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Friday 22 December 2017

Pink Parcel Monthly Box to Cheer You Up!

{This is a collaborative post}

Talking about female health has been a taboo for too long, but regular readers will know that I aim to change that. Everything that goes on with the female body is natural and we can't help having periods, or excessive bleeding, or maybe even catching an STD but we can normalise these things and make sure we get the help we need. I've already had one TCRE for my menorrhagia and will have another next month.  I've never had the need to go for an STD test as I've been with my husband for such a long time, but it might be different for you and I'd encourage you to book for a full STD test panel if you know that it might be a different scenario for you.

I'm very keen to help my young daughters to be open about their female and even genital health, and back in November,  they 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 the 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 is 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 health 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.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Boom Blast Stix - What A Fun Game!

We've been playing a new game at our house and I can tell you one thing, it has been keeping us on the edge of our seats. The first time the stix ever went boom I screamed so loud my neighbour told me she heard me!

I love the fun and simplicity of Boom Blast Stix. My son described it as a modern take on Buckeroo and I suppose it is, a little! The game play is simple and as such any age can probably play, although the manufacturers recommend it for upwards of 6 years.

You receive the large tub. 32 springs and an instruction booklet and that's it. All you have to do is take turns to lock the spring and then add it to the pile. The red lid of the storage tub is used as the base to stack on and you can either use this alone so the game is closer to the table or floor and is slightly less explosive or you can use the red lid on top of the storage tub and then when the stix go boom they literally go everywhere. We were playing in our dining room and I had to get the kids to crawl round and collect up all the springs.

The springs are pretty easy to lock together and my kids had no problem doing it, I suspect it is this aspect that means there is a 6+ years recommendation on the game. It felt as if different springs had different tensions, so you could never know when they were going to pop open and explode the pile everywhere.

You have to have strong nerves with this game, as it is a waiting game of suspense. You can't be of a nervous disposition to play this game as it is startling when it goes boom! Watch this short clip to see Miss E building up the stix and waiting for the inevitable boom!

I'm really looking forward to taking this game into school in the coming weeks as I know the boy that I coach will love playing this with me. It only takes around 5 minutes to play and it is high intensity with lots of laughter resulting, so it will be just perfect as a session starter when he is having a low day.

You can buy Boom Blast Stix from Character Online for £14.99. It is a good sturdy tub and springs and I think it ill last a long time and provide a lot of fun.

Why not pin this post for later?

family fun, family game, boom blast stix, review, suspense game,

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

Monday 14 August 2017

Twelve Top Tips for Buying a Used Car

Image: Thanks to Sandown Motors

I think we've got to the point where we will definitely need to get a new family car. We have a seven seater Toyota and it has served us well but frankly our family has out-grown it and now we need something with more leg and boot room I'm not quite sure if we will go for another seven seater or just a much more spacious five seater. Whatever it is, I will ensure it has enough space that I don't have to constantly listen to my three children squabbling as they feel too camped together. Honestly, who'd have kids, I ask you?

As I've been looking for a new used car, I thought I could share some of my wisdom with you and here's twelve top tips for buying a second-hand car -

1.   Why buy new when you can nearly always pick a year old car up for around 25% less than list price (in fact the AA state it can be up to 40%)? And lets face it, it probably won't have done much more than about 10,000 miles in that first year. Of course luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz hold their value better as the cars are such high quality and specification but you only have to take a look on the Sandown Group Used Car site to see there are some bargains to be had.

2.   Buy from a reputable dealership, you might be able to find a car cheaper from Bobs garage down the road or via Auto Trader but how will you know that the car really is what it says it is? By buying from a good dealership you have the peace of mind to know you can head back there if anything is looking amiss.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Review: Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Toothbrush

In June JJ (my near 14 year old toothbrush hating son) was sent the Oral-B PRO 2500 electric toothbrush to try out and review. He's been wanting one for quite some time but in honesty due to the cost I hadn't done anything about it as I'm quite happy with a traditional old style toothbrush.

However having done a bit of research I now see that I was in the wrong and ideally my whole family should be using an electric toothbrush. A number of studies were pulled together and reviewed by the British research publication, The Cochrane Library and they found there was an 11% reduction in plaque at one to three months of use, and a 21% reduction in plaque when assessed after three months of use. So these are strong findings for making the switch to an electric toothbrush.

In short JJ has been loving using his new electric toothbrush and I've been loving the fact that he is remembering to brush his teeth more and that each session is lasting longer and is therefore more through and will ensure better dental health for him long term.

Have a watch our our video review to see the Oral-B PRO 2500 in action and hear what JJ thinks of it.

Many thanks to Pure Smiles dental practise based in Fulham for sending this toothbrush through to JJ. Pure Smiles offer a variety of services such as teeth whitening, dermal fillers, smoking cessation programs and sleep therapy. Why not check them out if you are local to them and I'd certainly be reassured by all the excellent customer reviews they display on their website drawn from Facebook, MyReputaion.com and Google.

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

Saturday 6 May 2017

Review: Gel-a-Peel Accessory Kits - Pearly Pastels and Glow In The Dark

This weekend my 9 year old twin girls have been having some crafting fun with a couple of Gel-a-Peel accessory kits. Gel-a-Peel isn't something we have used before and nor heard of to be honest but as soon as I showed the girls the packages they knew it would be something they would enjoy.

One of my twins is far more crafty than the other and she was really looking forward to the act of making the silicon jewellery. The other one is a real fashionista and the part she was really looking forward to was wearing the jewellery and making sure of the cute shapes and charms.

Each accessory kit of Gel-a-Peel has an RRP of £14.99 and for this price you get 3 different coloured tubes of gel, 5 different shaped tips for applying your gel, 16 different design templates, a clear application board, cleaning and spreading tools and one set of hardware to make some hanging pierced earrings. We received the Pearly Pastel and Glow In The Dark its but there is also Neon and Sparkle accessory kits.

There are many more different kits too, large deluxe ones with beads included or a full design station which retails for around £29.99. You can also buy small starter sets for £4.99 with just one tube of gel and all the bits you need to get started. This is probably a good idea for a new user to see if they enjoy this craft. I was really pleased to see that you can buy replacement tubes of gel for just £2.99 each.

Using our Gel-a-Peel for the fist time
The instructions that come with the kit are very good and easy to use. First up you have to remove the protective cap on the tube and add the tip that you wish to use. You can choose the template design you want and place the clear application board over it. It is best to use masking tape to keep both in one place on the table so the design comes out perfect.

The gel tubes are very easy to use and the gel flows well, not too much and you don't need excess effort, which is very good for kids. You do need to make sure that you use a good amount of gel to give a thick and even coverage or it can break and be too fragile once dry. Once you finish with one colour you can move onto the next and get your design completed.

As well as making bracelets, cuffs, bookmarks, necklets and rings using the templates you can also use the gel tray, which has gems, flowers, letters, number, emojis etc on them. With these you just apply the gel into the cavity, use the little grey tool to make sure there are no air bubbles and the mould is full of the gel and then use the pink squeegee to go over the top and flatten the back. These small charms can then either be attached to a piece of Gel-a-Peel jewellery by using a bit of the gel as the glue or stuck onto anything else you fancy using a hot glue gun. In our house they have gone onto jewellery boxes, roller boots, pencil cases and buttons!

Once you have finished your design session, you do need to take the application caps off the tubes and clear out any excess gel left in them. I used the grey tool provided to do that and it wasn't difficult. I was also pleased that not much gel was lost doing this. Pop the protective cap back in and the lid and the gels will stay fresh for the next session.

The design templates tell you how long you need to leave the item to dry before you can use it. Simple designs with just one line of Gel-a-Peel are around an hour and the more complex bracelets and cuffs with multiple lines and layers of Gel-a-Peel can be around 5 hours. We left ours overnight.

You then carefully need to peel them off the clear application sheet once dry and you can then enjoy and wear them.  One of Miss E's bracelets broke as she took it off the sheet as she had left the gel a little thin in one place. This is easily fixed by putting some new gel over where it has snapped and waiting for it to dry.

What did we think?
Thanks a lot Gel-a-Peel, my girls had a lot of fun and they were both talking about getting more for their birthday. At nearly 10 years old they found this easy to do without me having to be involved. I think the older the child the easier they will find it and the more time and care they will take. Younger ones could do it, with supervision but it is recommend for 8+  years.

Why not have a watch of this video where you can see the Gel-a-Peel being used and see for yourself just how simple it is.

Disclosure: We received two Gel-a-Peel sets free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. 

Sunday 19 February 2017

Anyone Can Make a Beautiful Birthday Card

I love making personalised greetings cards for people but for a long time I held back as I believed it was only a pursuit done by super talented crafters. Sadly, that's not me - I have writing like a 10 year old and quite a limited imagination so I thought I had to hold back for fear of my cards looking like a toddler had made them.

However, I've found a formula that works for me and every person I give one of my home-made cards to always comments about how nice they are. I think people feel a little special is you take the time to make something you know they would like.

I wanted to share with you my card-making formula that can easily be copied by anyone and you always end up with a great looking card. Even my 9 year old's can make good looking cards for their friends.

1. First up, gather together the items you need.
I recommend a trip to The Works (or shop online) as they have a wonderful ever-changing supply of card making materials for really great prices.

You'll need -
Blank cards and envelopes
Patterned paper
Plain coloured card or paper
Double sided tape
Washi tape
Card toppers
Stick on Gems

2.  Choose your patterned paper that will act as a base on your blank card and stick it on with double-sided tape. I find this far less messy than glue and you don't have to wait for it to dry.

3.  Add some Washi Tape. In this design I have put two stripes down the side of the patterned paper and this is good as it covers any uneven edges, on other cards, I might just use one vertical or horizontal stripe or do it across a couple of corners. See some of the designs below.

4.  I used a stick on Happy Birthday Greeting that I had bought in a pack at £1.20 for 30 of them, so they work out at hardly any money each.

5.  Choose your card topper. You can see from the picture below that I tried out the different bird toppers in different places before I choose which one to stick down and how the finished card should look. To keep costs low I normally just try to use one topper per card but I think the one with two does look lovely.

I often use stick-on gems to glitz up the card too, as you can see in a couple of the examples below. These normally cost about 99p for over 100, so they are super cheap. All the card blanks and toppers in these cards I bought from The Works and I hope you'll agree they look effective.

I mentioned earlier that even my little girls an make nice cards for their friends using my easy card making formula and here are a couple of cards Miss E has made recently ready for upcoming birthdays.

If you have any tips of easy card-making then do leave me a comment. Many thanks, Mich x

Monday 13 February 2017

Review: Puressentiel Anti-Lice Treatment and Repellent

I hate head-lice. I'm sure no parent likes them but they have been the bane of my life for about the last four months. Thank the Lord that the kids seem free of them right now, but before Christmas I was spending so much on treatment and all different brands and I'm not sure if the products were not effective or if I had missed just one nit sack or such but basically I just couldn't get them out of one of my daughters hair and seeing as it is waist length, it was one major pain in the bum!

When I saw that the respected French brand Puressentiel had launched an anti-lice treatment and preventative spray, I immediately asked to sample and review the products and I'm pleased to tel you that I like what I see.

Anti-lice treatment -
I actually tried this on myself as whilst I could not find any evidence of a live head louse I have been itching for months and keep getting bumps around my hairline, so I was convinced I must have them and as this product is all natural I decided there really is no harm in my trying.

Unlike some products it had quite a pleasant smell and you can really detect the lavender, which is quite pleasant as it does not straight-away scream head lice like the smell of tea tree oil does. The four essential oils in the product also are soothing to the head and help to alleviate the itching, which was what I needed too.

The 100ml bottle only did one application as my hair is about 4 or 5 inches longer than my shoulders. So the cost of one treatment is £8.66 if you buy it from Amazon which was the best price I found (RRP £12.99). It therefore isn't the cheapest solution on the market but since research is showing that head-lice are mutating and surviving many different chemical insecticide treatments now, it is good to find one that the lice are unable to develop a resistance to and that doesn't have all the nasty side effects of silicone based products.

The solution comes in a bottle like you might get for hair dye and this means it is easy to apply and you don't get too messy. It is an oil based product so is oily on your hands but washes out well with any shampoo. It contains plant oils of coconut, calophyllum, jojoba, sunflower, sweet almond, castor, which act mechanically by obstructing the respiratory openings of the lice, larvae and nits. The lice are unable to develop resistance due to the asphyxiation mechanism.

I really like the fact that the product works in just 10 minutes and left my hair very soft after washing it out. The comb that is included in the pack is probably the best included one I've ever seen. It has fine grooves in each steel tooth, much like a nitty gritty comb and was very effective at combing my hair out.

Puressentiel products contain no dyes, preservatives or synthetic perfumes and are kind to the environment too.

For the record, I didn't actually have head lice and I actually now think maybe I had a sensitivity to a silicon based product that I used about a month ago when I was treating my girls. the redness and flaky, itchy scalp match the description for silicon sensitivity/allergy.

Preventative Spray -
This 75ml aerosol spray has a strong lavender smell and contains Citriodiol® from 100% natural origin (derived from lemon eucalyptus essential oil) whose repellent action has proved itself to be as effective as most synthetic chemicals.

It has been proven to work for 24 hours to repel lice and stop infestations and that makes it perfect for spraying before school. My daughter with shorter hair needs about 6 sprays and the one with waist-length hair about 12 sprays and the smell is quite strong, so it is good to do with a window open or even in the garden!

This handy spray cleanses the scalp and soothes itching using lavender floral water and lavandin, without leaving the hair or scalp feeling greasy or damaged. The spray retails for RRP £9.99 and I didn't manage to find it any cheaper than that.

It has 0% Neurotoxic repellents, is 100% natural in origin (No chemical agent - No silicone - No dimethicone - Preservative-free), is propellant gas-free and synthetic perfume-free.

Both products are suitable for children aged 3 years plus and they are available from Boots, Day Lewis, Lloyds pharmacy, Amazon and selected pharmacies nationwide.

Conclusion -
I am really happy with the Puressentiel products that I have tried out and I'd happily use the anti-lice treatment again and we will keep on using the preventive spray and see how it goes. Lets pray that is the lice infections over for at least 2017 for my family!

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

Wednesday 25 January 2017

6 Little Known Gems to Visit in Edinburgh

I've only been to Edinburgh a couple of times so far but I have absolutely loved it and the stays have been far too short, so it would be great to get there again. Especially as my friend Kate lives there and I've not seen her for some time. As we chatted the other day I asked her to give me some recommendations of places to visit when I next go there and here are her six little-known gems in Edinburgh. Four free to visit attractions and two delicious eateries. Of course you'll want to easily get around the city once you are there so why not check out Capital cars for all your taxing needs, including airport transfers.

City Art Centre
This former Scotsman news building now houses six floors of art in large, light and airy gallery spaces. There is a huge variety of art from the 17th century to the modern day. Entrance is free to the main gallery and there are loads of exhibitions changing throughout the year, for which there is an entrance cost. The centre is currently closed on Monday and Tuesdays.

The extra fun part is that they have an ArtSpace which is open all the same times as the centre and you can have fun using their inspiring art materials to create some modern art, a landscape or perhaps a portrait. Or join them between 2 and 3pm on a Saturday when there is facilitator leading the session. I'd love to get stuck in.

2 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DE, Tel: 0131 529 3993

Image Credit: Edinburgh Museums

Dovecot Studios
This amazing Tapestry studio is housed in the former home of a Victorian swimming pool, the renovated building itself is stunning but actually the tapestry's on show in the gallery and the weavers themselves are the real treasure. For more than 100 years stunning pieces of tapestry have been created here. Make sure you get to see some of the weavers at work from the Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony from Noon to 3pm on Thursday and Friday and from 10.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays.

10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT, Tel: 0131 550 3660

Image Credit: Dovecot Studio

National Museum of Scotland’s Rooftop Terrace
The National Museum of Scotland is of course the most visited attraction in the city so you may wonder why I have listed it here. Well, the hidden part is the rooftop terrace. Everyone knows that the museum itself is worth a visit but very few make it though the museum maze to the beautiful rooftop terrace which sports some stunning Scottish fauna but more than that there are views all across the city. Head up there early in the day to beat any crowds.

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF, Tel: 0300 123 6789

Image Credit: Wow 247

The Royal Observatory
It is totally worth heading off the average tourist track to go and pay a visit to the Royal Observatory Visitor Centre but only if you have booked a visit. During the winter months there are weekly Friday open nights and monthly in the summer. You'll get to see through one of the biggest telescopes in Scotland, learn a bit more about the night sky and be able to handle meteorites, The site itself is also stunning.

Blackford Hill View, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ. Tel: 0131 668 8100

Image Credit: Royal Observatory Edinburgh

The Gardeners Cottage
Someone who loves food as much as me couldn't possibly not suggest a couple of amazing restaurants. A favourite with my friend Kate is The Gardeners Cottage, which is in Royal Terrace Gardens at the foot of Calton Hill in the heart of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site. The beautiful restaurant is informal with all diners sitting at trestles tables but the factor that tells it apart from its competitors is the stunning local produce, as well as the home-grown veggies, leaves and legumes. The food really is of the best quality and an absolute joy to eat.

1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5DX. Tel: 0131 558 1221

Image Credit: Gardeners Cottage

Mademoiselle Macaron
You'll be transported to Paris in the blink of an eyelid in this beautiful cafe. The owner trained in Paris after being mesmerised by her first taste of the classic French Macaron. You can choose from classic flavours like raspberry and pistachio or go for the more exotic like Scottish Whammy made with Irn Bu. You can't get much more of a french- Scottish fusion than that!

22 Grindlay St, Edinburgh EH3 9AP. Tel: 0131 228 4059

Image Credit: The Herald

I wish you an amazing time visiting this historic and amazing city. Do let me know in the comments if you have any secret gems that would like to add to this list.

Be blessed, Mich x

Monday 23 January 2017

You have to see Sing Movie #SingMovie

My girls doing karaoke to the Sing soundtrack on Saturday night before we saw the movie on Sunday

Don't let your fear stop you doing what you love!

This is probably my favourite line from the movie and to be honest spending £37 for the five of us to see it will be well worth every penny if my kids take this sentiment with them into adulthood. I think we often miss out on things we would enjoy and even love as we allow ourselves to be held back by a fear or the unknown. We all need to embrace the unknown sometimes and remember 'what is the worst that can happen?' The worst case scenario is never really that bad, is it?

You don't expect to come out of a family movie with a big life statement like that but that is what I love about films aimed at all the family nowadays. They have the innocent story line, the fun characters, the amazing graphics but also the humour and depth to reach the adult audience too.

SING is a fabulous movie, with a rating of U and a run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. If you like watching things like The Voice, Britain's Got Talent and the X Factor then you'll love this movie. The singing talent in it is amazing, who knew that Reese Witherspoon could sing like that? And I had no idea who the American singer Tori Kelly was before watching this but now both my girls and I are mesmerised by her stunning voice.

I think my favourite character had to be the very dapper koala Buster Moon as I have a not-so-secret crush on Matthew McConaughey who voices him and whilst I might not be able to see Matthew in the film, that beautiful southern lilt is so unique to him and makes my heart melt.

There is something in the film for everyone, our whole family went to see it and my 13 year old son said he was surprised how funny it was and 'so much better than I expected Mum, a bit like Shrek as it has loads of adult funny bits in it'.

SING is certainly one of those films that we will be watching again when it comes out on DVD, it is sure to become a classic family movie like Toy Story, Happy Feet or Madagascar.

SING has gained a 70% fresh tomato score on Rotten Tomatoes and all the critics seem to agree that Illuminate Pictures (the film animators behind Despicable Me, Minions, The Lorax and Secret Life of Pets to name just a few) have again made a fabulous tale

Have a look at the trailer yourself and see if this film might be for your family. I'm sure it will!

Have fun, Mich x

Oh and just in case you are interested here are my couple of loons having fun with Taylor Swifts 'Shake it Off'.

Disclosure: We wee sent a karaoke pack for us to enjoy as a family to celebrate the release of SING at the cinema.

Sunday 22 January 2017

7 Great Venues to Host your Work Team Building Day in the South East

Team building days at work - you either love them or you hate them!

Done well, I think they are pretty amazing and definitely a way to help you get to know your fellow workers and start to understand what makes them tick. Prior to leaving the University when we moved here I organised a team-building day for our busy HR and development department and it was a tad daunting as so many people were specialists in developing others but luckily all went well and it was probably one of my greatest achievements in my ten year career there.

Our Director had said we had to have at least half a day spent doing work based activities and then half day of pure fun. So the morning was spent doing various team tasks and working with some fabulous facilitators to help us all think through the customer experience. Who was our customer and what did they expect and how could we impact the wider aims of the University?

For lunch we went to the student refectory and ate with the students as I wanted everyone to be able to experience the service our ultimate customers receive. Luckily I was able to choose this option as the eating facilities we excellent and this meant we could all have a really enjoyable meal from the very wide variety serviced.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

8 Top Tips When Recycling

Recycling Image: Shutterstock

I'm so glad that my children are growing up in an age when they don't know any different than recycling everything they can, nowadays it is about 70% of what we no longer want that can be recycled or reused. How different life was when I was small and it all just went into tons of black sacks and then the bin-men came and collected it from your back garden and left you more sacks too! We have to be a bit more proactive nowadays sorting and taking the recycling out but the long term benefits to our small island and ultimately the whole world will be worth it.

In case recycling doesn't float your boat and you are not bought into it as yet, let me share with you some tips to make it easier and more manageable -

1. Get all the family involved. For a while I bored myself silly telling the kids to wash their yogurt cartons or squash the tin cans but now it is just second nature for them to do it and put it in the recycling rather than leaving it on the side for me. It is also the children's job to take the recycling to our designated point and to sort it into the right areas; it is a nice easy way for them to earn some tech time.

2.  Educate yourself. You'd think that recycling across the UK would be pretty universal wouldn't you? But sadly not, there doesn't appear to be any joined up thinking, So some councils will take tetra packs, others plastic carrier bags, some cooked food waste. So as soon as you move to a new area check out the councils website and ensure you know what to do and when to do it and if they don't have kerbside collections for all the things you want, don't throw in the towel, see if there is a collection point you pass on the way to work/ school etc and could easily fit that drop off into your life.