Monday, 17 December 2012

Spin Mania Review



Spin Mania is a brand new game from Drumond Park, the UK's leading independent games company.The game consists of a motorised spinning machine with an electronic timer, three orange helicopter-like rotary plates, a "spin spike" and three purple stands on which to set the plates once they are spinning correctly.

The challenge is to 'spin-up' the three plates on the spinning machine one at a time - and then, using your spin-spike, transfer them, still spinning, to the three separate stands. All three plates must still be spinning on their stands as the player rushes back to the timer, stops the clock, and marks the time taken. Then the next player or players strive to beat the time recorded.
What is special about the game is that the payer's opponents are going to make things very tricky indeed! Before the game starts, all payers must agree the paying area - this will be a specific room or rooms inside the house. Each one must be reasonably easy to see, they can't actually hide a stand, although it can be quite difficult to to, eg. under a table.
Initially we all found it quite tricky to even remove the plates from the spinning machine without dropping them however with a bit of practice everyone got the hang of it! My 7 year son enjoyed playing the game with his cousins and they delighted in finding obscure places to put the stands. I think they enjoyed hiding the stands more than actually playing the game!! The game tended to last a while due to the thought that was put into hiding the stands.
Overall this is a great game and will be fun to play in teams at Christmas.
It is worth pointing out that this game requires 2 x C/LR14 batteries and whilst we generally have spare batteries in the house we don't tend to have this type of battery so if you’re buying this for Christmas make sure you buy batteries at the same time.




The game is aimed at children 6+ and has a rrp of £22.99




We received a copy of Spin Mania by Drumond Park for the purposes of this review.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Barefoot SOS Face & Body Rescue Cream


I was lucky enough to win a tube of  Barefoot S.O.S.Face & Body Rescue Cream in a competition recently. I have used Barefoot products before and I can't rate them highly enough so I thought I would add a review to my blog so that hopefully other people will give them a try too. Their products are especially suited to people with skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, very dry skin.

The Barefoot S.O.S. Face & Body Rescue Cream comes in an easy to use tube with a flip lid.   The packaging is attractive and has the distinctive Barefoot logo at the top. There is also a useful leaflet which tells you a little bit about the product, the SOS Philosophy and other products in the range. You can also obtain more information from their website www.barefoot-botanicals.com

On the packaging it states "Combining the highest quality natural ethically sourced botanical extracts, pure natural moisturisers and the finest essential oils, this intensively rich and nourishing cream provides welcome relief for problem skin" - Not all companies explain what the ingredients in their product actually do but I am really impressed that Barefoot have listed the main ingredients along with an explanation of their benefits. The ingredients mentioned are as follows;

Stellaria (Chickweed) & Burdock Botanical Extracts - instantly comfort and soothe irritation

Macadamia & Evening Primrose Oil - deeply moisturise and restore parched skin

Organic Sulphur (MSM) - intensively softens and replenishes dry skin

Pure Essential Oils of Neroli & Chamomile - gently nurture the skin with a soft aroma

I was pleased to see that even though it is full of natural ingredients the best before date was in 12 months time, however if you are using it every day it won’t last anywhere near that long!

The Barefoot S.O.S. Face & Body Rescue Cream is really easy to apply and absorbs easily into my skin without leaving that sticky feel that you sometimes get with intensive moisturisers. It had a lovely aroma which you can smell as soon as the tube is opened and can still be smelt a few hours later. It isn't too heavy for my face and leaves it feeling really moisturised, even when I spend all day outside in the garden.



Saturday, 22 September 2012

Weleda

I first discovered Weleda in 2009 when my son was a baby and I was reviewing baby lotions and baby washes for TIPS. Out of all the products that I tested it was the Weleda Calendula products that I continued buying as it smelt lovely and being 100% natural it was perfect for his delicate skin. My eldest son has eczema and I found it was also good for him too as it didn't irritate his skin. Unsurprisingly the Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash was awarded the Best Baby Wash by TIPS in 2009 and has continued to win awards ever since. The Calendula Baby Care Starter Kit makes a lovely gift for a new baby and includes 5 mini sizes of the fantastic Calendula range plus a packet of Calendula seeds!

Whilst the TIPS awards was my first experience of Weleda they aren't a new company, having been around since 1921. It is pleasing to read that Weleda have never used synthetic ingredients, non-natural preservatives, artificial fragrances and colourants in any of their products. Instead they offer 100% natural plant oils derived from sun ripened seeds and fruits such as Sweet Almond and Sesame,pure essential oils from Lavender, Ylang Ylang and plant extracts of Calendula and Chamomile. 

Over the last few years I have used all of the different body washes with the Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash currently being my favourite.


Cupcakes

 Last weekend we were invited to a 40th birthday party. In the invite was the instruction to bring 2 decorated cup cakes for a competition! Now I enjoy baking but my cakes don't normally get decorated as I am not in the slightest bit artistic. Anyway not wanting to be the only family not joining in we set to and made some cakes. A trip next door to borrow a cake decorating book and we were set!

Ice Cream


This one wasn't in the book, it was an idea I pinched from another Mum at school who made some cakes for our school barbeque!
I trimmed the bottom of the cake to fit in the wafer cup and covered the cake with butter icing. I then decorated it with sprinkles, a flake and chocolate sauce.
Tortoise
For the tortoise I added green food colouring to turn the butter icing green. For the shell I used the chocolate drops that are sprinkled with hundreds and thousands and cut them into quarters.I used jelly beans for the head and legs.





  
Pig                                 
For the pig I used pink butter icing with a marshmallow nose. Two     dots of chocolate sauce formed the nostrils and pink prawn sweets became the ears. I added small blue chocolate beans for the eyes.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Grandma's Greenhouse

After years of keeping the tops of pineapples Mum has finally managed to grow a pineapple!

For years we have had pineapple plants all over the house and Mum has been convinced that she could get one to grow!
It has taken 20 years but here is a pineapple!




In among the pineapples there are also a couple of pepper plants which are coming along nicely.







She has also tried growing watermelons this year and there are currently 3 growing!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Fruit Shoot Smencils

When I was younger I received some scented pencils as a Birthday present. There were in a pack of four and were supposed to smell of Pineapple, Blackcurrant, Tropical Fruits and Orange. I say "supposed to smell" as all 4 pencils smelt exactly the same! 


Fast forward 30 years and I have received some new scented pencils for the boys to try out. Smencils  are the world's only scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspaper! Each pencils is in a plastic tube (made from biodegradable plastic) guaranteeing freshness for 2 years! 

We received the Original Fruit Shoot Smencils set which contained 5 pencils - Blackcurrant & Apple, Tropical, Apple, Orange and Summer Fruits. Every single pencil smelt just like the fruit and the boys loved them. As well as using them as pencils they kept taking them out of the tube to smell them! It will be interesting to see if they still smell as good in two years time but certainly at the minute I am very impressed.

A pack of 5 costs £5.99 from Learning Resources


If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a set of Robinsons Fruit Shoot Smencils just answer the question on the Learning Resources Facebook page. The closing date is midnight on Friday 14th September. Good Luck!

Home made Lemon Meringue Pie

This morning I made a lemon meringue pie. It smells delicious! The first time I made it I used a pyrex dish which made it tricky to serve. This time I used a spring form cake tin  which means I can take it out of the tin easily.

Here's the recipe I used

1. Roll out enough sweet pastry to line the cake tin.
2. Prick the pastry with a fork and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Make the filling by mixing 45g of cornflour with 75g of unrefined golden caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.
4. Bring 200ml of water to the boil, reduce to a simmer and then mix in the cornflour paste and the zest and juice of 3 large lemons.
5. Mix until thickened and remove from heat then whisk in 3 egg yolks.
6. Pour the filling into the pastry case.
7. Make the meringue by whisking 3 egg whites with 175g of unrefined golden caster sugar.
8. Spread the meringue over the filling and bake in a cool oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Monday, 20 August 2012

School Uniform

In September my eldest son starts high school. Up until now I have not been able to shop around for uniform as we could only buy it from a local stockist. Now he is going to high school I have been able to shop around for the basics and found these long sleeved white shirts from Next. The shirts are in packs of 2 and start at £8.00 for age 3 and go right up to age 16 costing £13.00.

The added bonus of these shirts is that they are easy to iron! Very important in our house as anything that helps save time is fantastic.

As well as shirts Next have a wide range of school uniform - have a look at their wide range here.

Baking

My sons love baking and as it was wet yesterday we decided to make a cake. This is the cake that we made (and it tasted delicious!)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Sudocrem Mousse Facebook competition




WIN a family trip to Centre Parcs up to the value of £1,000
With NEW Sudocrem Mousse
Sudocrem Mousse is asking you to take their Mascot, Bruce the Moose, on the tour of his life this summer, capture a moment on camera and share your funny or original picture with the community! Only 100 lucky applicants will receive a toy and make it to stage 2, then have the chance to WIN the grand prize of a trip to Centre Parks up to the value of £1,000.




Stage 1 entry - For all entrants wanting to apply for their Bruce The Moose
To be in with a chance of receiving your Bruce The Moose toy
·         Step 1 – Go to www.facebook.com/SudocremMousse and ‘Like’ the page
·         Step 2 – Click on the Bruce on Tour application, register your details and complete the sentence I am going to take Bruce The Sudocrem Moose to.....”.  Make it fun, make it original, and you could be one of the lucky 100.
·         Step 3 – We will select the best 100 applications for a Bruce toy and send him to you to take on your travels over the summer.

Stage 2 entry - For the 100 successful applicants
·         Take a photo of Bruce  and upload it to www.facebook.com/SudocremMousse (remember to make it entertaining, inspiring and original)
·         Sudocrem will select the 5 finalists and shortly afterwards announce their winner.

If you are the lucky winner, you will WIN a stay at one of the UK’s leading holiday parks, CentreParcs up to the value of £1,000. Four runners up will win a family day pass to Chessington World of Adventures.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Blue Harbour Spa in London’s Chelsea Harbour


Being a parent can be hard work and I'm sure there are many parents who are in need of a little bit of pampering.

The Blue Harbour Spa might just be the place to go!

Blue Harbour Spa Acupuncture Introductory Offer
The Blue Harbour Spa in London’s Chelsea Harbour has recently added Acupuncture to its treatment list and is offering an introductory deal of £60 for your first session, until the end of July. Sessions last up to an hour and require a short consultation prior to the appointment. Available every Thursday from 11am-7pm.
Olympic Spa Treatment Deals   
With the London Olympics just around the corner, the spa has some very special offers to keep you relaxed and ready for the world’s biggest sporting occasion:
Gold Medal Offer £75
Includes an Aching Foot Relaxer or De-Stress Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage (30mins)
PLUS:
• 30-minute personal training session with a fully qualified and experienced personal trainer.
• 15% discount on Aromatherapy Associates products.
• A full day’s use of the extensive spa facilities, including a 17-metre indoor swimming pool with swan neck waterfalls and body jets, fitness suite, sauna and steam rooms, as well as the Spa CafĂ©.
Silver Medal Package £90
Includes VOYA Muslin Bag Massage (80mins)
A real sensory treat. Warm soaked bags of organic herbs and seaweed are massaged into the body to release precious seaweed oils which gently exfoliate and nourish your skin. Completely indulgent!
PLUS:
• A full day’s use of the extensive spa facilities.
Bronze Medal Package £75
Includes De-Stress Muscle Massage (60mins)
A full body massage incorporating the powerful properties of aromatherapy oils, with stretching and deep tissue work. The ultimate in relaxation!
PLUS:
• A half day’s use of the extensive spa facilities.
For more information or to book any of the above deals please call 020 7300 5011. Offers valid until 31 August 2012.The Blue Harbour Spa in London’s Chelsea Harbour

Monday, 2 July 2012

FYFO

FYFO


Where do you go when you want an unusual bag that is going to really finish off an outfit? When you are going to a wedding or special event you need a bag with a real "Wow" factor. 
I recently discovered a fantastic on-line store that has just this sort of bag. FYFO have a huge range of bags that are suitable for every occasion. Irregular Choice and Gola are the main bag brands that they stock and they really have something for everyone.
I was really spoilt for choice when I was browsing the website and after a lot of deliberation finally decided on this gorgeous Sweety Bird Grab bag in red, by Irregular Choice.

The bag itself is red with an unusual fabric flower on the front. The flower is made from lots of smaller contrasting pieces of material and looks absolutely stunning.





On the reverse the bag is plain red with an attractive frill around the edge.

The bag is just the right size to hold all the essentials. There is plenty of room for all the essentials and a handy zip pocket where I keep my phone.

The bag also comes with a pink drawstring bag to protect it when you are not using it.

With free standard delivery on all UK orders this is one website you should take a look at!


Thank you to FYFO for letting me choose a bag from their site.


Monday, 25 June 2012


 

To add height to our garden we added a border at the end of the grass. Rather than fill it with lots of different shrubs we thought it would look colourful if we filled it with lupins.
Despite getting battered by the torrential rain on Saturday they are still looking good and we are so pleased with them we are entering them into the great garden moments competition








Monday, 19 March 2012

Kitchen Inventions - the mixing bowl cleaners




I love baking and I frequently have little helpers who enjoy baking too! Once I have finished baking my bowl is always spotless due to my mixing bowl cleaners! They start by using a spoon to get out every last bit of mixture and end up with their head in the bowl to make sure that every last scrap of mixture is gone.

On Saturday we decided to make a cake for Grandad's 65th birthday. After a lot of discussion my sons both decided that Grandad would like a chocolate cake. (Probably the fact that it is their favourite helped make their minds up). We measured out the ingredients, managed to break the eggs all over the work surface and get flour everywhere. This happens quite frequently when we are baking and adds to the fun. After all it is Mum that gets the job of tiding up all the mess that is made!!!
The ingredients were eventually mixed together, poured into the tin and put in the oven. Once this was done the most exciting part of cake baking occurs - cleaning out the bowl! Today my mixing bowl cleaners had a bonus because we had used the electric mixer to make the cake so we had an extra two beaters for them to clean. They quickly licked the beaters before progressing to the bowl and as usual the bowl was spotlessly clean once they had done their magic.

The recipe said bake for 20 to 25 minutes however when we looked at the cake after 25 minutes it was still runny in the middle. We left it for another 5 minutes, and checked it again but it still wasn't ready. We didn't want the cake to burn so I turned it round and set the timer for another 7 minutes. This time the cake was looking less runny so we left it for a further 5 minutes before we decided it was finally done.


Once the cake had cooled we decorated it with melted chocolate, cherries and edible pink glitter. Grandad thought his cake was delicious and really enjoyed his birthday party.










Monday, 30 January 2012

Charnos Tights Tester

Back in November I spotted a post on the Charnos Facebook page looking for people to test their tights. I tend to struggle with tights as I am 6' tall and most tight manufacturers tend to think women only grow up to 5'10." I have tried wearing the tights for women up to 5'10" but they are just not long enough, quite obvious really but very frustrating! I have lost count of the number of pairs of tights I have ruined by trying to pull them up far enough, they either ladder at the top or my toes go through the foot. Occasionally I think I have found a pair that fit but they go on OK in the morning and then gradually start sneaking their way down my legs and I spend all day trying to hoist them up and make them comfortable again! For this reason I tend to wear trousers in winter as whilst I prefer skirts my legs are just too pale to be seen without tights in winter. When I saw the post I was quite excited as I realised Charnos had recognised the very problem that I have with tights and had come up with a website to help women decide what leg shape they are and to match the right tights to their shape - Fantastic!!!

The first thing I needed to do before I could apply to be a tester was to determine what my leg shape was by going to the Lessons in Legs website where there were 6 leg types to choose from. Being 6 foot tall it was quite easy to decide which of the pictures was most like my legs and I now know my legs are the Flamingo type! The description for Flamingo legs is "long and slim, most would be envious but you'd like to add some more shape to really make your legs stand out." The website suggested that I should try texture and pattern to give my legs a fuller look, keeping it shapely and feminine.
Armed with this information I emailed Charnos and was quite excited when they emailed me back and asked me to be a flamingo tights tester for them.

I was sent two pairs of tights to review for them, Luxury Knit Cable Rib Tights in grey which are £12.50 and Mary & Charnos Sheer 10 Tights in Super Shadow, £9.50 and you can see me wearing them in the two pictures.

The thick grey luxury knit cable rib tights are brilliant, I have worn them such a lot with my denim skirt and they have kept my legs lovely and warm, especially on a very cold Sunday at Blackpool Zoo. They fit perfectly and have washed superbly well. I would not normally have considered grey tights however now I have tried them I really do like the colour and they go really well with denim. They are also available in black and chocolate.

The Mary & Charnos Sheer 10 tights were lovely and soft and again fit perfectly. The tights are very natural looking and you can hardly see them when you're wearing them. The cardboard packaging is very attractive and would stand out on a display of tights as it is so stylish and different to other manufacturers packaging.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Big Book Babble

Red House and Scholastic have created a fantastic online book resource aimed at children aged 7 to 11 called Big Book Babble. The aim of Big Book Babble is to encourage children to enjoy reading and each programme will feature a popular children’s author interviewed by comedian James Campbell. The programmes will also feature work submitted by children and include a profile of a second author, illustrator or poet, plus a question and answer session involving both the live and virtual audience.

The Big Book Babble show will be streamed live promptly at 11am and will last approximately 30 minutes. It is recommended that you sign-in 15 minutes earlier to ensure that you can access the website.

The website tells you the dates and authors and there is also an option to sign up to the newsletter to keep up-to-date with news of the authors, illustrators and poets who are being featured in each show.

The first Big Book Babble is at 11am on Tuesday 24th January 2012 and features Andy Stanton and Liz Pichon. There is also the opportunity to ask questions and this can be done by emailing questions@bigbookbabble.co.uk. For those that can’t watch live you can also access on demand later which is great as it means we can watch it later in the evening together.

As there are schools in the audience there is a lot of audience participation and online viewers can also take part with the interactive chat box under the film. We watched the Andy Stanton Big Book Babble and thought it was very well done, Andy was very funny and my two sons who are 10 and 6 both really enjoyed it too. We haven’t read any Mr Gum books but after watching this I will certainly be getting some for my sons!

Big Book Babble looks like it will be fantastic for children and I am looking forward to seeing what other authors take part in Big Book Babble in the future.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tractor Ted Mighty Maize Machine DVD




The combination of living on a farm and having two sons has resulted in an ever growing collection of books, DVDs and toys, all with a farming theme. One of our favourites is Tractor Ted and Luke was really excited when I asked him if he could review the Tractor Ted Mighty Maize Machine DVD.


As we have quite a lot of Tractor Ted DVDs I was interested to see what he thought of the new DVD and after watching it 4 times on the trot he declared that this DVD is his favourite because you get to see the huge forage harvester!

The DVD lasts approximately 40 minutes and is narrated by Tractor Ted. During the course of the film we get to see real life footage of farms including cows and sheep being milked as well as the highlight of the film, the huge forage harvester. The DVD shows real people working on their farms and it is interesting seeing the different jobs that the farmers do. There are plenty of tractor and machine shots to keep children interested and the narration is excellent, it appeals to both children and adults.
As with all Tractor Ted DVDs there is a catchy song that you find yourself singing again and again. The Harvesting Song is a great sing-a-long song and has a tune that really sticks in your mind.

Overall this is a fantastic DVD that is educational and fun and has been watched many times over the last couple of weeks.