Clearing The Jungle With Fantastic Services

[GIFTED] For those of you that have been following me for a while you may remember when we moved house last year we had a super team of cleaners from Fantastic Services that came in and did a fantastic(this is where they get there name from) job just after we moved in which got us off to a really good start.

Fast forward a year and the inside is nearly complete but the front garden was in need more than a little TLC.

It was becoming overrun with weeds and I had no idea where to start. After slogging away for hours and hours and not reaping any rewards I enlisted the help of Fantastic Services once again.

Many people that I have spoken to aren’t actually aware of everything they have to offer and they really are an all round service covering cleaning, gardening, tradesmen jobs, building, removals, storage, waste removal and even pest control.

Two friendly gardeners turned up to the house and asked specifically what I was looking for and as soon as I had given them an insight into what I wanted they set to work. Digging, cutting back and generally clearing the whole front garden which would enable me to see past the mess and get some inspiration for how it was going to eventually look.

They were only there for two hours and I would never in a million years think they would be able to complete the job, but they tirelessly powered through and complete cleared the area for me as well as getting rid of the rubbish which I know many companies don’t do.

I was just as impressed with the gardening service as I was with the cleaning and I would highly recommend trying out either..or why not both!

If this had appealed to you which I’m sure it will I have a code HERE and using the code joyoffive which will enable you to get £10 off of your first service so what have you got to lose,give them a try.

Oria Armchair:Review And Giveaway

[AD] Lots of people in this house means lots of bums that need lots of chairs! This can be a bit of a problem sometimes and people end up sitting on the arm of chairs or the floor which isn’t comfortable for anyone.

So when Bean Bag Bazaar got in touch to try out one of there Oria Armchairs I had high hopes this was going to be a great solution to our problem.

When the bean bag arrived I was immediately impressed with the thick, water resistant fabric that the chair was made from and the grey colour was perfect to fit around pretty much any colour scheme.

The fabric in fact uses free flow technology so the beans inside can move around with ease and mould to the shape of your body.

Unlike most bean bags the Oria has a high back to lean your head against and arm rests which make it super comfortable.

We have used it outside a fair few times and due to the unpredictable wether on the UK the fact it is water resistant is a great addition if you get caught out in a shower…or when clumsy hands spill a drink!

It is super lightweight so moving it around the house isn’t a problem at all and it even has a little handle at the top of the headrest to make it even easier.

If you like what you have seen then I have a great competition running over on Instagram where you have the chance to win one of your very own! So click ‘HERE‘ to enter and good luck!

A New Look With Blown Away London

[AD] My hair has never been my greatest asset, partly due to the fact I never spend more than five minutes on it. A quick rough dry, scrape it back into a ponytail and this is pretty my day and evening look.

When youth was on my side and five pregnancies hadn’t stripped the life out of my hair this was never a problem. I am now however in need of a little more tlc and when the lovely Frankie from Blown Away London asked me to visit I was hopeful she could work some magic!

Blown Away London is a mobile hair dressing company that also works from the gorgeous RE NUE London in Banstead a couple of days a week.

Frankie is an expert in both blowdrys and balayage, offers tape extensions and so much more.

I am one of those annoying clients that enters the salon with not much idea as to what I want. Frankie talked me through a lot of different options that would be good for me and we finally came up with a look that I wasn’t really expecting to go for.

I must admit I was a little hesitant as I hadn’t gone for a lighter colour since my teens but felt it would be a bit softer for me now unlike the usual dark brown I opt for.

The colour started and there was no going back! My faith however was in Frankie and she happily sat and chatted whilst I was waiting for the colour to develop which made the time fly by!

Next up was the cut and having such thin hair I always worry that it will be to thinned our as it has in the past which means me leaving feeling deflated.

In the end all this anxieties and worries were taken away as she unveiled an glossy, bouncy and much welcome change to my hair.

I really couldn’t have been happier with the cut, colour and most importantly the great company!

The Tree, The Key And Me:Personalised Book Review

Personalised books have always been a huge favourite with all of my children. They love the ability it gives them to transport themselves into the heart of the story and really connect with the tale.

Personalised books are a great way to get reluctant readers to engage in a story and open up their minds to the potential rewards they can reap from reading. In turn this passion can help greatly with their speech and vocabulary and who knows might even help them to become a little book worm.

For me though I think it takes a special type of personalised book with a good story and beautiful illustrations that keeps you wanting to turn the pages and discover more, allowing them to get excited about finding themselves at the heart of the narrative.

All my children have been reluctant readers and it takes a lot to get them engaged in reading. My biggest challenge however has been Frankie who resists reading for different reasons to the other others. He has in fact struggled with his reading and is currently being kept an eye on as he is showing signs of dyslexia.

For him the written world is a scary place and so anything to make his reading journey easier is a bonus for us. So when we were asked by Librio to review their personalised book – The Tree, The Key and Me I had high hope this would be something Frankie could fall in love with.

I am sometimes overwhelmed by creating personalised items online and can often be disheartened that the character I am creating doesn’t look as I want. Libro however have created a configurator with over 8000 possible combinations so you can get an incredible likeness – glasses and wavy hair included for Frankie. They have everything covered so your character can be created using their own gender, skin tone, eye colour, hair colour and even hairstyle.

Something that I have also never come across before to is the ability to have the book written in 18 different languages and dialects, including UK and US English, French, German, Swiss, Italian, Spanish an Welsh.

As well as creating your own little person there is also the opportunity to add a special message at the beginning of the book which is yet another fantastic personal touch.

The personalisation took very little time and our book arrived in a matter of days. We went for the paperback version that is made from high quality, 100% recycled paper from the award winning printers Pureprint Group. This offers a top quality finish to the beautiful book which came with stunning illustrations and a story of a little boy who finds a key whilst digging for treasure which opens up a door to a very special forest which is home to all kinds of adorable animals that need help to save their home from losing its colour.

Frankie’s eyes lit up the moment he saw the picture on the front cover and realised before even opening the first page that this was him. It was an absolute pleasure to see him try and read this story and find out with each turn of the page where his was going to be off to next and what kind of adventures he would be getting up to.

If you are looking for a story to is going to be a keep sake for many years to come then this is the book for you. Librio also give back a huge amount by planting a tree with Trees For The Future for every book sold and on top of that for each book sold they donate £1 to literacy charities who do some amazing work to encourage children to find a love of books.

I now have to create one for Oscar who is keen to be part of the magic trees adventures too and if you order two or more books you can get a 15% discount by entering the code YAY15 which is perfect for the run up to Christmas.

*collaborated post

My First Baby Annabell:Review And Giveaway

When it comes to dolls in this house there is certainly no gender stereotyping and the boys have loved playing with them just as much as the girls.

The biggest dolly fan though has definitely been Oscar and I love the benefits he gets from playing from them:

Learning Caring And Nurturing Skills – Looking after a dolls allows them to consider the needs of others such as – are they warm enough, do they need feeding, do they need changing.

Building fine Motor Skills – Having to line the bottle up feed the baby, putting on clothing andchanging the nappy are all great ways build their fine motor skills.

Using Their Imagination – The limits are endless to the way they can use their imaginations and role play with dolls. They can build all kinds of scenarios and let their imaginations run wild.

Oscar has built up a pretty good collection of dolls, but what he really wanted was one that can be taken around easily and for me something that is not to heavy and bulky for me to cart around when they’ve had enough!

My First Annabell’s baby brother arrived the other day and Oscar immediately fell in love with him. The squishy body makes him great to cuddle and being a smaller doll than the original Baby Annabell he is perfect to sit on the little ones lap for them to feed with a bottle

He fits easily into my handbag so when Oscar get fed up with parenting I can pack him away easily.

He arrives with a bottle for feeding and is dressed in a pretty, light blue baby grow with matching hat.

He would make the perfect first doll for any child, or a great addition when you want an easily transported doll.

If you want to win one of your very own then please feel free to enter the completion below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dinosaurs In The Wild:Review

Sunday got off to a fraught start as usual with me dragging children through central London at 100 miles per hour due to the fact we were running ridiculously late on our way to the Greenwich Peninsula to experience the new immersive walk through experience – Dinosaurs In The Wild.

After a quick dash to get our tickets wee headed straight to the start of the experience where we were handed 3D glasses and prepared to get ourselves ready to transport back in time to the Chronotex research station.

The time machine saw us encounter all sorts of hurdles on its mission, but we arrived safe and well and in perfect time to explore the labs.

We stayed in each lab for around 10 mins which was the perfect time for inquisitive hands and minds to stay occupied without getting bored and distracted. Each section had the children transfixed to everything that was going on and i didn’t hear a moan or a groan from my own or any of the other children at all.

They got to see a huge beating heart of a Alamosauraus, get really hands on by touching ‘real’ dinosaur poo and teeth, watching baby dinosaurs hatching and the feeding time of lot of bigger dinosaurs too.

Oscar was really taken with a baby dinosaur that was brought out for them to see and got pretty upset that he couldn’t the one home!

The climax of the event took pace in the Lookout at the very top of the research station and I don’t want to spoil the experience by letting you know what goes on. All I will say is that its not for the faint hearted and although the age rating is 5+ I would say if your little ones are sensitive souls then this is something to consider.

Oscar who is 4 went through pretty unfazed but bolshy Frankie was soon put in his place by the whole experience.

I loved every minute of our trip and the set up left nothing uncovered. The charaters stayed in role fabulously throughout and keep the children involved and engaged for the entire 70 mins. The set and models were so lifelike that the children at not point doubted we have travelled back thousands of years through time and completely believed each and every moment.

The experience is running until the end of July 2018 and whether you are a dinosaur fan or not this is one not to be missed!

*We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Knoppers Treat Snack:Review

Chocolate is by far my biggest vice. I can walk on by a packet of crisps and pretty easily pass up the offer of a glass of wine, but when it comes to chocolate, especially that of the nutty variety I can very rarely hold back!

The same can be said for all of my children so I would say we are all pretty knowledgable about the subject. So when we were asked to try out Knoppers(I can’t help but giggle at the name) it wasn’t an offer to be passed up.

Knoppers are squares of crispy baked wafers held together with milky hazelnut wafers and topped with a chocolate coating.

The best way for me to describe the snack is a deconstructed Ferrero Rocce. It is literally all the mouthwatering components of a Ferrero Roche and formed into a handy square that makes the perfect snack for in between meal times.

The creamy, nutty layers work perfectly with the crisp wafer and is set off wonderfully with the extra chocolate layer…I mean you really can’t ever have to much chocolate can you!

We have been enjoying these treats at home with a glass of milk and on the go as they are so easy to slip inside a handbag which allows you to satisfy the moans of the little ones hunger pangs with ease.

At only 50p per snack they are super affordable and can be picked up at a whole host of convinenece and impulse stores nationwide, so keep your eye out for them and let me know what you think.

* Collaborated post.

Peter Rabbit Movie:Review

If the tales of Peter Rabbit conjure up thoughts of a mischievous little bunny in a blue jacket, an angry gardener going by the name of Mr Mcgregor all based in a quintessentially english garden then the new Peter Rabbit movie will bring you all of this along with a few new characters and adventures thrown in!

I was lucky enough to go along to a screening the other afternoon with Oscar…much to the annoyance of the other kids to see first hand if the movie lived up to its huge expectations.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the amazing use of CGI when it came to the super cute bunnies, their fluffy little faces really came to life and were hard to tell apart from the real thing.

The movie follows the timeless classic tale of the feud between Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor and their long running battle over the ownership of the vegetable patch which in this new adaptation see the sudden death of the evil old man(could be a tricky one to explain to the kids, although it went over Oscar’s head), much to the delight of Peter and his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Celebrations commence with a rowdy party hosted by Peter himself which involves all the surrounding wildlife taking over Mc Gregors home and partying the night away whist completely trashing the place.

Mr Tod the sly fox was left in a sorry state slumped in the bathroom with a shaved chest, tiny were hedgehogs being used as darts and Peter Rabbit himself was playing lord of the manner whist charming the ladies. This is all a far cry from the traditional tale but bought laughs a plenty to the audience.

The celebrations were short lived when Tom McGregor the nephew of Mr McGregor arrives to take charge of his newly inherited property. The garden feud continues with the younger, more sprightly counterpart who tests Peter’s light fingered ways and gives him a real run for his money whilst both battling for the affections of Mr Mcgregors beautiful, kind hearted neighbour which makes for an explosive end to the film!

The catchy up to date tunes and slapstick humour are all a far cry from the stories 19th centuries origins, but there are highlights back to the tales original identity through the film which is a lovely touch and allows you to relate back to familiar and much loved characters.

The movie has shot into the 21st century with rapping birds, booby traps that are far more advanced than the original garden sieve method of capture and a little romance thrown in for good measure makes for a family movie that will make a perfect treat this Easter.

Cetraben Skincare:Review

This house is home to a few sensitive soles of the skin variety and this has come with its challenges over the years.

My skin causes problems with seasonal changes but is pretty easy to manage even if it can be a bit of a pain. A good thick moisturiser usually gets the problem sorted and I don’t have to worry to much about it.

My husband and youngest two however have extremely problematic skin that has caused them a huge host of problems from itchiness that is so bad they can’t sleep, weeping skin that has lead to infections and for Frankie even the extremes of hospitalisation to get the problems sorted.

I actually thought that we must have tried every single emollient on the market until Cetraben asked me if I would like to try out some products from their range.

This actually couldn’t have come at a better time as this harsh weather has caused all of us to have varying degrees of problems that need some attention.

Cetraben is a range that has been developed especially for dry, problematic, eczema prone skins and works by re-hydrating the skin and protecting it from all those nasties that can cause irritation.

The mixture of light paraffin wax, white, soft paraffin wax and glycerin work together to replace lost oils from the skin, provide deep moisturisation and form a protective barrier across the surface of the skin.

The first product we tried was the Cetraben Daily Cleansing Cream that can be used either as a body wash in the bath or applied afterwards like a moisturiser.

I found this perfect to use during bath time for the boys as they are not fans of having to stand there and have a moisturiser applied after their bath and this can be applied whilst they are playing with them barely noticing.

The cream absorbed well and left them with very moistened and less itchy skin which is exactly what we were looking for.

I tried it as a moisturiser after my bath and although my skin was noticeably softer and my dry patches completely disappeared I wasn’t so keen on the clinical smell, although this did fade pretty quickly.

Frankie had a pretty bad flare up of his eczema after an unsuccessful allergy challenge last week and was suffering pretty badly with very angry, red patches of eczema that needed something a little stronger so I tired out the Cetraben Lotion on these localised areas.

It worked wonders on this very irritating skin by getting deep into the skin and giving a really deep and long lasting moisturisation; in fact during these times emollients have to be applied to Frankie several times a day but morning and evening was all it took to keep him happy.

We were all really pleased with the results we got from both of these products and it is certainly something that is going to be a staple in our bathroom cabinet from now on!

*We were sent these products for the proof this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Cirque Du Soleil – OVO Review

I think I must have been living under a rock for the past few years as the wonders of Cirque Du Soleil seem to have passed me by. If I’m honest shows that involve magic or are circus act based are something that rarely grabs my attention, but after only ever hearing glowing reviews of Cirque Du Soleil from family and friends I knew it was something I had to experience for myself.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a performance of the show that is currently showing at the Royal Albert Hall which is a truly wonderful place in itself.

upon entering we were drawn to the stage that had been engulfed with a giant egg that was set to be the main topic of the show…I did have to google this to find out OVO is Portuguese for egg!

It wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and from every corner of the theatre performers crept out and interacted with the audience in the most spectacular insect outfits. From grasshoppers to butterflies and spiders to fleas they got the audience buzzing with excitement before even taking to the stage.

It wasn’t long before the spectacular acts began and the performers leapt, contorted and balanced in the most fabulous way in front of an astounded crowd.

An army of ants put on an amazing display of foot juggling with all sorts of fruit and veg from kiwis to corn on the cobs.

Two beautiful butterflies put on an amazing performance by intertwining with each other mid air, showing immense strength and the most unbelievable movement that was as beautiful as it was dazzling.

Never did I think a diabolo could be bought to life in such a fabulous way, but watching them flying through the air was sublime.

All of this was interspersed with a comical love story of a cheeky bluebottle who’s affections for the voluptuous ladybird were certainly not reciprocated.

The finale saw a whole host of insects effortlessly flying through the air to land on a huge wall that they appeared to be walking on with such ease and graze. It really was the perfect end to an outstanding show.

The whole performance had me captivated throughout and with it’s mixture of comedy and awe inspiring acts it’s makes for a show perfect for the whole family.

*I was given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.