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. 

As we paid for the wedding ourselves, here are some of the ways we managed to pay for everything and cut some costs on the big day. 

Tips to save on the cost of a wedding

  • Check venue small print, wedding venues are expensive and some of them have a minimum spend limit, especially for summer weddings on Saturday's like ours. We booked a venue that had no minimum spends or restrictions and it saved us so much money as we only paid per person with no hidden extra charges.
  • Shop around, there are some bargains to be had if you shop around. My teenage daughter's bridesmaid dress was only £10 in the sale last year reduced from £95, and she received so many compliments on it. My shoes were also only £3.50 reduced from £80 as Rainbow Club have an eBay shop selling off brand new wedding shoes at huge discounts. 
  • DIY, I am not at all creative and the thought of crafts fills me with dread but I actually made some things for the wedding myself. I made the table plan, place settings and kids activity packs  and my dad made our post box - it saved us so much money. 
  • Make your own sweet table, we were originally going to hire a sweet cart for the wedding but they can be expensive. Instead, we made our own sweet table and it went down a treat with our guests, we got cheap glass jars from Ikea and Home Bargains and filled them with sweets from Makro online (bargain). 
  • Sample Sales, My wedding dress was actually from a sample sale at a local bridal boutique and I saved so much money on it as it was £795 instead of £1500 and is in perfect condition, you wouldn't be able to tell it had been tried on in the shop before. 
  • Suits, we actually ended up buying all the groomsmen suits from Slaters as they were cheaper to buy than hire, so again it might be best to shop around and see what works out best. 
  • Cut some extras, it is easy to get carried away when planning a wedding and we actually ended up having to cancel some of the extras we booked as we simply ran out of budget. I felt gutted at the time but nobody apart from us realised they were missing on the day. 
  • Look out for offers, I was amazed to find that so many suppliers run offers we managed to book giant floral love letters and a floral arch when they were on offer for half price. 
white floral arch at bottom of staircase at wedding venue

How we saved for the day

As I mentioned we paid for the wedding ourselves and when we booked the wedding we had no savings at all. So we managed to save and pay for the wedding in a few ways. 

  •  At the start, we booked suppliers whenever I got paid off a blog job or the other half got paid from work as we found most suppliers needed around a £50-£100 deposit to book. 
  • We paid a balance off each month out of my partner's wages, for six months before the wedding we paid a supplier off each month so one month we paid the registrar, the next flowers and so on. 
  • I sold stuff on eBay, I actually made quite a lot of money selling stuff we no longer wanted or needed on eBay in the run up to the big day and it paid for all the extras like confetti, kids shoes, ties etc. 
  • We had lists, we had lists of what needed paying and when and how much and this kept us on track and helped us budget and manage our money better so we could pay things off on time. 
  • I bought small things each week in the months before the wedding. Every week I would buy something small for the wedding, personalised items, guest books, decorative things and it soon mounted up and was less daunting than buying everything in one go. 
So that's how we managed to save money on our wedding and to pay for it all. If you are married how did you manage to save for your big day? 


Tips For Getting Ready For Back To School

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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


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.


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. 


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. 


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". 


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.


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


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

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. 


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). 


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.


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. 


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. 

Monday, 10 June 2019

Wedding Ring Shopping


After two years of planning, I am now just weeks away from getting married and it is all systems go for us at the moment finalising things for our big day. We have been lucky that we managed to get most of the big stuff sorted for our wedding pretty early on, booking a venue as soon as we got engaged swiftly followed by the photographer, DJ, venue dresser and florist. Sorting the big things have definitely been a lot easier than I initially imagined but the little things have been a lot trickier. 

One thing that we really struggled with was picking our wedding rings as they are something that we are going to wear forever and I wanted something timeless and good quality so it will last. Due to my partner's job we were a bit limited with the type of rings we could get as all he is allowed to wear is a plain gold band, while I don't have any restrictions on the type of ring I can wear I did want us to get rings that would match. 

two gold wedding rings on a cushion

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years Of Magic In Newcastle This October

AD- I received press tickets for the show in return for this post. 

Disney On Ice is returning to Newcastle's Utilita arena this October to celebrate 100 years of magic and I for one can not wait! This year's show is set to bring more than 50 unforgettable Disney stars to the ice from 14 much-loved Disney stories. Mickey and Minnie will be on hand as always to introduce us to mesmerising skating scenes from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Toy Story, Nemo and Aladdin to name just a few and I am sure the audience will be mesmerised and singing along to popular Disney songs from the start. 

As a parent, I adore Disney On Ice, let's be honest must of us do as Disney just evokes such wonderful memories. I have been going to see Disney On Ice for over ten years now, I remember taken my eldest to see Princess Classics all the way back in 2008/2009. She went dressed up as Cinderella, complete with glass slippers and she was thrilled to be watching the show as it set it off a love affair with Disney On Ice. 

Friday, 7 June 2019

One Month Until I Say I Do

It is now less than a month until my wedding date and it is all systems go at the moment, finalising last minute things and we still have little bits to buy. I know I keep saying this but I honestly did not realise how time-consuming planning a wedding would actually be, there is so much to sort out that my brain is just overloaded with wedding stuff at the moment. The last few weeks before a wedding are definitely a bit stressful as there is just so much to do, suppliers to meet, vows to pick, table plans to organise, the list could go on. I think that the reason I am finding it a bit stressful is also because we have a lot going on, we have the three kids to look after and take to various groups, my eldest is in the middle of her GCSEs and we also have a prom to sort out two days before our wedding. It is definitely a challenge planning a wedding as a parent.

wedding planner book and wedding magazine

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Dining Out With Teens - Thaikhun Metrocentre

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My eldest daughter is 16 and I always try and spend time alone with her, just the two of us at least once a month. It gives us a chance to catch up and I think when you have more than one child, spending one-on-one time with each child is important. Normally when I spend time with my teen we go shopping and for food somewhere that she likes, as she is getting older she is enjoying trying new places as her tastes are a lot different than her younger siblings. So when I was recently invited along to try out the new menu at Thaikhun in the Metrocentre I knew she would enjoy trying out some Thai food and getting her mam to her self for a few hours. 

outside Thaikhun in the Metrocentre

I have visited Thaikhun in the Metrocentre a few times, we have dined there as a family, as a couple and we also attended a cooking class there. It is somewhere that I always enjoy visiting as the setting is fab (it is decorated to represent the streets of Thailand with interesting things everywhere you look), it has a lovely laid back atmosphere, the staff are so friendly and most importantly of all the food is delicious. 

Monday, 3 June 2019

Feeling Nostalgic For The 90s With The Spice Girls

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I loved the 90s, being born in the early 80s the 90s was the decade I grew up in and I have so many amazing memories. From the cool TV shows, Saturday morning TV rocked! To the questionable fashion styles, Adidas popper pants, hair scrunchies, plastic dummy necklaces and platform trainers anyone? To the catchy pop music filling the charts, it was a decade full of fun that I remember fondly. 

Spice Girls walkers tv advert clip

So when I heard iconic 90s pop group the Spice Girls were back I was instantly transported back to being a teenager, waiting to watch them on Top Of The Pops on a Friday evening and heading to HMV to buy their latest single (remember when you could buy a single on CD or cassette tape?). I was 13 when Wannabe hit the airwaves and I used to make up dance routines with my friends and knew every word, I probably still do.


Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Planning A Wedding As A Parent

Planning a wedding is exciting, you're marrying the love of your life (well I hope you are), you get to wear a pretty dress and everyone makes a fuss of you. You hear of people taking years to plan their dream wedding, complete with castle, white doves, designer wedding dresses and fancy canapes that no one eats (seriously does anyone actually like them?). Wedding magazines and social media accounts are full of 'dream weddings' with beautiful young brides wearing sleek designer dresses and enjoying lavish wedding days with the average UK wedding costing a whopping £30,335! 

The wedding industry is full of these 'Dream Weddings' they start with cute engagement stories and huge sparkly rings. Followed by non-stop wedding planning, visiting designer boutiques to find the dream designer gown, having a whole 'bride squad' and a hen party abroad with everyone posing in white swimming costumes and posing on a bed with bride-to-balloons. 

It's an Instagrammers dream. 

Friday, 17 May 2019

April 2019

Life has been busy lately (isn't it always?) and I keep forgetting to write these monthly updates on the month gone by, which is a shame as I love looking back on them. I feel like I have so much going on lately that this blog is majorly neglected which is a bit frustrating as I had worked so hard to build it up over the years. But with a wedding to organise - I had no idea it would be so time-consuming the closer it got, plus the eldest doing her GCSE's and taking the little two to after-school activities I just have no free time.  Anyway, I am going to try and post on here more often again, famous last words! So here is a little look back on what April 2019 was like for us. 


Monday, 13 May 2019

Planning A Wedding Without A Mam

In just seven weeks time I will be getting married, the closer the wedding gets the more real it is starting to feel. We are busy arranging meetings with our suppliers and paying them off, sorting seating plans and all the little finishing touches to our day. After two years of planning, things are finally starting to come together and it won't be long before I am a Mrs.  Everyone keeps asking if I am excited and truthfully I am not yet as I am missing my mam a lot at the moment.

Tomorrow is the 14th anniversary of my Mams death, she died in a freak accident when I was 21 so she never got the chance to meet my future husband or my younger children. Every day for the past fourteen years I have missed her but I have learnt to live without her and I rarely get upset anymore and can remember her with a smile. But planning a wedding without your mam sucks big time!

As a bride-to-be everything is geared up towards your mam helping you organise your big day, to look at venues, go dress shopping, pick flowers and help you get ready on the big day. However I can't do that, I have no one other than my partner to help me plan the wedding, I have no one to ask advice too or help me pick things or help me get ready on the big day and it is hard. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

A Family Day Out At The Gate Newcastle With Young Kids

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Now that all three children are in full-time school and the other half has weekends off work we make sure that weekends are family time. We like to have a day out somewhere but we find that we normally end up visiting the same places all of the time. So when we were recently invited along to The Gate complex in Newcastle city centre for an afternoon of family fun we knew this would be a nice change for the children. We visited with our 4 and 5-year-old on Saturday afternoon after Jacob had finished football, as the teen was out with her friends. 

The Gate complex in Newcastle

The Gate is somewhere that I have such fond memories of, I partied there with my friends in my 20s, I visited for first dates with my soon to be husband, I met up with friends for a cheeky Nando's and catch-up and it is also somewhere I regularly visited with my teen when she was younger for cinema trips in the school holidays. However it is not somewhere we have visited much with our younger two children (aged 4 and 5 years old), we have taken them for a few meals at Pizza Hut over the years but until recently they were too young to take to the cinema or to enjoy a relaxed family meal with. 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Things I Loved April 2019

Just like that, another month is over, April was a month full of illness (again), lots of wedding planning and a few nice family days out. Now that the weather is getting a bit nicer I am hoping that we get a break from illness and we can crack on with getting everything sorted for the wedding and enjoy some family time in the sunshine. May is always a good month for us as it is Sophia's birthday and she will be six soon, which is crazy as in my head she is still about three. So here is a look at some of the things that I loved in April 2019.

1.) School Holidays

I love when it is the school holidays and I have all three children at home, it is lush having lazy mornings at home and a break from the school run. We did not do a lot during the school holidays as Sophia had a really bad sickness bug which lasted almost a week and which she passed onto Jacob. We had a few days out, spent some time with family and the children enjoyed playing out in the garden most days. 


Thursday, 2 May 2019

Two Months Until I Say I Do

Time really is flying by as it is now just two months until I get married, having booked our wedding two years in advance it feels a bit surreal to now think it is just a matter of weeks away. This month has been a bit stressful, we haven't heard back from some of our suppliers and we still have quite a lot to pay off as I booked loads of little extras we don't really need but which I like. I was feeling really overwhelmed by it all but I am feeling much more positive about everything now. The closer we get to the wedding the more things are happening, it feels like every day we have something wedding related to sort out at the moment. 

wedding planner book and wedding magazine

Friday, 26 April 2019

Creating A Candy Buffet For Our Wedding With Swizzels


In just two months time I will be getting married and I am really looking forward to spending time with all of my friends and family and I really want to create a nice day not only for us but also for our guests too. We have picked food that hopefully everyone will like, we have a DJ and entertainment booked to entertain our guests, we have an amazing photographer to capture the big day and we have a brilliant wedding coordinator who I trust will make our big day run smoothly. So now I am busy planning lots of little finishing touches that our guests will enjoy. 

candy buffet table for a wedding, sweets in glass jars with pink ribbon

One thing that I knew I wanted as soon as we started planning a wedding was a candy buffet, so the children (and adults) could enjoy some yummy treats as they danced the night away. Candy buffets are so popular at weddings these days that I think it is kind of expected of us to have a one, originally we were going to have a sweet cart but they can be rather pricey and I have already blown our wedding budget - oops! So I decided to create a sweet table instead as they are much more affordable. 


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Finding Children Clothing Catalogues

 Guest Post 

Catalogues for children's clothing are a real deal. It's a great and convenient way to shop without dragging your young ones to the stores to try on clothes. In this arrangement, you just order whatever product you want at the comfort of your home. These catalogues sell clothing for both girls and boys with some even selling maternity wear for mum and clothing for babies. 

Furthermore, you will find other kid's items including gifts, toys and home decor in some of them. The following are some of the best catalogues for children clothing out there. 


Monday, 15 April 2019

Spirit Riding Free Toy Collection Review

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My 5-year-old daughter Sophia is horse crazy (just like I used to be), she dreams of owning her own pony someday and loves to play with toy horse and ponies and have riding lessons. So she often watches Spirit Riding Free on Netflix, a TV show about a young girl called Lucky and her horse Spirit. So when I found out that there was a range of Spirit Riding Free toys by Flair I knew these would be a big hit with fans of the show. We were sent some of the toys to review, so read on to see what we thought. 

toy horses and stable and doll


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Jump 360 Trampoline Park In Newcastle Review

AD - We received free entry. 

On Friday afternoon we headed to Jump 360 Trampoline Park, Newcastle which is actually located in Benton, North Tyneside. Jump 360 is in Bellway industrial estate which is near the big Asda supermarket and Round the Twist soft play, Jump 360 is clearly signposted and is situated near the back of the industrial estate. There was plenty of free on-site parking and a bus stop just a few minutes walk away (although I don't know which buses go pass - sorry). 

My teenage daughter has been wanting to visit Jump 360 since it opened a couple of years ago, she is a huge fan of trampoline parks (after spending many years having trampoline lessons when she was younger) and has visited sister venue Inflatspace which is just along the road in Walkergate. So when we were asked to come along to review Jump 360 I took my teen and her friend (both aged 16) and my younger daughter aged 5, I couldn't take my youngest as the regular sessions are for ages 5 and over, they do however have Jump Junior sessions available for younger children. 

Jump 360 Newcastle sign

Thursday, 11 April 2019

A Family Meal At Toby Carvery Kenton Review

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I love a good roast dinner and being typically northern we have a Sunday roast every single week as you can't beat fluffy roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and lashings of thick gravy. However sometimes when we are busy we just don't have time to cook a roast so we often find ourselves heading to Toby Carvery as it is somewhere that all five of us enjoy, even our very fussy eater of a five-year-old! Plus we always find it really good value when eating out as a family of five. 

Last Saturday we went shopping at Kingston Park and we decided to head to Toby Carvery whilst we were there. We normally head to the more newer Toby Carvery Shiremoor as this is closer to where we live, however before it opened we were regulars at the Kenton branch as I used to crave them when pregnant with Sophia, so I was keen to see if things were as good as I remember. 

We arrived around 2.30pm on a Saturday afternoon and it was fairly busy, however, we were greeted straight away at the entrance and showing to a table in the dining area. I noticed that the restaurant had a bit of an update since I last visited about five years ago and everything looked more modern yet still welcoming. The dining area and bar area were very clean and there were lots of staff dotted around serving customers, first impressions were good. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

PJ Masks Super Moon Toys & Easy Crafty Background

AD - Review products. 

My 4 and 5-year-olds are huge fans of Disney Junior and one show they have been watching since it hit the screen is PJ Masks, for the past couple of years they have loved following the adventures of Owlett, Geko and Cat Boy. So when we were sent a box full of the new PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure toys - include baddie Luna girl my children were super excited to start playing and recreating scenes from the show. We were also sent some crafty bits to help create our own Super Moon background so the children could enjoy some Super Moon adventures of their own with the new toys. 

PJ Mask Super Moon playset

I am not the most crafty of people but my girls adore getting creative, my 5-year-old Sophia is always cutting, colouring and 'doing art' and my teen is busy studying for her GCSE art exams at the moment. So I left creating the Super Moon background up to them and they managed without any adult help. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Things I Loved March 2019

March has been and gone and I have to say it was a bit of a strange month for us, it had a few good things, lots of illness and plenty of wedding planning. March started off well for us and we have had a few meals out, a few days out, we ticked a few things off our huge wedding to-do list and the little two have had a nice month with no illness. However both myself, my teen and other half have been unwell with my teen and other half both ending up in hospital. The other half ended up in hospital at the start of the month with kidney stones, then I fell ill with flu which wiped me out for almost two weeks and then my teen ended up in the hospital with her asthma. I now have sore ears from being unwell, I might need to get them checked out at Auris Ear Care who offer ear wax removal in London . I feel like I am so behind on everything and like I have hardly blogged due to all the illness we have had. 

Anyway, March was not all bad and was busier than February so here are some of the things that I have loved this month. 


3 Reasons Why Everyone Loves A School Leavers Hoodie

Guest post.

Our time at school is one of the most formative and important in our lives. Not only are we taught important lessons in literature, maths and science, which fuel our understanding and curiosity of academic subjects, but we also deeply learn about ourselves, society and the world around us. For most, it's where lasting friendships are formed, unforgettable memories are created and new experiences and ideas are tried and tested. 

It's no surprise, then that leaving school is a pretty big deal. Students are eager to mark the end of their school life in a range of creative and fun ways. There are the end-of-term pranks and the endless staged photos, but of all the leavers' traditions, the most enduring and significant is the leavers' hoodie. 

As students across the country gear up their revision in preparation for their final exams, whether they're SATs, GCSEs or A-Levels, below I take a look at the enduring appeal of the leavers' hoodie and break down the three top reasons why they're a school leavers must-have. 

Monday, 1 April 2019

3 Months Until I Say I Do

It is now just 3 little months until I get married and we are full steam ahead with wedding planning, I can't believe how much there is to organise and think about for just one day! The closer the big day gets the more anxious I am becoming, I feel really overwhelmed as I feel like we still have so much to do and think about. Last month we were actually pretty productive and got a lot of things sorted and ticked off our pretty big wedding to-do list, I am hoping this month is as productive. 

What We Have Done This Month


Sunday, 31 March 2019

Slimming World Friendly Chilli Con Carne Recipe

I received a voucher to buy the ingredients for this post. 

Weeknights are always busy in our house as the children attend various after-school clubs, so I always try and cook quick and easy meals that the whole family will enjoy. One meal that we cook almost every week is Chilli Con Carne and I use a recipe I adapted from when I used to attend Slimming World groups as it is packed full of hidden veg, is healthy and delicious plus beef is a source of iron which helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. This dish takes under half an hour to cook and you can make it in just one big pan, saving on the washing up too - always a plus point in my household. 

bowl of chilli and tortilla crisps

Friday, 29 March 2019

Village Hotel Spa Day With Red Letter Days

AD - Review 

This morning I went to The Village Hotel Newcastle (Silverlink) to relax on a Spa day thanks to Red Letter Days who give me a voucher for the occasion. Red Letter Days have a whole host of different vouchers available for different experiences making them the perfect gift idea - they would make a great Mothers Day gift. To redeem the gift experience voucher you simply register your voucher online, you will then be giving a phone number of your chosen venue to ring and book and then you hand the voucher in on the day. It was really straightforward to book and as I had been given  Blissful Spa Day for two voucher there was a number of different spas I could book into all over the country. I decided on The Village Hotel Spa as it was close to where I live and I had never been before.

Village hotel silverlink

When I rang to book into the spa day the spa was actually busy so I had to wait a few weeks for an appointment which luckily wasn't a problem for us. Arriving at the Village Hotel for 9am we arrived at reception and were directed to the spa area which is downstairs near the gym. We were showing to the relaxation room which had dimmed lights, comfy chairs and was very peaceful and we were asked to fill in some forms.

Friday, 22 March 2019

The Highwayman Sizzling Pub In Whickham Review

AD - complimentary meal.

You know those day's at the end of the week when you are feeling a bit frazzled after a week of school runs, after-school clubs and chores and you just can't be bothered to cook? Well, that was me last week, after a busy week and with no motivation to cook that evening I decided to take the kids out for tea so we could catch up on what they had been up to at school and so I could have a break from cooking and the dreaded dishes. 

Finding somewhere to eat with kids can sometimes be a bit tricky, with fussy eaters and kids who don't sit still we always try and head somewhere family friendly with a relaxed atmosphere that serves food that the children enjoy. One such place is our local sizzling pub, which serves pub food the kids (and us grown-ups) enjoy, plus it is such great value for money too. I was recently invited along to the recently refurbished The Highwayman Sizzling Pub which is on Whickham Highway in Gateshead, not far from the Metrocentre. I have never visited The Highwayman before so we headed there for tea last week after school with my dad.  

Reading the kids menu at The Highwayman pub Gateshead

Thursday, 14 March 2019

ClassDojo Keeping Parents Informed Of Their Child's School Life

This is advertorial content written for ClassDojo.

Every day when I pick my four and five years old up from school I ask them what they have done that day, I always get the same reply "I don't remember" or "Nothing". Sometimes they will tell me they haven't played with anyone that day, which after asking their teacher at parents evening I find out not to be the case at all as they are always playing with other children. As my children are a bit reluctant to tell me about their days, and also because my youngest is one of the youngest in the school (he is an August baby) and my daughter has speech delays I do worry about how they are coping and getting on at school. So when I heard about ClassDojo I wished my children's school used this as it sounds like a great way to help us parents know what our children have been up to and how they are getting on at school. 

mobile with ClassDojo app on


Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Finding Out Where I Come From With Findmypast


Do you ever wonder where you come from? About all the ancestors who came before and helped make you the person, you are today? Now that I am older and have children of my own it is something that I often think about. When I was a little girl my grandparents would often tell me tales about growing up in the war, about where their families came from and about family members that were no longer with us. I wish I could remember what they told me as I didn't have much interest when I was younger and now I am older and interested my grandparents are no longer with us. I think that is the reason why I am so curious about finding out about my past, My Mam died when I was younger and so did all my grandparents so I only have my dad to tell me things and he can only tell me about his own family, not my maternal side.

Findmypast DNA testing kit box


Friday, 8 March 2019

Things I Loved February 2019

February was a quiet month for us, I know it is a shorter month but it really did seem to fly by this year. We didn't really do anything exciting as we have been limiting days out as we are saving like crazy for our upcoming wedding. The kids had a week off for half-term and it was lush to spend time with all three of them at home, we had lots of lazy mornings in our pj's watching films with the heating on keeping cosy. Things were quiet blog-wise this month, paid work was really good this month but reviews and days out were a bit quieter than normal. For the first time ever I struggled a bit picking ten things that I enjoyed this month, as I feel like we haven't really done much. 

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

wrap, chips and salad

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Poopsie Sparkly Critters Review

Items sent for review. 

One of last years must have toys was Poopsie Surprise, a cute unicorn toy that pooped slime. We reviewed Poopsie Surprise last year and my five-year-old still plays with her unicorn Rainbow Brightstar (she is a huge unicorn fan). Well now there is a new Poopsie toy on the block, Poopsie Sparkly Critters and we were kindly sent two to review and see what we thought.

two packs of Poopsie Sparkly Critters toy

Like the original Poopsie Surprise, the Sparkly Critters have the surprise element of being packaged so that you can not see which character you will get until you open the box. This is something that really appeals to my children as they love any kind of surprise toy. The Sparkly Critters come in really fun looking soda can type packaging, when you pop the can open you will then find blind bags filled with the Sparkly Critter and the accessories you will need to make slime. Each set comes with one Sparkly Critter, a soda can style bottle/syringe to feed the critters, spoon, storage bag which is designed to look like a bag of crisps and glitter to add to the slime.

Monday, 4 March 2019

4 Months Until I Say I Do

In just four months time I will be saying I do and getting married and I am feeling very overwhelmed and nervous about it all now. The wedding diet I said I was going to go on hasn't happened, we have so much to still organise and pay for and I am wondering if we will get it all paid for and organised in time. Please, everyone, keep your fingers crossed we manage to pull it off! I know people plan weddings in such short spaces of time and all the big things are in place for the big day but I am a natural born worrier. 

wedding planner book and wedding magazine

What We Have Done This Month


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Bride To Be Box Review


In just a few short months time I will be getting married and everything is in place now for the big day, the venue has been booked for a long time, I have my dress, notice of marriage has been given and invitations have started to be sent out. We are on the final count-down to the big day and it is all so exciting thinking that soon I will be a Mrs and someone's wife! 

So when I heard there was a subscription box service for us brides to be I was eager to find out more as it sounded right up my street (I love a good subscription box). Bride To Be Box is a newly launched subscription box service that celebrates the major milestones when planning a wedding. There are six boxes available, each one themed around one of the milestones in the wedding planning process. The six boxes are 'The You're Engaged', 'The Planning Begins', 'Bridal Bootcamp', 'Happy Hen-do', 'The Big Day' and 'Happily Ever After'. 

contents of the bride to be subscription box

Founder of Bride To Be Box Harriet Jelley says that 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Finding Childcare Is Easy With


Like most families these days finding someone to watch our children is hard, grandparents often work these days, families live miles apart and everyone is leading busy lives. Myself and the other half rarely have any time apart from the children, date nights are rare in our house and we have only had one child-free night together in the past six years. If we want to go out for a meal just the two of us we have to book one of the grandparents weeks in advance around everyone's work schedules which can be challenging. We don't even have childcare in place for our upcoming wedding in just a few months time so we have been looking into childcare options. 

kids looking out hotel window in newcastle

Monday, 25 February 2019

Boxy Girls Dolls & Fashion Pack Review

My five-year-old daughter is really into surprise toys, any kind of blind bag type toy really interest her as she loves the surprise element of opening things up and discovering what is inside. So when I heard about Boxy Girls which are fashion dolls that come with surprise boxes of accessories I knew these would be a huge hit with her. She could not contain her excitement when she saw we were sent two dolls and a fashion pack to review, as she had seen these dolls on YouTube and was eager to have some of her own. 

Boxy girls dolls and fashion pack

We were kindly sent Riley and Brooklyn dolls (£17.99 each) plus a Fashion pack (£9.99), there are also two other dolls to collect called Nomi and Willa. Boxy Girls are rather cute dolls, they look childlike with big heads and huge box-shaped eyes, long brushable hair and fully moveable arms and legs. They come in nice outfits and each doll comes with four small surprise boxes which contain accessories. 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Glam Goo Review

Like most children my little two love slime, they think it is great fun so were happy when I was recently sent a Glam Goo set for BFF day. As we were sent the kits to celebrate BFF day we were sent two kits, one for Sophia and one for her friend. Our parcel was a bit late in arriving so we missed BFF day but we had some fun during half-term getting creative with this kit. 

glam goo deluxe box unopened


Thursday, 21 February 2019

Party Dresses From JD Williams


This year I have so much to celebrate, I am getting married in the summer and have my hen party to attend and a honeymoon to go on. I also have family parties, christenings and weddings to attend along with some nights out and date nights with my other half. It is set to be a busy year and I can not wait to experience it all. However, like a lot of Mams, I don't have many nice going-out outfits anymore as I mostly live in jeans and casual clothes, so I need to treat myself to a few nice party dresses. I have been scouring the internet to see if I can find any that I like as a plus size mam I want something that is flattering, comfortable and stylish. 

I recently discovered JD and they have a great range of dresses for any occasion and I decided to put together a little wishlist of some of the dresses that I like the look of.

wishist of six dresses from JD Williams

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Tips For Making Road Safety Fun For Children

Guest Post.

Making Sure children learn all about road safety is an important subject, it's key to preventing them from having a road traffic accident, and it prepares them for when they have to use the road alone. Teaching your children about road safety doesn't have to be boring. We've put together a few ideas for how you can make road safety fun for young children. 

1.) Role play 

Use toy cars, bikes and characters to explain what would happen in different scenarios. For example, a racing car moving fast can demonstrate the impact it will have on a pedestrian crossing the road, or a car approaching a set of traffic lights will show what action they should take if the lights are on amber.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

An L.O.L Surprise Games Night

My 5-year-old daughter is a huge L.O.L Surprise fan, she has built up a collection of dolls, baby sisters and pets and she will play with them for hours making up games and changing their outfits. She really is L.O.L crazy and whenever anything new and L.O.L Surprise related comes out she is always eager to have it. So when we were sent a box full of L.O.L Surprise games she was super excited! It was also perfect timing to keep the kids entertained during this cold and wet February half-term. 

We were sent a parcel that contained L.O.L Surprise: Surprise Makeover game (RRP £25), plus some L.O.L Surprise trading cards, a L.O.L magazine, a L.O.L scratch art set and some treats for the winner. Sophia couldn't wait to play the game and even got her little brother to join in the fun too.

playing game

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