Monday, 19 November 2018

Family Holiday in Sri Lanka - 5 Top Places to Visit

Photo by Rajiv Perera on Unsplash

When I was a child and I'd dream, my Mum would always tell me 'there is a whole world out there to explore Michelle' and now I realise how right she is. As a teen and then in my twenties I kept my travels safe and pretty domestic, mainly travelling within Europe but then the beginning of this decade saw me taking some life-changing trips to Ethiopia, the USA and Belarus, and now my eyes are open and I want to see more and more places.

I often spend quiet afternoons at home researching new destinations and dreaming of where we will visit in the future. Of course there are now three tweens/ teens to be factored in to our travel plans but that's OK, I find them really great companions to go on adventures with.

One of the destinations I have been musing just recently is Sri Lanka, which is around a ten hour plane journey from the UK. The island is small enough that you can fully cover it in a two week holiday and it has fantastic diversity, from heritage sites that speak of the country's Buddhist roots, to national parks with amazing animals and lush green tea plantations.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Can you believe Cashback can be exciting? It is with Boom25...

We all love money for nothing and that's why more and more people are signing up for cashback sites, but with traditional sites normally only offering between 1 - 10% cashback on your purchase (and that's if they don't catch you out with some reason as to why that purchase wasn't eligible) its not likely you're going to get rich overnight.

However, I've learnt about a different site, offering a different way, and Boom25 certainly is exciting and may just help you along your path to riches. If you're a gambler and like to take a risk then Boom25 might work perfectly for you, as you could win back the whole cost of the purchase you've made. So if you're spending around £2,500 like I did with Oak Furniture Superstore a while back, you could literally win every penny of that back, just by going via the Boom25 site.

That sounds pretty great doesn't it? And I suspect you might be wondering what the catch is, but there isn't one. To open an account with Boom25 costs you nothing, you only have to give them minimal information and they will never charge you anything, ever. The only risk you take is not getting the traditional 1-10% back from a regular cashback site. So for example with my £2,500 purchase, if I got the 1% cashback, I could have made £25 but if I went via Boom25, I have a 1 in 25 chance of my whole purchase cost being won and paid back to me. Of course that means I also have a chance of getting nothing, but that is the excitement and where the name comes from - it's boom or bust!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Review: Mother of Pearl Cross Necklace, Molly Brown London

It's been a good week at my house this week. Not because it snowed (it did) and not because we went out for a fabulous lunch (we also did) but because my 10 year old twin girls received a gift each from Molly Brown London. This stunning designer of children's Stirling silver jewellery has been dubbed as 'Tiffany for children' by Vogue and I can certainly see why.

Earlier this week I published a review of Miss E's super stylish heart shaped locket with diamond detailing on my other blog and now I'm happy to share the necklace that Miss M choose. She went for the Mother of Pearl Cross Necklace, which retails for £48. 

All Molly Brown London jewellery comes with the most beautiful packaging. My girls felt really special as they unwrapped the gorgeous pink packages all tied up with lush chocolate brown ribbon. Your silver necklace comes in a little plastic packet as that is the best way to store silver, airtight away from oxygen that could tarnish it. That plastic bag is then in a gorgeous pink mesh bag, inside a box and then inside the bag. It's like opening the most wonderful matryoshka doll.

As a Christian the sign of the cross is important to Miss M and she loved the difference of this piece with there being two crosses, one of which is gorgeous Mother of Pearl. This necklace would make an amazing present for a First Holy Communion, Christening, Baptism or as an Easter or Bridesmaids gift. 

The thick and sturdy belcher necklace is 16" and adjustable at 14". Each of the crosses measure 15mm x 10mm x 1mm and are thus a great size for small necks. 

The clasp on the belcher chain is a lovely sturdy lobster clasp and it was easy to open and close. You can also see the little paw print tag (with the hallmark on the other side) by the clasp and this is your assurance that this is a genuine piece of Molly Brown London jewellery. It also adds a little fun and it's lovely to discover that the brand name and the paw tag where inspired by the founders family pet Labrador, you guessed it - Molly Brown!

The Molly Brown London packaging is so beautiful that both girls have it on display in their bedrooms and the boxes are nice and sturdy and thus will keep their necklaces in great condition for years to come. It's a really nice touch to get the bags even though our necklaces came by post. They were in a box to ensure they stayed pristine and were layered with pink tissue paper. 

The standard delivery service is £3.95 for a tracked courier delivery that will take 2-3 days from placing your order. Even having one necklace personalised we still received ours in super fast time. 

Miss E received a diamond heart locket and she loves that as well. You can see the review of her locket over on Mummy from the Heart.

I have already placed an order with Molly Brown London for a couple of pairs of Stirling silver earrings which will be birthday presents for the girls. They were in the sale for £15 each and are thus a super bargain!

Disclosure: We received this necklace free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Review: Pink Parcel Monthly Box to Cheer You Up!

Back in November my tween girls received a Bettybox each. This is a box aimed at young girls who have started their periods and need a little pick-me-up at 'that' time of month, as well as their practical sanitary protection needs too. You can read our review of it over on Mummy from the Heart but in short we all loved the concept and the girls felt really special. At 10 years old they are both still a little young to actually need the Bettybox as yet but I have promised them I will get them a box each to celebrate when the time comes. Not because we'll need the towels (because we have so many of those now) but because you get a fabulous range of goodies in every box, that are worth so much more than the £12.99 price tag.

I liked the Bettybox so much that I then ordered myself one and after finding a code online the box cost me just over a tenner and I was able to choose sanitary protection that suits my needs. As before, I loved this box and all the wonderful items that came with it but what was best, was the free voucher inside to get myself a Pink Parcel. The older sister of the Bettybox and a monthly subscription box designed for ladies like me, Pink Parcel is also £12.99 a month (or it will work out a bit cheaper if you sign up for 6 or 12 months).

Then as well as the freebie box, I also received one for me to try out and review, so now I have duplicates of everything and you know what? I can never have too much sanitary protection and I have twins, so my girls will be super pleased to receive some of the goodies as a little pressie each in the new year.

With the Pink Parcel you can personalise your box to choose the sanitary protection that suits you. The box can be just tampons, just towels or a mix of the two and the items are always big, well known brands like Always, Tampax and Lil-lets. I choose to have Lil-lets super heavy flow tampons and I received 21 of these, as well as 6 towels for night-time extra protection and 7 tiny knicker liners (that I'd never use in a million years as my flow is far too heavy). I think this is a good amount to receive each month.

As you can see you get a pretty cotton bag 'for now' and this had some tampons and your panty liners in it. Then a box 'for later' and this has loads more tampons in it and a 'for bedtime' box with bigger towels.

However, the really exciting bit is the 'for you' box and here is what I received in the December 2017 Pink Parcel 'for you' box -

I was very pleased with all the healthy and beauty treats that I received in my parcel. There are well known brand names and good size products. I received -
  • English Laundry Signature Purse Spray (£16)
  • Maggie Anne Nail Polish - in Metallic Silver or Gold (I got one of each! - £10.50 for 11ml)
  • POM Secret Santa Snowflake Earrings (£8.00)
  • The Beauty Crop 3 Amigos Eye Shadow Trio (£8.00)
  • So Susan Mesmer Eyes Liquid Eye-liner (£18.99)
  • Sanatio Naturalis Sweet Orange Aromatherapy Oil (£15.00 for 10ml)
  • Fudge Kitchen Orange Caramel Fudge Square
  • Whittards Earl Grey teabag (Just one!)
I make this just under £80 worth of goodies, so I think you can say that is a pretty awesome bundle for just £12.99 or in my case this month totally for free!

I worked out that the sanitary protection is about £3's worth, so that means I had effectively paid £9.99 for the £80 'for you' box of products and I think this is great value. Having looked at many reviews and past packages online it looks as if the quality of the items sent is always as good as the ones I received and as such I can imagine I'll be treating myself to these boxes again!

Disclosure: Thanks so much Pink Parcel for sending me out a box to review, I've really enjoyed it. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Review: Dobble Card Game - Fabulous Fun for All the Family

Back in 2013 we were sent the card game Dobble to review. I said yes to reviewing it as I thought it would be good to take on holiday with us and I was right. In fact over the last four years Dobble has been so many places with us, it is our game of choice when waiting in restaurants for our meal to arrive, we've played it on the plane going to Spain and it has been out with all number of friends who've been here to play.

Dobble is such a simple game, but not so simple it is boring. I really love it as it levels the playing field and the youngest kids can beat the adults in the family, which is such a good feeling for them. It takes just a couple of minutes to explain and in no time at all my 5 year old twins had picked up what they needed to do. The first time we played it was JJ (age 9) and my husband and I sat with one of the twins each but they really didn't need us once they knew what to do. So the next game it was straight on to the 5 of us playing together as frankly the girls could easily cope with it. Here we are playing out in the fresh air back in 2013 -

Dobble is 55 quality cards in a 10cm tin and on each card are 8 different symbols of differing sizes. There are 50 different symbols in total and every single card has one matching symbol.  All you have to do is be the first to spot and name out loud your matching symbol and it sounds so easy but there are sometimes I am sat there scratching my head - I just can't see for looking!

There are 5 different suggested games that you can play and we took a good 30 minutes the first time just playing the simplest game, which is pretty much like a glorified snap game. Over the last few years we've played the other games but truth be told we always go back to the original game and enjoy it immensely. I have even started to use Dobble in my coaching sessions were I go into a local school and met a young lad who needs a champion. He really loves it when he beats me!

Every one of us in the family commented that we love Dobble and the best thing is it is small enough to stay in my handbag and whenever we are in need of something to occupy us it is there and ready. Back in 2013 I awarded Dobble 9/10 and the only reason being is that I thought the cards could be a little thicker and thus more durable. However I am now willing to change that to a 10/10 as we have played the game a lot over the last 5 years and they are still as good as when they were sent to us!

You can play Dobble with 2-8 players and a game takes about 15 minutes.

Overall score: 10/10 

Dobble retails for £12.99 but I have spotted it on Amazon for £9.99 including postage.