Monday, May 23, 2016

New Blog

I am now blogging at 
Hope to see you there

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gruffalo Party Packs to the rescue

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging much lately. The reason for that is that I am in the midst of going through every single item in our house and deciding if we should ship it, sell it, give it away or dump it. The idea of organising a 4 year old's birthday party amidst all of that is somewhat overwhelming.

All of BB's parties so far have been small affairs, a few of his friends gathered in our garden to play and eat. Balloons, bunting and birthday cake - that's all you need, right? I've prided myself on the simplicity. But our house is not in a fit state to welcome guests, we may not even have a house at all by the time the birthday comes around. Also, I feel like we should have a bigger party, a chance to get together with all the friends who have been a part of BB's first four years, before we leave the country.

Believe me though, I have lost sleep over this - just how am I going to do it all. As if in answer to my question, I then received an email from a party bags and supplies company who wondered if I would like to take a look at one of their party packs and write a review. YES PLEASE!

The website has loads to choose from and it took me a while to choose. I wanted something well known and gender neutral, and so finally settled on The Gruffalo . The box arrived a week ago and I have been waiting all week to open it. BB is at nursery this morning so I finally got to take a peek. Inside are eight ready packed party bags, eight cups, eight plates, eight napkins and a table cloth.  The party bags are good: - something to make, something to make noise, a finger puppet, a wiggly snake and of course some chocolate.

Gruffalo Party Pack

The table settings look great too. 

Gruffalo Party Pack
Gruffalo Party PackGruffalo Party PackGruffalo Party Pack

Typically the pack I chose is one of the more expensive, but actually, even this only works out at £3.55 per person, which when you add up the cost and the hassle of sourcing all of these things individually, makes them quite a bargain. In fact I like it so much I am ordering more so that everyone at the party has the same.

And now I am totally into this idea of outsourcing everything...

... so, in addition, we have a lovely local bakery that are doing the food and the cake, and a party shop that is charging me a small fortune for some helium filled balloons. I don't think BB will ever have a party that's this flash again, but despite my previous opinions on keeping children parties simple, I can totally see why busy parents choose to do it this way. More expensive than a home party of course, but simpler in so many ways.

Disclaimer: The Gruffalo Party Pack was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. I have not been paid to write this and all of the views are my own

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Divine Chocolate

I regularly receive requests to review all sort of items on my blog, usually children's clothes or toys, but recently I got a request that was a little different. Would I be interested in reviewing some of the natural products made in Carmelite Monasteries? I was curious.

After taking a look around the site, and googling Carmelites (sorry about my ignorance), I decided that we could indeed try some of the products. I was free to choose two of them, so we went for the Dark Chocolate Cream and the Lemon and Citron Marmalade.

I have to say that the Dark Chocolate Cream is by far the best Chocolate Spread I have ever tasted. We had some of a well known brand in the cupboard and there really is no comparison. Smooth, dark and delicious - it didn't last many days in our house.

The Marmalade was also very tasty. It has a serious bite to it which you can smell as soon as you open the jar, and is perfect for breakfast. I was not so keen on the texture though - a bit runny for my liking - but I guess that's just a personal preference, the taste is great.

If you are interested to know more about the products please check out the HolyArt website

Disclaimer - these products were sent to us free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this post, and the views and opinions are my own 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pura D'or Organic Argan Oil Shampoo - Review

A couple of months ago I was sent a bottle of Pura d'or Hair Loss Prevention Premium Organic Shampoo to review. This is a premium product containing Argan Oil which has recently risen in popularity in hair care, and as I am in the process of discovering different hair products for a grey haired old lady I was more than happy to give it a try.

I was disappointed when it first arrived that I had been sent the shampoo only. I usually use a shampoo and conditioner pair. I was uncertain at first  as to whether I should use it alone or with another conditioner, but I decided to try it out by itself and see how I went. It's not like I have really long hair that's gong to get tangled now is it! Also, I have been reading stories of people using coconut oil as a conditioner and had been saying I would give it a try, so I finally got around to that too. I used the shampoo every day and the coconut oil conditioner just once a week. This turned out to be a perfect combination. My hair didn't seem overly dry after just the shampoo, but with the coconut oil conditioner it felt amazing. It makes you wonder why we even use conditioner in the first place.

The main claim of this particular shampoo is that it reduces hair loss. Now I lose a lot of hair. It's not quite so noticeable since it has been shorter, but my shed hair has always been everywhere, blocking plug holes and vacuum cleaners, and this has definitely been worse following my pregnancies. I did think that perhaps it was better when using this shampoo, so to put it to the test I have been using a different one this week to see if it made any difference, and it definitely has. In fact I was reminded that I needed to write this review by the hairs that have fallen onto my keyboard during the last couple of days when I haven't been using it! So, it seems it does what is says on the tin.

It is quite a pricey product, but it says on the bottle that the 16floz is approximately 3 months supply and I would say that this is a good estimate. I have used it every day for a month and I have not quite used a third of the bottle yet. That said I have short hair and so only need one squirt from the dispenser, but many people don't wash their hair every day either. So, if you take how long it lasts into account when you consider the price it is probably no more expensive than your average supermarket brands, and I'd definitely choose this paraben and sodium laureth sulphate free organic shampoo over most of those!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Essential Oils for Pregnancy Birth and Babies

Recently I decided to continue my self study on the use of essential oils. This is something that I started almost thirty years ago, but have not had so  much time for in recent years. I have always really enjoyed aromatherapy, and, as I have mentioned before, have a very keen interest in studying natural medicine. Although I am happy to accept that there are some things since hasn't found an explanation for, at the end of the day, I am a scientist, and evidence reassures me. In the future I plan to write some posts about the use of the essential oils and any research that may have been carried out on their properties which can validate claims. Meanwhile, I thought to get us started, that many of you might be interested in my notes from a webinar I attended recently on the use of doTERRA Essential Oils for pregnancy birth and babies. 

The session was hosted by Heidi and Allen Lafferty who provided the above information and I felt it was very much worth sharing. Please remember that this does not replace the advice from your doctor. 

General oils for taking care of mum in Pregnancy and motherhood 


Citrus oils lift mood - also great for cranky kids

Wild Orange lifts mood and calms any anxiety a child may have as well helping them focus

Lemon is for stamina

Elevation - helps for depression and low mood

Peppermint - inhale to energise, esp if haven’t had enough sleep



Rub on bottoms of feet

Peppermint use with caution if breastfeeding as can decrease breastmilk - however if needed you can use it and can use fennel to increase BM production

All oils can be used topically, Internally, Aromatically

Some need to be diluted with carrier oil - recommends fractionated coconut oil

can also use olive oil, almond oil, grapeseed, sunflower - but must be pure organic etc

1 drop essential  1/4 tsp oil when using on babies

Blood Pressure - Pregnancy Induced Hypertension

Ylang Ylang
Lemon Grass

Can use all topically

Lemon grass should not be taken internally unless in capsule


Serenity blend
Roman Camomile

Stretch Marks



Elevation blend
Lemon / grapefruit
Aroma touch blend

lemon can be taken in water as a regular drink

lemon, lavender and ginger can be ingested - not the others


Contractions -
Preterm labour - lavender
Hemoraging - Helichrysm

Post Pregnancy

Breast soreness  - lavender
Ceasraean Scars - Immortel, lavender, frankincense
Increase milk production - Fennel
Mastitis - Melaleuca
Perineum support - helichrysum, lavender
Tone uterus


baby eczema -frankinsense and melaleuca

Lavender - Image from
You can find out more about joining doTERRA here and feel free to connect me if you require further information

Recommended book - Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies  by Stephanie Fritz (NB this book was recommended by the presenters not me. I personally am not sure about this author yet. Although she says that you can email her with any questions, so far she has failed to respond to all of my questions about the research evidence behind her recommendations and there are not many references to research in the book :(  )