Saturday 29 June 2019

Fab freebies of the week 29/6

Morning all ! It's hot hot hot at the moment so I'm not sure what we're up to - there's a cool bootsale/summer event going on but it may be just too hot and we may just decide to chill out indoors. Have a lovely day whatever you have planned. Here's this week's freebie roundup to start things off in style. There seem to be loads of competitions with oodles of summer-themed prizes at the moment, so good luck if you enter those. Let me know if you win !


Win 1 of 4 picnic hampers, worth £60, or 1 of 100 limited edition California Raisins tea-towels

Win 1 of 50 sensational cookery sets worth over £100 each with Gressingham Duck

Receive two free sample capsule sets and discover the irresistable taste of L'OR Espresso Lungo and L'OR Espresso Ristretto.

To receive a sun safety pack from Marley, simply fill in your details into the form below and don't forget to Tweet your pictures on site with the hashtag #SafeintheSun2019

FREE e-liquid trial box from My Vape Box - Only a few boxes left!

For Debenhams Beauty Clubbers (request your free card if you're not already a member)  : It’s time to ditch the falsies and enjoy real lengthy lashes that are made to disturb! From Friday 28th June, pick up your sample of the new Givenchy Volume Disturbia mascara and pop it in your makeup bag for some serious volume.

Rebrewed from head to hop. This one's on us. Enter your details below to claim your free pint of new Carlsberg Danish Pilsner

Shopmium have some more freebies on offer when you're doing the shopping : grab a Doisy & Dam chocolate bar, Vita CocoCoconut Milk, Coca Cola Energy, Arla Protein Chocolate Orange, Arla Skyr yogurt

Request a free sample of glitter from Osparks

Dealing with heating & plumbing installations and need a quick and easy fixing? Request a sample of the starQuick clamp from Walraven to try: #pipefixing #selfclosingclamp #smartsolutions 😀

Seal your products in style with #Polythene Zip Lock Bags. Reusable, versatile and protects items from dust, dirt & moisture. Request a sample #ziplock

Request a FREE sample! Show your vulva some love… Try out the towels and liners that 99% of women would recommend to a friend*. UK, 16+ only. Closes 26/07/19. Max 1 sample per household:

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Friday 28 June 2019

Scrubbingtons, Washing Solutions For Real Kids (review) #RealKidsGetMuddy

Having Pierre after two girls was a bit of a revelation. You know that thing in sitcoms when the man about the house picks up a decidedly dodgy looking T-shirt off the bedroom floor, gives it a quick sniff, then throws it on? Yep, he really does that ! I should count my blessings. He does love outdoor play, whether it's kicking a football about with his friends or riding his bike. He invariably comes in hot, sweaty and decidedly grubby. I used to ask him if he wanted a shower, but after too many negative responses, I now ask him if he would prefer a bath or a shower. It works most of the time, but now, I have a new ally - a collection of decidedly funky, kid-friendly hygiene products that we received to review and that, I'm delighted to say, he loves to use. Yay !

You may remember, we reviewed Scrubbingtons products here on the blog a few years ago (head over here to check out the original Scrubbingtons review) but they have recently had a revamp and launched a brand new look. They are still just as eco-friendly though, using natural ingredients that even those with sensitive skin can use and bottles made from 50% recycled plastic (they're working on the rest).

Right, time to grab Pierre and send him off in the direction of the bathroom to get testing ! He started off with the Scrub A Dub Bubble Bath (£3.99 for 250ml), which has a lovely, fresh fragrance. We all sniffed and I managed to convince everyone that it smelt of cherry blossom (childhood memories of my parents' garden drifting back there !) but after checking the website, it turns out it's actually the smell of fresh cut grass - ah, OK then ! Whatever it is, it's lovely and Pierre was soon splashing about in the bath, letting the bubbles get him clean and smell nice ! This product contains  the oil from the seeds of cotton which makes it extra soft - I might have to pinch this for myself when Pierre's not looking !

While he was busy in the bath, I told him to try the Scrub All 3-in-1 Hair & Body Foam (£3.99 for 200ml), which is a "finger sticking shampoo, conditioner and body foam that lasts twice as long as gel", according to the packaging. This means that you can get away with using less product and the bottle will last longer - bonus ! Well, to be honest, that's not true at all, because Pierre thought it was great fun and styled his hair with it and made balls with it that floated in the bath - ah well, at least it's getting him clean at the same time !

I love the name of the next product - Pit Stop (£3.99 for 50ml) ! It's a roll-on deodorant that is kind to  the skin on young armpits so tweens and teens can use it as soon as they need to. I'm lucky with Pierre - he hasn't started having pongy armpits yet, but I'm sure it won't be much longer ! This has the same lovely, fresh fragrance as the rest of the range - it's great to avoid all the conflicting fragrances that kids often use (in vast quantities !) so that you end up with a headache when they head out of the bathroom !

Finally, the most used product from the range, Scrub Up Hand & Face Foam (£3.99 for 200ml) which has the same mousse texture that is great for encouraging hand washing (and playing) and avoids the need for a flannel (where do they all end up ?!).

When the bottle has run out, don't throw it away - you can buy a Scrub Up refill pouch (£2.99 for 200ml), which will help save you money as well as helping out the planet. Definitely a win-win situation.

As the only male in the house since Madhouse Daddy passed away, Pierre loves the fact that he has his own range of hygiene products that aren't all "pink and flowery" and the girls have been told to keep their hands off ! That doesn't mean that they don't appeal to girls though - the fresh scent is great for everyone. It's brilliant to find a company that makes kid-friendly but also eco-friendly products. The range can be picked up at Tesco, Ocado and Amazon but you can also get free delivery on orders over £10 directly on the Scrubbingtons website.

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

Thursday 27 June 2019

Giveaway #722 : Win The Kid Who Would Be King on dvd - closed - winner Lorraine Williams

Did you, and maybe your children, enjoy watching the TV series Merlin when it was on TV a few years ago? Or maybe your kids have delved into the Legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in book form? Either way, they're sure to enjoy watching The Kid Who Would Be King, which has recently been released on dvd.

The film is set in a modern backdrop where Alex, a teenage schoolboy, is constantly getting bullied and told what to do by his teachers. He certainly doesn't appear to be a hero and he thinks he’s just another nobody, until one day, he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Luckily, help is at hand, in the form of the legendary wizard Merlin (who is nothing like his usual elderly wizard representation !).

Alex must find the inner strength to unite his friends and school yard enemies into an allied band of knights to defeat the wicked enchantress Morgana. With the future at stake, he must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be and save the world.

It's a lovely, child-friendly version of the story which is a clever blend of traditional legend and modern adaptation. Alex doesn't seem particularly heroic at the start of the film and it is lovely to see him, and his knights, building their confidence and overcoming their enemies. I had a giggle at the modern overhaul (the round table, for example, is a normal dining table with drop down extensions !) and the story of the underdog overcoming his personal issues to become a hero was heartwarming. Perfect family viewing for the summer holidays !

The Kid Who Would Be King is available now on Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD.

Just in time for the school holidays, I have a copy of  The Kid Who Would Be King on dvd to give away to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. Fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 12/7/19

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. The winners' personal contact information will be passed on to the PR / Brand responsible and used only for delivery of their prize.

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

coming soon !

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Book review : The Mummy Bloggers - Holly Wainwright

I've just finished reading The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright and I loved it. It did leave me wondering, though, what non-bloggers would think of it. Would it still have the same appeal or would a lot of it go over non-bloggers' heads? I'm not entirely sure, but I think it would appeal to everyone, even if non-bloggers would miss out on the "oops, that sounds a bit like me" humour/guilt that is added in for bloggers !

The book introduces us to three women, all of them bloggers but all very different. First there is Ella Campbell, who writes The Stylish Mumma blog. She is basically the one that readers will love to hate and, I have to admit, she did very much remind me of certain "professional bloggers" out there ! She has the perfect blog with the perfect airbrushed photos of her and her two boys, wearing designer label clothes and nibbling on organic grapes or homemade sugar-free brownies. Behind the scenes, she has a paid helper, to assist in sorting out the boys' clothes and publishing her daily blogposts. Every hashtag, every photo filter, every inspirational quote is fine-tuned to attract the biggest number of clicks and followers. Everyone can see where she is heading, but where has she come from?

The second blogger is Abi Black, a no-holds-barred, straight-talking, feminist and eco-friendly warrior, who has quit sugar (except for when things are getting her down !), moved to the country and set up a lovely, pesticide-free home which she shares with her girlfriend and their kids. To add some extra venom, she was married to a man before he ran off with ... Ella Campbell !

The third blogger, Leisel Adams, is a hard-working mum, slogging it out in her office all day every day before coming home and taking over control of her three kids, then finally tapping out a blogpost when they're in bed. She loves being a mum but she also loves complaining about being a mum and the hardships of trying to fit everything into her busy days. She also slots into the complicated blogger relationship because her sister is Abi's partner, Grace.

All three of the women are nominated for a prestigious blogging award with a hefty cash prize and they will go out of their way to win, whatever it takes. Readers will certainly share in the laughter and tears, while bloggers will undoubtedly recognise if not themselves then at least some of the big name (and shame) bloggers and their decidedly dodgy shenanigans !

It's a fun read, with moments of sadness and growing self-awareness, that will give you a glimpse behind the scenes of mummy bloggers.

star rating : 4.5/5

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (3 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178955053X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789550535
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm

Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

June 2019 Summer & BBQ Degustabox review

It's nearly time for school to kick out for the summer, so I'm already starting to think about days out and activities to do with the family. I love nothing better than shoving a few snacks and drinks in a bag and heading out for the day to see where we end up. We invariably have lots of fun adventures, so I'm hopeful that we'll discover some new places this summer. Last week, the postman dropped off the latest Degustabox, which has a Summer & BBQ theme. Perfect for backpack snacks !


First up, a box of three Trek Protein Nut Bars (RRP £2.50), in Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavour. Crunchy roasted peanuts and whole almonds with a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips and a touch of sea salt. They are each packed with 10g of plant-based protein, they contain less than 5g of sugar and are high in fibre. Above all, they are delicious and perfect for keeping you going if you're out on a long walk.

Kolibri Cardamom & Chilli and Strawberry & Basil Botanical Drinks (RRP £3.75 - Degustabox subscribers received one of the two) are award-winning, luxury, lightly-sparkling botanical infusions with very low sugar and unique flavour combinations. We love the bottles which look very chic - they're perfect for sipping, freshly chilled or served over ice, while sitting in the garden on a hot summer's day. After pouring the Kolibri drink over ice, you push the top of the nectar container to add the desired level of sweetness. I loved the strawberry and basil flavour but was less won over by the cardamom and chilli - it's great to get original, grown-up flavours to test out though. They are made in Britain, contain all natural ingredients and are low calorie despite containing no artificial sweeteners.

Newman's Own Italian Dressing (RRP £1.75) is a best-selling dressing made with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. It's lovely drizzled over salad - perfect for a quick lunch on a hot day.

Hellmann's Chilli Mayonnaise Fired by Tabasco (RRP £1.99) is another great summer option, perfect for squeezing on the side of the plate at barbecues, adding to potato salad and homemade coleslaw or squeezing into sandwiches. The tabasco gives it a lovely kick - a little goes a long way !

Lucozade Energy Watermelon & Strawberry Cooler (RRP £1.20) is the latest flavour to be added to the range. It's a fabulously refreshing fruity combination that the kids loved, especially fresh from the fridge. I had a quick taste and did really like the lovely, fruity flavour but I was put off by the quantity of sugar and calories.

DRGN Turmeric Superdrink (RRP £1.85) is an 'Asian fusion' natural energy and wellness drink, that is free from caffeine. Inspired by the Far East, this refreshing citrus drink is packed with pan-Asian superfoods, vitamins and minerals. It contains less sugar and nothing artificial, so it's healthier than some options. I was a bit reluctant to try this one, but it actually tasted better than I expected !

Rowntree's Randoms (RRP £1.29) have already been tried (and loved) by the Madhouse kids on numerous occasions. You never know what you're going to get - ping pong paddles or paintbrushes? snowflakes or saxophones? - but whatever the shape, you know they'll taste lovely and fruity.

Garbanzo Thai Sweet Chilli (RRP £2.29) is one of a new gourmet range of vegan snacks, comprised of crunchy chickpeas, caramelised pumpkin seeds and red onion. Only natural ingredients are used and they are gluten free with no artificial additives or preservatives. As they say, healthy doesn't have to be boring !

They are also available in Bombay Twist and Tomato Salsa flavours - subscribers received one flavour. We loved all three flavours - very tasty and decidedly moreish !

Staying on the snacks, this Degustabox contained Mavericks Moon Cheese Poppin' Corn and Mavericks Super Strawb Smart Cookies (RRP 75p), which are both part of the Maverick Healthier Snack for Kids range. Other options are Breadkicks, Fruit Brix and Fruit Laces. Whichever you pick, they come in at under 100 calories, contain no added sugar and offer plenty of added goodness. They were very popular with the kids, who gobbled the whole lot up in record time !

Savoursmiths Truffle & Rosemary Potato Crisps (RRP £1.50) are perfect as the decadent snack of choice for the discerning connoisseur. Fresh sprigs of rosemary are combined with a hint of the wild, earthy taste of black truffle for a luxurious twist on your regular bag of crisps.

An intriguing mystery product offered another snack : Lentil, Corn, Pea & Black Bean Tortillas (RRP 80p). These haven't hit the shops yet and Degustabox wants consumers' opinions. They are a healthier version of tortilla chips, made by crushing lentils, corn, green peas and black beans into thin, crunchy triangles and adding a dash of sea salt. We all loved them.

Alcoholic Gummies by Smith & Sinclair (RRP £15 for a selection of 8) are an intriguing concept. We got Mandarin Spritz and Gin & Tonic. They are created by Smith & Sinclair, dubbed Willy Wonka for adults, and it's the first time I've come across the idea. All gummies contain 8% alcohol so if you eat five, you're over the limit for driving - this sounds a bit dodgy to me because I can see people accidentally going over the limit without realising it. They taste lovely though and I could see these being popular at weddings and other celebrations. (Use code DEGUSTA for 15% off your first order, at

The Free From Kitchen Choc Bar (RRP £1.50) and Salted Caramel Choc Slab (RRP £2.50) are gluten, wheat and milk free treats, designed to suit everyone, whether due to medical reasons or a lifestyle choice. We loved both of them.

 A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which means you'll get the first box for just £7.99 - enter code PKUFE at the checkout.

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Monday 24 June 2019

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 2019 week #26

This week, I'm at work and Pierre is at school but both the girls are off now. Sophie finished her exams on Friday - phew ! Fingers crossed she'll be happy when she gets her results on the 5th July. And Juliette's stopped going in now too, but one of them will have to shift their backsides out of bed to drop Pierre off at school (although he's not well at the moment so I can see him taking a day off tomorrow, even if his class are going on a trip). Even I will finish earlier tomorrow, as the older kids are on revision - sounds good to me ! I'm having a clearout in the kitchen cupboard this week, using up sauces and odds and ends. It's supposed to be really hot so I can us switching to salads on some days !


dinner - there are lots of leftover roast potatoes, some carrots and some roast chicken - I'll heat it all up with some gravy, and I may even add some pastry on top, depending on how much there is. In fact, I have some curry sauce jars lurking in the cupboard, so I think I might use one of those, for whoever is feeling brave (probably just me !).


dinner - chipolatas with mash & veg and a sachet of Mexican spicy tomato sauce


lunch - steak in peppercorn sauce with boiled potatoes & veggies

dinner - pork chops in BBQ sauce with ebly & sweetcorn


dinner - strips of chicken breast & cherry tomatoes with pasta (& pesto for those who want it)


 dinner - chicken casserole (with carrots, onions, mushrooms) with mash


lunch - McDonald's or similar

dinner - sandwiches, salad or fridge clearout


lunch - honey BBQ pork chops & rice with salad

dinner - sandwiches, salads or leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***


Saturday 22 June 2019

Fab freebies of the week 22/6

Morning all ! Today is a beautiful sunny day - let's hope it lasts ! This week was totally manic at work, with after school shows and parties, but the good news is, there are just two weeks to get through and it's time for the long summer holidays. I can't wait ! In the meantime, here's a lovely selection of freebies (and lots of competitions this week) to help pass the time while we're waiting ! Have a great weekend :)


Quick ! On Sopost, grab a free sample of YSL Black Opium perfume

Get your free sachet of Olay Whips skin cream

Do your ear canals feel dry, irritated or itchy? Try Soothers moisturizing earplugs for FREE!

Loads of giveaways with oodles of prizes at the moment, starting with Marigold's daily game 

Or you may prefer Eyelure for some instant lashes (600 pairs up for grabs)

On facebook : Crest Teeth Whitening Giveaway - We are giving away 50 boxes of Crest Pro Effects

Another giveaway with lots of prizes - Alpen Reach Your Peak Asda Free Prize Draw : No purchase necessary. 100 experience day prizes available inc supercar driving, cooking classes and family theme park days (not available in NI). 1 prize per winner.

In celebration of all the best loved classics, Haywood & Padgett have teamed up with the Drama channel, giving you the chance to win one of 3000 limited edition Jane Eyre mugs!

The Body Shop will reward you for recycling their bottles :  If you can bring in five, clean items to selected in-store recycling facilities, you’ll receive a £5 voucher off your next purchase. There's a very similar recycling offer in John Lewis too.

If you have a Debenhams Beauty card : Prepare to boost hydration and lessen fine lines & wrinkles! From Friday 21st June, pick up your sample of the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, as this award-winning anti-ageing cream isn't one to miss out on.

Deciding on a new colour for your home can be difficult, which is why we’re offering you the chance to try 3 for completely FREE! Can’t find your perfect colour? We can match it for you with our free colour matching service.
In order to claim your 3 free sample pots, simply enter your details into the form on this page and we’ll email you a code which can be used at any Crown Decorating Centre nationwide.
Offer applies to Crown Trade Matt Vinyl sample pots.

isubscribe have secured 300 copies of the June issue of The English Home magazine to give away in this free prize draw!

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

Friday 21 June 2019

Book review : Long Lost - Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is one of those ultra popular authors that I always thought I should try out, but when I finally did, reading Fool Me Once a couple of years ago, I was disappointed. (Click through for that review.) I've heard so many good things about him though that I decided to give him another chance, and I'm very glad I did. Long Lost turned out to be a much more appealing read.

The book starts with Myron Bolitar accompanying his step-son to his basketball game and getting into an argument with the coach. This doesn't go down well with the boy's mother - Myron's girlfriend - when she shows up and, ultimately, the two decide to go their separate ways. While I'm sure this was significant for those readers following the entire series - this is the ninth book - it was totally inconsequential for this book and just left me shaking my head, wondering why I'd wasted my time on a false start.

The real action begins when Myron, who is described as a crime solver and sports agent, receives a telephone call from Terese Collins, an ex in Paris, with whom he had a short but intense affair several years ago. She fills him in on her life over the past decade - she finally got pregnant, then lost her daughter in a car crash and, to top things off, her marriage ended in divorce. Following a call from her ex-husband, requesting that she meet him in Paris, she discovers that he is dead and she is the prime suspect. Myron agrees to help her out and the investigation begins.

The action moves across the globe, from France to England and back to America, with numerous surprise discoveries to keep the reader intrigued. The foreign police investigators seemed rather stereotypical and the terrorist plotline was a little thin but the fast pace kept my interest up and I raced through the whole book in just a few days. Myron's rich friend Win, along with the two former female wrestlers, now working for him, provide all the help and background information that he needs in his relentless quest to uncover the truth and escape the bad guys, which is handy, if, at times, a little too easy.

It's a book that is full of action and surprises and I raced through it - it would definitely be a great poolside or long flight read for this summer.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £7.99

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781409150466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409150466
  • ASIN: 1409150461

Thursday 20 June 2019

Summer Beauty Products from Cetaphil (review)

Glancing out of the window, I can see big black clouds and lashings of rain pouring down, but nevertheless, summer is well and truly on the way. Yes, honestly, it really is - seriously, trust me on this ! In just a few short weeks, we'll be heading off on an amazing fortnight in Alaska, which we're all really excited about, and while the weather may not be too hot out there, there will also (hopefully) be lots of sunny days back in the UK during the rest of the holidays. Before we start getting all the shorts, T-shirts and swimwear out of storage, it's time to start taking care of my skin and getting it summer ready. Cetaphil have helped me out by sending over some of their products that are perfect for warm weather and summer skincare on the go.

Starting with the product on the left, we have Cetaphil Rich Night Cream (£7.99 for 50g). This is a fragrance-free, non-irritating cream that is suitable for dry or sensitive skin. It promises to help replenish and hydrate your skin, leaving it feeling smooth, soft and comfortable. I was actually pleasantly surprised - it's a rich cream but it doesn't feel overly heavy or cloying, like some night creams. This is presumably why it is labelled as a non-comedogenic cream, which means it is non pore-blocking. I slathered it on my face at bedtime then forgot all about it - in the morning, I didn't feel like I had a sticky or greasy residue on my face, just freshly hydrated skin. Perfect ! 

Next, the Cetaphil Moisturising Lotion (£8.99 for 236ml, also available as £14.99 for 473ml) is a lighter option that is perfect for smoothing over your body when you jump out of the shower. It sinks straight into the skin, giving a much needed moisture boost. It is clinically proven to bind water to your skin, reducing moisture loss, so it is perfect for providing long lasting hydration for daily maintenance of sensitive or dry skin. It's lovely because it sinks straight in without leaving a wet or greasy feeling when you're ready to throw your clothes on.

From moisturising, on to cleansing, with the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (£8.99 for 236ml or £14.99 for 473ml). This fabulous product removes dirt, make-up and other impurities, without drying out the skin, because it is designed not to strip the skin of its natural moisturising and conditioning oils or upset its natural, slightly acidic pH levels - both important parts of the natural barrier function of the skin. It can be used with warm (not hot) water, either in the morning to cleanse and refresh or at night to remove the day's impurities. However, it can also be used without water - just massage into the skin then wipe off the excess with a tissue or cotton wool. This makes it perfect for travelling and camping, when you may not have access to a bathroom with a sink. I love this as it's so quick and simple to use and really does the job you want, with no fuss.

The Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser (£10.99 for 236ml) is another option for gently cleansing your face without stripping it of its natural moisture. It effectively removes dirt, oil and impurities, while leaving your skin feeling soft, hydrated and fresh. I love the texture - a rich, airy lather - and the fact that it is so simple to rinse away. Perfect for the end of the day, especially if you've applied sun cream and your skin is feeling a little sticky !

Finally, the Cetaphil Daily Defence Moisturiser (£12.99 for 50g) is a double-action product, providing SPF50+ sun protection, as well as being a moisturiser for your face. It sinks quickly into your skin, without feeling too heavy, so it's great to apply in the morning after cleansing for optimal UVA/UVB photo protection. It can even be reapplied during the day for extra protection - the small size is perfect for keeping in your handbag or in the glovebox in the car.

Cetaphil products can currently be purchased in selected Boots, Superdrug, Sainsbury’s, Tesco Pharmacy, Lloyds Pharmacy and independent pharmacy stores, as well as online from,,, and, subject to availability.

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

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Book review : This Mortal Boy - Fiona Kidman

I've just finished reading This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman, which is released by Gallic Books at the start of August. This is the second book that I have read by this author - you may also like to check out my review for All Day At The Movies, which follows several generations of a New Zealand family starting in the post-war years.

This Mortal Boy also takes a look back at the past, but this time it focuses on one incident : the fatal stabbing of a young man in a New Zealand cafe. The offender, a young Irish immigrant known as Paddy Black, is put on trial and the book follows the chaotic background to his sentencing.

The reader gets to know Paddy, or Albert by his real name, a young man just starting out in New Zealand after taking one of the cheap emigration boats over from Ireland. We see how he interacts with everyone : his landlady and her children, as well as the young men and women that he meets. He seems like one of the good guys with a decent set of moral values. The murder scene therefore comes as a complete shock, but you still get the feeling that things may not be exactly as they seem. Was he provoked? Was it an accident? Was it the rescuers turning the victim's body over that made things worse?

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter though and Paddy is put on trial. His jury seem to be pretty biased against him, especially as he is an immigrant - I could imagine the same racist overtones today in relation to a black or Asian suspect, with the idea of it being "one of them, not one of us". Back in Ireland, his mother is desperate to help but there is little that she can do from so far away.

I enjoyed following the whole examination of the death sentence and its validity, presented through an appeal, especially in a country where it has been revoked and reinstated several times. I had never heard of Paddy/Albert Black but his case really did exist and was undoubtedly very important, coming at a point when arguments for and against the death penalty were being heatedly exchanged.

It's a book that will certainly make you think. Despite having no previous knowledge of his existence, his plight touched me, especially as he was so young when everything started to go wrong.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Aardvark Bureau (1 Aug. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910709581
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910709580
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.6 cm

Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to share my honest review.

Monday 17 June 2019

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 2019 week #25

Woohoo I'm back, after nearly a whole week offline due to computer issues - grrr ! Ah well, just in time for this week's menu plan and I did spend the whole weekend deep-cleaning the kitchen and doing those home admin jobs that I never normally have time to do so it's not all bad :) Thursday is the school show and the kids are coming along to watch while I'm working on the refreshments stall and Monday is a late night, as I have my last after-school meetings for this year and won't get home until about 7.45/8pm. Then it's a nice gentle roll into the holidays - can't wait ! 


dinner - pasta with a jar of sauce or maybe carbonara (with cream/bacon lardons) (courtesy of Sophie, unless she has a different idea !)


dinner -  chicken chipolatas with rice & ratatouille


lunch - beefburgers and chips with coleslaw

dinner - homemade lasagne with some fresh pasta sheets that I found in Lidl - I'm intrigued to see if they improve the flavour, compared to dried ones


dinner - something very quick as we're back off out for the school show - maybe frozen pizzas, maybe pasta, or we may get lucky and have leftovers from last night !


 dinner - pork chops, creamy potato bake and veggies


lunch - McDonald's or similar

dinner - sandwiches, salad or fridge clearout


lunch - roast chicken dinner with the grandparents :)

dinner - sandwiches, salads or leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***


Tuesday 11 June 2019

Lucky Fortune bracelets collectibles review

Crack ‘em, Wear ‘em, Find your Luck and Share ‘em ! Welcome to the wonderful world of Lucky Fortune, the latest range of collectibles from WowWee (the makers of the top-selling Fingerlings brand) that are designed to look just like fortune cookies. 

Inside each pack, you'll find a double-coloured fortune cookie that you can crack open to reveal its secrets : a cute charm bracelet, along with a paper fortune for good luck. You also get a Collector’s Guide which can be folded up as a Fortune Teller toy and the packaging also doubles up as a key chain with a little compartment for special keepsakes. I love the way everything is reused and recycled, to keep waste to the strict minimum.

The bracelets are very cool and will appeal to tween and even teen-aged girls (here at The Madhouse, both 14 year old Juliette and 17 year old Sophie approved !) plus, of course, any boys who want to gift them to their girlfriends and friends. There are 100 different bracelets to collect, with four levels of rarity, as well as a coveted Ultra Lucky real gold-dipped four-leaf clover to add extra excitement. The charms are regrouped into five categories, covering happiness, friendship, love, success, and adventure. They sound like the perfect life goals to me !

 Available from June 2019, Lucky Fortune retails at £4.99 each.

Lucky Fortune by WowWee is distributed by Jazwares in the UK.

Disclosure : We received the product in order to share our honest review.
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