Today I'm continuing the frugal theme of the summer holidays, and bringing together all of the places that I can find which offer free kids meals over the summer holidays. I have two toddlers who veer daily between human dustbins who want to eat everything in sight, to fussy bird-like eaters who are horrified at the suggestion you might expect them to actually try something that you have paid for. So when I couldn't be bothered to cook the other day, I was on the hunt for a somewhere that we'd get a free child's meal. I managed to find quite a few, but it took a fair bit of googling. So here is a list which will hopefully help you if you are on the hunt for a cheaper family meal out.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a fab Christmas and New Year, ours was wild. We were up until 4am! Lets not dwell on the fact I'd gone to bed at 11:30pm, and it was a crying baby, as opposed to a dancing all night which had me up that late. If you are anything like me then you'll be feeling a bit sluggish from overindulging on the kid's selection boxes and Christmas leftovers. I'm desperate to do a bit of exercise, I'm even itching to go out for a run. A phenomenon which lasts about 36 hours from New Years Day, only to disappear again for another year.
If you are looking to exercise, but have an entourage of a small person and their many many 'essentials' with you at all times, then don't worry. The North East has loads of brilliant options, there are actually 30 classes on each week across Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside where you can exercise without needing childcare. Many of them run by fellow mums, for parents to exercise without needing any childcare. The ones run by the councils are even FREE! I included some of them in my Gan on Bring the Bairn post about parent-friendly local companies, but since then have heard about loads more, and as it's the New Year thought it would be a good time to pull them all together in one place. Just by writing this post I'll get fitter won't I? That's how it works?
I think I've made no secret of the fact that I love the North East and all that it has to offer. As well as the brilliant coastline, quayside, restaurants, days out and family bloggers (haha), I love that we have so many amazing independent businesses that sell unique, quirky and cool stuff, with lots of it being made right here in the North East. To coincide with small business Saturday, I've pulled together this Christmas gift guide where I've picked out some of the best presents and Christmas treats for everyone in the family, all from local brands.
So far all have my posts have focused on things specifically for kids, places to go with kids, products for kids. But what about ME? Will no one ever think of me? I learned pretty quickly into my parenting career that if I go somewhere kid friendly there is a chance that I might get 2 or 3 minutes peace in between the nappy changes, feeding and playing. But sometimes I don't want to go to a park, sometimes I'd rather eat a cold Ella's Kitchen rather than go to a soft play and sometimes I just need get some of that long list of life admin actually ticked off.
So this post is still all about the kids (I haven't had a personality transplant and started talking about anything actually interesting) but it's about places that have tried to make parent's lives easier, by welcoming kids. A round up of places in Newcastle that have a USP when it comes to being family friendly. It's not like us poor parents are going to turn up on a charity appeal on daytime sky telly or anything. There are worse fates than being reliant on babysitters to be able to go to the gym, but I really appreciate it when businesses have been considerate to our needs. There must be some money in it too? All the parents I know, will spend as much as they have available to make their lives a little bit easier. There is the pink and grey pound, surely there is money to be made out of parents? What would we be? The suspiciously brown stain, is it poo or is it chocolate, pound? Lets not get into the details of that just yet, but get on with celebrating the places in Newcastle that are great for parents.
♫♫We're all going on a summer holiday...♫♫ Well not all of us. Last week, half of our little family unit took a short trip to Portugal, and as you can guess by the fact i'm writing this blog it was me who came back with the strap marks and mozzie bites. My sister asked us if we'd like to join them for a few days of their family holiday, we'd originally said no due to the cost. Now my toddler is over two we'd need to pay for a seat for him on the plane, and in the midst of statutory maternity pay our budget is tight. But as their holiday grew closer, I started to think about the possibility of me joining them for a couple of days, taking the baby with me. I've loved my maternity leave, but looking after two kids is full on, and I was desperate for a bit of a break. So after a quick jaunt to Durham to sort the baby's passport we were booked and ready to go.
So I'm not sure if i'm late to the party here, or whether there might be other people out there who didn't know about the baby change and feeding facilities in Fenwick department store in Newcastle city centre? My sister in law had mentioned that they were good, but today was the first time that I had been in to them. They are brilliant. In my life before children I often used to use the powder room area of Fenwick, if you haven't been it is on the third floor, next to the toilets and has loads of mirrors with tables and chairs in front of them so you can top up your make up. When I actually used to go places without a double buggy, range of spare clothes and hundreds of nappies in tow, I would pop in to reapply my make up if I was heading out to dinner straight from work, or to do my hair on the occasions when I'd had my make up applied in the MAC concession downstairs. I shouldn't have doubted that now I rarely manage to slap a bit of foundation on, but I'm frequently looking for somewhere to hose down my baby after nappy seepage that yet again Fenwick would come to my rescue.