Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 27 – 2018)

#TriedTested badge

Welcome to another Tuesday, and another Tried & Tested.  The summer holidays are well and truly on the horizon – are you ready?

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 Kate a tweet and she’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.

Last week we loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger - Odd Socks & Lollipops

Space Journey Kid’s Subscription box from Odd Socks & Lollipops. My children find Space endlessly fascinating so I know they’d love this!

#TriedTested featured blogger - Mrs Shilts

Skinny Jimmy’s Iced Coffee – Life According to Mrs Shilts.  I love the idea of this low cal version of an expensive coffee shop treat!

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.)

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.

We do our best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment. If you’d like us to share your review on twitter please tweet @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag and we will gladly retweet it for you. We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!

We're going on an adventure



Coral Island, Blackpool

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure Justice League 2p machines

For many, Blackpool is the epitome of traditional British seaside holidays – but despite it being just an hour away from home, it’s not somewhere we ever go.  In fact, aside from a trip to the circus a few years ago, I don’t think we’d ever actually been during the day until our visit earlier this month!  Funny isn’t it that something can be right on your doorstep and yet you never take advantage of it.

Heading over to Blackpool on one of the hottest days of the year didn’t feel all that smart – I was worried that we’d get stuck in traffic, struggle to park, that it would be heaving and that we’d suffer in the heat (this is a major concern when your family is 40% ginger!).  We decided to set off early doors (I’m talking 8.45am) to beat the rush and actually made it over to Blackpool in little over an hour and easily found a parking space in the Bonny Street car park opposite Coral Island.

Coral Island is Blackpool’s largest indoor free admission family attraction – perfect positioned right on the seafront and ideal for passing the time on a rainy day or in our case, an air conditioned oasis in a heatwave!

From the moment you walk through the door, Coral Island is an assault on the senses – it’s dark and noisy with flashing lights drawing you in everywhere, tempting you to pour your holiday money into a vast array of games and machines.  Basically heaven for our children who have only ever really been to an arcade once before in Scarborough where they developed a heavy obsession for 2p machines (and who can blame them!)

Whilst we got our bearings and started to choose what things we might like to try out, Dave made a beeline for a change machine to make sure we had a ready supply of coins!  The kids were fascinated by the Pirate Flyer ride which literally takes you on a ride above everyone’s heads, giving you a great view of Coral Island in the process!  You have to buy your tokens before you go on the ride and one of ours got stuck in the machine, it took me a matter of moments to find a member of staff to help us out and remove the token from the machine.

Coral Island Pirate Ride

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - pirate ride

Next on our list was hitting up the 2p machines, where I honestly think we could have played all day.  We picked out machines which not only give out 2ps but prize tickets and so began our collection!  The kids were so excited when the machines spat out reams of tickets for them to gather up, you’d think they’d won the ticket lottery!

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure Justice League 2p machines

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure 2p machines - Amy

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure 2p machines giving out tickets

The Camel Derby was great fun, though the kids found it quite tricky and the other adults who were playing alongside us were difficult to beat – Dave couldn’t resist giving the kids a hand but we soon decided that it was probably not worth them playing again!

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure Camel Derby

Of course we couldn’t visit the Admiral’s Lounge, Island Slots or Casino as these areas are clearly fenced off and suitable for over 18s only but we did have a lot of fun playing Prize Bingo.  This isn’t quite the same as the old bingo dabber on a card situation, you sit yourself down in front of a screen, pop your coins in and basically press at the cards as the numbers are called – they are automatically highlighted for you and over the course of a few games both girls managed to win a line each giving them points to spend on a small prize.  (A flashing hedgehog and a light up ball if I remember rightly!)

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - Prize Bingo

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - Little girl playing Prize Bingo

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - Prize Bingo Winner

We loved that nothing was really that expensive so we didn’t feel we had to say no to rides or arcade games (though we did limit some of them to one turn!)

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - ride

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - bowling arcade game

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - Father and daughter playing air hockey

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - arcade games

One of the newest additions to Coral Island is a VR simulator ride – I warn you now, this isn’t cheap at £3 so was definitely a one go only ride, but Ben absolutely loved it!

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - new VR ride

When it comes to eating in Coral Island there are four restaurants offering a range of food and best of all, kids eat free! One under 10 eats free for every paying adult so we obviously had to pay for an extra children’s meal but this is fairly typical.  I let Dave choose where we ate and he picked out The Buccaneer – a fairly traditional pub with a piratey twist from the decor to the staff (yes, the staff were in full pirate costume which the kids loved!).  I had a lasagne (which was possibly the most tomatoey lasagne I’d ever had in my life but it filled a hole!) Dave and Ben went for burgers whilst the girls had chicken nuggets as is standard!

Coral Island | We're going on an adventure - Lasagne

Of course the most important thing to do before we left was to cash in ALL our tickets!  As it turns out, we didn’t actually have that many tickets at all compared to some of the people we saw feeding them into the “ticket eater” but we had enough for Ben to be able to choose a small toy from the Treasure Chest!

I think we spent about £40 on the arcades and the same again on dinner & drinks for five . . . we could have easily spent longer in Coral Island but we felt it was only right that we went for a quick paddle before our car parking ran out!  We’ve promised the kids we’ll go back another day.

Blackpool | We're going on an adventure

*We were invited to visit Coral Island and our expenses were paid however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

Timber Festival 2018 – Family Festival Review

The Nightingale Stage, Timber Festival at sunset

This weekend saw the inaugural Timber Festival at Feanedock, the National Forest.

An extraordinary new camping festival exploring the transformative impact of forests. Celebrating woodland culture in all its forms, join us for an intoxicating experience where music, art, philosophy and sustainability weave together into an unforgettable, exhilarating weekend.

From the outset this festival bore all the hallmarks of a Wild Rumpus event, things which we have come to expect after a couple of years of attending Just So Festival; the attention to detail, familiar performers, super clean toilets and shower blocks, and a range of good quality food, but it also set itself apart as a festival in its own right.

The Nightingale Stage, Timber Festival at sunset

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BIC® KIDS Young Artist Awards

Whilst Ben has never really been a fan of putting pen to paper, Chloe is pretty much the exact opposite and can often be found writing or drawing – I can’t tell you how often she gets cross with me for picking her up from her after school club too early because she’s in the middle of creating a masterpiece!

Little girl drawing for Bic Kids Artists

This summer, BIC® KIDS are running their second Young Artist Awards – a competition (open to all 5-11 year olds and running till 5th August) which gives talented young artists the chance to have their drawings displayed on local billboards!

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Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 26 -2018)

#TriedTested badge

Welcome to another Tuesday, and another Tried & Tested.  Are you still enjoying the heatwave?  We’ve just got back from a wonderful weekend at Timber Festival – which I will obviously be writing about soon!

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 Kate a tweet and she’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.

Last week we loved:

#TriedTested

Bradford Literature Festival and Hotter shoes review from Yorkshire Tots to Teens. This looks like a fantastic FREE family day out, made even better with some fabulous shoes.

#TriedTested

Swimfin review from Nip it in the Bud. Such a clever product for keen little swimmers, keeping them safe and allowing them to explore the water without restriction.

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.)

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.

We do our best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment. If you’d like us to share your review on twitter please tweet @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag and we will gladly retweet it for you. We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!

We're going on an adventure



Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 25 – 2018)

#TriedTested badge

Welcome to another Tuesday, and another Tried & Tested. Have you melted yet?! We’re really enjoying the sunshine and the opportunities to get outside more!

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 Kate a tweet and she’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.

Last week we loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Halo Bassinet Sleeper review from Mrs Shilts. This is SUCH a good idea for those night feeds in the early weeks, especially if you have had a C section.

#TriedTested featured blogger

Colour-in picnic blanket review from Coombe Mill. Such a great idea for sunny afternoons in the garden, and a great activity for getting everyone involved.

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.)

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.

We do our best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment. If you’d like us to share your review on twitter please tweet @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag and we will gladly retweet it for you. We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!

We're going on an adventure



Disney Store Summer of Adventure

It’s a little known fact that I worked for the Disney Store in my late teens and early twenties. Yes, I was the girl standing on the door welcoming you to the store and wishing you a nice day.  The girl who danced around the shop singing and being a bit silly with other cast members (also known as staff to those of you who aren’t in the know!) and generally loving her job!  It also meant that I was a fountain of random Disney facts – people used to actually ring us at work to check if Sebastian was a crab or a lobster or to find out what the first film Disney ever made was . . . clearly this was pre Google!! Nobody would ever need to do that now!

I remember getting so excited when it was time for the new season stock to arrive in store – to see which characters were going to be on them, to see what new twist had been added to the standard lines.  Opening a big parcel of summer goodies from The Disney Store earlier this month was like being back in store – except that I didn’t have to unpack it all and put it out on the shelves!!  Usually when I get blog deliveries I like to put them to one side and leave them until I can open them in peace without prying eyes and inquisitive fingers helping me out!  However, with “Disney Store” clearly emblazoned on the side of the box, there was no chance my girls were going to let me leave this one till later!

Sibings wearing Disney Store summer character t shirts

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Chateau de Lez Eaux campsite, Normandy

Travelling to Chateau de Lez Eaux by ferry from Dover to Calais

When it came to choosing a campsite for our Eurocamp Holiday, we were somewhat spoiled for choice and a little overwhelmed!  Eurocamp have somewhere in the region of 200 campsites across Europe, however we quickly decided that this time round we’d be looking for a French campsite (mainly as it meant we could avoid the expense of flying).  Initially we wanted to look at campsites in the South of France– in part as this was where my own first Eurocamp experience had been but also because we wanted to make sure we had the best chance of getting some proper sun.  A quick look at the map and some hasty calculations meant we soon realised that there would be far too much driving involved for a week’s holiday and that realistically we’d have to plan stop overs in France to break up the journey.  We wanted to spend as much time as possible relaxing and enjoying ourselves – not use up half of our break travelling.  On the recommendation of a friend who had camped at Chateau de Lez Eaux previously, we settled on our campsite and booked our trip.  (If you don’t happen to have a handy friend who has tried practically every campsite in France, then the team at Eurocamp are always happy to guide you in your decision!)

Chateau de Lez Eaux is a small site with just 229 pitches near the town of St Pair sur Mer and a short drive from Granville.  The nearest airport is Dinard and the recommended port is Cherbourg which is less than 2 hours drive away.  Having done a long ferry trip a few years ago and found it really hard work, we decided to take the shorter ferry ride from Dover to Calais and put in the hours behind the wheel instead.  What this also meant was that we could stop off with my Aunty & Uncle in Dover who conveniently live just ten minutes from the port.

Travelling to Chateau de Lez Eaux by ferry from Dover to Calais

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Children’s Headphones from Snuggly Rascals

When we were kids, entertainment on long car journeys can be summed up by games of I spy and a Winnie the Pooh CD on repeat . . . Thankfully things have moved on a bit these days and all three kids use their tablets on longer car journeys to watch films, play games and listen to music.  However, much as my parents endured hour upon hour of Winnie the Pooh on a long drive down to the South of France, I have no desire to listen to the blip blip of whatever game Ben is playing or the Bing theme tune on repeat . . .  If you’re on your tablet in the car, then you need your headphones on thanks kids!

Of course children’s headphones are often quite bulky – I remember the very first pair we got for Ben when he had a portable DVD player (and I’m talking about seven years ago when I was commuting to Leeds daily) were so big that he struggled to get his head securely in the headrest of his car seat – which aside from being uncomfortable is actually just not safe!  Since then they’ve all had a couple of pairs of headphones each and they’re not as bulky as they used to be but they can still be quite uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time in a car seat.

children's headphones in car seat

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Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week 24 -2018)

#TriedTested badge

Welcome to another Tuesday, and another Tried & Tested. How are you feeling about all this sunshine?  I’m loving it but my plants are less keen!

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 Kate a tweet and she’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.

Last week we loved:

#TriedTested featured blogger

Silvercross Interactive Susie Doll from Susan K Mann – my littlest loves dolls and pushchairs so I know she’d love this!

#TriedTested featured blogger - growing mum

Lush Sleep Review – from The Growing Mum – Sometimes products just don’t work for us and this is one of those times.

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.)

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.

We do our best during the course of the week to visit you all, leave a comment. If you’d like us to share your review on twitter please tweet @FamilyFever and @Lollinski using the #TriedTested hashtag and we will gladly retweet it for you. We would of course love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too!

We're going on an adventure