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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