Thursday 30 September 2010

Giveaway #24 - 5 copies of Garfield’s previous computer generated adventure GARFIELD’S FUN FEST on DVD - closed - winners @susankmann, @onions1, @phyllgerry, @Kahanka, Jenny Kearney

Everyone’s favourite lasagne-loving feline is back! Garfield and his friends Odie, Nermal, Arlene and John star in GARFIELD’S PET FORCE 3D, a hilarious 3D animated adventure which in cinemas 1st October and out to buy on DVD from 18th October. To celebrate we have 5 copies of Garfield’s previous animated adventure GARFIELD’S FUN FEST on DVD to give away!

When Garfield and his friends are trying to enjoy a barbeque, little do they know that in a very different universe a battle is being waged! In a comic book world of heroes and villains, Garzooka and his trusted team of super-powered heroes, the Pet Force, must defeat the evil Vetvix, who is turning the inhabitants of their world into mindless zombie slaves!

When the Pet Force falls into a trap set by Vetvix, it’s up to Garzooka to enlist a new breed of superheroes. Crashing the barbeque, Garzooka recruits Garfield and the gang. Will this new Pet Force stop Vetvix? Will Garfield ever be able to finish his barbeque?

This 3D DVD release includes 4 free pairs of 3D glasses so kids and their friends can enjoy Garfield’s fun-filled tale together during the half term holidays! Also look out for the release of Garfield’s Fun Fest and the Garfield Double Pack which includes Garfield’s Pet Force 3D and Garfield’s Fun Fest.

To win just follow my blog and answer this simple question: What is Garfield’s favourite food?

A: Cheeseburgers
B: Lasagne
C: Sushi

UK entries only - good luck everyone. Make sure you enter my other giveaways too - it's turning into a right competition-fest on here at the moment !!

Other current giveaways you may be interested in :

Giveaway #23 - 10 x NIP + FAB Eye Fixes, worth £14.95 to give away - closing date 4/10

Giveaway #22 - 1 copy of The Birthday Questions - closing date : 10/10/10

Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - closing date 3/10/2010

Giveaway #15 - Free Download of 2 Previously Unreleased People in Planes Tracks

Giveaway #16 - free one wash sample of method laundry liquid

Meet the 21st Century way to make a date - Dating 2.0 ! (CITROËN DS3 advert)

This made me smile this morning so I thought I'd share it with you - there's a version for girls and a version for guys so nobody can say it's sexist ! Hmmm choices choices ... !


Citroën has unveiled the latest relationship innovation - Dating 2.0 - a pioneering online service that allows users to create their perfect partner through interactive technology - the 21st century way to make a date.

Celebrating the unique, customisable design of DS3, Citroën has produced two original films, one for either sex, demonstrating an innovative and unique match-making process. Both films can be viewed on Citroën’s Official YouTube channel:

By clicking on, visitors will find a bespoke online facility that invites them to configure their perfect date. After selecting their male or female preference, users can choose their desired characteristics for the face, legs and torso of their ideal date. Finally, visitors can meet their perfect digital partner, together with a matching DS3. Users can share their Dating 2.0 experience with friends as well as requesting a DS3 brochure or a test drive.

for more information :
Other blogposts you may be interested in :
Scouting for Girls with Augmented Reality courtesy of Kit Kat !
Silvercross new website and competition to win a pushchair
iPerfumer - free download from Apple App Store to help you choose your perfect perfume

Boost Your Wash washing enhancer

I have to admit, when I was offered the chance to try out Challs' new washing enhancer called Boost Your Wash, I wasn't entirely sure I needed one. After all, most leading laundry detergents promise that they'll get rid of pretty much any stain you can throw at them - or at least that you can throw on your clothes ! If they're already claiming to be that efficient, what can a washing enhancer actually offer ?

Well, despite their claims, I have to say that with three kids, I do have some very stubborn stains in my laundry that never shift whichever brand of detergent I use. Sophie often gets nosebleeds and the bloodstains on her clothes or sheets never come out. Pierre's bibs feature an interesting mish-mash of ingrained brown chocolate yoghurt stains and orange carrot puree stains and if he does a particularly toxic poo that overflows, the stains on the edges of his bodysuits are indelible ! So I was interested to see what Boost Your Wash would make of them.

But the thing that really impresses me is that Boost Your Wash also contains anti-bacterial agents that will leave your washing not just clean but also odour and germ-free. That's great news in this day and age when eco-friendly and penny-wise families tend to use the lowest temperature possible for their washing machine. We do all of ours on 40° or even 30°, which isn't enough to kill all bacteria. The extra oomph offered by Boost Your Wash even at low temperatures could therefore be great news for us.

It's a really simple product to use. It complements any type of laundry detergent, whether powder, liquid or tabs, and can even be used for handwashing. You just add a capful or two, depending on how soiled your washing is, and let it work its magic.

I have to say, I was quite impressed. The really stubborn stains didn't totally disappear but they have faded so if they hadn't been so ingrained and "washed-in", the chances are they would have come out. The grimy undersides of socks certainly looked cleaner and grass stains on Juliette's jeans and leggings totally disappeared, which isn't always the case. But beyond the visible results, I love knowing that all the nasty bacteria have been killed off.It's definitely something that I'll keep using while the kids are such mucky-pups !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £3.99 for 500ml (enough for 16 washes)

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Ecover's concentrated laundry liquids
Method Laundry Detergent
Giveaway #16 - free one wash sample of method laundry liquid
Alma Win - Cleanut Eco-Friendly Liquid Laundry Detergent

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Book review : Loser's Town - Daniel Depp

When I saw the author's name, my initial, not entirely serious thought was : "Ohh Depp, I wonder if he's any relation to Johnny !". Well, it turns out he is. Daniel Depp is Johnny Depp's older half-brother and the "John" that the book is dedicated to is indeed his ultra-famous sibling. It's a fact that isn't particularly important - Daniel is clearly a talented writer who will be judged in his own right, not just as a celebrity hanger-on - but it does give added depth (or should that be Deppth ?!) to the scenes featuring the seedy side of Hollywood. Especially as Daniel also worked as a Hollywood screenwriter and film producer so he obviously knows much of what there is to know about Tinsel Town. Daniel clearly states in his author's note that Bobby Dye, the actor in the book, is not based on Johnny - "They are not They. He, She or It is not You. Any resemblance in this book to people living or deceased is purely coincidental and will merely be taken by the author as a tribute to his genius." - but he has admitted that two scenes (when Bobby's car is swamped by hysterical fans and when he is mobbed by fans on the red carpet) are based on Johnny's real-life experiences.

But on to the book itself. Loser's Town reveals the dark underside of Hollywood, showing the violence and ruthlessness hidden beneath the glitzy sex & drugs & rock 'n' roll lifestyle that we're used to seeing in the tabloids. The opening scene, with two 'cleaners' removing all evidence of a young girl who has overdosed in an A-lister's bathroom, struck me as particularly poignant and heart-rending and I was expecting it to have bigger repercussions as the novel progressed. But this is Hollywood. Under-age girls who overdose in the bathroom are just an inconvenience and nobody really cares. This lack of sentimentality and, dare I say it, humanity actually started to bother me as the book progressed. Some of the "nice guys" start getting killed off but the book continues without missing a beat and this struck me as callous. But then again, that's probably the whole point.

The character of David Spandau seemed really interesting and full of potential. The author throws out so many fascinating titbits of information about him - his abusive Nazi father, his former job as a Hollywood stuntman, his will-they-won't-they relationship with his ex-wife who still clearly loves him as much as he loves her, his shady dealings as a PI ... but I felt that he had so many umplumbed depths. I wanted to find out so much more about him and see his characters really developed so that I could really empathise with him. But like so many of the characters in the novel, he remains distant and mysterious. He returns in Babylon Nights, Daniel's second book, so I hope his multi-faceted personality is further developed in this follow-on novel.

The story is well-written and has moments of suspense but I didn't feel engaged enough with the characters to really care about their outcome. Promising storylines are just dropped and brushed under the Hollywood red carpet, interesting characters are brutally killed off and the ending left me feeling decidedly bleak and despondent. It's definitely not one to read if you're feeling depressed - black is black but this pushes noir to a new level !

star rating : 3/5

RRP : £6.99

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: Pocket Books (8 July 2010)
ISBN-10: 1847394183
ISBN-13: 978-1847394187

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : Live To Tell - Lisa Gardner
Book review : Nine Dragons - Michael Connelly

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream

I have to admit, I totally neglect my feet. I'd never in a million years go for a pedicure and I only ever paint my toenails about once a year just before going on holiday. My poor feet spend most of their life stuffed into socks and trainers and, apart from cutting my toenails when they need a trim, I never really give them a second glance, despite doing a lot of walking every day because I don't drive.

When I was sent some Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream and actually had a good look at my feet, I was therefore quite shocked to see that my heels did look a bit like the "before" photo on the pack ! They're not quite as bad but they do have white creases and very rough skin so I suppose, if I'd left them untreated much longer, the next step would have been painful cracked skin.

The good news is, this startling discovery gave me the perfect chance to really test out the heel cream ! The label promises to give you visible results in 3 days. 87% of users agree that it offers visible improvement after 3 days, 90% agree that it's fast acting and works in 7 days and 88% had smooth, soft, supple heels in 7 days. The cream is said to be clinically proven, reduce discomfort,  help prevent infection and repair skin rapidly.

The cream is thick but not overly greasy and it is quickly absorbed by the skin. It does leave a slight residue on the skin, so be careful if you wander about with bare feet on wooden floors or lino after applying it because you might skid about a bit ! It's not unpleasantly greasy if you put socks straight on though. The texture and, in fact, the colours of the tube too remind me very much of Savlon antiseptic cream so if you have both in your first aid cupboard, make sure you don't grab the wrong one !

The cream is fragrance-free which I actually thought was a shame - I would have liked to rub something nicely fragranced on my poor overworked feet - but if my heels had actually been totally cracked and bleeding, I'm sure I would have appreciated the hypoallergenic, perfume-free formula. It also means it's great for men and women.

Right from the first application, I could immediately see a difference in the condition of the skin on my heels. The skin was nicely moisturised and, as the cream soaked into the tiny cracks and lines, they almost disappeared instantly. The cream gave me a lovely sensation of coolness and freshness on my feet and I was so impressed by the hydrating properties that I actually smoothed it all over my feet, especially on the balls of my feet and the sides of my big toes which also tend to have dry rough skin. I also smoothed some into my elbows and knees where the skin was a bit rough and dry and again, I could instantly see an improvement in the smoothness and softness of the skin. For any areas of skin on hardworking bodyparts, be they heels, knees, elbows, hands or anywhere else (keep it clean, please !), the cream provides some instant pampering and relief from dry, rough or cracked skin.

The label suggests applying the cream twice a day but, depending on how badly cracked your heels are, once may be enough. I only find the time to apply it in the evenings and I can still see a drastic improvement in the skin on my feet. I thought the "before" and "after" photos had been doctored up on the packaging but I have to say, I can well believe that they are genuine. If you want to show your feet some tender loving care, you could certainly do a lot worse !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £3.99 for 25ml, £5.99 for 60ml

Monday 27 September 2010

Giveaway #23 - 10 x NIP + FAB Eye Fixes, worth £14.95 to give away - closing date 4/10

Beauty addicts will have been flocking to Boots stores nationwide today (Monday 27th September) where NIP + FAB, the new collection from Maria Hatzistefanis, beauty expert and celebrated creator of global bestselling brand, Rodial launched. I have just reviewed one of the products from the range - the NIP + FAB Multi-Fix Oil - and I have to say I was very impressed. You can believe the hype for once !

Tipped to be the hottest launch of 2010 and with a growing list of celebrity fans (Denise Van Outen, Olivia Palermo, Alexandra Burke, Kimberley Walsh, Diana Vickers and Ellie Goulding), Maria created the range of mass market skin care products, with premium credentials for customers who want measurable results but at prices that don’t cost the earth.

The clinically tested range for the face and body delivers 11 targeted treatments from eye brightening and skin plumping to cellulite and nipple smoothing, and is crammed with breakthrough natural and technologically advanced skin smoothing, boosting and firming ingredients.

Each hardworking, no nonsense product “does exactly what it says on the front” and will deliver exceptional ‘targeted results and instant fixes.’ Housed in fresh, stylish packaging and with brilliant product names like Tummy Fix, Lip + Nip Fix, Bust Fix and Eye Fix, this ‘must-have’ range already has a growing waiting list of people desperate to get their hands on these savvy buys.

To celebrate the launch in Boots, I’ve got 10 x NIP + FAB Eye Fixes, worth £14.95, to give away to 10 lucky winners. So if you fancy winning just become a fan of the NIP + FAB Facebook page and quote on its wall ‘Madhouse Family Reviews’. Then come back here and tell me you've entered. The 10 lucky winners will be picked at random and contacted by NIP + FAB via Facebook.

Don't worry if you're already a fan and have already entered one of the other numerous NIP + FAB blog giveaways - I've checked and you're still allowed to enter again and increase your chances of winning ! Good luck everyone !
Other reviews and current giveaways you may be interested in :
NIP + FAB Multi-Fix Oil
Giveaway #22 - 1 copy of The Birthday Questions - closing date : 10/10/10
Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - closing date 3/10/2010
Giveaway #15 - Free Download of 2 Previously Unreleased People in Planes Tracks
Giveaway #16 - free one wash sample of method laundry liquid

Sunday 26 September 2010

Fab day out with the kids at Nausicaa National Sea Centre, Boulogne, France

Ever since we've lived in Dunkirk, Nausicaa in nearby Boulogne has been on our list of places to visit but, for one reason or another, we've never actually made it there. The main reason was that I've always thought the kids were a bit young and would get bored after looking at a few tanks full of fish. However, when the chance came up to go there on a press trip and to take the whole family along with me, we jumped at the chance. The girls, aged 9 and 5, have been getting more and more excited as the big day approached. And that day was today!

Nausicaa is really easy to find as it's located on the seafront and you drive straight past it if you follow the main road to the town. The building is literally behind the Boulogne cross-Channel ferry port but if you arrive at Calais, either by ferry or by the Channel Tunnel, you're still only about 20 minutes away. There's a car park on the seafront a couple of hundred yards away.

We arrived bang on midday and wandered straight up to the reception. There are ticket booths outside but these are closed off season so you queue up (if necessary, we didn't need to) inside the building in the warm and out of the wind or rain. There is a fairly posh restaurant in the reception area where you can eat (but they seem to work on a booking system so you may be advised to book in advance if you want to be sure of a table at peak times). We decided to grab a quick sandwich in the Tropical Lagoon bar, which offers prepackaged sandwiches, pasta pots and drinks. One thing to note - there are toilets just opposite. Go there as soon as you've finished eating because it's really hard to get back to them afterwards (you need to take the disabled people/pushchairs lift because it's not accessible by the escalators - as we discovered after going up and down twice !!).

Before arriving, we'd been playing in the car and guessing all the things that we may see. We listed various types of fish, crabs, lobsters, sea anemones, seahorses  ... Well, they were all there but we never dreamed that we would also see sharks outside of tanks, with their fins slicing through the water like in the Jaws films, sea lions (from above and below the water as well as outside), penguins, giant tortoises and crocodiles.

I wondered if there would be a touch pool but didn't mention it in case there wasn't so Sophie was absolutely blown away when she got to touch a ray. As you can see from the photos, the grown-ups had just as much fun too. Mike had so much success that I nicknamed him "The Ray Whisperer" ! Meanwhile, Juliette sneaked off to the little soft play area opposite (reserved for kids aged 5 and under so it's nice and gentle). Pierre could have gone in there too but he was too busy gaping at the fish through the pushchair level viewing windows !

The visit follows a logical journey through various themed sections - The Mangrove, The Coral Reef, Man's Ocean, etc - and there is a huge amount of information that you can read (in both English and French - audioguides are also available at the reception desk) to learn about the diversity of life in the world's oceans and things you can do to help protect the planet. However, the girls were so excited, they were constantly running ahead to the next thing to see what else they could discover so we didn't read many of the information boards !

The girls still learned a lot using the interactive displays, pushing various buttons and turning the numerous globes. They particularly loved the little house where you can learn how to be green and the dark passage with animal noises and creepy gusts of wind as you pass through little hidden holes in the wall. "Eeeeeeek something keeps touching me and blowing in my ear", screeched Sophie, grabbing hold of my leg, before giggling and running back to the end so she could walk along it again !

There are lots of steps and escalators to the various displays but they have thought about people with pushchairs or mobility problems and have a little photocopied sheet telling you where to go, via a series of lifts, so that you can see all the exhibits without using the stairs. Everything has been created with kids (and big kids !) in mind so there are child-friendly little extras, like the ladders with viewing bubbles so you can stick your head up inside the aquariums and the sealions area where you can walk through a glass viewing tunnel where you can even see them swimming beneath your feet.

When you have finished the main exhibits, make sure you don't miss the "Steer South" area just opposite the turnstile gates. You'll see the aforementioned penguins but above all, you get the chance to see a ten-minute 4D film that the whole family will absolutely love. I wasn't sure what 4D meant and I won't spoil the surprise but lets just say, the 3D shark coming straight at you as you peer through your special 3D glasses won't be the only surprise you're in for !

I did a bit of research when we got home and discovered that Nausicaa welcomes almost 600,000 visitors each year, it is home to more than 35,000 fish and marine creatures and, since opening in 1991, it has welcomed more than 10 million visotors through its doors. It is among the top ten tourist and cultural attractions in France but, as well as being a popular tourist attraction, it is also a breeding establishment and nursery, a hospital for sick animals, a cultural forum and a research base with its own multi-media centre and team of experienced scientists.

We left at 3 o' clock and noticed that there were a lot more people waiting to buy tickets than when we'd arrived so plan to arrive early to beat the crowds. My other top tip is look at the list of feeding times before you start the visit and leave yourself plenty of time to get to the area you need to be in, because my one little criticism is that the map is really hard to read and finding your way around is a bit hit and miss. On the way out, we noticed that they say an average visit lasts 3 hours so we were spot on, although you could spend longer if you took the time (with older kids) to read all the information boards.

We decided to finish off with the traditional visit to the gift shop and I was impressed on two counts. Firstly, the prices were very reasonable : we bought a pack of pencils, 2 bracelets and a bouncy ball for the grand total of €6. There were some quite decent soft toys for €2.50 and some mini snowglobes with various marine creatures for €2.90 so it's great for kids to actually find souvenirs they can buy with their own pocket money. Secondly, nothing is on sale that harms marine life or the broader environment.

I asked the girls what the best thing was and they came up with various answers - the sharks, the sealions, the 4D film, the touch pool, ... I asked them if there was anything that wasn't good and Sophie said yes - having to go home at the end ! I think that says it all really !

star rating : 4.5/5

price : €17.40 per adult, €11.20 per child, €9.50 disabled (family/mini group of 4 people minimum - €14.90 per adult, €8.70 per child)

for more information :

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Keycamp - Château de Drancourt parc, St-Valéry-sur-Somme, Picardy, France

Build A Bear Workshop

Brewers Fayre family-friendly dining

DRAGON HUNTERS : A family feature film in 3D animation

Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch ?! Kids Eat Free at Pizza Hut until Jan 9th 2011

Saturday 25 September 2010

NIP + FAB Multi-Fix Oil

First of all, hats off to the publicity team for NIP + FAB ! The hype and the buzz surrounding the launch of this new line of skin care products has been absolutely phenomenal. It's all over twitter, facebook and the entire blogosphere, and beauty bloggers everywhere are extolling the virtues of the different products in the range. It apparently also has the A-list seal of approval, with a growing list of celebrity fans including Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen, Alexandra Burke, Diane Vickers and Ellie Goulding. It's already been tipped to be the hottest launch of 2010 by those in the know and when one of the new products, the Tummy Fix, went on sale in Harvey Nicks at the start of the month, it sold out within an hour and now has a waiting list of women - and men ! - eager to try it !

So why is it so popular ? Well, a lot of it is probably down to the name Maria Hatzistefanis. You may not be familair with the name but I bet you've heard of Rodial skincare products. Well, she was the founder of that successful brand too. While not everyone could afford the high-end price tags attached to the Rodial products, this new NIP + FAB line targets more budget-conscious shoppers, promising "products for customers who want measurable results but at prices that don’t cost the earth".

But do the products actually live up to all the hype ? I was sent the NIP + FAB Multi-Fix Oil to try out. The blurb is very impressive : "This heaven-sent skin healing oil is so effective you can’t afford not to have it at the ready, wherever you go, all year round. This amazing product contains key ingredients such as bio lipids to target scars and stretch marks, borage oil to nourish and moisturise, safflower oil to replenish and soften, and blackcurrant seed oil renowned for its brightening, lightening properties. Working in harmony, these clever ingredients work hard to improve the appearance and elasticity of scars and stretch marks and will help to improve an uneven skin tone. Apply daily on clean skin to problem areas or all over the body for soft, supple, youthful skin."

Hold on, rewind there a minute, did someone say stretch marks ?! OK, let's get straight to the bathroom to test it right now !! I don't know any mums who haven't whinged about their stretch marks at some point so if this product really does deliver what it says on the bottle, there will be a lot of smiling women all over the world !

I decided to use the oil pretty much all over my body, to see what it felt like on different types of skin. On my arms and legs, which have been dry and flaky in patches since our summer holiday in Turkey, the skin felt lovely - soft, supple and perfectly moisturised - and I somehow had the impression that this effect was going deeper than just the very top layer of skin, as with my normal moisturisers. I also rubbed some over the skin on my chest and belly and, although they obviously didn't suddenly miraculously disappear, I think the pale stretch marks on my mummy-tummy did seem to blend into the rest of the skin and appear less visible. The skin felt softer, more supple and slightly plumped up so this is possibly what makes the stretch marks and scars stand out less. I was certainly very impressed with the immediate effect and will continue to try it over a period of time to see what the long-term, lasting effects will be. For a luxurious, skin-nourishing treat, you can also pour some of the oil into a lovely warm bath and relax while it soaks into your skin and does its magic, leaving you with baby soft and perfectly hydrated skin all over your body when you climb out of the water.

NIP + FAB offers a range of eleven targeted treatments for women's (and men's apparently ! ) problem areas, from eye brightening and skin plumping to cellulite and nipple smoothing (yes really ! Maybe that's why it's called NIP + FAB !). I love the way the products combine natural ingredients and high-tech science to create products that leave you feeling thoroughly pampered. I'm now keen to find out if the other products in the range are as good as the multi-fix oil - and I suspect they may well be !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £11.95 for 100ml

Giveaway #22 - 1 copy of The Birthday Questions - winner BecksaM

If you have a baby or child, the chances are that you religiously filled in a baby book to record all his milestones in his first year or so. But have you ever thought about doing that right up until your grown-up child flies the nest and gets married ? The Birthday Questions gives you advice on creating a video keepsake of your child growing up as well as a series of questions that you can fill in every year. We reviewed it here and Sophie had great fun filling in the questions. She may only be nine but apparently she knows exactly where her life is headed ! (But her secrets are safe with me !!)

If you think that sounds like a good idea, you can but the book on amazon for $12.95 but it's your lucky day ! I have a copy of the book to give away. I'm happy to send this one out anywhere in the world so make the most of it ! To enter, leave me a comment in the comments box to tell me one cute/funny thing your kids have ever said or done that you would have loved to record for posterity ! Don't forget to leave me a twitter name or email so I can contact you if you win.

For extra entries, follow my blog, give me a retweet on twitter (copy me in at @cherylp59) or leave me a message on one of my other blogposts. Please leave me one comment per entry as it makes it easier to pick a winner ! Good luck everyone ! Closing date : 10/10/10 (how cool is that for a closing date ?!)

for more information :

My other current giveaways you may be interested in :
Giveaway #20 - 6 x 2 packs of Savlon plasters - closing date : 26/09/2010

Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - closing date 3/10/2010

Giveaway #15 - Free Download of 2 Previously Unreleased People in Planes Tracks

Giveaway #16 - free one wash sample of method laundry liquid

Double points when you buy children’s health or toiletry products at BOOTS

September is definitely a great time to stock up on kiddie essentials. After Tesco and Savers, Boots have come up with some great money-saving deals so I thought I'd share the information with you :



Double points when you buy any children’s healthcare or toiletry product

A mum’s number one priority is always their children’s health, and Boots is here to help with a fantastic children’s health and toiletries offer.

Collect double points when you buy any children’s healthcare or toiletry product from a wide range of brands, from September 22nd until October 19th.

This includes:

• Children's medicines such as Calpol, Nurofen for Children and Boots Nappy Rash Cream

• Children's vitamins such as Boots Smart Omega 3 and Boots Multivitamin ranges

• Verucca treatments including brands such as Bazuka, Wartner and Scholl

• First Aid including Elastoplast Winnie The Pooh Plasters and Mr Bump First Aid kit

But a freebie is even better than a cheapie so if you're quick, you've got two days left to enter my plaster giveaway !
Other blogposts you may be interested in :
Baby Bargains event at Tesco until 29th September
More baby bargains at Savers
Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - closing date 3/10/2010
Giveaway #20 - 6 x 2 packs of Savlon plasters - closing date : 26/09/2010
Boots Extra Wide Bibs for Boys & Girls
Boots - Baby Weaning Essentials


Having reviewed Clarks shoes recently, I thought I'd give you a heads up about their facebook competition which has some great prizes. Here's all the information I have. Good luck !


From beautiful designer heels to battered old trainers – what story do your shoes tell?

Clarks invites you to share the story behind your favourite pair of shoes to be in with a chance of winning a £3,000 holiday of a lifetime or one of 7 free pairs of shoes given away weekly for six weeks!

During the Facebook competition “Every shoe tells a story” the judges will pick their 7 favourite stories each week to win a free pair of shoes. In addition, stories can be voted on by the public and in order to win the grand prize the story must make the top 10 finalists at the end of the competition. The judges will choose the winner of a £3000 Trailfinders Gift Card from these finalists – so make sure you tell all your friends to vote!

We believe in the transformational power of shoes, which is why we put so much care into every pair. Shoes can change the way you look and feel – whether it’s giving you the confidence to ace that interview, or helping you dress to impress on that nerve-wracking first date.

Shoes are one of the most personal items of clothing we can buy, moulding themselves to our feet and carrying us through good and bad; every shoe really does have a story and we would love to hear yours as part of our Stand Tall Walk Clarks campaign.

The competition launches on 7th September and runs for 6 weeks - to enter simply visit their facebook page and upload a picture of you and your shoes with a sentence or two about their story and how they make you feel.

Submission and public voting will be open from 8th September to 18th October; the grand prize will be announced on 27th October

Other blogposts you may be interested in :
Clarks Daisy & Friends YoToY range - back to school shoes with a hidden doll in the sole !
Clarks Shoes - informative '6 steps to fitting' video
Hotter Shoes - Autumn/Winter 2010 Collection
Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - closing date 3/10/2010

Friday 24 September 2010

Scholl Odour Control Foot Spray

I always thought that deodorising foot sprays just masked the smell of stinky feet. Well, to be perfectly honest, I think a lot of them do. However, when I received a can of Scholl Odour Control Foot Spray, I was intrigued to see that it claims to be triple action on the front. Just underneath, it says "antiperspirant deodorant" but what is the third action ? I turned around the can to see what I could find out.

As well as the two obvious actions - "advanced protection from odour and wetness" and "anti-perspirant action that helps keep feet dry" - I was really impressed to see that "anti-bacterial & anti-fungal agents destroy odour causing bacteria and fungi" is also listed in its list of advantages. That means that it is a much better option than a quick spray of your usual underarm deodorant or a sprinkling of talc on your feet and in your shoes.

According to the label, "Scholl Odour Control is the only specialist footcare treatment with Neutra-Activ, a unique neutralising system. Scientifically proven to be more effective in the treatment of foot odour than traditional sprays that mask the odour".

I had a quick spray on my feet and immediately appreciated the lovely cooling sensation. I also loved the fact that it didn't make my feet feel wet or cover them in a white residue. In fact, once the initial sensation of coldness had disappeared, it was as if I'd never sprayed anything on them at all. Great news if you're wearing sandals and discretion is important.

Now that autumn is here and the closed-in shoes and boots are coming out of the cupboard, if feet get wet in the rain and spend all day festering in damp socks, feet, socks and shoes are all decidedly whiffy by the end of the day. The socks can go in the wash and you can wash your feet in the bath but getting rid of the pong from your shoes can be more complicated. I've found that a regular spray of Scholl foot spray keeps them smelling much fresher and it actually does seem to neutralise the smell rather than mask it. Sophie's trainers have definitely been smelling less toxic since I've been using it !

Even better news is that regular use (on your feet, probably not in your shoes !) can help protect against odour returning. As anybody who lives with someone with stinky feet will tell you, it's definitely got to be worth a go !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £3.69 for 150ml

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Scholl Clear Gel Blister Plasters

Hotter Shoes

Clarks Daisy & Friends YoToY range - back to school shoes with a hidden doll in the sole !

Flexitol Blistop

Thursday 23 September 2010

Baco EasyCut Clingfilm

Paul Daniels probably isn't the first person that springs to mind when you think of busy mums trying to get the kids off to school in time but his catchphrase was spot on in his cheesy 80's gameshow : Every Second Counts ! If you're a parent yourself, I'm sure you'll know that feeling when you have literally minutes to get the kids out of the door and you still have to find a lost shoe, sign a couple of notes from the teacher that the kids have only just remembered to show you, locate your keys, drag a comb through some decidedly knotty hair (is that chewing gum in there ?!) and finish getting the lunchboxes ready.

Anything that doesn't do what I want it to do within seconds is absolutely no good to me whatsoever, especially when my stress levels are about to reach new dizzying heights and I haven't even made it to work yet, so it'll have to go. Can't get the foil top off the orange juice ? You'll have to have water ! Can't find the matching white sock ? You'll have to have yesterday's ones out of the wash ! If you've ever watched an episode of Outnumbered, that really is exactly what it's like in our house in the morning !

One thing that always makes me seethe is getting the kids packed lunches ready. All you want to do is rip off a bit of clingfilm to wrap their sandwich in, it isn't rocket science, is it ?! But you're guaranteed to be losing your patience after turning the roll over ten times trying to find an end, eventually catching a corner on your nail and desperately trying to peel off the whole sheet only for it to rip across at a silly angle so it's not at all the right shape/size for what you need to wrap, then it sticks to itself before you get to use it and it's impossible to open it back up without ripping a big hole in it. All together now - breathe deeply !

Well, when the lovely Matt from Baco told me that he had the answer to my prayers, I couldn't wait to give it a go. Baco Easycut is basically a roll of clingfilm in a sturdy dispenser, which is already good news because our cardboard box always ends up getting ripped for some reason so the clingfilm goes flying across the kitchen when you grab it quick! But the really nifty bit is the lid. You pull out the length you need (and the end stays at the top so it's always easy to find with zero effort) then close the lid, open it again and - hey presto (oh it's Paul Daniels again !) - the clingfilm is perfectly and simply cut straight across ready for you to pull off. It really does make an irritating job totally stress-free and gives you a few valuable extra minutes in the morning rush.

I have only one gripe - why wasn't this invented years ago ?!

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £2.98 for the pre-filled dispenser, £1.79 for the refill (Oooh I've just discovered it exists for foil too !)

Other reviews you may be interested in :

JML Turbo Snake Drain Hair Removal Tool

A little while ago, the lovely people at JML sent me a Turbo Snake to test. "A Turbo Snake ??? What's that ?!", I hear you cry ! Well, it may sound like the latest electronic gadget for little boys to ooh and aah over but it's actually a clever little contraption designed to unclog all the gunky hair and muck from slow-moving sinks.

JML say that they think this product is going to cut down on plumbers fees and explain, "If you find yourself standing ankle-deep in water when showering or find it takes longer for your bath to empty than to fill, there’s a good chance your plughole is full of gunk and hair blockages. A gadget designed for plumbers is now available to shoppers to remedy the situation". Oooh sounds good. They continue, "You’ll be shocked at how much you remove and how quickly your bath or sink will empty after use. Stand back as you remove the sink clog as it’s very messy!"

When the package dropped through the door, I was slightly dubious - I'd say it's more like a worm than a snake and I wasn't entirely convinced something so small could be as efficient as they say ! But I was still determined to give it a fair test so off to the bathroom we went. (We, as in me and the snake - you didn't really think anyone else in the house was going to volunteer for sink degunking duty, did you ?!)

The instructions are very simple. "The Turbo Snake is designed to clear slow moving drains quickly. Thanks to its long gyroscopic wire (3 foot in length), it can be shoved down plugholes, showers and tubs. Its head is designed to yank out hair, bits of food and other yucky bits clogging up your drain. Simply glide it down the plughole or drain, twirl it and pull out."

Each pack contains two snakes, one for sinks (with a head that looks like a mascara wand) and one for the shower and the bath (with a head that looks like a double-sided velcro pad). The snakes also come with a little plastic hook that you can stick on the wall for easy storage but, whether this be down to my uneven walls or the adhesive pad not being sticky enough, my hook fell off the wall every time I put even one snake on it ! The result was, it got covered in dog hair and wouldn't stick at all so it ended up in the bin ! But enough about the hair on my floors and back to the hair in my sinks !

Taking to heart the comment about standing well back because it would be very messy, I was expecting a geyser of black hairy swampiness to come shooting out of my sink ! Umm it didn't ! It did pull out a few strands of gunky hair but nothing major. However, that is probably down to the fact that I throw a preventive capful of chemical sink unclogger down the sinks every month or so. I do really like the idea of replacing harsh, very eco-unfriendly chemicals with a simple manual tool in the future though. Also, the pictures on the packaging show blocked sinks and I think this would work really well if you actually had a blockage to clear.

It's certainly a lot quicker and easier to use than the usual sink plunger we use when the sinks do get blocked so I've left it in the cupboard to try again when needed. It's definitely worth a try if you frequently have to drag soggy lumps of slimy hair out of your plugholes !
star rating : 4/5

RRP : £9.99

available in ASDA, Robert Dyas, Tesco and Wilkinson

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Gruffalo Plush Toys

How cute are these ?! Well, they would be to anyone who has read and loved the Gruffalo story anyway ! You can tell Mike always escapes reading bedtime stories to the kids because he took one look at it and said "WHAT is THAT ?! It's a bit scary, isn't it ? What's it supposed to be ?!" To which the girls replied, in chorus, " Silly old daddy, doesn't he know? There's no such thing as a gruffalo !" then fell on the floor in fits of giggles ! Which still got him no closer to knowing what the Gruffalo was, so I sent him off to read it with the girls !

When I was a kid, I always used to love getting soft toys of characters out of books or TV programmes because it made them feel extra special, like they had almost celebrity status ! I felt really important snuggling in bed with them to read (or listen to) their story or curling up on the settee with them to watch them on TV. Well, I chuckled to myself to see that Juliette is just the same and tucked the Gruffalo toy in bed with her to listen to the story.

Just in case there are any other non-plussed parents scratching their heads and saying "What's a gruffalo ? Is it like a buffalo ?", The Gruffalo is a strange, admittedly slightly scary-looking, animal who stars in a children's book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Wikipedia informs us that "the book has sold over 10.5 million copies, has won several prizes for children's literature, and has been developed into plays on both the West End and Broadway". You must have heard of it, surely !

The Gruffalo plush toy that we received to review is an officially licensed product so, as you would expect, it is really high quality. It's lovely and soft and seems very hardwearing and I love the fact that it sits up by itself on the bedroom shelf without falling off in the middle of the night and scaring the kids to death !

The Gruffalo toys come in three sizes, small (7"), medium (9") and large (16"), but whichever size you choose, they ALL come complete with terrible tusks and terrible claws ! I can see these being on a lot of Christmas wishlists in a few months !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : Small £7.99, Medium £14.50, Large £23.99

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Build A Bear Workshop
Children's book review : Danger - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : The Great Rabbit Rescue - Katie Davies

The Birthday Questions - keepsake of your baby/child's life

******** You can win a copy of The Birthday Questions in my giveaway here **********

According to the write-up on amazon, "The Birthday Questions is a collection built year after year, a safe place to capture and keep even the smallest memories of your child's life. Inside you'll find a series of questions to ask your child every year on their birthday, which you capture on video, building a library of video snapshots of priceless, irreplaceable memories. The questions and instructions contained in these pages will stand as a record of who you are, who your child is, and who you both will become. If you could sit down and watch recordings of your parents, yourself, your husband, or your wife answering questions as a child, what would that be worth? And what if you could take simple, easy steps to give your child that priceless gift beginning right now? Ask questions. Capture moments. Create a treasured and timeless keepsake. Make memories that will never be forgotten."

The idea is lovely. Kids so grow up so fast and, especially in the early years, they often come out with unintentionally hilarious statements and ultra-cute sayings that you always say you should write down for posterity but rarely do. Most people start a baby album and record baby's milestones - the first word, the date of their first steps, the first photo with Father Christmas, and so on - but that rarely goes beyond the first year or two. Keeping that going right up until your child becomes an adult and gets married is a fabulous idea and I must admit, apart from the traditional blowing-out-the-candles video, I'd never thought about doing a yearly camcorder video asking a series of questions that gives a much greater insight into your child's personality developing through the years than a simple series of images.

Now, the cheapskates amongst you will be saying, "That's a fabulous idea, thanks for sharing. But I can go and do that by myself now that you've given me the idea, I don't need to go and buy your book !". And to be perfectly honest, you're probably right ! But the book does give you a lot of useful advice on how to get the best video possible with valuable tips on when and where to record it, what kind of questions to ask and what to expect. I also love the idea of replaying the "who do you want to marry ?" question throughout the years at your son or daughter's wedding, so the accompanying guidelines are well worth reading.

The question lists are great and I wouldn't have thought of some of them by myself, but you are also encouraged to personalise them depending on your child. The book also gives you spaces to fill in, recording written answers as well as your child's signatures through the years. I love this aspect, which follows on fabulously from the "baby's first year" that albums many parents fill in, and --year-old Sophie was really excited to sit down and fill it in as soon as she spotted it (and I purposely left the spelling mistakes as they were, for old time's sake !). However, I would have liked all the "video guidelines" to be in one section and all the "childhood memory" parts in a separate section. It would also be lovely to see them jazzed up a bit, with pictures, colours or spaces for photos, because they seem a bit cold and clinical as they are. I'm thinking of photocopying them, decorating them and sticking them in a scrapbooking photo album along with the family photos, but it would be nice to have a beautiful keepsake ready to fill straight in.

The book - or I should probably say booklet, as it's only 88 pages long - is written by an American dad of three (you can follow him on twitter @theBirthdayQs) so, as a European mum, the first thing I had to do was sit down and write in the margin the ages that correspond to all the different school grades, like early elementary, middle school, high school senior ... I had a rough idea but it's a bit vague for any non-Americans so if this is targetting an international audience, it would be good to add in the corresponding ages.

It's a really lovely idea that I'm sure will be an instant hit with mums and dads all over the world, whether or not they actually end up buying the book ! And the good news is, keep your eyes peeled and I'll soon be hosting a giveaway right here on my blog where you can win a copy for yourself.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : $12.95

Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Kardandak Enterprises, LLC (July 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615387160
ISBN-13: 978-0615387161
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 0.3 inches

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Children's book review : Danger - Dorling Kindersley

You know how it is sometimes - you go online for 2 minutes to look up something quickly and end up surfing for a whole afternoon, clicking around on different websites and blogs, getting sucked into all the interesting information and pictures that you keep discovering then suddenly looking at the clock and wondering where on earth the time went ! Well, I warn you now, this book is just the same.

According to the Dorling Kindersley website, Danger! is targetted at readers aged 12 years and above, but I instantly knew that 9-year-old Sophie would absolutely love it. I wasn't counting on quite how addictive it would be for the adults too though - if it's left on the coffee table, everyone who passes through the house has a quick flick through when they have a spare minute !

What I absolutely love about this kind of book is that it really awakens Sophie's curiosity and she wants to share her new-found knowledge so she keeps popping into the kitchen to say, "Mum, did you know ... ?" with a big grin on her face. It's great to inverse the mum-daughter roles for a while so that she can be the one to teach me new nuggets of information.

The book covers a wide range of themes that will appeal to both sexes, from the natural world, medical history, geography and history to some seriously icky facts that young readers will absolutely delight in sharing ! It's great for dipping in and out of so reluctant readers won't be put off. Sophie spent an entire rainy afternoon reading it cover to cover in her room !
It's a colourful book full of interesting pictures and fascinating facts that is instantly appealing. It's also a very sturdy hardback book, which is just as well, given the number of people who have been leafing through it !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £16.99

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (1 Oct 2010)
ISBN-10: 1405357894
ISBN-13: 978-1405357890

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Children's book review : The Big Ideas That Changed The World - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : Haunted - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : How To Do Everything - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : Know It All - Dorling Kindersley

Monday 20 September 2010

Giveaway #21 - extremely limited edition Dragon Hunters quad poster - CLOSED - winner calashme

A few days ago, I told you (here)about a 3D animation feature film that is about to be released called Dragon Hunters and I mentioned an exciting competition that I would be hosting. Well, here it is and I have to say, it's a fabulous prize ! One lucky reader will win an exclusive Dragon Hunters quad poster and the cool thing is, they are highly limited posters and only 40 will ever be produced worldwide ! Before I tell you how to win, here's a bit more about the film and the competition.

Animated family fantasy adventure DRAGON HUNTERS, featuring the voice talents of Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, is in cinemas on 24th September 2010, and on DVD 11th October 2010. To celebrate, we have an extremely limited edition quad poster to give away.

Zoe is a little girl who believes in fairy tales. In order to help her uncle Lord Arnold get rid of a terrible dragon, she decides she has to find some heroes like the ones she reads in her books. But instead, she meets Gwizdo and Lian-Chu, two dragon hunters whose sole ambition in life is to buy a quiet little farm and relax. The little girl thinks they are the heroes of her dreams, and cunning little Gwizdo, all fired up by Lord Arnold’s gold, is certainly not going to tell her the truth. Zoe is determined to follow her heroes in their adventure. From here on, there is no turning back. And to Gwizdo’s great dismay, they begin a perilous journey to the end of the world, where, still asleep, but not for long, lies the most terrifying dragon ever to have ever stalked the face of the earth: the infamous World Gobbler!

For Zoe, it’s a dream coming true. For Gwizdo, a nightmare that can only end in disaster. Yet neither the little girl, nor Gwizdo have any idea that Lian-Chu and the World Gobbler, have met before. And they have a score to settle…

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this simple question:

In DRAGON HUNTERS, what is the name of Zoe’s uncle?

A: Lord Alfred
B: Lord Arnold
C: Lord Lucan

If you want to enter, firstly please follow my blog if you haven't already. Then just leave me your answer in the comments box along with your email address or twitter name so that I can contact you easily if you win. Closing date : Sunday 3rd October. UK only.

DRAGON HUNTERS is in cinemas this Friday and on DVD on 11th October 2010

Other blogposts you may be interested in :
DRAGON HUNTERS : A family feature film in 3D animation

Giveaway #20 - 6 x 2 packs of Savlon plasters - closing date : 26/09/2010

Giveaway #16 - free one wash sample of method laundry liquid

Giveaway #15 - Free Download of 2 Previously Unreleased People in Planes Tracks
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...