DOCK & BAY microfibre towels

Do you hate how long normal beach towels take to dry ? or even worse, sand all over your damp towel? If your answer is yes then you need to try Dock & Bay’s microfibre towels.

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Andy and Benno designed the Dock & Bay towels with some great features:

* They’re the biggest on the market
* They fold up really small
* Sand slides right off due to the smooth texture
* They’re absorbent and smooth
* They dry up to 3 times faster than normal towels

We were sent a bundle that included XL and L towels as well as their mini ponchos – something for everyone in the family.

We’ve used the towels while camping, at home around the paddling pool and whilst away on holidays – here’s how we got on.

The first outing for the Mini Poncho and 2 of the towels was a camping trip. This product is perfect for camping or when going travelling. They’re small and take up no space in your bag and dry quickly! They’re also really trendy and the kids LOVE them

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The second outing was on our family holiday to the Costa Del Sol in July – the weather was perfect and we spent a lot of time around the pool. The girls all loved their ponchos which were perfect to pop them in whilst they had a snack in between swim sessions.
We did make it to the beach one morning but the girls weren’t fans of the cold sea so we aborted that mission and went back to the pool. Before we left i threw a bucket of sand on my towel to see what would happen when i picked it up, and just like the website says, it all slid off

Not only do they sell towels and ponchos for the kids, they also sell mens swim shorts that are made from 100 % recycled plastic bottles. Their Active collection is made up of 30% recycled plastic bottles. Last year they replaced all plastic bags used while transporting their goods and have replaced them with 100 % biodegradable materials

Dock & Bay have a brilliant ethos and are all about taking risks, living your best life all whilst building a more sustainable business.

Dock & Bay featured on Dragons Den in 2017 and received 3 offers (Tej Lalvani, Touker Suleyman and Deborah Meadon). They are now working with Deborah to ‘change the face of towels forever!’.

Get yours here. If you sign up to their mailing list you can get 10 % off when buying 2 or more products, they also offer free delivery within the UK.

Standon Calling Festival – a fabulous family day out

This year we were lucky enough to be able to visit our local family-friendly festival, Standon Calling in Hertfordshire, for the second time. Two years’ ago we went for the whole weekend and had a fabulous time, this year we were given day passes so we headed there on the Saturday. We had a large group of people with us this year, ranging from 9 years through to the 50s. What a perfect day out we had, with something for every age group. I have never thought of visiting a festival for a day, as usually we do the whole camping thing but if you can’t then it’s still worth a visit for the day.

We arrived about midday, wanting to be in time for the fancy dress parade. The costumes were literally ‘out of this world’! Excuse the pun ha…

Our boys spent two weeks perfecting their cosmic astronaut outfits, and really believed they were going to win with their creations…

Alas it was not to be, unfortunately for them there were many more awesome and show stopping fabulous outfits that they didn’t get a look in!

They didn’t seem to mind as they were totally in the zone and amazed at how great everyone looked, they forgot there was even a prize to be had.

The boys, Freddie and his friend Finley, both aged 9 were absolutely buzzing from start to finish, from dodgems, to bumper balls, music and dance and much more…

I did notice a big difference in what Freddie enjoyed this year in comparison to two years ago when he was 7. At 9 he seemed much more interested in the music and live acts than the children’s area. Now this is when I wondered if it was his age, or the fact that we didn’t camp and only went for the day. Every time I suggested doing an activity his friend and he were too focused on the acts on the stages. Music is a big part of their lives and their current idol, George Ezra, definitely stole the day for them.

There really is something for all ages at Standon Calling: here is a little look at what was on offer this year…

If you are thinking of visiting next year then why not grab some early bird tickets:

Weekend tickets are now available with entry to the festival from 12pm on Thursday 25thJuly 2019. Price includes camping in the general camp site or family camp site (car parking must be purchased separately). If you are looking for a little more luxury then opt for the Lavish Lands camp tickets, slightly more expensive but with hot showers, extra toilets, free parking and nearer to the festival.

Early Bird weekend prices (including booking fees) are:

£128.84 per adult

£118.12 16/17 yrs

£107.39 13-15 yrs

£38.74  4-12 yrs

£6.56   0-3 yrs

Pre-payment tickets and boutique camping tickets will be on sale soon and day tickets on sale spring 2019.

We are so excited to see what is going to be next years theme and will definitely be attending whatever the weather and hopefully camping again if our diary allows!

Some images courtesy of Standon Calling.

Chilly’s Bottles – Chilled or warm – you decide.

A few of my friends have told me about these amazing water bottles. When I say talking – I should say, RAVING about them. I got in touch with Chilly’s as I wanted to see what all the fuss was about – They are amazing. Perfect for every member of the family especially on days out.

They’re made with a double wall vacuum technology that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and warm drinks warm for up to 12 hours. They’re also Eco-Friendly, reusing your bottle means you will use less single use plastic. It also helps you drink more water – I’ve always struggled to drink water but I’ve been drinking it by the bottle load as theres nothing better than ice cold water on a hot day.

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We received the bottles in the midst of the UK Heatwave a few weeks ago. I put iced water in it straight away and headed out to a friends house. I forgot to take my bottle out of my bag which was in direct sunlight. I went for a sip and when I picked up the bottle, the outside was warm – i thought ‘oh no!’ but when I had a sip, the water was still lovely and cold.

My husband was sceptical at first but he drinks a lot of water through the night so I gave him my bottle and told him to test it for himself – the next morning he was sold! We went on a family holiday to the South of France last week and we took our 2 Chilly’s bottles with us – the temp was no lower than 33c degrees all week, with one day reaching 38c. We spent a lot of time around the pool, meaning our bottles lay around in the sun all day, for days on end – but the result was always the same – our water was always the same temp it was when we filled the bottles.

One note of advice – after reading a few comments on the Chilly’s Facebook page I saw people saying their water hadn’t been cold after leaving it in the fridge or it wasn’t as warm as they’d have expected after a few hours. Chilly’s recommend that you fill the bottle with iced cold water from the fridge, as apposed to using tap water and then refrigerating it in the bottle. The double walled technology means that if your water is room temperature when you put it in the bottle and then into the fridge, thats the temp it will be even if left in the fridge over night. And the same with hot drinks, they advise you to pour boiled water from the kettle into your bottle, warming it up before you add your coffee / tea to keep it warm for up to 12 hours.

Not only do Chilly’s sell bottles, they sell tumblers, food pots and accessories too. The bottles come in 4 sizes, 260ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1.8l. Ranging from £15 up to £35.
They come in many different designs, trendy prints, pastels, metals, neon, matte, mono as well as the Refill bottle.

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Chilly’s is in partnership with Refill, a free tap water initiative designed to reduce single use plastic and promote hydration. There are over 12000 business that have signed up across the UK so far (with over 2000 refill stations in London alone). All you need to do is look for the ‘Free Tap Water’ sign, pop in and fill up your bottle on the go! For every Refill X Chilly’s bottle sold, Chilly’s gives £10 to City to Sea, who runs campaigns to prevent marine plastic pollution and safeguard our oceans.

I would highly recommend these bottles, not only while out and about, but they’re great when flying – have you ever seen the price of water in the airport and nearly died ?? Take your empty chilly’s bottle through security and fill it up when you’re airside saving you on extortionate airport water prices. A 750ml bottle of still water was being sold for EUR4.50 at Nice airport on Sunday. They also make great gifts for those people who have everything.

Holiday Tots readers can get 15% off their Chilly’s order using the code HOLIDAYTOTS15 at checkout. Order yours here

 

KeepEmQuiet – The ultimate Travel Entertainment pack for kids !

I have seen a few posts about these bags and as I’m always looking for things to make travelling with kids easier, I got in touch with KeepEmQuiet and they sent me a bag to review on our recent trip to France.

I requested a girls pack, and this is what I received:

This pack retails for £16.99 (Long trip pack) and had snacks, toys, sticker books, a puzzle, magic painting book, a colouring book with crayons and a story book. 9 entertainment items and 4 snack items. Very good value I thought. I love how you are able to almost personalise your pack by choosing from not only Boys and Girls, but 3 age groups (1-3, 3-5 and 5-10 years) as well as the length of the journey (short, medium and long). Prices range from £10.99 up to £16.99.

Georgia loved the tiger and as she’s very into stickers at the moment, these were a god send. Our flight was 1h40 and this kept her busy for the majority of the flight which meant I could read my book and dad could catch up on some Netflix – winning !

When you check out you’re asked if you want a second pack for the return journey, which is clever. As our flight was only 1h40, our pack had enough for both the journey there and back. I kept some of the books/toys separate and gave them to her on the way back so it was all new for her too.

I normally spend a fair amount of money getting things to keep Georgia occupied during flights, so for £16.99 I felt like this travel pack was really good value for money.

These packs aren’t only great for flying, they’re perfect for car journeys too. Any journey where you’re racking your brains for things to keep your little ones busy – get yours here.

Bob Books – personalised photo books !

Earlier this year we were contacted by Bob Books to see if we wanted to try out making one of their photo books. They make for great keepsakes / gifts. Our Georgia has been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in her first 2 years so I thought what better way to savour the memories – I’m hoping to keep the book for her until she’s older and go through it with her.


If you’ve never made a photo book before, its quite simple.

 

 

I downloaded the app onto my phone, as I have all of my photos saved to my mobile. I did struggle to navigate their desktop site so was much more comfortable using the app.

You choose your book type, cover type, paper type, the size and a theme. You then choose photos you’d like to import and get to making your book. You are able to change the layout and type captions onto your pages to really personalise it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It auto populates your pics onto the pages but you’re able to crop them. It also tells you if the quality of the photo is good or not so good. The finished product is of  a very high quality.

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Bob Books are offering all Holiday Tots readers 20 % off all photo books – click here to start creating your own memory book.

Standon Calling – was our first ever family-friendly festival & we are going back this year!

The festival season is well and truly under way and family-friendly festivals are a plenty, it’s so hard to choose which one to take your kids to. We are attending a few this year and will have a round up at the end of the year, but for now we are talking about Standon Calling in Hertfordshire 27th– 29thJuly. We are so lucky to be going this year and two of our boys , both 9 years, are especially excited…

We live in Hertford and so our local kid friendly festivals are Standon Calling and new kid on the block Wilkestock. Our first ever festival with Freddie was two years ago when we spent the weekend at Standon Calling. My husband was a little dubious about attending a festival let alone with kids, he loves music and now, after a few iffy outings, actually likes camping so when he agreed to come to a festival I was so excited!

The past

Then we camped, saw Rag and Bone Man for the first time, dressed as pirates, met Kelis and more, including our dog winning happiest Festival Dog!

We have very fond memories of 2016 and so are super super excited to be attending this year.

The Future

The theme is ‘the Future’ and this weekend we plan to make our outfits, all will be revealed soon, just not sure which world to go for yet!

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The family programme looks better than ever and I am sad that we are only able to go for one day this year. There is the Panic Circus Big Top, Family Yoga, Welcome Family Disco, Campfire with Marshmallows, Trimbus Play Bus, the Hidden Wardrobe, Baby and Toddler Space, Tweens and Teens Workshops, Craft Zone Garden with interactive fun, kid friendly performances including Horrible Histories Live and Andy from Cbeebies and his smelly socks, library, Woodland Tribe and not forgetting the swimming pool and costume parade!

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As you can see it looks like a jam packed family weekend and that’s without mentioning the brilliant acts that are taking place this year! Including Paloma Faith, the Cuban Brothers, and local talent man George Ezra, who is the highlight for Freddie this year. George is his current idol, and he seems to think he will be able to give him a hug! –  love the innocence of children and famous people!

To top it all the weather looks set to be sun sun sun – we think that the boys and of course we, are going to have a blast!

Look forward to sharing our fun with you at the after blog party!

Day tickets have now sold out but there are a small amount of adult weekend tickets left – visit the website for information Standon Calling tickets

 

 

 

Magic Garden – Hampton Court Palace

If you’re looking for something different to do as a family and you’ve not visited the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, move this day out to the TOP of your list.
We’ve had some amazing weather over the past few weeks and i’m not sure about you but I just want to be outdoors in the sunshine. My little girl is definitely an outdoor child. She loves playing outside, loves a sandpit and is a definite water baby so when I saw some pics on a friends Instagram, I knew this place was perfect for her.

We left home just after breakfast to be there as it opened, at 10am. You cannot book tickets for the magic garden in advance so I wanted to get there early, especially as it was looking to be a beautiful sunny day. The cost is £7 per adult and £5.20 for children over 3 years old. Under 3’s go free.

MAGIC GARDEN MAP

Upon arrival, you are greeted by a magical childrens paradise. There is a dragon, towers, castles, a secret grotto and much more. Each area represents something different; myths, legends and stories and provides a different way for your family to explore the palaces history.

There is a buggy park on your right as well as a little cafe that sells drinks, sandwiches and coffee. There are a few tables and chairs (some covered and some out in the sun) that overlook the tournament areas and tower. There are loads of places to sit and watch your kids have the best time.

I would definitely recommend bringing the following items so that you can let your kids run wild and not have to worry.

–  SUNCREAM
– CHANGE OF CLOTHES
– SWIM SHOES
– TOWEL
– WATER BOTTLE  – there are 2 drinking water fountains in the garden.

Georgia absolutely loved splashing in the fountains and spent most of her time there – so much so that we didn’t even make it to the Maze (which is also included in the ticket price )

We will definitely be heading here again over the summer as we do have to visit the Maze, i’ve heard this is brilliant too.

Toilets and baby chance facilities are found to the right just as you walk in. If its peak season or a busy day when you visit your stay may be limited to 90 minutes. They have a coloured wrist band system and tell you what time you need to leave by. You can come back later that day if capacity allows (say after visiting the maze) which is quite a nice touch. If you have a ticket to visit the Palace itself, entry to the Magic Garden and Maze is included too. You are not allowed to picnic in the garden due to them wanting the area to be enjoyed by the kids (not having picnic set ups get in their way) and there have been rumours that the Dragon could eat your picnic blanket and all your yummy goodies if he see’s you setting one up.

One of the dragon’s top tips was to have fun, and we certainly did.

For more info click here