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Saturday 23 March 2013

Review: Harumika Designer Dress Form Set

For the last year or so my 5 year old twins have been pestering me every time we go in our local Entertainer store. 'Please Mummy, can we have one of those?', 'Ohh look Mummy, I like those....', 'When I'm a big girl will you buy me those mummy, they look such fun' and on and on.

They were talking about the range of Harumika mannequins that you can fashion outfits on and I'm ashamed to say that I always just briefly looked at them and dismissed them out of hand thinking they would be complex and for girls of a much older age. I didn't even pick the box up and look, if I had I would have seen that the recommended age range is 6 years upwards. Not so different to my 5 year old girls and of course with supervision children can often tackle toys designed for older children.

I also wrongly assumed that designing the outfits would entail needle and thread or otherwise glue and looking at the small dress makers dummies I just assumed it would all be too fiddly. I think I have learnt my lesson after receiving a pack to review. It really is very simple, have a look-

I always have some one on one time with each child and Miss E is my most creative one and the one who had badgered me the most for Harumika, so I got this set out when it was just the two of us and oh how she adored this. And shhh don't spill the beans but so did I!  It really is very good fun and your imagination can run riot.

I'll be honest when the pack arrived I thought it looked quite small and wondered how much interest it would hold, you can see from the picture what was included. This size set retails for £18 at the Entertainer. A set this size includes 2 mannequins both with the unique style lock system on the back, 4 pieces of material, a sheet of both regular stickers and holographic stickers, a couple of pieces of ribbon and a stylus. What I would say is don't be fooled by how small or plasticy this looks, it is fabulous and provided so much fun.  My other twin loves it as well and it has become the go-to toy of choice.

The thing I loved is that there is no need for glue, needle or anything like that, you simply wrap the fabric and tuck it into the silicon slot in the back using the stylus.  Only one stylus came with the set so we used a tool we had from play-doh but really anything slim and plastic will do.  I also has some small swatches of fabric from my card making and the girls had ribbon in their craft box so these came out to extend the fun.

It is really simple once you have dressed your mannequin to just rip the dress off and start again, so this is the best value toy from that point of view, nothing gets used or wasted.  Even the stickers stand being ripped off and put back on the sheet a few times, yes we will need to get more long-term but the girls would be happy to play with this with just fabric and ribbons anyway.

Here are a few of their creations -

Verdict - I will happily give the Harumika range a big thumbs up, as my girls are enthralled with it.  Miss E said to tell you it is excellent and Miss M says awesome. A big thank you to Bandai who sent us this set.

I have not been instricted what to write and I remain honest.

Friday 22 March 2013

Review: Gallo Summer Red Chilled Wine

It's a long time since I have drunk a glass of red wine, in fact I can't even remember when it would have been - 10 years or more I expect. Whilst I used to enjoy red wine I always found that it did not like me much the next morning and the hangover was just evil! I'm too old now to indulge in something that has such a short positive effect, but luckily I had no such issues with the Gallo Summer Red.

I was sent a bottle to test out and quite unusually you chill this red wine as it has been made to be enjoyed on a summers day. No summer here at the moment, actually it is snowing outside as I type but I still thoroughly enjoyed this. That is probably because Rose is my favourite type of wine and I like it fruity and not too dry and this Gallo Summer Red fitted that bill. It is funny how I had preconceived ideas of how this wine would taste and then when I tasted it I found I was completely surprised, it is fruity and very easy to drink but it still has legs (you know the way the wine holds to the side of the glass) and a full flavour. I'm told this wine has the flavours of cherry, pomegranite and raspberry but I have to be honest and say my palate is not developed enough to distinsh those, for me I just know it was fruity!

Another plus point is that the wine has an alcoholic volume of just 10.5%, considerably lower than the average 12.5% of most red wines, some are even as high as 16% and that will explain those hang overs, those and the high tannin level normally present in red wine but there was none of that puckery feeling that you get in your mouth with some red wines, no the Gallo Summer Red is very fresh and refreshing.

I was a little dubious to review this wine at first as I drink alcohol so rarely nowadays but I have to say I really enjoyed it. Focusing on the wine and thinking about its qualities took me back to being 18 years old and completing my City and Guilds Wine Appreciation certificate at college. Oh yes, I used to know my stuff!

The RRP for this wine is £6.79 and for someone like me that enjoys the occasional bottle of wine I would rather pay this and really enjoy it than just spend a couple of quid and be disappointed. I checked out My Supermarket and saw that it is on special at Sainsbury's currently for £5.24 per bottle and this promotion runs until 30 April 2013.

In my opinion there is no need to wait for summer to enjoy this wine, I recommend you go and buy yourself a bottle now. You could pretty much have it to accompany any meal, I actually think it would be really nice with a Cesar salad but it works equally well with something like poached salmon or chicken. I would probably avoid it with a really delicate fish dinner but you know how it is nowadays there are no rues about wine drinking, just enjoy it!

If you want to find out more about the Gallo family of wines, head over to www.gallofamily.co.uk.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Review: Guylain Easter Eggs

With Easter fast approaching, my girls keep chatting about Easter eggs and which ones they fancy this year. Oh yes it is hotly debated in our house whether a cream egg one is better than a twix!  I have to say that I don't get involved in the conversations as I would happily eat them all, what with me being a bit of a chocoholic!

My favourite though is really good quality chocolate and I have a particular liking for Guylain chocolates, everyone knows the classic Belgium seashell chocolates and yes I really like those praline treats but the ones that really rock my world are La Trufflina, the super smooth truffles. Anyway I'm getting side tracked as I've not been tasting those tonight.

No, tonight I introduced my 5 year old girls to the joys of Belgium Guylain chocolates and they gave me a big thumbs up!  Miss M really liked the praline seashorses and Miss E preferred the trufle perlines.

This year Guylain have got three special products for Easter, two eggs of varying sizes and a box of mini eggs. I was sent the two eggs as samples to try out and I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised at the price of them, I had expected them to be far more.

The large Guylain egg (378g) which is accompanied by a good sized box (24 full size chocolates to be precise) has an RRP of £10.99. It is great as it gives good variety with 8 seashorses, 8 perlines and 8 chocolates from the Opus range. When you look at the packaging you can tel you are buying a premium product as the egg is really well presented and would be a pleasure to give as a gift.

There is also a smaller Guylain egg (245g) which has a box of seashells with it and that has an RRP of just £5.99, this one we are going to give away to a lovely lady who is always really kind to our family.

The other product in the Easter range is a box of mini filled eggs, each is individually wrapped and has a choice of three fillings - milk chocolate praline, milk chocolate truffle and dark chocolate praline - yummy!  These would make super eggs for an Easter egg hunt and the retail price is just £3.49.

You can buy these products at the big supermarkets, when I had a brief look I saw Asda was selling the big egg for £10 and Sainsburys the smaller one for £6.00.

Would I recommend them?   Oh yes, if you want to give someone a nice treat and show them they are loved at Easter, this is a great way to do that.

If you fancy finding out more about the history of Guylain or how the quality choloates are made then do head over and check out their website. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook too.

Disclosure:  I was sent these eggs free of charge, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.