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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.

Is laser hair removal safe for Women?

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Let’s be honest, there are certain issues that no woman really likes to talk about – even to her lady friends! It is safe to say that excessive or unwanted hair growth is one of those things. The exact cause of this is not so easy to identify, but experts have found that it does tend to run in families.
While hirsutism – to go by its proper name – is a harmless condition in itself, try telling that to someone who is embarrassed with it and finds it particularly bothersome! This is why we thought it would be worth looking into the increasingly popular form of treatment known as laser hair removal, to see whether this is a safe procedure for women to consider and indeed something that will cure the problem once and for all.
In this feature, we’ll be discussing the laser hair removal procedure, the support available and going through some relevant after-care products that can be used to supplement the treatment.
Who is eligible to undergo laser hair removal?
Through my investigations, I have found out that the laser hair removal technique involves a laser targeting the dark colour (melanin) of the hair in questionWhen it comes to this form of treatment, the larger the area, the better. However, it will only produce results on those with particularly dark hair(more melanin) and while light brown and dark blond should still be okay, unfortunately this does discount redheads and blondes from being eligible for the treatment.
How does the laser treatment work?
Leading industry experts like The Laser Treatment Clinic make use of the latest in laser technology, such as the FDA approved advanced Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Laser systems.
While this procedure does sound quite complicated anddramatic, once you get to see the facilities and equipment for yourself, you really do wonder what the apprehension was allabout. The laser light does not produce a sustained heat so no damage occurs outside of the follicle itself, while your skin will be soothed by the application of a welcome cooling gel.
As for the procedure itself, a laser light is focused through the sapphire crystal onto the skin’s surface and the energy passes harmlessly through the epidermis and dermis until it reaches the melanin within the hair follicle, which absorbs the light. The gradual rise in temperature destroys the hair-producing cells.
Meeting with the skin experts
Attending a free consultation with the skin experts who perform this type of procedure on a regular basis was less scary than you would have imagined. In fact, these lovely ladies are quite a friendly and easy-going bunch of people.
So there is certainly no need to be concerned about getting ready for the treatment. Everything will be fully explained toyou at the consultation stage to put your mind at ease. You will be provided with plenty of detailed information on the laser procedure and you will be guided through a specific course of treatment tailored to your personal needs (and approved by a medical professional).
This initial briefing also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about absolutely any aspect of the treatment.
If you do decide to go ahead with it, you will be booked in for a skin test patch – although this can usually be performed straight after the consultation.
How do you prepare to undergo such a procedure?

Once you arrive at the clinic on the day of the treatment, you will already have been briefed about what to expect. Therefore, there is none of the trepidation normally associated with waiting rooms and all those thoughts associated withundergoing an invasive procedure.
For more effective results, you’ll have been asked to cut, shave or use a special hair removal product on the hairs in the area due to be treated. It is also recommended you apply sunscreen with an SPF of 40+ after treatment to exposed areas of the skin such as the face. You’ll be given special goggles towear throughout the process.
The laser practitioner will then make sure you are positionedcomfortably before going ahead with the treatment.
How long does the course of treatment take?
The treatment is usually quite quick, but it does depend on the area being treated. For instance, it may take just a couple of minutes to treat the upper lip. On the other hand, laser hair removal on the legs can take as long as an hour.
Does it hurt?
Nowadays, with such sophisticated equipment involved, you can have total peace of mind the procedure is safe. Yes, you might feel a little light stinging or tingling sensation, but most people find this to be more than bearable.
Afterwards, while the skin area treated will often appear reddish pink, this should dissipate and calm down over the next 24 hours. To be honest, that’s more or less it.
How effective is the treatment?
Don’t panic if you don’t notice any results straight away. The skin experts insist that laser hair removal for women is nearly always permanent and most people won’t ever require treatment on the same area ever again. In fact The Laser Treatment Clinic have never had a single client come back for treatment on the same area since the 15 years they started providing laser hair removal treatment.
Caring for your skin after the treatment
Okay, so you no longer have to be concerned with unwanted hair on your body, but how do you manage the treated skin and get it back looking so healthy and smooth?
The good news is that the skin experts also offer a number of skincare products that work really well with the laser hair removal treatment we’ve reviewed above.
For those women who have had hair removed from the face,Ultimate Youth Lift, Ultra Smooth Sea Polish and Marine Boost Super Serum (featured in the image below) all have the ability to sooth, rehydrate and revitalise the skin. The latter is especially great at seeing you right at time of year when many more women are experiencing skin issues.

And for laser hair removal on the bodyyou can use the Body Exfoliation Gloves and Revitalize Marine Body Serum(below).

In addition to providing relief and restoration for laser treated skin, these deeply nourishing and skin replenishing products are the perfect solution to winter-affected skin. They can help to ensure that your skin really gets the boost it needs.
Final thoughts
From the information currently available in the public domain, it would seem like the laser method is indeed a safe and effective treatment to consider for eligible women with unwanted hair problems – as long as it is carried out by trained practitioners with the right credentials. As a long established (since 2000) clinic on Harley Street in London, it’s fair to say that the products and services offered by The Laser Treatment Clinic are certainly worth at least a look.

In partnership with The Laser Treatment Clinic.

Signs your Cat could be suffering from stress.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

We all love our little furry feline friends and it can be devastating when they’re ill. Not being a vet, it can be difficult to know if something is wrong with them and so we need to try and work out if there’s something not quite right.

Stress is one that is particularly difficult to diagnose in any animal but it can be really problematic for cats in the long term. Not all stress is bad however, and cats can deal with short term stress problems just as we can, but there are longer term stress issues that should be addressed to make your Cats life more happy.

Causes of stress can include:

·      Rivalries with other cats
·      A new cat moving into the area
·      Moving to a new home
·      Trips to the vets (this blog has some good advice on that)
·      Travel
·      Abuse
·      Death in the family
·      Illness
·      Injury

There are many more things that can cause stress in cats but those are some of the more common ones. There are more causes listed here.

Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

·      Urinating outside their litter box – you might think they’re just being naughty but they’re doing it for a reason.

·      Digestive and stomach problems – they might have just eaten something a little dodgy but if it continues then take them to the vet.

·      Excessive scratching or grooming – When in distress, cats may have compulsive traits such as scratching or licking which, when done too much, can cause real problems.

·      Isolating themselves – if your cat is actively isolating themselves to be away from people then there could be a problem.

·      Increase or decrease in eating – This is all down to their normal eating habits. Pay attention if they start to eat a lot more or less than normal.

·      Extra aggression towards humans or other animals

·      Sleeping more often – cats sleep a lot anyway, so it might be difficult notice this but if they’re spending most of their time asleep it might be time for a trip to the vet.

·      Meowing more – this is only really an issue if your cat is normally quiet but has suddenly started becoming more vocal.

Again, these are only some of the symptoms but ones that you’re most likely to recognise. What’s important to recognise is if there is a change in their normal behaviour. If you notice them doing something that is out of character then it could be a sign that something is wrong.

The best way to deal with stress in cats is to remove the cause of stress, although of course that isn’t possible, especially if the cause is something like moving house. The stress will disappear over time for some of the causes, but you can also purchase stress relieving products or get something from the vet to help in the meantime.

Just keep an eye on your cat; they can’t tell you what’s wrong so it’s up to you to notice!

Beat the expert competition - can you win yourself £50 of vouchers?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Any regular readers will know we have been trying to make our home as energy efficient as possible this year.
We have had our loft insulated, fitted thermostatic radiator valves and changed all of our bulbs to LEDs.
It has brought our energy bills down a small amount and we hope will be even more worth the effort in the future.
I came across a competition from LED Planet to win £50 worth of vouchers (to use on their site) I would like to share with you.
All you have to do is ask one of their experts a question about LED lighting, if they can't answer - you win!

They are also giving away a set of bulbs for the best question - whether they answer it or not!

All you have to do is pop over and post the question to their Facebook page - easy! 

Good luck!

A full copy of the terms and conditions are available on request. If you would like to recieve a copy, please email info@ledplanet.co.uk

Brought to you in association with LED Planet.

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.

Decorating & DIY tips.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

2014 has been a huge year for home improvements and decorating for us.

We have stripped, sanded, painted, glossed and wallpapered like you wouldn't believe. 

My Husband has fitted thermostats to all our radiators, we have added reflective insulating paper behind the radiators and the loft has been insulated too.

Our hall, stairs and landing have all been completely stripped, stained, lined and papered. Some pretty huge holes have been filled and I even refurbished our light shades from black to champagne to match the new wallpaper. I just sprayed the frames and recovered in a champagne covered ribbon, very easy.

Here is light shade hanging after the landing was decorated.

I was also quite dubious about trying to save our end table. We were on the verge of throwing it out, but it worked out perfectly and is actually better now as it is wipeable! 

We are currently finishing decorating our bedroom and turning the old walk in cupboard into something more functional. A lot of blood sweat and tears have been shed I can tell you! 

We have learnt a lot of tips and tricks along the way though and I have even submitted one to this really helpful home improvement guide from Legal & General

We are number 51 with the tip - "When wallpapering, pop half a matchstick into wall plugs so you can see where to replace screws.”

Here is an example of what we mean, when decorating our hall we removed the brackets for the bannister but put the screws back in. This meant when we put the wallpaper over them, we cut a small hole over the screw head and pushed the paper down. We then unscrewed them and reattached the bracket easily.

If you want a neater hole, my tip is to place a match in the hole you want to reuse before papering over the top, you can then just push the wallpaper over the matchstick to make a hole and allow you to easily remove the matchstick and replace with a screw. You only need your matchstick to be a few millimetres out of the hole so cut/break it off to the right length before papering over.

Do you have any tips to add?