Monday 31 December 2018

Walking with Blacks *Review*

My husband and I love getting the kids out and about for a nice, long walk. Where we live we are so lucky to have access to some wonderful country side and scenery which can make for some fabulous walks, it can at times be quite muddy and mucky and my Mum would be the first to tell you that I never wear 'sensible' shoes for these types of adventures! It's only been the last couple of years that I have been wearing wellies....I kid you not! We've recently been testing out a few 'outdoorsy' bits and the brands featured in this post have asked for our opinions on them. I suppose the problem both my husband and I had was not having any decent walking boots, it was really something we were lacking. We kindly sent a couple of pairs and I can honestly say they've been saviours!

Sturdy, solid, comfortable and quite wearable are a few of the words that sums up our walking boots. We were sent a pair from the mens walking boots range and a pair from the women's Berghaus walking boots range.

What did we like?

- The boots are so well designed, there is lots of detail that have gone in to the making of them, from the waterproof lining to the grip supports these boots are great for everyday walking

- Easy to do up, no faffing around and they stay put whilst walking

- Both myself and my husband felt they were very comfortable once we'd worn them in

- They look great, of course walking boots are a bit more cumbersome than your usual boot but these do look really good when worn

Anything we weren't so keen on?

- They do take a bit of wearing in, as with all boots when 1st worn can be a bit achey but the more we'd worn them the better they became

- They are not cheap but quality doesn't come at a bargain price and both our boots were super quality and extremely well made, consider them an investment

I couldn't not add this picture of my hubby messing around...he'll probably kill me when he see's it!

We were also sent some fleeces to try out, we were sent one from the women's fleece range which is a women's North Face fleece and one from the mens fleece range which is a mens Berghaus fleece and considering the weather over Winter hasn't been your typical wintery weather these have been perfect for the chilly but not overly cold days. These breathable fleeces not only look good but considering just how thin they feel keep you surprisingly warm.

What did we like? 

-  Available in a selection of colours and reasonably priced

- Quick drying so if you get caught in a shower you can be reassured that you'll be protected from light showers

- Both were soft to touch and comfortable

- They wash well which is very important

Anything we weren't so keen on?

- We both weren't so keen on the light blue, we would have preferred a darker colour because that's what we prefer but also doesn't show the dirt quite so much after a muddy walk!

- For myself, I prefer a little bit of a longer fleece, I found it was a bit short, I prefer a jacket to sit over the hips where possible, so for taller ladies it would be very short

Overall the products are perfect for country walks, they have made a real difference to our comfort, especially when on longer, more rough terrain for sure. If you're looking for high quality and comfortable walking attire then head over to Blacks to check out the full range.

The brands included in this post asked for my opinion on the products featured from their range. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday 17 December 2018

*WIN* a Rescue Runt Toy *review*

Look at this little fella, scruffy little cutie isn't he? Rescue Runts are the saddest, most unruly creatures, they need a good home, a home that can care for them love them and give them some TLC. These loveable little scruffbags need your love to clean them up and spruce them up a bit. Set to be one of the most popular toys this Christmas and if you have kids like mine who love animals this will be a hit.

We were recently sent the cutest little Husky to welcome into our home and make him feel happy. So far he has no name he's simply 'Dog' but when Elarna saw him she just fell in love with him. She couldn't wait to get him out of the box and welcome him into our home. 

Included in the box is the dog (other types are available), a brush, collar tweezer and towel. The concept of the toy is the child cares for the animal and uses the included items to make the pet look fresh clean and loved. Wipe their tears away, clean their paws, take off its bandage, free them of the colourful fleas, brush their fur an perk their ears up. It's just the sweetest concept, my daughter who is nearly 4 thought it was absolutely brilliant. She's such a caring little girl that this was perfect for her, she spent an age making him look all clean and well groomed.

They really do look very sad when you first get them out the box! Once brushed and tears wiped away and ears perked they look so fluffy and new. I purposely haven't included any of the after pictures so it's not spoilt! Rescue Runts are available from Smyths and all other leading retailers for a rather reasonable £17.99. As mentioned there are several varieties available from dogs to unicorns so plenty of choice.

What did we love about Rescue Runts?

- They encourage caring and nurturing behaviour

- The child becomes responsible for the animal, I loved seeing Elarna care for her little pet doggy

- Reasonable price, offers playability with the added extras included in the box

- Different choices so appeal to a variety of ages of children and both boys and girls

- A lovely birthday or Christmas gift!

Anything we weren't so keen on?

- Not really, it's a fabulous little toy and I'm certain it will be a very popular choice for many parents

If you like the look of the Rescue Runts then you are in luck as I have a very special competition to win ONE! How exciting! Scroll down for further details on how to enter.......

Entry is via the Rafflecopter below and is for UK entrants only please. Please leave valid and regularly checked contact details please. I cannot be held personally responsible for the item being sent out, this will be sent direct from the company. All that remains to be said is good luck!

* Please note we were kindly sent the item free of charge in exchange for an honest post, all thoughts are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Bloom Magic Flowers *Review*

Is there anything nicer than being sent fresh flowers? I love having fresh blooms throughout the house, it cheers the place up and makes me a happy girl, I love walking through the door to lovely, colourful flowers. In these cold and dreary months a burst of colour and flowers can really lift your mood.

I was recently sent the most beautiful hand tied bouquet from Bloom Magic to review and when it arrived it was the most lovely selection of bright and colourful blooms. The deluxe reverie a saint-germain is a full and seasonal bouquet, hand tied to perfection. 

The bouquet is delightfully hand arranged with a mixture of white and purple roses, lisianthus and one my favourite's....gerbera's. Elegantly presented in a powder blue hat box....very handy if you haven't got a vase as the flowers can be kept in the waterproof hat box, simply top the water up every couple of days to keep them fresh. Each bouquet is unique, seasonal flowers are used to keep the designs of the flowers fresh and vibrant.

A little bit about Bloom Magic: 

Specialists in flowers and specifically hand tied bouquets with a team of artisans you can guarantee if you order flowers to be delivered by Bloom Magic you will receive world class service and luxurious bouquets. With a wide range of flowers gifts to accompany the bouquets you are guaranteed to find the perfect gift be it for birthday, anniversary, celebration or simply for the love of your life.  Delivering across the UK with next day choices available even if you're looking for a last minute gift Bloom Magic can help you out.

As you can see the flowers really are stunning, I adored the mix of vibrant colours in this selection, it really injected a pop of colour into the house and they smelled so lovely. I have several vases but liked the hat box that they came in that I kept them in this to display. The flowers lasted well, several days they kept looking vibrant and even then they only wilted a little bit. They stayed looking decent for almost 10 days!

What did we love about our Bloom Magic flowers?

- The hat box that the flowers arrive is gorgeous and I love that it doubles up on a vase

- Gorgeous flowers, a wonderful choice online to pick from

- Quick delivery and the flowers arrived perfectly intact

- The flowers stayed fresh for several days and didn't drop their petals

Anything we weren't so keen on?

- The flowers are beautiful but not cheap, although there are a variety of options to choose on several of the bouquets so you can spend less if required

- The deluxe bouquet wasn't as big as I was expecting, however it was a beautiful looking selection of flowers

Overall I would recommend Bloom Magic, there is a lovely choice available, the delivery is exceptionally quick and the flowers would I'm be very gratefully received. Head on over to the website and check them out, they have some wonderful Christmas bouquets available at present!

* Please note I was kindly sent the flowers free of charge in exchange for a review, all thoughts are my own.

Sunday 9 December 2018

*WIN* Beaker Creatures Lab Set *Review*

STEM products are huge at the moment, for those who aren't sure what I'm going on about STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a term used to encompass these educational subjects. We've been testing out Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab (RRP £25.00 available from leading retailers), I knew that Alfie would love it anything that involves water, mess and general experimental and he is one happy boy.

One rainy Sunday a couple of weeks ago was THE perfect opportunity to open it and have some fun experimenting and messing around with the Beaker Creatures. There are several experiments that you can do and within the box is most of the kit required to have lots of fun and learning while doing so, there are few household items that are needed to do some of the experiments such as food colouring, shaving gel and oil but if you don't have these to hand you can still release the beaker creatures and experiment with mixing the coloured waters.

Included within the 15 piece set are: 

- 2 x beaker creature reactor pods
- 2 x classification pods
- 2 x mini posters featuring science facts and images
- 2 x hydroplungers
- 2 x beakers
- A set of tongs and stirring rod
- Instruction guide for 5 experiments
- Full size poster to display

The super lab is fairly simple to put together but does need a little bit of adult assistance to clip the hydroplungers in to place but that is about it, less than 5 minutes to set it up and have it ready to play. Now I would definitely advise using this somewhere you don't mind getting a little bit wet and also using something that you don't mind getting a little bit discoloured as the coloured eggs do seem to release a fair amount of dye!

To find out what collectible beaker creature was inside the reactor pods you simply pick one up with the tongs provided and add to the beaker. Fill each plunger with water and clip each plunger into the super lab base, then plunge the water into the may need to help your children with this as we found the hydroplungers quite stiff to suck the water up and plunge it.  

Once the water has started to enter the chamber the excitement starts happening, the water will change colour and depending on the pod the water might fizz and foam and spill over the edge! All very scientific and exciting!

Once the water has fizzed and foamed the beaker creature will start to emerge and you can fish it out using the tongs provided. There are several to collect and some rare editions to find. 2 reactor pods come with the set but more can be purchased individually which is good.

The children just loved it, they just love water and mess kids don't they! It was a really great introduction to science and learning about different reactions and why one reactor pod fizzed and foamed and the other didn't. It was very exciting for them seeing the beaker creatures emerge and matching it u against to poster, they are very eager to get some more reactor pods to find some more!

As I mentioned above there are other experiments that you can try....some more messy than the others! We opted to try 'deep blue sea', this one is all about showing the resistant properties of water and oil and how they do not mix, as oil is less dense (takes up less space) it will float to the top creating 2 distinct layers. 

For this experiment to work (pictures further down the post) you need water, blue food colouring and a few spoons of baby oil. Water goes in one beaker and the oil into the other, you then fill one plunger with the coloured water and the other with baby oil, you then plunge the blue water into the chamber then the baby oil. You can see the layers develop and you can see little bubbles of oil appear. We liked this experiment alot, the kids spent quite a bit of time plunging the different liquids together and observing what happened to the liquids when plunged both slowly and quickly, very interesting!

After we'd finished with the deep blue sea we cleared out the oil and added more water and blue food colouring, we still had the orange water left so the kids were then free to mix the colours together and have fun making muddy colours! We then encouraged then to plunge through the water really fast and then really slow to see the difference.

This is such a wonderful way to get children interested and enthusiastic about science and encouraging them to ask questions. My husband is a physicist and he thought it was a great introduction to chemistry and asking why things happen and he felt it was great that it was so interactive. I liked the set, I wished their was a couple more of the reactor pods included for the price (£29.99) but as long as you are inventive and have some of the recommended household extras there are experiments that you can carry out. It's not a set I would advise they go it alone, adult supervision is definitely recommended else it could get very, very messy!

What did we love?

- A fantastic introduction to STEM learning, specifically science

- Clear instructions which are easy to follow

- The super lab is simple to set up, takes a couple of minutes and packs away nicely back into the box

- Can be reused with several other experiments

- Great fun and interactive. Aimed at age 5+ but my almost 4 year old got stuck in and loved plunging the water and watching the water change colour

Anything we weren't so keen on?

- As mentioned above there are only 2 beaker creatures included in the pack, for £29.99 in cost I think another coupe should be included as once you've used these all that really is needed as extra is water, food colouring, oil and shaving foam

- It can get messy! Be prepared for it water goes everywhere and the colouring from both the food colouring and reactor pods can stain

- The hydroplungers are stiff to use, my 2 found them very tricky to use and had to use quite some force, this didn't stop them enjoying it but did mean that we had to help out

I will leave you with a few pictures so you get an idea of all the fizzy, foamy and wet fun that the kids had while experimenting! If you like the look of what you see or have a child that is very much into the STEM toys then I am offering one lucky reader the chance to win one Beaker Creature Super Lab set! Entry is via the rafflecopter below so please do read on and enter.

Keep scrolling down for the rafflecopter to enter the competition!!! 

Please use the rafflecopter below as means of entering. UK residents only and I cannot be held personally responsible for the item being sent this will be sent direct from the company. Please leave valid contact details that are checked regularly so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Christmas Gitfs for the Coffee Lover.

Coffee is one of my favourite things, I need a couple of strong cups in the morning to wake me up and set me up ready for the day. Last year my husband bought us an all singing, all dancing bean to cup coffee machine and i have to admit we really do love it. It is very well used that's for sure! With Christmas just around the corner you might be considering a coffee related gift for the coffee lovers in your life..... or perhaps just fancy a cheeky little gift to yourself maybe! Whatever it might be I might be able to help you out with some ideas so please read on for some christmas coffee gifts inspo to inject a bit of caffeine into the festive season! Enjoy!

Coffee Subscription

How about a coffee subscription? These kind of gifts are huge at the moment and I love the idea of having coffee delivered, takes the stress out of making sure there is plenty in the house! The featured subscription is a fantastic coffee subscription from Rave Coffee. It works on a fairly simple basis; you sign up to a subscription that lasts either 3, 6 or 12 months, and every month you get a selection of some amazing, limited release coffee from a range of countries and areas including Guatemala, Kenya, and more. We have recently been testing out some of the coffee beans and the Kenyan coffee we were sent with tasting notes of blackcurrant and chocolate is delicious, so smooth and delicious. Fabulous! You can also personalise it, from the day it arrives on to personal messages and gift wrap options which can be included with the coffee itself, so you can be sure that you’re getting amazing custom coffee lover gifts here for months at a time, making this the gift that keeps on giving.

Cold Brew Gift Set

Something bit more unusual coffee present is a Cold Brew gift set. Have you had a cold brew coffee before? If you’ve not had it, it’s a fantastic way of brewing your coffee that’ll provide an entirely different taste sensation from your normal hot coffee. If you have had it before, you’ll probably fondly remember the taste of it and will be wanting to grab another cup. That’s where a Cold Brew Gift Set from Hario comes in. Containing all you need to start cold brewing coffee, this would make a fab little gift set for the person who likes their coffee a little more on the unusual side.

Aeropress Gift Set

This is another unique brewing style, you really can’t go wrong with getting an Aeropress gift set from Aerobie. Despite it being rather simple to use aswell as a very quick way of brewing coffee, an AeroPress is actually the artisan coffee roasters choice for making coffee. It’s become so popular and skilful that they’ve even introduced AeroPress championships, where everyone competes to brew the perfect cup of coffee, brilliant! Why not join them in getting an AeroPress as a present and to see how much more your coffee brewing skills can be improved?

Filter Coffee Gift Set with Grinder

If you prefer a slightly more traditional way of making coffee, a Filter Coffee Gift Set with Grinder from Hario is sure to please everyone who doesn’t want fancy coffee and instead just prefers a simple cup. Featuring everything you need to make some lovely coffee, such as a white ceramic dripper, coffee filter papers, a grinder and a brew guide as well as the all-important coffee beans, this is sure to be a great present for the coffee lover in your life, who prefers simplicity.

Glass Coffee Brewing Set

Finally, if you’re the type of person who loves to be in control of everything, a Glass Coffee brewing set from Hario is ideal to satisfy your needs of both coffee and managing the entire brewing process. With everything you need, from a glass dripper and heatproof glassware to a coffee server and paper filters, this really is ideal for the coffee lover at Christmas time who loves to brew their own coffee carefully and get it to the ideal colour and consistency at all times,a truly personal experience.
Who else loves coffee? Can you think of anything I might have missed?

Happy coffee drinking!

Monday 3 December 2018

Rusty Rivets Botasaur *Review*

Alfie absolutely loves Rusty Rivets, it's watched lots in our house and one of those programme's that I actually don't mind him watching alot. I like it because I feel it teaches children to be resourceful and to create and invent things. It follows a boy called Rusty who has a knowledge of engineering to reinvent machine parts and create gadgets. He works alongside his trusty Botasaur Ruby who is a Tyrannosaurid.

Alfie was very lucky to be recently sent a Botasaur robot to construct, deconstruct and play with. We had one very excited boy on our hands, partly because it was from a programme he loves, partly because Botasaur is green and a dinosaur! All the things he adores. 

Botasaur comes apart easily for the child to be able to switch it around to a speedy vehicle, simply remove the arms and legs and replace with the wheels for it to become a zippy, speedy wheeled Botasaur! It's very easy to remove the parts, Alfie had no issues with this and quite happily removed the arms and legs and clipped the wheels into place. I loved that it gave the toy more playability and the option for it to be turned into a wheeled Botasaur. Be aware though that the arms and legs are quite delicate.

Once Botasaur is built press the button on the back of his head and his eyes will light up and he'll make lots of sounds. A great added feature!

Included in the kit is the main body, 1 head/body, 1 torso, 1 tail, 1 spine, 2 feet, 2 legs, 2 arms, 1 seat, 4 big wheels, 4 axle hubs and the instruction sheet. It is the kind of toy that needed very little assistance from an adult, he was quite happy to get on with it and once he'd built the desired model he played with it for quite some time. 

What did we like? 

- I loved the fact it encouraged creativity and imagination. 

- RRP: Around £29.99, available from leading retailers it is a great add on to the TV programme, it ties in nicely!

- It's a decent size and it is really quite simple for the child to play with independently

- It kept Alfie entertained for quite some time which is always a bonus!

- A great Christmas gift if your child likes Rusty Rivets

Anything we weren't so keen on:

- It is a bit delicate, I can imagine it could be easily broken with some heavy hands but if the child takes care it would be ok

- The price is maybe a little bit steep for what it is

The Botasaur is part of the 'build me' range so if you have other items from this range they are interchangeable which is great and your child can be super inventive and create their own interesting robots! Such a good idea.

Overall the Rusty Rivets Botasaur was a great toy and Alfie is a boy that can be easily distracted so this was a toy that captured his imagination and enabled him to be quite interactive with it. He loves turning it into a speedy wheeled Botasaur and this also entertained Elarna too. Aimed at age 3+ I think the age range is about right, there is a few small bits which smaller children may be tempted to swallow but otherwise mostly large items. Alfie is 6 and played with it brilliantly. Available from leading retailers now!

* Please note we were kindly sent the item free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.