How I finished my Christmas shopping in one morning.

I have just had the most brilliant morning. Yes, I should have been working, and yes, I do now have a little deadline pressure to catch up on. But it’s totally worth it for what I have just achieved. You see, my Christmas shopping is all done. And I only started today! Christmas shopping with Paypal saves time! This Christmas PayPal are asking you to share your Magical Christmas Moments with them, for a chance to win some fabulous prizes every week. Plus, if you use PayPal to do your Christmas shopping, you’ll have the chance to win back up …

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The perfect family holiday

What's your perfect family holiday?

What’s your idea of the perfect family holiday? Have you done it yet, or does it still sit tantalisingly on the horizon, waiting for the perfect time, the right age, the correct bank balance?! I wrote about my dream holiday on Space In Your Case recently – a trip to that little piece of heaven that are the Maldives. And it was indeed a dream come true. Adventurers at heart, we had worried that we might be bored on a luxury island, but our water villa, surrounded by baby sharks, and a glorious array of food and hospitality could never …

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Ox Pasture Hall hotel review

On a cold, blustery wet weekend in November, we travelled to Scarborough. The north-eastern coastline might not seem like the best place for a wet winter weekend, but we weren’t there to sun ourselves on the beach. We were there to review Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, and whilst it’s a place beautiful enough for a summer’s weekend, the winter weather totally does it justice! Still beautiful, despite the season, as we made our way through the garden to the small reception, we knew we were in for a cosy retreat, and we weren’t disappointed. The children very quickly laid claim …

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Budget hotel luxury with Premier Inn

Premier Inn budget hotels: a good night guaranteed

Premier Inn Harrogate is pink! Can we really afford a weekend away? Staying away from home is expensive, and when you factor in a couple of kids the price often makes the whole adventure financially too stressful to bother with. Especially if you need more than one night to make the trip worthwhile. We travel a lot as a family; it’s part of our way of making memories that last for all of us, and of making the most of our children, before they decide their parents are too dull to spend time with! And whilst we love a luxury …

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Growing up gently with Teen Parcel

It may not have escaped your notice that we have a tween girl living with us. I say tween, as that seems to be the descriptor most used for a child who has not yet hit the teen years, but is most definitely moving on from childhood – if inconsistently! It’s a wonderful age. She is amazing company, really funny, developing – with the odd raised eyebrow from us to keep it in check – a sarcastic dryness to her judgements, yet still young enough to be helpful, to declare her love for us, and to accept that there have to …

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Blackpool Illuminasia light show

Blackpool Illuminasia - Terracotta Warriors in the Mysteries of China Zone

We visited Blackpool for a family weekend away whilst the Blackpool Illuminations were on. Every year, from the end of August, until early November, Blackpool’s seafront plays host to the most incredible light attraction you will see in the UK. I loved it as a teenager, and I loved it again when I took my family 3o years later, and it has really left me in the Christmas spirit. Blackpool Illuminasia But if the 3 mile stretch of Blackpool’s illuminations aren’t enough for you, you can extend the pleasure of colourful light installations with a visit to Illuminasia, the world’s …

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Starstruck at Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Madame Tussauds Blackpool One Direction

The stars at Madame Tussauds Blackpool. On our recent trip to Blackpool we paid a visit to Madame Tussauds. We’d heard that someone rather famous, and very very important was going to be there, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet them… 😉 We’ve visited Tussauds in London previously, and whilst it is undoubtedly a spectacular day trip, it is massively busy, which can be a bit stressful with young children. Madame Tussauds Blackpool was refreshing though; all the wow of the same stars, without such a big crowd. We did still have to queue up to see …

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Blackpool for families at the Cliffs Hotel

Family at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

 Blackpool is also for families! It was the biggest thrill of my life. I honestly thought I’d left my stomach at the top of the ride, and I sat, shellshocked, waiting to be let out of my harness. I couldn’t do it again. I was 14, scared senseless, and in love with rollercoasters. I rode them all, then consumed a hot-dog, an ice-cream, and a candy floss, and wondered why they made me feel sick. But I still had room for a stick of rock as I waited for my donkey-ride on the beach, and I begged for a clear …

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Type 1: What my girl would like to say…

I wasn’t going to write about World Diabetes Day. This is a family blog. It’s a happy space, where I record the things in our lives that I want us to remember: the holidays, the letters to Father Christmas, the amusing anecdotes about funny toddlers that will make guests at their weddings laugh. It is not a blog about diabetes. But as I think about my daughter, about all she has had to come to terms with in the 3 months since her diagnosis, I know that I can’t let the occasion pass without some comment. I was going to …

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Wot so Funee? Getting used to a new bike.

You have these weird things sticking out of your back. Yes, they’re my bumpers… He’s skinny, my boy. The result more of running around using his young body for fun, or for football, more than a lack of interest in food. It means that the definition in his form is easy to see, from his enviable six-pack, to his shoulder blades. Lucky that he has such ‘bumpers’ then, because this week he got a new bike, a bigger bike, and it took a bit of getting used to! I remember the thrill of my first Raleigh Twenty (yes, I am …

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Why You Should Plan a Weekend in L’Estartit on the Costa Brava

Visiting L'Estartit during the Medes Islands Pirates and Corsairs festival

When you think of a weekend break, it usually involves the car. If you do decide to venture further afield, maybe the Eurostar. You don’t generally think of getting on a flight to Spain. Especially with the kids. But you should. Oh, you really, really should. Here’s how we managed a family weekend in L’Estartit, on the Costa Brava.   How to make the most of a weekend in L’Estartit A few weeks ago I picked up the kids from school on a Friday afternoon, and headed down to Gatwick. Less than 2 hours after take-off, our Vueling flight touched …

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