Tuesday, 17 December 2019

5 Festive Family Films To Watch This December & Giveaway

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I love December, there is excitement in the air as everyone looks forward to Christmas and children are super excited to see what Santa will bring. December can be such a busy time of year though, with shopping to do, Christmas parties, Pantomime visits, trips to see Santa and festive days out as well as lots of school activities too. We have been so busy that as soon as the children break up from school I am planning on doing nothing! We will be having a few lazy days at home, watching Christmas films and relaxing. 

As a family we love sitting down with mugs of hot chocolate to watch Christmas films, it gets us all in the Christmas spirit. Fox have some great festive films that the whole family will enjoy including all-time favourite Home Alone! So here is a look at five festive films that are perfect for families to enjoy this December. 

five christmas family dvd
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Friday, 13 December 2019

Festive Tales With Father Christmas At Woodhorn Museum

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On Saturday we were invited along to Woodhorn Museum in Ashington, Northumberland to experience their Festive Tales with Father Christmas event and the children had such a lovely time. For those who don't know Woodhorn Museum is a former colliery based just outside of the former mining town of Ashington at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Country park in Northumberland - about half an hour north of Newcastle. Despite only living 20 minutes away I have never visited Woodhorn since I was a child and the children had never visited before so I had no idea what to expect. 

Festive Tales with Father Christmas costs £6.50 per child and includes a gift, which I think is really good value. Adults do not pay but they do need to either buy or use their annual membership which costs £7 per year - under 16s are free. Arriving at Woodhorn in the afternoon everywhere was lit up with hundreds of white twinkling fairy lights which looked magical. 

Father Christmas sitting telling festive tales with lots of Christmas trees
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Thursday, 12 December 2019

November 2019

Collaborative post

It feels like so long since I sat down to write a blog post about what we have been up to, as I have just been so busy. I can not believe that we are now less than two weeks away for Christmas and I am not prepared at all this year (again) I still have shopping to do, although we have most of the children's gifts now - we just need to collect Sophia's bike from Halfords and buy clothes and stocking fillers. I have not written any Christmas cards out yet or bought wrapping paper and we have only just put our Christmas tree up two days ago. We have just been so busy that we haven't had a chance to do anything, so what have we been up to? 

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Monday, 9 December 2019

Travel Plans For 2020

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As 2019 comes to an end I have already started thinking about 2020 and one thing we really want to do is travel more as a family now the children are a bit older (and easier to handle). This year we were unable to have a family holiday as we went over-budget on our wedding so we really want to make up for it next year and hopefully get a few trips in to make up for missing a holiday this year. 

So far we have a two week holiday to Corfu in Greece booked for in the summer which we are all really looking forward too. I can't wait for lazy days by the pool or at the beach as well as days out exploring the local areas of  Kassiopi and Palaiokastritsa which look dreamy and of course a day of shopping in the charming old town. 

clouds and mountain tops from plane window over France
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Saturday, 7 December 2019

Jack And The Beanstalk Pantomime At Whitley Bay Playhouse Review

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It just wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to the pantomime and as a family, one pantomime that we always look forward to is the one at Whitley Bay's Playhouse. We have been going to see the pantomime here for the past four years and it is always the children's favourite one as it is perfect for young children. This year's panto was Jack and the Beanstalk produced once again by Blue Genie Entertainment and starring Ashleigh Butler and Sully the dog, former X-Factor contestant Molly Scott, Playhouse legend Steve Walls and the return of Playhouse favourites Damian Patton, Dame Patsy Trott and David Burton. 

Settling in our seats we were transported to Happyvale and as soon as the curtains were up the audience was captivated with the singing, dancing and non-stop silliness of the cast. Last year I mentioned that there were not enough jokes for us grow-ups well this year there was plenty, myself and my husband were laughing along just as much as the children with many of the jokes going totally over their heads. 

Jack and the beanstalk panto at whitley bay playhouse
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Friday, 6 December 2019

Things I Loved November 2019

I feel like such a whinge and a broken record at the moment but the last few months have been tough and November was no exception, it is normally one of my favourite months but this November was rubbish. I feel awful complaining when there are people so much worse off than us but it has been really tough, I have been unwell since October as I can't seem to fully shift this awful virus I have had. We have had huge money worries due to a big and unexpected bill which is not helped when I am owed a lot of blog money which is all late - not what you need close to Christmas when you have your children's gifts to buy.  It sounds dramatic but late payments can be so stressful and it has got to the point that it has made me not want to blog anymore. 

I hate being a negative nancy though so I have been thinking of things that made me happy so here are some of the things I loved in November 2019. 

Santa at the metrocenter artic experience
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Thursday, 5 December 2019

Carrot Ginger Red Pepper And Turmeric Soup Recipe

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At this time of year I always crave comforting home-made food, I definitely cook a lot more in the wintertime. As a busy mam (aren't we all busy these days) I am often short on time and don't get to experiment in the kitchen much these days so normally play it safe making meals that we all know and love. However, sometimes it can get a bit boring eating the same foods over and over again. So earlier this week I decided to make a new soup as I really fancied a bowl of warming home-made soup - perfect on cold winter days!

I had been sent some Turmeric from Schwartz and decided to try and incorporate this into my soup recipe and made a carrot, ginger, red pepper and turmeric soup. It was not something that I had ever made before but I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out as it was comforting but had a little bit of a kick from the turmeric.

bowl of soup, jar of turmeric and a crusty white bread roll

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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Getting On The Property Ladder As A First Time Buyer

Guest Post. 

Everyone knows buying a home is a highly problematic process in this day and age. If it isn't the deposit that takes years to save for, it's the mortgages and getting approved for one in the first place. 

Luckily there are ways to find a home that is perfect for you and at a price that doesn't mean huge expenses. 

keys in a front door

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How To Encourage Your Teenager To Save More

Guest Post 

Regardless of how old you are saving money can be tough, But, it is particularly difficult when you are a teenager. At that stage of your life, there is so much you want to do and see. The chances are that if you leave them to their own devices they will end up spending an awful lot of money. Buying the latest gadgets and clothes is not cheap. 

It is all too easy for teenagers to lose control of their finances and end up with debts that may take many years to clear. So, teaching them how to keep control of their spending is vitally important. Here are a few suggestions to help you to do exactly that. 

teenager writing in a notebook, ipad and earphones on desk
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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Christmas Stocking Fillers From PoundToy Review

Review 

Can you believe it is almost Christmas? I am feeling so unprepared this year - mind I say this most years! I still have so many of the children's gifts to buy, I have their main gifts in luckily but I always struggle with the stocking fillers. So when PoundToy got in touch and asked if we would like a voucher to buy some things and do a review I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get some stocking fillers for the kids.

PoundToy is an online toy shop that has a range of different toys at really good prices, they often have super good value sales on too. They always have different stock so it is worth keeping an eye on the website as I have heard you can grab some right bargains and it is also ideal for party bag fillers as they often have party bag type toys for just 1p - amazing value! Plus free UK delivery if you spend over £25.

Selection of toys from PoundToy
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Monday, 18 November 2019

Gift Ideas For Teenage Girls This Christmas

Gifted Products. 

Christmas is coming and I am now starting to buy gifts for my children. This year I am really struggling on what to buy my teenage daughter as she is 17 now and she pretty much has everything that she needs. I think her main gift will be money towards her driving lessons but I like to get her gifts to open too, normally she gives me a list of things she wants but this year she has hardly asked for anything at all. So I have pulled together a gift guide of items that would be nice for a teenage girl this Christmas. 

necklace box

Necklace

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Thursday, 14 November 2019

What Parents Of Teenagers Need To Know About TikTok

Disclosure: This is an advertorial post in partnership with TikTok, however, all words and opinions are my own. 

 Have you heard of the popular app TikTok? As a parent to a 17-year-old, I certainly have as my teenage daughter has been a fan for a while. However, I thought it was an app where you made music videos - but I was wrong. TikTok is much more than that and I have to admit since downloading the app, I am now a fan myself.

TikTok app logo


What is TikTok? 


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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Things I Loved October 2019

October is normally one of my favourite months as I love autumn, the kids get a week off for half-term and it is my eldest's birthday month and we had some lovely things planned. However things did not go to plan as most of the month was hit with illness, meaning October was a bit rubbish if I am honest. I bore the brunt of it and have had the most horrific sickness bug followed by a bad chest which has resulted in me feeling very run-down and sorry for myself for the past three weeks. I was so ill I even missed my teens birthday and I have been feeling all of the mam guilt for that. 

This month I struggled thinking of the things that I have loved this month as so much of the month was taking up with illness and so many things got cancelled. Anyway, we still had some nice moments so here is a look at some of the things I loved in October 2019. 

bowl of chicken tikka curry with boiled rice, nan and mango chutney

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Gift Idea's For Grown-Ups This Christmas

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I don't know about you but I always struggle on what to buy the grown-ups in our family for Christmas. The adults in our family often say they don't need anything - Dad I am looking at you! Or they might just be tricky to buy for. I always end up leaving gift buying for the grown-ups until last minute and then end up panic buying tubs of chocolates, bottles of plonk or gift sets that probably don't get used. This year I am determined to be more organised and not leave present buying until a couple of days before Christmas. If you too want to be prepared and need a bit of inspiration take a look at some of the gifts I have pulled together for this grown-up gift guide. 

Dear Barber Male Grooming Kit 

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Sunday, 10 November 2019

Finding The Perfect Christmas Gifts For Children

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Now that it is November everyone's thoughts are turning to Christmas, the shops are playing festive tunes and they have their decorations up and children are starting to visit Santa and send off their Christmas lists. I know that my own children are getting super excited already and are on a countdown to December the 25th. But like a lot of people, I am struggling with what to buy the other children in the family as let's face it buying toys for other kids can be pretty hard work, you don't want to buy something they already have or something they might not like. So I was interested in reading this article The Secret Life Of Toy Designers to find out what makes Christmas toys a hit, give it a read if you are looking for some inspiration on what to buy the children in your family this year. 


As a mam of three with 17 years worth of present buying and Christmases under my belt, I thought that I would share some of my tips with you for buying Christmas gifts for children. 
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Monday, 28 October 2019

Destination 1850 At Newcastle Central Train Station - Review

Complimentary Review Meal. 

Destination 1850 has recently opened in Newcastle's Central Station, train station and it is a great new place to eat. Now you might be wondering why I am writing about train station food as its normally fast food or sandwiches well Destination 1850 is different and has changed that preconception. Destination 1850 is from the people behind popular North East venues YOLO and STACK and is the ideal place to grab a bite to eat before or after a train journey - or even just lunch out if you're passing the area. 

Burrito at Destination 1850 Newcastle

Located just inside the train station entrance you will find Destination 1850 inside the glass covering, beautifully decorated it is cosy and welcoming and even has heated seats to keep you warm. Serving a range of hot drinks, wines, soft drinks and cocktails it also has an impressive food menu - expect to see the likes of pizzas, wraps, salads, loaded fries and sharing boards as well as brunch on the menu. 
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Monday, 14 October 2019

Cookhouse And Pub Holystone Family Meal - Review

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I love autumn time, it is definitely my favourite season, I enjoy wrapping up warm, crunching through leaves and being cosy. Autumn is always a time for craving comfort food and I always think pub meals are proper comfort food that you just can't beat at this time of year. So at the weekend, we headed to our local Cookhouse and Pub in Holystone, North Tyneside.   

We have visited the Cookhouse and Pub Holystone a few times over the last couple of years but this was the first time we have visited with all three children. After a busy morning of swimming lessons and shopping, we headed to the Cookhouse and Pub with rumbling tummies on Saturday lunchtime, along with my dad who was joining us (my husband was at work). We were warmly greeted and shown to a seat in the conservatory area which is bright, modern and perfectly cosy on a crisp autumn day. 


Activity sheets and crayons were provided for the children along with little pots of popcorn for them to nibble on whilst we pursued the menu. They were also offered vegetable sticks but they passed on these. 
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Friday, 11 October 2019

Alnwick Castle

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As part of our magical stay at Macondland Linden Hall experiencing the Harry Potter Package we were given a family ticket to Alnwick Castle as this is where part of the first two Harry Potter films were filmed. Alnwick Castle is somewhere that I have visited before but it has been around seven years since my last visit and my youngest two children had never been before so they were very excited. 

Alnwick Castle is located in Alnwick, Northumberland in the town centre and right next to Alnwick Gardens and the famous treehouse restaurant. We had a family day ticket as part of our Harry Potter package but you can buy tickets for either just the castle or the castle and the garden combined on the day or in advance online (and save 10%) and they will last for the full year - making them really good value. 

anwick castle in northumberland
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Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Our Wedding - The Venue Backworth hall

When we got engaged back in June 2016 we knew we wanted to start planning the wedding straight away as we knew if we didn't get things booked quickly then we would never get around to it. We had been together for almost five years when we got engaged but we didn't actually know where we wanted to get married. I had always wanted to get married abroad as I loved the idea of getting married in the sunshine and having a holiday as well as a wedding. The other half really didn't want to get married abroad, it was important to him that certain family members were there and eventually after a few heated arguments he talked me out of it. 

Leaving us with no idea at all where to get married. 

Backworth Hall and grounds, North Tyneside
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Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Snapstar Dolls Review

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My six-year-old daughter adores playing with her dolls, she likes fashion dolls and spends hours changing their clothes, making up imaginative games with them and playing happily on her own or with her friends. Now there is a new fashion doll in town for children to play with called Snapstar dolls, a squad of six 'influencer dolls' with their own app - yep really. 

There are six Snapstar dolls to collect and each doll looks different and likes different things such as music, make-up, travelling, animals, fashion and crafts. The dolls are a similar size to other fashion dolls and they have moveable limbs and look really appealing for children with lovely sparkly eyes and nice outfits. 

pink snapstar doll box

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Friday, 4 October 2019

Pop Pop Hair Surprise Toy Review

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Like most children, my six-year-old daughter is really into collectable type toys and blind bags (thanks YouTube). Whenever a new collectable comes out she is eager to try them out, well there is a new one around called Pop Pop Hair Surprise but this one is a bit different to other surprise toys on the market, so let me tell you all about them. 

Pop Pop Hair Surprises are rather cute looking hairbrushes - that you can actually use, inside each hairbrush is some hidden surprises. The hairbrush can be opened and inside you will find a fabric wrapped up surprise, you have to spray the fabric surprise with water from the spray bottle provided (it is part of the hairbrush) and the fabric pops off revealing a surprise roller character. Inside the roller character, there will be another surprise - the hair surprise toy pet. 

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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Things I Loved September 2019

I love September, I think it stems back to the start of the school year as I always see September as a fresh start and a month for making positive changes to my life. I also really like autumn time, wrapping up in warm, cosy clothing and having lazy days at home with the heating on - it is definitely my favourite time of the year. September has been a pretty good month for us with lots of positive changes and some nice days out, and the return to a routine now the children are back at school after the summer break. 

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

J broomstick training at alnwick castle
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Sunday, 29 September 2019

How Stress Affects Your Eyes

Guest Post

There's no point in denying it, life can be stressful sometimes. Whether you're moving home, starting a new career, or rushing to take the kids to school on a morning, the smallest act can often cause the largest amount of stress. Everyone has the capacity to deal with stress in different ways, while some are more affected by it than others. However, there are many effects of stress that often go unnoticed, especially for those that suffer from chronic stress or anxiety. From mental health issues to cardiovascular problems, stress can be hidden as an underlying cause, which is why it's important to monitor and deal with your stress where you can. 

Stress also impacts one of the most crucial organs in your body. Your eyes. Many people take their eyes for granted, but stress can cause strain and other conditions that could result in a serious long-term issue. Newcastle Family Life has partnered with the experts at Optimax to find out just what stress can do to your eyes, and how you can help yourself stop any long-term conditions before they appear. We're grateful for this partnership and hope that you (the reader) find our content useful. 

blue eye

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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

A Family Night In With Arla Goodness

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September always feels like a fresh start, the children go back to school and families get back into a routine after the fun of the summer. I always spend September getting organised and trying to make healthier food choices for my family after a few too many treats during the holidays. As my children are getting older - they are 5,6 and 16, this is especially important as they always come home from school starving and a little bit tired and grumpy whilst they settle back into routine and new school classes.

So when we were challenged by Arla Goodness to enjoy a family night in I thought this was the perfect way to relax after a busy week of school. We all know that milk is a good source of calcium and important to support normal bones and teeth and Arla new Goodness milk provides 50% of an adult's daily calcium requirement in just one 250ml glass. Arla Goodness is a new milk that contains just 1% fat and 30% more protein than semi-skimmed milk making it perfect busy families to incorporate into family life for growing and active children. 

Arla Goodness milk, popcorn, hot chocolate , family night in

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Monday, 23 September 2019

Discovering The Harry Potter Package At Macdonald Linden Hall

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My 6-year-old daughter discovered the magic of Harry Potter earlier this year and she had been desperate to visit Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ever since. So when an invite landed in my inbox (sadly not via owl post) to try out the new Harry Potter Package at Macdonald Linden Hall country house hotel in Northumberland, it was the perfect opportunity to make my very own little Gryffindors wish come true. 

Macdonald Linden Hall is a country house hotel, golf course and spa nestled in the beautiful Northumberland countryside - about 30 minutes north of Newcastle. Setting off on Friday afternoon after school we were soon pulling up outside the impressive 18th-century manor house set in 450 acres of private grounds and with plenty of free on-site parking. Checking in was super quick and easy and we were warmly greeted by the very friendly receptionist who really made the children feel welcome.

Linden Hall Country House Hotel in Northumberland at sunset

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How To Reward Your Child For Doing Well At School

Guest post.

When your child is doing well at school, rewarding them not only helps to show how proud you are of their performance, but it also motivates them to continue. The trouble is, knowing how to reward them isn't easy.

If you're looking to show your child how proud you are of their academic achievements, below you'll find some great ideas on how to reward them for their hard work.

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How To Make More Room For Family Time In The Diary

Guest Post.

Do you struggle to make time for family? When you're working hard, trying to balance work and family life, it can be really difficult. Most days you're left feeling exhausted, stressed and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. However, while it may be difficult, it's important to make sure you're taking time out for family. 

If you find it a struggle, here you'll discover some great tips and advice on how to make room in your diary for family time. 

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Friday, 20 September 2019

The Best Places To Dine In London With Kids

Guest Post.

Being among the world's most vibrant and varied destinations, and an enormous draw for international tourists, it's probably not surprising that London has its fair share of quality restaurants - as well as a fair few which aren't of such high quality. If you're planning a visit to the capital with kids then you'll want to figure out in advance where the best places to eat are. Let's run through a few candidates for London's best kid-friendly dining experiences.


Cereal Killer Cafe


This ingenious little eatery has two branches in London - one in Camden and the other in Brick Lane. The menus are all entirely themed around different breakfast cereals: you'll find cereal paired with mac 'n' cheese, avocado and chicken nuggets. If you're in search of something truly different, then this is where you will find it.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Our North Tyneside Wedding Suppliers

When I was planning our wedding I spent hours and hours searching for wedding suppliers as I had heard so many horror stories of suppliers not turning up or going bust leaving brides and grooms stressed out. I wanted to book reputable suppliers that were local and didn't charge crazy prices and who would help create the day we wanted. 

One bit of advice I can give to any engaged couple is to take your time, research suppliers and book a trusted supplier as they honestly will make your day extra special. I left the whole day up to our wedding suppliers and they made the day so stress-free and relaxed for us as everything was taken care of and we honestly could not have asked for better. 

bride and groom in grounds at backworth hall


We got married in North Tyneside, just north of Newcastle and these are the suppliers we used who all cover the North East area. I recommend them all as we had no problems at all with any of them and without them, our day wouldn't have been as lovely as it was. 
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Thursday, 12 September 2019

Our Wedding Day

After two years of planning and so many wedding countdown posts on this blog, we finally got married back in June and I thought it was about time that I sat down and told you all about the big day. It seems so long ago now and myself and my husband (it still sounds so strange saying that) were talking this morning and said we both wish we could re-live the day again as it just went so fast and we wish we could enjoy it all over again. 

Backworth Hall grounds

The day of the wedding I woke to lovely sunshine which I was so relieved about after the weather forecast had been rain and thunderstorms in the lead up to the day. I spent the night before the wedding at home with the three children and Lee spent the night at his mam's house a few miles away. I woke really early and enjoyed a coffee in peace before the kids woke, I felt surprisingly calm all morning which definitely made things more enjoyable. 
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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

10 Pantomimes To See In The North East This Christmas

As a family we love nothing more than a family day out at the panto each year, it always gets us in the festive spirit and is something we can all enjoy together. I love watching the kids face light up, watching them shout 'he's behind you' and giggle at all the slapstick humour that panto brings. For the past few years, we have always headed to Whitley Bay Playhouse to see Blue Genies Pantomime production as they are perfect for young families and it is local to where we live - plus I highly recommend it as it is always a great show. 

If you're looking for a festive pantomime to see here in the North East this year then I thought I would put together this little guide to what pantomimes are on this year as we all know they can get booked up super early!


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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Things I Loved August 2019

August is normally one of my favourite months, it is my son's birthday month and the children are off school for the whole month. However this August has been tough, the kids have been fighting nonstop during the holidays as we have had hardly any days out compared to normal due lack of funds and the other half being at work 6 days a week during the holidays. I thought the month was rubbish and we had not done a lot, but by writing these posts each month I realise that actually we did do some nice things and it wasn't all bad at all. 

So here is a look at some of the things that I loved in August 2019. 

The children on a plane fair ground ride at Flamingo Land theme park
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Thursday, 29 August 2019

FlipaZoo World Toy Review

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FlipaZoo Word is a new range of toys from Character Options, they have plush soft toys and some fun playsets available. Each of the toys in the range can be flipped over to reveal another character, making them double the fun for children. We were sent a selection of toys from the range to see what the children thought of them, we were sent a large 16-inch FlipaZoo plush (£16.99), a smaller 8-inch FlipaZoo plush (£9.99) and a FlipaZoo playset (£13). 

two FlipaZoo lush animals and a fire engine playset in the garden

Like a lot of young children my two love soft toys, so they were happy to see the plush toys to add to their ever-growing collections. My 6-year-old claimed the larger one which was a chocolate coloured dog on one side and a white cat on the other side, she instantly knew how to flip the dog over to discover the cat on the other side and she thought they were both really soft, cuddly and cute. The large plush comes in different character options, all animal-themed such as cows, elephants and horses. 
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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Planning On Taking The Dog On Holiday

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We have not had a family holiday this year, as we were busy saving for our wedding, the eldest was sitting her GCSEs and the other half has had no time off work. We are hoping to maybe getaway later in the year and have been looking at booking a little UK mini-break so we can spend some quality family time together and so we can bring the dog with us. As a family with pets, we class our pets as part of the family and I love the idea of taking the dog away with us (the cat obviously wouldn't be too keen). 

Bob jack russell dog in the garden in sunshine lying down
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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Kynren 2019

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Pulling up in the farmer's field that was being used as a car park we pulled on our waterproof coats as we exited the car as the sky was grey with clouds, splodging through the field as we made our way to the shuttle bus waiting to transport us to witness the most epic tale of England. 

Kynren awaited us. 

The weather forecast was heavy rain and thunderstorms and it has been raining on and off all day, there was a chill in the air even though it was August. Despite the terrible wet and gloomy British weather thousands of people had travelled to Bishop Auckland in Durham to watch history come to life before their very eyes. Spirits were high as locals and tourists alike chatted excitedly about the show they were about to see, the traditional sweet truck and bustling food and drink stalls were doing a roaring trade as people queued for refreshments before the show. 

Kynren outdoor show in Durham


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Friday, 2 August 2019

Things I Loved July 2019

July started with us still on a high after getting married and it was a lovely way to start the month. The first few weeks of July are always busy with end of term school events and this July was no different so we were all ready for the summer break this year even though we have no exciting plans or holidays booked for this summer. I haven't been blogging much lately as I have been busy with the wedding and now the school holidays, so here is a look at some of the things that I loved in July. 

blogger newcastle family life wedding

1.) Wedding

I got married at the very end of June but we were still on a high from the wedding for the week afterwards. The day was lovely and we are so glad that we eventually got married and got to celebrate with all of our family and friends, it was a wonderful day that we will remember forever. I can't wait to get our professional photos back in a few days time. 
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Friday, 19 July 2019

How We Saved On Our Wedding


Collaborative post 

Weddings are expensive, like really expensive and so many people fall into the trap of getting loans or using credit cards to pay for their big day. We didn't do any of that and we still had an amazing day as with a bit of careful planning over the two-year engagement we managed to spend just under £10,000 on our wedding day, and other than borrowing a little money off my dad and my mother in law paying for our cake we paid for everything else ourselves. Although I am well aware that you can probably spend a lot less than that and still have a beautiful wedding day. 

newcastle family life blogger wedding day

 I feel really proud of myself for managing to pull the wedding off on our own as when I was younger I wracked up a lot of debt and ended up on a credit management plan to clear my debts. So my credit rating has not been the best and I think I would struggle to get a loan anyway but there are companies like Creditfix who can help in these situations and you can find out more via their website. 

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Tips For Getting Ready For Back To School

Collaborative post.

Today is the last day of term and we are so ready for the long, lazy, summer break. I love the summer holidays as it is a break from the routine of school and after school clubs and we get to spend more time as a family making memories. We don't have any big plans for this summer but my youngest will be turning five, my teen will be getting her GCSE results and we have some local days out planned. 

As the kids are breaking up for school I have already started thinking about getting organised for September. I am not one of those super-organised parents who have all the uniform in before the kids break up nor am I one of the last-minute panic buying parents, I am kind of somewhere in the middle. I have ordered the branded school jumpers but I still need to get skirts/trousers, polo tops, coats, shoes, new p.e kit's etc. After 13 years of having children in school, I have kind of got the whole back-to-school essentials down to a tee. 

                                             Tips For Back To School

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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Go Ape Matfen Review

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When an invite to try out Go Ape tree-top challenge landed in my inbox a few weeks ago my initial reaction was no-way am I trying that as I am terrified of heights. However, once I realised my teen was old enough to go around the course herself (16-17 years can tackle the course alone) then I signed her and her friend up straight away, as Go Ape sounded right up her street (she is a bit of an adrenaline junkie, unlike her mam).

Go Ape tree top challenge Northumberland, daughter climbing in trees


Go Ape is located in Matfen in the lovely Northumberland countryside, right near Matfen hall and golf course and it is only about a 20-minute drive from Newcastle. Luckily on the day we visited the sun was shining and it was a lovely day to be out in the countryside. Following the directions for the golf course, we soon arrived in the large free car park and instantly spotted the wooden Go Ape hut.

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Thinking Of Booking A Last Minute Family Holiday This Summer?

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We haven't had a summer family holiday this year as all of our pennies went on our recent wedding, so I am currently craving a sunshine break. There is just something rather magical about family holiday's, I love the break from routine and being able to relax without the chores of everyday life getting in the way. As a family of five, it is also the only time that we get to spend quality time together without work, school, after-school clubs and life getting in the way. Most importantly of all holiday's are where memories are made, children seem to flourish on holiday learning new skills, trying new things and I think it is so special to be able to discover the world with them and see things through their eyes. 

So I have been searching for a last-minute holiday. 


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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Things I Loved June 2019

June was the best month ever as I got married! We had the most amazing day and I am still in a happy little newlywed bubble at the moment. I have written briefly about the wedding but I will be writting more about the day once we get the professional photos back in a few weeks as our guests hardly took any.  June was not all about the wedding though, we had a lot of other stuff happening too so here is a look at some of the things that I loved in June 2019. 

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Money Advice For The Newly Wed

Guest Post.

The Last thing you think of when you're madly in love and about to marry is their bank balance, but once the honeymoon is over, reality sets in. How will you manage two incomes and two sets of expenses? Is your partner a saver or a spender? 

Are you saving for a home or putting money away to travel? This article will give a ton of money advice for the newlyweds that do not want to find out the full meaning of "for richer or for poorer". 

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Home Renovation Plans

Collaborative post. 

A couple of years ago we moved into our forever family home, it is a 1950's semi that needed a lot of work done to it when we moved in as it still had a lot of original 50s features and was rather dated decor-wise. When we moved in we got to work replacing carpets, getting a new boiler and fitting a new kitchen, however, there is still so much to do. We had underestimated just how much work, time and money it would take to bring our home up to date.

Two weeks ago we got married and the wedding had taken over our lives for the past year, all of our spare money went on paying for the wedding and house renovations were firmly put on hold. Now that we are married and actually have money again we have decided to crack on with the house renovations as we still have so much to do.

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Monday, 15 July 2019

A Life Update 2019

It feels like such a long time since I sat down and wrote on here, life has just been so busy that this blog and my social media channels have been severely neglected. I have loads of work planned for this week so rather than just kicking off with sponsored posts (gotta pay the bills) I thought I would fill you all in with what's been going on lately - if anyone is interested of course. 

So the big news is that we got married at long last, after two years of planning we finally had our big day and it was just perfect. It was amazing celebrating with all of our family and friends and we were so lucky with the weather (we got married on the hottest day of the year), I am just so glad we got married at last. We are waiting for our professional photos back but once they are back I will be sure to share lots more about our big day on here. 

Newcastle Family Life blogger wedding

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Tuesday, 9 July 2019

We Got Married

After two years of planning, we finally got married! If you follow me on social media you have probably already seen some photos of the day, there is going to be a whole lot of wedding spam over the coming weeks. I honestly don't know where to begin telling you all about the big day as it was just perfect, we were blessed with wonderful weather as it was the hottest day of the year so far, although the whole day just went by so very fast. 

We got married last Saturday on the 29th of June, which would have been my late mam's birthday. I chose that day as a way to remember her on my special day and so she was a part of my wedding day because getting married without your mam is bloody hard and rather emotional if I am honest. When we got engaged we knew we wanted a summer wedding and when I saw her birthday was on a Saturday we knew that was the day we wanted and luckily the venue had that day free. 

family photo on wedding day
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Friday, 21 June 2019

How My Dad Is Keeping Active Now He Is Retired

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Last summer my dad retired at the age of 60, as silly as it sounds since he retired I have realised that he is getting older and whilst he is still active and probably healthier than me I do worry a bit. Mainly because he lives alone and I worry about how he will manage in his home now that he is getting older as he has steep stairs in his home and a bathroom with a shower over the bath. Since he retired he has been doing home renovations that he has been putting off for years, so far he has transformed his back garden and made a start on plastering and redecorating the stairs. Next on his list is to update his bathroom, as he has had his current bathroom suite since I was a child! We have been looking into getting him a walk in shower fitted from Bathing solutions as he never uses the bath and this would suit him much better as he gets older and less mobile.



Despite being in his 60s and being retired my dad is still active, he goes on long walks every day around the town where he lives. He has just returned from a camping trip at the Le Mans 24-hour car racing event in France and he goes on weekend trips walking in the countryside with his partner. But it got me thinking about ways to keep active when you are over 55 and some of the ways my own dad is keeping himself active now that he is retired. 

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Two Weeks Until I Say I Do

In less than two weeks time I will be getting married and I honestly can not believe that after two years of planning the day is almost here! The past few weeks have been crazy busy sorting things out for the big day, we (well I have) ticked so many things off our wedding to-do list and things are starting to come together with just a few more things to sort and buy now. I am feeling surprisingly calm about the wedding at the moment, the only thing I have been stressed about is paying for things (thanks to the other half messing things up, but that's a whole other story). 

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Thursday, 20 June 2019

Conservatory Warming Solutions: How To Keep Your Conservatory Warm During Winter

Guest Post


Conservatories are great to have around - at any time of the year. They provide a great view and with a conservatory, it tends to feel like we are outside when we are actually inside. However, we all know that during summer, it can get quite hot and in the winter, it can become very cold. Do you want to feel 'just right'? Guardian roof installers, CSM North East share some solutions for you.



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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Things I Loved May 2019

Can you believe that it is half-way through June and it is freezing cold and raining? I get married at the end of this month so I really hope the weather cheers up a bit, it would be just my luck it pours with rain on my wedding day and my hair and dress get ruined. I really need time to slow down a little bit as I still have so much to sort for our upcoming wedding and I am quickly running out of time to get it all done. May seems like it passed by so quickly so here is a look back at some of the things that I loved from the month of May. 


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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Inflata Nation North Shields Review

We received complimentary tickets 

Inflata Nation opened its Newcastle venue a few months ago and we were invited to the launch event. Sadly we couldn't make the event but we were kindly invited back to try it out and we visited during the recent May half-term holidays. Inflata Nation Newcastle is an inflatable obstacle course inside an inflatable building, so it is super easy to spot. It is located at the Royal Quays in North Shields so not technically in Newcastle but only a few miles away and its location makes it really easy to get too as it is not far from the A19 and Tyne Tunnel. Plus there is a bus stop and a metro station not too far away. 

Inflata Nation inflatable activity course North Shields

We were booked to attend on a Tuesday lunch-time during half-term so it was busy but we could still get on everything without waiting and there was plenty of free parking available. We had already pre-booked the session online, which is recommended but you can just turn up on the day and see if there is space in the next session. When you arrive you just give the booking number and check the waiver is signed and then you go and watch a safety video. 
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