Workforce Socks review & giveaway

I have received 4 free pairs of Workforce socks to review. The initial plan was that I would try the 2 pairs for size 6-8.5, whilst my other half tried the 2 pairs for size 6-11. However I found them too long in the foot, but luckily they all fitted my other half. The sock heel was up around the back of my ankle. I wear a size 5 shoe normally, but size 6 for hiking boots, so I had been hoping to wear them with my boots. My usual sock size is 4-7, but Workforce don’t sell many socks this small as their socks are more targeted at men. Looking at their range, the heavy duty safety trainer sock would probably have been better suited to me, as it also includes size 4-8.

Workforce socks

The 4 pairs received were as follows…
Ultimate Comfort Sock in grey, size 6-8.5, RRP £3.99 (WFHP300)
Ultimate Safety Sock in black, size 6-8.5, RRP £3.99 (WFHP200)
Heavy Gauge Boot Sock in navy, size 6-11, RRP £5 (WFH0025)
Heavy Gauge Boot Sock in grey, size 6-11, RRP £5 (WFH0025)

Both the comfort sock and safety sock are labelled with an L and R for left and right foot. They have been constructed with a true left and right fit for total comfort and support. I also noticed that they both contained CoolMax which is what I personally look for in a hiking sock, as I’m not so fond of wool. In comparison, the heavy gauge boot sock is 60% wool.

My other half liked the comfort sock best. Without going into too much gory information, he said that they seemed to have a beneficial effect on his athlete’s foot. I expect that may be due to the natural antibacterial protection properties of the Bamboo, which is 38% of the sock’s composition.

He is a size 7.5 and said that he found the heavy gauge boot sock was slightly too big. It is aimed at a wider range of shoe sizes from 6-11 than the comfort sock or safety sock. He also found it to be slightly itchy, perhaps due to the high wool content.

He also deliberately tried swapping the left and right comfort socks and safety socks to the opposite feet and said that he couldn’t notice the difference.

Workforce ultimate comfort  sock

Ultimate comfort sock

Workforce ultimate safety socks

Ultimate safety sock

Workforce heavy gauge boot sock

Heavy gauge boot sock

In summary, we highly recommend all the socks, but do bear in mind if your shoe size is below or towards the lower end of the size range that they may be a touch too large. They are all great quality and have been designed with hardworking feet in mind.

You can purchase all of these socks via Sock Shop. The prices are good value in my opinion. They are not suitable to go in the tumble drier, although I am tempted in the hope that they might shrink to fit my foot, as I love the look and feel of both the Comfort sock and Safety sock.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 2 pairs of of the Ultimate Comfort socks courtesy of Workforce to one lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Family Fever

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Superdrug Foot Scrub and Foot Cream review & giveaway

I received two Superdrug foot products to review, their own brand exfoliating foot scrub and intensive foot cream.

Superdrug exfoliating foot scrub and intensive foot cream

My feet always need a lot of tlc. Foot ailments, you name it, I have it, bunions, heel cracks, corns to name but a few. Every bathtime I’m there with the pumice stone trying to soften the rough callouses on my feet. And I dread summer, because not only do my feet look unsightly, they blister so easily if I’m not wearing socks and trainers. No pretty shoes and sandals for me. I even get blisters wearing flip flops. So as you can imagine I already use plenty of foot care products on a daily basis.

Tamper-proof seal on Superdrug exfoliating foot scrub

Tamper-proof seal

And now on to the testing. I was pleased to see on opening both tubes that they have a tamper-proof seal. They both smelt pleasant and were easy to apply. I have been using them every day for a week now. I’m using the foot scrub in either the shower or bath, so that it can be rinsed off. Afterwards I’m following up with the foot cream. And I’m also applying the foot cream again at bedtime.

I have to say as yet I haven’t noticed any improvement in the condition of my feet, however a week is early days. But also my feet are no worse than if I was still using my usual products which are certainly more expensive than these.

superdrug exfoliating foot scrub & intensive foot cream

Each of these products currently retails at £3.49 for a 100ml tube, so really good value for money in my opinion. Also Superdrug currently has a promotion on selected footcare products including both of these to buy one, get a second half price.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a tube of foot scrub and a tube of foot cream to one lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from Superdrug?

Family Fever

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Objets de Désir Bird Stud Earrings Easter giveaway

If you love discovering unique products which are not available on the High Street, then take a look at Objets de Désir. This is a boutique which sells a beautiful range of handmade treasures created by emerging artists and designers from around the world. It includes a wide variety of lifestyle products from fashion and jewellery to homeware and accessories. Fab to browse around.

They even do wedding lists. And for those of you who live near enough to visit, they have a boutique store in Clifton, Bristol.

One of the designers whose work is showcased at Objets de Désir is Mica Peet and this is what she has to say about her style.

My design philosophy consists of juxtaposing my love of the beautiful natural world with an edgier, modern and idiosyncratic design aesthetic. My main focus is on how I can be innovative yet commercial with the strong use of my quirky illustrative style and how these translate into print designs to adorn the body and home. I love creating really detailed and abstract imagery that is full of energy yet that is confined and controlled into a literal shape inspired by animals. My products are forever evolving, and my head is constantly full to the brim with new idea’s just waiting to be created.

Do take a look at Mica’s work which includes jewellery, mirrors and illustrations. One of her lovely pieces are the bird stud earrings. This beautiful unique original pair have been handmade by laser cutting wood and incorporate one of Mica’s own print designs on the surface. And can you believe it? These gorgeous earrings currently only cost £6.50. What amazing value.

Beautiful patterned laser cut bird stud earrings

You can find out a bit more about Mica on the Objets de Désir blog when they talked to her last month. You can read what she had to say when she was in the spotlight here.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a pair of Mica’s gorgeous bird stud earrings to one lucky winner. It would make a great gift or to keep yourself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite piece from Objets de Désir? Mine is the Sir Nils Olav Penguin brooch.

You can find Objets De Désir on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any product.  All opinions are my own.

Mars Bar Cake

This is a favourite recipe of my other half from his childhood, probably the first recipe he shared with me rather than vice versa. The whole family love this. I always make two types, one without chocolate on the top and one with. But if you only wish to make one type, the one without chocolate on top is certainly far easier to cut into pieces.

Mars bar cake

Mars bar cake

Ingredients (makes 24)

3 standard size mars bars
2 tbsp golden syrup
85g margarine
approx 225g rice krispies
200g milk chocolate

Method

Line two 20cm square tins or dishes with cling film.
Chop the mars bars into small pieces.
Put the mars bars, syrup and margarine in a pan.
Slowly heat until it is melted, stirring occasionally.
Stir in as many rice krispies as the mixture will coat.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins.
Press into the corners and flatten with back of spoon.
Put into refrigerator to set.
Break chocolate into small pieces and put in a glass basin.
Heat a pan of water and turn down to a gentle simmer.
Put the basin in the pan, taking care not to let any water spill into the basin.
Melt the chocolate over the hot water.
Pour the melted chocolate over one of the mars bar cakes.
Return to the refrigerator.
Once fully set, cut each mars bar cake into 12 pieces.
Arrange in an alternating design on a serving plate.
Serve and enjoy.

Mars bar cake

Mars bar cakeMars bar cake

Link up your recipe of the week

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Dr. Oetker pizza winners & the ice pizzeria

First let me tell you that the winners of my recent Dr. Oetker pizza giveaway are
1st Katie Skeoch
2nd Jennifer Carroll
3rd Leanne Weir

Dr. Oetker pizza voucher

Well done ladies! I hope you enjoy your pizzas.

And now for something a little different. Those of you who were at Liverpool Street station yesterday (March 18th) may have seen something rather unusual.

A pizzeria made out of four tonnes of ice opened for one day only, outside the London railway station.

The Ice Pizzeria Ristorante

Crafted from 34 huge blocks of ice, using 3,400 litres of water, and contains the essential ingredients of classic pizzas suspended in its frozen walls, the Dr. Oetker Ristorante pizzeria has been created to showcase the freshness of frozen food.

A team of ice-experts spent an entire night putting the incredible frozen pizzeria together – and witnessed the impact of their endeavours when bleary-eyed commuters stared in disbelief as they started to arrive at Liverpool Street station in their thousands from 7am.

The Ice Pizzeria even has its own bar with 28 real glass bottles frozen into the blocks of ice, so they look like bottles on a shelf. And to complete the look it even has old pizzeria pictures frozen into the ice walls.

The team behind the sub-zero exhibit even created an ice-table inside the jaw-dropping display – which has a Balsamic vinegar bottle and olive oil bottle suspended in ice, just like in a real pizzeria.

The blocks, which have taken a full month to produce, have been specially created to hold a suspended wallpaper pattern inside the ice, made up from ingredients used on Dr. Oetker Ristorante pizzas – peppers, chilli, salami, ham, pepperoni, mozzarella, rosemary, thyme and basil.

And the ingredients have been painstakingly set into the ice by hand. There are approximately 70 separate items inside each block, and each item had to be weighed down in the water individually until the ice bites and it sticks in place.

Each block of ice takes five days to ‘grow’ to full size, with the ice forming over the suspended ingredients so the ice experts were only able to produce eight blocks in one run.

Diane Spence, Senior Brand Manager, said: “We’re really pleased with the result and we firmly believe creating our Ice Pizzeria is a real achievement. It certainly widened a few tired eyes among the commuters at Liverpool Street this morning.

“We’ve created this Ice Pizzeria as part of our #freshnessfrozen campaign which highlights, via our marketing campaign, that freezing pauses fine ingredients at the peak of perfection and suspends them there until the moment you’re ready to enjoy them.”

Glacial Art Ice Sculptors, the sculptors behind the ice pizzeria, has been creating bespoke masterpieces in ice since 2006, and is the leading specialists in the field of ice.

I’d love to hear what you think of this PR campaign?

Disclosure.  Although I have previously received Dr. Oetker pizza vouchers, I did not receive anything for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Upcycling project – creating our own whiteboard

I have received two free products from Rust-oleum to review, the first of which is their dry wipe paint. You’ll have to watch out for another blog post to hear about the other product.

Rust-oleum dry wipe paint

Initially before the product arrived, I had a big plan. I intended to convert son1’s wardrobe doors into a large whiteboard area that he could write on. He has always been a bit naughty about writing and drawing on walls, even fairly recently when he is old enough to know better. So I thought this would give him an area to express his creativity without getting into trouble.

Rust-oleum dry wipe paint

However once the product arrived, I decided to downsize the plan, as when I opened the box, I found it contained two tins – a smaller tin A and a larger tin B. Reading the instructions, I was uncertain of the proportions to use of each. It talked about pouring B into A, but how much? B was bigger than A, so certainly wouldn’t all fit in tin A. It also said to apply within 10 minutes of mixing and to recoat after 2 hours. I concluded it would be best to mix some of A and B in a separate paint tray and hope that I got the proportions okay.

I therefore decided to downsize the plan to instead upcycle a small pinboard into a whiteboard. Luckily I hadn’t described the project to son1, so he won’t know there has been a change of plan. This meant there would be plenty of paint leftover to try again if my proportions were wrong. I also missed out the step to apply a primer first, since I hadn’t been sent a primer. The original email had mentioned a magnetic primer, but when I opened the package, I found this hadn’t been included. That could have added another fun element to the project, a magnetic whiteboard, as the boys love magnets.

It also recommended that for part A, the activator, you should wear protective gloves and eye protection. I don’t have any safety glasses, but I did pop a pair of disposable gloves on, before I opened the tin. I then poured some of part A into my paint tray, followed by some of part B. I mixed them together for the recommended 2 minutes before applying a first coat to the pinboard. I then washed away any spare paint from the tray and roller, ready to start again in a couple of hours time, at which point I repeated the process for the second coat.

Making a whiteboard with Rust-oleum dry wipe paint

The next thing is to allow the dry wipe surface to cure for 5 days at 20 deg C or to allow more time in cooler temperatures. I decided to wait a week in that case.

Fast forward one week and I presented the whiteboard to son1 along with a washable marker pen. I waited with bated breath whilst he wrote his first message, then I tried to rub it off initially with a piece of dry kitchen roll. This did leave a slight blue smudge, so I tried again with a wet cloth. Result, it cleaned off perfectly, ready to use again. My worry about whether I had got the proportions right was over. I was very pleased and so was son1. He is loving his new whiteboard and he can still use it as a pinboard too. A step up from his old toddler magic drawing board which he had never let me get rid of.

Making a whiteboard with Rust-oleum dry wipe paint

Making a whiteboard with Rust-oleum dry wipe paint

The RRP for Rust-oleum dry wipe paint is £34.99 and it is available from B&Q, Homebase and other leading stockists. More information is on the Rust-oleum website. The product comprises 200 ml of the activator and 800 ml of the white gloss. I’ve no idea if this is good value or not as it is such a niche product. It is obviously a lot more expensive than just purchasing a litre of gloss paint. But I do recommend this product although I would prefer it to be made clear on the instructions as to optimum proportions of part A and B. And also whether it was necessary for me to dispose of spare activated paint after coat 1, or did I misinterpret that and needlessly wasted some of the product? I don’t know.

I also noticed the tag line on the box said Trusted Quality since 1921 and that Rust-oleum products are manufactured very near to where my grandparents used to live. My grandad was a painter and decorator, so I wonder if Rust-oleum might have been his brand of choice?

So I’d love to hear what projects you would use this type of paint for?

Family Fever

Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. 

The Marriage Certificate – by Stephen Molyneux

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was catching up on my reading from books received for Christmas 2013, as the pile has grown with more received this Christmas. Now that I’ve started, I’m fairly motoring through them.

The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

Sticking with my recent theme of genealogical fiction, is The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux which I originally heard of via the Amazon widget on the Lost Cousins newsletter. The first little snippet I wish to mention is that the author shares his surname with one of my own ancestral lines and I can see from the front of the book that he too is an amateur genealogist. Who knows, we may even share a common ancestor. I was already starting to speculate before reading whether he had chosen the surname Sefton from his own personal research as I have a small booklet on Sefton Church produced on behalf of the International Molyneux Family Association.

This is what it says on the back cover.

What prompts amateur family historian Peter Sefton to buy the marriage certificate he sees on display in an antiques arcade? Is it because he thinks it should be private and he wants to remove it from public view? Is it the prospect of researching the individuals named upon it? Or is it something else, happenstance perhaps, which leads him towards a potentially lucrative discovery and a long forgotten family secret?

When John and Louisa marry in January 1900, who could foretell how their lives and those of ambitious Rose, the bridesmaid, and confident Frank, the best man, would be changed that day?

Follow their story, through Peter’s research and find out how, with investigative skill and a certain amount of luck, Peter finds himself pulled along to uncover a series of sad and tragic events … events, which connect the marriage certificate to a modern day mystery. But … there’s a complication. In his quest to complete the family tree he learns that he has competition. It’s not just a matter of pride; there’s money at stake too. Should he the amateur give up, or can he really beat the professionals at their own game?

I was drawn into this story right from the word go. It begins in the present with character Peter Sefton buying a marriage certificate dated 1900 at an antiques centre . We then skip back and forth to various times in history setting the scene introducing the various characters. The author carefully weaves everything together. There is even an Heir Hunting company researching an unclaimed estate.

So Peter begins his research from the marriage in 1900 and the Heir Hunters begin their research from a death in 1996. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent to the reader that both are researching into the same family tree.

If you would like a taster of this story, the first chapter is available to read on the book’s own website here.

I could relate so much to this story. Before the boys were born, I used to love to browse around antiques centres including the ephemera sections. And Heir Hunters is one my favourite programmes, which I’m very glad to see back on the TV. I’ve been catching up on my ironing whilst watching it. My own family history research is on the backburner currently, as I have too many other demands on my time, but I do hope to get back to it sometime.

The Marriage Certificate is Stephen Molyneux’s first novel and the paperback edition is currently on sale on Amazon for £7.99.  It is also available in kindle format. I highly recommend this book. It is a gripping read and I do very much hope that Stephen will write another story.

Do let me know if you come across other authors of genealogical fiction. I’m addicted to this genre now.

MamaMummyMum
Weekend Book Club

A Red Nose cooking disaster – Cherry Muffins

I thought that I would make some Cherry Muffins for Red Nose Day, but things didn’t go quite to plan. After putting the mixture in the muffin cases, I carefully placed another cherry on the top of each for the Red Noses. But when I looked in the oven, there was no sign of the Noses, the cakes had risen over the cherries. Obviously the cherries must have been too heavy and had sunk right into the muffins. So as they are still very tasty, I’m going to share my recipe for Cherry Muffins, but with no mention of the cherry on top. Perhaps with hindsight, it would have been better to ice the muffins and then decorate with a cherry on top, but I was looking forward to the classic crunchy sugary top.

cherry muffins

Ingredients (makes 18)

100g margarine
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teasp vanilla essence
250g self raising flour
pinch of salt
125ml milk
200g glace cherries
approx 2 tbsp brown sugar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 210 deg C.
Line a muffin tin with cases.
Chop the cherries into quarters.
Cream together the margarine and sugar.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla essence.
Add the salt.
Gradually sieve in the flour, alternating with the milk.
Add the cherries and spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cases.
Sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar onto the top of each muffin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
Then reduce the heat to 170 deg C for another 15 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven and place on cooling rack.
Serve and enjoy.

Cherry Muffins

Or my uncle’s suggestion is to wash the cherries first, dry them and dust with flour to stop them sinking.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Chicken Quinoa Salad plus monbento review and giveaway

I recently blogged about bento which is a Japanese packed lunch arranged to look like a picture, which has been taking the world by storm. Well I have now received my second free Bento style lunchbox to review. This time it is the MB Tresor kid’s bento box from monbento.

monbento lunch box

monbento lunch bag

It comes in four choices of colour and I selected Blueberry. I also received a matching MB Pochette bento bag to make it easy to carry your box. Once I opened the box up, I discovered it had 3 compartments, 2 smaller on top and 1 larger below, separated by an intermediary lid.

Monbento lunch box


I decided to make a Chicken Quinoa Salad, as I had some leftover chicken from a roast. And then serve son1’s portion in the monbento box, so that his tea was ready to eat as soon as we arrived house. Always a plus, if I can get him eating asap on school nights when we’re late home, as he can’t have his chemo until an hour after eating and I don’t want his bedtime ending up too late.

Chicken quinoa salad

Chicken Quinoa Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

180g quinoa
540 ml cold water
75g cooked chicken
1 carrot
100g baby plum tomatoes
50g mange tout
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp parmesan
salt and pepper

Method

Put quinoa and cold water in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat.
Simmer for about 20 minutes until water absorbed.
Add more water if necessary.
Allow to cool.
Grate the carrot.
Shred the chicken.
Cut the tomatoes in half.
Add the chicken and vegetables to the quinoa.
Mix together with the mayonnaise.
Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve and enjoy.

And I used the two smaller boxes for desserts. In one I put a homemade cake and in the other I put a chopped kiwi fruit. I was originally going to put a whole plum in the box but the lid wouldn’t close and similarly I had to squash the cake slightly to get the lid shut.

monbento lunch box

So a tasty tea ready for son1 to enjoy, although no fancy bento food pictures. I’m always too busy to find the time to make picture meals.

And the verdict. Son1 loved having his tea in the monbento box. He found the box simple to open and liked being able to see the contents of the 2 small boxes, once he had opened his “parcel”. However he did cleverly point out that there was nowhere to put the fork that was needed to eat his salad.

monbento lunch box

monbento lunch box

The kids box retails at £16 each and the bag at £5.60. The box is made fun for kids with the interchangeable tokens to display in the lid. It measures approx. 16 x 9 x 10 cm with a
capacity of 0.9 L and is BPA-free. It is microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

I did find that the lid token got slightly wet the first time I washed the box. I think it was probably due to son1 not tightening it fully when he shut it after swapping the tokens around, but with hindsight, it would be best to remove the token before washing. Otherwise I was very pleased with this box.

I also received a leaflet aimed at the kids, but it was in french. I’ve now found you can download the english version from the monbento website.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a kid’s bento box courtesy of monbento to one lucky winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Family Fever

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Spotted Dick

Regular readers of my blog will know that I enjoy cooking and frequently post on this topic. So when I was recently asked if I would like to try out one of the Sunrise Senior Living recipes, of course I said yes. Do I sense some raised eyebrows at this statement. No I’m not senior, I have 2 young children, but the Sunrise Senior Living chefs ensure that all of their recipes are nutritious and tasty, making them great for everyone, not just the elderly.

I was emailed a selection of Sunrise Senior Living recipes to choose from. They all sounded and looked very delicious, but I decided to cook their Spotted Dick. I thought it would be a good challenge to try making a steamed pudding as I’ve always used the microwave method for sponge puddings. And also I have great memories of my grandma cooking Spotted Dick with custard and other traditional steamed puddings. In fact, custard was my grandad’s favourite food.

Spotted Dick and Custard

I followed the recipe as stated apart from one small change. Butter was included on the ingredients but not mentioned within the method, so I assumed that it needed to be creamed with the suet and sugar. I have updated step 1 of the method below accordingly.

spotted dick
Spotted Dick

Ingredients (serves 8)

90g vegetable suet
90g caster sugar
1 medium egg
90g self raising flour – sieved
90g plain breadcrumbs
90g currants
112ml whole milk
22g salted butter

Method

Cream the suet, butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Gently add the egg and mix until smooth.
Slowly add the flour, breadcrumbs and currants.
Mix at low speed until incorporated.
Gradually add the milk until the mixture is smooth.
Grease a pudding basin and spoon the mixture into the basin.
Cover with a piece of folded greaseproof paper.
Tie around the edge with a string and place a damp tea towel over the top.
Tie once more with a string to secure the tea towel.
Place the basin into a large lidded saucepan.
Fill the pan two-thirds of the way up with water.
Cover with the lid.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve with custard and enjoy.

spotted dick

spotted dick

spotted dick

Son2 enjoying Spotted Dick and custard

The whole family really enjoyed this tasty dessert. Thank you very much for our taste of Sunrise.

If you’ve ever wondered what award-winning food tastes like, Taste of Sunrise is your chance to find out. To coincide with Nutrition and Hydration Week, from 16th to 22nd March, every Sunrise community is hosting events that celebrate the art of creating great food that is also nutritious. Come and sample fine food, pick up FREE Sunrise recipe cards and learn more about how they cater for even the most challenging dietary needs of each and every resident.

You can use their FREE recipes to recreate the ‘taste of Sunrise’ at home. The cards are just a small selection of their Chefs’ favourite recipes which provide easy, step-by-step instructions and all the nutritional information for each recipe.

Book your Taste of Sunrise today.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Disclosure. This post is in collaboration with Sunrise Senior Living who provide assisted living in care homes. I have been reimbursed for the cost of the ingredients.