Archives

Lovely Lilies

Now I don’t often do review posts on my blog any more – mainly because I generally find them excruciatingly boring to read on other people’s – but when the nice people at Interflora offered me an item of my choice from their range in return for a review, I’m afraid I couldn’t resist.

I selected this one, which comes ready-arranged in a vase (handy if you’re totally hopeless at flower arranging like me), and costs £44.99, plus £5.99 for delivery.

My flowers were delivered on Thursday by a very pleasant delivery driver, and this is what I received (photo taken on the day of arrival).

The lilies are beautiful and full of fragrance – you can smell them as soon as you come into the house.  The vase is good quality, too.

But I think you’ll agree when I say that I was disappointed that the actual product really didn’t look anything like the item I had selected from the website – in fact, it looked more like one of my own ‘get some flowers and stick ‘em in a vase’ efforts.

If I’m honest, I was also a little surprised that there wasn’t any sort of wrapping or decoration – for that sort of price, I would really expect some cellophane and some sort of ribbon, for protection in transit if nothing else.

I would reiterate, though, that I cannot fault the flowers themselves – they are really lovely, and I would like to thank Interflora for the opportunity to review one of their products.

They have a wide range for delivery, and if you’d like to see what they offer, the link is here.

Barry Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

I have all but given up doing product reviews on my blog – but when the lovely people from Barry M asked me if I’d like to try a selection of products from their new Spring range, I near enough snapped their hand off!

Not only was I already a big fan of Barry M make-up, I am also on a self-imposed 12 month make up and beauty product purchasing ban, so the chance to try some new things arrived at just the right time.

I spent a very happy half hour perusing the Barry M website (news to me that they had a website – I’d always bought my Barry M from Superdrug previously), and chose my products carefully.  When they arrived in the post, I was ridiculously excited.

Here’s what I chose:

Loving them all, but particularly the lipgloss (each colour is infused with a different scent and they are a snip at £4.49).  I have an orangey one as well which smells of mandarins and is just divine!

Nail polish comes in a vast array of colours, has decent staying power, and is just £2.99 – yes, you read that right, £2.99. 

I am pleasantly surprised by the mascara, which was one of the item I chose, as I hadn’t tried it before.  It’s volumising, lengthening and curling, according to the blurb, and considering how much cheaper it is than my usual brand, it’s not bad at all.

You can buy the whole range online as mentioned above, and from Superdrug where it’s quite often on a 3 for 2 promotion. 

So what are you waiting for – at these prices, everybody can afford to treat themselves!

Shock To The System

So we stopped at Fleet Services on the way home from Gatwick on Saturday night (they have a Waitrose – super-posh service station) to pick up some bread, milk, Red Bull shots and Mars Milk drinks (what can I tell you, a four hour drive in the middle of the night after a 10 hour flight – we SO needed the caffeine and sugar high to get through it).

Standing in the queue, with that slightly dizzy, not-quite-there dazedness, which is the net result of flying through four or five timezones and that post-holiday back-to-reality thing, I was a bit bemused to notice a CHRISTMAS TREE.  And Lindt Christmas chocolates for sale.  And December issues of magazines. 

And yesterday, Ebay shockingly informed me that there’s only fifty-odd days until Christmas. 

It somehow all feels a bit wrong.  I think because it’s so warm still (I keep having to switch the heating off every time it clicks on!), it doesn’t feel quite right that Christmas is only weeks away.

So I’d better get my behind in gear with regards to Christmas, particularly as everybody’s coming to us on Christmas Day this year.

I used to love Christmas and really look forward to it, but these days it feels a bit more like a chore every year.  I’d actually really like to go away for Christmas (sunshine, beach, cocktails – what’s not to like?), but the rest of my family are horrified by the idea, so I guess that won’t be happening any time soon.

On another note, Christmas of course means winter, and the cold/cough/flu season, so I was rather pleased when we were sent these Gummy Bear children’s multivitamins to try out recently.

 

Each day’s ‘dose’ is a mini pack of about half a dozen gummy bears (which taste exactly like real gummy bears – yeah, I had to try them!), and Will loves them.  I think they’re a brilliant idea, particularly as a great way of getting vitamins into smaller children who aren’t keen on tablets.

Right, I’m off to make some lists for Christmas.  Time to get my organising head on.

New Shoes!

Now, my love of footwear has been well documented on my blog, so I was highly delighted when the lovely people from Hotter Shoes asked if I’d like to review a pair of shoes from their new season’s range.

I immediately spent a happy 20 minutes or so on their very user friendly website, and eventually selected this fab bright yellow pair, which arrived a couple of days later.

Now, whilst they’re never gonna match up with anything Mr Louboutin produces in the sartorial elegance stakes, they do what they do VERY well: they’re beautifully made from the softest leather, and are leather lined as well, and they are possibly the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve EVER worn.  Seriously.  And I love the colour.

I’ve had the opportunity to wear them rather a lot in the last couple of weeks, as we’ve had such dry weather, and they’ve really rather grown on me.    In fact I was even asked where I got them by a couple of the Boden clan at the school gates yesterday!

So.  Hotter Shoes.  Rather good, actually.

Product Review: Flips Interactive Books for Nintendo DS

Well, this is an interesting little idea – books to read on the Nintendo DS.  We received the Artemis Fowl collection: six books on one little cartridge – so it’s pretty space-saving if nothing else!

It also has additional features, such as links you can touch while reading to find additional information and facts on the story, and codes to collect as you read through the book.

William is quite an avid reader of books anyway (takes after his mother, there, I’m pleased to say), and he didn’t really take to the idea of reading on the DS.  The amount of text on one page is pretty minimal, as the screens are so much smaller than a real book page, which I found rather annoying when I gave it a go.

We also canvassed the opinion of a couple of William’s friends who came to visit, who didn’t think an awful lot of it, to be honest – sorry, Flips L

However, I do think that it might be a really good idea for children who are not keen on reading books, to get them started, in a way that doesn’t really seem like ‘reading a book’.   And if it opens up the world of reading to children who otherwise wouldn’t entertain the thought of picking up a book, then it can only be a good thing.

Well, this is an interesting little idea – books to read on the Nintendo DS.  We received the Artemis Fowl collection: six books on one little cartridge – so it’s pretty space-saving if nothing else!

 It also has additional features, such as links you can touch while reading to find additional information and facts on the story, and codes to collect as you read through the book.

 William is quite an avid reader of books anyway (takes after his mother, there, I’m pleased to say), and he didn’t really take to the idea of reading on the DS.  The amount of text on one page is pretty minimal, as the screens are so much smaller than a real book page, which I found rather annoying when I gave it a go.

 We also canvassed the opinion of a couple of William’s friends who came to visit, who didn’t think an awful lot of it, to be honest – sorry, Flips L

 However, I do think that it might be a really good idea for children who are not keen on reading books, to get them started, in a way that doesn’t really seem like ‘reading a book’.   And if it opens up the world of reading to children who otherwise wouldn’t entertain the thought of picking up a book, then it can only be a good thing.

On Sleeping, Bed & Bedding

I haven’t been sleeping very well this week: I go off to sleep OK, but wake in the middle of the night and can’t drop off again.  Last night was no exception – I woke up at 4 am, far too hot, and couldn’t settle again.  I knew the alarm would be going off at 5 as Ashley had to get up early to catch a flight to Manchester, so that didn’t help. 

I eventually gave up trying to sleep at around 4.45 and got up, made a cup of tea, and dealt with the contents of my email inbox, before going back to bed with a magazine.  Eventually felt dog-tired again at about 6.30, so dozed for half an hour until it was time to get up (again!).

I do love my bed, though …. as I’ve told you on numerous occasions before, I’m sure!

Anyway, I was recently sent a cushion by Dorma, the bedlinen people, from their new Jaipur range (in pic above).  As I’m already a firm fan of Dorma, it’s an easy job for me to wax lyrical about their products!  The very first bedding set I bought for my first flat was made by Dorma, and it lasted for YEARS.  In fact I only got rid of it in the end because the design was looking rather dated.  I passed it on to Ashley’s mother, who still has it, as far as I know!  Dorma bedding certainly isn’t cheap, but it is fantastic quality, and looking through their website, there is a whole wealth of designs to choose from.

I currently have two sets of bedding which I alternate on my bed: one from Dorma and one from Monsoon (another company who make lovely quality bedding).   When I’ve finished writing this, I’m going to change my sheets, and get clean pyjamas ready for this evening, when I shall be getting into bed at around 7.30 (second time this week – it’s becoming a habit), surrounded by magazines, books, the TV remote and perhaps a nice mug of hot choc  Oh, the latest DVD offering from Lovefilm – Neighbours: Iconic Episodes of the 80s.  My God, is there no end to the excitement in my life?!

An Eco-Cleaning Week

The nice people at Ecover sent me a selection of their products to try out, and compare with my regular cleaning products.  So last week, I did the test, and here are the results.

Monday

I used the Power Cleaner to clean the top of my very greasy cooker, after a hard weekend of cooking.  I was very impressed by its degreasing ability, but kind of missed the lemony ‘clean’ smell of my normal Flash Kitchen spray.

Tuesday

Mirrors and some windows today, with the Ecover Window & Glass Cleaner.  It did an excellent job, on a par with my regular window & glass cleaner, no complaints at all.

Wednesday

Bathroom floor day: I used the Ecover All Purpose Cleaner, which had a nice lemon fragrance, though not very strong, and it didn’t last for long.  It cleaned the floor perfectly well.

Thursday

Today I used the Multi-Purpose Cleaner to clean my kitchen work surfaces (granite).  It worked very well, again just as good as my regular cleaner, but again I missed the fragrance. 

Overall, I was impressed with the products’ cleaning ability, and if they were on a price level with my regular products, I may well buy them next time I need  a cleaning product.

The other thing I’d like to mention is the plastic packaging – although it is made from 100% recyclable materials, my local Council don’t offer a facility for recycling this type of plastic, as I’m sure many others in the UK don’t, and the packaging therefore has to go into the landfill bin.  I’d like to see refills of the products available in more widely recyclable material in order to consider this a truly ‘eco’ product.

Fruit (& Veg) For Thought

2409582661_22387a9d53
William had science homework last night about fruit and veg, and which part of the plant one eats (incidentally, does anybody know what the part of sweetcorn that we eat is called?  The kernel?  The seed?).  We all joined in with the debate, and it was quite interesting.  It also involved looking through a seed catalogue, and extracting various information, and I discovered that William’s knowledge of fruit and veg is really quite good (considerably better than his willingness to try eating some of them, I might add!)

Anyway, this tied in with some rather shocking statistics that I’d been reading recently, which revealed:

  • 1 in 10 children aged 7 to 11 think chickens lay potatoes (WTF?!)
  • 1 in 5 kids have no idea that potatoes are grown in the ground
  • 1 in 5 kids didn’t realise that chips are made from potatoes.

Scary stuff, huh?  So, McCain (the oven chip people) have put together a national touring roadshow called The Potato Story, which is aiming to plug the gaps in kids’ food knowledge.  The roadshow bus has been travelling around the UK visiting primary schools, and is currently nearing the end of its fifth tour, teaching kids in a fun and interactive way about food provenance.

I showed Will the website, and he found some of the info in the kids section really useful, all about plant lifecycles, which ties in very well with his science this term.

Let’s hope The Potato Story works!

A Step In the Right Direction

binAs I’ve mentioned many times before,  despite the fact that I’m generally quite an organised person, my office is a haven of disorganisation, clutter and piles of ‘stuff’.  I was delighted, therefore, when a lovely lady called Rose from simplehuman , asked me if I’d like to test drive one of their range of recycling bins.  I jumped at the chance, and very soon, the semi-round recycling bin arrived.

It was immediately installed in my office, to replace the mismached (and overflowing) waste paper baskets therein.  And *whispering quietly, in case the mess gods hear me* - it seems to be having a very positive effect: the twin canisters make it super easy to separate recyclable waste from non-recyclable, and the brushed steel finish looks much smarter than my previous waste bins.  My favourite thing about it, though, is that unlike a lot of pedal bins I’ve used inthe past, when you let go of the pedal on this one, it has a ‘soft closing’ mechanism so you don’t get that horrid crashing noise as the lid slams down.

You can read all about this particular bin here, but do have a look around the rest of the website as well, as there are some great ideas in there – and if the bin is anything to go by, the quality is excellent.