23 FREE (or very cheap) ways to create a magical summer for kids

It's the summer hols, and millions need to entertain the kids. So we wanted to come up with ways to create some unforgettable summer magic for free (or very cheap), from writing to the royals to 'painted rocks' treasure hunts.

Grab top-secret theatre tickets from £4, including West End shows... but only if you can keep your mouth shut

It's the top-secret trick that theatres don't want you to know exists. Welcome to the hush-hush world of last-minute seat-filling, where it's possible to watch a show from as little as £4. Theatres do it because they quite literally need bums on seats – but you must agree not to say what you get so you don't upset people who pay full whack.

Why the financial regulator needs more power to properly protect consumers from 'bad people'

An influential group of MPs has called on the Government to fix gaps in the financial regulator's ability to protect consumers, which are caused by limitations in its 'regulatory perimeter'. This is the line between who the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can and can't regulate – and that line is decided by Government and Parliament. Crucially, this line determines whether or not the regulator can properly see into what financial firms are doing, and act to protect consumers from potential (or real) harm.

The top theatre lotteries – how to grab £10-£25 tickets for Fleabag, Hamilton, Matilda and more West End shows (often the best seats)

What seat would £10 buy you at a big West End show nowadays? You might expect to be right up in the gods, at best. Yet a host of West End shows offer drastically reduced tickets via free-to-enter lotteries.

Forgotten to apply for an EHIC? There's a way around it

"I should have known better!" That was my first thought when I was handed the bill for my baby boy's medical treatment after he'd ended up in hospital during a trip to Sweden.

Heading abroad this summer? Watch out for hefty fines (or worse) for wearing flip-flops, jaywalking or even inhaling Vicks

You've booked your trip, packed your bags and learned a bit of the lingo. But have you checked up on any local laws or customs which might catch you out on your holiday? While some may seem strange based on the culture here, they may of course be perfectly sensible based on cultures elsewhere, though we're not sure what to make of compulsory budgie smugglers in some swimming pools in France.  

How to BEAT school holiday travel price hikes

There's a collective 'GRRRRR' from parents about holiday price hikes when term ends – the cost of flights, hotels and package holidays always seems to rocket. Yet the law's plain. You can't take kids out of school for unauthorised vacations without being fined (see our Term-time holidays 60-second guide for the full lowdown).

13 Eurocamp and other holiday park tricks

Don't think muddy canvas, lumpy groundsheets and communal washrooms, these days European holiday park accommodation (such as Eurocamp's) is often well-equipped mobile homes with your own bathroom. What's more, these types of holidays can smash hotels on price.

How bubble wrap and a roll of Sellotape has saved me £100s on family holidays

Whenever my family and I go anywhere on holiday these days, as soon as we get to the airport and get out the car we have a bit of a kerbside ritual. My wife grabs a large roll of Sellotape, my six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter lay two giant sheets of bubble wrap down on the pavement, and we get to work. It sounds a bit Blue Peter – and gets us a few odd stares. But over the past few years it’s saved us £100s...

The Government must help mortgage prisoners now

"Being a mortgage prisoner has been hell to me, you worry about losing your home, you can't plan on starting a family and moving forward with your life. The whole experience affects your mental wellbeing and this has now got to stop." – MSE user.