Friday, 30 January 2015

Hotel Chocolat Valentines!

I received a rather lovely email last week 

Your blogger pal has asked me to send you something delicious from the Hotel Chocolat Valentines range to enjoy this Valentine’s Day and it would be my pleasure to do just that.

If you’re dying to know who your Valentine is, don’t worry! All will be revealed when you receive your chocolates.

Well this week all was revealed, sorry for the dark pictures, the weather was dark all week and light is terrible. You can imagine though how lovely this looked.

Opening the card I discovered the lovely blogger and friend who had thought of me. Sarah  from is such a sweetie.

On opening the beautiful ribboned box I was in for such a treat!

Lovely little boxes of heart shaped chocolates, saying Nudge Nudge and Wink Wink. these would be perfect from a secret admirer.
Champagne truffles for those who have not tried them, they are soft, absolutely beautiful flavour. A perfect present if you maybe cannot afford a glass of Moet!

The Passion Fruit Truffles are amazing, white chocolate and passion fruit puree. Heavenly!

The chocolates are all beautifully crafted, as a recipient, it made me feel special and loved. Thank you Sarah and Hotel Chocolat for choosing me to be one of your #HotelChocolatValentines

Freebie Friday 30th January 2015

Its a month into the new year already, how did that happen? I have found the latest freebies, money off coupons and you can also enter some great blog giveaways. 
Bloggers feel free to add to the linky each week your giveaway is running.


Free Origins Sample
Bring any amount of empty cosmetic packaging- from any brand -to your nearest Origins counter and they'll give you a FREE* 1-time use sample of one of our high performance natural skincare products to say thank you.

To find your nearest Origins counter visit:

*One free sample per customer, regardless of number of empty products returned. Offer available while stocks last


Fit Kitchen Free cake 

When you email to be added to the newsletter!
Just email to claim your cake

Free L'Occitane hand cream in store (Close any pop up),83,1,65545,677455.htm

Estee Lauder Foundation

Free Tickets to Comic Relief Bake Off 8th Feb

Free 5 Point Winter Check at Halfords  usually £15

Free Water Saving Packs

Free food for pet charity

Just like  the Petplan facebook page and they will donate a food pouch for either Dogs Trust or Cat Protection. Brilliant freebie!!

Free Microchipping for your dog

Purina dog food samples

Bodyform Roll Press Go 3 sample pack and money off coupon.

Free Wacky Warehouse Tots Club admission (Usually £2)

Drynites Free samples

Free Change4life Sugar swaps activity pack and money off coupons

Hugo Boss Free sample

Sun Perk Freebies

Payback by Kimberley Chambers free book download
Free tickets to see Shaun The Sheep

O2 Priority 
Free de-icer and ice scraper from Halfords worth £4.50

Worth A Go As So Many

Win 100 Benefit Porefessional Primers Ends 30th

100 copies of The Dry Ventures of  Ellie and Eddie

Win 100 Ren Instant Beauty Shots Ends 31st

Win 100 Moroccanoil Treatment products Ends 07/02

Win 100 Ole Henriksen CC Cremes Ends 08/02

Win 100 ESPA cleansers Ends 09/02

200 a day Florette baby Kale free bag, or 50p off

Money Off and Clever Combining

Not much this week, check out last weeks for any you missed

£2 off all Danone products

Kale for 50p at Sainsbury's or Waitrose on offer for £1

Coupon here

Febreze Vanilla scent for £1.45 usually £3 (Asda)
50 p off here

25% off giraffe Restaurants for students Mon- Friday

Last weeks Freebie Friday and others

Word FREE image made from cubes,  mosaic pattern thanks to Shutterstock 

Shopping in supermarket. Shopping trolley image thanks to Shutterstock

02 Logo thanks to Shutterstock

Spotlight image thanks to Shutterstock

Free label image thanks to Shutterstock

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Swap January’ #AldiChallenge

I was recently asked to take part in Swap January’ #AldiChallenge 

I already rate Aldi pretty highly, I shop there and have done a few reviews of things I had not tried. It changed my purchasing habits, so I readily agreed. I was asked to try out the everyday 'Health and Beauty' and have to now admit that this is one section, I do not use apart from the multi vitamins which I highly recommend.

I tend to use branded toiletries, a few bad experiences with cheapy shampoos and hairsprays put me off. So I do not tend to try again as I find that more of a waste of money when I chuck or give a barely used product away.

I opened the box to find lots of goodies and its pretty clear to see what a few of them are alternatives too. One or two I really was interested in trying, the Lacura face creams and the Carino Hairspray. Hoping they would be good.

I decided not to look at the prices first as I felt my first thoughts should be on their effectiveness, benefits etc compared to leading brands or even supermarket brands.

The first try was the hairspray, it looks like a well known brand, my whole family have used for not just years, but generations. Granny recommended it to Mum, to me and Paige and Conor use it too.

I used on my hair, Granny's hair and Con screwed his nose up, but ran out of his hairspray (He is solely responsible for keeping the hair industry's profits  I am sure) so asked to 'borrow' some. Beggars can't be choosers I hear!

I loved it, its not sticky, it sprays well, sometimes cheaper aerosol sprays pack up or do not spray well. This was not the case. I use a light spray as my hair is not overly styled. Granny's having recently been styled but fine needs a good spray and especially at the roots to keep it high. I am happy to say her style remained all day and still looked pretty good on top after a nights sleep.

Con said it was really good but maybe would not use again, but the can has been found in his room several times. When after use I saw the price, I was pretty amazed. 79p!!  Good quality hairspray with great hold at a cheap price! I don't think I have bought hairspray for that price ever.

I usually use a shampoo for coloured hair, I have tried this for the purpose of the review and i am impressed. i was sent the coconut fragrance. its a rich shampoo, cleans beautifully, makes my hair soft and smells delicious, the conditioner detangled my hair well and the rest of the family are using it regularly. Chris smells gorgeous. I was pretty impressed with the very small 65p each.

The shower gel is lovely fresh, foams well, smells lovely. 100% natural and packed with essential oils.  I used the first morning, I was very impressed. It smells great. I tried the tingling mint and tea tree. Its a real wake up morning shower gel, or evening after a tough day and you need a real rejuvenating shower, its incredibly minty. My skin did not dry out as it can do with some gels, it made my skin soft and moisturised. A low priced shower gel that is good for 69p!

Cotton buds, there really is not much to tell you about these, if you use them you cannot really go wrong with this brand, they are useful and as long as they do not leave fluffy particles I will buy, these don't. They are an incredible 35p!! Granny has snaffled these.

The Lacura Roll on deodorants are not something I would use, I tend to use sprays but I did try and again Granny, Paige and Con will use. The clear version is lightly fragranced, dries well for this type of deo and kept me fresh.  I have already bought the spray version and another  roll on Cotton fresh for Granny. These cost 59p.

Lacura Facial cleansing wipes, again in packaging similar to a brand I use already. I am impressed I have been using the 'Normal' variety. Each cloth is very thick, lovely and large. Easily clean my face and I had no stinging or tightening sensation. Now these do not claim to remove waterproof makeup, but they do. I usually have to buy a separate eye make up remover. So these will save me even more money and great for Paige on her uni budget. I noticed they do a Vitality one for maturer skin and am sold on the pack I am using so will be purchasing. 89p for 30 wipes. Brilliant price.

Now with face creams I am a bit of a snob. I use as good as my budget allows, for the benefits I feel they give. However I do use Boots No 7 as well some of their range is fab.
However I had heard Aldi's Lacura Expert  day and Night creams range is good, so have been using for just over a week. The day cream is very thick, it felt heavy as it went on, however it absorbed easily. no greasy residue, I just hate any cream that does that.

I see better results on my neck and on my decolletage, I noticed a real smoothing effect. Its not one of the best fragrances I have used, but the effectiveness of cream makes me like it, maybe Aldi will work on that. The night cream is very pampering and my skin looks fresh and still moisturised in the morning.

OK well this is why I like it, my last pot of day cream was £48, these are £3.99!! Yes really!

I have not tried the Q10 daily face cream as yet as I would not be able to tell you much about its effectiveness as I am using the Expert range.  However going on all the other products I have tried, I am expecting it to be good. The SPF factor is a good benefit and I like the fragrance. Another superb price for a daily face cream at £1.49.

All in all of the items I tried, I will definitely  be swapping my hairspray, shower gel, cotton buds and facial wipes. 

Have you made any swaps for lower priced items in Aldi? I would love to hear about ones I may be missing!

Carino Hairspray (79p)
Lacura 3-in-1 facial cleansing wipes (89p)
Lacura cotton buds (35p)
AquaV Kick Start shower gel (69p)
Carino shampoo and conditioner (65p each)
Lacura roll on deodorant (59p)
Lacura Q10 daily face cream (£1.49)
Lacura Expert Day and Night Cream (£3.99 each)

All at Aldi's

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Nakd Valentine's Day Giveaway

This month for Valentine's Day I am indulging you in a little Nakd Love!!

 Now for all the visitors who are looking for some other spelling and theme, that is lets say a bit dodgy you have arrived at the wrong site!!

No I am talking those yummy bars of goodness. Nakd Dlight bars.

Nakd with the help of blogger Wallflower Girl have decided to bring out some more delicious recipes. The recipes work very well for Valentine's Day baking, they include Nakd Almond & Raspberry cookies, Nakd Strawberry Tarts and Nakd Chocolate Mousse Pots. All three of these recipes are vegan friendly and gluten free - perfect for the more health conscious lovebirds!!

Nakd also are being very kind as they have offered a scrummy box of Nakd to one lucky reader. (As above)

Almond and Raspberry Cookies

Grain-free, Paleo-friendly and Vegan, these soft and chewy cookies make a wonderful valentine's day gift!

Serves:  20
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus  30 minutes chilling
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes


200g ground almonds
½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
A small pinch of salt
4 tbsp vegan spread or coconut oil
4 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
½ tsp almond extract
1 Nākd Berry Delight Bar, cut into chips

1.    Preheat the oven to 170c. And line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2.      Mix together the ground almonds, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Then add the vegan spread, sweetener and almond extract and mix again until well combined.

3.      Stir in the Nākd Berry Delight chips until evenly incorporated into the mixture.

4.      Transfer the mixture between two sheets of clingfilm wrap and leave in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes, to firm up. Once firm, roll the dough out to about 1cm thickness and cut out your cookie shapes.

5.      Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the oven and rotating the baking sheet a couple of times to prevent it from browning too much. Leave to cool before enjoying!

Nākd Chocolate Mousse Pots

Velvety smooth chocolate mousse topped with crumbled Nākd Cocoa Delight bars and edible flowers for a healthy yet indulgent and sophisticated spring time dessert!

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus  30 minutes chilling


For the chocolate mousse:
2 ripe avocados
8 tbsp cocoa powder
8 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
120ml dairy-free milk

For the topping:
4 Nākd Cocoa Delight bars
Edible flowers

1.    Scoop the flesh out from the avocados and add to a blender, along with the cocoa powder, sweetener and milk. Blend until smooth and creamy.

2.      Divide the mousse equally and spoon into your serving glasses. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

3.      Add the Nākd Cocoa Delight bars to a food processor and grind until it turns to rubble.

4.      To serve, spoon the crumbled Nākd bars on top of the mousse pots and top with a few edible flowers.

Nākd Chocolate Strawberry Tarts

A deliciously indulgent dessert with a crunchy chocolate tart shell, creamy smooth chocolate ganache filling and strawberries drizzled with dark chocolate on top. No one will know it's secretly healthy...

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus  30 minutes chilling


4 x Nākd Cocoa Crunch Bars
1 small ripe Avocado
4 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tbsp coconut oil
Approx 20 strawberries
Optional: dark chocolate, melted, for drizzling on top

1.    Roughly chop the Nākd Cocoa Crunch bars and add to a food processor. Grind until it turns to crumbs. Press the crumbs into 2 non-stick individual tart tins to form the tart crust.

2.      Make the mousse filling by combining the avocado, cocoa powder, sweetener and coconut oil in a blender or food processor and mixing until it forms a smooth, thick ganache.

3.      Fill the tart shells with the ganache mixture and top with strawberries.

4.      Optional: Drizzle some melted chocolate on top for some extra indulgence!

To win the Nakd Giftbox just fill in the rafflecopter below. Enter just the comment and or follow and you will be entered, if you want bonus entries feel free!

Monday, 26 January 2015

SodaStream’s Water Made Exciting Challenge

SodaStream’s Water Made Exciting Challenge is to make my tap water more exciting and as readers who have been with me for the last 4 years will know. I have reviewed SodaStream a few times, the new features and styles make it a fab way to make drinks interesting and a lot cheaper.

But in all these years I never considered just fizzing up my tap water, daft I know and I buy sparkling water a lot, I love the fizz on my tongue and it is not quite as dull.

I do have an extra tip, for the Mums with little ones if you are seen to be drinking water with them and not another drink it will seem more acceptable. So make sure your glass is on the table too. Also great for not eating huge portions.

My own Mum told me that often hunger feelings are actually just dehydration and a glass of water (sparkling as well) removes the hunger pangs!

Children can easily get bored of ordinary tap water and refuse to drink it, which means they are not always drinking the RDA of water. I battled with my two once they reached school age more, I was told before this that I was tight for giving mine water not squash. Its crazy, I was concerned about sweet drinks and was told I was mean! 

We seem to be giving ourselves and our children foods and drinks that are just not beneficial because we seem like nicer parents. Crazy!!
A survey commissioned by SodaStream made me raise my eyes but with one of my teens I can concur it is tricky! Parents try all sorts of tricks as the above video shows, pretty funny!!

Paige drinks water lots already, she knows its great for her skin, keeps her brain plump for revising and is healthy and loved the fizzy version made by the SodaStream. So I asked Con to try drinking it with me, now with teens it is more tricky. He is now entitled to make some of his own dietary decisions, the 'mean Mum' here does not buy fizzy, so he gets his own.

However he tried the sparkling SodaStream water for one week, I managed to get him to drink  agood few glasses, though still not enough. He said 'Its not bad, better than plain water!' I think the SodaStream effect I spoke about a few years ago helps, being able to fizz your own water is fun, even for me.He may be too late to totally turn around, but at least he has thought about it and happily drank some and I think as he had had a good drink, actually drank less cola.

For those of you with younger children a bit of fizz in water is exciting and will in a lot of homes work!

Do your children drink water as much as they should, do you use any tips or tricks?

The study revealed that 45 per cent of UK parents don’t give their kids water at mealtimes.
Almost half (48 per cent) stated the reason they choose not to serve water is to avoid the
additional stress this would create at the dinner table.
The study also revealed that 55 per cent said it was because their children prefer to drink fruit
juices, squash or fizzy drinks and that they find water boring, even though 70 per cent of those
parents are aware of the high sugar content in such drinks.
The research also found that 45 per cent of parents admit their children don’t have the
recommended daily intake of water, with one in 20 claiming that their kids drinks no water
However, the study of 2,000 parents revealed that a staggering 80 per cent want their kids to
drink more water and will try tactics such as using novelty cups, straws and ice cubes and have
even tried bribing them with treats or money. 

Researchers found that 45 per cent of parents suggested that one answer to persuading their kids to drink more water if it was fizzy.

Fiona Hope, UK Managing Director of SodaStream, which commissioned the research, said;
“This research shows us that boredom is a key factor in families and children not drinking
enough water at mealtimes.
Independent research shows that people with a SodaStream drink one more litre of water every
day compared to people without one. As such, SodaStream is on a mission to get the UK drinking
more water by making it exciting, simply by adding bubbles, meaning families can have fun
drinking more water this January.”
This short video - - gives an insight into the battles families
deal with at mealtimes with serving water to their kids and the response children give when
presented with a SodaStream.
SodaStream has teamed with government public health programme Change4Life campaign as
part of the solution to encourage parents to cut down the amount of sugar their children consume
by making drinking water fun and exciting.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Freebie Friday 23rd January 2015

Freebie Friday is so popular it has seen my biggest traffic and I love hunting for the latest free samples, new freebies this week and hosting the giveaway linky.

Thanks for stopping by each week, I'm really really grateful!!

Bloggers/ compers and visitors as always feel free to add any giveaways


From BBC History to 220 triathlon, get the year off to a fine start – put your feet up and enjoy a free trial to something new.
Free  popular online magazines for 60 days (Good Food, Prima Baby, Gardeners World, Top Gear CBeebies and many more.

60 day trial offer applies on longest subscription term available in app - Longest is 12 months.
Turn off auto-renew from the app store within the 60 day period to avoid being charged. Offer ends 26th January 2015 23:59 GMT.
Only available on Apple, Google Play and Kindle Fire platforms.


Free Taylors Spiced Apple Tea packs

Two free tickets to Build It Live  in February and the show of your choice worth £24 free ticket code FGEN15

FREE Asda SIM and £20 of credit for the first 80,000 customers to register their SIM 

Free Clinique Foaming Sonic Facial Soap at Debenhams Only
From 23 to 29 Jan trade in any full size cleanser (take a cheapie one) and receive a 10-day supply of Clinique’s New Foaming Sonic Facial Soap free!

Free ebook for Photographers ( Beginners). 

Free Origins Mini Facial
Book in advance  Find Nearest Here After a skincare consult, you receive a mini-facial, a cleanse, exfoliation and face mask, plus  if in stock some free samples! heavenly freebie!!

John Lewis Insider Free Clarins samples and consultation instore
Need to be a member and present your card.

Sun perks freebies
 tickets to Shaun The Sheep 31/01
 FREE Medium Pasty from West Cornwall Pasty Co 23rd only
Free breakfast at O'Neills or Sizzling pubs ends today,Friday
WWE Slam Attax ‘Rivals’ Trading Card
Kimberley Chambers free ebook PAYBACK
60 free prints
 Morrisons Café  Saturday a FREE hot drink

Worth A Go As so Many

200 Bottles of Ace Clean, £300 Currys/PC world,Amazon vouchers, 10, 000 30p off

Win £300 worth of designer Italian kitchenware every day for a whole month
Plus money off for losing entries

15,000 Free 1 litre Cravendale Milk

500 free Nutella Key rings

300 Carmex Lip Balms and one £500 Selfridges voucher (Daily ends 2/2)

200 Nails Inc polishes (Every Other day)

1000 Pregnacare Vitamin packs

100 Celegenics eye Creams ends Friday 23rd

100 Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser ends 24th Jan

100 Real Techniques Brush Sets Ends jan 25th

100 Dr Organic Coconut Body oils ends  Jan 26th

Money Off Vouchers plus Clever Combining 

Amy's Kitchen Chunky tomato soup for 25p/26p 
On special at Asda for £1
Amy's Kitchen French Vegetable/ Hearty Spanish rice and Red bean
On special at Waitrose for £1.01
Using 75p coupon off here

John West Steam Pots meals £1. (Usually £2.50) 
On special £2 at Sainsburys plus  coupon 
Using £1 off here

Colgate Pro Relief for £1.40  Usually £3.80 (Tesco) 
Using 50p off here

 12 pack Purina Gourmet Gold Pâté Recipes for £2.97 usually £4.99 (Asda)
Using £1 coupon here

Ace Clean 30p off voucher plus competition

£1 off Sacla pesto 
(click on win, you never know you may win £300 of cookware instead)

£1 off Airwick Lake District range

50p off Oxo Shake and Flavour

2 for 1 at BBC Good Food Eat Well Show use code STYLIST

£1 off Sainsbury's My Goodness fresh meals, coupon use ends 28th
Print out here

Word FREE image made from cubes,  mosaic pattern thanks to Shutterstock 

Shopping in supermarket. Shopping trolley image thanks to Shutterstock

02 Logo thanks to Shutterstock

Spotlight image thanks to Shutterstock

Free label image thanks to Shutterstock