Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tried & Tested Tuesday

Welcome to Tried & Tested Tuesday!  It’s so lovely to see both familiar faces and new ones linking up each week.  We do our best to get round and read all your lovely review posts each week, and we really enjoy seeing the range of products you have been trying out. How are the summer holidays panning out for you so far?

If you’re new to this linky then welcome along! You can find out more about it and how to join in here.  If you’re a regular then welcome to you too! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – lets face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

Each week, as you know, we like to feature two of our favourite reviews from the previous week. This week we have loved: 

Stockeld Park Summer Adventure from Yorkshire Tots - Aside from it being a fantastic place to visit we loved the style of this review!

Lego Movie from Fun for Families - Such a fun review, we loved the photos! 

If you link up please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment as well as a couple of others if you can!  We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out.  (Additional posts will be deleted out of fairness)

We do our very best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment and tweet your review from @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag. (Sometimes life takes over, especially in the school holidays, and we don’t quite get round everyone but we try very hard!)  We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too! This linky is hosted by Kate at Family Fever and Colette at We’re going on an adventure.

We're going on an adventure

Monday, 28 July 2014

Three under 5 . . .

This week my eldest will turn 5.  I'm not sure where the last 5 years have gone.  But now I have three children. Three. 

Three under 5

I remember finding out we were expecting our third baby, working out that we were going to have "three under 5" . . . the very phrase struck fear into me!  Even my nurse told me that mothers of "three under 5" went on a "special list" and would be visited to discuss contraception . . .

I remember googling "three under 5" to see what other people's experiences were, about how they coped.  I think I just wanted to be told it would all be ok.  Some people would tell us that really it was no harder than having two children, others would tell us that it was a nightmare and that having three children would completely change the dynamic of our little family.

Either way it was happening. It has happened. I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Yes having three children has it's challenges, having three children under the age of 5 even more so.  As people are so fond of telling us, we do have our hands full but you just get on with it.

* We no longer all fit in one car - your average family car doesn't fit three car seats across the back and we haven't been able to afford to buy anything bigger as yet.  (Of course if they were older it wouldn't be quite such an issue as their car seats wouldn't be so bulky.)

* You don't have enough hands - two children, two hands. Winner.  Three children - bit tricky! Especially when you're pushing a pram! In this instance a baby carrier can be a lifesaver!  You quickly come up with little routines to deal with this, for example Ben and Chloe are very good at holding onto the side of the pram when I ask them to.

* Family tickets are for four - So far this hasn't been an issue as Amy (and often Chloe) doesn't need to be paid for but it's certainly something I've become aware of when we're planning days out 

* Nappies - When Amy was first born Chloe was still in nappies (or pull ups) during the day and Ben is not yet dry at night so the amount of nappies we change is huge and it felt constant in the early days. Chloe is now dry during the day and Amy doesn't get through quite as many nappies as she did when she was newborn so it's calming down a bit!

* You're constantly checking you've got enough kids - Every time we go somewhere I'm always checking we've got them all, checking which children Dave has, who I've got.  I think it would be really easy to leave someone behind thinking the other one had them!  (With two you've always just got one each!)

* It's expensive - three lots of childcare mean it's barely worth working, three lots of birthdays, Christmas presents, shoes, clothes etc.

But it's also amazing, they all absolutely adore each other, Ben and Chloe play so nicely together (most of the time) and they're really lovely with Amy.  It's gorgeous watching them holding hands walking down the road to school and taking care of each other.  They will always have one another to talk to, to look out for each other.  They keep each other entertained, they teach each other things, they just love each other.  What more could we ask?

Family of 5

I'm sure as they get older the challenges will change - as Amy becomes more mobile and more demanding of our attention in different ways, it will become increasingly expensive as we work hard to keep them "even" - make sure they each get the same opportunities to have swimming lessons or attend clubs . . . and don't even talk to me about what it's going to be like when we've got three teens to deal with, I don't want to know! 

To quote their godfather Will, "It's like herding frogs" but we wouldn't have it any other way x

Sylvanian Families - Review

I was never into Sylvanian Families as a child but my little sister loved them and had quite a collection so I was really excited when I was offered a set for Chloe to review.  (Can you hear the little song from the old advert in your head?!) 

At the moment Chlo is really into "small world" - tending to play with Happy Land - these are about the same size but a little more grown up, for a start you don't want fluffy hedgehogs in your mouth!  Sylvanian Families are the perfect size for little hands and make a lovely gift as there's so much within the range to collect.

Sylvanian family hedgehogs

Chloe was really excited when her little hedgehog family arrived and we quickly had them out of the box to play with them.  I was surprised and pleased to see that Ben was really interested in them too.  They were soon busy playing with them and investigating them.  Chloe really enjoyed combing their spines and giving them little voices, Ben was keen to see if he could make them all stand up (this was trickier than you'd think!)

They're such a cute little family - I have to admit to being less keen on some of the others you can get but Ben and Chloe are really enjoying the hedgehogs!  They're not cheap but they are really good quality and very detailed so I think you are getting what you pay for.  You can buy the hedgehog family here

There's a very cute Summer photo competition being run over on the Sylvanian Families website too!
*Disclaimer - We were sent this family of hedgehogs free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are our own* 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Alton Towers - Kids Go Free

We are really excited - and when I say "we" I mean me and Dave as we haven't actually told Ben and Chloe anything . . . 
What are we excited about?  Next Saturday we are lucky enough to have been invited to head down to Alton Towers with Cbeebies magazine!

We have wanted to take the kids to Alton Towers for a while, especially since Cbeebies Land opened but we all know it's not a cheap day out.  To help with this Cbeebies magazine are running a fab "Kids Go Free" promotion in each edition from now right through till October to offer families the opportunity to take their children for free . . . a potential saving of around £40 per child on the gate price. 

Keep an eye out on the Cbeebies magazine facebook page or twitter feed with #CBeebiesMagKidsGoFree 

I can't wait to tell you all about our day! (Fingers crossed the weather is good for us!)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hotter shoes - Review

I LOVE shoes.  I really do love shoes. 

I HATE shoe shopping. 

I've never had small feet, I'm an 8, which in my 20s made shoe shopping difficult as things were often sold out. I've never been able to just pick a shoe up off the shelf and stick my foot in it to see - Oh to be a 6!  Anway in each pregnancy my feet have spread (this is common) and my ankles have swollen to such a point as I've ended up confined to flip flops for months.  I discovered my favourite Birkenstocks when I was pregnant with Chloe and now always have a couple of pairs on the go.  I have the most ridiculous permanent tan line which pays homage to just how much I love my Birks.  

Birkenstock tan lines

I live in the damn things.  They're not the prettiest shoes ever but they're so comfy, they always fit and the don't take any effort to put on (this might sound ridiculous but with three kids to get out of the door shoes that slip on saves vital seconds!)  I've got so many pairs of shoes in my wardrobe that haven't seen the light of day in years - most just don't fit any more and others have no real place in my day to day life.  I've tried a lot of shoes on recently but have struggled to find anything that fits my less than dainty hooves.  My current favourite pair of shoes when I'm going our or just need to be a bit smarter is a pair of brogues from Clarks - they're wide fit and comfy as anything.  I've been eyeing up a summer version recently too! 

So bearing my shoe shopping nightmares in mind you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to a special blogger evening at Hotter with the tagline of "Hotter . . . let us find you shoes to fall in love with" - now that's throwing down the gauntlet isn't it?! 

Hotter are currently working hard to shed their image of being a bit "old" - this point is proven by the beautiful brogues that were catching my eye throughout the whole of the talk we were given about the history of the brand.  (Hotter are a proper old school British brand with such history  - I never knew!)

These beauties stole my heart - I was completely in love with the blue!  Sadly this particular style don't come in a width fittings and so weren't going anywhere near my feet. I could have cried.  I'm crossing my fingers tightly they the new AW14 styles have a wider fitted brogue!! PLEASE HOTTER?!

So aside from the revelation that is a shoe horn - seriously how have I never used one before? (And if you haven't then please do! Life changing)  Anyway I went on search of my "Hotter Moment" - Hotter are fixated on their Comfort Concept - even their heels are designed to feel like you're just wearing your slippers.  It's all to do with air bubbles in the sole and other such witchcraft.  
The super patient staff helped me to try on several styles, determined that we'd find something to fit my wide feet (which were also slightly swollen on the night) - eventually we got there.  We got a pair of shoes that I put on and went "ooooh" - the elusive Hotter Moment.  I must admit I was close to giving up hope.  I didn't think we were going to find anything to fit. 

Admittedly these are not the trendiest shoes in the world and I wouldn't normally choose them but I put them on and skipped around the shop - they're so light and comfortable and just screamed "school run" at me. 

Now Hotter claim "comfort straight out of the box" and I put that to the test - the first time I wore them I inadvertently ended up dancing in them for a couple of hours!  They did start to rub but I took them off before they had done any real damage.  Two days later I wore them for a school run and a bit of a walk round the shops - this was hardly fair as it is far more than I would ever normally wear a new pair of shoes and unfortunately they did give me a bit of blister - however as I live in my Birks I think any shoes would really - I'm not used to having closed heels on etc.  I've got past that now and they're just really comfortable shoes - the velcro strap allows a bit of flexibility for swollen summer feet, the air bubbly cushion thing is amazing and I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on the AW14 styles to see what they offer up next! Maybe I'll even get rid of my Birk tan if I wear enough different shoes?! 

If you'd like to test out the Hotter Comfort Concept for yourself you can use the code PKCTEN for 10% off your first order and free delivery!

(10% off plus FREE delivery is for first orders only. You are entitled to 10% off the total order value of any full priced items in the Hotter range (excluding shoe care products) plus FREE delivery.  This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers.)

*Disclaimer - I was given these shoes free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are my own*


I'm thrilled to be able to offer you the chance to win a £20 voucher to spend with Hotter - just complete the Rafflecopter options and, as usual, the more you complete the more chance you have of winning! 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Dentinox Cradle Cap Shampoo & Teething Gel - review

Dentinox Shampoo 
All three of my children have suffered from cradle cap to varying degrees - I'm led to believe this is in part due to them having quite a bit of hair as it makes it more likely that the skin will build up.  Anyway we have used Denitnox shampoo with each of them and found it to be really effective.  Ben's cradle cap was managed with the Dentinox shampoo to a point but at one stage he needed to be prescribed a strong treatment shampoo by the dermatologist.  Once it had cleared up we went back to using the Dentinox which kept it at bay.  Chloe, at nearly three, still suffers from patches of cradle cap from time to time and whilst it doesn't appear to bother her I do find the Dentinox shampoo helps to clear it up.  Amy had really bad cradle cap when she was tiny but it cleared up quickly and amazingly doesn't appear to have come back - I was told she would be much more prone to it with her full head of hair!  Her hair is almost solely washed with Dentinox shampoo and I'm convinced that's helping.  Aside from being really effective on cradle cap its also just a really nice shampoo leaving their hair clean, soft and manageable (which is becoming increasingly important as Chloe's hair gets longer and she gets less keen on having it brushed!)

Dentinox Teething Gel 
Amy is 8 months now and ripe for teething but as yet isn't really showing much in the way of symptoms beyond a lot of dribble!  In fairness Ben and Chloe didn't really show much in the way of teething symptoms either so it was often just a bit of guess work & using the odd teething remedy just in case.  The other day Amy seemed to be particularly fed up and I thought I'd chance my arm that perhaps her teeth were bothering her a bit.  I rubbed a little of the Denitnox Teething Gel on her gums - I was impressed that it wasn't just really slippy and gloopy like other teething gels I've used.  Teething gels often just seem to slide off as soon as you've applied them which is hardly effective.  This wasn't the case with the Dentinox Teething Gel.  Whether Amy's teeth had been hurting or not I can't say for sure but she was certainly happy once I'd used the gel! 

*Disclaimer - We were provided with these products free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain my own*

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