29 Nov 2009

Photobox - Photobook

Photobox - Photobook

I decided to gather together all of my daughters baby photos and have them printed into a book as a keepsake. I do have an album of her photos but since 'scrapbooking' has become popular I find that traditional photo albums look old and boring compared to what scrapbooker's are producing these days.

So why don't I whip out all the photos form my album and scrapbook them? Good question ... I don't have the time and I personally find scrapbooking really really fiddly.
This is where Photobox comes in. Photobox have some brilliant 'scrapbook' style photobooks on their website that you can personalise and there is no glue involved !

I registered for a free account on http://www.photobox.co.uk/ and chose which style of photobook I would like from the huge range available. Do not worry if you 'don't have a clue' as they have a guide to give you inspiration http://www.photobox.co.uk/content/do-it-with-a-photobook

I chose the baby style as featured in the image at the top of this page. You get a choice of layouts and you can preview each style, this is quite a handy feature as depending on your type/style of photographs you can find a layout to suit.

Following the instructions I started to upload my photos to 'my account', this seemed to take forever as even though I had chosen a 26 page book ... I didn't know how many photos it would hold and so didn't know how many to upload.

After about an hour all my photos were ready to use, I know an hour seems a little long ... but the time will depend on your Internet connection speed and also how busy the Photobox site is.

To add your photos to the pages is really really easy - you just drag and drop them into the spaces. You can resize and move each image around until you are happy with the presentation. I only had to tweak a few photos as the rest looked brilliant straight away.
There is also a guide as to how 'good' your image is, is it too light or dark? in focus? fuzzy? not a good upload etc... this tells you how clear the image will be once printed in the book.

A brilliant feature (which other personalised product photo sites do not offer) is that as you use each photo it puts a tick next to it - so that you do not accidentally use the same image twice. I found this fantastic as I had used another site to make a calender and I got very muddled with my images - Photobox was a much much easier set up to use.

You have te option to add captions and to remove the Photobox logo from the back page.
http://www.photobox.co.uk/content/the-book-of-wonders this link shows an example of the types of fonts, colours and sizes you can use to annotate your personalised photobook.

The photobook's are printed on 170gsm gloss paper, I am actually really impressed with the finish as it is a good quality hard wearing book. The images are bright and clear which I am surprised at as we didn't use the best quality camera back in 2000 to take them. You can tell the difference between the camera used on our later photos as they have come out a little less grainy ... so if your photos are good quality you will be seriously impressed with the printing quality of the book.

Each book will take around 5 working days to be delivered, so if you are ordering for a Christmas present then I would order as soon as possible in the run-up to Christmas to make sure it is here on time. I ordered mine on a Tuesday night and it was delivered to me on the Saturday - so they can be pretty quick!

The prices vary depending on what you order: style, size, how many pages, etc.... I didn't find the pricing very clear which was a big downside. I did get a little worried about costing and so chose the Classic A4 Photobook (basic one) this was £22.99 + postage.

I am really really happy with my Photobox Photobook, it is something this I will treasure and I hope my daughter will too.

My rating: 9/10

27 Nov 2009

Reading Notes

Reading Notes

Are you part of a Book Reading Group or just like to read?
Do you ever forget what books you have read or what you thought of a particular book or author?

Reading Notes is a handbag sized notebook which is the perfect companion for the avid reader. The book is set out with spaces for you to fill in details about each book you have read (or would like to read). giving you room to make notes such as: Title, Author, Date read, and any Reading Notes that you have about each book (ie.. did you like it? did the story flow? was the ending what you expected?).

Keep it handy in the library so that you don't accidentally take out a book you have already read, or use it to remind yourself about books you may like to read again. You can even use it as a gift guide for fellow readers if you know what genre or style of books that they like to read - then you can buy from your own experience.

Its nice to see that someone is thinking beyond the 'book' for a hobby, gone are the days of scribbled notes on a book mark. With a Reading Notes notebook you can be organised at your book club meets and help along the discussion with your own thoughts quickly and easily.

I would have liked the notebook to have had some kind of order to it, eg... alphabetical sections like an address book of authors or titles, so that you can refer back to a listing quickly, but maybe the designer could think about that idea for a future idea.

Reading Notes is a nifty little handy book - a great gift idea or an addition to your overflowing book collection.

Single copies £5.99 each

My rating: 8/10

jackson reece Natural Wipes

Jackson Reece Natural Wipes

Wet wipes - what do we use them for?
Cleaning babies bums, cleaning babies/children's mucky faces, cleaning hands, taking off make-up, sanitizing on the move, personal care, plus more....

I use wipes for most of the above, I use them on my children (daughter and nieces), my students for their personal care routines and also on myself. Over the years I have used many brands and I admit I do have my favourites.

So what makes a good wetwipe?
The size is important, no point having a measly little square that is dirty and dry after one swipe.
The dampness is a top priority, not too dripping but not too dry either.
How soft the wipe leaves your skin - Does it leave a sticky film? Is it full of chemicals that dry skin?
The fragrance, is it pleasant? Is it overpowering? Does it smell clinical or fresh?
How well does the wipe clean and sanitise the area? Does it make your skin/eyes sting?

All of the above have to be considered depending on use, but if I am to use a wet wipe on my child or face then I would like one that is the best that I can buy using the kindest of ingredients...... this is where jackson reece excel in the totally brilliant wipes category.

jackson reece have developed a totally natural, high purity water, no alcohol, parabens, SLS or SLES, bio-degradable wet wipe. Each sheet is the size of an A5 sheet of paper which I feel is not too big and not too small, they are also pretty thick and strong (so no putting your finger in poo moments).

When you wipe as you are actually infusing the skin with a balanced blend of organic tea tree oil, aloe vera and lavender oil .. all which hold soothing healing properties. Combined with natural purity water you can be safe knowing that there are no nasty chemicals added in.

I do find the fragrance a little overpowering, but it isn't a nasty fragrance it does smell fresh and not commercial or fake.

Each wipe is quite damp which I am very impressed with, I don't like a wipe to be too wet or dry. The fabric seems to soak up the liquid and even after 10 minutes out in the air the wipe is still damp enough to wipe over my hands.

A final top feature about jackson reece wipes is that they are bio-degradable, everything from the wipes to the packaging bio-degrade quicker than regular wipes which is great for the environment.

All-in-all I like jackson reece wipes, price wise they are pretty affordable at around £1.99 for 72 wipes.

Available from Sainsburys and Superdrug plus online stores, for more information please visit:

My rating: 9/10

Lynx - Christmas Giftset

Lynx - Cinema Click

Hands Up .. who has ever brought a Lynx Giftset as a stocking filler for the man in your life?
I bet you all have! I find that men's Christmas stockings are never complete without a) a Terry's Chocolate Orange and b) A Lynx Giftset :) they just have to be included FACT.

This year Lynx have brought out a really good range of gifts including:
Lynx Skin Contact – Skin Contact hydrating shower balm and Skin Contact fresh care aftershave balm.
Lynx Recover Morning After – Recover body spray, Recover shower gel and a colour changing alarm clock with wake-up voice.
Lynx Africa Aftershave and Body spray – Lynx Africa body spray and aftershave.
Lynx Manwash Pack – Boost shower gel, Vice body spray and the Ultimate Lynx Manwasher.
Lynx Dark Temptation Dry – Dark Temptation anti-perspirant and extra-large Dark Temptation shower gel.
Lynx Instinct Wash Bag – Instinct body spray, Instinct and Dark Temptation shower gel in a premium wash bag.
Lynx Instinct Body spray and shower gel – Instinct body spray and Instinct shower gel.
Lynx Africa Body spray and shower gel - Africa body spray and shower gel.
Lynx Mini Traveller – Mini Africa body spray, Instinct anti-perspirant, Instinct shower gel and Fever shower gel in a mini washbag.
Lynx Trio - Fever shower gel, body spray and Recover shower gel.
Lynx Cinema 2 for 1 – Click shower gel, body spray and an Odeon 2 for 1 cinema voucher.
Lynx Eau de Toilette and body spray – Instinct body spray and eau de toilette.

Men these days seem to care a little more about their presentation, maybe its the TV programmes that help (eg.. 'How to look good wearing skanky Y-Fronts,' sorry I mean 'How to look good naked') or just the adverts for different male products in general.

I have had a good browse over the Lynx Cinema Click Giftset, it includes 150ml Click deodorant bodyspray and 250ml click shower gel ... and a 2 for 1 cinema voucher for any ODEON in the UK or UCI Cinema in the Republic of Ireland.

The ticket is on the box ready to cut out, the rest of the packaging can possibly be recycled with your doorstep recycling pickup service.

Click is supposed to be a male scent - but I quite like it, I would use it myself instead of perfume. Its not too manly and can be used as a highlight scent if used appropriately. I am impressed with the deodorant bodyspray as it has a special twisty top which means it is great for a gym bag as there is no top to loose ... you just twist and spray!

The showergel matches the Click spray scent and again is very acceptable for women to use too (obviously have a smell first - not all women would like it). Handy shaped ergonomic bottle with grip features for ease of use in the shower.

I think the 2 for 1 cinema ticket offer is a great idea .. you will save at least £5+ at the cinema with the ticket which for the price of the giftset is a really really good deal. Just make sure you wear your new Lynx Click spray so you smell nice during the film.

Lynx giftsets are available from all major supermarkets and highstreet chemists.
My rating: 9/10

25 Nov 2009

Organic Meltdown - Chocolate

Mmmm chocolate - now I like chocolate, not all chocolate (I don't like those seashell ones that taste powdery), but most other chocolate gets eaten pretty quickly in our house.

This week I discovered Organic Meltdown chocolate, usually when you sit and scoff your face with a big bar of delicious and creamy chocolate you feel guilty (right?) but this chocolate is clever .... it saves trees!
Delicious chocolate + Good conscience = A winning combo from Organic Meltdown

Organic Meltdown chocolate, is the first product of its type to save a tree for every chocolate bar sold. You buy the Organic Fairtrade chocolate, type the code from the wrapper onto their website ... and hey presto! a tree is saved. Sounds easy, which for us it is ... but I am sure there is a lot of hard work tree saving somewhere in a rainforest on our behalf.

Organic Meltdowns website states "We want organic and Fair-trade chocolate to be more than just a product. Chocolate needs to reflect the rich natural diversity of the tropical forests in the foothills of the Andes Mountains where cocoa beans were first discovered many millennia ago. These forests, the ancestral home of cocoa, are threatened with extinction and Organic Meltdown chocolate is the only product of any type to save a living, breathing tropical forest tree for every bar of chocolate we sell." so to buy a bar from Organic Meltdown actually helps you do your bit of the environment - fancy that!

So whats the chocolate like? Its actually very nice. Every ones taste buds are different, not everyone likes dark chocolate ... but even their dark was quite creamy and not bitter like other brands.

Sweet Candied Orange: A zing of orange and a crunch of sweetness rounds off the 'not too bitter' edge to this 'not too dark' chocolate.

Hazelnuts & Currants: There's hazelnuts in hoards and currants galore heading this trio of textures. Once bitten, thrice smitten.

Milk: Starts with a velvety waft of cream and butter and ends with eye-closing sensuality. It's more than chocolate.

Dark: Marked by a profound depth of taste and a satin-smooth texture this truly dark chocolate is certainly not plain.

All bars are Gluten Free & Vegetarian Approved. All bars except the Milk variety is Vegan Approved. They are proud to wear the Vegetarian Logo on the packaging of all their Organic Meltdown chocolate bars, to shout about the fact they use absolutely no animal by-products in the production their recipes.

http://www.organicmeltdown.com/ is full to the brim with information about Organic produce, Fairtrade and how the company saves trees. Please take a look and support their cause - treat yourself to some chocolate :) you know you want too!!

My rating: 10/10

Camouflage Bags & Storage

Camouflage Duffle Carrier

When the duffle carrier arrived, I have honestly never seen such a well packaged product. It was neatly folded and encased with a thin cardboard slip, holding it all together was two strips of webbing personalised with 'www.thecamouflagecompany.com and attached with Velcro at each end.

I was very excited about this product and carefully removed the bag from its packaging. The plastic tarpaulin fabric of the bag is very very sturdy and strong, cleverly printed with bright patterns and each handle double stitched - I think that if looked after this bag could last forever.

But then the trouble started, using the very clear instructions included I set about putting the bag together. It arrives as a flat sheet which is brilliant as a boot liner for the car - you have to put the Velcro together at the corners and pull the strings to close the bag into a 'duffle' style.
My bag seemed bulky and misshaped :( so my Dad had a go. He too ended up with a big bulky bag that didn't seem to sit right.

We feel that the plastic coated fabric is 'too thick and sturdy' for the style of bag. OK it is very strong, but it doesn't fold very well at the corners and the handles insist on falling back inside the bag.

However - I love this bag and would like to use it to transport my washing from the washing machine (by putting the bag flat onto the floor I can empty the wet washing onto it) to the line or tumble dryer (I can then put the bag together to make a waterproof bag to transport my wet washing). I am going to persevere, I think my strings are on the wrong side as if it has been strung incorrectly (mine are in the middle) and also I might even turn the bag completely inside out and see if the corners are better in the inside instead of the outside.

From a design point of view the idea is brilliant - the materials used are top quality - but I think the shape should have been a circle to obtain the shape and style most suitable for the bag. Think wedding favours - you know when you have a circle of netting and you make it into a parcel with almonds inside .... the bag should go together like that.

The idea is there, the uses are fantastic and the packaging and instructions are top class ... I think we will be seeing some great storage solutions from Camouflage in the near future.

For more storage bags and boxes visit: www.thecamouflagecompany.com

My rating: 6/10 points for quality of materials.

Otrivine - Adult

Otrivine - Adult

Otrivine is a nasal spray which works as a decongestant to unblock your stuffy nose and help you breathe easier.

Nasal spray ... its not what you think :) this isn't a 'spray' its more of a mist. I gave it a go, the instructions said "Squeeze bottle and sniff at the same time" so I did, I was waiting for a shock of water being squirted up my nose - but nothing happened!
I was about to have another go then I realised I could smell faint cherries (well I think its cherries, my husband says its something else 'but doesn't know what' .... helpful).

What happens is: as you sniff and squeeze a small drop of liquid almost like a mist goes up your nose, as it isn't much it travels deep inside your nasal cavities and within minutes starts to gently clear your blocked nose.
Each application can last for up to 10 hours which is great as the dosage suggests that you should only use Otrivine 2 or 3 times a day.

Small and compact bottle, great for keeping in your pocket, bag or office drawer - handy for when you need it. can be useful for colds, hay fever and sinusitis.

Consult your doctor before use if you are pregnant or on other medication - just in case.
Not to be used by children under 12 years.

Available from supermarkets and high street chemists.

My rating: 9/10



"I kissed a girl - and I liked it! The taste of her cherry chapstick!" ... Well Katy Perry sung about cherry Lipsyl's and so they must be good !!

I smeared the cherry Lypsyl over my winter dry lips and puckered up to Andy ... at first he looked at me strangely and said "What do you want?" then moved slightly away from me, "Kiss me!" I purred, he moved even further across the sofa and replied "Quick Ruby kiss her!!" ...... the dog leapt up pinned me to the sofa and licked my face. So I now know that Labradors like the smell of Cherry Lypsyl.

Luckily for me my pulling technique didn't completely fail as each Lypsyl contains Vitamin E and Aloe Vera, so I did end up with very soft lickable lips. The secret behind the Lypsyl is pure beeswax, ultra light to spread evenly and penetrate deeply, for unsurpassed moisturizing and protection. And the innovative packaging is uniquely designed for quick and easy application — at home, on the go, anywhere!

Emma suffers with chapped lips so I have let her keep the Peach flavour in her pocket for school. She is pretty good and knows not to share with others (germs!). Being small the pack fits in her pocket nicely, the top is easy to twist off without having to worry about lipbalm smearing all over the inside of her pocket, and it is easy to apply straight from the tube.

Another good point about Lypsyl is that they have been around since 1905, from the original salve to introducing flavours you know that they are full of good products and won't cause reactions.
Lypsyl moisturisers provide every day lip care protection and help repair and maintain soft, smooth lips. The conditioning formula, which contains Aloe Vera ands Vitamin E, provides soothing and moisturising benefits, helping care for dry, chapped and sore lips.
Using Lypsyl every day can help protect your lips from the weather's damaging effects which is very very handy at this time of year.

My Aunt is hooked on Lypsyl, she always has at least 3 in her bag at any one time. When we were on holiday (I am talking years ago as I was only 7 at the time) she slapped Lypsyl on her lips every few minutes while basking in the hot sun ... well she might as well have put lard on her face as she basically cooked her lips !!

The next day her face was puffy and sun burnt - her lips were massive :) my Mum and Dad couldn't stop laughing at her, she wasn't impressed and swore at us all day (well I think it was swearing as it was a bit muffled as she was so swollen). However her big lips were lovely and soft, if strangely huge.

These days you can buy 'Lypsyl Sun' which helps prevent sunburn and damage that can be caused by exposure to the sun while UVA filters also help to prevent sun-induced skin ageing.
Lypsyl Sun contains SPF35 sunblock. So she learnt the hard way - but I learnt a good lesson in sun awareness.

Lypsyl is priced around £1.20 for the flavoured sticks and 80p for the original blue variety.
You can purchase Lypsyl from most supermarkets and chemists.

Check out the Lypsyl® Lip Tips on Facebook, where you can also watch vodcasts, vote in the live polls and have your say on the discussion boards.

Here are just some of the great tips that will be appearing on the Facebook page:

Tip: To kiss dry, chapped lips goodbye try a little gentle exfoliation and moisturising. Take a hot, wet washcloth, wrap it around your finger and gently rub on your lip in a circular motion. Wipe lips clean and apply Lypsyl® lip balm. The conditioning formula contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to provide soothing and moisturising benefits, helping care for dry, chapped and sore lips

Tip: Apply a moisturising lip balm before putting on your lipstick. This is will help hydrate your lips and make the colour an even tone

Tip: To achieve the perfect pout, emphasize your top lip by dabbing a little gloss or lip balm in the centre

Tip: Applying lipstick with your fingertip gives a more natural-looking, kissable finish

Tip: Avoid lipstick marks on your glass by discreetly licking your lips before taking a sip from the glass

Tip: Smokey eyes are a classic look that celebrities love, and it looks best with a nude lip, so just use Lypsyl®lip balm on its own

Tip: Give up smoking for the perfect pout - smoking is one of the main causes of lines around the mouth, because of the repetitive motion of pursing your lips

Tip: If you’re hitting the ski slopes this year or escaping for some winter sun, make sure you pack Lypsyl®Sun SPF35 to protect your lips from sun exposure. It contains protective UVA filters to prevent sun-induced skin ageing and keeps your lips looking luscious

My rating: 9/10

24 Nov 2009

Full Marks - Head Lice Solution

Full Marks - Head Lice Solution

Why is it whenever anyone mentions head lice you immediately scratch your head?

When I was at school and head lice were doing the rounds they used to make you line up and the school nurse (nit nurse) used to go down the line checking every ones hair .. it was humiliating as if you did have the little critters the whole school knew about it!!
I was kind of lucky as I never seemed to catch them from school, I used to get them in the school holidays (my Mum said from the kids down the road).

Having head lice was bad enough, but the potent nasty wash-in formula to eradicate them was worse !! You had to put it on before you went to bed, then sleep in it ... the fumes were so bad your eyes used to water, then all day the next day (even when your mum had washed your hair 3 times) you could still smell it. Nasty stuff!!

Not now though - times have changed and so have the products to get shot of those nasty head lice. Full Marks have brought out a range of products that only take 10 minutes to work and they don't smell of anything!!
I have taken the top off of the bottle and had a good whiff .. on the bottle it states 'low odour' but I couldn't smell a thing, it was like smelling water which is brilliant !!

The Full Marks Solution is a 10 minute treatment, the bottle also contains 2 treatments - this isn't for 2 people though, it is so you can repeat the 10 minute treatment 7 days later (just in case).

The procedure is simple:
Comb dry hair with a comb to get rid of tangles, apply the solution.
Wait 10 minutes then comb though with the special comb provided to remove dead lice and eggs.
Finally wash hair with your normal (non-conditioning) shampoo and style as normal.

Unlike the old eye-watering solutions Full Marks Solution causes the lice to dehydrate (lose water) and die, then you remove them with the comb provided.

The spray works in exactly the same way ... except its a spray bottle to put the solution onto the hair.

Remember: Head Lice like ALL hair, be it clean, dirty, curly, long, short, or woven.
If you find head lice present in a family members (or child's best friend/classmate) you may have to treat the whole family or whoever has been in close contact with the infected head of hair.
Wash all bedding and towels to prevent re-infection.
Lice are spread from head to head contact - they cannot jump or fly!

For more information, images, myths and advice visit: http://www.headlice.co.uk/Default.aspx

Can I stop itching now?

Our rating: 8/10

Femibion - Energetic Mum

Femibion - Energetic Mum

Up at 7am, get Emma up, feed her, feed myself, check emails, shower Emma, shower myself, dry Emma's hair, dry my own, run down the stairs, grab coat, grab bag & keys, get in car, run back in shout at Emma to hurry up, lock door, run around car and re-close Emma's door, drive to school, walk Emma to the playground, run back to car, zoom to work, work all day, drive home, get the dog and walk up to school, meet Emma play in park and walk home, wash up breakfast stuff, start dinner, check emails, help with homework, greet Andy, listen to how his day was, feed dog, eat dinner, wash up, sort out online life, put Emma to bed, watch tv, go to bed.

Does that sound familiar? That is my daily routine ... busy bee aren't I !!
I have been taking Femibion Energetic Mum supplements from Seven Seas and to be honest they do actually give you a bit of a boost.

The ingredient list is huge so I will point out the main bits: Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, CoQ10, Iron and Zinc.
Each tablet gives you 100% recommended daily allowance of the above - which is great as you only have to take 1 tablet a day!

Femibion® for Energetic Mums the first multi-nutrient probiotic specifically formulated for busy mums. It provides nutritional support to help ensure the diet of new mothers, helping you to stay healthy and support vitality.

Femibion® for Energetic Mums contains a combination of probiotics, CoQ10 and further necessary nutrients like iron and zinc. Independent research has shown that the specially selected probiotics help support the body’s natural defence system while CoQ10 helps the body to release energy. And because it’s also suitable to take while you’re breastfeeding, you can start enjoying the benefits right away.

I found the tablets to be a nice size, not too big and not too small. They are coated in a really smooth substance which makes them very easy to swallow. I'm not great with tablets and I took them really easily - so I am really happy.

Available from all main supermarkets and high street chemists they are really easy to buy along with your shopping. If you take your daily tablet at the same time as (for example) eating your breakfast then you are less likely to forget to take it. However these are not prescription medication ... so if you do forget it won't matter too much.

Main points of use:
Take one tablet per day with a cold drink.
Do not exceed the recommended daily intake.
Can be taken during breast-feeding and for as long as required after child-birth.
Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should consult their doctor before taking vitamin or mineral supplements.
Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be regarded as a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Keep out of reach of young children.

For more information please visit: http://www.seven-seas.com/femibion

21 Nov 2009


OXY - Engineered For Male Skin

Spot Defence Shave Gel

Being only a 100ml tube my first thought was 'this isn't going to last long' but to be fair when shaving with the gel a little goes a long way. Apply to warm wet skin and massage in well, it spreads over the skin really well without the need to apply more and more until you look like Santa!

The gel is clear and smells gorgeous, I knew when Andy has used it as his skin smelt lovely. As it smoothes on well he found his shave to be closer than when using foam, but Andy commented that the gel was a little difficult to wash out of his razor than his normal products.

Whats the benefits then?

Well how many times have you shaved a spot? You are in the bathroom looking like a cloud of foam shaving away ... when suddenly you scream in pain and your face is pouring with blood? ..... not now as with OXY gel being clear - you can see where you are shaving!

The gel also calms and protects your skin, this is why it is important to massage it in well (and not just smear it on). The gel lubricates your skin which will give you a better performance razor glide (a closer shave), this will help reduce that nasty razor burn and ingrowing hairs.

Andy did state that he got a better shave from the gel and that his chin/neckline wasn't so sore after his shave.

OXY Shave Gel contains Phycosaccacharide which is a natural seaweed extract. This helps control the oil (sebum) that your skin produces, keeps down redness and also kills off bacteria that can cause spots.

It also contains AquaCacteen which is a natural cactus extract. This seems to work a little like aloe-vera by reducing irritation and soothing the skin. It also is a deep moisturiser which male skins need but men don't seem to want to use, this way they can moisturise without noticing.

Post Shave Repair Gel

Now this is a type of moisturiser for applying after shaving, some male skin is prone to acne and to add a moisturiser sometimes isn't be best of ideas .. however OXY (who are the top acne product people) have developed a light gel that is good for spots and acne.

Dermatologically tested this gel is the same consistency as the shaving gel, but this is white and not clear (at least you won't muddle them up!). Again it contains Phycosaccharide the seaweed extract to control sebum, reduce redness and kill the nasty bacteria but this product also contains CellActive-MEN a solution which helps to repair and heal micro cuts, brilliant when added to shaved skin.

The gel has a cooling effect which when smoothed onto freshly razor shaved skin feels lovely, redness and ingrowing hairs are reduced. The gel also provides up to 24h hours of hydration like a moisturiser.

All-in-all together OXY Spot Defence Shave Gel and OXY Post Shave Repair Balm are a brilliant combination. To be able to shave well and look after your skin at the same time whilst combating spots and acne .... I think men everywhere will be snapping these off of the shelves.

The products retail at a recommended £4.99 each and are available from more than 450 Boots stores nationwide.

Andy's rating: 8/10

18 Nov 2009



There's nothing like a glass of bubbly at a party ... but what do you drink if you are pregnant, on medication, under 18, not one for drinking alcohol, the dedicated driver, or even a recovering alcoholic ?? Easy .... Shloer.

Party's are great, you get to let your hair down, chat with friends, maybe have a bit of a boogy .... but not all party's revolve around alcohol! You do not need to drink to have a good time, but sometimes you do get a bit miffed at always have to drink orange juice or fizzy pop.

Shloer has many different flavours, but they have just brought out a Rosé variety. It is a blend of red and white grapes - and is a perfect alternative for those who do not wish to drink.
Shloer also comes in a glass bottle which is a bit posher than a carton or a plastic 2 litre bottle, makes you feel special.

I held a party recently and put a few bottles on the table for people to help themselves, my daughter Emma (8) thought it was great to drink 'wine' (she even used a wine glass), I didn't have to worry about her and she happily helped herself all evening.
I now know what to let her drink on Christmas Day and New Years Eve .. with a little sparkle its like champagne without the headache .. I might even drink it myself.

Now for the taste: Its looks good, lovely colour, nice sparkle .. but I found it a bit sweet for me. I do however prefer white wine to Rosé (as I find Rosé sweet) so this may be why I find the Shloer sweet. My Sister-In-Law loves it! even took a bottle home, she loves Rosé so there must be a connection.

A great alternative to alcohol and boring old pop ... a must for the party season! I'll definitely be stocking up.

Visit http://www.shloer.com/ for cocktail recipes and tips on how to make meals "sparkle".
Available from all major supermarkets - look out for promotions.

Shloer is also on Facebook !!
Their page is reguarly updated with recipe ideas, shopping lists and where Shloer is on offer. Fans can post ideas and recipes on the wall or just share with fellow fans their Shloer party news. To join up with Shloer on Facebook click here: www.facebook.com/shloer

My rating: 8/10


Covonia - Bronchial Balsam

How many people do you know who have a cough at the moment? The answer for me is approx 4 ... that's 4 people who are suffering with some sort of cold/cough/virus.

At present it seems that everyone knows someone who is ill, or has been ill themselves in the past few weeks. You work with someone with a sniffle, you get a bit chesty, they phone in with the flu, you come down with it ... and so it goes on.

My husband swears by Covonia, he uses the Chesty Cough variety. As soon as he gets that 'about to come down with a cold' feeling he starts to take Covonia, he insists that the menthol in the medicine eases his cold - it must work as he has 100% attendance at work and never seems to be ill!

I have been asked to review the Bronchial Balsam 'Rapid Impact' cough medicine. Its mighty strong stuff and seems to near-on work instantly, also it tastes very strong and smells potent ... which means (according to my mum) "It must work!".

Covonia Bronchial Balsam is for non-productive coughs, those are the ones that annoy you constantly as however much you cough nothing 'comes out'. It can be used for the common cold and bronchitis with brilliant effects. Rated number 1 in the UK for troublesome coughs it is a non-drowsy formula and so OK to take while at work, but please always follow the recommended dosage.

Priced at £3.51 for 15oml it is a good price for a product that you know works and can ease your cough and symptoms.

Covonia Throat Spray

Has all that coughing and spluttering given you a sore throat? For me a sore throat is the worst bit as my ears end up infected (and I sore like a walrus!).

Covonia Throat Spray is antibacterial and an anaesthetic, this means that it numbs the area and gets rid off all the nasty germs and bacteria that are making your throat worse (and infected .. that's the big white blobby bits on the sides at the back of your throat that hurt).

If like me your ears hurt when your throat is sore, the anaesthetic will also ease the 'tickily' feelings in your ears by numbing the sore bits of your throat. Great hey!

Don't worry though - the spray won't numb your tongue (or should that be "gbum urr ung" - geddit :) ). The spray has a tube to direct the spray onto the sore bits, missing your tongue.

Each spray bottle contains up to 100 doses and is priced at around £4.88

Not recommended for children under 12, please read the label for dosages.

Available from all major supermarkets and chemists.

Rude Health

Rude Health

No Added Sugar and No Added Salt ... phrases we are seeing more and more in our supermarkets, usually though they manufacturers haven't added 'sugar' but they have added 'sweeteners' ... not with Rude Health! I have checked the ingredients list and there is nothing extra added except tons and tons of goodness.

Totally Organic, Wheat-Free, High in fibre, Wholegrain and Non-GM these breakfast cereals have halos! Recommended by the Soil Association they must be good ... so are they?

The answer is yes! Now I'm not a massive fan of porridge, but I tried the Top Banana porridge and its actually really nice. I followed the instructions and made it lovely and creamy, then tucked in :)
Emma didn't like it, she's not a massive fan of breakfast and with it being my first 'porridge making experience' I did make her a bowl big enough to feed all 3 bears!!

So Baby Bear wasn't impressed but Mummy Bear tucked in quite happily. I liked the way the oats were smooth and chewy, there were no husky bits or nasty chewy non-descript lumps. I ate it warm but as the oats are so soft and tender you can eat it cold if you wish (like muesli).

My one concern is the amount of information on the back of the box - I understand that they have a lot to tell me, but I found it all a bit cluttered ... it took me ages to find out the cooking instructions.

However, I was hooked - the Top Banana is lightly flavoured with urm.. banana and the Fruity Date is quite chewy with a nice aftertaste of warm cinnamon.

Available from Tesco Stores - well recommended for the cold mornings coming in now .... just watch out for Goldilocks!!

My rating: 8/10

Bella Sara Trading Cards

Bella Sara Trading Cards

I didn't get to set eyes on the cards, I opened the pack and 'Whoosssshh!' they had gone! Lots of 'Ooohing' and 'Ahhhing' hummed around my house and a happy little girl breezed into my office, sat at my computer ... and stayed there for the next hour!

Bella Sara Trading Cards are apparently 'wonderful', you can use the secret codes printed on each card top unlock a magical world online, with Bella Sara and her horse you can join in adventures full of stories and activities to expand imaginations.

The website is private so you know that your child is safe online, they cannot chat to others is is solely a private experience. The website keeps all login/registration information private and will not sell or share your information with others. Parents can decide the level of interaction at Bella Sara World for complete piece of mind, this is easily adjusted via parental controls.

Visit http://www.bellasara.com/index_bs.aspx for more information and to use your secret codes on the Bella Sara Trading Cards.

Available from Toys R Us and other toy retailers. Bella Sara products are great stocking fillers for little girls at Christmas.

Emma's rating: 9/10

Anorak Magazine

Anorak Magazine

The first thing that struck me about Anorak magazine is how colourful it is ... as you flick though the luxurious thick paper pages the colours hit you like you are reading a rainbow of information.

The magazine is aimed at children, the magazine is smaller than the usual kids mags (that you buy from the supermarket) but it has approx 80 pages so it is pretty chunky! We found the size excellent for reading in the car as it wasn't so tall that it hit the seat in front. Emma also suggested that it is a great size to read on a plane, it would fit on the seat tray and it would keep her entertained for a few hours.

I have honestly never seen so many colourful detailed pages in my life! Each page has chunks of information, just enough for a young child to either read by themselves or have read to them (without loosing the will to live after a few pages) and actually absorb the information presented to them. The illustrations are relevant and current to today's 'tweenie' market of readers.

Emma loved the 'Book Stuff' pages and has actually added one of the books reviewed onto her Christmas List. She liked completing the puzzles as she progressed through the magazine and commented that 'every page was different' - this helped to keep her interested.

I believe that the magazine covers a while range of age groups and literacy levels - from Pre-School to at least age 11 (year 6). Some parts Emma laughed out loud, while others she quickly skimmed over - but I would expect that due the the enormous range that Anorak Magazine covers.

In the copy that Emma reviewed she liked the 'Insects' page the best, she said that the images were clever and the information was interesting. She also liked the way that most of text was white on a coloured background - apparently this is different to other magazines, my worry though is that some people struggle to read white text ... although I personally found it quite pleasing on the eye.

All in all Emma enjoyed reading Anorak Magazine, if you would like more information about subscriptions please follow http://www.anorak-magazine.co.uk/

Emma's rating: 9/10

Primavera - Eucalyptus Roll-On

Primavera - Eucalyptus Roll-On

Now I don't know about you but at the first sign of a sniffle I usually dive into my medicine box, find a small pot of 'Menthol Goo' and rub it all over my chest ... and I hate it!
Why do I hate it? I don't like the film that is spread onto my skin, I don't like the way the covers then stick to me, but most of all I don't like trying to lather-up in the shower the next day trying to get it off again.

Well Primavera have found the answer - their Eucalyptus Roll-On is a light aromatherapy blend in a bottle, you use the roll-on ball to discreetly apply the blend to your temples, back of your neck and even under your nose. The bottle is small enough to keep in your handbag or pocket and use when needed to clear congestion.

Emma liked the roll-on and I even let her take it to school (with the permission of her teacher) to keep 'topping' herself up with throughout the day. The blend isn't particularly suitable for children under 6 but as Emma is 8 I felt she was responsible enough to use the blend on her wrists (a bit like perfume).

You only need a little dab to reap in the benefits, you can mostly pick out the lavender and thyme fragrance - it isn't overpowering, just strong enough to help clear your sniffles.

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus Radiata Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf Oil, Myrtus Communis Oil*, Tocopherol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

The online price is £10.99 (Each).

My rating: 8/10

14 Nov 2009



A what? I hear you cry! A Snuggie is a blanket with sleeves ... literally. Made from thick but lightweight fleece a Snuggie is a blanket that you can wrap over you to keep you toastie warm - but has sleeves so that you can read a book, answer the phone, change TV channels etc... without your blanket falling off of your shoulders.

In principle it is a brilliant idea - you can sit stroking the cat on your lap (as cats like fleece blankets too!) but still be warm as you don't have to keep pulling your blanket back up to your neck when it slips down.

My only problem is the shape and size - it is a bit like an initial design that has been produced without tweaking all the niggly design flaws first.

I found that it was too small .... my Dad hit the nail on the head (when he stopped laughing at me strutting my stuff in the living room) "Its one size - as long as you are small!".
Having rather large boobs and wide hips, it didn't seem to go around me very well, however I wiggled and wobbled around on the sofa I couldn't get it to tuck around my back without a cold draft. Plus being 5'8" tall ... it wasn't long enough to cover my feet either.

When I first tried it on I put it on like a coat, then tried to pull it around me .... this was wrong as my Dad who was reading the box 'spluttered' out, so I turned it round. But which way up did it go? after faffing around I eventually got it on and nearly strangled myself with the collar part ... its very tall and doesn't lie flat very well.

I like the idea of wearing it outside, maybe not where people know you ;) but for sitting in the garden when it gets a bit chilly its great! You can still sip your drink but keep the chill off at the same time.

I'm really not sure about the Snuggie, I am quite disappointed as I was really looking forward to trying it ... it looks good in theory but doesn't work for me, I just wish that it went all the way round, then it would be brilliant.
I know though that my Mother-in-law will love it .. so I'll be passing this one onto her.

It is warm, washable (hand wash warm - do not tumble dry), practical in a way and easy to store. It isn't idiot-friendly, large, spacious or fashionable.

Approx size: 180x137cm
For more information please visit: JML http://www.jmldirect.com/Snuggie--2-Pack-PS5780/

My rating: 2/10


Groclock - shows wake up time

We have always been quite lucky, Emma likes her sleep - when she was little she stopped in bed until we normally went in and woke her up (sometimes I went in and prodded her to make sure she was alive!). Now Emma is older she gets up and goes straight downstairs, then plays on my computer until we get up.

My niece is the opposite, she is 4 and her younger sister is 22 months. When the 4 year old wakes she gets up ... whatever the time, then wakes up the younger one! My sister-in-law wakes to find two small girls staring at her in the dark :) and that's it .. they are up with no chance of going back to bed or sleep.

When I found out about the Groclock I thought it was a brilliant idea, not only can you set it to the times that 'you' would like your little darling to get up, you can also set it for naps in the daytime as well.

The unit is very sturdy and child friendly. Having said that it also has locking options just in case your small sweet child gets their grubby mitts on it and decides to fiddle with the settings.
At night the unit shows a lovely big friendly 'Mr Moon' and stars all around the outside, the stars gradually count down and disappear throughout the night to count down until morning. When it is time to wake up (or wake up Mum & Dad) a big smiling sunshine appears.

You can adjust the brightness of the screen and also whether you would like an audible alarm or not (like an alarm clock). There are also other clever features to make the Groclock suitable for different families lifestyles (eg.. silent option, nap modes, energy saving daytime mode).

My favourite part is the storybook that is included. To just put this unit into your child's room could be a little scary for your child, they will not understand why or what its for .. well the book explains all of their questions in story form.
The Sleepy Farm book is beautifully illustrated and tells a rhymed story about a very very tired and miserable little pig. The story explains all about why you should get lots of sleep, as you read through it gives parents hints as to what to set the clock too (like a visual aid).
Percy the pig receives a special clock ... exactly the same clock as your child has! clever stuff.

I love this clock, its different and special - a good introduction for all families with small children.

Mains powered (all plugs, wires, adapter included).
Suitable from age 2+

Priced around £39.99

For more information please visit: http://www.gro.co.uk/gro-clock.aspx

My rating: 10/10

11 Nov 2009

Panduro Hobby

Panduro Hobby

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ccc7b6ae#/ccc7b6ae/46 << Link to catalogue

Since it was established in 1955, Panduro Hobby has developed a unique concept for giving people possibilities for their own creative activities.
With a comprehensive range of more than 9,000 hobby items, they offer everything required for making unique and personal articles.

Quite simply, they enable people to experience the satisfaction of being able to create something beautiful with their own hands.

I was asked to review a product from the Panduro catalogue, being very arty I was thrilled and started looking trough the pages and pages of beautiful kits, projects and materials ... I have never seen such a range of wonderful creative products! Each and every item is 'want-able' and simple to create, my daughter Emma eventually asked if we could make some candles and so I chose the BeesWax Sheets.

The products arrived quickly and well packed, if you spend over £50 on the website they offer free delivery which is great!

Just before bed (after a lot of nagging from Emma) I relented and agreed to help her make some candles. In our pack we received 5 sheets of honeycomb sheeted beeswax in yellow and some wicks. We read the instructions and Emma got to work.

First up was a simple straight candle. It was really easy to make and the kit gave us enough wax for us to make one each (I am convinced mine is better but Emma disagrees).

We then decided to be a little more daring and following the comprehensive well described instructions (including pictures with measurements) we made two spiral candles.

Finally as we still had two sheets left and lots of wick we attempted the more 'posher' stepped pillar candle. I'll have to admit that when Emma was moaning "No Mum its not like that you need to use this part!" I ignored her and swore blind that I was doing it correctly .... I wasn't it looked odd, luckily being wax you can unroll, flatten and start again :)

This time Emma took the lead and created a lovely stepped pillar candle - she has decided to give all five candles to her Gran for Christmas :)

Then it really was time for bed. The candles have stored really easily in the bag that the wax came in ready to be wrapped for Christmas.

Panduro have many many kits suitable for all age groups, boys, girls, Mum's, Granny's etc... I have posted the link to the Christmas Catalogue above but obviously throughout the year they will have different products available.

Prices are fair and the quality is high, I am very impressed with the wax that we tested and will definitely go back to the catalogue to have another browse (possibly for stocking fillers for 'you know who' above ;) as she enjoyed the candle making so much).

Our rating: 10/10
For more information please visit: www.pandurohobby.co.uk

10 Nov 2009

Sew! Cath Kidson

Sew! Cath Kidson

When this book arrived on my doorstep I squealed with delight ... why? I don't actually know as I can't sew ... but oooooh its a gorgeous book.
All the designs featured are exclusive Cath Kidson designs, the book features over 40 simple sewing projects .. all simple enough for even me to master.

But that's not the best bit .. oh no, there is something even better - I opened the front page (which felt a little bulky) and low and behold there was real Cath Kidson fabric!!
You receive with the book everything you need to make the bag on the front cover (see above).

I was amazed, I was astounded, I for some reason which not even I know picked up the phone and called my Mother-in-law to tell her (she pretended to be pleased for me, I know she will be really excited when I take the book round to show her).

This book has excited me, the designs are funky with clear concise instructions. I have even taken it into work with me to show my friends and one wants to buy a copy for her daughter for Christmas.

Have you ever been to the Cath Kidson shop inside Selfridges (Bull Ring, Birmingham)? Its amazing, everything has Cath's retro-girlie popular print all over it, from cutlery to scatter cushions ... its like Cath Kidson World - well one day (when I have found my sewing machine under all my junk) MY house will look like that!!

Sew! by Cath Kidston (Quadrille, £14.99)

Cuddledry Toddler Poncho Towel

Cuddledry Toddler Poncho Towel

Bigger than expected"My first opinion of the Cuddledry Toddler Poncho Towel was "Wow its big!". I was really impressed with the size as usually styles of towels like this are pretty tiny and you have trouble drying with them.

I loved the thickness and softness of the towel, it is very absorbent and should really be called 'snuggledry' as it is so soft. Toddlers should use it without screaming, even when they wriggle you can still keep a tight grip of them ... which is excellent as using a regular towel can sometimes he quite dangerous with a slippy toddler.

The hood is great, it helps dry her hair without them noticing ;) you can play 'peek-a-boo' for a while which was great.

A major plus point is the press stud closures under the armpits, again this helps when carrying your little-one but also it stops the towel from slipping.

I would definitely use this on holiday, the SPF50+ is priceless. Being washable (and it does wash well) you can easily use this by the pool or beach and not worry. It is comfortable enough to wear over a swimming costume, and also handy when changing small children out of wet costumes and into dry clothes (without them running off naked around the resort) if you would like a bit of privacy.

The press studs mean they can also wear it and still dig in the sand while being protected from the sun (please also use sun cream, do not just use the towel - that's not what it is designed for).

All-in-all we are very impressed, the price at £22.99 I think is fair for the quality. The Poncho states its for ages 1-2, but I think with a bit of imagination it will easily be of use until at least age 3.


JML - Halogen Oven

JML Halogen Oven

When I first saw this product advertised on JML's shopping channel I was in awe :) my husband laughed and said "Do you seriously believe that that works?" ... and I actually did!

But does it really cook 40% faster than a regular oven? Urm ... yes-ish it really depends on what you are cooking (and how much you trust the product).

According to JML the Halogen Oven means oven cooked taste at microwave speed.
It cooks forty percent faster than an average oven and still maintains that taste, this is because the halogen light source produces infra-red waves to heat food up quickly. This makes it great for roasting and baking as food crisps and browns like in a normal oven.

You receive an instruction manual in the box with the product - this gives you some 'suggested recipes' that include: Baked crumb-topped cod, Macaroni Bake, Open Apple Pie and Classic English Fruit Cake.
There is also a table which gives 'suggested' cooking times for different foods. Examples: Oven Chips (frozen) 18 minutes .... in my regular oven they take 20-25 minutes, so yes the Halogen Oven is quicker.

I personally feel that they should include a recipe booklet in with the product, you can of course buy one separately for an extra £4.99. According to the people on the TV and the video on http://www.jmldirect.com/The-Original-Halogen-Oven-PH1501/ you don't need a 'cookbook' you just use it like a normal oven.
You just have to be daring :) they are correct, this is just an oven - you cook in it like a normal oven, so don't worry too much about 'recipes', when you get used to the idea you will be fine.

So? Why should I purchase one?
The main part that I find fascinating is that you can see into it!! I know you can laugh but little things interest me. Usually I open and close my oven door 'to check cooking' around 3 or 4 times, each time letting all the heat out .... with the JML Halogen Oven, you don't need to open it, you can see through the clear bowl all around the food that's cooking. How cool is that!!

Then there is the self cleaning function (yes - it even cleans itself!). Set it to wash, add 1.5cm of cold water and a dash of washing up liquid and let it run for 15 minutes. The combination of heat, swirling motion and the washing up liquid will clean it up quickly. Plus you can watch it cleaning :) amazing.

You can cook anything in this oven that you can cook in your regular oven. It grills, bakes, boils, defrosts and roasts – for perfect potatoes, pizzas, roast chickens, vegetables, casseroles and so much more. Its not like a microwave where you can only cook certain food stuffs, this is simply an oven that cooks quicker - think of it as a space-age oven of the future.>br>

So how much can you fit into it? This was my worry as it doesn't look very big. It holds a generous 9.5 litre capacity bowl, and includes 2 racks so you can cook on two levels at once.
The JML Halogen Oven is 1300W Mains powered and measures 36.3 x 36.3 x 23.3 cm.

Healthy meals are a cinch with the Halogen Oven. It drains fat away from meals. So instead of using your tabletop grill you can now pop your chicken, sausages, pork chops into the oven and let them cook through and still be healthy as the fat drains away.

I like it - its funky and in tune with up-and-coming kitchen appliances. People want food faster now as we mostly work longer hours, so instead of microwaving a meal or ordering in a takeaway .. with the JML Halogen Oven you can cook a well balanced nutritious meal 40% quicker than in a 'regular' oven ... and it cleans itself! What more could you ask for?

My rating: 8/10

If you have the hots for the Halogen Oven then get yours at £59.99 from http://www.jmldirect.com/, ASDA, Homebase, Robert Dyas and Wilkinson.

Hot Chocolate Week - November 16th - 22nd 2009

Hot Chocolate Week is back! November 16th - 22nd 2009

Chocolate :) my ultimate favourite!! I can happily consume chocolate any time, any place, any where (with the exception of in the car as I get sick!). So when I heard about Hot Chocolate Week I nipped to Tesco and stocked up on delicious smooth Hot Chocolate products to celebrate in style.

Why do we need an excuse to take some time out for yourself and enjoy a gorgeous real hot chocolate drink anyway? I personally believe that Hot Chocolate shouldn't be classed as an indulgent treat - it should be a necessity!.
Yes we can rabbit on and on about calories, healthy options, obesity .. but to hold back from a Hot Chocolate addiction can also hold fatal consequences, think of the mood swings, the hunger pangs, the craving of sweet hot melted chocolate ...... yes I am now drooling!

So when I discovered the Hot Chocolate from Mars I had to try them.

First up: Moment du Chocolat Gourmet Hot Chocolate contains Real Belgian Milk chocolate with scrumptious marshmallows as an added topping. It is unashamedly sensuous, providing a melt in the mouth sensation. Its also very cocoa'y like a real hot chocolate like your Granny used to make. I personally had to add in a splash of milk to take off the edge, but it was very warming and scrummy.

Second we have : GALAXY Creamy Hot Chocolate is unlike most hot chocolates, as half a bar of real GALAXY chocolate is lovingly melted into milk to create a hot chocolate with that unmistakable delicious GALAXY taste. With a dash of cream and mini marshmallows to add as an optional topping, this is one hot chocolate not to share.
Its also sickly sweet - so beware those of you who like to indulge but sometimes go OTT and end up feeling quite ill. Andy tested this one but left most of it due to the sweetness, he prefers Galaxy block chocolate to the melted hot product.

Thirdly Emma tried out: MALTESERS Malted Hot Chocolate. Being only 3% fat its great for those wanting to indulge but also wanting to watch their waistline and has real chocolate melted into creamy malted milk. With a mini packet of MALTESERS to munch along side or melt into your drink this is a treat that everyone can enjoy.
Well she loved it! She even licked the lid :) I had a quick sip and it wasn't as sweet as the Galaxy drink, I wish now that I had opted for this one rather than the 'posh' one.

Finally: The range would not be complete without Melted MARS Hot Chocolate. The classic combination of chocolate and caramel is melted into milk to create a smooth hot chocolate with the instantly recognisable flavour of MARS. In addition there are two real MARS miniatures to complement this undeniably delicious drink. We are keeping this one, Emma has deemed it hers and we are not allowed to touch it. I think she is keeping it for a cold afternoon after school treat.

Pure liquid heaven will be yours to enjoy in just 90 seconds, when you simply pop your chosen hot chocolate into the microwave. With the cup designed to keep the drink hot without hurting your hands, you can savour pure decadence without any worries. It is that easy - peel off the foil top, give it a stir, bung it in the microwave for 60 seconds, give it a stir, back in for a further 30 seconds and its done !!

So cosy up, settle down and give yourself some ‘me time’ by enjoying Hot Chocolate Week with your favourite real hot chocolate drink from Mars Consumer Drinks.

The Hot Chocolate drinks are available in larger stores of Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda.

5 Nov 2009

The NEXT Generation Children's Competition 2009

Are your children a budding fashion designer??
Then Next need you :)

The NEXT GENERATION children's competition isn't only about finding junior models.

In association with the Make-a-wish Foundation, it also includes a very special opportunity for budding fashion designers.

Open to anyone up to age 16, the challenge is to create a unique and original t-shirt for summer 2010.

To enter:

Entrants should sketch a design, photograph it, and then post the image onto the Event Tab on their Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174292438845&index=1 on or after 4th November.

Entries close on 25th November when a panel of Next judges will choose the top 50 designs.

What happens next?

The entrants responsible for the top fifty designs will then be asked to submit their original drawings and join in all the fun of the NEXT GENERATION FINAL at Woburn Abbey on 21st December, when an overall winner will be selected.

So? Why? What will become of the design?

This design will be manufactured by Next, with sales benefiting the Make-a-wish Foundation.

For more information and full entry details please visit:

The Next Generation Children’s Competition 2009 launches on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nextonline).

Please note:
You can only enter via the Facebook page - but registration to Facebook is FREE.

Please do not sign your children up to Facebook (its a scary world out there), instead please enter their artwork via your own Facebook account.


Also ....

"We're looking for new faces to star in a childrenswear shoot for Next Directory! If your 4-7 year old has what it takes to be a pint-sized model then we want to hear from you."

For more info and to enter, you'll need to go back to their facebook page :www.facebook.com/nextonline and click on the "children's comp" tab.

Good Luck !!

3 Nov 2009



Nailene is a leading artificial nail, French Manicure and nail treatment brand sold in over 40,000 retail stores with brand presence in 39 countries.

With over 30 years in nail care, Nailene is staking its position as a proud beauty brand with a lighter side.

They understand that Mums love to experiment with all kinds of beauty products- and are so excited when they find something that gives them just a little bit of time for themselves. These are the kinds of Mums that are always on the go, but want to look sophisticated and stylish no matter what is on the agenda!

Nailene is the perfect accessory, giving Mums of all ages confidence and class with minimal time investment.

I have reviewed a couple of products from Nailene including 'Couture' $5.99, 'So Real' $5.99, 'So Natural' $5.99 artificial nails, also Bedazzle 'Super Star' $3.99 and 'Fashionista' $3.99 nail art.

The artificial nails are really really light - I was amazed as I have always imagined artificial nails to be a bit chunky and 'false'. The nail packs each contain 24 nails and cover 12 different sizes - which was my next worry. I have very wide fingers and the nails have a size that fits my fingers exactly, so I am really impressed! My 'Halloween fake nail' vision is now gone and a very feminine light as a fairy vision has been put in its place.

Each pack not only contains sizes to suit but also a tube of nail glue, Cuticle Stick, Nail file/buffer and full instructions. The artificial nails come in a variety of shapes and lengths for example: Medium Length, Square Shape. They are also 'chip proof' which is a massive bonus if like me you are clumsy!

I have also been lucky enough to view their Bedazzle Nail Art designs. These are sticky rhinestone stickers that you can put onto either your own nails or a set of artificial names to 'tart them up a bit'.
You can stick them straight on or add a layer of top coat to keep them on a little longer. Each pack contains a variety of designs to suit all tastes.
Brilliant for younger girls for parties if you feel that artificial nails are a little old for them.

The range from www.nailene.com is amazing, their prices are inexpensive, while the quality is brilliant !!

I am totally sold on the Nailene range - they are a must for teenage girls and a treat for Mums on the go.