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Still shopping? Take a peek at my gift guide for the whole Family

Friday 19 December 2014

I have been very lucky to have been sent some wonderful items on the run up to Christmas. I will tell you a little about them and let you decide who they would be suitable for!

Jam plus wireless speaker: £39.99

The first thing I noticed about this was the packaging - how different? It is a toughened plastic jar with a metal screw on lid, perfect for storing the speaker when its not in use.

The sound on this speaker on its own is fantastic but there is also the option to buy two and use the switch underneath to make one left and the other right for a surround sound affect.

It is incredibly easy to use and set up - simply power speaker up, go into the Bluetooth section of your device, once your Bluetooth is enabled it will begin searching and within a few seconds you will see "Jam Plus" appear, simply select this option and you are connected! select a song on your device and away you go.

The other great thing is that it is rechargeable so you wont be spending an arm and leg on batteries. It comes complete with a short USB cable for charging and will provide you up to 4 hours of wireless play.

We really love this speaker and think it would be perfect for Teenagers and Adults alike, I am forever using it and being asked by Liv to turn it down!

I would definitely recommend this as a gift and may have purchased one myself :)

Available in pink/black (looks more dark grey)

Elle Macpherson compact LED beauty mirror: £9.50

This mirror is simply amazing. It looks fantastic with is pearly casing and Elles branding, then once opened there are not one, but two mirrors inside. The bottom mirror is illuminated and the top mirror is 2 x magnified.

I have found this has replaced my usual larger make up mirror as it is really precise, especially when applying things like eyeliner. The LED lights make it perfect for use in dimly lit areas too.

Elle herself explains "I'm constantly on the go so I always carry a compact mirror in my handbag as it's really handy for doing those little touch ups! The best thing about it is the LEDs which light up the mirror so you can see much more clearly -perfect for both day and night."

I would recommend this for pretty much any Female! I can't imagine being without it now and it is only £9.50!

Jam Rewind retro speaker:

This speaker is honestly amazing. It is a little bigger than my IPhone 5C and works solely through Bluetooth up to 10 metres so 100% portable. If you are a little dubious about sound quality like I was - don't be. The 4 speaker sound it produces is absolutely fantastic!

This has been thought out really well with the "cassette" case turning into a carry case or stand for your phone.

The controls buttons on this speaker are a lot bigger than the Jam plus speaker so ideal for someone who would struggle looking for smaller buttons.

It really couldn't be easier to use - power on, go in to Bluetooth in your device where it will search for the speaker for a few seconds then connect, the speaker will announce "CONNECTED" Then simply go into your music and choose a song.

Easily recharged with the small USB cable provided, once fully charged, the battery will last up to 8 hours.

I have gifted this to my Dad to use in his workshop at work as his Ipod has broken, he can use this with his phone instead. 

Speakerphone means you can easily move from music to calls

Priced at £49.99

Jam transit wireless stereo headphones: £59.99

These Bluetooth headphones are completely wireless (up to 10 metres) They are fully adjustable so will fit an older Child to Adult. They come with a built in microphone to enable you to switch between music and calls seamlessly. 

NO batteries required! Simply charge with the USB cable provided and the battery will last up to 11 hours! 

You don't even have to have your device to hand to control song selection, volume etc as there are volume, skip back/forward and play/pause controls on the outside of the right earpiece.

Available in black, white or red.

Rokit gel nailpolish professional kit:

I'm going to start this with a confession. I am a nail biter. Always have been. I regularly try to stop but never seem to manage it for long. I have currently been abstaining for a couple of months and while the nails on my left hand are coming along nicely, my right hand just keeps breaking, its so disheartening.

I am hoping this professional kit will be the answer to all of my problems. using this kit was the first time I have ever painted my nails *shame face* There has simply never been any point!

What's in the box:
  • LED curing lamp,
  • Nail file/buffer,
  • Lint free pads,
  • Cuticle stick
  • Rokit ready solution
  • Rokit remove solution
  • 1 step gel polish in Shock Pink

This gel polish however has helped to protect my flimsy nails from breaking while I try desperately to grow them, it has also helped because it stops me actually biting them, as soon as I absent mindedly go to do it I remember or feel the polish and stop.

Even for a complete amateur like me this kit was easy and produced fabulous results.

Top left - Postbox red. Top right - Shock Pink
Bottom Left - Purple Couture. Bottom Right - Bordeaux Red

Following the simple instructions I wiped my nails over with the Rokit Ready solution and lint free wipes  (provided). Next I used the nail file/buffer and cuticle stick to shape my nails and tidy up my cuticles.

Then came the painting! Following the instructions again I carefully applied one thin layer of polish and popped my hand into the LED curing lamp, pressed the button and stayed in place until the 32 LED lights switched off. 

Then I applied another thin layer and popped it back in the LED lamp to cure. My nails looked seriously amazing for the second time in my life (I had acrylics applied for my wedding day)  I remember it taking absolutely forever and smelling so bad, it was worth it though because they did look lovely. I couldn't believe I had achieved the same affect without using a base coat, primer or top coat, sitting at my dining table at home in about 45 minutes!

I wore the Bordeaux Red for 10 days without any dulling, chipping or peeling despite washing up numerous times and decorating, I'm convinced it would have easily lasted 14 days. I was very impressed and will definitely be investing in some of the other colours for when all of my nails are lovely, long and strong.

To remove, simply soak your nails in the removal fluid for around 5 minutes. During this time most of the polish should have peeled off. Any remaining polish can be removed with the cuticle stick.
This kit is currently on sale for £70.00 at Debenhams (RRP £100) If you are in two minds, pop over and read the reviews its not just me that loves this kit.

Disclaimer - I was sent these items for the purpose of the review, however all wording and images are my own.

Christmas 2014 with Poundland.

Friday 5 December 2014

So last week I was challenged by Poundland to spend £30 in store. Challenge? Really? Easy peasy!

Here is what we bought:

Yep, all of that totalled just £30! Here is more detail about what we bought.


I liked the look of this Merry Christmas hanging glittery garland because our baubles are teal to match our living room and hot pink because Olivia loves pink.

This matches the colour scheme well and hung over a canvas on the wall and I must say it looks lovely.

We also bought this paper chain kit. It has 30 red strips, 30 blue strips, 30 cream strips and 30 green strips pre cut all ready for you to transform into lovely paper chains. I cut some little pieces of tape up and showed Liv what to do, she absolutely loved it and is showing everyone her decorations she made.

Here she is in action.

I was looking for something different for a table centre piece when I came across this plastic cocktail bowl. I found a silver tinsel wreath for it to stand in and picked up a silver wired ribbon to tie around the bowl.

Then I added some punch to the bowl, a ladle for serving and some festive wine glasses - it looked lovely and went down a storm at the weekend.

Cupboard essentials.

It was very hard to choose just a few Christmas treats form the huge section our Pondland had in store. We eventually decided on a bag of BBQ Nobbys nuts, orange and mint Matchmakers, mint poppets and a chocolate orange (so Liv doesn't steal all of Daddys)

We also picked up some Cadburys Hot chocolate (should be £1.99 as you can see on the tub) and small marshmallows for our traditional Christmas Eve drink.

I also picked up this Postbox bottle gift box, it is a lovely design and will come in handy as I hate wrapping bottles.

I also chose a Large gift bag for carrying gfts around on Christmas Day - last year our bag broke on the way out of the door and we ended up carrying a black bin liner around - festive! Liv chose a "Santa please stop here" sign and a roll of Princess paper - essential when you have a 3 year old Daughter.

Homemade Christmas gifts:
We followed an idea on Poundlands YouTube channel to make some gifts from a box of mini candy canes and some cake pop sticks.

Here's how we turned these into lovely Christmas lollies:

  •  Pop the candy canes onto some grease proof paper in the shape of hearts.

  • Melt some chocolate (we used a leftover white chocolate Easter egg) Spoon the chocolate into the hearts

  • Using the end of a cake pop stick, I swirled the chocolate to level it out, then placed the stick in place.

  • Lastly we decorated with some Christmas sprinkles we had in the cupboard and popped in the fridge so the chocolate could set.

They look lovely and were so easy to do.

Stocking filllers:

Olivia has a Frozen (clear) lip balm, Penguin shaped chocolates, a chocolate Smarties penguin and a Hello Kitty bag containing a necklace, ring and hair bobble.
 Daddy always has a Chocolate Orange as a stocking gift - it is tradition! This year I have also added these super clever smart phone compatible gloves. I have seen these elsewhere at a lot more than £1. He is a Salesman so is outside in all weather and uses his phones calculator through the day, of course this means taking his gloves off which leaves his hands freezing. These gloves have some magic in the forefinger and thumbs which allows you to use your smartphone or tablet while still wearing them! 

Charlie the Dog has aChristmas stocking too (bought from Poundland 5 years ago!) This year he will be receiving some Miss fit chews, 2 candy cane treats, a squeaky Christmas pudding and Christmas tree toys and a Jumbone - happy Charlie!

Livs Grandad has a very sweet tooth so alongside his real gifts, I always get him a couple of sweet treat. Liv will no doubt try to help him polish them off. This year he will be getting some Walnut Whips and a box of Maltesers.

We had great fun taking part in this challenge and will be visiting many more time before Christmas as the value is always so fantastic.

Why not check out Poundlands other great ideas? You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Disclaimer - we were provided with £30 vouchers to but products however all images and opinion are our own.

Our thoughts on the October Degustabox.

Thursday 27 November 2014

This month we were very lucky to receive a fabulous box of treats from the lovely Degustabox.

After confirming my delivery details I was advised that I would be contacted with a two hour delivery window on the day of delivery which was very helpful and also sent my excitement through the roof!

Here is a sneak peak inside the packed box - excitement by now is off the scale!

 Enough teasing - here is the total contents of the box. A really good mixture and some products I have not seen before which I love.

So here we go, these are our thoughts on the products we received.

Special K cracker crisps RRP £1.29

Usually in our house, when you want crisps you get crisps because every low fat version we have tried have been nothing like the real thing. these however are so yummy we have bought them ourselves since. A hit with Mummy, Daddy and Liv.

Jelly Belly RRP £2.50

Yummy slightly sour jelly beans in 5 flavours. Liv actually ate these and she never eats any kind of sweets!

Solo Marshmallow Crème RRP £1.99

I really didn't know what to expect when I opened this pot! Sticky, sweet marshmallow crème was a perfect filling for a "no bake cake" Available from www.americansoda.co.uk.

Liv used a scone cutter on a piece of brioche bread, spread marshmallow crème on, she cut another piece, popped that onto then topped that with a chocolate spread and sprinkles from the cupboard.

Brioche Pasquier sliced Brioche loaf RRP £1.69

This brioche loaf was amazing! It almost has a cake sponge like texture and the lovely sweetness made for requests of "more toast please Mummy" at breakfast time.

Brioche Pasquire pain au lait with choc chips £1.60

These little brioche rolls were delicious (for the five minutes they lasted in the cupboard!) They have a lovely moist texture and the chocolate is ever so slightly bitter so it isn't too sweet. Perfect slightly melted after 10 seconds in the microwave.

Get buzzing flapjack £1.30

This lovely flapjack was packed full of nuts, moist and very moreish, I instantly regretted sharing it with my Husband! Available at www.getbuzzing.co.uk

Enhance drinks £2.49

This handy pot is filled with fruit juice ready to transform your water into a delicious drink. These juices are aimed at Adults, contains no added sugar and roughly 1 calorie per squirt. While this is a fantastic idea to pop into your handbag, we found the Orange & Passion fruit quite bitter but I would definitely try a different flavour.

Bear paws fruit snack £0.55p plus (Plus Alpha bites cereal sample)

The bear fruits snacks contain no added sugar or concentrates but were still very flavoursome and sweet. Definitely a healthier option for Childrens treats. The cereal went down without any coaxing so I assume that was tasty too even without any refined sugar or salt!

Blue Dragon sweet chilli sauce 2 x £1.39

We are big fans of Blue Dragon, especially this sauce. We love to add it to stir-fry's for an extra zing and I also use quite a lot of it while making pulled pork in the slow cooker  delicious.

DR Oetker premium 90% extra dark chocolate RRP £2.49 and DR Oetker fine dark cocoa powder.

I love DR Oetker products for baking, they are definitely number one on my list. I had hoped to make a cake to show these products but sadly I haven't had time. I will update when I have made one but I know from previous experience that these products are lovely. I will be visiting www.oetker.co.uk/chocolate

Kent's kitchen £2.50

This little Jalfrezi kit was definitely my favourite item in the box. I didn't follow the instructions on the packet (makes the meal in 20 minutes) but instead added the chicken and oil to my slow cooker for 30 minutes then added the spice pot, onions, tomatos and pepper for another 30 before adding the paste pot and leaving for a couple more hours.

My Husband mouth started watering the moment he stepped in the door as the house smelled amazing! It was a tiny touch too hot for me but a splash of cream would have made it perfect.

We definitely be buying this and the other flavours.

Also included in the box was a voucher to get 4 Benecol Greek style yoghurts from a participating retailer. We haven't exchanged our voucher as yet but will definitely be giving them a try.

We have thouroughly enjoyed receiving and reviewing the contents of the October box and hope to continue bringing you these reviews.

If you're like me and get tired of cooking and eating the same meals out of habit - why not get spice things up? A Degustabox can be yours for just £12.99 a month including delivery!

You can find out more about Degustabox on their website and contact them on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclaimer - I was sent the box and contents for the purpose of the review, however all opinion and images are our own.

Introducing Livs Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse - review.

This two-story Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse can only be described as magnificent! It truly is a dream house - I feel terribly deprived that I didn't have one as a Child! Complete with lovely details that are easily recognisable to anyone who watches "Barbie Life in the Dream house" like the pink double doors and "B" logo/Barbie silhouette. 
On the ground floor you will find the grand double doors allowing access to the hallway - complete with chandelier of course!

To the left of the entrance is the living room with accessories like a table lamp and telephone - Liv loves sitting her dolls on the sofa and engaging in some comical role play.

When relaxing time is over, to the right of the hallway is a lovely kitchen. Both the fridge and oven have working doors allowing items to be placed inside. The kitchen has every accessory your little one could imagine, from cutlery and crockery to pans, bottles of milk and orange juice and pizza fresh from the oven. I have great fun watching Liv playing in the kitchen especially and it is heart warming hearing her repeat things I say to her like explaining why we have to wash our hands before cooking and only Adults are allowed to touch the oven because it gets very hot - adorable! 
Once Barbie is relaxed, full up and the kitchen is clean, she can travel up to the second floor in grand style via the working spiral staircase complete with an "aquarium" column (TIP when attaching the stickers use the pulley to move the clear part of the pole upwards. I stuck the fish on this part so when the doll is travelling upstairs there appears to be no fish in the bottom half of the aquarium, oops!). To allow Barbie to use the staircase you simply clip her in by the waist and use the tab on the side to take her up or down the spiral staircase.
Upstairs is what Liv used as a play room complete with a TV - this can be made even more special by popping a smartphone (not included) into the wall mounted TV/smartphone holder. There is even a tiny remote control!
The very glamorous bedroom has a large bed complete with two pillows and a lovely soft blanket, but that's not all. Lift up the bed to reveal a wardrobe including coat hangers on the left and a shower on the right. Once out of the shower, Barbie can head to the bathroom to finish getting ready at her dressing table full of accessories (including toothbrushes and paste) and even a toilet with a working lid.
Below is the Dolls house all folded up, complete with all furniture for storage. We were very pleasantly surprised at how compact it actually is once it's closed up. 
It's clear to see that there's been a lot of thought put into this house, the little things like the grooves on table tops to allow the lamps/glasses/flowers to "plug in". It has made playing far more enjoyable for Liv because she isn't constantly knocking things over.
Everything you need is in the box - apart from the Dolls. If you are buying this for a Christmas gift I would recommend assembly before the big day if possible as it took me around 45 minutes to assemble and I imagine would have been longer with an excited 3 year old "helping" on Christmas morning!
TOP TIP! - Attach the stickers to the outside of the house before assembling otherwise it can get a bit fiddly.
I can honestly say Liv absolutely adores this House, she plays happily with it for hours and seeing her act out bedtime is simply priceless. I would definitely recommend this house, I think it is really good value as the house is very sturdy, great quality and packed full of accessories for hours of imaginary play.

I have found the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse on sale here for £55 - a huge £44 saving! 
Recommended for age 3+ Please note no dolls are included with the house, each doll is sold separately.
Disclaimer - we were sent the Barbie Malibu house for the purpose of the review. However, all opinion and images are our own.

The Christmas Boutique - see what goodies we were sent!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Recently we were very lucky to be sent a box of beautiful Christmas goodies from the lovely people over at The Christmas Boutique

Now if you ask me there isn't many things more exciting than opening a box full of Christmas goodies *excited face*
This is what greeted me inside:
How lovely? 
My favourite is the Soft Light Brown Fabric Moose Draught Excluder (£19.99) 

I'm going to struggle to put him away in January I can tell, although how much time he will spend on the floor I can't say as Liv has taken to trying to wear him as a scarf! 

We also received this beautiful Silver Cluster Bell Heart Shaped Hanging Decoration - Medium (3 sizes available) - £8.99. 

This is makes the most beautiful jingle sounds when moved and will look lovely hanging in our hall.

We FINALLY have out own advent calendar! I've been meaning to get once since Liv was born but now we have this lovely Extra Long Fabric Star Advent Calendar with Felt Numbers - (£19.99) 

It is the perfect colouring for our teal and neutral living room. I also love that there are 
different sized pockets, some big enough for a small gift as well as a chocolate in the 
smaller pockets.

The White Cotton & Silver Jacquard Floral Pattern Table Runner - (£18.99) is beautiful but quite short (140 x 40 cm) It doesn't run the length of our table so we have had to use it width ways instead which still looks lovely.

It adds a touch of festivity to the otherwise undecorated table and could be used all year round.

These Set of Three Silver Glitter Star Mobile Decorations - (£9.99) are really lovely.

They are quite big and will look lovely hanging from a door handle or on a cabinet.

We really love the Silver Snowflake Christmas Tree Topper Decoration - (3 designs available) - £12.99. 

Last year we changed our colour scheme on the tree but couldn't find a silver star we liked so I ended up spraying the old gold one silver, I was dreading what it would come of the box looking like 12 months on but now I needn't worry :)

I plan on using these Set of Three Small Clip On Dove Christmas Decorations - (£4.99) in some Christmas flowers. 

I want to get a twig or something similar to sit in the centre of a bouquet of flowers with one of these doves clipped to it. It's nice to add that touch of luxury.
I plan on adding this Silver Snowflake & Jingle Bell Christmas Garland - (£6.99) to a wreath I made last year. It will really give it a lovely finishing touch.

A little about the company:

"The Christmas Boutique was started to offer a great selection of Christmas Ornaments & Decorations available in once place with easy delivery options..
Our buyers search the globe to find exciting and often exclusive items for our Christmas st which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year offering amazing decorations for your home.

We have designed the store for easy shopping and browsing and have also put together great collections of decoration ideas for Christmas, so if you have a theme for your home you can easily find a range that would complement what you have already or simple choose a new collection to decorate this Christmas."
I strongly recommend you pop over to www.thechristmasboutique.co.uk I can guarantee there is something for all tastes.

While the products are a little more pricey than you would find in a typical high street shop, they are of high quality and you also have the bonus that you are highly unlikely to be decorating your house with the exact same items that several of your friends have bought too!

I would definitely recommend the company to Friends and Family and will be purchasing some more items before the big day. 

With FREE standard delivery (3 - 5 working days) what have you got to lose?!

Disclaimer - we were sent these items for the purpose of the review, however all opinion and photographs are our own.