
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Driving An Electric Car - #WhyNot Give It A Try?

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We were recently given the opportunity to drive an Ultra Low Emissions Electric Vehicle and share our experience with you all. Our vehicle of choice was the super stylish Audi e-tron which was kindly provided by Lookers for the weekend. If you're interested in what it's really like driving an electric vehicle, read on. I'm sharing the ups and downs and lessons learned in this post. #WhyNot try an electric vehicle yourself? I'm almost certain you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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11 Top Tips for taking the Newcastle-Holland DFDS Ferry with Kids

I've taken two return ferry trips to Holland from Newcastle with the kids in tow and a handful of shorter trips (eg Sunderland Airshow) with DFDS Seaways over the years and thought it might be helpful to share a couple of tips I've picked up along the way.

11 Top Tips for taking the Newcastle-Holland DFDS Ferry with Kids
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A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling

Efteling is Holland's largest theme park. This fantasy-themed theme park is filled with magic and features elements around myths, legends, fairytales and magic. Efteling is super popular and the third-most visited theme park in the world. I can certainly see why. We absolutely LOVED our visit and would highly recommend to everyone who still believes in magic.

A Weekend Break at Bosrijk Village, Efteling (A Review)
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11 of the Best Train Trips from Newcastle with Kids

We love travelling by train and I've lost count of the number of train trips I've taken with the kids over the years. Travel by train is often faster, is definitely less hassle and offers benefits such as 2 for 1 entry to certain attractions when you travel by train (see one of my previous posts linked at the bottom of this post for details). We wouldn't be without our friends and family railcard and for just a small fee, you can save 1/3 off adult rail fares and 60% off kids tickets throughout the year. Find out more about friends and family railcards here (affiliate link).

11 of the Best Train Trips from Newcastle with Kids
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Affordable Electric Motoring with the New MG Electric Car

This is an advertisement feature. Please note this article was written prior to us test driving another electric vehicle. 

Like many people my age, I don't know much about driving electric cars. I've researched them a little bit but there are still so many questions I'd like to know the answer to. Can I fit an electric charging point to my garage? How many miles can I drive before I run out of battery? Am I likely to run out of battery and what happens if I do? How many charging points are there around the county? What about driving abroad?  How much money will I save by using an electric car? Are electric cars just as powerful as traditional cars? Will driving an electric car really make a difference to the environment? How long do electric cars take to charge? So many questions!

Affordable Electric Motoring with the New MG Electric Car
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How to spend an evening in St Ives with kids

During our February Half Term trip to Cornwall this year, so many of you recommended a trip to St Ives so I planned an evening here with the family. Although our visit was short and the weather was very overcast, I am so pleased we made time to pop by as I fell in love with the place. Next time we visit Cornwall I'll be planning an extended stay in this area. I'd love longer to enjoy the beautiful beach, spot seals by the harbour, explore the cobbled streets, independent boutiques and cute restaurants. We spent a couple of hours in St Ives, here's what we got up to.......

How to spend an evening in St Ives with kids
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The Ultimate Guide to Staying at Duinrell with Eurocamp


This is an advertisement feature. Eurocamp provided our accommodation, we paid for everything else mentioned. The post also contains affiliate links.

The Ultimate Guide to Staying at Duinrell with Eurocamp


Duinrell is a theme park and waterpark with over 40 attractions near Amsterdam and The Hague in Holland. You can stay on-site and one of the companies providing accommodation here is Eurocamp. If you stay on-site, you are provided with unlimited access to the theme park which is fantastic for families. The location is also perfect for exploring the Netherlands. We stayed during May Half Term 2019 and had such a wonderful time. I'd highly recommend Duinrell to families looking for a good value holiday with plenty to do and staying here is a fantastic alternative to a traditional beach holiday if you fancy something a little different. Today's post is a long one but I hope it answers all of the questions we had during our trip. You can find out more about Duinrell, check prices and book online here. 
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The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire

We love North Yorkshire and I reckon I've probably visited over 100 times throughout my life. It's not too far from where we live in Northumberland so achievable as a day trip yet it feels far enough away to be an adventure and full day out. In this post, I've put together some of our favourite days out in North Yorkshire over the years and added a few recommendations from other bloggers too. Let me know if you have any to add to the list.

The Best Family Days Out in North Yorkshire
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Solve your Phone Memory Problems with SanDisk

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I love my Google Pixel 2 (android) phone and I'm upgrading it to the Pixel 3 this week (yeah) but despite my phone offering unlimited cloud storage for photos I've taken, I still find myself running out of actual phone storage on a regular basis. It always happens at the worst moments too like when I'm just about to capture a perfect action shot, go to take the photo only for my phone to flash up that I've run out of internal memory and I have to sit down and sulk while I delete some photos from my phone to free up some space, knowing that I've already missed the perfect shot.

Solve your Phone Memory Problems with SanDisk
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Driving Our Car in the Netherlands | Our Experience & Tips

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I never thought we'd be the kind of family who drives abroad. We never did this kind of holiday as kids and the whole concept just seemed a little scary and alien to us. Then a few years ago, we were offered a job in Florida and one of the stipulations from the brand was that we had to be able to drive whilst over there. It was too good of an opportunity to miss so Steve stepped up. We hired a car and it was all good. 

Driving Our Car in the Netherlands | Our Experience & Tips
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Photos from the Fairytale Forest at Efteling

The Fairytale Forest at Efteling in the Netherlands is said to be the world's largest living picture book. Efteling is such a magical place and you can't help but be immersed in the magic of fairytales when you visit. I thought that my three children (aged 8, 10 and 12) may be a little too old to visit the Fairytale Forest but it turns out you're never too old for fairytales and we all had a magical time and really enjoyed this part of the park.


Photos from the Fairytale Forest at Efteling
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Super Hero Science & Marvel Universe LIVE! Selfie Competition at Life

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Marvel Universe LIVE! is heading to Newcastle's Utilita Arena for the first time this November. Expect Spider-Man, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange & more as they race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before Loki gains control. You can find out more about Marvel Univers LIVE! and book tickets here.

Super Hero Science Show at Life & Marvel Universe LIVE!
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How To Spend 48 Hours in Blackpool with a Merlin Annual Pass (Itinerary and Tips)

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Blackpool is the kind of place you love or hate. It can be tacky and is a little rough around the edges but if you stick to the sea front, there is absolutely loads going on for families. I've visited with the children a handful of times now and our most recent trip was over Easter when we decided to make use of our Merlin Annual passes, spend an evening at Coral Island and soak up some traditional seaside fun. We already have a return trip planned for July - can't wait!

 How To Spend 48 Hours in Blackpool with a Merlin Annual Pass (Itinerary and Tips)
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Spending May Half Term in Holland (on a budget)

Disclosure: We have paid for this trip ourselves with the exception of our accommodation at Duinrell which has been provided by Eurocamp. This post contains affiliate links.

Spending May Half Term in Holland (on a budget)


We're spending May Half Term exploring Holland with the kids. We're trying to do the trip on a bit of a budget. I'll be sharing daily tips and what we've been up to over on my Facebook page and Instagram stories across half term so if you're interested, please make sure you're following along.
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Holiday Ideas for Families with Tweens

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Over the years, our holidays have gradually changed. When the kids were toddlers and I needed a lot of pairs of eyes, we favoured big family holidays - usually a package deal where everything was taken care of or a big villa/apartments with the grandparents coming along for the journey too.

Holiday Ideas for Families with Tweens
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St Michael's Mount | The Best National Trust Castle in Cornwall


St Michael's Mount  | The Best National Trust Castle in Cornwall

St Michael's Mount reminds me of our own Holy Island. Like it's Northumberland counterpart, the island is cut off from the mainland twice per day, is full of history and there's a bit of a climb up to the island's castle. Holy Island is one of my favourite places in the world and I knew that I had to visit St Michael's Mount during our trip to Cornwall and see how the two compared. 
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Must-have Family Travel Essentials for Long Haul Holidays with Tweens

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Travelling long-haul with children of any age can be a little daunting so today I am sharing a few essentials which will help to ensure a smooth and hopefully stress-free trip. Let me know if you'd add any to the list. 
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Our Guide to Visiting Spain with Kids

I sometimes feel like Spain gets a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to discussing holiday plans but it is probably our favourite place to visit in the world. I love the laid back vibe, the wonderful cities, beautiful beaches, friendly people and of course the tapas and sangria. This post shares some of our favourite places and recommendations for places to visit in Spain with kids. Let me know in the comments if you have anywhere to add. 

Our Guide to Visiting Spain with Kids
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Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

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Theatre with Teens : Noughts and Crosses Review

Harry turns 13 soon and has asked if he can start coming along to more grown-up theatre productions. This was music to my ears and I'm delighted to have a new theatre buddy. Harry is very academic but also seems to have a real passion for theatre. He's always writing scripts for his own plays, creating little movies and has taken part in drama workshops at school as part of his extra-curricular activities. It's often tough trying to grab one on one time with the kids, especially as they grow older and into teenagers so I'm pleased that going to the theatre together is going to be our new thing. 
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The Seasider Open Top Bus Tour | Tickets, Prices, Timetables & Where To Visit

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The Seasider is an open-top bus (operated by Stagecoach) running along the North Tyneside coast between Whitley Bay and North Shields Ferry Terminal across weekends and school holidays from now until September. If you're looking for a family day out in North East England, I can highly recommend a trip on this bus as a starting point. I love, love, love visiting the North Tyneside Coast but trying to get parked here on a sunny weekend can be an absolute nightmare (plus the area is known for its enthusiastic parking wardens - you have been warned) and as much as I love visiting the area, I try avoid on sunny days due to parking stress.

The Seasider Open Top Bus Tour Whitley Bay | Tickets, Prices, Timetables & Where To Visit

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5 Party Ideas for Tweens in North East England

Disclosure - I have worked with some of the businesses in this post in the past but they have not asked or paid to be included in this post.

5 Party Ideas for Tweens in North East England

I don't book a birthday party for H, H and J every year but over the years we have tried a few different options between us so today I thought I would do a little round-up and share some of our favourite party experiences for tweens and hopefully give you a few ideas. Let me know your ideas in the comments too.
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What's On For Kids & Families Across North East England - May 2019 (including Half Term)


What's On For Kids & Families Across North East England - May 2019 (including Half Term)

Hello May! Love, love, love this month as we have not one, but two bank holiday weekends plus half term too. As always, there's lots going on. Make sure you join our North East Days Out Facebook group for more ideas and recommendations by other local parents. As always, this guide is published well in advance so please always double check event details before setting off.
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Visiting Alton Towers with Children who are 1.3m Tall - Itinerary & Tips

The last time I visited Alton Towers was over 10 years ago. I'm not really sure why but I think it's probably the expense. As a family of 5, it's not exactly a cheap day out and we've always favoured less expensive parks like Lightwater Valley which are both cheaper and closer. We've just invested in Merlin Annual Passes though so can visit Alton Towers as often as we want to this year. Exciting! We made our first visit over Easter and picked up lots of tips for visiting with kids who are too big for CBeebies Land buy not quite 1.4m tall which is the height restriction for most of the thrill rides here. My children are aged 8, 10 and 12.

Visiting Alton Towers with Children who are 1.3m Tall - Itinerary & Tips
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How to Host a Unicorn Birthday Party

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How to Host a Unicorn Birthday Party

Heidi is a girl of many sides. She loves playing outside, climbing, adventure and sport yet also loves to play with her soft toys, sit and complete an art and craft project or draw. I love that she has so many varied interests so when it came to picking a party theme for her 10th birthday, we were spoilt for choice. Like many 10-year-olds, she loves unicorns and we went all out with a Unicorn themed birthday for her. It's one we certainly won't forget in a while. 
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Disney On Ice Newcastle 2019 - How To Buy Discounted Pre-Sale Tickets


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Disney On Ice Newcastle 2019 - How To Buy Pre-Sale Tickets


“It was all started by a mouse.”- Walt Disney
 

Grab your Mickey ears and get ready for the celebration of the century!

Skating into Newcastle's Utilita Arena from 2-6 October 2019
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The Best Picnic Spots in Northumberland for Families with Young Children



Guest post by Bethanie from Northumberland Family Diaries

The Best Picnic Spots in Northumberland for Families with Young Children

As a family, we love to include a picnic in our trips out. There are many reasons for this: convenience, it is free and you know the kids will eat their lunch as you have packed it! We have tried and tested a few different spots across Northumberland now. Here are the best picnic spots in Northumberland for young children:
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A Review of Darwin Forest & The Peak District with Tweens

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This Easter, we spent the most glorious long weekend in the Peak District with our three children (aged 8, 10 and 12). Our base for our trip was Darwin Forest, a countryside retreat close to Bakewell and Matlock Bath. We have stayed at Darwin Forest in the past (read about our cosy stay during a snow storm last winter here) and this time I was pleased that the weather was more on our side so we could get out and explore more of what the Peak District has to offer families with tweens. We stayed in a Skyline View Lodge from Friday-Monday. There are lots of different types of lodges available at Darwin Forest (many are dog-friendly too) and at time of publishing, short breaks are available from £365 (check out their late deals here).

A Review of Darwin Forest & The Peak District with Tweens
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Are You Saving Enough For Your Child's Future?

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With three children (who only get more expensive as they grow older) to take care of, saving for their future is something that can easily be put on the back burner. It feels like I'm forever putting my hand in my pocket to pay for new school shoes, trips out, clothes and of course, never-ending snacks and saving to help with their house deposit can often be put off for another day.
Are You Saving Enough For Your Child's Future?
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Mega Milkshakes at The Boat Shack, Derwent Reservoir

Mega Milkshakes at The Boat Shack, Derwent Reservoir

So many of you have mentioned that we must visit The Boat Shack in the past year or so. Known for their epic milkshakes and hot chocolates, the Boat Shack is now award-winning and somewhere lots of people in the North East have a soft spot for and mention as one of their favourite family days out in North East England. Located on the banks of Derwent Reservoir near Pow Hill Country Park, the Boat Shack has stunning views and is a lovely place to visit when you fancy some countryside air. 
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Cheeseburn Sculpture Gardens Review | Opening Dates & Top Tips for Visiting


Cheeseburn is a unique venue featuring contemporary art in Northumberland. It's FREE to visit (advised donation of £5 per adult) and a fantastic day out in North East England for the whole family. You can walk around the estate's beautiful gardens, admire the plants and flowers and check out some pretty cool sculptures too. Cheeseburn is only open over selected weekends throughout the year, so make sure you plan your visit in advance. 

Cheeseburn Sculpture Gardens Review | Opening Dates & Top Tips for Visiting
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What to pack in your bag for a day at a theme park

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We've just invested in Merlin Annual Passes and plan to really make the most of them so expect lots of theme park reviews and tips from us this year. Theme parks can be expensive places so I'm determined to get organised and plan everything in advance so we don't end up buying last minute drinks or overpriced sunscreen from the gift shops. Here's what I plan to pack in our theme park day trip bags this year - let me know if you have any suggestions too.

What to pack in your bag for a day at a theme park
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Coral Island | A Child-friendly Night Out in Blackpool

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We love visiting Blackpool and I think we've probably visited with the kids around 6 times in total. Now that they're a little older, they don't go to sleep until we do and trying to find something to entertain us all in the evening without breaking the bank can be a little bit of a challenge. Long gone are the days of putting them to bed at 6pm!

Coral Island | A Child-friendly Night Out in Blackpool
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A Guide To What's New At Whitehouse Farm Centre

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We love Whitehouse Farm and have visited every year for the past 15 years. It's conveniently located (just off A1 near Morpeth) and there is always so much to do whatever the weather. Whitehouse Farm is 100% one of the best family days out in North East England.

A Guide To What's New At Whitehouse Farm Centre
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Rothbury Riverside Walk, Picnic Spots & Playground


Rothbury Riverside Walk, Picnic Spots & Playground

If you're looking for an easy dog and pushchair friendly family day out in North East England, I can highly recommend the Riverside Walk in Rothbury, Northumberland. Parking is FREE, there are public loos nearby, the river banks are filled with wildlife and there are lots of picnic tables and benches along the way plus a play park which is especially suited to toddlers and Under 7s.
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Bang on Books Review - Personalised Adventure Stories for Kids (made in Newcastle)

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I often wonder about the whole nature vs nurture debate. I like to think that I raise Harry, Heidi and Jack in pretty much the same way yet they have all turned out to be three completely different children.

Bang on Books Review - Personalised Adventure Stories for Kids (made in Newcastle) - choose your little hero
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'Hunt the Double Yolker' with HARIBO for your chance to WIN 1 in 20 Forest Holidays

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Have you spotted the Limited-Edition HARIBO Starmix available this Easter? They're all part of a special Easter challenge designed to bring some 'eggcitement' to the Easter holidays.

'Hunt the Double Yolker' with HARIBO for your chance to WIN 1 in 20 Forest Holidays
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Signing Up For A Pay Monthly Merlin Annual Pass - All You Need To Know


I have considered joining the Merlin Annual Pass Club for years now but there's always been some excuse and I've never taken the plunge. Then towards the end of last year, they allowed you to spread the cost and pay monthly rather than having to find £800+ to buy 5 passes up front and my interest was piqued even further.

Signing Up For A Pay Monthly Merlin Annual Pass - All You Need To Know
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A Chilled Weekend Break with Friends & Tweens in North Yorkshire


A Chilled Weekend Break with Friends & Tweens in North Yorkshire


Looking for ideas for the best family day out in North Yorkshire? Check out what we got up to over a weekend in April.....

The lovely Cat and Alan from Here Come the Hoopers invited us to stay with them for a short break in their family holiday home in Burniston near Scarborough in North Yorkshire. You may remember we stayed last year and enjoyed a treasure trail around Scarborough, lunch at Scarborough Seafood Social and ice cream by the beach (read about that trip here). It's lovely going away with friends with kids of the same age as ours as they all get on well and play nicely together. As they're older we can let them head to the park by the cottage for an hour by themselves when 5 kids all gets a bit too much too.
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MG ZS 1.5 Excite Review | A New Compact SUV for less than £13,000

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MG ZS 1.5 Excite Review | A New Compact SUV for less than £13,000

We bought our first ever new car last October. When looking for a car, we were after something which was spacious, safe and economical to run. We were also on a budget and didn't really want to spend a lot, especially as this was the first time we were making such a big purchase. During my research, I was torn between a brand new Dacia Logan or a used Zafira (which was the same as our previous car). In the end, we opted for the Dacia. The reason I am telling you all of this is because MG cars didn't even cross my mind and I didn't stumble upon them during my research either. In my mind, MG made cars that were sporty and small and I thought they were pretty expensive too so I was pretty shocked when Vic Young got in touch to tell me about the MG ZS Excite. This SUV is actually less expensive than what we paid for our Dacia. I am shocked! I hope this post will help others who are looking for a fantastic value family car. 
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The Best Themed Hotels for Families in the UK

We've bought Merlin Annual Passes this year (using their pay monthly scheme) and with no 'big' summer holiday planned, staying in theme parks is going to feature high on our agenda. We definitely won't make it around all of these rooms (unless we win the lottery) and it's worth noting that these rooms can be pretty expensive but if you keep your eyes peeled, there are often good deals about, especially during off-peak dates and I think staying in a room like this would be a real treat. Let me know your favourite theme park hotels for older kids and if you have any room recommendations for us.

The Best Themed Hotels for Families in the UK
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5 of the Best Family Picnic Spots in North East England


5 of the Best Family Picnic Spots in North East England   #EnglishTourismWeek19

I love a good picnic and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful picnic spots in North East England. I really struggled to narrow it down to just 5 if I'm honest but I'm happy with my final list. I'm going to make an effort to visit each of these spots for a picnic this year. Anyone else up for the challenge?
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Sunday Lunch, Playgrounds & Birds of Prey at Walworth Castle, Darlington

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Sunday Lunch, Playgrounds & Birds of Prey at Walworth Castle, Darlington

Walworth Castle is a 12th Century Castle in Darlington just 5 miles from the A1 and such a lovely spot for a family day out in North East England. Set in 18 acres of beautiful countryside, you feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere yet it's super easy to get to. We primarily visited for Sunday Lunch in the newly refurbished 1189 Bar & Kitchen but were really impressed with how much more Walworth Castle had to offer families. If you're looking for somewhere a little different to enjoy a fantastic value Sunday lunch and spend a full afternoon with the family, read on....
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What's On for Kids in North East England | April and Easter Holidays 2019


Welcome to my bumper guide to what's on across North East England for kids this April and over the Easter Holidays. As always, please double check details before heading out as events can change and this guide is written well in advance. Disclosure: I have worked with many of the attractions mentioned in this post in the past but have not been paid/received any incentive to include them in this post.

What's On for Kids in North East England | April and Easter Holidays 2019
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10 of the Best Family Festivals within a 3 Hour Drive of Newcastle

I love, love, love spending a weekend at a festival with the kids. Some of them can be pricey but when you consider how much you'd spend on camping and individual gig tickets, I think they usually work out to be pretty good value for money. Festivals are usually a very laid back affair and allow a little relaxation, a chance for the grown-ups to enjoy a tipple or two, time to laugh, time to dance and really let your hair down. Over the last few years, more and more festivals have popped up closer to home and today I'm sharing 10 festivals which are less than a 3-hour drive from Newcastle. Prices quoted do not include booking fees and as always, please double check all details before booking as things can change.

10 of the Best Family Festivals within a 3 Hour Drive of Newcastle


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Actually, My Tweens Are Not Addicted To Their Xbox (+ giveaway)

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Actually, My Tweens Are Not Addicted To Their Xbox  - i-eX gaming chair for tweens from Bean Bag Bazaar

My tweens love their Xbox but sometimes when it comes to gaming, I feel as if the media are guilty of tarring all kids with the same (negative) brush. I've read countless articles over the years saying that tweens and teens are addicted to their games consoles, that they're incapable of socialising now as they're always glued to their screens and that Xbox addiction is out of control........ As someone who has first hand experience of kids and games consoles, I can guarantee that this is not always the case and I'd love to see some balance out there and credit given to tweens and teens who love to game but also know that there's more to life than Xbox.
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