Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Courvoisier Punch

As Prince George prepares to mark his first year as the nation’s favourite baby, there’s no doubt Great Britain seized the opportunity to celebrate the joyous occasion yesterday 22nd July.

To celebrate the greatest of British institutions – the royal family – Courvoisier, the UK’s number one cognac, has a delicious signature punch which offers the perfect sharing drink to relive the Jubilee spirit and raise a toast to the young Prince! 

They offered me a few miniatures to join in the celebrations, well how could I say no!
Courvoisier is a cognac that as Chris says needs no words, no mixers, no introductions and no words, he says this last remark with a look of, shall we say warning at Christmas times, but hey ho, that is my job here!!

I on the other hand like it with a little extra and this recipe is perfect, I also add it to steamed pudding, please do not take me off to the tower and chop off my head!

The recipe is super easy to make, meaning you can spend more time rejoicing with friends and family…

Courvoisier Punch (makes one glass)
50ml Courvoisier VS
150ml lemonade
Four dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters

Courvoisier Punch (makes one punch bowl)
250ml Courvoisier VS
750ml lemonade
20 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters

Method: Combine all the ingredients. Serve with ice and wheels of lemon and orange in a punch vessel (the more majestic, the better).

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Karcher Window Vac Review

Who loves cleaning windows?

In summer the job is pleasant and if you can get on them before the sun is out, they look shiny and sparkly! Its a bind as it always wants doing more than the colder days. Winter is the time when we hate it, its bitter, windy and Chris and I often put it off. We share a lot of chores, so the banter starts about who gets put out in the cold!

I explain to him each year, I am messier than he, shorter so cannot reach, shh, he doesn't notice I manage in summer quite well, with a step.

However with our busy schedule and our temperamental weather even in summer, we cannot pick and choose the times and often find we are either dashing out with a bucket of soapy water, dodging rain, or trying clear those smears when the sun is shining. 

Its a time consuming job, we have large patio doors, these are the first area I see needing attention, coupled with the fact, the birds which seem to all have found our garden and often fly up at the windows.

I have over the years found that most of the window cleaning products and I just do not get along with, I use hot water, a bit of washing up liquid, occasionally a spot of vinegar and a pile of cloths to get a good shine.

So when Karcher offered me the latest V60, I for one was interested, I had seen the ads for it and it looked quicker, giving great results, cleaned mirrors etc, but also knowing that it may just be another gadget abandoned to the  cupboard, deemed OK, but not worth the effort of assembling and using.

Chris aka Mr Gadget man who has a shed full of weird objects 'man tools'  'apparently' amazing, for once was not sold on the idea. He grumbled in a Victor Meldrewesque voice, it won't be as good as a bucket, hot soapy water and a chamois!

So I got to play with the V60 first.  

Its very easy to assemble, you basically have a micro fibre pad which attaches to the head then to the bottle, this becomes your cleaning tool. This was filled with a  recommended Karcher Window cleaner, more about that later . Then after a charge you are good to go! 

The spray is applied to the windows, a good wipe all over, so far not much in difference between ordinary spray and cloth. Its  a lightweight head and bottle, easy to apply the solution and then you just need to wipe over. The pad can be rinsed out between application and finally can be machine washed.

The cleaning fluid provided is pretty awesome, as I said before I do not hold with store bought cleaners and my initial concerns were great window vacuum, but was it going to cost a fortune to buy the fluid?

A quick google found that Tesco, Amazon as well as Karcher provide the spray. I found it for £4.95, for a 500 ml bottle, when cleaning you use 20 ml of concentrate (1 x 20
ml) with 250 ml of clear water.  So  25 washes per £4.95 with my maths makes just under 20p a bottle.

Or to add to this can any window cleaner be used in the Karcher Window vac? 

Well the manual states 'Only use this appliance with conventional window cleaners
(no spirit, or foam cleaners' so yes other cleaners can be used. 

Not sure I want to though having used it as bearing in mind I was stingy with the spray but this easily cleaned  one large double patio door with four windows above and two to the side, a large bay window, large kitchen window, two doors, two windows inside and out. 

A further four windows upstairs, inside only, three large mirrors,  double kitchen cupboard leaded glass doors, a shower screen, oh and my cooker hob lid, yes its brilliant on that also.

I still had liquid in the bottle but for dirtier areas  note you may need more.

So I am sold on the outlay for the Karcher Window Cleaner.

Ok onto the vacuum part, here is where the difference is really obvious over usual cleaning methods. The  genius is that the hand held cordless operated vacuum, hoovers up all the excess dirty water and the squeegee head, gives  the finish you want with no other cloths needed. 

The charge lasted well for me, it easily coped with all of the above list of windows, just because its so fast to do, my subsequent window cleaning sessions have turned me into a whizz and I am able to do vacuum liquid and dirt more seamlessly. 

I really cannot go on and on anymore about this part, it just works so well.

Windows are gleaming after minutes work. Its my new baby!!  I have been trialling for 5 weeks now and am still impressed.

For my other baby, he deemed hit better than his bucket and chamois for pure speed and faster shine.  Chris told me I had missed bits, just so he could have a go, then went round looking for glass to attack. Hence we found that it is fab on the cooker lid. 

Chris Meldrew was won over!!

Now I know come the cold I will feel less inclined to be out their with my new gadget, but I know a man who can!!

Oh and the picture below, well its a shot taken of the garden from one of the clean windows, not bad hey?

To find out more about Karcher, I certainly will be, pop to their site here

I received the Karcher Window Vac V60 for the purposes of this review, my opinions are my own and may not be those of others. I received no other incentive to feature.
Family Fever

Like Love Loathe

I am making a pledge to try to join in with Sarah Life In a Break Down and Bex from Futures for their LIKE, LOVE, LOATHE linky. As I often am raving about something good or ranting about some minor or major hatred. (Boy can I list lots of those)

So here goes

LIKE I like my new plants bought yesterday at a village that opened up five of the owners gardens to the public. I am still filling the huge expanse of ground and determined that Granny gets to sit in a paradise of colour and scent, its one of the few places she can get to now, so it is  important I get it filled. I got some great bargains and plants that will grow big and also self seed. 

Also while in one of the gardens I was remarking on all the low growing plants the lady had, I said these would be great to stop the weeds, she bent down and dug up huge portions for me to take home and said, " Pop back another day when its not so busy and I will give you some more plants"  Another total stranger, being generous, really made my day!

LOVE I love love love my new necklace bought by my friend for my birthday, I adore dragonflies, the real ones and decorative ones. 

The pendant is so detailed, very big which I like in a necklace and the comments are already coming in, I have been stopped and asked a few times about it. 

Its perfect for me, I will  wear it lots, I will not be bothered if it matches my clothes, I tend to wear what makes me happy and is treasured and this fits both criteria!

LOATHE  This week I have been loathing the press again, the plane crash over Ukraine, has shocked us all, in fact Chris works with a man who sons friend was on board. I have stayed away from anything other than the barest facts.

Yes we need to know what happened, at times we need to call out in condemnation at atrocity, but showing images of bodies and the wreckage, (I have not seen but have been told) is unnecessary, causes more heartache for those who know the victims.  If it was my child there, this would add to my grief. I feel this because of two tragedies that touched my life. The 7/7 bombing was one, a good neighbour James was one of the last casualties to be found and the night he never came home was a one of growing concern, turning to horror, the coming weeks were filled with press stirring up hatred in communities and more grief. 

At the funeral, I saw a photographer up a tree trying to capture a shot of the grieving family, similar happened at another funeral I attended for a boy who had been murdered. I made the front page that day and it brought home to me how it feels to be gawped at when its a private time to mourn. 

Do we need to see the grief of the families and mourners, yes we can feel it, but in trying to capture that breaking news and gain the first shot, I think its loathsome how its obtained.

News photo thanks to Shutterstock
Papparazzi hiding in bin thanks to Shutterstock

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Brabantia Ironing Board Giveaway

Ironing, not the best of words to start a post with, however  as Miranda says "Bear with"

Those who follow my reviews will have read recently of a  love for my new Brabantia ironing board, despite the fact I really do not like ironing. I am too short, I overheat and I get 'apparently' violent when ironing. This an overexaggeration on my husbands part! I like to think I am grumpy.

Now my grumps may remain, but the Brabantia board has dealt with a few of the niggly grievances, since the review and mentioning those benefits, eg, 

Height fits my mini stature and the Daddy Long legs aka Chris as well. 
Includes a brilliant cover made of 100% cotton, that makes the the iron glide so well.
 the board cover being a certain material to get faster results. 
The viscose underlay is nicely padded and also adds to ease of ironing.

The pure size of the board, is a noticed further benefit, its mammoth, I did at first hink it was going to be trickier to fit clothes on, yokes, sleeves etc, but its really well shaped to make it all so easier. For a shortie I actually prefer this, previously I always bought narrow, light boards. Plus I can have a nice lean on it when the heat gets too much, it is so firm and sturdy.

Hope you are convinced this ironing board rocks, Brabantia also rock as they are giving you a chance to see my review is pretty spot on.

Dunes is the ironing board you will receive as above. It was featured in The Mail on Sunday’s You Magazine in April, if you cannot wait to win or do not like giveaways the ironing board can be purchased here RRP £93

Brabantia TW link -

Friday, 18 July 2014

Freebie Friday 18th July 2014

Hi again to the latest Freebie Friday giveaway, its been a glorious sunny week, but as I speak the dark storm clouds are gathering and I have heard the south had terrific storms last night.

To try and chase the clouds away, I hopefully have a few nice freebies to brighten your letterbox.

Freebie Spotlight

Check out the Happy Egg Instant win, down at the bottom, a really cute competition, a gallery of children's drawings. That alone is worth looking at, though Hannah aged 21, needs to go back to art classes!
 You get to vote each day which enters you into a draw to win a bee friendly garden which is the main prize. However you can win thousand's of packets of seeds and 1,000's of free children's activity packs. 

Blog Giveaways, Freebies and Discounts

Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and get the  chance to win some lovely giveaways and free stuff across the other lovely bloggers sites too.

Grab a free kindle book, some fab ones have been spotted by the bookworms at Hanging On Every Word

If you see any nice ones, feel free to add and for bloggers the linky is open for all giveaways, any great freebies you have on your site and any brand discounts.


Lenor Unstoppable In Wash Fragrance Booster

Kelloggs All Bran Red Berry Crunch 

Free Coffee at KFC (need to print out voucher) 31st July

FREE 4 x GB Car Flags - Support The GB Team! 

Finish Power and Pure Dishwasher Tablets

Winsor Newton Free Watercolour samples

Professional Water Colour Half Pan, Professional Water Colour Paint, Professional Water Colour Stick, or Water Colour Marker.

Free Pain Relief Samples

Free BareMinerals Mascara  Instore

Free Fish Food Block for Holiday Instore
Check here for nearest stockists

Free Cat Neutering and Microchipping South East london 
For those on low income
See page for full details

Free ' Shake Up Their Summer pack, 
Stopwatch, activity cards, Disney wallchart and stickers

Sun Perks Guardians of The Galaxy 2 free tickets 

O2 Priority Freebies and deals

Free organic energy boost drink from Holland and Barrett  
Three Flavours Green Tea and Pomegranate, White Tea and Cherry or Black Tea and Peach. Ends 20/07/2014

Free Halfords Cycling Goody Bag. Ends 25/07

£1 Chiquito's Breakfast Ends 24/07

2-4- 1 entry at Sealife whole summer and beyond.

Worth A Go As So Many

1,000 Mirenesse "10" Collagen Cushion Compact Foundation

One wildflower garden and thousands of other prizes ,bee and butterfly friendly seed packs and children's activity books (final prize list and quantity TBC) Ends 20/09
Instant win daily

Bumble bees in the meadow of flowers photo from Shutter Stock

Monday, 14 July 2014

Win Philips #BigLittleThanks Air Fryer

Well its my Birthday today and also my blog Birthday, so I wanted to say a big 

Thank you 

to all my followers and friends for sticking with me for the last 4 years. 

Its been a fab time and its easy for me on my special day to remember to say thanks to people for cards, prezzies, well wishes on Facebook and Twitter, but I am aware that in a busy rushed life, its all too easy to forget.
Now I spent the day last week deliberately saying thanks to everybody I could, from the cup of tea my daughter brought me, my husband clearing the dishwasher. My son who emptied the bin without pouting!

I thanked Granny who I care for, but who actually makes it a pleasure as she is so grateful all the time.

I thanked people as I went to the shops who moved to one side, making more effort to smile and thank people really gave a great response, people smiled back and I really was boosted by the friendliness given back.

The reason I have been trying this was for a lovely campaign with Philips that is in its final week and has really made me smile as it has kind of taken over social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. People taking the time to thank people when ordinarily they may forget. Have a look at some of the lovely messages on the Great Big Little Thank You. it really makes your heart happy.

I will be making way more effort as it really makes a difference to not just the recipients but it comes back to my heart when I see the pleasure it brings.

Now a big thank you to Philips as they have decided to treat one of my readers to the fab Philip's Viva Collection Air Fryer, which I will be reviewing shortly.

82% wish they received more thanks for the little things they do for others everyday

·      Two fifths of Brits admit they forget to say thank you to others for the everyday tasks they do for them
·      British people are more likely to say thank you to a stranger than their own friends, work colleagues or siblings
·      One in ten claim their busy lifestyle means they don’t have time to say thank you

As a nation, Brits are renowned for knowing how to ‘mind their P’s and Q’s’ – however research released today by Philips has shown that in fact UK residents are forgetting to say thank you to their nearest and dearest on a daily basis. The survey of more than 1,000 Brits* has revealed almost two fifths (39%) admit to forgetting to say thank you to others for everyday things despite 82% saying they long for more thanks from others for the little things they do.

Whilst we might appreciate the little everyday tasks that families and friends do for us, the Philips Great Big Little Thank You Report also revealed we are more likely to say thank you to a complete stranger than our own friends, work colleagues or siblings. Despite the average Brit claiming to say thank you 6.9 times a day, appreciation of our gratitude is more likely to extend to an unknown who opens a door for us (60%) than to a friend who picks the kids up from school (25%) or cooks us a meal (20%).

The UK wide poll highlighted it may be our busy lifestyles which are to blame, with one in ten of those surveyed saying they simply don’t have the time to say thank you. However, two thirds recognised the need to say more thanks for the little, everyday things with our parents topping the poll of those people we believe deserve the most thanks with a whopping 80%. Our mums and dads were closely followed by grandparents (21%), friends (15%), retail staff (15%) and waiters or waitresses (10%) as those people Brits believe are most in need of a proper thank you.

Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness commented on the findings; "Too often we take our loved ones and friends for granted, or we assume they know how much we appreciate them. But we should never underestimate the power of a simple thank-you - or how great it feels when we go out of our way to remind someone that we really appreciate them.

Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. For example, research has shown that when people are asked to write and give a thank you letter to someone they're really grateful to, it gives them a huge happiness boost and significantly reduces their likelihood of feeling anxious or depressed over the next two weeks. Deep down we all want to feel loved and appreciated. Saying thank you is one of the simplest and most important ways of showing people that we care and helping them feel valued".

Philips is encouraging people to start celebrating those little everyday things people do for us with a Great Big Little Thank You. In order to show your gratitude to someone special for the little things they do post your thank you using the hashtag #BigLittleThanks. To find out more about the campaign visit and on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Julie Roo Skydive Giveaway

A very remarkable blogger Julie Roo is jumping out of a plane and she is terrified!! 

Why is she terrified? Well firstly she is afraid of heights and secondly because she already did this last year.

She cried a lot, screamed, but she nonetheless jumped from the plane and is bravely taking that leap of fear again.


Well it is best if I add her words.

"In August I will once again Skydive for Matilda Mae . If you don't know how scared I am of heights, watch last years video. I am terrified of heights, I can't even do bunk beds, but I'm going through this again in memory of a friend Jennie's daughter, Matilda Mae.  
No parent should have to outlive their child, but losing them as a baby is just hideous. We can't bring Matilda Mae back, but I really hope by doing this we help give families answers. At the moment SIDS (cot death) just steals beloved children from families. I think we need to know WHY these babies become angels so soon, then maybe we can save some little lives."
Well how can we help her?

Well the skydive, we can only watch in awe!

However Julie is asking if you can donate to the Lullaby Trust who campaign for children like Matilda Mae.

To try and raise even more money Julie is  also hosting a charity raffle with a chance to win some fab prizes, for a mere £2 you can hep raise money and maybe walk away with a prize.

Now you may not want to jump from a plane, but you can for instance win £50 to go shopping with!! For a paltry £2 and the chances of winning are way better than the lottery!!

So head on over.

If you don't feel you can donate, you can maybe tweet your support instead for the great work the Lullaby Trust go to to save babies lives!


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