William’s Den – 14 Things We Loved

William’s Den, situated in a small village called North Cave near Hull in East Yorkshire, is an adventure play space with a difference.  The team at William’s Den were keen to create a space which was just that – a huge open space full of possibility and adventure.  They wanted to create a place where children could play whatever the weather, where they could enjoy the outdoors and experience the freedom that comes with it.  And yet, at the same time they have created a space where children are safe, where their parents can get stuck in or sit back and enjoy a coffee while they’re children roam to their heart’s content.

William's Den Read More »

Siblings – August 2018

So I may have missed our Siblings post in July – we were in Tenerife and I forgot to schedule it ahead of time!  Whoops.

It’s now the middle of the fourth week of the summer holidays, and in fact our fifth week off school together as we snuck out for the last few days of term to take our trip to Holiday Village Tenerife.  Much as we’re all loving the more relaxed pace and some quality time together, I think it’s fair to say that the cracks are starting to show!  There’s a whole lot more bickering from the kids and a whole lot less patience from me.  As is always the case, I find they all get along much better when we’re out and about but I learned my lesson from last year that scheduling too much stuff in doesn’t really work either!  This time round we’ve had a more balanced pace interspersing our adventures with days at home to relax.  We’ve also had a couple of days with childcare dotted around here and there both for my sanity and so I can keep on top of my work – but in all honesty I think it does them good to have the odd day apart too!  Read More »

Swimming for fun thanks to Swim Academy!

Swim Academy has given Amy untold confidence in the swimming pool

As you know Amy has been swimming with Puddle Ducks and, more recently Swim Academy for nearly three years now.  In that time she has blossomed from a not quite 2yr old who was really unsettled by the water and clung to her Mummy for dear life to an almost 5yr old who happily gets into the pool without me for her Swim Academy lessons each week.  Watching her confidence grow has been amazing – it hasn’t been an easy journey at times, in fact I there were points where I questioned if Amy would ever actually choose to put her face under the water.  There’s been times where it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back and then other times where the leaps forward have been sudden and huge – learning to swim has been a huge journey for our little girl, a journey which is of course by no means complete.

Mummy & Amy in the pool at Aqua Nurture

Swimming for pleasure as a family has not really been something we’ve done before – for a long time this was down to ratios – many pools insist on one adult per child for under 5s which meant it just wasn’t possible for us, in fact when we went to Splash Landings a few years back we had to take friends so we would be allowed in!  Of course the fact that Amy didn’t especially love swimming meant that it wasn’t really worth the hassle either – we tended to feel that we were doing our duty in sending everyone to swimming lessons (the big two have been having local council swimming lessons since they were 3yrs old) but swimming for fun wasn’t really fun! Read More »

Twenty Reasons why you should book Holiday Village Tenerife

Holiday Village Tenerife / Hotel Costa Los Gignantes - view from Balinese beds

Holiday Village Tenerife is part of the Be Live Hotel; Costa Los Gigantes, situated near Playa de la Arena – the quieter, calmer little sister of Playa de las Americas which is half an hour down the road.  Dave stayed in Playa de las Americas for a stag do last year and said it is like Blackpool – make of that what you will!

We actually saw very little of Playa de la Arena, only leaving our hotel for a day out at Siam Park.  This felt extremely lazy but in reality is testimony to how well looked after we were at Holiday Village Tenerife.  Usually we would have explored local beaches & markets but the time just slipped away from us.  I think if we’d been staying for another week we might have planned to explore more but we just really didn’t feel the need.  Dave described this as a “take your brain out” holiday – you just don’t need to think about anything. Your meals are organised, the kids are entertained, your bed made. This is a far cry from the self catering holidays we would usually book and our heads have been well and truly turned – Dave actually started looking at booking our next Holiday Village break before we’d even got home!

Holiday Village Tenerife kids in quiet pool

With that in mind, here’s

Twenty reasons why we think you should book a family holiday at Holiday Village Tenerife:

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Summer Memories with Snapfish

Snapfish personalised beach towel

*This post is in collaboration with Snapfish*

Obviously you all know I love a good photograph.  Capturing precious memories to be looked back on in years to come is one of my favourite things to do – be it the big milestones, the exciting trips or the ordinary day to day moments in between.  I have something ridiculous like 400GB of photos on my hard drive, some 44500 images . . . (I think I maybe need to go through and have a bit of a tidy up as you can guarantee that plenty of those will be about 10 versions of the same photo!)

But, what good is 44500 images on my laptop where only I can see them?  I share lots of them on instagram or on my blog, and we do have quite a lot of framed images around the house but this summer Snapfish wanted me to do more with my photos.  Snapfish offer a wide range of products which can be personalised with your photos and text to make something really special.  From a £2.99 fridge magnet through to a £49.99 personalised beach towel, you will find a gift to suit your budget!  (I say gift, I’ve totally just ordered things for myself!)

Snapfish photo fridge magnet

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Twenty Four Reasons Why My Child Needs the Toilet

“Have you wiped your bum properly?”

“Did you flush the toilet?”

“Have you washed your hands?”

Although we’ve been out of nappies for quite some time now and our children are more than capable of taking themselves off to the toilet when they need to, toilet habits still seem to feature fairly highly on our topics of conversation!

Bum wiping and poo seem to be Dave’s pet hate whereas mine is the kids needing to go for wee at the most awkward of times.  With that in mind I’ve written a list of 23 reasons why my child needs to go to the toilet . . .

little girl on the toilet - 20 reasons my child needs the toilet | We're going on an adventure

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Visiting Siam Park With Kids

Siam Park rides with kids

Siam Park, Tenerife is widely regarded as one of the best water parks in Europe if not the world – they have in fact just been named the world’s best water park by TripAdvisor for the 5th year in a row.

Dave visited Siam Park last year on a stag do and came back absolutely raving about it – full of tales of exhilarating water slides and showing Ben videos on youtube.  Of course visiting with the kids was a whole different ball game and we wanted to share our top tips with you for making the most of your day at Siam Park – some of these will apply to anyone, others are more focused on visiting with little ones but either way, you should find them useful in planning your trip!

Fifteen Top Tips for Visiting Siam Park with Kids

1. Buy swim shoes

When Dave had visited Siam Park with the lads, they spent the day barefoot however I wasn’t comfortable with this for the children and thanks to the advice of another visitor in the changing rooms who told us the floor would be really hot, we decided to keep our flip flops on all day.  This meant that we had to leave them at the bottom of various slides and queue barefoot.  With hindsight, I wish we had bought proper swim shoes which could have been left on all day.  These are available to buy at the water park but obviously they will be cheaper if you are prepared and buy ahead!

2. Wear suitable clothing

I can’t tell you how many girls I saw walking around the park in teeny tiny bikinis.  If you wear a bikini at Siam Park, I guarantee you’re basically going to spend all day checking nothing has fallen out when you get to the bottom of a ride!  Treat your day at Siam Park as extreme sports and dress accordingly – this is a day for your one piece.  Whilst we’re on the subject of suitable clothing, it’s also worth considering wearing a rash vest for SPF protection if you’re visiting in the summer – our kids wore them fairly regularly on holiday anyway but we bought one at the park for Dave and it was without doubt the best thing we could have done.  Although you will spend some time queuing in the shade, the majority of the day is going to be spent in the open – and wet.  Your waterproof sun cream will only see you so far on this one.  Again, you can buy rash vests in a range of sizes and colours at Siam Park but planning ahead won’t do you any harm.  Life jackets are available for younger children to use free of charge however we took our own for Amy and she just kept it on all day for our own peace of mind.

Siam Park with kids - wear appropriate clothing. Rash vests are a great idea for extra sun protection

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Molly Brown London – Honey Bee Necklace

Molly Brown London is a British brand selling beautiful, modern children’s jewellery.  This isn’t jewellery to give a baby for their christening or as a special baby shower gift, only for it to be put away and never to be seen again this is jewellery to be enjoyed and worn.  Molly Brown London believe that their jewellery should represent good quality British luxury.  Neither too young nor too grown up in design, their simple, sophisticated pieces grow with their owners making them the perfect gift for any occasion.

“A love of jewellery can be inspired at any age and hopefully indulged for a lifetime.”

Founder Erica Illingworth

Molly Brown London honey bee necklace

For Chloe’s 7th birthday, I chose the Molly Brown London Honey Bee necklace. Made from sterling silver and 9ct gold vermeil, this cute little honey bee instantly caught my eye when I was browsing the site.  I think in part due to Manchester’s traditional connections with the bee but also because it was something a little different, something a little quirky.  (In fairness, the Molly Brown London collection of children’s necklaces is far from twee and traditional).  I adore the way the dainty bee sits just up her neck rather than dangling straight in front of her as a traditional pendent would.

Close up of Molly Brown honey bee necklace - beautiful golden wings

Molly Brown necklaces are adjustable to fit small children through to teens

One of the things I love most about the Molly Brown London jewellery range is that it is all designed to grow with your child – so the 16″ sterling silver chain on Chloe’s necklace has two places to fasten it, one which fits perfectly now, leaving a pretty little chain detail at the back (with the paw print hallmark) or another position to extend it out for when she’s bigger.  I would previously not have wanted to invest in jewellery for a young child for fear of them quickly outgrowing it and it not being worn, however knowing that this beautiful necklace can be worn for special occasion after special occasion brings the old “cost per wear” down quite considerably!

Molly Brown London children's necklace

As you can see, Chloe loves her new Molly Brown London necklace, and we’ll definitely be bearing them in mind next time we need a special present!

*We were sent Chloe’s Molly Brown London necklace free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

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*