Finding the best toy prices made easy.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Everyone loves a bargain right? The trouble is they aren't always that easy to come across.

I find myself getting all green eyed monster when someone tells me they just half the price I did for the same product.

So this year I was determined to get the best prices on my Christmas gifts and have spent the last few weeks searching around in store and online trying to find the best prices for the toys on my ever growing Christmas shopping list.

 
With Liv, four Nieces, three Nephews and two lovely Friends Daughters to buy for that is a LOT of toys!

I have so many lists I am seriously losing track. One list of ideas for each Child, then another with different shops and what prices they are offering, plus another with online offers.

 Of course the prices are changing almost every day at the moment with all of the different offers, discounts and of course the relatively new Black Friday.

Can you hear my stress levels rapidly rising?! I was in serious danger of spending too much just to get them elusive ticks on my list.
Well stress no more! The genius people at My Voucher Codes have created a Christmas toy price monitor! It is such a simple yet affective idea - it shows you the best prices on toys and where to buy them at that price - could it be any easier!

Would you like me to share this wonderful monitor with you? Of course you would - here it is:



Now could someone please do the same for food, drinks and decorations please . . . . .

 

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.

Guide to Christmas Gifts for under £10

Monday, 24 November 2014

Whether you’re looking to top up a stocking or need a present for that difficult-to-buy-for individual, there can be a few stressful hours wasted on trying to find those little presents during your Christmas shopping.

Whoever you are looking to buy for, this handy guide will hopefully give you some ideas. Here I make some suggestions for presents under £10 for the different personalities in your life.  

The Techie on the Go
You are sure to know someone who is forever on their tabletor notebook. Maybe they are a regular commuter who likes to catch up with their favourite series on their way into work or perhaps it’s a colleague who does work on the train. Tablet Slip Cases (available for £9.99 from Electric Shop) are a convenient lightweight solution to protecting devices.

The Movie Fan
For fans of actors such as Robert De Niro and Sly Stallone, there are some great box sets of their classic films on DVD to provide hours of entertainment. Websites such as Zavvi and WOWHD run some great DVD offers. Alternatively, if your friend or family member is a telly addict, there are some great series available for under £10 from An Idiot Abroad to Downton Abbey.



The No Fuss Music Fan
The Pin Badge Mp3 Player available at notonthehighstreet.com is a small, portable DVD player capable of fitting on up to 200 songs. To add extra thought to the gift you could load up the light weight gadget with songs that your recipient loves.

The Outdoorsy Type
The True Utility Scout Task Light Torch is the perfect gift for the keen camper, early morning fisherman or night owl. For only £10 (from John Lewis) this is a professional standard piece of equipment which is sure to be of practical use for a range of people.

The Board Gamer
The Works is a great retailer to turn to when you are looking for cheap gifts. They have a fantastic selection of board games themed around TV programmes and other fun subjects for around £10 which will provide entertainment on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and into the New Year. There are even some more traditional games such as Chinese Checkers for elder relatives.




The Sporty One
If The Works haven’t got what you are looking for, chances are you will find it at Sportdirect.com. The sports retailer havean extensive range of sports wear and equipment as well as some quirky gifts such as a Xmas Roulette Drinking Game and a Mini Air Hockey table.

Get Personalised
A quick fix for a thoughtful present would be a mug with aspecial photograph printed on. There are a number of websites that run this service with most offering mugs for under £10.

Must have bathroom accessories - giving your bathroom personality.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Like any room in your house, you will want your bathroom to display your personality. A bathroom needs to be a place where you can get ready for the day ahead, somewhere you can relax in, and a place which is blatantly a part of your home. 

Bathroom suppliers such as Ideal Outlet have an extensive range of fantastic products which allow you to put your stamp on this most important of rooms. I’ve trawled the web to find the best accessories available. Have a read of these top 6 tips and see if there is anything which will transform your bathroom into the perfect place for you. 

1) Funky Shower Curtains.

Today it is easy to find shower curtains with a range of awesome designs. A quick search of Pinterest will bring out great pieces of art work printed onto curtain nylon. Ocean graphics are a particular favourite with whimsical whale likenesses and octopus tentacles reaching up to boat on sea level. If you would prefer a more muted pattern for your shower, 2015 will see 1980s LA pastel shade come back into fashion or for something brighter, deep Mediterranean blues look to be in.   

2) Black Baths.

For those looking for an alternative to the regular white or cream porcelain bath, there is now the super cool black bath option. Baths such as the Saratoga Freestanding Oval bath are ultra-stylish as well as comfortable. Black baths make a fantastic centrepiece for a bathroom as well as a worthy dinner party conversation topic!

3) Quirky Plugs.

Designers of bathroom accessories are forever keen to spot a fun opportunity. It is no surprise, then, that there is a range of novelty plugs available for the more zany bathroom. A particular favourite is the fish body stuck over the plug to give the impression of a poor fishy being stuck going down the drain. 
 

An even more melancholy accessory is the polar bear stuck on a solitary iceberg floating (attached to the plug to provide a cord to pull on). Along a similar vein, there are the hippos or the crocodiles head (just appearing at water level), a tethered boat or a pug in a rubber ring (obviously).  

4) Luxury Linen Baskets.

For the classier home, wicker linen baskets now come in a range of styles to suit different décor. Wall-mounted wicker baskets provide more floor space in your bathroom and wire frame designs give an alternative while sticking with the rustic theme.

5) Marvellous Mirrors.

Mirrors are fantastically versatile enabling you to really hone the style of your bathroom through this feature. Whether you want stylish back lighting, a minimalist copper frame or something more quirky, you will have no problem finding a mirror or frame that suits you. 

6) Gorgeous Gadgets.

Bathroom gadgets come in all shapes, sizes and prices from the rather extravagant cyber mirror (basically a smart TV in a mirror – RRP £3749!) to the water-saving Waterpebble which times your showers by monitoring the amount of water used.

Do you have any other tips?

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.

Christmas at Poundland.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Who doesn't love a good Pound shop? I know I do! We are very lucky that our local store is quite big and has a fair few tills too so you have hardly any wait time, even when it is really busy.

So when I was asked to  take part in the Christmas Blogger challenge I excitedly accepted. The Challenge was to simply spend £20 in your local Poundland with a Christmas theme.

As I am in the store at least once a week I had already bought a lot of items including tree decorations, colouring books, chocolate coins and 2 DVD's for Livs stocking (Mr Men and Thomas the Tank Engine) I decided to try to come up with more helpful/practical items.


This is my haul:



Here is how we spent our £20.

Firstly, I paid £4 for 6 selections boxes for my nieces and nephews (3 for £2).
I was so pleased to find these at such a bargain price as they have all had money this year but I also wanted a little something for them to open, I still remember the excitement of opening a selection box as a child so I hope they like them.

£1 for 3 rolls of wrapping paper - I ALWAYS run out at the last minute and end up with a hideous roll for about £3 from the local shop, not this year!

£1 for a pack of three scissors because if you are anything like me the scissors seem to grow legs and walk off when you are wrapping gifts.

£2 for some yummy Cadbury hot chocolate and mini marshmallows to warm us on the cold days

£1 on a box of PG tips to make sure we always have a brew ready for any unexpected guests.

£1 for some after eight mints for when you can't quite fit in a dessert but can squeeze in a little treat!!

£1 on three small tins of beans to make sure there is an emergency lunch in the cupboard - we tend to dash in and out to various Family and Friends over Christmas so these will come in very handy.

£2 for a doggy toy and treat - because he deserves some presents too.

£2 for a tub of vapour rub and menthol oil in preparation to send off any colds that may strike before the big day.

£2 on some paper plates and napkins to minimise the washing up where possible- does anyone enjoy that job?

£1 for some bin bags for the humongous clear up on Christmas morning.

£1 for some raisins for Liv - they are perfect to bribe her into her pushchair or the car and keep her happy on the journey - result!

And lastly I bought a pack of  30 tea lights for our various tea light holders. 

= £20 :)
All practical items and as usual an awful lot for the small price paid.

What is your favourite buy from your Poundshop this year?

Disclaimer - I was sent a £20 voucher for the purpose of the review however all opinion is my own.




My Christmas wish list for the home.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

For some reason people think I'm mad when I've suggested us buying something we actually need for the house as our Christmas gift to each other. Neither of us particularly want or need anything so why not?! Wouldn't you all love to find a new microwave on Christmas morning? *hides*

The absolute worst room in our house at the minute is the kitchen.


We haven't had an actual oven for years now, instead using the slow cooker, hob and oven feature in the microwave.

Of course that means the oven feature on the microwave has seen a lot of use and is therefore starting to make strange noises, add to that the washing machine making a squealing sound as well as sounding like a steel drum (due to a piece inside the drum coming off and bashing about with the washing, every single time we use it) it can get quite noisy in my kitchen as well as costly to replace everything!

If Santa was going to bring me my wish list for our home this year, this is what I would love please (on the off chance that he reads my Blog)

1) A sparkly new washing machinethat preferably doesn't sound like a one man band! If I'm wishing could it also dry, fold and put away the clothes? No? Damn, maybe something like this then:



2) A replacement built under electric oven. I've managed fine without one (and discovered that meat tastes *amazing* when cooked in the slow cooker) but I would really love to try to bake some cakes with Liv.

3) A new microwave oven, that doesn't threaten to blow up every time it's turned on. I absolutely love the look of this stylish Panasonic commercial microwave.


4) A gas fire that actually works! When we bought our house the current fire had been capped off and had a warning sign tucked inside so we would love to replace it one day.

5) A lovely comfy memory foam mattress to replace our ancient lumpy one.

I'm sure that will all fit nicely under our tree, not much to ask is it?!

What's on your Christmas list this year? 

Christmas shopping? You HAVE to check out the Asda toy sale.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Yes that's right, the lovely Asda elves have brought us an up to half price toy sale on over 100 toys just when everyone is Christmas shopping, isn't that lovely!?

There are way too many toys to list so instead I've selected 3 that I am going to actually buy myself.

1) This 
Star Wars X - Wing toy.  Which I will be buying for my Nephew. Priced at just £20 for genuine Star Wars merchandise you can't argue can you?





2) This is for my slightly younger Nephew, the Playmobil Fire Engine is half price at just £20! I think these are going to fly off the shelves at this price.




3) Barbie ultimate beach house. This is one for Liv, we have reviewed some lovely Barbie items and she is hoping for a few more from Santa so this is perfect. The price is pretty amazing too, 50% off from £60 to £30!


You can click here to view the full toy range. Don't forget to pop back and let me know what bargains you find.

Happy shopping!

Will the decorating never end?!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Back in the Easter holidays, we started stripping wallpaper in the hall. Since then I have stripped, sanded, filled and prepped the walks of the hall stairs and landing and also sanded and glossed all skirting in the area too.

For one reason and another,  we have been unable to start wallpapering until now so while we we're waiting we have made a start on our bedroom too. We have made more progress on there with lining paper up and completely gutting the walk in wardrobe, but the "to do" and "to buy" list just keeps growing!

I have been spending every Evening for months, online looking for the perfect pieces of furniture, Rugs, wallpaper and so on.

We have finally chosen and bought the wallpaper we need, we have (possibly) decided on the colour of the non papered walls in the bedroom and recently I came across a company called Rodgers of York. They have a wide range of beds beds to choose from and some absolutely beautiful Oak bedroom furniture - see my favourite below.


Image source - Rodgers of York.


Top this off with a Tempur cloud mattress and pillows - HEAVEN on Earth!


        Image source - Rodgers of York.

So now we just have to choose a rug for the bedroom and living room, 3 lots of curtains, blinds and light shades. Oh and to actually carry out the wallpapering and painting. 

Any tips welcome!

I much prefer the shopping!

Brought to you in association with Rodgers of York.


The Ingredients of a Great (yet tastful) Hen Party

Having a great send off into married life is the right of every woman, and so a fantastic hen party is an absolute must. There are a few vital ingredients that every successful hen party needs, and before your mind goes that way, this is a classy joint and so we’ll be looking at a more tasteful hen party. If you want to go more debauched and incorporate sins of the flesh then that’s your choice!

Consider the guest list carefully
Choosing a guest list for the hen party is a fine art and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. Does the bride-to-be really want some of her old school friends there to whom she hasn’t spoken in years. Does she even want her mother there? If needs be, just ask her who she wants there. Easy.



Make it personal
You’ve all seen the hen parties wandering around on a night out with sashes and the like but most hen parties all look the same. To avoid that, try making it personal. How about getting t-shirts printed with embarrassing photos of the bride-to-be on there? Check out www.zippi.co.uk for some cool personalised t-shirts and other items.

Do something memorable
Rather than just go on a night out and have the night blend in to the many other nights out in her life, why not do something memorable that will stick in her memory forever? Something like a spa day would be a great idea as it’s relaxing and makes her feel special but is also something that she’ll no doubt remember. If you’re feeling active, then why not do some utterly crazy like white water rafting or paintballing? It’ll certainly be memorable! You can find more on some great ideas here.
 


Make a weekend of it
Having a great day is all well and good but having a great weekend would be even better! By spreading it out over the weekend, you can have several things planned and make it even more memorable. You can have a great day on the Saturday, followed by a night out and then you have the whole of Sunday to recover! By having it over the course of a weekend, you can also think a little further afield in terms of where you actually have the hen party, and if it’s a long weekend then you could even consider heading abroad if budgets allow.

Pace Yourself!
If you go hell for leather from the off then you’ll be in bed by 8pm, so make sure you pace yourself. No-one wants to have to look after one of the other hen-goers as they throw up after downing 14 shots of Jaegermeister, so don’t plan anything that involves drinking heavily too early on. It’ll also make the following morning a lot less painful!
Brought to you in association with Zippi.