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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Introducing Nergi - the Kiwi Berry

I love fruit and vegetables and enjoy eating plenty of both as part of my plant based diet. I thought I knew most of the produce available in the UK, until I received a package containing some wonderful looking little green fruits, called Nergi Berry Fruits. Also known as the Kiwi Berry, they are a vivid fresh green colour with an edible outer skin.

kiwi berry


Inside, they look like a mini kiwi fruit with green flesh and blackish seeds around a white centre, however they do not have the fuzzy skin that kiwis have. Slighty larger than a big grape, they can be popped in your mouth whole. They have a delicious sweet, fruity and slightly tart flavour and are 100% natural.

Kiwi Berries


Nergi Berries are now in season until November. The little green berries are a superfruit packed with antioxidant vitamins C and E, contain dietary fibre and trace minerals and are just 52 calories per 100g, making them a healthy choice for snacking. More robust and less messy than other berries, they are great for eating on the go.

The Nergi Berry has existed in the wild for centuries, and with careful cultivation and natural pollination, they are now being grown using sustainable practices in small farms in France, Portugal and Italy, where they are handpicked when ripe. You can find them in supermarkets now (I saw them in Lidl and Tesco this morning packaged as Kiwi Berries) sold in 125g punnets, containing approximately 15 fruits.

My kids loved them. Kez said they were like a cross between a 'grape, a cherry tomato and a kiwi' which I think is a very good description. They would look wonderful in a fruit salad cut in half, but we just ate ours on their own as an after dinner snack. I love discovering new things to eat, and will definitely be buying more before the 2017 season ends on the 15th November 2017. They are a great addition to a modern, healthy lifestyle.

Find out more about this superfruit at http://nergi.info/en/get-to-know-me/.

Monday, 18 September 2017

A Unique, Handcrafted Gift to Celebrate Your Family - Family Birthstone Drops

With Christmas fast approaching (yes, we are now less than 100 days away from the big day!) my thoughts are turning towards Christmas planning. This year, I am looking at ways to create a more compassionate and sustainable festive season, and will be sourcing more food and gifts from independent businesses that share my ethics and values. I love the idea of giving unique, personalised gifts that are lovingly made by craftsmen, rather than things that are mass produced in factories.

Something that perfectly ties in with my Christmas wishes this year is this beautiful, handcrafted birthstone family tree set in a tactile wooden drop.

Hand crafted gifts, bespoke gifts, sustainable gifts


Made using reclaimed and repurposed woods such as mahogany, each Family Stone Drop begins as a hand carved ergonomic and tactile wooden drop. The ornaments are then handset with the birthstones of your family, configured in an arrangement approved by you, to create a bespoke piece that is completely unique and as individual as you are. Each creation comes with a numbered and dated certificate, in a beautiful presentation box.

Hand crafted gifts, bespoke gifts, sustainable gifts


My Birthstone Family Tree has the gemstones of Ian and I at the top, with my five children and two grandchildren included below us. Each of the three generations portrayed has a different sized stone, ours being the biggest and my two grandbabies having the smallest stones. It's a beautiful representation of our bloodline at this moment in time, displayed in a very unique way.

Hand crafted gifts, bespoke gifts, sustainable gifts


I love having something that represents the people I love most in the world that I can display in my home. It's a great talking point! I also find it very comforting to hold, making me feel close to everyone. It really is so tactile and feels so nice in my hand. There is something about wood; the warmth, the texture and the smell, that I love. And knowing that this is made using specially sourced, reclaimed wood makes it eco-friendly, creative recycling at its very best.

The family stone drop would make a wonderful gift for any parents and grandparents this Christmas. The presentation of the piece makes it perfect for giving. The unique design and loving craftsmanship makes something precious to treasure for years to come.

Hand crafted gifts, bespoke gifts, sustainable gifts


The birthstone family trees will soon be available to order on Etsy but if you want to express an interest or find out more, you can find the talented craftsman behind the product on Facebook, where you can drop him a message!

Hand crafted gifts, bespoke gifts, sustainable gifts

Planning my Christmas Countdown with Elves Behavin' Badly

It's that time of year again, when the first thoughts of seriously having to prepare for Christmas really begin to niggle at the edge of your mind. We know from experience that the last few months of the year quite literally fly by, so being prepared is the key to getting through the festive season without too much undue stress. So, now the kids are back at school, I'm doing my best to make lists and make plans in readiness for Christmas.

Usually I buy advent calendars for my children to countdown the days to Christmas, but this year I have other plans and am going to be trying something new and exciting thanks to Elves Behavin' Badly inviting me to be an official blogger for the 2017 season. They sent us some lovely Elves Behavin' Badly goodies to try out so we can join in with the fun world of the mischievous Christmas elves. This is perfect timing for us as we have become fully vegan this year, so the usual cheap chocolate confectionery is being taken off the menu. This new Christmas countdown idea will be a great alternative this advent.

Elves Behavin' Badly


The elf phenomena has been going for a few years now, but this will be my first committed foray into sharing some inventive elf adventures in the run up to Christmas, to entertain and amuse my children. Each day in December I will be getting creative with the elf goodies I have received, pulling pranks, playing games and having interactive fun with the cheeky elves. Every morning there will be a new scenario for the kids to discover. Much more exciting than opening a cardboard window for a morsel of chocolate! 

elf on the shelf


Elves Behavin' Badly has an unbelievable range of elves and accessories, to make Christmas 2017 the most exciting yet! The original 12" dolls are being joined by a jumbo 26" version and a teeny 5" baby elf. They have original elves with velcro hands as well as fully poseable, bendable deluxe figures.Twin elves, Elfie and Elvie are available as a boy and girl pair for double trouble. Plush elves are joining the vinyl faced elves this year for little ones who prefer their elves more cuddly and a cuddly reindeer friend Rudie has also joined the team. There is even a risque black and grey dressed elf for some naughty adult elf frolics! The scope for some fun filled elfcapades just keeps growing.

Elves Behavin' Badly


The range of accessories is huge with an elf sleigh, advent counter, bed, blanket, swing, elf door, post box and even a dummy security camera among the offerings. There are art sets, decorations, stationery and novelty items available so we can immerse ourselves in the Elves Behavin' Badly phenomena throughout December.

The beauty of the Elves Behavin' Badly as an advent idea, is that it encourages children to be good. Although the elves themselves may get up to some mischief overnight, children know that the elves report back to Santa with news on how they are behaving in the run up to Christmas. All children want to be on the 'Nice' list, so hopefully the arrival of the elves will encourage best behaviour all round.

The Elves Behavin' Badly website has some great inspiration with lots of ideas for elf antics. Also check out elvesbehavinbadly on Facebook and Instagram. I'll be sharing some of my favourite elf escapades throughout December, so keep an eye out for my Elves Behavin' Badly Christmas Countdown!




Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Toothbrush Review

I have managed to get to 48 years of age without needing a single filling, which is something that I am pretty proud of. The importance of dental hygiene is something that I have always instilled in my children from a young age, and so far all five of them have managed to avoid getting any cavities. 

We were sent an Oral-B Pro 2500 electric toothbrush with a 3D whitening brush head to try out courtesy of Pure Smiles, a Fulham based family run dental practice specialising in treatments to make you feel good about your teeth. 

Electric toothbrushes give up to 100% more plaque removal than manual toothbrushes and the compact, round head cleans better for healthier gums in just 30 days. The light up pressure sensor of the Oral-B Pro 2500 alerts you if you brush too hard, helping to keep gums protected and avoiding gum recession. The Pro 2500 has a two minute timer to make sure you are brushing for long enough (the average adult only brushes for 45 seconds so this is a very good reminder.) It pauses every 30 seconds prompting you to move on to the next area of your mouth for thorough cleaning. There are two modes to choose from: daily care and gum care mode. Gum care mode controls the brushing pressure and includes a massage mode. The Oral-B Pro 2500 can help give you a whiter smile as of day one by gently removing surface stains with its arrangement of bristles and its 3D polishing action.

The electric toothbrush is rechargeable and comes with its own charging station. One charge will last for 28 minutes, which is a week's brushing. The charger plugs into a 2 pin shaving adapter. There is a handy travel case included making it ideal for using on holiday, providing solid protection for the toothbrush and two heads.

The Oral-B pro is really nice to use, making my teeth feel cleaner and making me more aware of my brush time and helping me avoid overbrushing and gum damage. Switching from manual toothbrushing to electric takes a little getting used to, especially with regards to how much pressure you use to clean your teeth. The electric toothbrush requires a much lighter touch, but knowing that this is protecting my already receding gums is reassuring. It is a simple brush that is very effective performance wise. It is compatible with other Oral-B toothbrush heads including the floss action, cross action, sensitive clean and trizone, for every oral care need. Oral-B is the number #1 brand recommended and used by dentists worldwide, so I feel very confident using this electric toothbrush.

This is a good value electric toothbrush (currently £36 on Amazon) which is also available in black with a cross action brush head.

electric toothbrush


Contents: One electric toothbrush handle with two modes, charger, premium travel case, one toothbrush head, ships with UK 2 pin plug.

Oral-B offers a 30 day challenge, guaranteeing satisfaction and  the toothbrush comes with a 2 year limited warranty.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Become a Singing Superstar with The Rocket Singing Machine

I have a family that absolutely loves music. The kids sing, dance, play instruments and perform at any given opportunity. So when we were offered the chance to try out the new Rocket Wireless Singing Machine from Character Options, we were delighted to put it through its paces.

This high tech mic is an all in one music experience set to revolutionise how we interact with our favourite songs. Perfect for parties, anyone can feel like a singing superstar as they sing along to top tracks and latest hits. The device can link wirelessly via Bluetooth to any Windows, iOS and Android Smart device, and is able to play music from any online streaming service, your music library, YouTube or karaoke apps. The light up base and hi-tech design make this a very exciting product for families to enjoy together, from little ones aged six and above (with supervision) to music loving teenagers to the young at heart!

Rocket Mic


The Rocket Singing Machine has a speaker on one end and an amplifying microphone at the other. It comes with adjustable voice enhancing echo, mic noise cancellation and volume control and includes a headphone jack. It can be used as a stand alone wireless speaker or as a novel karaoke machine. You can even connect it to Siri and ask questions or request songs from up to 10 metres away!

Could You Be A Rocket Star?

The Rocket Singing Machine has an exciting competition to find a star to become the face of the Rocket Mic. Simply send in your child's best singing video to the Rocket Star page by 11.59 pm September 24th 2017 for the chance to win cool prizes including a Rocket Singing Machine of your own. Click through the image for more details.



We have had such fun with the Rocket Singing Machine. To get started you need 3 AAA batteries (which are not included) and it is then super easy to pair to your smart phone or device. We used Freddy's Spotify playlist and he was quickly able to sing along to his favourite songs with the vocal effects adding an echo to his voice.

Rocket Mic


The ergonomic design is nice to hold and the sound quality is good. It definitely creates a party atmosphere and is very easy to use. Everybody enjoyed their moment in the spotlight singing along to their favourite songs. The fact it can also be used as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, for karaoke or as a standalone microphone gives it multiple uses. The space age design with the light up base is cool and quirky

Rocket Singing Machine


The Rocket Singing Machine is available in pink or white and retails at £29.99 and is available online here.

To find out more about the Rocket Star competition and how to enter your children's singing video visit: www.therocketstar.co.uk.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Neatlynamed - Name labels for kids' clothing and belongings

According to new research, commissioned by Neatlynamed, manufacturers of labels for children’s clothing and belongings, mums spend a staggering £1,589 replacing items lost by their kids before the age of ten - and spend nearly two days in total looking for them. Having had five children myself, I can definitely agree that we have misplaced hundreds of items over the years.

The research of 1,000 mums with children aged three to ten found the average child misplaces a total of 483 belongings between the ages of three and ten - with hats, jumpers and cuddly toys among the most commonly lost items, with 62 % of possessions NEVER being found again.  55% of mums admitted that losing items can sometimes be traumatic. I remember my daughter losing her favourite cuddly toy dog and spending hours on Ebay trying to find an identical replacement. Definitely a bit traumatic!

School or nursery is the place children tend to lose things most often. My children have definitely lost plenty of items of school uniform, gloves, hats, PE kits and coats during their time at school. However other items seem to simply disappear when playing inside at home, with the fridge, tumble drier or the roof of the car being common places for these missing items to later turn up. 50% of those surveyed said they have known their little ones to lose items within just 20 minutes of getting them for the first time. Another finding that I can relate to! One of my daughters lost her brand new Minnie Mouse sunglasses within minutes of buying them.

Four in ten mums admit they’ve had to replace the same item repeatedly and 47% of kids have even lost items belonging to their mother.  Only 16% of mums believe that their little ones really appreciate the value of their belongings, although personally (like a third of mums) I think that most children simply don’t consider the possibility of losing things and inadvertently mislay them. 60% of mums think that losing items as a child helps them to appreciate the value of things later in life.

Thankfully, three quarters of mums put name labels on their youngster’s belongings to help prevent them becoming permanently lost with 64% of those polled saying items initially lost and subsequently found had name labels on them.  I have always labelled my children’s belongings and have retrieved numerous items from the lost property basket at school thanks to them having my children’s names on them.

The cost of sending children back to school with the cost of new school bags, uniforms, stationery, lunchboxes and water bottles is pretty huge.  So it is important to protect their belongings by clearly labelling everything. In a school you can get hundreds of identical objects and other children can easily pick up the wrong sweatshirt or cardigan. Name labels increase the chance of misplaced belongings finding their way back home again.

name lables, back to school


Neatlynamed provides a range of self-adhesive stickers and name labels designed for children’s clothes and personal items. This includes its Peel ‘n Stick clothes labels, iron-on labels and shoe and sock labels as well as stickers for marking personal belongings. All labels can be personalised with a child’s name, choice of colour and an icon.

Neatlynamed has also launched its new range of Disney themed clothing labels to help engage children in looking after their items and ensure they are easily identified. The new brightly coloured labels feature some of the most popular Disney characters including those from Cars, Planes, Frozen, Disney princesses as well as Mickey Mouse and friends.

I received some of the labels to make sure my children's belongings are properly named. I absolutely love the Peel 'n'n Stick clothes labels as they are so easy to use. No need to get out the iron or the sewing kit, you simply stick them to the care label inside the item and they attach to it securely. They can withstand the laundry process for about 8 months and are swimwear safe. The personalisation allows for a cute icon to feature alongside the child's name, adding a fun element for children to get involved in. Freddy chose a cool little monster for his labels. 

The new Disney labels are really lovely and feature a whole host of Disney favourites. With labels suitable for either clothing or belongings, Disney fans will love labelling up all their things ready for the new school term. We love the characters and the appealing designs and they come in a useful variety of shapes and sizes.

Ordering is very simple online and delivery was speedy and at n extra cost. The labels are of a high quality with good, clear printing.


You can check out the full range of products and place an order at www.neatlynamed.com.

Our Bank Holiday BBQ - the etiquette of last minute alfresco dining

An unexpected sunny Bank Holiday Weekend has seen many of us Brits hosting a last minute, impromptu barbecue or picnic, making the most of the late summer alfresco dining opportunity. We were no exception. We decided to dust off the barbecue and gather the family to enjoy vegan burgers, sweetcorn, chips and dips and salads in the sunshine. A lovely way to spend the day with good food and good company before the kids go back to school next week.

vegan barbecue


Sainsbury's have been looking into the nation's attitudes to alfresco dining and have asked 2000 people about their outdoor dining habits. The results found that 90% of those asked consider themselves to be good guests at friends' and family barbecues. 45% would never muscle in on the barbecue cooking uninvited, 35% will top up drinks for other guests and 32% consider dressing up as a top attribute for attending a summer event. However, 60% of those asked said that they enjoyed the relaxed attitude that comes with picnicking and barbecues, suggesting that fun wins out over formality and we are happy to throw out the etiquette rule book. We definitely enjoy kicking back and having fun with our food!

There are of course some annoyances associated with eating outdoors. Worrying about the unpredictable British Weather (78%), not having enough seating (69%), not knowing how many people to cater for (63%) and the fear of animals or seagulls stealing the food (60%) are among the top peeves when it comes to hosting a BBQ. Although for us it was the wasps, which were our biggest annoyance, sending the kids running for safety several times with the black and yellow buzzers chasing after them! A definite downside of being outdoors.

The other concern that seems to affect us when dining alfresco is how to fit all the guests, the bowls and plates of food and the condiments around the table. Sainsbury's have coined the term "Table Squish" to describe the act of squeezing everything in, likening it to a game of Tetris. We definitely filled our space to full capacity and ended up using foldable chairs alongside our garden furniture to fit us all in. But it all adds to the fun of the occasion. For me, laughter, family and delicious vegan food are the perfect ingredients for a successful family barbecue. With some help from Sainsbury's who stock a great range of food for hosting the perfect vegan barbecue (including their meat free frozen burgers and brilliant vegan cheese range, which are absolute must-haves) we definitely enjoyed a relaxed, informal lunch out of doors.

You can find out more about Sainsbury's at www.sainsburys.co.uk.


Monday, 28 August 2017

A Dog's Purpose Out Now on DVD

If you are a dog lover looking for a heartwarming movie for the family this summer, then A Dog's Purpose is a good choice. A dog tries to discover his purpose and the meaning of his own existence through the many reincarnated lives that he goes through and the many humans he meets.

A Dog's Purpose


The dog develops an unbreakable bond with a boy Ethan, who saved him from a hot car when he was just a puppy. The dog, Bailey, helps his boy through the years, a constant companion through family troubles, girlfriends, the good times and disappointments. He's always there through the laughter, love and tears. And even when life takes an unexpected turn, Bailey stays loyal and faithful to his boy. As time goes on, it's time for Bailey to begin more brand new reincarnations, but the bond he has with Ethan continues, and their paths are destined to cross again helping Ethan find true happiness and helping the dog realise his true purpose.

The film is narrated through the words of the dog, voiced by Josh Gad. It is a really novel idea that the dog is constantly reincarnated, creating several sub stories as he goes through different lives with different owners. From a police dog, to a stray, to a spoiled pup, to a family pet, the dog goes through lots of interesting experiences. There are plenty of funny moments and visual comedy throughout the film, with the dog getting into mischief and causing trouble. But there are also lots of very dramatic and emotional scenes that pull on the heartstrings. It's a beautifully crafted story with great casting and talented canine actors.

A Dog’s Purpose is available on Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD now, courtesy of Entertainment One.

            


Monday, 21 August 2017

Purepotions - kind to skin and kind to the planet

Purepotions are a natural range of natural skincare products that are suitable for people with sensitive skin or who are prone to eczema, dry skin, dermatitis and psoriasis. They are made in the UK from quality, plant-based, 100% biodegradable raw materials, which are often organic and locally sourced, and contain herbal extracts to nourish and protect. They contain nothing unnecessary and are free from parabens, petrochemicals, phthlates and perfumes. The range is not tested on animals, includes products that are suitable for vegans and are as kind to the planet as they are to your skin, which are things that are very important to me.

Kezia has always suffered from eczema and gets flare-ups on her face and neck. Finding a natural, effective, eco-friendly solution has always been something I've wanted for her. Knowing that the founder of Purepotions formulated these products to help her own daughter's dry and allergy prone skin really resonates with me as a mother.

The Purepotion range includes their Skin Salvation and their brand new Hair & Scalp natural hair care products for top to toe benefits. Kezia was sent a selection of the products to try out and she is so far very impressed with the non-sting, nourishing and hydrating formula.

eczema care


From the Skin Salvation range:

Intensive Moisturising Ointment

This thick, rich intensive moisturising salve just feels so nourishing on the skin. A little goes a really long way. It locks in moisture and keeps out irritants because of the protective barrier it creates. Packed with biodynamic ingredients such as hemp, safflower and olive, it uses the power of nature to target the problem of dry itchy skin conditions. It is 100% natural and can even be used on infants. I wish I'd had this when Kezia was a baby, it's amazing.  Of a survey of over 500 users, 97% experienced successful results in improving their skin condition.

Daily Moisturising Cream

This vegan friendly cream is great for easy application throughout the day. The pump action bottle makes it really convenient to use. It is gentle yet rich and creamy and it rubs into the skin easily. I love that although it is perfume free, the smell is not at all unpleasant. It smells very natural with chamomile, nettle, chickweed and calendula blended into a shea butter and hemp base.

Intensive Lip Balm

This handy little stick is the perfect rescue remedy for dry skin on the go. It's great for lips, but can be used on any dry skin. It is the same formula as the ointment and is rich and thick with intensive moisturising and nourishing qualities.

From the Hair & Scalp range:

Natural Shampoo

99.9% natural and suitable for vegans, this shampoo contains organic botanics, including nettle, calendula, chamomile and chickweed, to cleanse, nourish and condition.It is remarkably mild and gentle, soap free, unperfumed and free from petrochemicals, SLS and SLES. It does not contain any harsh detergents or synthetic additives that can strip hair of its natural oils and irritate the scalp. This shampoo is not only for those with sensitive skin, it is great for anyone looking to detoxify their haircare routine. The shampoo can be used on babies from six weeks as it is so pure and gentle. The shampoo does not lather up as much as regular shampoos that contain synthetic ingredients, but the gentle foam is very effective at cleaning. With regular use, hair will become softer and glossy as it won't have the build-up of product associated with the chemicals found in other shampoos. We like the mild scent and it is lovely to use (as long as you don't expect lots of bubbles!)

Natural Conditioner

This conditioner is 99% natural and is suitable for vegans. It contains organic hempseed oil, oat flour, chamomile and chickweed to soothe and condition hair. It feels a little different as it doesn't contain synthetic silicones so it is less slippery and less thick than ordinary conditioners. But it feels silky and nourishing and has a gentle natural fragrance.

The hair care range is great for Kezia as she gets eczema in her hairline, but it is also absolutely lovely for me to use. I love that it is natural and vegan friendly and caring.

Purepotions is genuinely one of the loveliest ranges we have tried for Kezia. It feels like it's been made with love and care. I only wish I had had it in my life 14 years ago when my then baby daughter's eczema would cause her so much distress and would bleed and become infected. It ticks all my boxes for being cruelty free, eco-friendly, natural and gentle but effective.

No wonder Purepotions has won the Natural Health International Beauty Awards 2017 for best eczema range!

Prices start at £4.99 for the Intensive Lip Balm to £18.00 for the Natural Shampoo. You can buy a Skin Salvation sample pack containing 3 x 5 ml samples of their core products for £5.00 with free postage, which is a good way to trial the Skin Salvation products.

Find out more at: www.purepotions.co.uk.

Friday, 18 August 2017

FreshX an environmentally friendly alternative to flushable toilet wipes

When I was a child, the loo paper we had to use resembled sheets of rough, greaseproof paper, which was absolutely horrible. I'm so glad that things have moved on in terms of absorbency, comfort and efficiency when it comes to toilet paper, but our desire for convenience and cleanliness is arguably going a bit too far. We all like to feel clean and fresh, but the current trend for personal hygiene is taking its toll on the environment with the increased usage of moist toilet wipes. Although they are labelled as flushable, the wipes don't break down like loo paper and can cause catastrophic and costly blockages in the sewer system. They negatively impact our environment with thousands washing up on the UK's coastline with a reported 400% increase over the last decade. With 1 billion wipes getting flushed away last year, this is a serious environmental issue and detrimental to marine life. In fact 45% of users admit to being worried about the impact of their flushable wipes. Thankfully, there is now a solution.

To combat this problem, without compromising on that feeling of cleanliness after going to the toilet, there is a brand new product hitting the shelves at Sainsbury's. New FreshX is a personal spritz that can be spayed directly onto toilet tissue transforming it into a moist, cleansing, soothing wipe. One bottle makes the equivalent of 300 individual wipes saving you money and helping protect the environment.

switch to spritz


FreshX is dermatologically tested and approved for even the most sensitive skins so is suitable for all the family. It is free from oil, sulphites, alcohol and parabens and is not tested on animals. It comes in two varieties using beneficial botanicals in the skin-loving formulations. The Fragrance Free variety contains Aloe Vera and White Tea, known known to promote healthy skin, plus the added benefits of vitamins E and B5. The Aloe Fresh variety includes Aloe Vera and soothing Cucumber plus vitamins E and B5.

You can wipe and flush with confidence, confident in the fact that you are not needlessly using unnecessary wipes that are harming our planet's future.

The FreshX Spritz is great for kids learning to be independent in the bathroom. Although it's not the same as using wet wipes, it gives a really nice alternative to wipes and is much better both economically and environmentally. If you use two sheets of good quality loo paper folded and spritzed with two to three sprays of FreshX, you have an effective way of staying clean after you go! I'll be keeping a bottle in each of my bathrooms from now on.

FreshX


The 150ml bottles of Spritz cost £3 and can be found at Sainsbury's instore or online. Find out more at www.freshx.co.uk.

Friday, 11 August 2017

A Laundry Revolution with Persil Powergems #extraordinarypowers

The summer holidays are in full swing, and although the sun seems to have missed the memo about bringing the good weather, I am trying to keep the kids entertained with activities and days out, so the six weeks aren't a total wash out. 

With this awful weather, things are however getting a bit messy. Playing in the garden in between rain showers, is resulting in lots of wet and muddy clothes because this persistent rain has turned my garden into a bit of a quagmire. Indoor activities (which we are having to do a lot of at the moment) such as arts and crafts and baking can get equally messy. This is resulting in lots of dirty laundry!

Thankfully, Persil has come to my rescue by sending me a kit to help me out, which includes their new revolutionary and unique laundry detergent: new Persil Powergems. This new game changing detergent has a brand new gem format and a powerful triple action approach to keeping clothing clean, fresh and cared for.  The Powergems are tough on stains, while protecting and caring for fabrics, making them perfect for the summer holiday dirty laundry pile. They also use fragrance release technology to give washing a long lasting fragrance and keep clothing smelling fresher for longer.

Persil


To test the power of the Powergems against things such as chocolate, grease and grass, Persil has challenged us to create some of those everyday stains that life can throw at family's clothing. Such activities as playing a family game of rounders, baking some chocolate brownies or painting a family portrait have the potential to get us pretty messy and inevitably soil our clothes. A perfect test for laundry detergent.

The Persil Ultimate Powergems are green and white or blue and white gems of laundry detergent that look different to any other product out there. They resemble confetti - but are definitely not recommended for throwing at weddings!

Persil, powergems


One concentrated dose, measured using the cap, contains the triple power to remove stains, care for fabric and intensify freshness. The packaging is compact and easy to store. They have a very fragrant clean scent. Placed directly in the drum, the Powergems disperse throughout the wash cycle and go to work straight away using their extraordinary powers!

One thing that I am particularly impressed with is the fact that the Persil Powergems has a child-proof twist and lock inner cap for extra safety. The gem format is also easy to use - no dealing with messy liquids or powders. Available in Non-Bio and Bio variants, they are available in 12, 19 and 30 wash packs.

I have been very pleased with the cleaning power of the Persil Powergems, especially when it comes to greasy stains. My whites are still looking white and my coloureds are bright, which is what I'd hope for from a detergent. Mud splashes, washable paint spills and dribbled food stains have all been dealt with effectively. Most noticeable to me has been the fragrance of my laundry. My washing is smelling very fresh and clean. This product is definitely a game changer.

The RRP of the Persil Powergems is £5 for the 12 wash, £8 for the 19 wash and £11 for the 30 wash packs.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Pass the Pigs this summer

Pass the Pigs is a classic game using two pig figures in place of dice, with the aim being to throw the pigs hoping that they land in a scoring position. With points scored for positions such as the trotter, leaning jowler, snouter and razorback, the first to score one hundred is the winner. Just be careful to avoid the Makin' Bacon position! There are two great ways to enjoy some Pass the Pigs fun this summer.

Pass the Pigs


The original Pass the Pigs game comes in a handy travel case and includes the pig dice, a score book, instructions and pencils. It's great for rainy days, games nights or for when on the go, with its pocket size format. It is suitable for 2 - 6 players aged 3 and up.

Pass the Pigs


The game is quite fast paced, easy to play and anyone can win, making it good for a range of ages and abilities to play together. Its compact size means it is easy to take anywhere for some piggy passing fun whenever you fancy a game. It is a good game for travelling or when on the road to keep kids entertained.

Pass the Pigs


There is now another way to enjoy Pass the Pigs - a giant, supersized version that will have everyone snorting with laughter!  With super cute, inflatable piggies, the fun is increased. The game comes with two blow up pigs, a scoring booklet, pencils, puncture repair patch and drawstring bag. It is perfect for taking away on holiday or for playing in the garden and is also good for indoor floor play if you have the space to toss the pigs.

Giant Pass the Pigs


The inflatable pigs are great toys in their own right and will be such fun in a pool or on a beach. For the game, you grab them both by the ear and toss them upwards to head height. How they land, dictates how many points you score. The score book has an illustrated guide to all the piggy positions. It is a lot of fun for all the family to enjoy together. From the youngest (3+) to the eldest, everyone can have a go at Giant Pass the Pigs!

Giant Pass the Pigs


Giant Pass the Pigs was recently featured on This Morning as an ideal game for keeping the family entertained this summer!  My family definitely agrees that it is a lot of fun. We've really enjoyed playing it and will be packing it when we go away on holiday later this year.
  
Giant Pass the Pigs


Pass the Pigs in £9.99 RRP and Giant Pass the Pigs is £14.99 RRP.  You can follow Pass the Pigs on social media: Instagram @passthepigsofficial and Twitter @passthepigsuk. Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/passthepigs.

Pass the Pigs this summer

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Vac Man is back!

When Stretch Armstrong was relaunched, I was transported back to my childhood and excited to share some toy nostalgia with my children. Now, Character Options has brought back the super villain Vac Man to add even more old school fun to playtime. He joins Stretch Armstrong, Fetch Armstrong and Octopus for some super stretchy entertainment that the grown-ups will love as much as the kids!

Vac Man is a 14" fully stretchable and poseable vac powered action figure that can be stretched to four times his original size. He can have the air pumped out of him using the special syringe that fits into the side of his head and can then be stretched and posed and have his limbs cracked. By pressing the release valve button on the side of his head he can be returned to his normal state.

Vac Man


The Vac Man action figure is filled with non-toxic bead shaped filler. When in his original state he feels quite soft and squishy, but after the air has been sucked out, he turns hard and lumpy. Freddy calls him Warty Man because of the texture of his skin!!

vac man


Vac Man looks pretty impressive and vibrant with his red coloured body, sinister grimace and silver head gear. The syringe fits and locks into the socket on his head and can be pumped up to ten times. It gets quite tough to pull back the syringe, but the more you pump out his air, the better you can play with him, stretch him and crack him.

He is a very tactile, textural toy that Freddy enjoyed playing with. It can be manipulated into different positions and makes a satisfying, crunchy sound. It is good for sensory play and has an educational aspect as children learn about the effect of pumping out the air. It's an all round great toy that really sparked Freddy's imagination.

Vac Man


The valve to release his vacuum is easy to operate and he very quickly returns to his original soft form. Vac Man is sturdy and has a new stronger formula to his predecessor, however he has some care instructions that need to be adhered to, to avoid damage. You must avoid extreme temperatures, not pull his head, keep him away from water and avoid sharp objects. He must always be put away in his soft, non-stretched state to keep him in tip top condition.

vac man


Vac Man is suitable for children aged 5 and over. He retails for £29.99 and can be found on www.character-online.com. Great fun for kids and a nostalgic gift for the young at heart!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Num Noms Series 4

Get ready for the brand new Series 4 of Num Noms and a brand new Num Noms magazine! The cute, colourful, collectable scented Num Noms can be combined to create all new mix and match flavour and scent combos. With inspiration taken from desserts and baked goods (think cookies, cakes, creme buns, donuts and pies) new characters include Mocha Frappe, Madelyn Macaron, Jan-illa Creme and Razzy Froyo. 

Num Noms


There are some 4.1 starter sets including Cookies & Milk, Tea Party, Ice Cream Sandwiches and Frozen Yogurt packs. The Ice Cream Sandwiches range is mouthwateringly cute with three exciting new Nums. Terry Berrywich, I C Sandwich and Wintergreen Creme Nums bring the scent of strawberry, mint and chocolate together. They come with food inspired accessories such the Ice Cream Sandwiches' handy scoop and tray to make your own stacked Num Nom creations. Each starter pack also includes a flavoured lipgloss Nom.

The Dessert Tray Lunchbox has nine scented Nums plus one mystery Num and two flavoured glitter lip gloss Noms in an attractive box with a dessert spoon handle. Scents of birthday cake, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ice cream and sugar wafer combine. There is also a Sweets Sampler Lunchbox that includes even more sweet treats.  The mystery Num adds an element of surprise to your unboxing. Which mystery Num will you discover?

Num Noms


New glitter lip glosses bring some pizazz to the Noms, and with flavours such as B-Day Meringue, Orange Swirl and Bubbly Drop. They are not only fun but practical and nice to use too.

Also for Num Noms fans, there is a new official magazine out now! The monthly magazine boasts 36 pages and is packed with puzzles, competitions, colouring and comes with free exclusive Num Noms branded gifts and stickers and is aimed at 5 - 9 year olds. It's colourful and fun and is the perfect addition to the brand.

Num Noms


The starter packs are £9.99 and the Lunchbox packs are £15.99. Add them to your Num Noms collection and create thousands of different flavour and scent combinations.

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Boss Baby Out Now on DVD

From the director of  Madagascar and Megamind, Tom McGrath, comes a laugh out loud adventure-comedy all about family and belonging. THE BOSS BABY features the voice talents of an all star cast including Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire.

Tim Templeton is a much loved little boy with a big imagination, whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of his new baby brother. He soon discovers that his problems go way beyond regular sibling rivalry, and his new brother is actually an undercover boss from a secret organisation called BabyCorp who is on an important mission involving Tim's parents and the launch of a new, super cute pet from their employers Puppy Co. Tim realises that if he helps the Boss Baby to complete his mission, he can get rid of him and go back to being an only child again. An exciting adventure ensues where Tim and the Boss Baby discover the evil truth behind Puppy Co and learn to work together to save the day, leading them to re-evaluate what it is that they really want in life.

The Boss Baby is heartwarming and hilarious in equal measure. Freddy aged 8 thought it was a "great, funny and imaginative" movie with his favourite part of the whole film being when the baby farts out talcum powder when Tim is getting him dressed. There is a lot of baby centric visual humour, which is very enjoyable and beautifully observed. The characters are interesting and the dynamic between Tim and the baby explores the subject of sibling rivalry, family, love and belonging. There is a lovely message in the film where we learn that there is always enough love in the world for everyone.  It really is a great watch for the whole family and perfect entertainment for the summer holidays.

The Boss Baby DVD


THE BOSS BABY Blu-ray™, Blu-ray 3D, 4K Ultra HD and DVD each include more than 30 minutes of extras, which we really enjoyed watching after the film:

●     NEW Mini Adventure: The Boss Baby and Tim’s Treasure Hunt Through Time ­– Narrated by Wizzie, the magical wizard. Join the fun as Boss Baby and Tim battle pirates, travel through outer space, swim deep into the sea, and go toe-to-toe with some ferocious dinosaurs!
●     The Forever Puppy Infomercial – Always playful, always snuggly, and everlastingly cute; the Forever Puppy is destined to win the cuteness competition with babies once and for all.
●     BabyCorp and You – Helpful advice and more for new infants on the job at BabyCorp.
●     Babies vs. Puppies: Who Do You Love? – Who has won the hearts of familes once and for all? This “scientific” experiment compares and contrasts factors such as “cuddliness,” “adorability,” and “attention grabbing techniques” used by both demanding competitors.
●     The Boss Baby's Undercover Team – From Staci, the note taker who can’t read, to Jimbo the huge baby who’ll take a suction cup arrow for the Boss, to the triple-threat of the Triplets, Boss Baby dives deeper into this team of cute corporate board members.
●     Cookies are for Closers: Inside BabyCorp – Go behind the scenes with Director Tom McGrath as he introduces us to BabyCorp, a secret organization of infants united for a common goal in
THE BOSS BABY.
●     The Great Sibling Competition – A fun, kid-friendly and humorous look at the competition among siblings to win the affection of their parents. Explore conversations with the cast and crew on their competitive sibling relationships and get very special insights from Boss Baby himself, Alec Baldwin.





DreamWorks Animation’s THE BOSS BABY is available now on Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. 


Friday, 28 July 2017

The Boy with his Head Stuck in a Book

In the world of digital media, many children would prefer to pick up a smartphone or tablet rather than choose to read a book.  So Zappar has launched a new title to bridge the gap between technology and literature, with an augmented reality book for children aged 7 - 11 years, called The Boy With His Head Stuck In A Book. 


augmented reality, Zappar


The paperback book tells the story of an ordinary boy who is reluctantly dragged to the library one Saturday afternoon, where he discovers an ancient, mysterious book and quite literally gets his head stuck within its pages. He finds himself catapulted into a magical world filled with dinosaurs, ghosts, dragons and pirates as he tries to free his head from the book!


The Boy With His Head Stuck In A Book


Downloading the Zappar app allows readers to scan the pages and bring them to life. The images and characters are animated in this innovative digital pop up book. There are buttons to press to activate the scenes and the letters on the pages spin around the page.  It is definitely a great way to engage reluctant readers!


The Boy With His Head Stuck In A Book


The book references a whole host of classic titles, opening up young readers to a range of texts that they may wish to further explore. The referenced books include:

  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  • Red Riding Hood – Brothers Grimm
  • The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  • The Iron Man – Ted Hughes
  • Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling
  • Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  •  Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • King Kong – Merian C. Cooper/Delos W. Lovelace
  • The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
  • Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
  • The Sword in the Stone – T.H. White



At only £5.99, this product is an affordable way of keeping children engaged with reading in an interactive way over the summer holidays.  The Zappar app is free to download from Google Play or the App Store. You can find The Boy with his Head Stuck in a Book on Amazon.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Lacura Sun Care Range - save money without compromising on quality

The summer holidays are here at last!  We are really hoping that the sun makes some appearances over the next six weeks, especially as Aldi has invited us to join their unofficial ‘Lacura Sunseeker’s Panel’. Aldi have sent us a selection of their Lacura suncare products to see us through the whole summer and we will be sharing our experiences on social media.

Lacura has a variety of sun care products that will ensure you can enjoy your summer, safely. The Lacura brand means top quality products at great value prices, with the Lacura SPF 30 sun spray recently being revealed as the lowest costing sunspray to pass the Which? SPF testing. When it comes to protecting the kids' skin, I don't want to compromise on quality, so knowing this is really reassuring. I can save money but be confident that the range is safe and reliable. 

sunscreen, sun protection, aldi


With a selection of creams and sprays suitable for a range of ages and skin types, there is something for every family member. The range includes:

•             Lacura SPF 30 Spray 200ml - £2.79 
•             Lacura SPF15 Spray 200ml - £2.79
•             Lacura SPF15 Oil Spray 150ml - £2.99
•             Lacura SPF 30 Lotion  200ml  - £2.79
•             Lacura SPF 15 Lotion 200ml - £2.79
•             Lacura SPF30 Kids Sun Spray 200ml - £2.99
•             Lacura SPF30 Clear Spray 200ml - £3.29
•             Lacura SPF50 Clear Spray 200ml - £3.29
•             Lacura Kids water resistant SPF50 Lotion 150ml - £2.79
•             Lacura SPF 50+ Kids Spray 200ml - £2.99
•             Lacura SPF50+ Sensitive Lotion kids/adults 200ml - £2.79 
•             Lacura Aftersun Spray 200ml - £1.99

As you can see by the prices, these are a fraction of the cost of high end branded sun creams and sprays, but yet the sun spray passed the Which? testing, letting you buy with complete confidence. The savings made can go towards treating the family during the summer holidays.  Now all I need is some lovely sunshine and I can get testing these products and sharing my thoughts!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Our day out at the British Music Experience

We were lucky enough to be invited along to visit the British Music Experience, and as I have a family of music lovers, we happily accepted!  The BME. is housed in the Cunard Buildings in Liverpool and is a new attraction, perfect for guests of all ages.

The museum houses a collection of music memorabilia that tells the story of the evolution of the British music scene from 1945 to the present day. It chronicles the history of modern music from the early days of jazz and skiffle through the eras of rock 'n' roll and Beatlemania to the psychedelic sixties through punk rock and glam rock and right up to the present day. From Hendrix's guitar to Bowie's kimono to Suggs' anti-apartheid suit, there are some amazing pieces on display. Handwritten lyrics by Adele and Chris Martin feature alongside Leona Lewis's diamante microphone and the signed, Africa shaped guitar from Live Aid.

There are lots of interactive displays where you can listen to interviews, search news archives and discover musical facts from around the country. Big screens show photos and musical performances from a host of artists through the decades. The centre stage show transports you to the excitement of a live performance where you can experience iconic acts such as Amy Winehouse, Led Zeppelin and Elton John. A special performance by Culture Club's Boy George is given via the technology of a 3D hologram. There is a music trail that children can take part in as they walk around the displays, answering questions from each decade. Completed trails can be exchanged for a certificate.

BME


In addition to the collection of music memorabilia, the British Music Experience has lots of hands on activities. There is a dance studio where you can learn a dance from one of the featured decades. We had a try at some Ska dance moves made famous by Madness, dancing to One Step Beyond. We also recorded a vocal demo of the Cold Play song Yellow in the recording booth.

The Gibson Brands Interactive Studio is an amazing space where visitors can try their hand at playing keyboards, drums and guitars. We absolutely loved it. There are tutorial videos to follow and the staff are on hand to offer advice and encouragement. The instruments are brilliant and we all had a go at playing a host of electric, bass and  acoustic guitars, an electronic drum kit and a full length electronic piano. Ian loved the Epiphone 335 electric guitar. It was such a great place to have a go at playing quality instruments in a relaxed, fun setting.  

Roland drums

Roland

Epiphone, Gibson


My girls performed an impromptu duet playing songs together. The very lovely Abigail, who is one of the staff at the BME joined in, singing harmonies with the girls and chatting to us about music. Her knowledge and passion for music and her love and enthusiasm for her job shone through. She is a wonderful asset to the museum and made our experience really enjoyable.


Gibson, singing

Performing a duet at the BME


There are some craft workshops making dream catchers and interactive story telling and sing-along sessions going on as part of the Summer Holidays Programme at the British Music Experience, making the summer holidays a perfect time to visit for families.

Find out more at http://www.britishmusicexperience.com/.

Epaderm Junior Range #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

Epaderm is recommended by doctors as the number one prescribed ointment for eczema in the UK and when used for two weeks, Epaderm Cream is clinically proven to relieve the symptoms of dry skin. #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

As a mum who has seen three children suffer with eczema, I know from firsthand experience how horrible it is to see little ones suffer with dry, sore, itchy skin. My youngest daughter suffered terribly and still has scars from some of her worst flare ups. So hearing that Epaderm was launching a new junior range, I was interested in finding out how well it would perform. It claims to relieve symptoms and make improvements to skin hydration and smoothness in just two weeks and I'm willing to try anything that can help relieve a little one's suffering.

The Epaderm Junior range is suitable for babies and young children with dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and has been specially developed by dermatologists. Epaderm Junior is free from nasty additives such as fragrance, colouring and SLS. Such additives can cause irritation and are best avoided.

The range offers complete emollient therapy with a 2-in-1 Epaderm Cream; a skin moisturiser and cleanser and a 3-in-1 Epaderm Ointment; a skin moisturiser, cleanser and bath additive. The cream comes in a pump action bottle and is lighter for daytime use and the ointment, which comes in a tub, is heavier for nighttime use.

We have been sent some for a trial and although both my youngest children's' skins are actually quite clear at the moment (a perk of it being summer) they still have some dry patches. We like the texture of the ointment, which feels a lot like a rich body butter. It is quite greasy, but feels nourishing on dry skin. It didn't sting at all, unlike some brands we've used in the past. The cream is very convenient in the pump dispenser and although lighter than the ointment is still quite heavy, staying on the skin and feeling hydrating. The multi-purpose nature of the products makes them a good substitute for soap, which is very useful when dealing with a child with eczema. The products are fragrance free meaning that although they don't smell great, they are made without unnecessary perfumes.

eczema cream


The new products officially launch today and are available in Boots where the 25g tub of ointment is £2.49 and the 150g bottle of cream is £7.29. These are well priced everyday emollient solutions for eczema, dry skin and psoriasis for kids of all ages.

Monday, 24 July 2017

The British Music Experience Launches their Summer Holidays Programme

Throughout the summer the British Music Experience in Liverpool will be welcoming families of all ages to come along and experience the story of British Music through costumes, instruments, performance, memorabilia and some special activities exclusively for the summer.

BME


During the school holidays the British Music Experience really does have something for everyone with highlights including the chance to get your hands on a top-flight electric guitar in the Gibson Interactive Instrument Studio, daily story time and sing along sessions for the little ones and fun craft sessions.

Open Sessions - 22nd July to 3rd September 1 pm-3pm
 Meet the Visitor Experience Musicians who are on hand every day from 1 – 3 pm in the Gibson Interactive instrument studio. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced musician, you can unleash your inner rock star with experts on hand giving valuable tips.

Story Time Sessions - Everyday at 1.30pm
Enjoy an interactive, fun for all the family, storytime session with a musical theme. Sing along to well-known tunes and embark on an adventure in the Summer of Love, meeting friends and helping solve some puzzles along the way. Suitable for all ages.

Craft A Dream Catcher - Everyday between 11am-3.30pm
In the spirit of the Summer of Love you can make your own dream catchers in a workshop that encourages kids to create a take home craft. Free and fun for everyone.

In addition to the activities, visitors can enjoy the museum, which has a collection which boasts outfits worn by legendary artists such as Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, The Spice Girls, Adam Ant and X Factor finalists not to mention musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Noel Gallagher to the Sex Pistols. There are hand written song lyrics from Adele, the original statues from the Brits and the Apple Corp front door from Saville Row.

You can learn a musical instrument with the best music equipment available, from drum kits to keyboards and even try your hand on a Gibson guitar in the Gibson Brands Interactive Studio. Teenagers will love putting their singing voice to the test in the vocal booth while younger children can Dance the Decades in the dance pop routines studio.  Perfect for music lovers of all ages.

After the main event browse an exclusive range of gifts, clothing, books and memorabilia from the Merch Store or enjoy a selection of snacks and meals in the Star Café.

Tickets are available to buy online here and directly from the Box Office at The British Music Experience. 

Adult £16
Child Under 5 FREE
Child (5-15) £11
Concession £14.50
Family Ticket £43


For more information visit: http://www.britishmusicexperience.com/

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