Thursday, 29 July 2010

GearZap are on the Case

There has been an influx of new iPad accessories hitting the market within the last month and I’ve seen lots of innovative iPad Cases that provide extra functionality for your iPad. For example many people like cases which double up as iPad Stands for watching movies or slide-shows. But what about those people who love their iPad but find it too slow for typing?

GearZap has just launched a clever new 2-in-1 iPad Keyboard and case which might be the perfect solution for you. On the outside it looks just like a normal iPad Folio style leather case, but open it up and you'll find a super slim bluetooth keyboard integrated with the case to provide a seamless connection with your iPad. This will allow for quicker and more comfortable typing and is ideal for people who regularly use their iPad for e-mailing, making notes and writing documents.

The clever design of this multifunctional case allows it to protect the iPad, whilst easily converting into a laptop style position for typing. If you don’t need the keyboard it simply folds behind the iPad and out of sight. It's ingenious!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 launches – rated by parents

A new independent website has launched in the UK to help parents find honest reviews of the latest products for babies and children, as well as a price comparison of maternity wear, nursery furniture and a wide range of other products from leading retailers.

After months of preparation and testing, a new website has been officially unveiled which aims to help parents find and compare a variety of products for children, babies and pregnancy, whilst at the same time offering honest reviews from other parents. is an independent website and consequently can provide honest reviews of products, rather than providing the often biased information from the manufactures.

The founders of the website began work on after recently having their first baby and noticing that it was difficult to find independent product reviews.

Products are reviewed by actual parents, so visitors to the website can make an informed choice about what to purchase, based on the knowledge and experiences of others.

The website is affiliated with a number of leading UK retailers, including Boots, Mothercare, Kiddicare, Toys r us and John Lewis Baby, to provide visitors with a view of all of the latest products, but all reviews are left by parents to avoid customers being misled by manufactures’ promises. was soft launched in January of this year and developers have spent the last 6 months gathering valuable feedback from parents and getting them to come along to suggest products and give reviews.

The site is designed with ease-of use in mind and the developers have made it simple to navigate. Users can suggest products that they would like to see reviewed and will find parents who can do so.

Andy Barr, marketing director of, commented on the launch of the new site;

“As a parent, I know how difficult it can be when shopping for you new baby or child. There is an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to products such as pushchairs, toys and cheap nursery furniture. Retailers and manufacturers can easily paint a picture of a product to make it sound desirable, but at the end of the day it’s the parents who have tried and tested the products that will be able to give an honest review.

“That’s main objective at; we simply want to make shopping during pregnancy, or shopping for a new baby or child a much easier experience. Our developers have worked hard to make the website as informative as possible and easy to navigate, so the whole experience will be less time consuming and as stress-free as possible.”


Capture a Memory with a Globee Unique Gift idea

We all get stuck for ideas for a gift for somebody special, there are many personalised gifts these days but often uninspired and have somebodies name on say a handkerchief, tankard etc.

So how about a gift that conjures up a favourite memory of a place either because its been visited or because its a dream city or country.
What about buying a Globee – a beautiful illustrated globe depicting key landmarks, historic buildings and streets of major cities around the world?
Globees are exclusively designed maps of cities around the world that have been beautifully crafted onto globes, to provide a permanent and artistic view of everyone’s own favourite places and memories. Already Globees feature many of the best loved cities around the world. From the much loved historic London to the brash lights of Las Vegas, from the romantic river banks and cathedrals of Paris to the gondolas and artistic heritage of Venice, each Globee is designed to evoke the best memories of that special visit.

These customised globes called Globees are the inspiration of David Sinclair, MD who after a brainwave in the middle of the night, set to work designing and creating these unique gifts.
Now I got engaged in Paris and am about to celebrate 10 years of marriage, Chris and I often talk about returning and the only sadness was that we had no souvenir apart from a candle from Notre Dame Cathedral which is very old looking now.

So a souvenir of a treasured special time in a beautiful city at a time in our life important to us would be a great gift. New Globee cities are being added and I am looking forward to seeing more places that may be special to my friends and family for Christmas gifts.

I can see the potential of these in many peoples lives, a place where somebody married, honeymooned, their birthplace, served their army training, the occasions and places are endless.
Globees come with a 16pp booklet packed with interesting facts and figures about the city - are educational and fun - and are great for adults and children alike. Retailing from £14.95 to £24.95, Globees are available in selected John Lewis and WH Smith stores, Crest of London, together with tourist shops throughout the UK and abroad.
The company is also launching a range of children’s illustrated story books later in the year, to be sold alongside Globees. The full range of products will also include Globee key rings, bears, money boxes, Christmas baubles and will soon include talking Globees. In addition, Globees of Bath and Liverpool are due to be launched at the end of 2010, and plans to create Globees of Barcelona and Dublin are in progress.
A very unique and inspired gift.

Monday, 26 July 2010


We all get lots of extra exposure to the weather this time of the year and I for one am out in it a lot, walking cycling, gardening, just lazing around in the garden or out at the park.

There is no doubt that the sun can have a positive effect on our health and sense of well being. But overexposure to the weather can also make our skin dry, peeling is not just due to sunbathing but all outdoor activities.

To help with this I was given the opportunity to try new AfterSun/Sea/Sport Active Hydrogel.
It is a water-based liquid gel designed for everyday use which provides a long lasting cooling and moisturising effect, specially designed to soothe and repair skin exposed to the sun and the wind.

After Sun/Sea/Sport is an odourless, non sticky active hydrogel that is rapidly absorbed and acts quickly on the skin.
The treatment, which is supported by clinical research, rehydrates skin through osmotic action, drawing water to the surface from within - restoring the natural defence barrier, reducing the chances of premature aging and decreasing the risk of peeling from sun exposure.

Beauty and skin care expert, Ariane Poole said: “Being outdoors is great for our well being but means our skin is exposed to the elements and it doesn’t take long before the effects of the sun and the wind take their toll on our skin. People should treat their skin from the impact of the elements on a daily basis by using a hydrating treatment like AfterSun/Sea/Sport to soothe and repair the skin – conventional products that simply moisturise are simply not enough.”

People are not just at risk of damaging their skin when sunbathing. The most common ways for people’s skin to become dehydrated are after sunbathing (40%), when gardening (37%), watching an event (27%) or working outdoors (25%).(1)

We had a morning in the garden on Saturday and when I came in I was as usual feeling hot and my skin was dry, especially my face, hands and arms. I tried the AfterSun/Sea/Sport and was surprised by the instant cooling effect, that alone made me put more on.
I see this alone as invaluable when on holiday later next month.

I get into the car after a day on the beach, my skin always feels tight and uncomfortable from the sea air and sun. I have a big tub of moisturiser in the cool box always now, but it is pretty unpleasant if mixed with sand and also when I am hot, adding greasy or heavier products on top, makes me pretty grumpy. So I often wait to get home to shower.
I went to Battle of the Proms on Saturday and it was a very hot late afternoon, a lovely warm evening. We were out in the weather until dark and again handy to have the AfterSun I felt so refreshed and my skin was definitely more hydrated. Added to the repairing of skin its a must have for anybody who is outdoors.
A big thumbs up and arms and face, they all feel so good.
AfterSun/Sea/Sport, priced at £5.99 for 150ml

Who's for a cuppa?

I struggled a little to give my review as though I am a tea lover and a Tetley fan I do like my tea with very little milk and not through lactose intolerance, I just prefer it close to black almost.

I do however have a friend who has recently switched to soya milk she has had a few issues with dairy and is following a Dr's advice to stay off dairy as much as possible for digestion benefits but misses it in tea and coffee, so I invited her around for a cuppa.

Soya milk drinking is on the increase. Research has shown that the number of soya consumers is on the rise with almost 4 million homes across the UK adding soya products to their shopping lists - in London alone 1 in 5 homes now buy soya produce. With natural health benefits including helping lower cholesterol, a low saturated fat content and a natural source of healthy plant based protein, this is a category that looks set to continue growing.

I have had a try of my friends tea when she has had a cup and it tastes not quite right, not sure if its the tea, or the soya milk, or just what I my expectation of a good cuppa to taste like but its not that.

So Tetley introduce Tetley for Soya the first ever product specifically designed for soya milk. This latest addition to the Tetley family has teas exclusively sourced from high-altitude tea estates and produces a fresh, full flavour which works perfectly with soya. The teas in Tetley for Soya have been sourced responsibly as Tetley are proud to be founding members of the Ethical Tea Partnership. Shown in taste testing as preferable over other mainstream tea brands, Tetley for Soya has been given the seal of approval by leading UK soya brand, Alpro®.

Speaking about the new product, Amy Holdsworth, Marketing Manager from Tetley has commented “98% of tea in the UK is drunk with milk, and we learnt from our consumers that soya milk makes tea taste quite different. At Tetley, we believe that everyone deserves a great cup of tea, so taking on board their comments; we’ve blended a fantastic quality tea that produces the best tasting cuppa for soya drinkers”.

So I poured the tea and added the soya milk, it seems paler despite a normal brewing time longer than some people would brew, as we both like strong tea. My friends comments, better, more palatable, its seems stronger in taste, and would grow on her, the fact thats it tastes stronger than normal Tetley perhaps is the key to a good tea with soya.

I had to try it and still not won over but as I said earlier I have so little milk in a cup, its hard to judge. I liked the strong brew though.

I tried in a normal cuppa with semi skimmed milk and loved it. It is still paler but only in colour, not in taste.

So for soya milk drinkers who are missing their favourite drink, it seems you may be able to still enjoy a good cuppa!

RRP : £2.39 and available in selected Tesco stores

Disclosure: My post is based upon material provided free of charge for review purposes. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated to promote the topic, product or service reviewed in this post.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

This made me chuckle

If you’ve ever had a hot and cold moment as you realise you’ve done something unprofessional at work then you’re not alone. In fact, two thirds of British workers admit to having had a job-related embarrassing mishap, with men more prone to such calamities than women – 72% compared to 63%*. The research by vocational distance learning provider Home Learning College revealed a range of faux pas from the mildly awkward to the spine-chillingly inappropriate.

Top five embarrassing work mishaps (men and women)
9% - Mistakenly sending an unprofessional or bitchy email to the wrong person
9% - Being caught in an inappropriate situation with a colleague at a work party
7% - Having a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ i.e. skirt stuck in pants, wearing slippers into the office
6% - Calling my boss mum/dad
5% - Vomiting in front of my boss or colleagues due to over indulgence

Croft Pink - Whats your Pink Moment?

I am often looking for a new drink to try especially in summer, not often a lover of heavy spirits, more often I like a pitcher of something refreshing, so when I was offered a bottle of Croft Pink port and saw some of the recipes suggested on the Croft Pink website my old memories of port were questioned and I wanted to give it another chance.

This is the statement that attracted me

Unlike Port drinkers of old, Croft Pink quaffers have permission to really mix it up – charge it with chilli, spritz it with soda and fresh fruit, drizzle it over raspberry sorbet, serve it tall with equal amounts of Jasmine tea, or bring on the gin, orange bitters and ginger beer.

Regarding my past memories, I was served port at a wedding a few years ago and found it quite heavy, I think I still see it as a drink served in male member clubs, filled with cigar smoke and leather chairs. I also seem to recall Henry the Eighth partaking, it just seems stuffy.

First thing I liked about Croft Pink was the colour, it has a cherry colour, light in tone and instantly I could see this was no middle-aged gentleman's tipple.

I first tried it over ice as suggested and I was surprised to taste a lovely light fruity port, no cloying aftertaste. Easy to drink and Chris had a sip and liked it also, despite at first dismissing it as a woman's drink, then grabbing the ice and a glass.

Yesterday I had to try some over raspberry sorbet, its sublime, the warm taste of the Croft Pink over the cool sweet sorbet, this will be a dinner party special I feel.

I think I will be trying with lemonade and orange in my pitcher with perhaps raspberries and orange wedges, I am sure it will be refreshing.

If you like the sound of this gorgeous port take a look at some of the other recipes
Also take a look at the Whats your Pink Moment gallery where you can add a photo or video of your Croft Pink experience, looks like there is a competition coming soon too.
Just had to add its lovely with bitter lemon and ice, I served it at the weekend and both sets of friends asked where they could buy it.
Croft Pink is available from Tesco, Sainsbury, Co-Op and Morrison, at just £10.49 a bottle.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Hay Max Little Pot of Wonder

OK this is the time of year when the sun is shining, skies are blue and its a joyous happy time, the children are out, sun up to sun down enjoying the big outdoors............. can you hear the skid of brakes and the rewind button here?

Paige and Conor have suffered with hayfever for years, its a really hard time for them and when the sun is out and flowers blooming, the misery faced by them and millions of sufferers is a hard price to pay for warm weather.

Paige has had hayfever the longest and has tried so many variants of medication, always finding that the relief is usually only for a season, then when the next spring rolls around, we are off to the Dr's for a new tablet trial. She has the worst blocked nose and sneezing I have heard and for the last four years been on various nasal sprays, all of which have the awful side effect, nose bleeds, which are very alarming to even see, let alone suffer.

Conor developed hayfever after Paige but in milder form, however this year he has been really poorly with it, he was given a nasal spray too, I inwardly groaned but know that his schoolwork is suffering as he feels so lousy and something needed to be done.

I have researched a few alternatives, taking honey each day from local bees as this is homeopathic 'Treating like with like' Problem being both my two are not fond of it. We tried Vaseline on the nose, its unpleasant greasy and too thick. They both say it smells and so its not been a good option, we needed something that was easy to do, not inconvenient, not sticky on a hot day, all this and natural, this is where the Haymax I was sent was given a try.

I liked the statement that HayMax can be used with your ongoing treatment and will act as a potentiator. So if nothing else it would hopefully increase the effectiveness of the prescription meds.

This is what the leaflet said

HayMax™ has been tried and tested, and has been trialled by dozens of people with fantastic results. Max Wiseberg ran a simple trial of HayMax™ in July, August and September of 2004. Pollen counts were regularly high during the trial period. All respondents who had the opportunity to try HayMax™ during their allergic season reported that HayMax™ worked.

Those taking part in the trial were asked to rate HayMax™ on a scale from 1 to 5:
5: Worked brilliantly. No sneezes, no irritation of eyes.
4: Worked well. Occasional sneeze and/or eye irritation.
3: Worked: Reduction in effects. But still get attacks of sneezing etc.
2: Hardly worked: Still experiencing most of the effects.
1: Didn't work: No help whatsoever. Just as horrible as ever.

The results were excellent:
• The average rating for HayMax™ was between 3.9 and 4.0.
• There were no drowsy side effects.
• All respondents said it worked and gave a mark of 3 or better.

It has been recommended frequently in the national press and by Janey Lee Grace, as well as Dr Chris Steele MBE on ITV’s This Morning four times!

I was sent a pot of HayMax Aloe Vera, one of a set of three drug free pollen barrier balms, the others being HayMax Pure and Haymax Lavender.

Its a tiny little pot, 5ml and to be truthful, I thought well this won't go round one nose let alone two for the week I intended to give it.

It arrived on a dull cloudy rainy day, the sort of day where hayfever sufferers noses breathe and sniff a sigh of relief.

I showed Paige who is the open I will give anything a try type of gal, we read the info on the leaflet and the words "No side effects", "Suitable for pregnant women, children , men and cynics (note the bold for later) Value for money, my ears pricked up, I love a bargain!!! One pot can last a whole summer.

We both did look at the pot with amazement, Paige said maybe its like the tardis!!
We decided it would be a good idea to start straight away despite the low pollen count as it was a dull day, so she applied it as directed, which is along the bottom of the nose.
We hit another heatwave by last Sunday and the pollen count soared this week,so Haymax got the full test, Paige applied it around both nostrils, she said she didn't want pollen getting in anywhere, bless her.

Next onto Conor, who at this point was happily watching TV until the nasty mummy came with another lotion/potion to impose on him and upset his day. (These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of his parent !)

Here is the cynic I mentioned earlier, Conor is great in that everything is tested to his standards and he starts every venture, be it a new sport, school project, life skill with total scepticism and the statement "I don't want to do/take/try it. Its probably not going to work!" Whilst sometimes hard to see from an optimists standpoint, it comes in useful when trying alternative health products.

He was and is the child who refused to take any tablets without a battle and while we are not ones for taking pills for any symptoms, preferring to find and treat the cause, there is still the time when medication has to be taken.
So after trying, charm, cajolery, bribery and then facing threat of groundings he usually gives in, he is older now and has a choice so this was going to be tricky. He would have to agree.

I sat down and showed him the pot, already bigging it up, so he might at least think about trying it, I mentioned that it was drug free, so no side effects ie, threat of nose bleeds, drowsiness and lack of concentration that comes with over the counter hayfever medication. Easy to use, no nasty stuff squirted up your nose, as I read out the testimonials, I could feel him weighing it up.

He looked at me and said "Can't I just carry on taking what I have got?" to fill you in, the nasal spray by the way took several days of coaxing and him moaning it was horrible disgusting, never would work, he has only been on it three weeks and he still says he would rather suffer and not be able to breathe every day than take it!

I reminded him of his hatred of the spray, that HayMax would be better as it was just rubbing it around his nose, he looked at it with disdain, and stuck his finger in the pot,, "There is hardly anything on my finger!" Ha ha I had him, "Well then there is no problem trying it" He was weakening pretty quickly as he asked "Do I have to?" I nodded yes, he huffed and said "Its not going to work!" but he had amazingly given in to reason.

So the results of the week then, Paige used for Saturday and Sunday, on Monday morning just before school, she said she felt she was sneezing less and felt less bunged up. Conor said he did not feel any different.

They both have PE on Monday through to Wednesday and Conor runs on Tuesday and Thursday so these are bad bad hayfever days.

Paige came home on Monday and said it was the best she felt, she had played rounders, sat out on the school field for lunch and had sneezed four times at lunch, not at all in lessons, this was pretty remarkable as she sneezes non stop usually. She said she rubbed it around the cheekbone beneath her eyes too and it seems to have helped more.
She decided she wanted to stop taking the nasal spray, I was dubious after only a very short trial but know the nosebleeds are too much for her and she dreads sneezing in case it brings one on, so said OK.

Conor arrived home and announced that HayMax made a wasp land on him,!!!!!!!!!

I asked did it land on his nose then, he said no, his arm. Paige possibly put it better than me when she said "Conor don't be a doughnut all your life!" He laughed and said "OK well it probably didn't make it land on me but I hate wasps!" He said he didn't feel any different but when asked said he could not remember sneezing lots.

Tuesday Paige did not sneeze at all, she had sport, went off in the evening to feed some horses and not a sniffle. This was also day one of not using the spray that she has had to use for four years.

Conor got up on Tuesday and said he could breathe in one nostril, came home later and said I sneezed three times and that's it. He said and I quote for all the cynics. "Its brilliant Mum, can we get it all the time? Its amazing, I had cricket and could breathe and my nose was not running at all." Wow fourth day and a positive reaction from the doubter, but from the sceptical approach, it means he won't ever admit to something working if it doesn't. He went running and after his six mile did a workout on the grass tracks and this is usually a nightmare. He came home and said his throat was itchy but his nose was good and throat not as bad as usual anyway.

Wednesday came and Conor ditched the nasal spray, Paige was now two days off hers and no problems.
Saturday Paige did have a nose bleed, it was so mild she dealt with it herself, we normally have to sit pinching her nose for 20 minutes and they are very heavy, but I am hoping and presuming the blood vessels are still weakened and this in time will pass.
We all made the decision to keep up with the tablets for another week or two and then try drug free.

I am overly impressed with this little pot of HayMax, it has really amazed me and in such short time, oh and it could be like the tardis as it looks as if none has been used. Yet two children have been using three times a day.

If you want to read other peoples opinions try here
HayMax™ products are now available at most Lloyds and Co-operative pharmacies,as well as selected Asda, Boots, Tesco, Waitrose and Holland and Barrett stores

Friday, 16 July 2010

Grand Marnier Grand Espirit

I just had to introduce you to one of my favourite summer drinks. Soon to be yours
Think warm days , a lovely garden, or maybe a picnic blanket on the river
Think cognac not while warming yourself by the fire on a cold night, oh no, but cool, refreshing, zesty and summery.

Think elderflower which is so perfectly English, always reminds me of summer, the best elderflower to use is Bottle Green cordial another favourite of mine.

Then to add to the gorgeous orange tones of the Grand Marnier add fresh wedges of orange, topped with strawberries, again where would summer be without the jewel in our soft fruits?

I first discovered the Grand Espirit cocktail at the BBC Good Food show, it was love at first sip and I visited the stand a few times that day ...hic!! I went home laden with the bottles of Grand Marnier and Bottle Green cordial and shared with friends and ever since its always on the menu at BBQ's and picnics.

Thirsty yet, then here is the recipe?

100 ml Grand Marnier
100 ml  Bottle Green elderflower cordial
Soda water to taste
Orange slices or wedges
Strawberries as required.
Take Grand Marnier, elderflower cordial poured over ice in a tumbler topped up with soda water garnish with slices of orange and halved strawberries.

Aveeno Discoverers Programme

“I have been accepted on to the AVEENO® Discoverer Programme, helping to spread the word about AVEENO® products. I get sent free AVEENO® products and have the possibility of being rewarded with additional benefits.”

I was very pleased to be invited to be an Aveeno Discoverer, I am a fan of the brand and admire the philosophy behind their products

We believe that nature has the power to deliver superior skincare benefits to enhance skin’s natural health and beauty.
Our vision is to inspire and enable women to discover their own natural beautiful, healthy-looking skin every day, with the help from some of the best that nature has to offer. We pioneer fundamental research to better understand the mechanisms and biochemistry of natural ingredients and their applications in skincare

Its a philosophy that makes me feel safe and secure in putting the product on my skin and letting my family use them too.

So it was with great delight when I was sent two Welcome packs, one to try myself and one to share with friends.

They each contain four products

Daily Moisturising Lotion (fragrance free)
Daily Moisturising Lotion (lightly scented) - lightly scented with Lavender.

Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion - this is made using Shea Butter and a unique Triple Oat Complex, also containing finely-milled Colloidal Oatmeal, Oat Oil and Oat Essence

Hand Cream - containing Colloidal Oatmeal
I will be trying them and getting opinions from others too, so will keep you updated.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Nair Pretty Naturals

As mentioned before I am a Bzz Agent and was invited to bzz about the new Nair Pretty Naturals range.

I was sent the Smoothing Blue Algae from the range, it has trace elements and smoothing blue algae, the first thing that struck me was the look, its a clear tube of blue gel and that's certainly different. I am used to the creams and they are usually thick and often have an overpowering chemical smell.

I opened the tube and tentatively took a smell. Its nothing like the creams I am used to, there is a flowery and fresh sea scent. I liked the light fragrance and so was expectant for an easier time on the nose when in use.

I had to try and so off to the bathroom I went.

At this point I followed the instructions to the letter, it after all is a hair removal product and must be respected.

1. Smooth on the gel in a thick, even layer, covering the hair to be removed. Do not rub in. Wash your hands immediately after applying the gel. Replace the cap after use.
2. After 5 minutes, test a small area for hair removal. If hair does not remove easily, leave gel on for a few more minutes. Do not exceed 10 minutes in total.
3. Remove the gel with a wet wash cloth then rinse the area immediately with warm water without soap. Do not rub.

My instruction would be don't forget you have it on and wander around because you are bored, take the time to let it work. I get fed up and often start doing something else, often leaving cream on bath panels, or smeared on other body parts when bending over.

It was easy to apply , has to be the fastest application of a hair removal product I have personally tried. I looked at the thin gel and have to admit, I had my doubts, I thought it couldn't possibly cling to the hair well, maybe would not remove, because I could still see my hair under the gel, but I only had to wait a short while.

It still smelt good and had a pleasant cooling effect, so a pleasant wait for the vanishing hair part, I did the test after 5 minutes and hair stayed, this is not unusual for me, all hair removal creams are left on for the maximum time.

After the 10 minutes I removed and must say I was impressed, the first leg I applied to had a few stray hairs I missed, I believe that was more user error than product, I failed to coat my legs well enough.

I found after initial removal I wanted to remove the filmy feeling I had, so jumped into the shower and used lukewarm water to just remove any trace.

After I dried off, I checked over my legs and was happy to see a smooth set of pins, very soft and feeling good, it did revitalise as well as them looking good. No irritation at all and being a gel, Nair Pretty Naturals is the easiest fastest hair removal I have tried and despite initial doubts an effective product too.

Retails at £4.99 in Boots and Superdrug.

Musings Of A Gem CSN Giveaway

Pop over to the Musings of a Gem Giveaway its a lovely site, the recipes are so moreish too.

At the moment she is hosting a CSN giveaway, some details here:

One lucky reader will receive a gift voucher to use on CSN online stores. You will receive a voucher worth Forty Pounds (£), Dollars ($) or Euros (€) depending on your location.

The giveaway is open to the UK, USA , Canada and Germany!The giveaway will end next Friday ( 16th July) and the winner will be announced on the Saturday.

Asolo Mythos GTX

I was lucky enough to win £100 to spend in George Fisher of Kendal and when we took our holiday in the lakes, we visited the shop and began the fitting.

Finally I decided based on comfort and have to say being a sucker for good looking footwear, the Asolo Mythos GTX I was delighted to get a half size also rare in any footwear.

Off I went and with the lakes and good walking country at my feet, we set off for our first walk.

I was prepared for then to take time to wear in, hoping not to get a blister and in the main wanted them to support my high arches and tendency for weak ankles that give.

They were fabulous, I have never walked in a boot that did not take time to mould to my way of walking, they always need a good 20 miles at least, but the Asolo seriously felt like I had been in them for years, not a blister, not a single ache in my ankle.

I had intended on a mile and they felt so good the first hike, we did 6 and I was mightily impressed but more than that relieved as I did not have weeks of breaking in to do.

OK the girly bit, sorry you pros out there but I love fashion too, so for me the height they gave me was a bonus, nothing like a lengthened profile to feel good.

They just look so good too, my teens love them as well, that is definitely an advantage.

They are for a narrow fit more so walkers with wider feet will perhaps have to make sure they are fitted properly first, its never advisable to order boots online without a fitting anyway.
They are water resistant and I can testify to that we spent a pretty wet summer last year walking and they kept me dry, I do clean them and waterproof after a really mucky walk.
Check out the new collection of boots

UPPER Water-resistant suede 1,6-1,8 mm + High Tenacity Nylon

LINING: Gore-tex


ANATOMIC FOOTBED: Lite 2 SOLE: Matrix (rubber-Eva) + Active Heel Support


Great British Beer Festival

Three weeks until the Great British Beer Festival3-7 August 2010, Earls Court, London Visit

And if you needed another excuse to enjoy a beer then 5 August is INTERNATIONAL BEER DAY

Jackson Reece Natural Wipes

I love wipes, my children needed them all the time when really small, sticky fingers and faces , I wont even describe the other end. Even now we all use baby wipes.

They were and are still invaluable for any Mum, Dad or even fried chicken consumers!!!

I always had the problem that if overused skin became dry and I often resorted on a long day out using a flannel soaked in water and kept in a jiffy bag.

More natural yes, but on a long day out not so convenient and certainly not as pleasant smelling as a pack of wipes!

My ideal wipe is a good size, I am a frugal girl at heart and would like to clean up in one wipe, so it must be a good length.

Strength next, I want it to be good and strong.

Now for the "wet" in the wipe, it has to be "wet" not dripping, but moist enough to cleanse and at the same time refresh, not sticky at all, as after all that's what I am trying to get rid of in the first place.

I don't want chemicals on my skin any more than necessary, certainly not for my children, we are bombarded by them every day and I like many mums now look for natural products hence the soggy flannel in the jiffy bag.

So to find a natural wipe is a great thing for myself and family was indeed a good find.

I bought a pack of Jackson Reece Natural Wipes they are very reasonably priced around £1.99 for 72 wipes.
First thing that grabbed me was the good thickness and size of the wipe. Its substantial great to share if just wanting to clean up before dinner. For a dirty task, its more than ample and doesn't tear.
I was impressed by the moistness of the wipe, perfect and still wet after several wipes of hands, faces and still enough to wipe up spilt food, bins etc. See told ya I was frugal!!!

I like the scent, aloe vera, tea tree and lavender and this leads me onto what they do, all these natural properties help protect skin, I have long snapped off pieces 0f my aloe vera plant for burns any skin irritation, sunburn, itchy skin etc, it has great healing properties.
Tea Tree oil is a great antiseptic and lavender is good for bites and is again an antiseptic. I forgot to mention this is what makes them smell so good.

Finally for all us recyclers and mean green planet lovers Jackson Reece wipes are bio-degradable as is the packaging too.

So whats not to love, they work, they heal, they smell good, they don't harm skin or earth so its a win win wet wipe.

Available from Salisbury's and Superdrug plus online stores, for more information please visit:

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Splenda A Sweet Discovery

I am a BzzAgent, and received free samples of Splenda.

Splenda was discovered and developed by Tate and Lyle the stalwarts for sugar products so I was happy to try them and pass on my findings.

I don't use a lot of sugar as a rule, I  keep it to a minimum, but when I do fancy a cake or dessert I  eat guilt free, so I was curious to give Splenda a go. I do have a sprinkling on cereal as some cereals need sweetening and this would be a less calorific otion.

My baking is renowned in the kingdom...... well town........... well okay then family,  I wanted to experiment and see if Splenda was good for  cooking than with ordinary granulated sugar.

This was the Bzz info.

Every time you choose SPLENDA® instead of sugar, you’re making a simple step that can make a difference.
That’s because SPLENDA® has just a fraction of the calories of sugar for the same great taste. SPLENDA® is different: it’s* made from sugar, tastes like sugar, but it’s not sugar!
What makes SPLENDA® different?
It has just a fraction of the calories of sugar
It’s* made from sugar, tastes like sugar, but it’s not sugar
It’s versatile — you can use it almost anywhere you would use sugar, to sweeten anything from tea and coffee to cereals, fruits and yogurts
Unlike some other low calorie sweeteners, sucralose, the only sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA®, is particularly suitable for cooking and baking over a broad range of temperatures and times
It's suitable for the whole family, including people with diabetes and those following a low-carb diet, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle

*Refers to sucralose, the only sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA®

My first trial was on my breakfast,  porridge just has to have sweetness. So three teaspoons of Splenda mixed in and I was expecting that acrid false chemical taste. 

 I remember my Mum's little pot of artificial sweeteners and was expecting that sour bitter flavour. Surprisingly there was  no distinguishable difference from a sugar taste, certainly no aftertaste and with each teaspoon of the Splenda Granulated being 2 kcal only, I was  pleased that it was a low cal alternative.

Next I tried baking some cookies,  these were different than I was used to but only in that they seemed lighter, airy and a little more crisp, not as soft as I am used to,s till good to eat and no discernible sweetener taste. 

The proof though is in the pudding or in this case, instant cookies, The unaware triallists would be my husband and children. The battle of family versus product went in Splenda's favour, nobody noticed that the cookies were different, or indeed sugar free. The only comments were "Can you make some for pack up next week?"

 Splenda Sweet Minis are ideal for people who take sugar in their coffee or tea when  on the move, easy to pop in a handbag, in a handy little container and quick to dispense.

In conclusion, for those of you who use sugar but don't want the calories, who want a versatile product that can be used exactly like sugar, sweetening cereal, pudding, yogurt and in baking I would recommend them.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Karate Kid

Popular Detroit 12-year-old Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is forced to relocate to Beijing when his mom gets a job at a car factory there. His attempts at fitting in and wooing his pretty classmate are undone by a group of martial arts proficient bullies led by the vicious Cheng. All alone in an alien city with paltry language and karate skills, Dre befriends his apartment maintenance man Mr Han (Jackie Chan), who reveals himself to be a secret kung fu master and reluctantly agrees to take on a pupil for the first time.

We were lucky enough to receive preview tickets for the new remake of Karate Kid.
 I am not always impressed by remakes if the original is a favourite, but with Jackie Chan playing the teacher and the amazingly talented Jaden Smith, I was hopeful.

I need not have worried, the film was faithful to the plot, holding close to the original theme,  in essence darker than the original, but we do live in darker times with regards to bullying.

Jaden Smith as Dre Parker acted his karate suit off, his athletic ability was amazing and plain to see his moves were not all was choreographed, he had obviously trained for the part.
Jackie Chan as  reluctant teacher Mr Han was also a darker character than he often portrays. The film shows us Han's  beliefs and how and why he holds them.
The relationship between pupil and master is filled with comedic moments, the first task with the coat stand is a gentle lesson in fighting and respect. many more follow but i will not spoil your own viewing.

I hope this film will encourage many a child to seek out the local martial arts class but  a journey of learned respect and kindness.

The film's only downside and its not even that if you have stamina, is the long running time.

It finishes with the usual ultimate battle and left us feeling that good wins out and cheering for the underdog.

Thoroughly recommended.

Jackie Chan & Jaden Smith at the Los Angeles premiere of their new movie "The Karate Kid" Thanks to Shutterstock