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Gardening Express – Review

I think this has got to be one of my favourite review posts ever!

I was asked by Gardening Express if I’d like to order some plants and write about them on my blog and they asked at a time when I’d been doing research on how to create displays in pots for winter colour.

I went to the website and chose 6 trailing ivy plants, 3 cyclamen and 3 winter flowering heather.
I calmly waited for the plants to arrive and didn’t get at all excited *cough* when they did a couple of days later!

 

They were packaged in a way that kept them from moving about and getting damaged and the soil around each plant was moist.

I have to say I was extremely impressed with the health of all the plants. They looked stunning and I couldn’t wait to get them into the stone pots I’m going to be keeping them in over winter.

First I had to re-home a miniature rose my husband bought me a few years ago for Valentine’s Day and remove an old coriander plant that we never used because I don’t like coriander! I still felt a bit sad about it though because it was one of the first plants I ever successfully grew from seed and the ease with which it grew really helped increase my confidence as a new gardener 🙂

Anyway, back to the new plants!

I put three ivy plants, two heathers and one cyclamen in one of the pots

then three ivy, two cyclamen and the last heather in the other pot (one of the cyclamen in this pot is white and is behind the ivy so you can’t see it very well from this angle).

I put them next to the arch that is finally getting covered in jasmine after 2 years of it not growing. As a new gardener with little experience of jasmine I came to the conclusion that it must have needed a while to get itself settled before starting to climb away!

I love my new pots and I’m very pleased to finally have some heather in my garden because my grand mother was called Heather and Ella has it as one of her middle names 🙂

I’ve got lots more ideas for displays in pots and now I have a ‘go to’ place to get my plants online 🙂

Disclosure: I was sent the plants to review but receiving them didn’t guarantee a favourable review. This is my honest and accurate opinion of the products received.

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Walkers Mighty Lights – Review

Walker’s crisps are always a favourite in our house; we like nearly all the flavours but we do tend to argue over who gets the cheese and onion ones!

The day Walker’s sent us some new Mighty Lights to try, the girls and I were just off out for a picnic in the park with some friends so we grabbed one of the multi packs and took them with us.

 

At 30% less fat than regular crisps they were a good option for the girls and because of the reduced fat I was able to have a packet, using only 5.5 syns from my daily Slimming World syn allowance.
I love crisps and wouldn’t be able to cut them out of my diet so being able to have a proper packet of crisps that are delightfully crunchy while not using too many of my precious syns makes me very happy!
I usually have to have corn or maize snacks to keep the syns low but they just don’t feel as indulgent as ridged crisps and I’ll be telling the people at my Slimming World group about these 🙂

Mighty Lights have been a big hit with everyone here, so much so that I didn’t manage to get to them quickly enough to take the photo before they’d opened all three packets!

 

The crisps come in Cheese & Onion, Roast Chicken and Lightly Salted.
I’m not usually a fan of salted crisps, always thinking them to be the ‘boring’ option out of the multi-packs when I was younger but these Lightly Salted ones are really lovely. Both Ant and I said that they were nicer than regular salted crisps; in fact, we believe the same to be true of all three flavours. I don’t know if it’s the flavour of the ridged crisps mingling with the added flavours but there’s something in them that makes them tastier than regular crisps while at the same, seeming lighter in flavour.
I hate when you can still taste the cheese and onion flavour in your mouth hours later when you’re trying to enjoy your next meal but these crisps didn’t leave that after-taste which is a big plus in my book!

I’d be quite happy giving them a packet of these crisps in their lunchbox occasionally, not only because of the lower fat content but because they’re made from real potatoes, they don’t contain any artificial colours or preservatives and they’re a source of fibre.

The kids love them as much as Ant and I but this time, instead of fighting over the cheese & onion ones, they’ve been fighting over the roast chicken flavour! I can safely say that Walker’s Mighty Lights get a big thumb up from all of us and the children will find them in their school lunchboxes from time to time, that is if Ant and I don’t get to them first!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Flying Fairies by Flutterby – Review

Our fairy arrived wrapped in pink tissue paper from which gold glitter floated down when it was ripped off. The girls thought it was wonderful and couldn’t wait to get her out of the box.

 

 

She’s very pretty and the girls were eager to get her flying so we put in the batteries and sat her on the base to charge her up.

It didn’t take too long and Kaycee was the first to try her out. You’re supposed to be able to control where she flies by placing your hand under her feet so she’s just hovering above it and moving your hand around.

I’m sad to say that she didn’t have any luck at all in controlling her because as soon as she left the base she shot straight up to the ceiling.
We tried getting her to start spinning then holding her by the head and placing her above our hands rather than letting her rise off of the base but that still didn’t work.

 

Sorry about the angle…I’m better at taking photos than video!

After various tries by Kaycee, me, her dad and Ella we gave up.

I must admit, we had a lot of fun seeing her shoot up to the ceiling and trying to get her down but after a while the girls got frustrated with not being to make her do what she was supposed to.

The girls did keep trying over the next couple of days but unfortunately, a little later in the week, Ella was playing with her in her room and somehow the metal piece in her foot that connects to the base to enable her to get charged up, fell out. We couldn’t find it so once her battery loses power we won’t be able to charge her anymore.

So all in all, we’ve not had a very good experience with Flying Fairy Flutterby and I’m not quite sure what to do with her once her power has gone.

*EDIT AUGUST 25th 2013*
We were sent another doll to try and I’m very pleased to report that this fairy is very well behaved, unlike the first one! She doesn’t fly off to the ceiling straight away and stay there; she goes up but then comes back down a little and she’s not too fast to catch! We were also told to press the button on the base unit if she did go too high and that brought her back down a little again. I’d have probably found this out if I’d read the instructions properly!
The girls are away at the moment but I know that when they get back they’re going to be very excited to play with her now that she does as she’s told 🙂
I’ve checked a lot of other reviews and I’ve come to the conclusion that we just got a naughty fairy who flew too fast and high because no one else seems to have the problems we’ve had.

*EDIT DECEMBER 27th 2013*
I’m sad to say our second fairy stopped working again. I’m not sure when exactly she stopped working; the girls hadn’t played with her for ages and when I saw the comments below, I asked them why they hadn’t played with her and was told she no longer works. The piece in her foot that allows her to be charged fell out and got lost. I’ve now thrown her away and won’t be bothering getting a new one.


Please note: We were sent the doll to review and this is my honest and accurate opinion.

The forever whale by Sarah Lean – Review

Kaycee’s a huge book lover. She was very excited to receive a collection of books by Sarah Lean and chose to read The Forever Whale first.

Here are her thoughts on the story:

“This story is about a girl named Hannah and her Granddad. They used to go out sailing together but the Granddad got Alzheimer’s and it got too bad that he had to go in a care home.
Hannah was looking forward to the 13th of August because her Granddad was going to tell her a story about a dolphin but she realised he couldn’t remember it.

I haven’t read the ending yet but I’m really enjoying it and can’t wait to find out what happens. Sometimes the book makes me feel very emotional.”

Kaycee has been reading the story out loud at bedtime and both Ella and I are enjoying along with her. We all think Sarah Lean is an excellent writer and we’re looking forward to reading the other books we were sent 🙂

 

Book review – The Fairy Bell Sisters

Ella usually has to share review items with Kaycee so you can imagine how excited she was to receive two books just for her to review!

The first one we’ve read is called, The Fairy Bell Sisters – Silver and the fairy ball.

The Fairy Bell Sisters are the younger sisters of Tinkerbell; there’s Clara, Lily, Rosie, Silver and baby Squeak.

Silver is sad because she’s one day too young to attend the annual fairy ball. She can be a little naughty sometimes but always has the best intentions.

Here’s what Ella thinks of the book:

“I really like the fairy bell sisters. I love fairies because they’re nice. Chapter 3 made me laugh because it says, ‘oh thank goodness you’ve turned the page!’. It’s so funny.
I think it is suitable for my age. I am nearly 6.
I’m looking forward to reading Rosie and the secret friend”

 

John Lewis Bath Sheets – Review

Our towel collection is very mixed; not many of them match, they’re all sizes, colours and thicknesses and the girls always argue over who gets the biggest one!
Their favourite towel is a huge bath sheet I bought a few years ago for Ant from Ebay. It’s massive, much bigger than a regular bath sheet and is big enough to hide both of the girls at once!
However, there’s only one so as I said, arguments ensue.

When John Lewis got in touch and asked me to review a pair of Egyptian cotton bath sheets I thought this was the answer to the bath time arguments!
I expected them to be good quality because they’re from John Lewis but even I was surprised at how soft and fluffy they are. They’re big enough for the girls to snuggle up in after their bath and they’re very absorbent.

Ella didn’t even bother to remove the tag before she used hers! She said it was soft and warm enough to go to sleep in  and wanted me to take a photo of her ‘sleeping’ in her new towel on the floor!
I think the only thing that would have made happier would have been if I’d have ordered pink ones instead of Kingfisher!

I gave the girls one each but I’m not sure if they’ll manage to hang on to them because Ant, Aiden and I all love them as well and keep pinching them so I’m guessing the bath time arguments may still continue!

Please note: We were sent the towels to review but this didn’t secure a favourable review. This is my honest and accurate opinion.

 

Ella’s growing wild! #KidsGrowWild

Both girls love getting out in the garden and planting things but unfortunately for Kaycee on Wednesday, she couldn’t join in because she got a really bad headache after school. We think it was from the heat as I also get bad headaches if it’s too hot.

Ella and I saved her some seeds so she can grow her own flowers when she feels up to it and Ella got on with filling her old watering can with compost.
We made holes in the bottom when we first noticed it was leaking and we use it to grow lots of different seeds in.

 

Ella sowed some pansy seeds that came with the brilliant gardening set we received from MoneySuperMarket.com  then she watered it and moved it next to our basil and thyme plants.

 

 

She loves the watering can and really enjoyed helping water all the pots we have around the garden 🙂

 

A little later, when Kaycee’s head was feeling a bit better, she planted some cherry stones with Ella but unfortunately, I’d started with a headache and missed the opportunity to get some photos.
I hope at least one of the cherry stones grows because the girls will be really excited if it does!

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge

The Handmade Home – A Review

Excited.

That was me when my copy of Cherry Menlove’s, The Handmade Home was delivered to me via Amazon 🙂

I decided to treat myself to this book as I’ve been a fan of Cherry’s blog for a few years.
I always look forward to new posts and in the run up to Christmas it’s my ‘go to’ place for inspiration (along with Pinterest of course!) because Cherry loves Christmas just as much as I do!

Each chapter in the book has a different theme, including, but not limited to, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Halloween and of course, Christmas!
There are so many recipes I want to try as well as some sewing projects, including the chair covers because my dining chairs suffered a terrible fate at my hands; it included some paint and an attempt at decoupage :o/
but the less said about that, the better!

Anyway, moving swiftly on….the book is so lovely that even if I never make anything from it (but I’m sure I will!) I won’t feel like I’ve wasted my money because I enjoy looking at it while having some quiet time to myself with a coffee.

It’s a welcome addition to my bookshelf and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Cherry makes a book packed full of Christmas things to cook, bake and how to decorate for the most wonderful time of the year!

Walker’s Hoops and Crosses – Review

Both girls have packed lunches every day except one when they’re allowed to choose a hot school meal. We did let them have school meals all the time at one point but it turns out both of them prefer to take a packed lunch!

Ant makes the packed lunches in the evening and I know he’s having the same trouble I used to have when making the lunches and that’s to make them nutritious and interesting so that the girls don’t get bored.

They tend to have a sandwich, some tomatoes and cucumber, a small cake and occasionally, a packet of crisps. We both believe that in moderation, crisps are fine and once a week (sometimes not even that) is totally fine for them but I still sometimes wonder whether anyone who sees crisps in their lunches is automatically judging me/us because there are so many stories in the news about packed lunches at the moment.

When I found that Walkers now make Baked Hoops and Crosses, which are made with 56% wholewheat, I was really pleased that I’d now be able to let them have crisps in their lunchboxes (still only occasionally!) without feeling guilty!

We received a packet of roast beef flavour and all who tried them (we forgot to save one for daddy to try and he wasn’t best pleased! Ooops!) thought they were delicious. They were packed full of flavour.
Even Kaycee, who isn’t a fan of meaty flavour crisps usually, thought they were lovely, although she did say she wished they’d sent prawn cocktail instead but was glad they didn’t send salt and vinegar (we’ve got loads of salt and vinegar crisps from multipacks because everyone chooses the other flavours first and we’ve told them they have to now eat the salt and vinegar before we open anymore packs!).

As each bag is only 85 calories, they’re great snacks for Aiden and myself as well; we’re both doing Slimming World and are always on the look out for low calorie snacks.

The girls would like to thank Walkers for the ‘oh so cute’ monkey that arrived with our crisps; I have a feeling there’s going to be a little arguing going on as to who’s going to sleep with him first!

 

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