Bamboo Towels from The Towel Shop – Review & Giveaway

super soft white bamboo towels from The Towel Shop

As part of our extension project, we gained a new bathroom with an enormous walk in shower.  Now I’d love to be able to show you lots of gorgeous photos of this new bathroom of ours but at the moment there is a massive mirror standing in the shower waiting to be put on the wall – it’s too big to take back downstairs again safely so it’s going to have to sit there until Dad and Dave can put it up together.  In the meantime Dave and I are back to using the main bathroom with the kids.  However, this post isn’t about the bathroom – this is about our new towels!

Nothing will make your bathroom feel more luxurious than super soft, fluffy new towels.  All the towels in our house are fairly old now, so it seemed only right that we’d treat ourselves to some new towels to go in the new bathroom. We’ve been fairly bold with the colour in our bathroom – the walls are painted a lovely minty green (I promise I will write a proper post about the room when it’s finished!) – which means I’ve gone for simple, plain white towels.
stack of white Bamboo Towels from The Towel Shop

I don’t know about you but I always find that over time my towels become more and more sandpaper-like – especially if I’ve line dried them.  So I’m always keen to find towels which stay soft and absorbent.  In an effort to try something different we’re giving bamboo towels a try this time rather than our usual cotton.  Apparently bamboo fibres are 3x more absorbent than cotton and are really environmentally friendly due to the super fast growth rate and the fact that it takes up much less space to grow than cotton.

The Towel Shop sent us a set of their 600GSM Bamboo Collection towels to try out (face cloth, hand towel, bath towel and bath sheet).  From first touch you can feel just how incredibly soft they are . . .

super soft white bamboo towels from The Towel Shop

And then when you pick them up you are immediately struck by the weight of them.  They just feel so heavy and sumptuous, like proper hotel towels!  Then, as an added bonus, they’re a really great size.  The bath sheet is flipping enormous and wraps all the way around me comfortably (I’m a size 18/20 so this isn’t a normal occurrence with towels!)

bamboo towel as turban

Chloe got first use of the hand towel when we needed to dry her hair but she needn’t get used to it, these towels are for grown ups only in our house thanks very much!  They’re great value, priced from less than £1 for a face cloth through to around £15 for a bath sheet – I’m definitely going to be buying a couple more of those!

If you’d like to enter to win your own set of Bamboo Collection Towels in the colour of your choice (subject to availability of course) then just complete the rafflecopter ensuring to do this accurately to avoid disqualification)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 8 – 2017)

#TriedTested badge

Happy Shrove Tuesday – who is having pancakes today?

In case you are new here – let us tell you what Tried & Tested is all about. We all know how useful reviews can be. Most bloggers do them – be it things they have bought themselves or have been asked to review. They are a useful tool for people looking for honest and thorough reviews of products they need, things they are considering buying, or even to introduce people to exciting new products they have never even heard of. You can find out more about how to join in here.

If you have linked up with us before – welcome back! We love having you. Please have a quick read through the points below to remind yourself how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day.

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you.

* If you’d like a Twitter reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop one of us a tweet and we’ll add you to the list.

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

That’s about it – it’s super simple to join in, so crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Arty Apple aprons review from This glorious life. Aren’t they just beautiful? They would make wonderful gifts – pretty and practical.

#TriedTested featured blogger

Crayola Crafty Cooks review from Diary of a mum of 3. We love this easy baking activity, perfect for wet weekends.

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:

* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* 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 or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure



Me & Mine – February 2017

Ordinary Moments - half term, family on tram

It’s fairly common for the end of the month to sneak up on me when it comes to getting my Me & Mine photographs taken but never more so than in February when the month is actually shorter anyway!

As a result, I don’t have lovely new photos to show you but one you’ve most probably already seen.

Ordinary Moments - half term, family on tram

This is the only photo of the five of us this month and was taken on our half term adventure into Manchester together.  After a long January hibernating at home, February appears to have rushed past in a blur.  We’ve woken up again.  The year has begun in earnest.  Our diaries are packed once more and we have lots to look forward to.  I’m so excited for the longer days and better weather that March will bring.  So much opportunity for adventure together.

The Me and Mine Project

Goodbye Old Sofa {Ordinary Moments}

IKEA STRANDMON Skiftebo yellow

Dave and I bought our first house nine years ago this summer.  It was the first time I’d lived in anything other than a furnished rental and we spent a lot of money in IKEA in those first few days after moving in!

I seem to remember in the run up to moving day we had spent ages wandering the various sofa shops – neither of us completely sure of what we wanted.  We bought two black chenille sofas – one fairly standard three-seater and an enormous four-seater with a chaise end and scatter back.  I loved it them.  They were so comfortable and have slept many a guest over the years.

Old black chenille sofa

As time went on I grew to hate the scatter-back which seemed to be persistently scruffy (especially once we’d had children) and I was increasingly frustrated with the amount of space the fairly pointless chaise end took up.  The supposedly practical black chenille became marked and faded, the edges were worn and frayed showing the scars of years of heavy use and the black that I had once loved felt heavy and dark in a room which already lacks natural light.

Although the smaller of the two sofas looks a bit scruffy it remains comfortable and has a good few years use in it, the large sofa has been past its best for a few years now.  The springs were broken, the cushions saggy and my preferred seat definitely lacking the support my back (or anyone else’s for that matter) really needs.

Dave and I had decided that this year we would have to replace the sofas.  They’d had their day.  They’d served us well and didn’t owe us anything.  What we couldn’t decide on however was what we wanted to replace them with – two new sofas?  Some arm chairs?  A matching set or different patterns and colours?  Dave wanted reclining seats, I really didn’t.  We couldn’t picture how the room would look with different furniture and it’s an expensive mistake if you don’t like your sofa.  Of course there was also the concern that the kids are just that, kids.  They might be getting a bit older now but I’m not convinced they could be completely trusted to keep a new suite clean.

We had a bit of an epiphany last weekend and decided that rather than completely replacing the whole suite at the moment, we would invest in a couple of cheapish arm chairs from IKEA as a “put me on” – without spending too much money we would be able to resolve the issues with the large sofa no longer being fit for purpose and at the same time try out a new combination of furniture to see if it worked for us.  I’d already had my eye on a grey arm chair for quite a while so it made perfect sense to work towards buying a couple of those in a few months time.

As it was, I went to IKEA on Monday with Amy to return something and there, in the reduced section, sat two pairs of arm chairs.  The very ones I’d been planning to buy.  It seemed too good to be true!  I told Dave what I’d seen and we decided to have a bit of a think and discuss it later.  After a bit of tooing and froing and working out where we could get the money from (no hair cut for me this month!) we came to the conclusion that it would be foolish to leave them there when we could buy them now and save over £100 on the pair.  Of course, when Dave went back to purchase them they grey pair had gone and someone was sat on one of the yellow ones.  He said he just hung back and the moment the lady stood up whipped the chairs up onto this trolley.  Winner.

So . . . we are now the proud owner of two yellow “thrones” as my friend Ange called them!  I’m so pleased with how they’ve brightened the room and the space they’ve created.  At some point, when we’ve actually budgeted for it, we want to add a matching footstool and a side table to go in between the chairs.  And in the meantime the old black three-seater is under going a bit of a makeover with some new yellow cushions and throws!  We’re also planning to take the fireplace out and repaint the room later this year as it hasn’t been decorated since Chloe was born!

IKEA STRANDMON Skiftebo yellow

IKEA STRANDMON Skiftebo yellow

IKEA STRANDMON Skiftebo yellow

Ben was quite sad at the thought of getting rid of our old sofa.  I was surprised at him for being so sentimental but when I thought about it, that sofa has seen us bring home three newborns, it was where Dave proposed to me on Christmas Eve with a tub of pick n mix, it has seen tears, laughter and more than it’s fair share of baby puke.  It has slept many a guest, survived two years of building work and dust and been my office.  That sofa has observed so much of our family life but it’s time was done and it has gone the to great sofa heaven in the sky . . . or the local tip.  Whichever.

Chill Factore – The Snow Park

Last weekend we took ourselves off on a bit of an exciting adventure to Chill Factore, our local indoor snow destination!  As Amy and I watched the fun from the warmth of the Mont Blanc Cafe (and tried to take photos for you) I’m handing over to Dave for a full write up of the frosty fun!

Chill Factore - Ready to go play!

We love a good adventure here.  The clue’s in the name really!  So we were thrilled to be invited to The Snow Park at Chill Factore near the Trafford Centre in Manchester.  If you haven’t heard of Chill Factore it boasts the UK’s longest indoor ski slope at 180m of real snow where you can learn to ski or snow board.  Today however we were sliding around in a variety of fashions on the kids’ Snow Park.

Because of the age restrictions on The Snow Park, Amy wasn’t able to take part and we decided that rather than playing in Mini Mooseland on her own, she would stay with Colette whilst I took the big two.  Luckily I was joined by Chris from Team Custard to help.  Chris is no stranger to snowy adventures and he and Ben have a growing bromance so he was the perfect choice.  Aunty Custard (Kirsty) from Team Custard joined Colette in keeping Amy occupied while the big kids (Chris and I are definitely included in that statement) played in the snow.

On offer in The Snow Park are Downhill Donuts, Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide, Sledge ‘O’ Mania and the Snow Luge – it’s worth checking the age restrictions on each of these before you book.

Once you’ve paid for your adventure at Chill Factore you need your cold weather clothing.  Waterproofs are recommended as well as hats and gloves.  Luckily if you haven’t got such gear yourself you can hire waterproofs and buy gloves right there.  (Helmets and snow boots are provided.)  It’s good gear too.  The boots, trousers and coats me and the kids got were all really well fitting and comfy and kept us warm throughout.  Chris had his own gear, as you can see in the pictures, and very colourful it was too!  Very helpful for spotting him across the piste!

You book your time in the Snow Park in hour long blocks, which sounds like a long time but it flew by for us.  It’s worth mentioning that you really need to get to Chill Factore a good while before your session starts to give you time to get changed and prepared – getting those snow boots on can be quite time consuming!  Once you get inside the snow area a guide explains the rules of the Snow Park and what the various rides are and how to use them.  Once that’s done you’re unleashed!  We went straight for the Downhill Donuts first off.  To get to these you have to ride a travelator up the slope to the top before choosing your track back down.  The travelator takes a second to get used to, and getting off at the top was a little tricky for the kids in the beginning but they soon got the hang of it.  At the top of the slope there are two bumpy tracks and one which is a straight, smooth track.  This may sound boring but the operator at the top spins you round at quite a rate.

Chill Factore - Travelator

Chloe chose a bumpy track straight from the off while Ben went for the spinny one.  I thought Chloe might not enjoy the bumpy track as she can be a bit nervous but she loved it and Ben, as predicted, enjoyed everything the Snow Park could throw at him.  Even for big kids like Chris and I the donuts were good fun, and you do feel a bit dizzy once you reach the bottom of the spinny track.

Chill Factore - Little girl on donuts

We tried the Luge Slip ‘N’ Slide next.  To use those you pick up a tray at the bottom of the slope and walk it up to the top.  There are two Luge tracks to choose from.  One is for up-to sixteen year olds and the other is for six years and up.  Chloe stuck to the smaller Luge track and was very happy with it.  Ben used both but in the end I think he preferred the smaller Luge.  Chris and I were both restricted to the larger Luge.  It was very good though.  Plenty of speed with some good turns and a few drops which did a good job of stretching my spine out!  Both Ben and Chloe were smiling when they reached the bottom which is the whole point.

Chill Factore - small boy on Luge

Chill Factore - tall man on Luge

Chill Factore - Man on Luge

Lastly we tried the sledging.  Reluctantly I missed my turn so I could film from the bottom of the slope.  Chris took the two of them up to the top with their sledges (more trudging) and Ben and Chlo had a race.  Ben is very keen to point out that he won however, Chloe did travel further down the slope so I think they were both winners.  Chris and I didn’t attempt the sledging as the sledges were quite small, and I could well imagine myself getting thrown off a sledge which was approximately the same size as my backside!

Chill Factore - sledge race

Chill Factore - Sledging

So with everything tried the kids chose to go on the Donuts a few more times.  Trying out the different tracks over and over.  We all did the Luge again a few times and then there was just enough time for the kids to have one last go on the sledges before our time was up.  It really did fly by but Chloe was quite tired by the end of the session so I think it was probably just long enough!

Once we’d got the snow gear off and met up with Colette, Amy and Kirsty we went next door for Pizza at ‘Pizza del Piste’.  A solid ending to a fun morning out.  Anything that ends with pizza is a win in my book.  We managed to feed and water four adults and three kids for £60 which was fantastic value, especially considering there was pizza leftover to take home!

Ben and Chloe have been skiing once before and they both mentioned that they’d like to do it again while we were eating afterwards.  I think they’re about ready and judging by their Snow Park adventure I imagine they’d take to it very well.

*We were invited to try out the Snow Park and Pizza de la Piste free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Impossible Experiences – What would you choose?

If I could do anything at all that I wanted tomorrow, what would it be?  Would I want to go shopping in New York with a personal stylist, spend the day in a luxury spa with my best friend or take my whole family out for lunch with Jamie Oliver?

legs being massaged - Impossible Experiences

Yes, all of the above thanks.  That would be great!

Of course none of those things are really possible, well I suppose in theory they are but they’re not going to be happening tomorrow that’s for sure.  Tomorrow I will be sitting at this desk tapping away and fantasising about going for a facial or a massage!

IntoTheBlue are asking you to do bit of day-dreaming yourself and come up with your very own “Impossible Experience” to be in with the chance of winning a £200 IntoTheBlue gift voucher to spend on amazing experience days you can actually go on rather than just imagining them!

As well a £200 experience voucher, the winning “Impossible Experience” will be featured on the IntoTheBlue webpage as though it were a real product (if only!)

To enter, you simply have to tweet or Facebook IntoTheBlue with the hashtag #impossibleexperiences and your suggestion will appear on the competition webpage.

You have until 28th Feb to enter.  For more information and terms & conditions, check out Impossible experiences page.

I’d love to know what you come up with!  What would be your money-can’t-buy Impossible Experience?

*Sponsored post*

Photo Credit: FootMassagez Flickr via Compfight cc

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at The Lowry – Review

The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet

All too often I whisk the big two off to the theatre leaving Amy at home because it’s too late or too grown up.  Not this time. Tonight it was Amy’s turn for an adventure.  Tonight we went to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar performed live on stage.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a literary icon.  A story I remember from my own childhood, one I’ve used in the classroom and one Ben could tell by heart at less than three years old.  It was in fact first published in 1969!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar show lasts for about an hour and is suitable for children from around the age of 2, or essentially when they can sit still long enough to watch the performance.  At three, Amy is getting much better at this and an hour seems to be a good length of show for her to manage.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - The Lowry

Of course it would be impossible to stretch out the tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar itself over a whole hour.  The show is actually made up of four separate Eric Carle stories – The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and finally, The Very Hungry Caterpillar performed with an array of large colourful puppets.

I must admit to not being overly familiar with the first three stories, I know of them but they’re not books we own and I don’t think Amy will have ever heard the stories before but that didn’t stop her being any the less entranced by the performance on stage.

Each of the tales is told through a mixture of music, dance, puppetry and reciting Eric Carle’s words just as they were written.  The puppets have been made beautifully and are so true to Eric Carle’s original tissue paper collages that they may as well have just leaped from the page.

Although the audience is of course very young, it was clear that they were all really enjoying the show as everyone was sat beautifully watching and listening, there was a lovely hum of chatter as children excitedly talked about the things they saw on stage, Amy included.  She spent much of the show sat on the edge of her seat utterly mesmerised.  (It was as much of a pleasure for me to watch her enjoying it as it was to watch the show itself)

The pièce de résistance of course, and what we’d all really come to see, was the final act.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Now I can pretty recite this story word for word, as I’m sure can most of you, so it was almost difficult not to tell the story along with the performers!  However nobody could resist shouting out the immortal words “But he was still hungry . . . !”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet

As soon as the show had finished, Amy announced, “Oh, but I miss them!” – she wasn’t ready for the show to be over.  She chatted all the way home about the different things she’d seen, retelling bits of the stories and sharing her highlights.  I would say that our #MummyandBo Adventure was a roaring success!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar makes for a wonderful introduction to theatre – especially for being such a familiar story.  The show runs several times a day at The Lowry until Saturday 25th February and you can book your tickets here.  Details of the rest of the tour can be found here!

*We were invited to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar show free of charge for the purpose of review.  All thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 7 – 2017)

Spring is on the way! It’s true, I picked the kids up from childcare in daylight the other night! Hurrah!  Anyway, morning and welcome to Tried & Tested!

In case you are new here – let us tell you what Tried & Tested is all about. We all know how useful reviews can be. Most bloggers do them – be it things they have bought themselves or have been asked to review. They are a useful tool for people looking for honest and thorough reviews of products they need, things they are considering buying, or even to introduce people to exciting new products they have never even heard of. You can find out more about how to join in here.

If you have linked up with us before – welcome back! We love having you. Please have a quick read through the points below to remind yourself how things are working:

* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day.

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link (@Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you.

* If you’d like a Twitter reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop one of us a tweet and we’ll add you to the list.

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

That’s about it – it’s super simple to join in, so crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger - Renovation Bay Bee

These Warmies look like a really great alternative to a traditional hot water bottle – I think I might need one for myself never mind the kids!

#TriedTested featured blogger - From Tum to Mum

This reward chart is quite possibly the nicest reward chat we’ve ever seen!

We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:

* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up
* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!
* 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 or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)
We're going on an adventure




SuperBooty at The Epstein Theatre – Review

Over the last couple of years we have become reasonably regular visitors to the refurbished Epstein Theatre in Liverpool – it’s such a lovely theatre to visit with the kids.  Last Friday night we were lucky enough to be invited along to the first night of a brand-new musical comedy, SuperBooty.  Written, directed and performed by the Epstein’s resident panto dame Michael Chapman – we knew we were in for a treat!

Ben and Chloe were thrilled to recognise some familiar faces on stage – in particular the talented Lewis Pryor who they’ve now seen in a couple of Epstein shows and the return of Jordan Davis (who in fairness adds little more to the show than his abs).

SuperBooty was billed as being “packed with non-stop knockabout naughtiness” – which it certainly was!  One of the things I love most about Michael Chapman’s performances is just how close to the line they are, there’s so much cheek and adult humour which is done really carefully so as to go right over the kids’ heads.  There were plenty of moments which had me roaring with laughter and then having to explain to Ben that it was a “grown up joke” which thankfully he just accepts.

A surprise highlight of the show for us was local Street Dance star Harry Barnes (aka Harry Popper) who absolutely wowed the audience with his popping and locking along with impressive performances from Anamal Dance Company.  Ben has been attending Street Dance classes himself for almost a year now and watched open-mouthed as children of his own age executed perfectly synchronised performances on stage.  He came away fully inspired to practice more.

One of the things I love most about taking my kids to the theatre is the conversation it generates over the coming days and weeks when they remember bits of a story or we talk about jokes that were made.  Since watching SuperBooty, Ben and Chloe have spent lots of time shouting about Kevin Defrostus and “dabbing” –  they’ve attempted to teach Amy with mixed results!

All in SuperBooty was a hit for us – and I’m only sorry that it’s short run has now finished so you can’t go and see it for yourselves!  However, I suggest you check out what else is on offer at The Epstein Theatre over the coming months and keep an eye out for the Easter panto, Sleeping Beauty.

Half Term {Ordinary Moments}

As a teacher, I guess I take having the school holidays off with my kids for granted.  There are lots of ways in which teaching is most definitely not family friendly but the school holidays?  Yes, they’re a win.

I’ve been working on supply for the best part of five years now and of course with that comes significant flexibility – I can choose exactly when I do and don’t work – which turns out to be really quite lucky as, for the first time ever, the school I’m currently working in has a different half term to my own children.  I’m sure February half-term is usually pretty standard but I’ve found lots of my friends have different holidays to me this time.

Sibling at half term - Ordinary Moments

For the sake of childcare but more because I actually want to spend time with my kids, I took this last week off work.  Yes we’ve lost a few days pay which isn’t ideal but, due to the flexible nature of my work, I can always book a few days in a different school next week to catch up.  As it is, if I don’t get anything booked in I will take advantage of the chance to get caught up on my freelance work and make up the money that way instead!

Ordinary Moments - half term, family on tram

Half term is always a busy holiday for us – so many people we want to see or places to visit and just a handful of days to do it in – not helped this year by the disjointed break.  I usually try to factor in a “Calm Down Day” where we chill out at home and relax and often there will be a day of childcare booked in to give the kids a change of scene and me a chance to keep on top of my blogging or the house work.  This half term we were treated to a day with Daddy too!

The holidays have flown by and I’m going to be more than a little sad to see my dudes go back off to school again tomorrow!  How many weeks is it till Easter?