5 Reasons to Visit Pantrini's Whitley Bay

Disclosure - I have worked with Pantrini's a few times in the past but this post has not been asked or paid for. We are regular customers and I wanted to share something to celebrate / support their 100th birthday. 

5 Reasons to Visit Pantrini's Whitley Bay

 

A True Local Family Business 


The Pantrini's family have been proudly serving Whitley Bay for over 100 years. The business was established by the current owner Lee's great grandfather who came over to England from Italy in the 1920s and started helping his cousins' ice cream factories and cafes in Newbiggin and Whitley Bay and has been passed down the generations. 
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Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s

Dobbies Morpeth (or Heighley Gate) is one of our favourite garden centres. It has a large free car park, an aquatics centre, soft play for little ones, cafe, restaurants and lots of lovely plants / shopping opportunities. Thanks to Bethanie from Girl About Northumberland for their help with this article and my lovely readers for sharing soft play photos. Over the Bethanie......

Visiting Dobbies Morpeth Soft Play & Garden Centre with Under 5s
Credit : Claire Guy 
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Sunderland Winter Funderland & Ice Skating | Top Tips

AD - Thank you so much to our writer Gaia who visited Ice Skating at Funderland in Sunderland as their guest and has shared these tips and photos. This post has not been asked or paid for. Over to Gaia......

Sunderland Winter Funderland & Ice Skating | Top Tips

Firstly, I’d recommend those not familiar with Sunderland (like me!) just head for The Bridges shopping centre. Funderland is right next to it so we parked in their car park (free after 5.30, £1.50 an hour before that). 

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Disney On Ice Newcastle 2021 : Top Tips

 Ad - We had press tickets but were not paid or asked to write this post. 

This post is based on my personal experience of watching the show on 8 December 2021. This may differ from others' experiences and as always, always contact venues direct for the most up to date info. 

Disney On Ice Newcastle 2021 : Top Tips




How long before the show should I arrive? 

We arrived at Central Station at 5:30pm for a sold out show with a 6:30pm start. We walked to the arena, through the COVID check, through the metal detectors, stood in the merch queue in the foyer, ordered drinks from the  bar and were in our seats for 6:20pm. I would say if you want to buy merch/food etc....aiming to be in Newcastle an hour before the show starts is a good idea. There were quite a few latecomers. 

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Whitley Bay Playhouse Panto | Review & Tips

 Ad - My sister in law Kelly (& family) went along to press night on our behalf. They visit this panto every year and have actually booked again to go again on Christmas Eve. 


2021's Christmas Panto at Whitley Bay Playhouse is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which plays from 4 December - 2 January. At the moment, there are tickets available from £18.65 per person. 
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The Christmas Chronicles | December 2021


14 December 2021 




Morning! Thought I'd share a little bit of a catch up (which is also part of my procrastination and stopping me from doing any actual work). I had a very low key birthday last week, probably the quietest birthday in years. There were rumbles of storm barra floating about and the weather wasn't too great with a yellow weather warning so I just ordered a McDs breakfast from Uber Eats and spent the day watching Christmas films. It was actually really nice. 
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What's On For Kids & Teens (December 2021)

This post includes advertisements. 

Welcome to December! Here is my ultimate guide to things to do this month. I have tried to only include events which do not need to be booked or which have plenty of availability.

It is super important that you double check event details with venues direct when planning a trip and before heading out as information may change and events can be cancelled / postponed (especially if they've been affected by the recent storm). 

Winter Wonderlands 

Credit : Rainton Arena 

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Top 5 Independent Kids Shops in Northumberland

Today's post has been shared by Hayley (images also credited to Hayley except where stated). Over to Hayley...... 

I don’t know about you but every year the thought of going Christmas shopping for presents for my kids and nieces and nephews fills me with dread..

Top 5 Independent Kids Shops in Northumberland - Mr Wolf Hexham
Credit : North East Family Fun


I’m not being a bah-humbug but the crowds of people, the jostling over the last “must-have” toy on the shelf and the fact that it feels like it’s an endurance race for tired parents rather than an enjoyable shopping experience, are enough to make me pull the duvet further over my head.

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Ice Skating & Santa at Manor Walks Cramlington

 AD - we were invited to press night but have not been asked or paid to share this post. 

Ice Skating at Manor Walks Cramlington 

Ice Skating & Santa at Manor Walks Cramlington

This ice rink at Manor Walks is located outside between Concordia and Asda. It is made from real ice and measures 32 x 15m. The ice rink is open daily from 11am - 9pm from 2 December - 2 January 2022.

The ice rink is closed on Christmas Day but it is open on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day so worth considering if you are looking for something to do on these dates. 
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Rainton Arena Winter Wonderland Review

AD - This post has been written by Grace Porter who attended Rainton Winter Wonderland in November 2021 with their family. Please always double check info with attraction direct when making plans / before heading out. Over to Grace....... 



The Winter Wonderland is hailed as the largest Christmas attraction in the North East with 45 fairground rides and stalls, a pantomime, live entertainment and Santas’s Grotto. It has become an annual tradition at Rainton, offering fun for all ages, both indoors and outside so we were looking forward to seeing for ourselves!

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Ocean Beach South Shields Winter Wonderland & Ice Skating Review

Ad - thanks to my friend Vicci who attended Ocean Beach Winter Wonderland as their guest this week and took the photos in this post for us. They had a fab time! 

South Shields Winter Wonderland & Ice Skating Review


This year, Ocean Beach is hosting their very own Winter Wonderland in South Shields. Entry is FREE and the event takes place at Ocean Beach Pleasure Beach Park on South Shields Seafront.

You can check opening hours here. You do not need to book - simply turn up. The exception to this is ice skating where I would recommend booking in advance (find the booking link in the ice skating section). 
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North East Christmas Gift Guide (+ £1000 giveaway)

This is an advertisement - the businesses mentioned in this post have kindly donated a prize to our mega North East Business giveaway. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter, you won't want to miss it! 




Over the last few years, I have tried to support North East businesses in the run up to Christmas. I know that lots of you are interested in supporting our local and small businesses and that every single sale does make a difference.

Even if you don't purchase anything, following the businesses that you are interested in mentioned in this post on Social Media and interacting with their posts is a FREE and easy way to show your support so please do consider doing this. 
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Potter's World at Lanchester Garden Centre | A Rainy Day Idea for Under 5s

 A few people have mentioned how fantastic Potter's World is in our Facebook group recently. I must admit I have not visited myself so thanks to a reader (Jenicath982 on Instagram) for sending through these photos and information for me to share. 

Potter's World at Lanchester Garden Centre | A Rainy Day Ideas for Under 5s


There is no need to book in advance, simply turn up and pay admission on the day. I think Potter's World looks like a nice cross between soft play and a children's farm but at a really affordable price. 
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Unique Birthday Party Ideas across North East England

This post has been published by Bethanie from Girl About Northumberland. Details are correct as of November 2021. Please check direct with venues for up-to-date information and pricing when booking. Over to Bethanie........ 

Okay, so you have exhausted the soft play and don’t fancy facing another weekend spent in the village hall assisting with “pass the parcel”. You could host a party at home but that just involves a lot of hard work on your part. (I have done it recently and the balloons are still hanging around, slightly deflated.)



If you have a little one with a birthday coming up, have a read through these unique party ideas for under 7’s, that steer clear of the traditional and involve little organising on your part.
I have put together a round up that caters for parties on all budgets.
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Sunday Lunch at Nest, Chillingham Road

This post is based on our personal experience when we visited in November 2021. Please always check with venue direct for the most up to date information.  

Sunday Lunch at The Nest, Chillingham Road

Nest on Chillingham Road has been one of Newcastle's must-visit restaurants since opening earlier this summer. In fact I'm sure many dates were booked up before they even opened their doors. When I booked our table for Sunday Lunch, I could only manage to book a date which was three months in advance. Oh well, something to look forward to I thought. 
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Go Henry for Tweens | Our Review

This is not a paid or sponsored post but the Go Henry links are standard customer referral links (where I receive a little bonus if you sign up). 



I've been meaning to write this post for a long time. I wanted to write my honest review of Go Henry after using it for the past 18 months. 


What is Go Henry? 

Go Henry is a prepaid debit card and financial learning app for kids. They have won awards, are used by 1.5 million customers and 92% of parents say their kids are more confident with money management thanks to the app/card and I would have to agree.
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FREE Redcar Christmas Light Switch On & Illumination Parade

This is an advertisement for November 2021. Any edits / reshares beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. 

There is lots for Redcar and Cleveland families to look forward to across the region this festive season. As well as the FREE Winter Ice Trail that I shared in this post, there is a calendar of events taking place from Wreath Making & Christmas Markets to Panto, Community Carol Services and even a Boxing Day Dip if you fancy it. Check out the full programme of festive events taking place in Redcar and Cleveland here. 

FREE Redcar Christmas Light Switch On & Illumination Parade
Credit : Photography Arches 
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Visiting Bamburgh Castle at Christmas

 

Bamburgh Castle is one of our favourite castles in Northumberland. Actually scratch that. One of our favourite castles in the world. After all these years I still get goosebumps when I first catch glimpse of the castle as you drive through the Northumberland countryside towards the coast. 


We visited Saints & Angels at Bamburgh Castle without kids at the end of November in 2021. I would honestly recommend a visit either with or without children - both are suitable. There were quite a few babies and little ones there who loved the twinkling lights when we visited. Plus there is plenty of space to run around outside and reindeers too. 
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A 1.5 Mile Circular Wellbeing Trail at Chopwell Wood

 This post is based on a visit in November 2021. Please check for up-to-date information with Chopwell Woods direct before setting off as the information in this post may have changed. 




Can you believe this was our first visit to Chopwell Woods! Wow have we been missing out on a real gem. It is so beautiful and completely free to visit (including free parking). It very much reminds me of a less commercialised version of Hamsterley Forest if that makes sense.
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FREE Winter Ice Sculpture Trail in Redcar

This is an advertisement for November 2021. Any shares/edits beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. Please check with Redcar & Cleveland for any updates / changes to this info before heading out. Photo credits : Sand In Your Eye (from previous events). 

FREE Winter Ice Sculpture Trail in Redcar
 
A FREE Winter Ice Trail is heading to Redcar High Street and Esplanade on 11 December 2021. No booking is required, simply drop in across the day and enjoy the trail, activities and pop-up festive performances. A perfect winter activity for Redcar and Cleveland families. 
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The Cheapest Place to go Ice Skating in North East England


This post shares the various options for ice skating across the North East this winter. Please always contact venues direct for up-to-date information before making plans and heading out as the info in this post may have changed. Prices are based on a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) booking one session including skate hire. 

The Cheapest Place to go Ice Skating in North East England

Scroll to the bottom of this post to discover the cheapest (and most expensive) options for ice skating this year plus a few options which are suitable for wheelchairs and venues which do not require pre-booking too. 
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Tyne Theatre & Opera House | Panto Review & Top Tips

 Advert - We have press tickets 


Tyne Theatre & Opera House is a beautiful Grade I listed theatre in the heart of Newcastle City Centre on Westgate Road. I have lots of happy memories from visiting panto here over the years and this was the panto that I remember first taking Harry to when he was small which always sticks in my head as a special memory. 
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FREE and Low Cost Winter Events (with no booking required)


I know this time of year can put a financial strain on many of us and at the moment, booking events can be tricky (I've lost count of the number of times we've had to cancel/re-arrange stuff). So I thought I would share a few ideas for FREE (or low cost) events which can be enjoyed with no booking required over the festive period. 

FREE and Low Cost Winter Events (with no booking required)

Please always double check opening times, dates and information direct with venues before heading out and when making plans as the information in this post may change over time and sadly, last minute event cancellations is not a rare occurrence in these current times.
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Musical Sessions with Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum, Newcastle

This is an advertisement. Thanks to our writer Bethanie who attended Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum with their one year old daughter. Over to Bethanie..... 

From the moment we stepped into the side room at the Discovery Museum, I knew we were going to be having fun. A colourful display of imagination, a treat on the senses, as we took part in a class whose aim is to explore ways to play with your child using music and sound. Musical sessions with Hartbeeps are part of the wider “Making Waves” programme at the Discovery Museum. 


Musical Sessions with Hartbeeps at Discovery Museum, Newcastle

Hartbeeps classes are upbeat, fun and engaging and a great way to bond with your baby or toddler. Created using years of research in child development, the imaginators are accredited baby massage and baby yoga instructors, which really comes across in the delivery of the classes. 

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NEW Shaun the Sheep Christmas Special

 

NEW Shaun the Sheep Christmas Special


This Christmas, a brand new Christmas-themed Shaun the Sheep film will be broadcast on BBC One. 
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A Christmas Escape Room in Cumbria

 

A Christmas Escape Room in Cumbria

Lakes Escapes in West Cumbria has launched a brand new Christmas themed escape room this year. 'Santa's Lost His Marbles' is available to book now. 

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Visiting Whitehouse Farm Centre with a 2 & 6 Year Old

Thanks to our guest writer Jennifer for this post which is based on several visits over the years including their most recent visit in October 2021. Always check for the most up-to-date info with venues direct when making plans and before heading out. Over to Jennifer: 


A visit to Whitehouse Farm Centre is always guaranteed to be a fun day out for my family.  I have two children, aged 6 and 2, and there is just so much for them to do, we really can (and do) stay all day.


Diggers at Whitehouse Farm

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Gravy Fondue with Christmas Dinner at The Spa Hotel

 We visited the Spa Hotel for an evening meal during our stay in Saltburn with Saltburn Holiday Lets in Summer 2021. I was really impressed and have been looking for an excuse to go back ever since (I just wish we lived a little closer). 


The hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks for both residents and non-residents (booking recommended) with ample parking available on site or nearby. The hotel sits on top of the cliff and the first thing you notice is their panoramic sea views of Saltburn-by-the-Sea which can be enjoyed from the outdoor seating area and the conservatory restaurant. 
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The New Under 7s Play Zone at Life Science Centre

This post is based on a reader visit in November 2021. Please check direct with venue for up to date information when making plans. 

The New Under 7s Play Zone at Life Science Centre

A reader has been in touch and kindly sent some photos of the upstairs area of Life Science Centre which has now reopened (thanks Sarah for these photos and info). Sarah was really impressed with the space and also mentioned there were pop up activities for little ones downstairs relating to space and science. 
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Bottomless Pizza & Prosecco at Twenty Twenty, Newcastle

 
Twenty Twenty is opening in Newcastle's Bigg Market on Friday 19th November. Their tagline promises coffee, cocktails and bars and they have some enticing offers available which look great. 



They plan on opening Wednesday-Sunday from 12noon and are child and dog-friendly before 7pm. Kids can 'make their own pizza' too (menu coming soon). 
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Riley's Fish Shop & Restaurant Review

 This post is based on a lunchtime visit in November 2021. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date information. 


Not to be confused with the equally as wonderful Riley's Fish Shack on King Edward's Bay, Riley's Fish Shop is a second venue for this popular business which has opened on Percy Park Road in the centre of Tynemouth this Autumn. 
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Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Meldon Park, Northumberland

 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree at Meldon Park, Northumberland

Did you know you can cut your own Christmas Tree in Northumberland? Nothing beats a real Christmas Tree and I think choosing and cutting your own really adds a sense of occasion to the experience. 
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What To Do After Visiting Fenwick's Window in Newcastle

This is a question that pops up a lot in our Facebook groups so I thought I would share a few ideas for festive things to do in Newcastle which are ideal to extend your annual visit to see Fenwick's Window.

What To Do After Visiting Fenwick's Window in Newcastle


Before we jump in, just a quick note to say that the window reveal will once again be a virtual and take place on Sunday 7 November at 7:30pm. Here is the official FB event where you can watch online.  From Monday 8 November, you are free to visit Fenwick's Window at your leisure. It is free to visit, simply join the queue on Northumberland Street and enjoy. 
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What's On For Kids & Teens this Weekend (November 2021)

A little look at what's on across North East England this weekend. As always, please double check details with venues direct when booking and before heading out and information can change and events may be cancelled in bad weather. 

Redcar Christmas Light Switch On | Credit Dave Charnley

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What to Expect from the FREE Spaces at Seven Stories

This guest post by our writer Jennifer shares what to expect from a visit to Seven Stories (and which areas need to be booked/which areas are free to drop in). 


What to Expect from the FREE Spaces at Seven Stories

One of my favourite places for a family day out in the North East has to be Seven Stories; the National Centre for Children’s Books. Cradled in the heart of the vibrant Ouseburn Valley, this beautiful renovated seven-storey Victorian Mill has been transformed into a museum and visitor centre, devoted to children’s literature. Operating as a charity, all profits are put back into the celebration and preservation of children's stories.
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A Seashore Safari in Northumberland with Ranger Jane

Thanks to our writer Bethanie ( from Girl About Northumberland ) for this review of Seashore Safari. Over to Bethanie: 

Something a little bit different for a day out, birthday party or something to fill a day during the school holidays. Ranger Jane is an experienced beach school practitioner, offering a range of activities in the local area of Seahouses. 

A Seashore Safari in Northumberland with Ranger Jane

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Lobo Rojo North Shields Review (+ Kids Menu)

This post is based on a visit in August 2021. Always check information with venue direct when making plans as details can change over time. 

Lobo Rojo North Shields Review (+ Kids Menu)

Lobo Rojo is a relaxed restaurant on North Shields Fish Quay serving traditional Mexican street food and drinks. Located in the Old Irvins Brasserie building, it is somewhere I have wanted to visit in FOREVER. Steve and I finally escaped from the kids for a few hours and visited over Bank Holiday weekend this summer. It was worth the wait. 
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BALTIC - A fantastic alternative to soft play

 This post was published in October 2021. Please check with BALTIC direct for the most up to date information when making plans to visit. 

Image Credits: Albert Potrony: equal play installation view, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Photo: Rob Harris © 2021 BALTIC

BALTIC - A fantastic alternative to soft play

If you are looking for a rainy day activity with a difference, why not visit the Equal Play exhibition at BALTIC. Entry is FREE (donations welcome) and there is no need to book - simply turn up during opening hours (Wednesday - Sunday 10am-6pm). The exhibition is available until October 2022 so there is plenty of time to visit. 
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How to take the first steps towards being your own boss

This is an advertisement for October 2021.

Ever dreamed of running your own business, turning your hobby into something you can earn from or have a business idea but don't know where to start? This post is for you and will share a few tips plus information about a fully-funded initiative for residents of Northumberland and Tyne & Wear which is packed with advice to get you started. 

How to take the first steps towards being your own boss

Back in April, I shared this post in collaboration with Learn Smarta. The post shared information about a fully-funded online business course for those looking to change their life and start a new business / explore a new business idea / were in the early stages of starting their own business.
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Weekend Reading (October 2021)

 
Sunday 17th October 



This week's weekend reading is going to be short and sweet - I hope that's ok. 

First of all, who watches Saturday Night Live? We love it in our house and last week, Kim K hosted. Now previously, I haven't really been interested in the Kardashians. I didn't know their names or what they did or sounded like. However Kim was fab on SNL and not afraid to take the mick out of herself. She now has a new follower on Instagram! 
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Child Friendly Cafes in North East England

Thanks to our team member Bethanie for sharing some personal recommendations for child friendly cafes across North East England to try in this post. This post was published in October 2021, photos are a mix of Bethanies and my own. Please always check details (especially opening hours) with venues direct when making plans as information can change. Over to Bethanie......


Child Friendly Cafes in North East England



I still famously remember the time my mum and I walked into a café, pushing my then one year old in the pushchair, to feel all eyes turn on us. “There are no high chairs”, I whispered to mum as we slowly backed out, hoping to appear as inconspicuous as possible. It was clear that wasn’t a “child friendly café”. 
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Disney Disco at Whitley Bay Ice Rink

This is an advertisement 

Disney On Ice Disco at Whitley Bay Ice Rink


The countdown is now on for Disney On Ice presents Find Your Hero visiting Utilita Arena Newcastle this Winter. Limited tickets are still available for Newcastle dates from 8 - 12 December 2021. We are super excited to see Mickey Mouse and over 50 Disney characters as part of this brand new show. You can find out more and buy tickets here. 


Disney Disco 

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What's On for Kids & Teens this Weekend (October 2021)

Blogging and the way I run my business evolves over time and after years of sharing ideas for the weekend ahead on my Facebook page, I switched it to a blog post recently and it has worked really well. This month, I am changing things up again and I am going to share a guide to events across the whole month ahead in a blog post. 

What's On for Kids & Teens this Weekend (October 2021)


I will still share events specifically for the weekend ahead via my Facebook group and page but I have received some feedback from both readers and the attractions I work with that sometimes they also like to see what's coming up across the next couple of weekends. 
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An Alternative Day Out in Cumbria | Ideas for Places to Visit

This is an advertisement for October 2021 and based on a visit in September 2021. Any edits / reshares beyond this point have not been asked or paid for. Please always check information direct with venues when making plans as details can change over time. 

An Alternative Day Out in Cumbria | Ideas for Places to Visit

I love visiting Cumbria. It is super easy to get to from North East England by car or train and perfect for a day trip or short break. The scenery is stunning, the food delicious and the region is packed with a diverse range of activities and things to do. No two visits are ever the same.
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Mog on the Tyne | Newcastle Cat Cafe Review


Guest post by one of our new writers, Jennifer, who visited Mog on the Tyne (a cat cafe in Newcastle) with their 5 year old daughter in September 2021. Please always check with venue direct for the most up-to-date information and use this post as a guide only. Over to Jennifer........ 



Visiting a ‘cat café’ has been on my bucket list for a long time, so I was really excited to visit Mog on the Tyne recently with my mum, and my five-year-old daughter.
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Asmara Blyth Review

This post is based on a visit in September 2021. Always check details with venues direct when making plans as information may change over time. 

Asmara Blyth Review - cocktail lounge

We have three family birthdays in September and it is a bit of a tradition that we go out for an Indian meal to celebrate. This year, we booked Asmara in Blyth for their Thursday night banquet deal. 

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October Half Term | Our Plans

We have a busy October Half Term planned this year and I wanted to share our plans. I know as we share our days out I will be asked for the details so I am hoping that having it here all in one place will be easy for me to direct people to when they want to find out more. I won't be online much during the week itself. 


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CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Soft Play Review

I, like many people in Cramlington was gutted when I heard that TJs Jungle was closing. It was where Harry, Dee and Jack had many birthday parties over the years, where we attended friends' birthday parties, somewhere reliable I could take the kids after school for a cheap but nice tea and wear them out without spending a fortune. Basically somewhere with lots of memories for us. 


CJ's Funhouse | Cramlington Softplay Review


But businesses and time moves on and on 26 August 2021, the newly named CJ's Funhouse opened to the public. I visited in September with my nephew (6) and Jack (10). Harry (15) came along too. Not to play - just to have a look and order some infamous chicken nuggets to see if they were the same (spoiler - they were). 
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Northumberland Country Zoo Review (with a pushchair)

This post is by Bethanie from Northumberland Family Diaries and based on a visit in Summer 2021. As always, please check with venue direct for the most up-to-date info especially regarding booking, opening hours and prices. Over to Bethanie....... 

Northumberland Country Zoo Review (with a pushchair) - snow leopard
Credit : Northumberland Country Zoo



We first visited Northumberland Country Zoo around six years ago when our oldest was just two years old. We liked it. It was small, the entry was cheap and they handed you bags of popcorn to feed the traditional farm animals that always seemed pleased to see you. 
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Kirkleatham Owl Centre Review

This post is based on a visit in July 2021. Please always check information with venue direct when making plans as information (especially opening hours and admission) may have changed. 

Kirkleatham Owl Centre Review

We visited Kirkleatham Owl Centre in summer 2021 whilst staying at Saltburn Holiday Lets.


Kirkleatham Owl Centre is in Redcar and part of a wider estate - you can choose to visit all or some of the attractions on offer which are all close together.

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