A Strong Coffee

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Anker Soundcore Flare Speaker Review

We have recently be sent the Anker Soundscore Flare speaker to review, which I was interested in for my tween. There isn't much that excites him these days. He likes to play computer games and message his friends on his phone. Games are generally only thrown around his bedroom floor and the only toy he really plays with is his Rubik's cube.  He does, however, like listening to music, so I was keen to see if this would be good for him.

Anker Soundcore Flare Speaker

It is pretty easy to use. There is a charger in the box and we charged it straight away. We have yet to need to charge it again and the box states it will last  twelve hours. Connecting via Bluetooth is easy and when you play music through it, the base changes colour to the beat. 

The speaker is waterproof so for the purpose of the review I thought I should check this out. I was rather concerned about submerging the Flare into the water, but what is the point of reviewing something if you don't do it properly? So with a gulp, I put it into a sink of water and turned it around. It did go very quiet but continued to play. When taking out of the water it took a few seconds to get back to the starting volume, but I can thankfully say that it is indeed fully waterproof. Phew!

Anker Soundcore Flare Speaker under water

We are really pleased with the speaker and my 11 year old likes that he has one in his room. We have had to upgrade to family Spotify, but that means I can have my own playlist now too. If you are stuck for ideas for your tween this Christmas then you won't go wrong with this 360 portable and waterproof speaker.

Here is a little video to show you how it works in full.

What ideas do you have for tweens this Christmas?

Family Fever

Monday, 3 December 2018

Mulled Gin: My New Favourite Christmas Cocktail

There is nothing quite like a mulled wine at Christmas is there? Well yes there is, and it is even better. Step aside mulled wine, this mulled gin recipe is taking you place.

Mulled Gin

It is so simple to make, and is not as sharp as mulled wine. I wasn't a drinker of gin until earlier this year when my uncle told me it was all about the right tonic. Since then I haven't looked back. I have tried this recipe with both Damson gin and Sloe gin and both were lovely.

I am pretty sure that there would be no grumbling from the big man himself, if this was left alongside his mince pies on Christmas Eve.

This recipe serves two people and I used the glasses to measure the ingredients.

Mulled Gin

Mulled Gin

  • 1 1/2 glasses of cloudy apple juice
  • 1/2 a glass of orange juice.
  • 1 mulled wine sachet
  • 2 cinnanon sticks
  • 2 Star aasie 
  • 100ml of Sloe gin
  • A slice of orange to garnish
  1. Warm the apple juice, orange juice and mulled wine sachet, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a pan. You don't want the mixture to boil and it will take about 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  2. Pour 50ml of Sloe gin into each glass.
  3. Add a slice of orange before pouring the mulled juice into the glass.
  4. Enjoy! 
What is your favourite drink this festive season?

Mulled Gin

Pin it for later:
mulled gin recipe, works well with damson and sloe gin. Perfect Christmas cocktail

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Meal Planning Monday

With the run up to Christmas, meal planning is becoming more important each week. Not so uch on the money saving side, but saving my sanity. With Christmas plays and parties galore, I can barely remember what I am doing on a daily basis, so my record here is to help me more than anything.

I have been busy this weekend, trying out a new cocktail to bring to you all. It's a hard job, nut someone has to do it. Watch this space!

So here we go with this week's meal plan.

Sunday: Roast Turkey

Monday: Slow cooked han, egg and chips

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas

Wednesday: Cornish pasties

Thursday: Sausage pasta - mustard for me and my husband and cheese for the boys.

Friday: Chicken curry.

Saturday: Lasagne.

What have you got planned for this week?


Guinness World Records Challenges Review

My 11 year old has been a fan of the Guinness World Record books for a  number of years. When were offered the chance to review the board game Guinness World Records Challenges, I thought it would be a great game for all the family to try.

The games consists of some question cards, and various challenge cards. You work your way around the board and need 3 challenges to win the game. It is a 2-5 player game.7

My boys loved the game. All three of them gave it an 8/10. More than anything they enjoyed the challenges. My 7 year old nearly burst into tears as it took him a while to get one!

One of the most important things to know about the game is that you need to be organised and prepare the possible challenges before you start. I didn't and was therefore rushing around looking for things. Most are easy. My husband impressed us with his tongue clicks, but throwing a ball into cups was a bit harder. Balancing spoons on your face is near impossible (all tips welcome.) Little man only managed the one. As for card towers, well things were different in my day! Cards seem to be slippery these days so again that challenge didn't go well.

I have to say, as a middle aged adult whose eyesight isn't the best, the writing on the cards is a bit small. I did. however, like that each card has a related picture and some information on the topic that you will be asked a question on.

For me when it comes to a family game there are a few requirements. One it needs to be quick, or can be adapted to make it end quicker. (Whilst I love the idea of board games, in practice my attention span is only about half an hour so this is a biggie for me.) Two, it needs to be able to entertain all of us from 7-42. Three it needs to be simple.

I would say that Guinness World Record Challenges would gain 2 and 1/2 for this. With half a mark taken away for needing so many other things. You can't just play it out of the box.

As there were no tears and our family is still speaking, I am sure this will be out over Christmas. Now to practice my star jumps. Not that I am competitive with my challenges or anything.

I have kindly been offered a game to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the Gleam entry below.

Guinness World Record Challenges
Family Fever

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Coral Reef Waterworld Bracknell With Zoggs

A couple of weeks ago saw us slipping into our new Zoggs swimwear and checking out the newly refurbished Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell.

coral reef bracknell

When the boys were little, we were regulars at Coral Reef but hadn't visited since their refurbishment.
I therefore had 3 very excited boys, when I told them that Zoggs had invited us to a private event. Not only would they get to try out the new slides, but they would also have some of the brand new DC super heroes range to try.

Middle man was initially worried he wouldn't see out of his batman hologram goggles, but once I explained how they worked he was intrigued. To be honest I quite fancy a pair myself!

If you haven;t been to Coral Reef before, it is well worth a visit if you are in the South East area. There is a large swimming pool with a pirate ship in the middle. The children can climb onboard and spray you from here. There is a volcano that erupts, bubbly pools and rapids.

Coral Reef Waterworld

If you want to escape the kids there is even an over 18's spa which has a variety of saunas.

But the best thing about Coral Reef are the new water flumes. Only 3 were available on the night due to technical issues, but this just means that I am eager to go back and try them. Yes you did read that correctly. It is me that wants to go back! Something the boys are very happy about. These slides where different to any I have been on before. The Aqua Splash and Storm Chaser are disco slides.

Storm Chaser is a raft ride. Best taking a double raft as you will go much faster.

With Aqua Splash, your child can go down with you if they are under 1.2m. You chose your music and there are lights and sounds - it is fantastic. I have purposely put this short clip to music to drown out my shrieks!

The other slide that was open was The Cannon fast slide. I will let you into a little secret. I grew up going to Coral Reef. I have one regret. I never did the fast slide. Now there is a new one. It is marginally different, but it is dark and small. As a rather claustrophobic person who likes to sit up when going on a waterslide, I did what any self respecting blogger would do when they wanted to know what it was like.

Yes that is right, I sent down my 10 year old son.

He loved it.

the cannon coral reef

You can time yourself. I think the fastest person on the night had done it in 4s. He wanted Mummy to go on it. Mummy tried to get Daddy to go on it to tell her if she would die on it or not. He declined and Mummy made excuses about her back. Then Mummy was in a queue talking to the lovely Steph Curtis who had been on it. She was still alive. She thought it was good. Mummy decided that she probably wasn't going to die on it and in a moment of madness went for it! It was small, dark and very fast. But I did it!!!!!

So I made Daddy have a go before I went and did it again in a race with my son. I was just under 8 seconds he was around 5. Either way, I was on a high that I had conquered my fear. You only live once right?

We had a fantastic time at Coral Reef and our swimwear was fantastic. I am not that body confident, but my Zoggs swimsuit was flattering, making it easy to forget about what I looked like and enabling me to enjoy quality family time. The hours went by in seconds. So a big thank you to Zoggs and Coral Reef. We will be back soon. I now need to do all the slides. It made me realise that moments like these need to be cherished. It wont be much longer until my boys aren't trying to get me down the fast slide. These things are what memories are made of. Our DC Superheroes event really was super.

Have you been to the new style Coral Reef? What did you think of the new slides?

Family Fever

Meal Planning Monday

Another busy week has past. Big man went go karting for his 11th Birthday and I am quite frankly glad that we have a couple of months off until middle man turns 9. I am hoping for a slightly quieter week this week - wish me luck! Food wise, we still have some bits left over from last week that we need to eat.

Monday: Scrambled egg and chorizo

Tuesday: Roast turkey and vegetables

Wednesday: Salmon

Thursday: Fishcakes

Friday: Lamb Dhansak

Saturday: Filled pasta

Sunday: Pork Roast

What have you got planned this week?


Saturday, 17 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday

I survived last week! Hooray! This week sees two birthdays in the house. My youngest will be 7 and my oldest 11. I would love to say that I don't look like I could have an 11 year old but I know I do!

Little man had a laser quest party on Friday which was pretty wild. I am hoping that a go karting party might be a little calmer.

But now for this weeks meal plan:

Saturday: Scrambled egg and chorizo. One of my all time favorite lunches with the creamiest scrambled eggs.

Sunday: It is little mans birthday so it is his choice of our cheats style sweet and sour chicken recipe.

Monday: A quick sandwich or wrap as the boys are off to karate.

Tuesday: Chili jacket potatoes

Wednesday: Creamy mustard and sausage pasta

Thursday: Pork steaks and apple sauce.

Friday: It is my now 10 year olds birthday. So he has chosen a birthday meal  at an all you can eat buffet. He will do his best to get value for money!

What do you have planned this week?