Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Review: SodaStream

We all love a glass of fizzy pop but at the same time we know the cost involved in buying can's and bottles.
So when Sodastream contacted me about testing one of there interesting machines, I was delighted!

SodaStream and Soda-Club are the world’s leading brands for the simple, elegant and appealing preparation of carbonated soft drinks in millions of homes across the world. There drinks makers, flavours, gas cylinders, and bottles are retailed in thousands of stores across markets in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia.
When my SodaStream arrived I was delighted to see how stylish it looked, a lovely design with a digital display for an accurate and timely amount of bubbles.

After reading the instructions I gave it a try and was amazed at how easy it was to use. 
I simply filled the bottle up with water to the line and then screwed it into the machine and pressed the lever to add some gas. I then unscrwed the bottle and poured a cap full of one of the flavours into the bottle, closed the cap and gave it a good shake with the help of Alesha!
The brilliant thing with the bottle is you can pop the cap on and then put it in the fridge, just like you would do with a normal bottle of fizzy pop, so it doesn't go to waste.
It taste just like a normal glass of fizzy pop but this is much more healthier because it's made with water, "yes water"!

There is a great range of flavours, my favourite at the minute has to be the lemon & lime, Alesha's favourite is pink grapefruit whereas Mr.B's favourite is the cola!
The flavours are reasonably priced at between £3-£4 a bottle, each 500ml bottle makes up to 12 litres.

If your buying a loved one a SodaStream for Christmas then why not also buy them a variety sample 12 pack, which includes 12 trail sized samples of SodaStream's most popular, refreshing flavours including 6 diet and 6 regular samples. Each 42ml sample makes 1 litre of soft drink.
You even get money back if you trade back your used gas cylinders, good ey?

The SodaStream we were sent was the Fizz  Incredibubble! It retails at £119 and I have to say it is worth every penny!

The fun will never stop with this easy to use drinks maker. You can make continuous amounts of carbonated drink with control over your fizz levels. The Fizz Chip will also display the amount of CO2remaining in your cylinder.

SodaStream’s brand new Gift for the Environment range is the perfect gift for smart Mums who want a sleek and stylish design with the benefit of being able to make soft drinks at home. The shimmering design in Fizz (RRP £119.99), Jet (RRP £54.99) and Genesis (RRP £69.99) looks set to light up Christmas, and sits perfectly alongside the new range of natural flavours to make her the envy of all her friends.

I am looking forward to doing our weekly food shop because I will definitely be stocking up on some more flavours because all of the family love them. 

For more information on SodaStream please visit

Low-Cost Christmas Gift Guide PART 7

If you haven't read part 1 - 6 you can do so here.

21. Useful info about: Jumbo
'The red elephant has been the Jumbo trademark for games and puzzles since 1976. The elephant first appeared in the Hausemann & H̦tte logo for the first time in 1936. Around that time, they were selling wooden toys under the name Jumbo. The quality was perceived to be strong enough to withstand the weight of an elephant standing on the wooden toys and the name РJumbo - and the red elephant have been used ever since'.

I was contacted to see if I would like to review one of Jumbo's toys, I had a look at the wide choice of puzzles they had to offer and I choose the Peppa Pig puzzle & colour because firstly Alesha adores Peppa Pig, "what kid doesn't"? And secondly because it was more her age range at 3years +.

My little miss moo AKA Alesha got very excited when she saw me unwrapping a Peppa Peppa item, she wanted it there and then, so we took the 24 piece jigsaw puzzle and the 4 crayons out of the bag and got to work joining the pieces together.
It was lovely to watch her using her cognitive skills by thinking what piece goes where?

Alesha had loads of fun with this puzzle, after she had coloured it all in there was no need to bin it because the crayons are wipe able so we just wiped the puzzle nice and clean, ready for round 2!

This puzzle retails at £14.99 and can purchased from Argos, Toys R Us, Tesco, Smyths, Mothercare and MANY MANY more!

Here are some other puzzles from Jumbo that would make an ideal Christmas present, Starline for girls £14.99, Starline for boys £12.99, Anti-Virus £17.99, Disney Pixar Cars puzzle & colour £12.99.

22. Useful info about: Cox and Cox
Fiona Cox and Lizzie Thornton-Allan launched Cox & Cox Mailorder in 1999. Cox and Cox has now substantially grown into the current inspirational and unique format with great PR, marketing and loyal customers. The personally chosen products have a nostalgic and retro feel aimed at individually-minded customers who trust the choices offered by Cox & Cox and do not want ‘mass-produced’.

We received the doggy bank from Cox and Cox last week, It's not really my thing so I gave it to my partner to test out (and play with). It's a great little gadget, you pop loose change into the dog bowl and in seconds the dog eats it! Its really realistic to watch and makes saving fun. Our daughter Alesha has now started saving with it, she will ask for penny's and then ask to put them in the dog bank.
Its great for gadget people who like saving or people just looking for something funky!  Its now sat on our sitting-room sideboard and all the spare penny's go into it.

I would recommend this to anybody as I feel its a fantastic little Christmas gift. 
The only downfall is the price, the doggy bank retails at £18.50 and I would only be willing to pay around £14.00 for this item.

Why not pop on over to to see what other products they stock.

23. Useful info about: Build-A-Bear-Workshop
'At Build-A-Bear Workshop®, our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. The Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Build-A-Bear Workshop embodies those thoughts in how we run our business everyday'.

Alesha was sent one of the new arrivals for 2012, Eric the penguin from Happy Feet 2.

There is also three other teddies that are new for 2012, Sock Monkey and family favourites Snoopy Flying Ace and Alvin.
Alesha was really pleased to see the new member of our household, he came suited and booted for winter, with his hat, scarf and woolly jumper!

These really are the ideal gift gift for a little one, why not take them to one of the many Build-A-Bear workshops, you can find your nearest store here

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is the place for Christmas gifting.  With gifts that give back, classic friends and traditional Christmas favourites, personalised gifts with sound, stocking stuffers and more - there’s something for everyone on the list and for every budget.  Fulfill gift requests with one-stop shopping at any of the more than 50 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the UK or online at 

Build-A-Bear teddies never look cheap, they are good quality bears and made to grow with your child!

24. Useful info about: Clintons
When I think of Christmas and birthday cards, Clintons is always the first to pop into my mind. 
And this year is no different, so as you've guessed I bought my Christmas cards and Alesha's birthday card from the one and only Clintons!

We were sent some lovely Clintons products and Clintons did it again, lived up to their name! I was really pleased with the box of Family Assortment Christmas cards which included 15 high quality cards for only £1. 
I collect Me To You's so I was over the moon to find 3 scented Christmas Me To You candle's, the pack of candle's only cost's £9.99, a perfect present for a Me To You collector, right?

Give a little Christmas joy to the little ones in your life with one of these cute gifts, Roofle Reindeer for £9.99 or Rosy Robin for £6.99. Alesha was sent both soft toy's and she adores them, whenever we get a visitor she has to show them her reindeer. Lovely gift's at reasonable prices.
Take the stress out of Christmas shopping this year by visiting Clintons – the high street haven that meets every gift, card and wrapping need

Clintons has a range of gifts available at affordable prices for all of the family! What’s more, you can purchase your cards and gift wrap all in the same store - leaving you with more time to enjoy the festivities.

To help your money go further, Clintons is offering customers exclusive bargains from now until Christmas Eve including:

·         Buy one get one half price on Calendars, Advent Calendars and Diaries (cheapest item half price. Offer can be mixed and matched with Calendars and Advent Calendars buy not Diaries)
·         Buy one get one half price on boxes of Christmas cards (cheapest item half price, excluding charity cards)
·         Buy one get one half price on all Christmas wrapping paper and accessories (cheapest item half price)
·         Me To You Tatty Teddy Bear Offer - £100 now only £50
·         Me To You Tatty Teddy Bear Offer £50 now only £25   

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree

It's the 1st of December tomorrow, I'm so excited it's nearly my birthday, Alesha's birthday and then CHRISTMAS!
We put our Christmas tree and decorations up on the 24th November, I was intending to wait until the 1st December like we normally do but Mr.B is like a big kid, he was that excited he kept nagging me to put them up so eventually I gave him and told him "to go up and get the tree and decorations"!

I'm happy we put them up, because I am loving the twinkling lights and the fact I see Santa's face everywhere I look, haha!

Alesha was very eager to put Santa on top of the tree, so I gave her a helping hand.
It was lovely family time before Mr.B went back to work the next day.

I now want the 14th to hurry up because it's my birthday and then the 19th is Alesha's 2nd birthday.

We have done three thirds of our Christmas shopping, in total we have 18 adults and 8 children to buy for "stop having babies" haha!

I love seeing the photos on Facebook and Twitter of everyone's else's Christmas tree, so get uploading.

Low-Cost Christmas Gift Guide PART 6

If you haven't read part 1 - 5 you can do so here.

18. Useful info about: Carddies

'Carddies Limited is owned by two sisters, Raquel and Esther.During a rainy seaside holiday Raquel started drawing little card people for her three house bound girls, using the backs of cereal packs and any card to hand'. 'Since then Raquel has drawn hundreds of little card people for many children, who love them and play with them for hours'.
'Raquel and Esther joined forces to develop this lovely idea into a business and so the Carddies evolved'. 'Their past experiences working as a lawyer and accountant respectively, and as full time mothers of their seven children, have been useful'.
I found that the Carrdie set was brilliant on rainy days, also very ideal for children when travelling wheter it is by car, air plane it doesn't matter because Carries set's are small and also come with crayons so there is not faffing about to buy a pack of crayons.
I was sent the fairies set for Alesha to review. I can honestly say she got loads of enjoyment from it. It was lovely to see her using her imagination when thinking where to place each fairy infornt of the scene. 
Carries have only launched this toy, just in time for Christmas! 
Created for 4-10 year olds, the Carddies range of toys will appeal to parents and children alike. Carddies are cute sets of engaging characters made of high quality card that are ready to be coloured in, given names and played with for hours and hours.  The colourful, robust boxes are filled with 12 sturdy double-sided card figures, 12 high quality colouring pencils, and 12 stands. There is the added bonus of an outline backdrop to colour in as well.  Carddies are designed to be portable and robust enough to survive a mother’s handbag or a father's coat pocket: perfect for families on the go.  Carddies are retro toys which are educational as well as fun, providing children with plenty of colouring-in practice and imaginative play using the different characters. There are eight sets of Carddies: Ballet, Fairies, Football, Cavemen, School, Knights and two Families.  RRP is £8.99 and Carddies are available online from 

I personally wouldn't pay £8.99 for a set because after Alesha had coloured and had fun with them on the first day, she wasn't bothered with them the following day. 

19. Useful info about: Frugi
Frugi's important mission... to be the most desirable and trusted clothing brand on the planet!
here's what we're doing to take us a little bit closer to achieving our mission:
  • We improve the lives of everybody on Planet Frugi, from the people who grow our cotton to the people who wear our clothes.
  • We design clothes that children love to wear.
  • We always strive to exceed our customers' expectations
  • We ask, we listen, we understand, we act
  • We have fun along the way!
I was sent 2 of Frugi's lovely items for Alesha, a dizzy daisy patchwork top which retails at £18 and also a pair of the lined cord roll ups -navy which retails at £26.

I asked for size 18-24 months in both of the item's, the lined cord roll ups are abit long for her at the minute, but I expected that because many of her 18-24 month's clothes are still slightly too big even though Alesha will turn 2 next month!
The trousers were thick, they kept her legs warm which is brilliant for these winter months.
 I put the clothes to the test by putting them in the washing machine and out they came in their normal shape and size. 

Frugi organic cotton clothing make ideal, scrumptiously soft outfits for babies, children and mums from

Frugi's brand new gift box makes a lovely present too. 
They have a SALE on at the minute so why not pop on over and have a look, you might find a bargain just in time for Christmas.

Scrumptious organic clothes at reasonable prices!

We all love a good book especially in the winter time snuggled up on the couch with the fire on. 
With Christmas fast approaching here is a wonderful book that I would recommend to families young and old, 'The Night Before Christmas', it's a Christmas must-have!

With it's luxurious (and durable) padded cover and timeless illustrations of this classic, much-loved Christmastime poem by Clement C. Moore, our edition can easily become a family tradition. Gathering together at Christmastime and reading to the children, "The Night Before Christmas" is an investment in family Christmas tradition (rather than perhaps a Christmas gift). With an RRP of £6.99 it's a fabulous price for such a quality, timeless book.

Mr.B decided to read this to me & Alesha the other night, we all snuggled up on the couch and settled down for a good old Christmas tale. 
The book had big colourful photos great for little minds with big imaginations.

We have now put this book away but will definitely be taking it back out on Christmas Eve to read again and we will do so every year.  

21. Useful info about: Posh Pick & Mix
'With the recession biting, we realised that there is no better way to put a smile on someone's face than to send them a gift that reminds them of the good times'. 'This spurred us into action and allowed us to start Posh Pick & Mix'.
'We focus on sending high-quality, delicious gifts with a real 'wow' factor'.  'We pride ourselves on choosing the best, most suitable jars and sweets to make the perfect gift'.
'We cater for individuals and businesses alike – no order is too large or too small'.

When I received an email asking if I would like to review Poshpickandmix there was no if's and but's about it, I said yes straight away, "you gotta be a fool to turn down sweets right"?
I then clicked on to their site to have a good old nosy, "what a wonderful gift idea I thought".
Here's how it works;
  1. Pick the size of your jar
  2. Pick your delicious sweets
  3. Write your label
Are you wondering what sweets you can pick? There is a very wide range of sweets from the old favourite's mini wham bars to the fizzy cola bottles and especially for Christmas they have Santa and snowmen chocolate!

I love the sweetie jar I was sent, it looks very posh sat on my display cabinet and on the label it says 'Gill's Christmas Sweet Jar'. I've had a few visitors say positive's things about it and also asking where I purchased it from.

A brilliant gift for a loved one, young or old! The wonderful thing is you can re-use the jar so once the sweets run out just fill it back up with your own, clever ay?

Pop on over to to have a look for yourself!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Low-Cost Christmas Gift Guide PART 5

If you haven't read part 1 - 4 you can do so here.

14. Useful info about: Jokari
'Over the past 30 years Jokari has developed a proven line of products for the home. Since 1974 Jokari has taken great pride in being a leader in the design of innovative products to consumers around the world. And we have always had one goal in mind…providing practical and simple household solutions that ultimately make life easier'!
'We are constantly experimenting with new and different products to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. This year alone we have introduced several exciting products that we think you will find useful, from organizing your kitchen and bath to making food prep easier'.
'Jokari products are sold in over 20 countries around the world and though you may not be familiar with the Jokari name, you are most likely familiar with the product'.
I was given the opportunity to review one of Jokari's hand bag racks. What girl would say no?
When I took it out of the package I was quiet weary to whether it would be strong enough to hold more than 3 handbags because it looked like it would snap very easy.
It didn't take me long to put the rack to the test. I hung it over my bedroom door and simply placed 11 handbags onto it, I was very shocked to see it still hung there and not snapped on the floor. 
It has been 8 days now since I first put it up and I am really happy with the outcome, it is very sturdy and a brilliant storage product to free up some space.

Last Christmas hundreds of these product's flew off the shelves, very popular indeed!
The rack fit's over doors and can also be wall mounted (mounting included). 

For a handbag storage pack you would be expected to pay £17.95, the pack contains 2 racks which in total holds upto 16 handbags.

For more information or maybe you would like to purchase one then please click here

15. Useful info about: Love Thy Make-Up
'At ‘Love thy make up’ we believe in product innovation at the right price '.

When I received an email asking if I would like to review some beauty products, I jumped at the chance because I love to slap on some make-up now & again!
The lovely Cara sent me 3 make up products, all which can be found on
Body Collection Luxe Ultimate Bronzing Beauty Bonanza (£9.99)
This is the must-have beauty kit for anyone that loves to look bronzed and sun-kissed all year round! Boasting a bronzing compact, an eyeshadow compact, a lipgloss compact, bronzing pearls, two double-ended applicators, a bronzing brush and a face applicator, this set is packed full of all the complexion-boosting products a girl could ever need.

Body Collection Luxe Bronzing Beauty Starter Kit (£4.99)
Perfect for anyone that’s new to bronzing this starter kit contains four gorgeous eyeshadows, a bronzing powder, a lipgloss, a bronzing brush, an eyeliner pencil and a double-ended applicator – all the essentials needed for that glowing, sun-kissed look!

Body Collection Luxe Perfectly Polished Nail trio (£2.99)
This set contains polishes in three different bronze hues that will compliment your luminous, golden complexion perfectly. Simply apply a couple of coats of your favourite shade and you’ll be ready to go

Some women may worry about using the bronzing in-case they look a little 'orange' as people say, but you can't go wrong with these gift sets, even Mr. B complimented me on how lovely the make-up looked on me (that's coming from a guy that isn't keen on me wearing make-up, as he says "natural beauty is thee best").

These are perfect stocking fillers and best off all, they don't cost too many pennies!

So go on, what are you waiting for? Pop on over to, you won't be disappointed! 

16. Useful info about: Vertbaudet
'A favourite with parents in France for over 40 years, VERTBAUDET was launched in the UK in 1997'.

Why Mums Love Vertbaudet:
  1. 100% quality and style
  2. 100% great value
  3. 100% ease and security
I received this lovely outfit in the post for Alesha, the fit was spot on! It can be pain sometimes when buying clothes for Alesha because in one shop she could be 12-18months and in another she could be 18-24 months.
With Vertbaudet I ordered size 18-24 months considering Alesha will be 24 months next month, "yes a December baby just like her mamma".
The fit was spot on, the sleeves weren't hanging over her arms like they are with a few 18-24months tops she has from different stores.
The outfit was put to the test in the washing machine and  now it's time for the results... The colours never ran when I washed them and they also remained their normal size and size, no shrinking!

I would definitely recommend Vertbaudet if your on the hunt for a Christmas gift for a baby or a child.
Vertbaudet not only do clothes, they also stock a wide range of toys and quirky accessories.

Why not pop on over to their site for a good nosey about.

17. Useful info about: Ikea
IKEA offers a wide range of well-designed IKEA offers a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. This is the idea at the heart of everything IKEA does, from product development and purchases to how we sell our products in IKEA stores globally.
Alesha received a strawberry (hero of the vegetable patch range) and also Bjorn bear.
For the first few minutes Alesha couldn't stop cuddling the strawberry, it was very soft better than some pillows. A few days later and she can't go nowhere without Bjorn bear, the teddy is perfect for little hands to hold.
Gifts ideas for kids

This year IKEA have a great range of soft toys and kid's books available that not only are fun and relatively low cost gifts but also go towards supporting a charity campaign!

IKEA have just launched their Soft Toy Campaign which runs from the 24th October to 23rd December, where for every IKEA soft toy or children's book you buy, the IKEA foundation will donate one euro (no matter the price, it can be 39p!!) to UNICEF and Save the Children to fund education programmes around the world.  The campaign has raised a total of 35.2million euro since 2003!  This year the target is 12million Euros! So, not only are you buying a fantastic soft toy as a christmas present for a loved one, whats more you are helping support a great charity campaign!
This is a really wonderful campaign donating to a very worthy cause and the soft toy range is definitely alternative- with interesting characters including a Broccoli and a Strawberry (heroes of the vegetable patch range at £6.99 each)Bjorn the Bear (this years hero bear at just 99p!) and a Tattooed weight lifting tiger (£3.99) from the Klappar circus range! Another interesting christmas gift idea is the IKEA children's book: The Heroes of the Vegetable Patch by Charlotte Ramel, a story where a girl and a boy make friends with a group of vegetables and help an old lady with a problem, along the way understanding that all of us- plants, animals and insects- share the land: the basis of sustainability! These are great alternative Christmas gift ideas for the kids in the family!!

Gifts for her

IKEA has a vast range of colourful and beautiful items that are perfect gifts for her this christmas! Coming in a variety of colours IKEA's range of KNUBBIG table lamps (from £8.99 to £14.99) brighten up any room emitting an amazing coloured glow! Other gift ideas for her include IKEA's large range of coloured vases and bowls, sumptuous throws and cushions, and stunning mirrors such as the EKNE mirror (small round mirror for £14.99)!

Gifts for him

For him at IKEA there are a great range of 'man chairs' from the modern POANG range to the more classic EKENAS armchair perfect for relaxing in! Other gift ideas include the FILLSTA table lamp (from £9.99) and the city scape PREMIAR picture which will create a  great graphic impact in any bachelor pad!

Please visit your local Ikea store to purchase these wonderful items, to find your local store click here.

Use a Wex Camera This Christmas

                               Capture your Baby’s first Christmas with wex photographic!

Capturing your baby’s first Christmas is important for all parents, and as most parents know keeping children still to take the perfect festive snap is usually pretty difficult. This is why you need the perfect camera, and a little help from Warehouse Express.

wex photographic are specialist camera sellers, who have been voted Number 1 for service for the past ten years. Winning numerous awards such as Best Online Retailer 2002 – 2012. Not only are they award winning but they provide excellent after sale care, helping you really make the most of your camera. They really are the one stop shop for consumers.

Please see below some of the brilliant camera’s and bundles they have to offer:
They also have a fantastic Christmas page with some spectacular deals and products arranged by price range.

Canon Digital IXUS 230 HS £229.00 (in a range of fabulous colours from turquoise to bright pink)

Nikon 1 V1 in White £829.00 – for the glamorous photographer.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Silent Sunday

WINNER of the Munchkin Baby Food Grinder

 A massive thanks to each and every one of you that took time to enter my competition to win a Munchkin baby food grinder!

The lucky winner was chosen using ......

Lucky number 25,  CONGRATULATIONS to Fun House (@jessws2011)

Please email me with your contact details so your prize can be posted!

Hope you enjoy your prize and well done!