Category Archives: Shopping

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK

Are you even a blogger if you don’t have a lightbox? If you’re on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you can’t have failed to see beautiful photographs featuring a cinematic lightbox. They have been incredibly popular for a few years now and that popularity shows no sign of waning. Lightboxes used to be quite expensive, but they’ve come down in price quite a lot and now you can pick them up for under £15.

I was sent a lightbox to review from Home Treats UK. Home Treats UK are a luxury homeware company that sell a range of furniture as well as fun, novelty bits and pieces as well.

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK

The A4 sized cinematic lightbox comes with 120 black letters, numbers & symbols included and is housed in a black plastic case. The box has mounting holes if you want to hang it on the wall, I think most people like them to be free-standing, so they can move them about and put them in different places and situations to photograph or dress a room.

The lightbox is battery operated and uses six AA batteries to power the white LEDs inside the box. The boxes are easy to personalise and you can change your message as often as you want. Use them for special occasions or for displaying a quote, or leave a love note for your partner. Sometimes it’s just nice to see your name in lights!

The cinematic lightbox from Home Treats UK costs just £11.79 which is an excellent price. I’m impressed with the amount of letters, numbers and symbols which come with it too, enough to play about with. I like that it comes with an apostrophe and other punctuation marks, as well as stars, hearts and balloon symbols.

If you’re looking for a lightbox to spruce up your home, or make your Instagram feed more interesting, then the Home Treats UK lightbox could tick all of those boxes.

Grab 10% off your Home Treats UK order today – enter ‘hometreats10‘ at the checkout. Valid until 31st July 2017. One use per customer.

Review: Cinematic Lightbox from Home Treats UK.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I went along to the opening of the new Silentnight flagship showroom at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre near Manchester. Sleeping or thinking about sleeping is one of my favourite things to do, I was keen to have a look around and have a bounce on some of their beds. 

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new store is home to Silentnight’s award-winning products, with more than 30 beds and mattresses showcased across two floors. On display is the Silentnight Signature Collection, featuring a choice of comfort options including the brand’s award-winning eco comfort products, its exclusive Geltex technology and a premium naturals range. There is also a wide selection of sleep accessories including Silentnight duvets, pillows and bedding.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The mezzanine floor showcases “Studio by Silentnight”, a collection of contemporary bedframes and cleverly rolled and boxed mattresses. The new Silentnight flagship showroom has everything you need to help your family get a good night’s sleep; from cot and children’s mattresses, through to premium adult mattresses. Not forgetting a new range of stylish sprung pet beds.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Silentnight also offer sleep consultations with one of their in-store sleep experts. Where you can try out a range of different mattress styles to find out what works for you, all with the guidance from an in-house sleep expert. The sleep consultations are bookable in advance and there is no hard sell. I spoke to sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins who gave me the run down on how to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

Sleep expert and Retail Support Executive, Tim Higgins

Tim’s tips for sleep filled nights –

  • Start winding down for bed in the early evening
  • Make your room as dark as possible, close curtains and blinds
  • Declutter your room, make it only for sleeping
  • Open a window or put a fan on, you sleep better in a slightly cooler room 
  • Blue lights from alarm clocks are terrible for disturbing sleep, remove them from your bedroom or cover them up
  • Don’t sleep with your phone or tablet in the room

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

The new Silentnight flagship showroom was opened by star of Location, Location, Location Phil Spencer, who I managed to grab for a quick chat.

I asked Phil for some tips on selling your home, other than trying to keep your house neat and tidy. He said, “most of us move home when we run out of space. When you run out of space it’s usually really obvious. Make it look like you’ve got plenty of room, not too many personal items, clean the windows, maximise the light and don’t over-stuff cupboards because people will open them.”

Phil travels a lot when he’s filming and has a fairly fixed bedtime routine when he’s travelling. He told me “The filming day is quite intense and afterwards I want to have some peace and quiet. I answer emails, order room service, watch some telly. Then I’ll phone home and go to bed as early as I can. I always travel with ear-plugs and an eye mask, I like it to be really dark and quiet when I’m trying to sleep.”

Sleep tips & Phil Spencer at the Silentnight flagship showroom

He was as lovely as he seems on TV. He has inspired me to declutter my bedroom and sort out my cupboards! Phil is currently filming the next series of Location, Location, Location.

If you’re thinking of buying a new bed or mattress then I think it’s worth visiting the new Silentnight flagship showroom. With so many different mattresses and beds to try; plus sleep-experts who won’t give you the hard sell and lots of discounts in-store; it’s a good place to find out what you want and what you need to get a good night’s sleep.

The new Silentnight showroom is open now at Barton Square in the intu Trafford Centre. For more information about the new showroom visit www.silentnight.co.uk/

With thanks to Jen Dixon at http://www.mymummyspennies.com/ for her company and for taking the picture of Phil and me.

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother’s Day Gifts from Amara

With several mothers to buy for, Mother’s Day always takes a little bit of planning and forethought. Nipping down to the garage and buying a bunch of forecourt flowers isn’t really an option. It’s just nice to spoil the people who do so much for us. I’ve recently discovered Amara who sell a beautiful selection of luxury interiors and gifts.

Amara stock over 300 of the world’s most luxurious home fashion brands. There were so many gorgeous gifts to choose from. I sat down with a cuppa and got all of my Mother’s Day shopping done and dusted in one sitting. I’m certain the mums in our lives will be delighted on Mothering Sunday. 

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

Jewellery is always a solid choice for a Mother’s Day gift. I loved this Ted Baker Harly & Sinaa box set (£44) which includes a pair of heart shaped, silver coloured studs and a round shaped pair enhanced with glittering Swarovski crystals. These will be perfect for a certain someone who has a very classic taste in jewellery. I know she will love this set and wear them a lot. 

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

Another special mum in our family loves candles and home fragrances. When I spotted this limited edition reed diffuser from Voluspa (a brand I know she loves) I put it straight in my basket. Presented in a beautiful glass vessel, with a set of reeds, this diffuser will fill her home with scents of orchid, white lily and spring moss. The diffuser costs £27 and will last up to six months. It’s a brand I know she loves, so I know I’m onto a winner here.

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

I couldn’t resist putting this Joules Printed Picnic Rug with Carry Strap into by basket. We are all big fans of picnics, whether it’s an impromptu lunch in our local park, or a day out somewhere. A picnic rug is a great present for one of the outdoorsy mums in the family. This is an especially stylish one. It has an eye-catching floral print against a grey background. The soft rug is perfect for picnicking and has a water-resistant backing to protect you from the damp ground. This picnic rug is only £30, which I think is excellent value for such a stylish item.

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

I am a little bit obsessed with good stationery. I know I’m not alone in this. Good stationery always makes for a great gift (especially for me, I’m hinting wildly here). This Nom De Plume pen from Kate Spade New York (£32) is gorgeous. With chic gold detailing, this bold blue and green enamel pen would be an elegant addition to a writer’s desk. Presented in a stylish gift box, this would be a wonderful gift idea for bloggers or avid writers.

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

To go with the pen, I couldn’t resist this So Well Composed spiral notebook from Kate Spade New York (£16). It has an elegant black dotted design on the front cover, with the text ‘so well composed’ and has 160 lined pages inside. It’s got a practical interior pocket and it is just beautiful. 

Gift Guide: Beautiful Mother's Day Gifts from Amara

I was really impressed with Amara. They have so much to choose from, and it’s full of gorgeous, high-end gifts I know will be loved by the recipients. You get free delivery when you spend over £70 too.

Amara have nearly 35,000 products on their website, so whatever your mum’s style they’ll have a gorgeous gift to match!

Visit with Amara website for more stylish interiors and gifts for Mother’s Day and beyond.

 
Disclaimer: I was offered these gifts in return for this post, all images and opinions are my own.

Where can you learn to play Ice Hockey in Manchester?

I’ve been an ice hockey fan since the mid 90’s and I’ve loved going to watch my local team, Manchester Storm play ever since. Last Christmas we took the small boy along to watch Manchester Storm play their arch rivals, The Sheffield Steelers. Now he is six, we’re starting to think about cultivating a bit of on ice confidence in him. Starting off with learning to skate, and maybe eventually picking up a stick and wanting to learn to play Ice Hockey for himself.

The overprotective mother in me does have a slight moment of panic at the thought of him wanting to learn to play Ice Hockey. Its a rough tough sport and not for the faint-hearted. But I’ve been around ice hockey long enough to know that the players are really well protected and serious accidents are thankfully very rare.

Just down the road from us, at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham, they offer skating lessons as well as a whole range of skating sessions. We think this would be a good place to start him off, especially as he’s familiar with the rink from when we go and watch Manchester Storm games. It’s a friendly rink with a great family friendly atmosphere and lots of community spirit.

Sport: Where to learn to play Ice Hockey in Manchester

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and in order to learn how to play ice hockey, you need to be able to skate at level 5 or above. The course at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham is approved by the English Ice Hockey Association. There is a lot of equipment and kit involved in ice hockey, but hey will be able to provide you with some equipment such as a helmet / neck guard and a stick to start off with, but you should have your own skates at least.

In the UK there are some specialist companies like Proline Skates who stock specialist ice hockey skates, protective wear and equipment, as well as lots of other general and specialist skates and skating equipment.

Their ice hockey lessons at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham are currently £10 per session, and they will teach you more advanced skating skills, balance control, puck control and shooting. 

Ice hockey is a growing sport in the UK. There is a lot of love for the game and the grassroots support for ice hockey is huge. It’s a little bit niche, but I think that’s probably why it’s so well loved. I would love it if my boy would like to get involved too.

– This is a collaborative post –

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

If you’ve got a baby in the house getting ready to toddle, a baby walker can be a great way to get them moving with confidence. When the boy was toddling he was given a baby walker which really got him woddling along nicely, and the look on his face as he learned to get around was priceless.

I’ve picked out three of my favourite baby walkers to suit budgets big and small from Online4Baby. They are one the UK’s leading suppliers of baby and toddler products, with a wide-ranging catalogue from buggies to baby monitors and of course baby walkers and ride ons.

Top of the range is the 4Baby Deluxe Car Baby Walker & Rocker. This eye catching racing car style baby walker features adjustable height positions and a removable musical play tray.  Available in red or blue this is just the thing to get those little legs moving!

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

The 4Baby Deluxe Car Baby Walker & Rocker is £89.95 from Online4Baby.

A great mid-range baby walker is this My Child Walk n Rock Musical Baby Walker & Rocker, priced at just £42.95. This height adjustable Walk n Rock includes an electronic interactive play tray with lights, sounds and music to keep baby entertained. 

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

I think baby walkers like this are great. They encourage little ones to get moving and are also little activity centres. We had one very similar to this and he loved being in it.

My final pick is the Chicco Baby Steps 2 in 1 Activity Walker, available from Online4Baby at a bargain £17.95. The walker is designed to help your baby safely stand up and take their first steps to independence. When your little one starts walking, it plays a tune, when they stop, so does the music which can really help to encourage your little one to take a few extra steps. 

Christmas Gifts: Three of the best Baby Walkers for all budgets

There are some really great baby walkers on the market these days, all designed to be lots of fun to use and to get your little nipper zooming about with confidence. These three picks from the range of baby walkers and ride ons from Online4Baby would make an excellent Christmas gift for your woddling toddler.

= This is a collaborative post =

Review: Exclusive new Pip Ahoy pyjamas

When I was a little girl nightwear was really boring and generic. It was plain or patterned nighties or pyjamas and that was about it. I think my little brother had a slightly better deal. By the time he arrived “character pyjamas” were just about available in the shops. No self respecting little boy would be seen at bedtime without his Spider-Man pjs.

My boy is no exception. He loves his character pjs and likes to just wear them to hang out around the house in, as well as for snuggling up in bed. The latest addition to his PJ collection is a lovely pair of Pip Ahoy pyjamas. These pjs are available in 59 out of the 88 Toys R Us stores across the UK. They are priced at £9.99. The Pip Ahoy pyjamas come in sizes sizes 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6.pip ahoy pyjamasThe boy is a big fan of Pip Ahoy and couldn’t wait to get into his pyjamas. The short sleeved pj top is a familiar picture of Pip and all of his friends from Salty Cove. The bottoms are a lovely blue with a Pip Ahoy badge on the hip. I really like the PJ bottoms as they are a skinny leg PJ which is a style I much prefer on my boy.

 

A photo posted by HodgePodgeDays (@hodgepodgedays) on


They were really comfortable and he snuggled down to sleep in them with no problem. They were easy for him to pull up and down when he went to the loo in the night and he looks so cool in them.

He’s had them a few weeks now and they’ve been in and out of the wash a few times and they still look as good as the first day he wore them, they’re great quality, well made and the colours are still vibrant. These Pip Ahoy pyjamas are a must for any Pip Ahoy fan who dreams of having adventures down at Salty Cove.

Note: We were sent these Pip Ahoy pyjamas for review purposes. All opinions are our own.

Vintage Writers’ Essentials from IWM Shop

This month I’m starting an online food history course with the University of Reading, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time so I’m excited to be taking the plunge. Naturally I’m preparing for it in the best way I know how, not by reading relevant texts and getting up to speed, but by buying notebooks and stationery. This week I’ve picked up a few writers’ essentials which should see me though work and study over the next few months.

The Imperial War Museum Shop is one of my favourite places to find vintage style stationery and homeware and they’ve really come up trumps with this beautiful notebook.

Writers' Essentials

This lovely large leather bound journal is similar to the notebooks soldiers will have carried with them during the first and second world wars. It is stunning, the pages are hand stitched inside the leather cover and there is a band of leather to wrap around it to keep it all together.

The natural paper is thick and speckled, so it looks really authentic and almost handmade. The notebook has a real vintage feel about it too, just having it on my desk makes me feel happy. It’s beautiful and I know when I take this out to meetings or lectures to make notes that it will turn a lot of heads.

The large leather bound journal measures 15.5cm x 11cm and costs £20. It is a real statement piece of stationery and I’m very much in love with mine.

Writers' Essentials

It’s almost impossible for me to do any work without a brew by my side, and I couldn’t resist this mug with one of my favourite non-swears on it. Blimey is something I say quite a lot (and get ribbed for). I’ve always said it, but since becoming a mum I’ve toned down my “effing and jeffing” a bit and I’m all about the blimey and the crikey these days.

Writers' Essentials

There are two different versions of the non-sweary mug, Blimey and Crikey. Either would have suited me well. These porcelain mugs are the standard size for a proper cuppa and cost £9 each – perfect for fans of retro non-swears like me!

Writers' Essentials

I’ve got a few more bits to buy before my course starts, not least my text books, but I’m loving my vintage style writers’ essentials. I always think if you’ve got nice things to work with, then work seems like less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

You can find lots more vintage and retro stationery, books and other goodies on the IWM website.

Note: I was sent these writers’ essentials in return for a review, all images and opinions are my own.

Review: Dust and Things Personalised Gifts

My two boys are an adventurous pair, always going off together for some father and son bonding. I have often thought it would be a good idea for them to keep some kind of record of the things they’ve done and places they’ve visited. So when I spied the Personalised Adventure Box from Dust and Things I thought it would be the perfect way for them to store the memories they’d made together.

Working from their family workshop in Wales, Dust and Things make design-led, personalised gifts for all kinds of occasions. With a unique selection of beautiful personalised gifts including chopping boards and cheese boards, jewellery, slate, coasters, photo fames and much more. They have lots of designs to choose from in each category, but the adventure box really caught my eye. 

IMG_6305

It’s easy to order, you just choose the size of box you want (I went for box 1 which was the smallest box and measures 28.5cm x 18cm x 13.5cm). The wooden box includes a lift up lid secured with vintage style latch and fixings. There are spaces on the online order page where you can add your personalised wording, in my case “Daddy & Benjamin”. On the bottom of the box I had the words “Love from Mummy xx” engraved too.

dust and things

The box arrived very quickly and was well packaged; wrapped in bubble wrap and in a sturdy box. They offer free worldwide delivery too, which is excellent. I was delighted with the adventure box and I knew the boys would love it too. It would make a lovely gift for Daddy’s birthday and extra special with the promise of an adventure to get their keepsake box of magical memories started.

dust and things

The box has a simple, almost rustic look and seems sturdy and well made. It’s plenty big enough to store all the postcards, photographs, train tickets and little trinkets they might find on their adventures. The simplicity of the design and it being a lovely neutral light wood is something I really liked, and it looks great on our shelf, ready to be filled with treasures, or looked through wistfully at a later date. 

The personalised adventure box costs £29.95 with free delivery. I think that’s excellent value for a hand made gift of this quality, especially as it’s something which will be loved, used and appreciated for many years to come.

dust and things

And I was right. The boys did really love it. I guess the adventure starts here….

For more information or to browse the extensive selection of personalised gifts from Dust and Things, visit their website.

Review: The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People

In the UK Allergy Awareness Week 2016 is on the 25th April – 1st May. It seems a fitting time of the year to focus on allergies, as the hay fever season has begun and is making life a misery for thousands of sufferers. Although I thankfully don’t suffer with hay fever, I do have a few allergies which I need to be careful of, including a dust allergy which can make me especially miserable. Because I’ve extra cautious about dust, I was looking forward to trying out my Snug Cotton Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People and seeing how I got on with it.

Sleepy People are an online bedding retailer based in the UK. They offer a range of products including anti-allergy items. The duvet I chose, the Anti Allergy Duvet from Snug has an anti allergy treatment which is designed to protect you against dust mites, odour causing bacteria & mould residue.

Anti Allergy Duvet

The duvet comes packaged in a thin fabric bag which I guess you could use to pack it away if you were swapping duvets mid year for a warmer or colder tog.

The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet has a 100% pure cotton cover and is filled with anti allergy polyester hollowfibre. It has a tog of 10.5 which is kind of mid range, neither too warm, or too light and ideal for me all year round I suspect. In the summer I tend to sleep on top of the covers anyway and I don’t like to be too warm, even in winter.

Anti Allergy Duvet

The small boy helped me make the bed. He loved how soft it was and said that it felt like a cloud. My old duvet was about 5 years old and had lost its pillowiness so I take his point. Once we’d made my bed up I loved how it looked, my old skinny duvet now looked mean in comparison, now my bed looked like a comfy hotel bed.Anti Allergy Duvet

That night I got into bed and snuggled down, I do believe there are few joys in life greater than clean, fresh bedding. Add a brand new duvet or pillow to that and you’re in the best bed in the world.

I’ve used my new Anti Allergy Duvet for a little under a week. I can’t hand on heart swear that it’s made a difference, but previously I was waking up every morning with a bunged up nose and a sore throat, but so far I’ve woken up feeling fine every morning. I’d not considered that I might be waking up feeling awful because of my dust allergy. Plus it’s super-comfy!

The Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People is currently priced at £29.99 and whilst you can pick up a cheap duvet for around half that, I think that given my dust allergy situation and the fact that I’m waking up feeling normal each morning makes that a good investment. Given the amount of time each year I spend hugging my duvet and snuggling under it, it’s probably worth investing in something a little nicer, like this one.

Note: I was sent the Snug Anti Allergy Duvet from Sleepy People for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own. 

Funny Flowcharts: Which Phone Case Are You?

Last week hubs took delivery of a new iPhone 6. Almost immediately it slipped out of his hands, took part in a comedy juggling routine and ended up (thankfully) on an especially fluffy rug. He’s been a bit more careful since and straight away starting Googling iPhone 6 cases. A wise move indeed.

I found this funny flowchart online to help you choose the right phone case for your phone. I have the very sensible “wallet case” but this funny flowchart tells me that I should really have the “food case”, party because I do get very, very hangry! But which phone case are you?

phone case

You can download this infographic here.

= In collaboration with tech21 =