Valley Mill Handmade Soaps – Review

I was recently asked to review some handmade soap from Valley Mill. They offer a wide range of natural products such as soap, soy candles and gorgeous Welsh slate products. You can order from their website or visit the shop which is based in Neath, South Wales. Funnily enough this is where my husband is from, and his parents and sister still live in Neath. I will definitely be taking a visit to the shop next time we head down to South Wales.

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I received 2 soap products, which arrived beautifully packaged. Everything about the packaging felt natural whilst still retaining a luxury feel to it. As soon as I opened the box, I was met with the most wonderful fragrance. We had been sent the Bergamot and Basil and also the Tea-Tree and Witch Hazel soaps.

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As my son was suffering with the usual teenage spots, I gave him the Tea-Tree soap to try. After using it for a few days, I noticed his spots had actually started to disappear and his complexion was clearer. He said the soap felt nice on his face, and he has been using it daily since I received it. I will definitely buy him some more instead of his usual face wash. With it being 100% natural and hand made, I know its going to be kinder to his teenage skin.

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This left the Bergamot and Basil bar for me to try out. I loved the smell of the soap, which I thought had a liquorice smell to it. The soap lathered up quickly and the smell really lingered on your hands after using it.

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I use liquid hand soap but I will definitely be switching to Valley Mill soaps from now on. They are priced at £4.00 which I think is good value considering they are natural and hand made.

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Thank you to Valley Mill for supplying me with 2 bars of soap. All words and opinions are my own.

Tried and Tested

Ravensburger Puzzle Review – Happy Days Tenby

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Ravensburger recently sent me one of their puzzles to review. It has been about 12 years since I last tackled a puzzle with more than 50 pieces and didn’t have a Disney Princess on it. This puzzle was a huge 1000 pieces and was entitled ‘Happy Days Tenby’.

The puzzle is part of the Happy Days series from Ravensburger, and the painting of Tenby’s famous harbour is by artist Kevin Walsh. I love the picture as there is so much detail and colour to it. Which is a good thing when you are tackling a puzzle.

First thing we had to decide was where to actually do the puzzle. I didn’t really want to do it on the dining room table, so we borrowed a large folding table from my mum. I must admit it was the perfect size, and meant we could tackle the puzzle from the comfort of the sofa.

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On opening the box the actual pieces are contained in a sealed bag. There is also a leaflet giving some information on the artist, plus an additional picture of the scene. This is a must when 2 people are tackling the puzzle together. Upon realising the enormity of the challenge, I quickly set to work. Obviously I started with the outer pieces, and then worked on the different colour houses, boats and then the hardest bits which were the sky and the sea.

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The puzzle was well crafted, and thankfully all 1000 pieces were there. I started on the Thursday evening and the final piece was put in on Monday morning. Husband actually thought it would take me weeks to finish it, but I proved him wrong and did it in a few days. Despite not touching a puzzle for all those years, I really enjoyed doing it. I found it relaxing, and kept my hands busy in the evenings. Which is a good thing because if your hands are busy they keep out of the biscuit tin ! And above all a sense of achievement. A sense of achievement that the whole family shared, as husband and the kids got involved too.

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I will definitely not leave it another 12 years before tackling another puzzle. Thank you to Ravensburger for supplying the puzzle for the purpose of this review.

Tried and Tested

Children’s clothing at Matalan

untitled (15)Katie is at an age where she is starting to notice fashion. Gone are the days where I ponder her wardrobe for a carefully matched outfit (usually involving pink and glitter). She is moving away from the character clothing she has worn for most of her life, and developing her own style. So when I was invited to the Head Office for Matalan, I knew this was an event Katie would LOVE.

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The event gave us the opportunity to meet some of the buyers who are responsible for clothing, accessories and footwear for children. We met in reception at 11.30am, and were shown to a large room. Following an introduction we were invited to visit the various stands. We headed over to sleepwear where Katie was given lots of nightwear to try on. The buyers were interested in seeing the actual fit of the clothes on the children. As Katie is 9 the age range is 8-9 years and 10-11 years, so she was given a mixture of the 2 sizes to try on. She loved trying on all the different sets and giving her opinion to the buyers on whether the clothes were comfy, too tight, too big etc. The ladies were lovely on the sleepwear stand and seemed really interested in what the children thought.

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The next stand was dressing up, but sadly Katie has grown out of this so we moved to the girls clothing stands. She loved seeing all the up and coming trends that will be hitting the stores soon. She was given the opportunity to look at pictures of different clothing, and put stickers on the items she liked the most.

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We then went and looked at the different school shoes Matalan offers. Katie and I had to choose which shoes we would buy for school, and thankfully we picked similar designs. I enjoyed chatting to the buyer, who didn’t realise that some schools won’t allow the ballet style pump shoes (our school being one of them). Aside from chatting and visiting the stands, there was a colouring competition for the kids and refreshments laid out.

Katie was given a goody bag to take home, as well as some bags, a hat and a sleepwear set which she was very excited about. We don’t usually shop in Matalan but after seeing the quality of the clothes today, we will definitely visit a store soon. Thank you to Matalan for inviting myself and Katie. We had a lovely day at your Head Office.

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Our night in with Jack Daniels and Eisberg (Review)

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I love the weekends as its a chance to relax at home with the husband and kids. I am really lucky as hubby loves to cook, and he takes over the kitchen on a Saturday and Sunday. Quite often we will have a ‘night in’. He will cook a lovely meal complete with wine, candles and music playing. Whilst the kids argue play quietly upstairs.

So when I was asked to review a Jack Daniels sauce plus a bottle of Eisberg alcohol free wine, I thought these would be the perfect ingredients for our next ‘night in’. Now Jack Daniels has been my favourite drink for about 20 years, but funnily enough, up until last week, I had never eaten it. We had visited TGI Fridays where there are ALOT of dishes that contain Jack Daniels glaze. My starter and main course were both glazed with Jack Daniels sauce, so I had really high hopes for the Honey Barbecue one we were sent.

Jack Daniels Honey Barbecue Glaze Sauce

Jack Daniels Honey Barbecue Glaze Sauce

Hubby decided to do a chicken dish, with home made chips, garlic bread and corn on the cob. He usually coats the chicken in a chilli and soy sauce, so I was eager to see how the glaze would compare. He poured the sauce in a bowl and gave the chicken pieces a good coating, and baked in the oven for 30 minutes. I have to say the chicken tasted amazing. The sauce was sweet from the honey, and also had depth thanks to the barbecue flavouring. I would definitely use the sauce in cooking again, and am thinking of glazing home made burgers next time we have a BBQ. The sauce comes in a range of flavours and are currently £2.00 in Sainsburys.

Glazing the chicken

Glazing the chicken

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Now we would usually have a bottle of wine for a ‘night in’. However, after our recent all inclusive holiday to Majorca we were trying to cut down on drinking at home. So the Eisberg alcohol free wine seemed like the perfect compromise. There are many alcohol free wines on the market, but I really liked the packaging of the wine (partly because it looked like the real deal). In fact it is made from quality wine with the alcohol removed. Sounds a win win.  All the flavour and taste without the hangover.

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine

Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine

It also has a very tiny 33 calories in a small glass, compared to around 85 calories for a glass with alcohol in. So you can enjoy a few glasses without worrying about the calorie content (surely that means you can have a dessert). We shared the bottle between us, and I must say I really enjoyed it. The wine had a slight fizz to it, and I must say it was just like drinking wine with alcohol in. Now I must point out that I am no wine expert, and my limit for a bottle of wine is around £6.00, but I really couldn’t tell the difference. It was light and refreshing and went really well with our meal. My best friend is currently giving up alcohol during 2015, so I think a bottle of this would make a great present. Its currently priced at £2.75 in Morrisons.

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I was sent a bottle of Jack Daniels Sauce and Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine for the purpose of this review. All words and comments are my own.

I am linking this post up with the lovely ladies from @familyfever and @lollinski for Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested

How to live for free – Book review

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*UPDATED* This book is currently free from 20th July 2015 to 22nd July 2015 and then from 24th July 2015 to 25th July 2015 from Amazon

Hands up who gets a little excited when they get something for free ? I love the word free, and I think this comes from being a SAHM for 7 years. As we only had one wage coming in, it was my job to make our money stretch as far as possible. I returned to work 3 years ago but I still love hunting out freebies. I use the website Latest free stuff every day, and have their app on my iPhone. The website is set into categories such as free days out, free food and free make up.

The site has also launched a book which is written by Deepak Tailor and Laura Folger. It can be downloaded from Amazon, but until the 13th March 2015 it is FREE. The books tells you how to eat for free, find free furniture and even sail around the world. I must admit I skipped this chapter as boats are not my thing. Another section that did not appeal to me was foraging for food and road kill. However there were plenty of chapters that did appeal to me.

The mystery shopping chapter is full of great tips and links to websites to sign up. I have been mystery shopping for around 8 years. In return for a detailed report, I have received free meals, free days out and free nights away in some fantastic hotels. Another section is about contacting your favourite brands in the hope that they might send you some vouchers or freebies. I actually did this a few months ago, and contacted Elemis, Molton Brown and L’Occitane by email (I wanted to change my skincare products and emailed for advice). I was pleasantly surprised when all of the companies sent me some samples to try.

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Whilst I feel I am fairly clued up on getting things for free and saving money, there were still items in the book I had never heard of. I made notes as I went along, and at the start of the book it inspires you to record your goals, however big or small they may be. Some of my goals are

Check the Latest free stuff app every day and apply for the freebies that appeal to me and my family

Do not eat out unless we have a money off voucher. Not free but moneysaving

Make sure I use the coupons I print. I am terrible for finding out of date coupons in my purse

As well as using the Latest free stuff app, I use Shopitize and Checkout Smart apps which are featured in the book. These are great apps for getting cashback on your grocery items, and also getting items completely free. Below are some of the items I have received free by using these apps, and free coupons.

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Whilst there is no way I could live for free completely, I do think the book has some great suggestions and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you to Latest Free Stuff who sent me a copy of the book for free. All words and opinions are my own. Download the book for FREE from Amazon up until the 13th March 2015.   

Teatox review

 

Teatox from Slimming Solutions

Teatox from Slimming Solutions

I was recently asked to try a Teatox for 14 days. I had heard about Teatoxing in the media, and thought if it was good enough for celebrities its good enough for me. Teatox is basically a detox but blended with tea and claims to ‘cleanse the body and banish the bloat’. There are many brands of Teatox on the market, and I was sent mine from www.slimmingsolutions.com

You receive 2 packs for your 14 day Teatox. The yellow pack is for daytime and you have this every morning, as soon as you can after waking up. The ingredients in this pack are as follows

Chinese Oolong tea (38%) Sabering ginseng (20%) Fennel (10%) Lemongrass (10%) Nettle leaves (8%) Ginger root (5%) Dandelion leaf (5%) Ginseng root (2%) and Salvia Miltorrhiza (2%). They are also naturally sugar free with no artificial additives.

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I had heard of a few of the ingredients, however they are not something I consume on a daily basis. The back of the pack warns if nausea, vomiting or prolonged diarrhoea occur, stop and consult your doctor. Thankfully none of these symptoms happened (phew).

The green pack is your evening tea and you have this every other night. You need to have it at least 30 minutes after your last meal, and I got into the habit of having it around 10pm. I started on an odd number day, so just had to remember ‘evening teatox – odd day’. The ingredients for the evening tea are

Senna leaves (20%) Hawthorn leaves (20%) Lotus leaves (14%) Fenugreek seeds (12%) Burdock root (14%) Peppermint (8%) Psyllium seeds (8%) Valerian root (2%) Liquorice root (2%) again it is naturally sugar free with no artificial additives. The evening tea warned that it might cause a mild laxative effect for the first few days, but I didn’t suffer at all.

So what did I think of the actual tea ?

Now I am NOT a herbal tea drinker, and I thought I would be adding either honey or lemon to the tea which you can do. But to be honest the tea was actually nice. I had no problem in drinking it in the mornings and evenings, and I kind of miss it now I have finished. The main benefit of doing the Teatox for me was my skin felt so much more hydrated. I also seemed to be less tired than normal in the evenings, and just generally I felt less sluggish. I do eat fairly healthily as I am on Slimming World, so for me the Teatox was about feeling better in myself rather than losing weight. I definitely think doing the Teatox for 2 weeks achieved this.

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Would I do it again ?

I think its a great idea to do several times throughout the year. This time of year is good as we are starting to see glimpses of Spring.  Also right after Christmas would be a good time too, when everyone is trying to detox after too much alcohol and food. So yes I would probably do it again for the 2 week period.

I was sent the packets of Teatox currently worth £19.99 for this review. All words and opinions are my own.

Radwraps – Review

I was recently asked to review a radiator cover, which would transform the plain boring white one in my daughters bedroom. I like the idea of hiding radiators, as lets be honest they are not much to look at.  We do have radiator covers in our dining room and hallway, and these are the traditional wooden ones you can get from large DIY stores. Radwraps are completely different.

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For a start they have a HUGE range on their website, which are broken down into categories such as patterns, animals and football teams. You can even upload an image to be used. How cool would it be to personalise that boring, slightly rusting radiator. It was easy to order online inputting the measurements of the radiator. The hard part was choosing which design to go for. In the end I went for a gorgeous heart design as it would be going in my daughters bedroom.

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James at Radwraps informed me when it was posted, and I was given a tracking number. It arrived today and I could not wait to get inside the brown parcel. It comes with instructions on how to fit the Radwrap, but basically you unroll it and pop it on your radiator. It really is that simple. The Radwrap has no heat loss either so it really is a winning product. I love the way it has transformed my daughters room, and I cannot wait to see her face when she gets home from school.

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Radwraps can be easily ordered from www.radwraps.co.uk and prices start from only £39.99 including delivery.  Thank you to James for the excellent service and product.

I was given a Radwrap for the purpose of this review. All words and comments are my own.