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product review

Snapfish Personalised Christmas Presents – Review

Before I start I need to tell Nanny, Granddad and Daddy not to read any further, otherwise they’ll spoil their surprise Christmas presents!

Christmas presents spoiler alert

I love getting personalised calendars for the grandparents at Christmas as they’re always so happy to receive them.

Christmas presents - Photograph calendar
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. I’m not getting very good results using my iPhone for photos recently.

I’ve used Snapfish before as well as a couple of other sites that offer personalised photo gifts and I have to say Snapfish is my favourite.
The personalised photo calendars are great quality. The paper used isn’t that cheap flimsy stuff you get when you buy calendars with pictures of kittens or puppies on!

You can choose between kitchen calendars, desk calendars or poster calendars. I picked kitchen calendars for the Grandparents with the Four Seasons backgrounds.

Christmas presents - February's calendar photograph

 

Christmas presents - January's calendar photograph

 

Christmas presents - December's calendar photograph

 

Christmas presents - August's calendar photograph

I wanted to get some gifts for Ant as well as he loves personalised gifts from his children so I bought him a photo mug and an animated bookmark from the animated photo gifts range.
I’m thinking about ordering a 3D bookmark for myself because I think they look great 🙂

Christmas presents - Photograph bookmark

 

Christmas presents - Photograph bookmark

 

Christmas presents - We love you Daddy photo mug

 

Christmas presents - We love you Daddy photo mug

 

Christmas presents - We love you Daddy photo mug

Please note: I received a voucher to redeem at Snapfish for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and are honest.

Rose Gal Review

The girls love headbands. They’ve got loads and were very happy to receive more in the post for this Rose Gal review.

Rose Gal review - pearly headband

 

 

Rose Gal review - Bejewelled headband

Ella especially loved hers because it matches her Anna dress! (the character from Frozen).

Rose Gal review - Princess wearing a headband

There are some really lovely items on Rose Gal and I think the prices are very affordable. Click to see more beautiful hair accessories.
You’ll also find jewellery, clothing and handbags along with lots of other great items 🙂

To get 8% off your order at Rose Gal, please feel free to use the following code: joeyCgil

Please note: We were sent the headbands for the purposes of the review but this didn’t guarantee a favourable review.

Chatster’s Gabby – Review

Kaycee and Ella were really excited when Gabby turned up at our house 🙂 I had a job stopping them from opening her before I got chance to take some photos!

Chatsters Gabby

 

We’ve had her a few weeks now and they still play with her and want to take her with them whenever they go out which is a good sign. A lot of times when I’ve bought them toys like this in the past they’ve loved it for a week or so then it gets put in the drawer and forgotten about.

Chatsters Gabby

She’s not too loud but she can get a bit annoying when Ella’s playing with her for long periods. I end up having to tell her to take her in the kitchen or to her room to play with her.

She has various accessories like a cupcake, a drink and a little pet called Sprinkles. She interacts with some of the accessories. When you put the lipstick to her lips they change colour and you can hear her slurping her drink of you touch the straw to her mouth,

Gabby's accessories

Gabby has sensors on her glasses to enable you to play different games with her and to pick an option when she asks you a question.
There’s an app you can download that interacts with Gabby. I know you can play music to make her dance but I’m not sure what else she does as we haven’t used the app much yet.

Gabby

We’ve done a little video so the girls can show you Gabby in action 🙂

Please note: We were sent Gabby from Spin Master for the purposes of the review but that didn’t guarantee a favourable review.

Electronic Tobacconist – E-Cig Review

Electronic Tobacconist

Electronic tobacconist
Electronic tobacconist

It was about 5 years ago when I quit smoking. Ant took me to the hospital when I had problems breathing. Turned out to be a blood clot. It broke up and went to my lungs. After the doctors had me sorted and I no longer thought I was going to die (!), I decided there and then that I’d never smoke again.
I couldn’t imagine putting smoke into my lungs after they’d just had to work so very hard to keep me alive. I was lucky because the scare I got was a stronger emotion than any nicotine craving and I never wanted a cigarette after that.

Trying to Quit

Before I went into the hospital, both Ant and I had tried to quit numerous times. He’d been smoking for about twice the length of time that I had and found it really difficult to quit.

He’s tried patches but for him, it wasn’t about the nicotine, it was the physical act of smoking so while he was getting the nicotine from the patches, he still had a hankering to have that cig in his hand.

He made the decision to try e-cigs and bought one about a week before the Electronic Tobacconist got in touch.
Here’s what he had to say about the Vapouriz Fuse Electronic Cigarette Starter Kit

Ant’s Review

“I’ve been very impressed with this e-cig. It’s slightly bigger than my previous one but the battery is better which is the reason for the size difference.
The packaging is very high quality, you can see from the photos that it comes in a lovely tin.


The unique feature about it is being able to fill it from the bottom with no danger of damaging the heating element, which is really easy to change and cheap to buy. 
The refills are available in varying strengths with an excellent variety of flavours. The kit comes with one 10ml refill bottle of your choice.

Taste

Whilst the taste isn’t exactly the same, it’s close enough to be able to convince your brain you’re smoking.
I was able to swap the chemical ridden, disgusting smelly tobacco overnight to the near odourless vapour of the Vapouriz with almost no hankering for the ‘real’ thing.


I’ve been using the Vapouriz for 3 weeks now and I’m on the lowest nicotine dose (6mg) refills. I can’t see that I’d ever go back to smoking tobacco”.

The kit costs £22.99 and comes in a variety of colours. The refills are available for 3 for £9.99 with 99p p&p. Ant said a refill lasts him about a week. We both think the product is worth the price, especially considering the price of tobacco nowadays and because of the health benefits.

How Much Nicotine Do You Intake?

Please note: We were sent the product for review purposes but being able to keep the product didn’t guarantee a favourable review. All opinions are our own and are honest.

 

Frozen – Princess Anna Dress – Review

Is Frozen driving you mad yet? It is me! Ella adores it, Kaycee not so much, which was great when we got picked to review an Anna dress from Otley Run Fancy Dress because it meant for once we didn’t have any arguing!

Read more

My Wall Stickers – Review

I love wall stickers. I’ve loved them ever since I bought some Winnie the Pooh ones for Aiden’s room when he was a baby!

 

The girls now love them as much as me and when we moved here we spent ages on Ebay choosing the wall stickers we were going to have in our bedrooms 🙂

Kaycee picked some lovely purple flowers, I picked some wisteria for the front of the white wardrobes and a cherry blossom branch for under the window and Ella picked minions for her wardrobe doors!

My Wall Stickers

When My Wall Stickers got in touch asking if we’d like to review some wall stickers we said yes, of course, and I decided I’d get one to replace some butterflies and flowers stickers that I’d bought from eBay but that hadn’t been very good. They’d only been up a couple of months and they were starting to peel off and stick to people as they walked past.

I chose a Japanese sakura tree. You can choose your own colours on a lot of the stickers so I went for brown to match the pictures on the wall above.

Read The Instructions

When it arrived, I read through the instructions and it said it had to be applied to a flat surface. The wallpaper I was planning on attaching the sticker too is slightly textured and I figured it wasn’t the best place to choose as I didn’t want it peeling off like the previous one.

My problem then turned out to be finding a flat surface that was big enough for the tree! The only other place in the entire house that had enough wall space to accommodate it was in Kaycee and Ella’s bedroom.

I put it up while they were at school and when they saw it that night they loved it 🙂

I found it really easy to apply after an initial panic about it not being a ‘peel and stick’ type wall sticker like I was used too. I usually get the ones where you have to follow the numbers and diagram to stick each piece in the right place but this came on one big sheet and you had to cut the sheet into two pieces.

 

The applicator is attached to the tube. I must admit, I did wonder what this was as I’d never had an applicator with any wall stickers before!

 

Depending on your chosen design, you may need to cut this long sheet into two or more pieces.

 

Read all the instructions first, it makes it much easier!

 

These are the things you’ll need for successful application 🙂
Stick the sheet to the wall in the middle using masking tape with the backing paper against the wall. Peel the sticker forward towards yourself and cut off a piece of the backing paper.

 

Using the applicator, press firmly against the wall. Make sure you rub all over the stickers paying particular attention to the edges.

 

You can see where I cut the backing off then stuck the stickers to the wall.

 

Now slowly peel back the backing paper, rubbing the stickers onto the wall as you go. You might find it easier to cut away parts of the backing paper as you go. I did!

 

This is how it looks with all the backing paper removed and the stickers stuck to the wall

 

Now you want to start peeling off the front paper, slowly and carefully.

 

If you find any parts of the sticker hasn’t stuck, just use the applicator again to press it to the wall

 

It’s quite time consuming putting on a sticker this size but it’s worth taking your time over.

wall stickers

I love it as much as the girls, it’s very good quality and easy to apply 🙂

Please note: We were sent the sticker to review but this didn’t influence our write up of the product.

 

Rainbow Braid Loom Bands

 

Rainbow braid loom bands

The loom band craze has hit our house with the same force it has everyone else’s I imagine! We were sent a huge pack of Rainbow Braid loom bands to review and the girls were really excited when we found that it contained glow in the dark bands.

Glow in the dark rainbow braid loom bands

I’m finding little coloured rubber bands everywhere but so far it isn’t annoying me because, to be honest, I’m just as hooked as the girls!
It’s such a great pastime because it keeps you busy and it’s very challenging once you get past the basic styles.

The one thing that does annoy me though is when you’ve spent hours, yes hours, on a complicated bracelet and when you’re getting it off the loom, one of the middle bands snap and it starts to unravel.
I can very much do without that stress in my life!

We haven’t had that issue with these bands. You can tell with all the different kinds we’ve bought in the last few months, which are good quality and which aren’t.
These are excellent. The colours are great, they’re nice and strong and they don’t have that horrible smell that some of them do. The pack also includes 250 S clips.

Assorted coloured loom bands
Loom band S clips

 

more assorted coloured loom bands

 

loom bands on a loom band hook

 

Loom band flowers

 

Loom band flower on a loom band hook

 

Loom band bracelet with loom band flowers hanging off it

 

KayCee wearing the bracelet

Kaycee made this flower bracelet and I made a different kind of flower bracelet for Ella

Ella's flower bracelet

Loom bands have been brilliant for keeping for the girls entertained this summer holiday when the weather outside took a turn for the worse and I thank the people at Rainbow Braid for helping me hold onto some sanity!

 

RhinoShield Review

I love my iPhone. Unfortunately, so do the kids! I lived in fear of it getting broken because it seemed like one of them was always dropping it!
In fact, just this morning it took a trip across the bathroom when Ella, who had been using an app that helps you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, threw it in panic when she saw a spider on her arm.

Rhinoshield for iPhone screen protection

After she’d come to be reassured that the spider was no longer on her, I asked where my phone was. She said, ‘oops, I threw it when I saw the spider!’. Normally, hearing that, I would have been the one panicking but I wasn’t worried because I knew it had the RhinoShield on :o)

Since doing the glass test that came with the RhinoShield I’ve been much more relaxed with my phone!

You can buy the RhinoShield from Evolutive LABS. Find them on Twitter and Facebook

*We were sent the RhinoShield for review purposes. My opinion of a review product is always honest.

 

Yuu Bag Review

Ella can often be heard saying, ‘want it’ while watching TV. Those who know her, know that she’s saying, ‘want it’ when she sees something advertised that she’d like for Christmas and the reason she says it out loud is so that Santa can hear her and will know what she wants for Christmas.

Yes, she does this all year and yes, it can get annoying because I think she wants just about everything she sees!
When the advert for the Yuu bags come on TV, I not only hear Ella say she wants it but Kaycee also so you can probably imagine the excitement when they came home from school and found a Yuu bag had been delivered!

I have to admit, Ella was a little upset because she wanted one of her own but she came round to the idea of sharing it and they agreed that Kaycee could use it for school today and she’d use it tomorrow 🙂

They love all the pockets inside Kaycee thought it was great that she could fit all her school stuff in as well as her drinks bottle and lunch bag. She loved that the bottle went into one of the side pockets and was kept upright so there was no chance of it leaking over her school books.

Ella’s really looking forward to taking it to school tomorrow but her dad and I wonder if it’s going to be too big for her because Ant reckons he could fit her inside it, it’s that big!

They do a smaller version called a Yuu Tuu which would be better for Ella I think.

This bag is going to be excellent for days out and when we go on holiday to pack things in to keep them entertained on the journey 🙂

Both the girls liked the coloured pencils, drawing paper and game that came with the bag and Kaycee went online straight away to register with the Yuu club!

 

At £43 for the large bag and £38 for the smaller one, they’re not cheap, but it does seem extremely well made and one would expect it to last many years.

You can find the full range at yuuworld.com

*We were sent the Yuu bag for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest.

Watchbot CCTV Home Security Review

A while ago we were sent a Watchbot CCTV camera to review. It arrived just as we’d moved house and for a few weeks we were without internet so we couldn’t try it, then we couldn’t find it because it had been packed and we had no idea which box it was in!

Finally. we found it and had our internet set up so Ant got on with the job of reviewing it, seeing as he’s the I.T. consultant!

The following was written by my super wonderful husband 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Watchbot 3

Remote access, audio enabled security camera with pan and tilt function and
external trigger ports.

The Watchbot was supplied, to me, in a professional looking, compact box, which
contained the camera unit, detachable adjustable mount, short (1.5M) ethernet
cable, power supply unit, fixing screws, trigger port connecting block, mini cd
(with software and PDF manual) and user guide.
The equipment is well designed and has a look of quality about it: smooth
edges, robust feel and well finished.

First Impressions

My first impressions were highly favourable.
The set-up is quite straightforward, however, I had to refer to the PDF
version of the manual as the writing was too small to read comfortably in the
printed copy. This did mean that I had to flick between the configuration
screen and the manual while setting up.

User Guide

This product has the potential to be exceptional, however, it is seriously
let down by its software and user guide.
The user guide is very basic with errors.
I installed the MS Windows desktop interface, for the initial set-up and
followed the guide, step by step.

Issues

1.
After initial detection, the guide instructs to “Select your camera and
click Set”. Unfortunately, this inaccuracy (there is no ‘Set’, but there
is ‘OK’) had me flicking back and forth between manual and interface
needlessly.
2.
The user guide said mail set-up was in the ‘FTP section
of the configuration window’, not the ‘Email’ section.
3.
To configure the SMTP server, the instructions say, “Select your email provider from the drop-down menu. This will
autocomplete the server and port sections”. The list has a very limited
selection of UK and Chinese email providers and no indication of how to
proceed if your email provider is not on the list.
4.
Unable to enter an email username that contained ‘@’ for the SMTP setup (I
did, eventually, manage to set this using the web interface, later).
5.
When configuring the motion detector sensitivity, the scale of 1 to 10 is
meaningless as there is no telling which is the most/least sensitive setting.
6.
The email notification doesn’t work unless the scheduler option is
enabled, but this is not explained. This function does work very well, though,
providing 6 small, 6KB, or so, sequential snapshots. There is no facility for
increasing the size of these.
7.
The scheduler is split into 15-minute sections, with an option to select
all. If you want to set the scheduler for specific times you must click each
section individually: there is no click & drag functionality. This means to
set the scheduler to run from 8 pm to 8 am daily, you must click over 300
sections.
8.
Configuring the FTP page is straightforward and FTP upload, at a specified
interval works very well, albeit with a low quality (around 25 to 30KB, with no
option to increase quality) image.
Watchbot review
Please ignore the piles of boxes in the background…we’re still unpacking!
9.
The FTP on motion detection is another story. I reset and re-configured my
watchbot three times to get this to work properly. No matter what, it only
managed to stay active for around 20 minutes, before this function stopped
working.
10.
There is no information on how to configure the pan/tilt function (PTZ).
The first option “against pre-bit” has left  Google and me stumped (https://www.google.co.uk/#newwindow=1&q=against+pre-bit).
11.
There is no explanation of the ‘Cruise Views’ function, which has options
of 1 to 10.
12.
Using the same MS Windows interface, remotely, from work, I was unable to
access any of the FTP settings. However, using the Android app, on my tablet,
these settings were available.
13.
The web interface varies considerably across devices, from near full
control to only pan functions.
14.
The WatchBot’s microphone is quite sensitive, and the built in speaker
function is fairly loud. However, using the MS Windows interface, unless you
disable the two-way functionality, or use headphones, audio feedback occurs.
This is avoided in the Android app, as holding the mic button disables the
speakers.

Useful & Well Made

I didn’t use the SD card function, or the I/O connection option, and so I
am not able to review these.
Despite the above, this is a useful and well-made piece of equipment and I
have enjoyed testing it.
When the software wrinkles are ironed out, this camera will be the perfect
solution to home and business security.

Monitor Several Devices

 

You can monitor several devices from the same interface and the ability to
connect remotely, without knowing your IP address (the camera has a unique
signature which is identifiable remotely,
by the software) is a definite plus and all-in-all I will give this
camera a conditional thumbs up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The S.W.H. spent a good couple of weeks, in between work and all the jobs moving house entails, working on getting the Watchbot camera to work as it should.
The day after he sent me this review, the FTP upload on motion detection decided to stay on continuously. We have no idea why and it’s been working now for the past week so somehow it’s sorted itself out!
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