What We’re Loving – July Favourites

July 30, 2014 in Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Magazine, Make Up, What We're Loving

July Favourites

 

1. The Commonwealth Games have been brilliant!

2. Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid (sample in Birchbox). This is light and makes my skin look great.

3. Mollie Makes Blogging. It took me a while to get my hands on it but I’m glad I did!

4. Argan+ Indulge & Relax Bath Foam. Smells fantastic!

5. Bees Knees Sheer Lip Lube Pencil (sample in Birchbox). Love the colour, feel and scent of this.

6. Pantone Espresso Mug is perfect for morning coffee.

7. Days Are Gone by Haim is my favourite album this summer.

What have you been loving in July?

Staying Snug This Spring

March 17, 2014 in Home & Garden

Yes it might be March, it might feel like Spring and the sun may actually be shining but I’m still feeling the cold! Mind you that’s nothing new seeing as I live my life under layers of clothes and blankets. My poor mobility means I get cold pretty quickly. We have a whole drawer in the living room dedicated to my throws and blankets, I kid you not! So when I was lucky enough to be selected to try the new Heat Holders Snuggle Up Thermal Blanket, you can imagine I was pretty excited and for once, could put my blanket expertise to good use.

In the past I’ve blogged about Heat Holders socks, if you haven’t tried them you really should they keep your feet so warm! So I’d experienced Heat Holders products before but I didn’t know that they did a blanket.

Snuggle Ups

The blanket arrived packed up in its own wee bag. The bag has a zip so you can put the blanket away safely when you aren’t using it. I must admit though that my Snuggle Ups hasn’t gone anywhere near the bag since it arrived as I’m enjoying it way too much!

The blanket itself is lovely and big, it certainly covers all of me and then some! It’s beautifully soft and unlike some other synthetic fleecey materials it doesn’t feel “plasticky” … is that a word? Well hopefully you know what I mean.

As well as being large and very soft it’s also very warm. It has a tog rating of 1.4 and I’ve never felt cold when using it. It’s perfect for snuggling up with on the sofa,keeps you lovely and warm and feels beautiful too. Add in a good book and a cup of coffee and really it’s my perfect scenario.

I’m really impressed with the Snuggle Ups Blanket. In fact I haven’t used any of my others since this one arrived in the post. I suppose we should really wash it, being machine washable it should be straight forward, but as yet we haven’t tried. While I love the size of this blanket I find myself hoping that perhaps Heat Holders might make a slightly smaller version that would be suitable for when I’m out in my wheelchair? I think it would be great for staying snug. *crosses fingers*

The Heat Holders Snuggle Ups Thermal Blanket retails for £25.

We were selected as winners of a competition to try the Snuggle Ups blanket, as such we received our blanket free of charge. All opinions expressed are entirely our own and completely honest.

Operation Declutter – Tidying Linen Cupboard

January 17, 2013 in Home & Garden, Operation Declutter

At the moment in our house we are trying to declutter…… it’s not something I enjoy doing but I do love the results. At the moment our spare room is full of bags ready to go to the charity shop. I love that feeling, handing over bags at a charity shop and knowing that you are doing something, however little, to help.

This week we tackled the linen cupboard. It’s fair to say it was a mess. It was driving us both mad every time we went to get a towel,  or when hubby had to rummage to find a full set of bedding. Apart from anything else towels and bedding cost a fortune, surely we should be looking after them properly?

It was then I remembered a great post on the lovely Me and My Shadow Blog (I highly recommend following this blog, it’s fantastic). She shared a great Martha Stewart tip with her readers and after implementing it I feel it’s definitely worth sharing with our readers.

From Martha Stewart Website

It’s a really simple, but effective idea. Basically you sort out your bedding sets and then store each set inside one of the pillowcases. It’s great as when you go to change the bed you just need to look at the pillowcases to decide which you want, then everything you need is in the pillowcase!

I do wonder if I am getting old by loving such things….and indeed sharing them. I think it’s just a fantastic idea and it has really made a massive difference to our linen cupboards. So thank you to Me and My Shadow and indeed Martha Stewart for this great idea!
Phase one of “operation declutter” is complete………now to look for inspiration for phase two!

Bunting Design Oilcloth Cushion from Alana J Design

September 5, 2012 in Company Crush, Gifts, Home & Garden, Maternity, Supporting Small Businesses

Don’t you just love discovering new companies? I love that feeling of finding a new company, with great products that you just can’t help but fall in love with. Yes I’ve used the word love three times in two sentences but today it feels appropriate.

I recently discovered Alana J Design who specialise in handmade gifts for the home….and you guessed it I fell in love!
Alana J Design started off by creating handmade pillowcases for v pillows (a great gift for Mums-to-be) seeing a gap in the market for stylish designs rather than the plain, uninspiring ones that were previously available. From there they have moved on to creating gorgeous bunting and other types of cushions.
I was lucky enough to be sent one of their Oilcloth Garden Cushions and I was extremely impressed with what I saw!
The cushion arrived beautifully packaged. I think you can tell a lot about a company with how they present their products. Alana J Design clearly take a lot of pride in their work and my cushion arrived carefully wrapped in purple tissue paper with a sachet of lavender included. This is not just any lavender sachet though it’s from a Lavender Farm local to Alana J Design – another huge tick from me, supporting local businesses and so lovely and fresh! I actually have it hanging in the living room at the moment as I just love the smell. Such a great touch and I like that it has a personal edge too, a great idea.
As for the cushion itself, well I had high hopes after seeing how lovingly it had been wrapped and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The bunting design cushion epitomises quality. It measures 14″ x 14″ and is filled with a slightly larger cushion pad meaning that it is fully filled out. It really is very comfortable – in fact it’s comfy to sit on as well as to lean against.  The oilcloth fabric itself is gorgeous and feels durable and hard wearing. You can tell this cushion has been lovingly made as each and every stitch is perfect!
One thing I really like about this cushion is that fact that it is wipe clean. I’ve been looking for cushions for my garden furniture for a while now and was struggling to find something that met all my requirements, but this is perfect. In fact this cushion would be great for family picnics – comfy to sit on, easy to clean and a beautiful design too. I know that when my friend’s kids come round this will be the cushion I let them use as I won’t need to worry about a “sticky finger attack”!
I could go on and on about this beautiful cushion but there’s really just one final point I’d like to make. This cushion retails for just £10. Now I’ve been looking at mass produced cushions for the garden for a while now and I can tell you this handmade cushion blows them out the water in terms of value, quality and of course its beautiful design.
I’ve now got my eye on a few of the other products on the Alana J Design website. I know for a fact that my sister would love this Cath Kidston handmade V pillowcase….
….and anyone who knows me will tell you that this Sheep Bunting has my name written all over it!
Sometimes when I write a review I want to find something negative to “prove” that it is an honest review. I’ve been sat here trying to think of anything, anything at all slightly negative to say about this cushion but you’ve guessed it, I can’t think of one single thing. I’m just so impressed with the quality, price and overall design. I really love it!
Alana J Design tell me that they will be running a competition every month over on Facebook, so be sure to pop over and like their page so that you don’t miss out!
So there you have it, my latest company crush. I’m in love!
A sample cushion was received for consideration. This has in no way affected my opinion of the product and as always my review is 100% honest.

Storing To Save The Planet

January 14, 2011 in Home & Garden

I read a staggering fact recently, apparently the UK throws away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year! If we ignore for a second how ridiculously wasteful this is (and the fact that there are millions starving in the world who could benefit hugely from the food we willingly throw out) and consider this from an environmental standpoint, if we offset all of this waste we would save 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide! Considering that the average car emits 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually that’s the same as about 834000 cars every year! It seems to me that while, yes of course, we should be emphasising the environmental impact of cars, fuels and other pollutants, there is nowhere near enough emphasis put on the smaller things we can all do to help reduce carbon emissions.

Aside from the environmental aspects there are the monetary considerations too, apparently avoidable drink wastes cost us £1.6 billion annually. For a country that is in recession what are we doing wasting so much money?!

Anyway, that’s my initial rant over (I’m an engineer, I love numbers). If we scale this back to consider each individual family and the food (and drink) wastage incurred, we are all wasting a ridiculous amount of money……as well as having an impact on the environment.

Personally I do try and use leftovers as much as possible, but I know that I’m wasteful and I’m always on the look out for ways to reuse food through recipes, containers, freezable meals etc. If I’m honest it’s always been purely a moneysaving exercise for me, but having read those facts I will definitely be thinking of the environmental impact from now on.

There are numerous products on the market to encourage you to store your food and reduce waste. However I was sent a sample of a product called AnyLock the other day to review….which is really what set my mind in motion. The AnyLock system consists of reusable bags and sealing rods that provide an airtight, watertight and odour-tight seal to allow the bag’s contents to stay fresh for longer……..hence, less waste.

As I was going through my “environmental assessment” it did occur to me that plastic bags wouldn’t be the most environmental food storage solution, however the AnyLock system is completely reuseable. In fact the bags are dishwasher safe, making them really easy to use and ideal for busy chefs.
The bags and rods can be used together, or you can use the rods separately to seal open packets such as coffee, crisps, cereals, rice, pasta etc. I gave it a go with some Porridge Oats and it was great, you fold the package over and slide the rod along…sealed!
Both the bags and rods are temperature tolerant from 120 degrees celsius down to -20 degrees, meaning you can also use them in the freezer. I’ve decanted the garden peas into them……..seriously what is it with peas that means they have to spill all over the freezer?! Well, not anymore!
Their temperature tolerance also means that if you are needing to reheat foodstuff you can put them straight into boiling water, or the microwave without the need to remove anything from the bag.
I’m always sceptical when products claim to be watertight, maybe I just can’t seal things properly but they never seem to live up to their claims. So I decided to fill one of the bags with water, seal it and turn it upside down…………yes this could have gone horribly wrong………
…but it didn’t! It worked really well and I was really impressed!
All in all, I really like these bags, they are fab! I think we will probably test them out on my husband’s packed lunches to keep the sandwiches fresh, they’d be ideal for picnics too.  In actual fact my favourite thing about the AnyLock system is that they take up next to no room when not in use. Unlike plastic box containers, which seem to take up a whole cupboard to themselves (well they do in our house anyway), these bags just sit in a drawer in our kitchen with the kitchen foil, greaseproof paper and the like…perfect!
I was sent a dual pack to review consisting of 1 large bag and 1 medium bag, however there are four sizes to suit all storage requirements, and different pack sizes are available.  The AnyLock system retails from £4.49 for a pack of four rods and eight bags.  Initially I thought this was quite expensive but all of the products come with a 12 month guarantee, and when compared to the cost of storage boxes of a similar specification I think this is actually quite good value for money.
So, back to my original point. Surely using the AnyLock system (or similar) must save you money in the long term, as when stored correctly your food will stay fresher for longer! Not only that but storing food such as leftovers for future use in reusable storage must, surely, help towards reducing the amount of waste we generate in the UK per annum? That is of course if you actually USE the leftovers!
For more information on the AnyLock system visit http://www.anylock.co.uk/.
The facts and figures for my initial rant were taken from the following websites:

http://www.carbonify.com/carbon-calculator.htm

An AnyLock sample was received for consideration. All views expressed in this post are my own. I did not receive any other reward, financial or otherwise for this post.