Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Other Bloggers Family Lives Featuring Actual Ar

Welcome to another week of my guest post series Other Bloggers Family Lives, this week I am featuring Actual Ar which is a North East based lifestyle blog. Featuring lifestyle post, writing tips, and creative writing stories and poems. So let's find out more about the family behind Actual Ar. 

Actual Ar blog logo

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Monday, 15 October 2018

A Family Lunch At Las Iguanas

Saturdays are family days in our house, now that all three children are in full-time school and the other half no longer works weekends, we really try and make the most of our weekends together and normally venture out somewhere on a Saturday. This Saturday we headed into Newcastle as we had some birthday shopping to do for my eldest birthday next week. We were also kindly invited along to Las Iguanas on Grey Street in Newcastle (just down from the Theatre Royal) to try out the new menu. 

main meal of chicken and chips at las igaunas newcastle
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Friday, 12 October 2018

Operation Escape Room - Review

Escape rooms are really popular at the moment and always remind me of the classic 90s game show The Crystal Maze - which I loved as a child and always wanted to take part in when I was younger. Well now children can have a taste of this with new game Spy Code - Operation: Escape Room . A nerve-racking and very fun game where you have to beat the clock and free your teammate by completing challenges before the time is up. 

Operation Escape Room is a game where one player is strapped into a timer strap, that they can't escape from, the other players have to complete three challenges to find the keys before the timer runs out so they can free their teammate.  

contents of operation escape room game
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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Other Bloggers Family Lives Featuring Craft With Cartwright

Welcome back to another week of Other Bloggers Family Lives, my guest post series where I find out more about other bloggers. This week I am joined by Ruth who blogs at Craft with Cartwright a lifestyle blog featuring lots of crafts and recipes. Ruth lives with her husband and two sons in the West Midlands. 

So let's find out more about the family behind Craft with Cartwright. 

Craft with Cartwright blog logo
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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

National Citizen Service For 16-17 Year Old's This Autumn

My eldest daughter is turning sixteen in two weeks time, she is in her final year of secondary school (year 11) and will be taking her GCSE exams in the summer. After school she is still not entirely sure what she wants to do, she wants to head off to college to continue her education but every week she changes her mind on which subject she wants to take. One minute she wants to do A Levels in Art and History, the next she wants to do a digital marketing course and last week she wanted to be a physiotherapist. She honestly has no idea what she wants to do and I often worry she feels a bit overwhelmed and lost by it all. 

This is where National Citizen Service comes in, you may remember I wrote about NCS back in the spring, if you missed it you can read it here. NCS is a government back programme for 16-17 years olds to take part in that helps prepare teens for life after school, with team building exercises, a residential trip that will help teach life skills and a community action based project to help the teens of today become better citizens.

NCS outdoor activity
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Friday, 5 October 2018

10 Reasons Majorca Is The Perfect Family Holiday Destination

Majorca is one of my favourite holiday destinations, I have visited the island twice now and I am sure we will revisit again one day soon as it is the ideal destination for a family holiday. When we were deciding where to go for our first family holiday as a family of five we picked Majorca for a few different reasons and I was so glad we did, it was ideal for the little two's first holiday abroad. Majorca is not the cheapest family holiday destination but for us, it was worth every penny. So here are some of the reasons why I think Majorca is the perfect family holiday destination.

The beach at Santa Ponsa in Majorca

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Thursday, 4 October 2018

Disney On Ice Presents Dream Big Review

Disney on Ice is back in town with this years show Dream Big and we headed along to Metro Radio Arena to see the show for ourselves on opening night (on Tuesday). We are huge Disney on Ice fans in our house, I must have seen at least ten shows over the years as I used to take my eldest when she was younger and for the past four years, we have taken Sophia (aged 5). No matter how many times we have seen Disney on Ice we always enjoy the show and find it rather magical, this year was no exception - in fact, I think I would go as far as to say it was probably my favourite show to date! 

The show started at 6.30pm and Tinkerbell burst onto the stage closely followed by Mickey, Minnie and the gang to get the packed audience up on their feet and dancing for the warm-up. Sophia and her friend were mesmerised from the start as they looked on in wonder with pure joy written all over their little faces. 

Ariel on ice with sisters
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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Other Bloggers Family Lives Featuring The Life Of Spicers

Welcome back to my guest post series Other Bloggers Family Lives, I ran this series for two years before taking a bit of a break over the summer as I took a bit of a break from blogging to spend time with my son before he started school. I decided to bring this series back as it was always popular and I love finding out more about the bloggers behind the blogs I read. 

This week I am featuring Angela who blogs at The Life Of Spicers which is a family lifestyle and travel blog. It features family adventures with her husband and daughter and lots of Disney related posts. 

So let's find out a bit more about the family behind The Life Of Spicers. 

Blogger The Life Of Spicers family at Disney World Florida

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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Things I Loved September 2018

September seems to have flown by so quickly, it really doesn't seem like the children have been back at school for a month already. September was a month of big change for us, as all three children are now in full-time school. It is taking some getting used but we are starting to find a new routine, although I am still finding it so strange not having any children at home during the day and having the house to myself. 

As the children were returning to school and we were adjusting to new routines we have not done a lot in September. The children are tired after school and have been preferring weekends at home in the warmth then days out on the weekends. This month seems so boring compared to last month, but here is a look at some of the things I loved in September. 

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Saturday, 29 September 2018

9 Months Until I Say I Do - Starting To Panic

It is now only nine months until I get married and I am starting to panic slightly! When we booked our wedding last summer we had two whole years to plan our wedding and for the first year, we pretty much did nothing as we thought we had ages of time. Earlier this year I booked all of our main suppliers such as the photographer, cake maker etc. Since then we have also booked the florist, videographer, sourced stationery and give notice of marriage at the registry office. 

But we still have so much to do and now it is only nine months away I am majorly starting to stress out! I still don't have a dress, rings or suits, we haven't had the menu tasting yet and we haven't written a guest list. I still have so many decor bits to source and arrange and we have so much saving to do too as we are paying for everything apart from the venu hire and cake, which were gifts from our parents. 

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Friday, 28 September 2018

The World Has Gone Cleaning Crazy

Unless you have been living under a rock lately than I am sure you have heard of Mrs Hinch, the Instagram cleaning sensation. She lives in a beautiful and super clean home and she shares cleaning tips on her Instagram stories earning her heaps of followers and stores are selling out of the products she uses. She really is just a normal woman sharing how she cleans her home each day but everyone is going crazy for her and she has inspired a whole new generation of women (and men) to get their clean on #HinchArmy style. She even appeared on This Morning recently, she is that popular.


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Thursday, 27 September 2018

Things To Do In Santa Ponsa Majorca With Children

Back In May, we went on holiday to Majorca, staying at the Pirates Village hotel in Santa Ponsa. The main reason we decided to visit Santa Ponsa was that we loved the look of the Pirates Village hotel, we had spent hours searching online for a small child-friendly hotel and the reviews for Pirates Village looked great so we booked back in June 2017. We had no idea what Santa Ponsa was like as we had never been before, although I have previously been to Alcudia in Majorca. Santa Ponsa is a smaller resort so I was a bit worried that there would be nothing for children to do, especially as it is fairly close to the party resort of Magaluf. However we found Santa Ponsa to be great for a family holiday, there was a real mix of people holidaying in the resort from stag and hen parties to couples and lots of families. 

my children walking along the beach in Santa Ponsa Majorca

We spent a week exploring the resort and we found it really family-friendly with plenty to keep children and adults entertained. So here are some things to do with children in Santa Ponsa, Majorca. My friend Sam from Travelling With Our Kids has a great post on 5 Things To Do In Majorca With Kids if you fancy exploring the island. 
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Monday, 24 September 2018

Pirates Village Hotel In Santa Ponsa Majorca Review

Back in May, we went on holiday to Majorca, staying at Pirates Village hotel which is located in Santa Ponsa. We booked a package deal online through Jet2 and paid £2450 for the five of for a week all-inclusive, this included one free child's place and we had paid extra for pre-booked seats on the flight and an extra £120 for a ground floor terrace room. I wrote about our holiday back in May and since writing about my holiday I have had six people contact both myself and my partner saying they have booked this hotel after seeing how much we enjoyed it, So I have been meaning to write this review of the hotel for a while. So eventually here is my review of the Pirates Village hotel in Majorca. 

Exterior of Pirates Village hotel in Majorca
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Friday, 21 September 2018

Flamingo Land Theme Park Review

In August my little boy turned four and to celebrate we decided to have a family day out at Flamingo Land theme park in North Yorkshire. This was the first time we had taken the little two (aged four and five) to a theme park before so we were unsure if they would like the rides or not and picked Flamingoland as it also has a zoo and other things to do as well as the rides. Flamingo Land is somewhere where both myself and my partner had both visited as children ourselves and is somewhere I have taken my eldest in the past. 

We visited on a Sunday during August and arrived at around 10.30am, it was a two and a half hour drive from our home in Tyneside. We were expecting it to be really busy as we were visiting during the summer holidays but it was not to bad and we were through the ticket barriers in no time at all, we had already purchased tickets in advance.

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Thursday, 20 September 2018

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Series 3 Review

My 5-year-old daughter loves Hatchimals, last Christmas she got the big twin Hatchimals and some of the little CollEGGtibles which she really likes. This Christmas she has added more of the CollEGGtibles to her Christmas list as she loves hatching the little eggs and seeing what Hatchimals she will find inside. Like most children, she loves the surprise element of opening these toys, thanks to YouTube videos. Hatchimals have a Series 3 collection out in time for Christmas with over 100 CollEGGtables to collect in this series. 

Sophia was lucky enough to be sent some Hatchimals CollEGGtibles series 3 to review from Spinmaster, she was so excited when the box arrived and could not wait to open them up and see which CollEGGtibles she would find to add to her collection. We were sent the one dozen egg carton which looks just like a box of dozen eggs, a four pack a two pack with a nest and a blind bag. 

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles series 3 collection on grass
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

A Family Meal At Frankie & Benny's Metrocentre

As a family, we often dine out and one of our go-to places has always been Frankie & Benny's. When my eldest (now almost 16-years-old) was younger I always took her to Frankie & Benny's for breakfast or lunch during the school holidays and we have celebrated many of her past birthdays there too. My younger children have been visiting since they were toddlers and always think it is a treat when we visit for a meal as they love the food and laid back atmosphere, perfect for family dining. 

Frankie and Bennys chicken burger in bun with fries

Last weekend we were invited along to Frankie & Benny's in the Metrocentre to try out the new menu and to see what we thought of the restaurant after its recent refurb. Arriving at lunchtime on a Sunday the restaurant was fairly busy, we were showing to an upstairs table and managed to bag one of the coveted corner booths. The restaurant was bright and welcoming with a more modern look since we last visited. 
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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

A Pizza Party At The Astley Arms

Recently my little boy turned four and as part of his birthday celebrations, we headed to our local Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery pub The Astley Arms, in Seaton Sluice. Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery have recently launched Pizza Parties which are the perfect way to celebrate a child's birthday as it is something a bit different and lots of fun and we were asked if we like to go along and try them out - perfect timing.

the Astley Arms pub in Seaton Sluice

As a family, we often visit The Astley Arms for a carvery and my brother visits often for buffet breakfasts, it is a lovely pub opposite Seaton Sluice beach and play park. 
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Sunday, 9 September 2018

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big

Like a lot of families, Disney On Ice is something we look forward to each year. Every year the show tours UK arenas and it is once again heading to Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena this October. I have been taking my children to see Disney On Ice for over ten years now, I used to take my eldest when she was small and now I take my younger children who love it just as much as their big sister did. Each year the show is different and this year it sounds like it is going to be extra special as Disney On Ice presents Dream Big.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse on ice

This year Moana takes to the ice for her European debut and we are super excited, my children (like so many we know) are huge Moana fans. Taking to the ice alongside demigod Maui I am sure she will have the audience captivated and we can't wait to see how she manages to swap the ocean for the ice rink. It sounds like it will be spectacular and not only will the show be featuring Moana but it will also feature eight tales of courage and heart, including Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled. 

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Friday, 7 September 2018

Things I Loved August 2018

September is a month of big change in our household as my youngest will be starting school, for the first time all three children will be in full-time school. I have mixed emotions about this as Jacob has only just turned four so will be one of the youngest in his year group, however, I think he is ready for full-time school and that he will hopefully enjoy it. He is doing two weeks of half days to settle in and get used to his new teachers and classroom and then he will start full-time. My eldest has also started year 11, her final year in school and her GCSE year so she also has a big year ahead of her and Sophia has gone into year 1. Hopefully, I will have more time to blog and keep the house tidy now the children will all be in school. 

Anyway, let's have a look at some of the things that I have loved from the month gone by.


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Thursday, 6 September 2018

Sorting Out Our Finances To Save For More Holidays

Recently we suffered an unexpected bereavement in my family and it has made me realise just how precious and short life can be. It has made me want to grab life with both hands, follow my dreams and stop waiting for the right time to do things, as that time may never come. As a family our dream is to travel, myself and my partner always said once the children were a little bit older and of school age, we would travel more as a family, we want to show our children the world. Now that our youngest has turned four and will be off to school in a matter of days we have realised now is the perfect time to start following our dreams. 

We took the children on their first holiday abroad back in May, only to Majorca to see how they would cope with a change of routine and with flying. They both loved it and adapted well and this only ignited our desire to travel more. Like a lot of families, money holds us back when it comes to travelling.

view of Majorca from jet2 plane window coming in to land

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Saturday, 1 September 2018

10 Months Until I Say I Do

It is now only ten months to go until my wedding date, I really can't believe how fast it is coming around! We booked our wedding with two years to go and naively thought that we had loads of time so didn't really do much and now I am majorly regretting that as we still have so much to save up for and I am panicking about losing weight to fit into a dress! 

This month we have done a little bit of wedding planning, we have booked the last of our suppliers which is a relief. I really wanted a videographer for the wedding and I finally talked the other half around into booking a one, yay! I spent hours looking online at videographers and eventually found a one that was in budget, that I liked the style of and where you actually got lots of footage of the day as some you only got a very short video from. So I have managed to get that sorted and booked and deposit is all paid, I think I will feel nervous being on camera all day but hopefully, I won't notice after a while as I think it will be nice to have a video of our big day to look back on. 

flowers
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Friday, 31 August 2018

Teen Talk With Gabby Logan

 My eldest turns 16 in just a few short weeks, she is entering her final year at school and will be sitting her GCSEs in the summer. Parenting a teen over the last few years has been a lot different from parenting a younger child, it is something that I am still learning about as we are constantly faced with new challenges. The latest challenge is to get her to spend some time at home (she is always out) and concentrate on her school work ready for her exams in the summer. Parenting a teen, like any kind of parenting has its good and bad days, luckily mostly good in our house.

I may not mention my teenager much on my blog, mainly because she is older and is always out with her friends so rarely comes on days out with us. However last year you may remember I wrote about Teen Talk with Gabby Logan, well Teen Talk is back again this year with #TheTeenTalk Guide. This includes tips and advice to help parents and children feel confident as they journey through puberty. The guide is free to download from the Boots website and is sponsored by well know P&G brands such as Gillette, Aussie, always, Tampax, head & shoulders and Oral B.


Gabby Logan is taking part in this campaign once again as she is Mum to teenage twins, Lois and Reuben. I was asked if I would like to interview Gabby as part of the campaign and here is what she had to say.
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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Kynren - An Epic Tale Of England Review

On Saturday night we were kindly invited along to Kynren - an epic tale of England, a live-action outdoor show performed here in the North East in Bishop Auckland, Durham. The show tells the story of England, spanning over 2,000 years of history, myth and legend, mostly based here in the North East. With a cast and crew of over 1,000 it really is a truly amazing show that is not like anything I have ever seen before.

Before seeing the show I had seen lots of advertising for Kynren and I had read a few blog posts and heard people recommend it, but I still did not really know what to expect. Seeing it for myself I was blown away, it is easy to see why it has so many 5* Tripadvisor reviews and is currently ranked among the top five must-see performances here in the UK. It exceeded my expectations and was so well organised. 

grey horse at Kynren
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Monday, 27 August 2018

Back To School With Jake Shoes

This year all three of my children will be in full-time school, my eldest will be in year 11, my 5-year-old will be in year one and my youngest will starting reception; as he has just turned four. All of the school uniforms have been bought and all we had left to buy were shoes. Like a lot of parents, I always put off buying school shoes until near the end of the school holidays as my children always seem to have growth spirts during the summer. However, I was not looking forward to heading into Newcastle city centre with three children to queue for hours to buy school shoes. 

So when Jake Shoes got in touch and asked if I would like to review some back-to-school shoes from their online shop I thought this would save us a lot of hassle. Jake Shoes are an independent shoe store based in Stockport & Manchester, as well as the physical stores they also have an online store that stocks shoes for men, women and children with a good selection of back-to-school shoes.

Lelli Kelly black patent leather school shoes

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Friday, 24 August 2018

Back To School Shopping At Silverlink Shopping Park

This September I have three lots of uniforms to buy as my youngest, Jacob has just turned four and will be starting reception school. Sophia will be in year one and my eldest, Chloe will be in her final year of school in year 11 and doing her GCSE's. I am normally so organised for back-school but this year I am not at all and had not even started buying anything, other than placing an order for school jumpers. I still had skirts, trousers, shirts, PE kits, stationery and everything else to buy for all three children. I really did not fancy a shopping trip into the city centre or to a busy shopping centre with three children in tow so I decided to head to Silverlink Shopping Park in North Tyneside instead. 

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Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Moscow State Circus Is In Newcastle

The iconic and much-loved Moscow State Circus is back on Newcastle's town moor this week with new show Gostinitsa and it is sure to delight fans both old and young. We were very kindly invited along to see the show yesterday afternoon and once again we were blown away with the stunts and performance and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. We visited with family aged between 60 (my dad) and my son who is 3 (very almost four) and every member of our group had a brilliant time, we were on the edge of our seats during the stunts to roaring with laughter at some of the slapstick humour. It really is a show that the whole family will enjoy. 

Located on Newcastle's Town Moor just outside of the city centre you can not miss the big red top circus tent, with plenty of free onsite parking and regular buses from the city centre stopping just outside it is easy to get too. The show is running from the 15th to Tuesday the 21st August 2018 with performances twice a day, Check the website www.moscowstatecircus.com for full details and ticket prices. 

Moscow State Circus cast
Image courtesy of Moscow State Circus
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Friday, 17 August 2018

Adventure Valley Durham

Last weekend my daughter was invited to Adventure Valley, Durham for a birthday party and we decided to take her little brother along for a day out too as it looked like lots of fun. Adventure Valley is located in Brasside, Durham close to Frankland prison and is well signposted, we managed to find it easily. This was our first time visiting and I did not know what to expect but we had such an amazing time that I am sure it won't be our last visit.

Adventure Valley is an indoor and outdoor play centre that is ideal for children aged three plus, although I am sure slightly younger children would also enjoy it too. There was so much to see and do and you could easily spend the whole day there exploring and having fun as it is huge. It costs £10.95 per person to visit or £9.95 per person if you pre-book tickets online, children under the age of two are free.

Adventure Valley Durham
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Monday, 13 August 2018

A Family Staycation With Jurys Inn

Last week we had a family staycation, here in Newcastle at the Jurys Inn hotel in the city centre. Staying in a hotel in the city we live in is something that I had never thought about doing before as we live just a fifteen-minute drive from Newcastle city centre. However, since staying in a hotel in my home city I can see why people do it as it is a great way to explore places you may not often visit and it is fun to be a tourist in your own city. 

The Jurys Inn hotel is a great base to explore Newcastle, it is just a few minutes walk from the train station and very close to the Metro radio arena, the nightlife and the city centre shops. When we were first invited to stay at the hotel as a family I was a bit worried that the hotel would be full of hen and stag parties as it is located so close to the train station and bars such as Power House and Boulevard. There were a few groups of friends staying at the hotel but there was also other families and couples staying too and we had a very peaceful stay, despite staying on a Saturday night in August. 

Jurys Inn Newcastle double bedroom
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Friday, 10 August 2018

Revolution De Cuba Newcastle Review

Revolution De Cuba has recently opened its doors here in Newcastle, bringing the carnival back to the Bigg market area, which is having a bit of a makeover these days. Based in the old pig and whistle bar the venue has had an impressive makeover and is a welcome addition to the area which is changing into a much nicer partying area of the toon. Located in the Coth Market section, near Flares it is set over three floors and I can see it becoming very popular with the locals over the coming months. 

cuban paella

I visited Revolution De Cuba last week on a very rainy and cold Sunday with my teenage daughter to see what all the fuss was about. As it was lashing down with rain outside we did not get to enjoy the summery terrace area or the roof garden, instead settling in a cosy booth in the main restaurant area to dry off. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch whilst listening to some live Latin music in the cheery tropical inspired dining area, which almost made you think you were somewhere exotic and not in grey and rainy Newcastle. 
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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Taking Part In The Free Pets At Home My Pet Pals Workshop

My 5-year-old daughter Sophia is animal crazy, she adores any kind of animal and has been asking us non-stop for the past three years for a pet mouse or hamster. As she was so young we did not want to get her a small furry pet just yet as we wanted to wait until she was old enough to care for the pet and to understand to be gentle with animals and to handle and treat them correctly. So when I heard about the FREE My Pet Pals summer workshops being held at Pets at Home stores across the country this summer I thought this was the perfect opportunity for Sophia to learn about looking after a small furry animal. 

a My Pet Pals Workshop at Pets at home store

The My Pet Pals summer challenge is an hour-long workshop held in Pets at Home stores across the country, you simply visit  www.petsathome.com to book onto a workshop which is completely free of charge. When you attend the workshop you will also be given an activity booklet which has ten challenges for children to complete during the summer, my daughter has had great fun completing her booklet this past week as it encourages her to get active and also teaches her about caring for small pets. 

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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Date Night At Aphrodite Greek Restaurant Cramlington

Aphrodite Greek restaurant is located at the Brockwell Centre in Cramlington and is somewhere I have always wanted to visit but never got around to. I don't know why I put off visiting for so long as we visited last week for a rare date night and it was delicious and I am kicking myself for not visiting sooner. I actually grew up a 2-minute walk from the Brockwell Centre and I used to go to the school there, my dad still lives in the house I grew up in. 

After seeing lots of friends and family comment on how nice Aphrodite was we decided to book a table when my dad offered to babysit for us. We visited on a Thursday evening and the restaurant had a real mix of customers, groups of families, couples and friends all enjoy a meal together in the relaxed restaurant which had a very holiday type vide to it.  

chicken main meal
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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Disney Vampirina Bootastic Backpack & Spooky Scooter Toy Review

Vampirina is a children's TV show on the Disney Jr channel and my children love it, my little girl Sophia has been a big fan of the show since it launched. Earlier this year we reviewed some Vampirina toys and we were lucky enough to be sent some more Vampirina items to review, perfect for keeping my children entertained throughout the summer holidays. 

We were sent the Vampirina Bootastic Backpack set (RRP £24.99) this set includes a purple hard case backpack, just like the one that Vampirina herself wears in the show. The set also includes some funky spider sunglasses, some bat shaped hairclips, a keyring, a necklace with phrases from the show and some stickers. Great items for any Vampirina fan to enjoy dressing up with. 

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Monday, 6 August 2018

Paw Patrol Live Review

On Thursday Paw Patrol Live was in Newcastle and we were lucky enough to go along and see the show called The Great Pirate Adventure at the Metro Radio Arena. Following the success of last years Paw Patrol show - Race To The Rescue, this was a very much anticipated show. My little girl Sophia (age 5) adores Paw Patrol, she has been a big fan for the last three years and has probably seen every episode and has all of the toys. She was super excited when she found out we were heading to see them live on stage, I also took my friend and her little boy (almost 3) along too as he is a huge Paw Patrol fan. 

Paw Patrol Live on stage

The Great Pirate Rescue is based on Mayor Goodway getting Adventure Bay ready for a big pirate day celebration, however, clumsy Cap'n Turbot falls into a dark cave and needs to be rescued. It is Paw Patrol to the rescue as Chase, Marshall, Skye, Rubble, Rocky and Zuma race to rescue him with Ryder's help to save the day. During the rescue, they discover a secret treasure map which leads them on an adventure to discover the hidden treasure. 
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Friday, 3 August 2018

Things I Loved July 2018

It is now August, the summer holidays are in full swing and we are enjoying lots of family days out and lazy days at home. We have lots to look forward to in August as Jacob will be turning four and we have a few nice things planned to celebrate. I have hardly done any blogging lately as I have been enjoying spending time with all three children, but as it is now August I thought it was time I wrote about some of the things I have loved from July. 


1.) Summer Holidays 

I love the summer holidays, it is always lovely having all three children at home and having a break from the usual school routine. We have had some lovely days out so far and we have lots more planned as well as some lazy days at home playing in the garden or watching Disney films. 
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Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Wizard Of Oz At Whitley Bay Playhouse

As a family we do love a good pantomime, oh yes we do! (sorry I couldn't resist) so when we heard that The Wizard of Oz was heading to the Whitley Bay Playhouse this August we were looking forward to going to see the show. Reece Sibbald productions present the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz with a few minor adaptions and a whole heap of laughs, it is a show the whole family will enjoy and we left wishing we could see it again. 

Starring Dani Harmer (from Tracey Beaker and Strictly Come Dancing fame) as the wicked witch, Cal Halbert (from Britain's Got Talent) as the Wizard, Steve Arnott as the Lion, Pippa Smith as Dorothy, Alex Smith as the Tin Man, Lily Grundy as Glinda the good witch and producer and writer of the show Reece Sibbald as the hilarious Scarecrow. It was a cast that worked well together and really brought the show to life. 

wizard of oz cast
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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Crate Creatures Surprise Toy Review

My little boy Jacob is almost 4-years-old and he is really into monsters, surprise toys and anything he thinks is disgusting and funny. So when we were recently sent a Crate Creature Surprise toy I knew this would be something he would enjoy. Crate Creatures Surprise are new interactive monster toys that come in a crate locked with a plastic chain and padlock that you have to open with the crowbar fixed to the side of the crate. 

The crate instantly appealed to Jacob and he could not wait to crack open the padlock and unleash the creature inside.

Crate Creatures Surprise box

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Monday, 30 July 2018

11 Months Until I Say I Do

It is now only 11 months to go until I get married and say I Do, the time is going so fast and it won't be long until my big day is here. Now I am on countdown to the wedding I thought it would be nice to write monthly wedding updates as I have weddings on the brain lately and so many people I know are also planning weddings too. When I heard people saying organising a wedding was stressful I never believed them as I thought it would be really easy and fun, and it can be at times but now I see how they can find it stressful too. Finding suppliers and booking them (and saving for them) is rather stressful and now we have just a year to go I am worried about losing weight (still hasn't happened) and finding a nice dress too. 

As I mentioned in my one year until the wedding post last month we do have the big things booked for the wedding like the venue, registrar and the main suppliers. I still need to book a florist and videographer and stationery maker, if anyone has any recommendations be sure to let me know! 

peony flowers and glasses on table

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Friday, 20 July 2018

Are You Saving For Your Child's Future?

Are you saving for your child's future? is something that I was asked recently and I will be honest and say that as a Mam of three I haven't been as children are expensive and we have had a lot going on the past few years, moving house, saving for a wedding and I also gave up my full-time job when my youngest was born almost 4-years-ago. So saving has been the last thing on my mind as we did think of it as a luxury we could not afford over the past few years, as money was tight as a one income family.

However lately we are in a much better financial position and as the children get older it is something that I have been thinking of. My eldest is turning 16 in just a few months, before we know it she will be starting driving lessons and wanting a car of her own. Maybe she will be off to university or want to buy her own home in a few years time and as a Mam, I obviously want to be able to help her with these costs.

money and clock
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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Places To Visit In Majorca With Children

In May we went on holiday to the beautiful island of Majorca, somewhere I visited myself when I was younger and enjoyed re-visiting with my own family. We had a wonderful week in the sun and I know that we will definitely return again one day as it is the perfect destination for a holiday with children. It has a short flight time of just two and a half hours from the UK with daily flights and lots of hotels and resorts to choose from. I have been to the popular resorts of Alcudia and more recently to Santa Ponsa and have also visited Magaluf and Palma Nova for days out. It is somewhere that I don't think I will ever get bored of visiting as there is so much to see and do. 

So what are the must-see sights in Majorca? 

santa ponsa beach Majorca 2018
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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Fun To Learn Friends Art Magazine

With the summer holidays looming I have started to think of things to do to keep my children entertained, we have a few days out planned and probably lots of park and soft play visits as well as some time at home. My youngest two are three and five years old so they do often get bored easily and like to be entertained when at home, their favourite thing is crafting and getting creative. However, I am the least crafty person ever so when I heard of Fun to Learn Friends Art magazine I thought this sounded ideal for keeping my children entertained. 

Fun to Learn Friends Art is a 36-page magazine packed with inspirational ideas to make, design, colour, stick and cut-out. Each issue comes with a craft-kit attached that will help children make the ideas from the magazine. Perfect for an uncrafty parent like myself! 

 friends art magazine review
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Saturday, 14 July 2018

How We Are Saving For Our Wedding Next Year

In June we are getting married and we haven't even started saving yet, I really should as our original budget has almost doubled as I keep seeing things that I want for the big day. Thanks, Pinterest and Royal Wedding fever. I had a bit of a panic last week as I realised we haven't saved anything, other than paying deposits for suppliers and my dad paying for my venue hire. We have just under a year now to save and plan for our wedding day so I have been thinking of ways we can save some money whilst still enjoying family life.

Whenever I read tips or advice on saving money for your wedding it always mentions getting married on a weekday or out of season to save money, I booked a Saturday in June - prime wedding season. We also don't know anyone who bakes or does photography or make-up so we have had to pay for all of our suppliers. None of the tips in the magazines on saving money for your wedding worked for us so I have been thinking of ways we can save.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Robots Then & Now Exhibition At Life Science Centre Newcastle

The Life Science Centre in Newcastle always has interesting exhibits on, a couple of years ago we visited the Animal Inside Out exhibition and this summer it is the turn of the robots. Robots - then and now tells the 500-year work in progress story of the building of automated machines. You will discover 16th-century mechanical automations to the latest humanoids and everything in between. 

robots then and now

Robots are not really anything that I have ever shown any interest in but my other half and little boy love anything like this so we decided to visit the Life Science Centre to see what the robots were like. 
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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Things I Loved June 2018

Summer is well and truly here as we have been enjoying lots of lovely sunshine (I hope I don't jinx things by saying that) and it is almost time for the long-awaited summer holidays. Now it is July it is time for me to write about some of the things that I have loved from the month gone by, a sort of happy list. June was an okay month for us, it was not as amazing as May had been but it was not a bad month either. 

So here are some of the things that I have loved in June 2018. 

hook the duck at the fair
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Monday, 2 July 2018

A Year To Go Before I Say I Do

In just under a year I will be getting married! Last June we got engaged and booked our venue and it felt like it was ages away, I can't believe how fast the past year has flown by and I bet in no time at all it will soon be June 2019 and my big day will be here. Now that it is less than a year to go I have most definitely had an 'Oh my gosh this just got real' moment. 

When we got engaged last year we quickly booked the venue and registrar and then kind of sat back and though we have ages to plan everything. I am kind of regretting that laid-back attitude now if I am honest. We do have a lot of the 'big' things booked like the venue, the registrar, a photographer, DJ, cake maker and hairdresser. However, we still have so much to still book, organise and save for.

 
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Friday, 29 June 2018

Is The Nissan Leaf Electric Car A Good Family Car?

In recent years electric cars have become really popular with charge points popping up in local towns and cities all around the country.

 I will be completely honest and say that I didn't know a lot about electric cars and I honestly thought they weren't for families like my own, who like to go on day trips and use a car fairly often. So when we were set a challenge of taking an electric car on a family day out by Lookers I was curious to see what it would be like and how it performed as a family car. I don't actually drive so I was the passenger on this outing. 

On Saturday we were invited along to our local Lookers Nissan dealership in Newcastle to collect the car we would be test driving, the Nissan Leaf. The staff were friendly and helpful as they demonstrated how the car worked and explained all the extra tech and features that the car has, it has a lot! We also learned a little about the Lookers Electric Charge in aid of Ben group challenge, which Lookers is supporting by taking a 6-month long road trip across its dealerships from Ireland, over to Scotland and down to Surrey. BEN group is a not for profit organisation that helps people in the automotive industry and their families. So, with my own dad working in the industry for 40 years, I was interested to learn about this fantastic campaign. 

White Nissan Leaf car at the coast
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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Cirque Berserk Review

The circus has come to town and not just any old circus but the must-see Cirque Berserk, Zippos Circus have created a real circus just for theatre. Billed as Britains biggest theatre circus spectacular it has received rave reviews from the press and we were invited along to join in the fun at Newcastle's legendary Tyne Theater and Opera House.

Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre. Combing contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen. featuring the world's most hair-raising circus act - the legendary motorcycle 'Globe of Death'. 

Cirque Berserk review
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Thursday, 21 June 2018

All Inclusive Food At The Pirates Village Hotel Santa Ponsa Majorca

On our recent family holiday to Majorca, we stayed at the Pirates Village Hotel located in Santa Ponsa, Majorca. Travelling with our three children we decided to go all inclusive as it only worked out about £500 more than self-catering and we thought it would be best for the children. Before we went I tried looking online to see what the food was like, but there was not much information available and I was a bit worried as my daughter is a very fussy eater (so am I). So I thought I would write this post in case anyone is else is visiting and is wondering what the food and drink are like on the all-inclusive package.

six meals from holiday at Pirates Village hotel Santa Ponsa Majorca

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Monday, 18 June 2018

Flying With Jet2 To Majorca

Over the past few years, Jet2.com and Jet2 Holidays have become really popular, especially here in Newcastle where they have a base with quite a few aircrafts. So when we were looking to book a holiday last year my brother recommended that we book via Jet2 Holidays, as he had recently been on a Jet2 holiday and he has also worked in travel all of his working life and travelled the world - so he knows what he is talking about. Jet2 market themselves as being a friendly low-cost airline, as I had not travelled with a 'budget' airline before I was not sure what to expect, spoiler it was a lot better than I expected. 

boarding a Jet2 plane at Palma airport Majorca
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Monday, 11 June 2018

Wedding Outfits From Roco Clothing

Next June I am getting married and now it is just a year away I am starting to get organised and get everything sorted for the big day. We booked the venue last year and have most of the main suppliers booked, so I am starting to look for outfits for us all. I am going wedding dress shopping at the end of the year (once I have hopefully lost some weight), the other half is going suit shopping early next year so that just leaves the children. I am having all three of my children as bridesmaids and page boy and also my two nieces as flower girls and I had no idea where to start looking for outfits. 

I had heard a few people mention Roco Clothing in some of the wedding groups I am in and comment on what lovely children's formal outfits they sell at great prices. A quick peek at their website and I knew this was where I would be getting my flower girl dresses and page boy suit from. Roco Clothing has so much choice at really affordable prices and I really struggled with what outfit to select as they had so much choice, especially for little boys suits.


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Saturday, 9 June 2018

World Doll Day With Tiny Tears

Did you know that today, the 9th June is world doll day? Nope me either. Dolls are so loved around the world though that I am not surprised that they have their own day. To help celebrate World Doll Day, my recently turned 5-year-old daughter, Sophia was sent a Tiny Tears Interactive Doll. Sophia adores dolls, she plays with her 'babies' as she calls them all of the time, dressing them up, pushing them around in the buggy and playing games. She has lots of dolls and even reviewed a Tiny Tears Doll when she was three, which she still plays with now. 

The interactive Tiny Tears doll was a lot different though and Sophia was so excited when it arrived, she could not wait to get it out the box. This doll is different to the classic doll in that it still drinks from a bottle and 'wee's but it also cries and talks, unlike the classic doll. It also looks like a baby with baby-like features and clothing and comes with accessories such as a bottle, potty, bib and nappy. She comes with batteries already included so she is ready to play with as soon as you open the box. 

tiny tear interactive doll and accessories
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