Friday 1 December 2017

December essentials to see us through to Christmas (review roundup)

December's here ... like it or not, we're in the starting blocks for Christmas and New Year celebrations ! I always find that this is one of the busiest times of the year, what with trying to squeeze in Christmas crafts and baking projects or visits to see the Christmas markets and pretty lights, along with all the gift shopping, wrapping and delivering, not to mention all the usual work and home to-do lists. Phew, I'm tired just thinking about it ! Here are a few of the products that we've discovered recently that will (hopefully) help us sail through December happy, healthy and relatively chilled out.

OK, first potential stumbling block of the festive period - did you remember to buy an advent calendar for your kids ? I had a giggle with the deputy head today because we were comparing notes and discovered that her daughter (aged 17 and a half) is just like Sophie (aged 16) and still wants an advent calendar ! This Teletubbies Advent Calendar from Bon Bon Buddies not only has a cute picture featuring the four colourful Teletubby chums on the front and a milk chocolate hiding behind each door, it also has news of a competition to win a tablet every day this Christmas with #LoveMyAdvent. Teletubbies say Eh-Oh Ho-Ho-Ho ! (Was £1 but now available at a reduced price in a number of shops, including B&M stores.)

If the chocolates hiding behind the advent calendar doors aren't big enough to satisfy your chocolate cravings, I highly recommend sitting down with a family-sized, 300g bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Choco Biscuit Crunch - deliciously crunchy biscuit sandwiched between two layers of cocoa creme and milk creme filling. I thought it might be just a bit too much but it's lovely, with a great mixture of flavours and textures and an intense chocolatey flavour. (RRP £3.49, available in ASDA.)

As a teacher, one of my big challenges is fighting off the dreaded lurgy in the run up to Christmas. As we get deeper into the winter weather, I seem to have more and more kids coughing and sneezing all over me - they may be aged between 11 and 16, but I still seem to spend half of my time in the classroom reminding them to cover their mouths rather than spreading their germs. I know that Christmas is a time for sharing, but that's one thing I can do without, thank you ! Washing your hands frequently in soap and water is the best plan of attack (or rather defence) but it's not always possible to pop out of the classroom, so Milton's antibacterial surface wipes and antibacterial hand gel have been a godsend - for wiping down desks that kids have been keeping snotty tissues on to throw in the bin at the end of the lesson, then my hands after retrieving the ones stuffed down the back of the radiators (yes really - yuck !). They kill 99.9% of germs in seconds with no need for water and are clinically proven to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

BioCare also sent us a selection of products from their extensive range of vitamins and supplements, suitable for the whole family and designed to make sure your body is fighting fit for the colder months, including everything from vitamin D for the dark winter months, hair and nail supplements, energy boosters and probiotics for gut health. We received : Vitamin C Rosehip Complex (150g - enough for 30 doses - £15.95) - a pleasant tasting vitamin C powder to dissolve in water with minerals such as zinc and manganese, bioflavonoids and berry extracts; Vitamin B6 60 Veg Capsules (£9.95) - contributes to the normal metabolism of energy, protein and glycogen, as well as the normal function of the nervous and immune systems and the regulation of hormonal activity; Everyday BioAcidophilus - 28 Capsules (£13.96) - contains natural prebiotics to feed the live bacteria with no need for refrigeration so it can be kept in your bag or desk drawer for on-the-go use; Children's Red Berry BioMelts - 28 Sachets (£17.95) - Great tasting, melt on the tongue powder in convenient stick sachet  form that children will love to take themselves every day, with live bacteria and vitamin D for everyday and immune support in one hit; EyeCare Plus 60 Capsules (£25.55) - an innovative, antioxidant-rich blend of vitamin A, minerals, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, lutein & grapeseed extracts in a capsule, to help contribute to the maintenance of normal vision, as well as the immune system; Zinc Citrate 90 Tablets (£6.40) - with many general health benefits, including its contribution to normal cognitive function, maintenance of normal hair, skin, nails and bones and normal fertility and reproduction. They're all easy to take and - fingers crossed - we've all managed to avoid the epidemic of tummy bugs and nasty colds that are going round at the moment, so I think they must be helping with boosting the immune system.

The temperatures have dropped and it seems to have been permanently drizzling for the past few weeks, so we have a bit of a new routine after the school run : a nice bubble bath to warm up, followed by snuggly pyjamas and a big mug of hot chocolate. Our latest bath buddy is Dexter the bath mitt and his Super Bubbly Dragon Fruit Bubble Bath from Good Bubble.

As well as being ultra cute and smelling lovely, the limited edition gift set (RRP £8) includes Good Bubble's award-winning, free-from bubble bath that is suitable for newborns and upwards. It's made with real Dragon Fruit extract and at least 98% naturally derived ingredients to help maintain the skin’s natural moisture. Dermatologically and opthalmalogist tested for a kind-to-skin and tear-free bath time, it's also registered with The Vegan Society and is never ever tested on animals. Best of all, it provides lots of lovely bubbles and makes the bathroom (and the kids) smell nice.

Have you discovered any new family-friendly products to help see you through the winter months in tip-top form?

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

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