Painting with PlayColor

Bigjigs introduced Playcolor products to their range back in March of this year. It is the no mess
painting alternative and they sent me a free sample in red and gold for the boys to try out.

Play Colour

It has taken us a while to get round to trying it out, but last weekend son2 put Playcolor to the test.

Playcolor Metallic Solid Poster Paint

Son2 tested them out on his bear picture and we were both very impressed. It was easy for him to hold and use. It functions like a glue stick with a rotating mechanism and has a lid to replace after use. It dries very quickly on the paper and washes off his hands easily.

Playcolor Metallic Solid Poster Paint

So Playcolor has all of the benefits of poster paint but without any of the mess! No need for water or paintbrushes and doesn’t wrinkle the paper either. Quick drying and solvent free. The range includes paints for use on paper, cardboard, textiles, and even face paints.

A pack of 6 assorted 10g colours currently retails for £5.99. Good value in my opinion and ideal for school or home use. Suitable for age 3+.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase of Playcolor at Bigjigs with discount code: “GBPC10PC”. This offer can also be redeemed on Amazon, so long as you select Bigjigs Toys as the seller.

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

Never Eat Yellow Snow by Lior Blum

I have received a free e-copy of the book Never Eat Yellow Snow by Lior Blum to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Never Eat Yellow Snow by Lior Blum

Here is the book blurb.

Never Eat Yellow Snow is a story about the bonds of friendship and forging true kinship in the most unlikely of settings.

As a recent divorcee Caesar should be sowing his seed but racked with guilt (a prerequisite for a young Jew) he is in the midst of an identity crisis, which may or may not be the reason for his impotence. Celeste can’t get enough. Her passion for the big ‘O’ has led her down a path of kink and perversion. Jaded, there is only one depravity left to try; a monogamous relationship but is she capable of fidelity? Alex on the other hand enjoys sex in the bosom of a relationship, trouble is all her partners end up cheating on her and now she is disillusioned. The Retreat specialising in psychosexual and group therapy is their last resort at a shot of ‘normality’.

This story is set at The Retreat, a spa in rural Canada for the dysfunctional with sexual hang-ups. Pretty much everything in it is to do with sex or genitals or nakedness. Even in the bedside drawers at The Retreat, you get a copy of the Kama Sutra rather than the Bible. The three main characters are Alex who reached the end of the line with cheating partners, when she realised her ex had another girl watching them having sex via his phone. Then there is Celeste who can’t get enough of orgasms and has kept a diary scoring everyone she has had sex with. She doesn’t recall how many partners she had – perhaps 800. And finally Caesar, who divorced his wife Sarah, but has been impotent since the divorce. What is causing his impotence and why does he keep having nightmares about castration?

Apart from the one-to-one and group sessions with the sexual therapists and bizarre evening entertainment, there is plenty of time to enjoy the spa and country surroundings. So we see friendships develop between attendees at The Retreat.

I have to say this book wasn’t for me. I don’t mind a few steamy sex scenes in a story, but the whole premise of this story is sex. And it was just too much as far as I was concerned, particularly the more kinky aspects. But I did enjoy the epilogue which drew the story to a very satisfactory conclusion.

Never Eat Yellow Snow, the debut novel from Lior Blum is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p in Kindle format. Not for me, but if it sounds like your cup of tea, then give it a try.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Time for an Essential Teatox Detox plus giveaway

It’s that time of year when coughs and colds abound as the weather starts to get colder. Plus there is the knowledge of the impending excesses of Christmas looming. So for the last two weeks, I’ve been doing a detox with Essential Teatox. For this, I received a free 14 day supply of Essential Teatox teabags to review.

Essential Teatox detox programme

The Essential Teatox 14 day programme consists of 14 detox teabags to take daily soon after you wake up, plus 7 cleanse teabags to take on alternate days, a few hours before bedtime.

I started my Teatox programme to coincide with my night shifts, as this is when I most need a pick me up to give me extra energy.

Essential Teatox is branded as supporting weight loss, helping to detox the body and increase energy. It also recommends that it is at it’s most effective when combined with regular exercise, eating the correct food and looking after your body.

By starting it to coincide with night shifts, certainly meant I didn’t give it the best chance of hitting it’s most effective potential as exercise and healthy eating both went out the window. It was mainly toast and ready meals, and I only managed to fit in a couple of 10-minute runs between my pm cleanse tea and bed. I was much more disciplined on the second week with both food and exercise.

Teatox detox tea

However even those short bedtime runs show how it had increased my energy. Normally I’m barely back in the house after a nightshift before I’m straight into bed. And I lost the extra kg of weight that I had put on during half term without any effort, back to my usual weight with no feeling of bloatedness. I found I was sleeping better and less headaches too. So thumbs up for Teatox on night shifts.

I let the tea brew for 2 minutes and found the flavour of both am and pm tea to be very pleasant. Slightly sweeter than I expected which I assume was down to the Stevia Leaf, a zero calorie sweetener. I’ve never sweetened my tea, but I’m sure that is a big plus for those of you who do. And I loved the hint of mint.

Here is a list of the Teatox ingredients and their benefits. They are all 100% natural ingredients.

– Lemon peel – Helps to decrease cholesterol, improve bone health and detoxify the liver!
– Fenugreek – Helps to reduce inflammation within the body.
– Ginger – Helps to soothe the digestive tract and helps to relieve conditions that cause bloating.
– Gymnema – Is known to lessen the cravings for sweet foods and help to regulate an excessive appetite. It also helps to reduce sugar absorption during digestion to promote normal blood sugar levels.
– Juniper Berry – Aids in digestion and relieves symptoms of bloating and water retention. Juniper is also a diuretic, which helps to flush out toxins.
– Oolong Tea – Can help to reduce inflammatory disorders, high cholesterol and stress. It has been known to help maintain healthy skin and bones as well as aiding in weight management.
– Peppermint – Has a refreshing flavour and helps to relax the intestinal muscles.
– Red Raspberry – Includes vitamins and minerals to burn fat.
– Sarsaparilla – Contains antioxidant properties and plant sterols beneficial to good health. Flavonoids are also present and help to treat autoimmune conditions and inflammation.
– Liquorice – Is known for reducing stress. It also helps to fight against tooth decay, as it has antibacterial properties.
– Stevia Leaf – Is a 100% natural, zero calorie sweetener which also helps to lower blood pressure.
– Dandelion Leaf – Contains potassium and is also a diuretic which helps to support kidney health.
– Burdock Root – Is good for protecting the liver and detoxifying blood.
– Triphala Powder – Assists natural internal cleansing. It helps to nourish and rejuvenate the tissues and supports healthy digestion and absorption.
– Red Clover – Is a natural blood purifier.

A 14 day supply of Essential Teatox currently retails at £19.99 which is less than £1 per cup for the 21 teabags.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 14 day supply of Essential Teatox to one lucky winner.

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your favourite tea.

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

Twenty Four Days to Christmas by Fred Arthur

As we approach the Advent season, we are waiting for our free paperback copy of children’s Christmas book “Twenty Four Days to Christmas” by Fred Arthur to arrive. In the meantime, we have been looking at the kindle version. Just like how you can have Advent candles as an alternative to an Advent calendar, here is a book with a tale for each day of Advent.

Twenty Four Days to Christmas by Fred Arthur

Here is the book blurb.

Poppy is in agony – it is the First of December and she has twenty-four days to wait until Christmas and she is convinced that she will not be able to contain her excitement and impatience: How can she possibly wait so long for Santa to arrive? Poppy’s parents put their heads together and come up with a cunning plan that has Poppy completing a different, Christmas themed activity every day, to keep Her busy until Christmas (and Santa) finally arrives. Twenty-Four Days To Christmas is an Advent Calendar of a book, which can be read one day at a time, or as a complete story, and centres on Christmas, family and the magic of the Christmas season.

This book is truly delightful and beautifully illustrated. It can be read each day throughout Advent or alternatively all in one go. Think of it as an Advent calendar but as a book. It is packed full of 24 Christmas activities for Poppy to participate in, all thought up by her parents to keep her busy so she forgets her impatience at waiting for the big day itself.

It is one of those timeless Christmas books that we shall enjoy year after year, just like The Night Before Christmas.

Twenty Four Days To Christmas by Fred Arthur

Twenty Four Days to Christmas is available on Amazon, currently priced at £5.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. and is published by Clink Street Publishing. Written by Fred Arthur and illustrated by Paul Winward. I highly recommend this gorgeous children’s Advent book. I’ve read the story in one go and we are looking forward to reading it together on a day by day basis throughout Advent. Son1 has also already enjoyed dipping into it.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. I will shortly also be receiving it in paperback format.  All opinions are my own.

Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare? by David Lawrence-Young

I was about to select a book on NetGalley when I realised I had one from earlier in the year that I had forgotten to read. I don’t know how this oversight happened, but I’ve now read Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare by David Lawrence-Young.

Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare by David Lawrence-Young

Here is the book blurb.

“William Shakespeare was a con man! A faker and a forger!” With these words from a fellow lecturer ringing in his ears, university lecturer, Daniel Ryhope, sets off on a quest to uncover the truth: Did Shakespeare really write Shakespeare?

Joined by his wife and two friends, Daniel begins the search: analyzing and sifting through information on writers and dramatists who were alive during the Shakespearean era. How could it be that the writer of the greatest works in English came from a small market town? Did the creator of Hamlet and Macbeth have to be rich and well-educated? Was Shakespeare a cover-name for an anonymous aristocratic playwright? Did Shakespeare have connections at court? Was the writer really a woman? Was it possible that the plays were written by a team?

In true detective fashion, Daniel and his friends investigate all the possible options and theories. In the end, they announce their conclusion, appropriately enough, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Using sources from far and wide, D. Lawrence-Young has written a fascinating novel of detection which throws much light on the perennial question: Who Really Wrote Shakespeare?

The blurb really attracted me to this book. I have to say that it had never occurred to me that someone else may have written Shakespeare’s plays and I was fascinated by the idea. Was the famous bard really who he said he was? The story is fictional but it references many earlier works as this question has been debated for over 200 years.

The story starts with fellow lecturer Anna stating that Shakespeare was a fraud. How could the son of a Stratford glovemaker write so well about things he hadn’t experienced first-hand like other countries, battles and sea-storms? History lecturer Daniel decides to try to find out whether Shakespeare really did write his plays and sonnets or was it someone else. He enlists the help of his friend and fellow history lecturer Mike. Soon Jenny, another history lecturer and also Mike’s girlfriend joins in. And later on, Daniel’s wife Beth gets in on the act too. There seems to be a wealth of material on the topic in the university library plus sources online. And I like how Daniel utilises his students too.

It is done in a Poirot detective style with them investigating each other possible candidate in turn. I loved how it is broken down into manageable chunks, with them stopping each session because it is time for favourite TV show or they are hungry, etc. I felt it was written in a style that many of us might write in. It made me feel that there could be a book in more of us than we realise.

I loved this book especially the conclusion reached. And it even had me looking up the question on Wikipedia myself afterwards.

David Lawrence-Young is a prolific author who has spent the last forty-five years teaching History and English. In addition to Who Really Wrote Shakespeare, he has written sixteen other novels – and many more magazine articles – about travelling and history, indicating not only his wealth of knowledge about these subjects, but his love of them too. Follow Lawrence-Young’s blog for more fascinating insights into the life and work of the famous bard.

Who REALLY Wrote Shakespeare is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p on Kindle. I highly recommend this book, an  intriguing, historical detective novel.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I received for free.  All opinions are my own.

Science experiments in the bath with a turtlemeter

I have received a turtlemeter free from Ozeri to review. I know you’re wondering what is a turtlemeter. No it is not a measuring device to check the size of turtles, although maybe I could have done with something like that many years ago on holiday. I visited a sea turtle conservation project where you get to carry the tiny turtles, only a few days old, to the edge of the ocean to release them into the wild, plus hold the heavy giant turtles.

Ozeri Turtlemeter bath thermometer

Let me tell you that a turtlemeter is a floating bath toy which is also a thermometer. The temperature displays in red if the water is too hot, above 39 deg C.

Ozeri Turtlemeter bath thermometer

And it displays in blue, if the water is too cold, below 35 deg C.

Ozeri Turtlemeter bath thermometer

However if the water is an ideal temperature, between 35 to 39 deg C, then it displays in green. Son2 likes to run his own bath now and found this fascinating. He was experimenting with different temperature ranges, checking under the taps and mixing the water round. We discovered that he had actually previously been having quite cold baths in the blue zone, so now he is going to bath himself at a much more optimum temperature. He discovered that although it floats, he could submerge it fully under the water. We discussed how it worked safely, when usually  water and electricity don’t mix.

Ozeri Turtlemeter bath thermometer

This is a great educational bath toy. And it is also an ideal gadget for a baby’s bath, although I do recommend that you still do the elbow test and constantly supervise a baby or very young child’s bath.

It has an easy-to-read LCD screen which regularly updates as it is checking the water temperature every second. It is sensor activated with no buttons or switches. You are recommended to fully dry it after the bath, to preserve battery life.

The turtlemeter is currently retailing on Amazon for £14.95. It comes with 3 AAA batteries already installed and a year’s warranty. A great product in my opinion. Ideal as a  Christmas stocking gift.

I’d love to hear what is on your Christmas wish list.

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

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell – book review and giveaway

Son1 has received a free copy of The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell to review.

The Wolf Wilders

Here is the book blurb.

Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

This book is set a hundred years ago in Russia. The aristocracy send their unwanted pet wolves to Feo’s mother to rewild them. However General Rakov of the Russian Army comes saying that in future they must shoot these wolves. They refuse to comply when the next wolf arrives and Rakov returns, capturing her mother and burning their home. Feo, Ilya and the wolves set off for St Petersburg to try to free her mother, meeting friends and foes enroute.

Here is son1’s video review.

The Wolf Wilder is available on Amazon, currently priced at £5.59 in paperback compared to RRP of £7.99 or in hardback or Kindle format and published by Bloomsbury. We both highly recommend this lovely story. Targeted at children age 9-11.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of The Wolf Wilder to one lucky winner. comper friendly badge

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your child’s favourite book.

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

The Millennial Mentality: More Than Memes, Cats & Mishaps by Elan M Carson

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Millennial Mentality: More Than Memes, Cats & Mishaps by Elan M Carson to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

The Millennial Mentality More than Memes, Cats & Mishaps by Elan M Carson

Here is the book blurb.

Millennials have heard all of the cultural criticisms and backlash; we are bemoaned a generation of entitlement and nicknamed monikers such as Gen Why?, Internet Generation, MyPod Generation, and the Boomerang Generation.

As a Millennial, I can tell you that yes, our value systems have changed, our beliefs have expanded to be more inclusive, and our career goals have shifted to prioritize happiness and self-fulfillment over workplace cubicles in gray-scale offices.

We may not be homeowners with 2.5 children grasping mid-rung on a corporate ladder, but we are cat owners and we are adaptable to change, creatively crowdfunding ways to support our projects and goals.

In this book learn about the mentality of Millennials and where we stand when it comes to racism, LGBT+ rights, body image, and other divisive issues all while surviving as delayed adults.

I don’t usually read much non-fiction, but agreed to review this book when asked by the author. Elan is American so it is very much written from an American perspective, although there are some UK references. I found that it uses a lot of terms that I am unfamiliar with. Even in the title, meme is a new word to me and did you know that a Millennial is someone born in the 1980s or 1990s?

However it did help to put definitions to other terms that I often come across and have wondered what they meant. For instance I now know that bae is a term of endearment similar to babe.

I was able to relate to the later lighter chapters much better than the earlier ones which covered heavier topics. And I really chuckled when I came to the “Waiting for My Owl” chapter as both my boys are Harry Potter obsessed and waiting for their letters to go to Hogwarts.

The Millennial Mentality: More Than Memes, Cats & Mishaps is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.31 in Kindle format. Also available in paperback. An interesting read.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The tasty alternative to a greetings card plus giveaway

I’ve reached the reminder in my list that says to buy Christmas cards. I have to say I buy much fewer of these now than I used to, mostly just for the boys to send to their school friends. Beyond that I tend to mainly send charity e-cards or I prefer to do something a little bit more memorable for close family and friends.

So I was interested to hear about Morse Toad Messaging which is a tasty alternative to a greetings card. They specialise in putting a smile on someone’s face with a surprise personalised chocolate delivery. And they gave me a free £10 voucher to spend on their website.

I showed the website to the boys and they wanted to surprise their dad with one. We decided to  stick with the seasonal theme, but as it is far too early to have a Christmassy house, we just dug out their Christmas hats for a photo, ready to personalise their gift.

Christmas hats

They chose the “Best Dad in the World” wording which currently retails at £12.50. We wrote a personalised message to be printed on the reverse of the card insert. And I uploaded their photo for the front of the card which cost an additional £1. Or there were a few free images of Morse Toad in his top hat that you can choose from instead of uploading your own image. All told, the ordering process was very quick and simple. And shipping is free for all UK orders over £5.

Alternatively you can personalise the wording for your chocolate. There are 11 character spaces per row and you may have up to 4 rows.

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

The service was very quick. I placed the order in the evening and had an email the next afternoon to say it had been dispatched. Two days later it arrived. It was well packed and is letterbox size.

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

Morse Toad Messaging Chocolate

Doesn’t that look fantastic, full of tasty Belgian chocolate? Wouldn’t you just love to give or receive one of these?

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a £15 voucher to spend at Morse Toad Messaging. So the lucky winner gets to choose how to spend their prize. Open worldwide.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your order at Morse Toad Messaging with discount code: “YABMummy” (expires Christmas Day).
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear who you would like to give a Morse Toad chocolate message to and for what occasion?

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Disclosure. I received a £10 voucher towards purchasing goods from Morse Toad. All opinions are my own.

The Last Night by Cesca Major – book review and giveaway

I wasn’t expecting this, so it was a great surprise to open the package and find a copy of The Last Night by Cesca Major inside. I couldn’t wait to finish books that I was already committed to reading, so that I could start reading this book. Regular followers of my blog may guess why I had such high expectations, since I really enjoyed Cesca’s first novel The Silent Hours.

The Last Night by Cesca Major

This is what it says on the back cover.

In a quiet coastal village, Irina spends her days restoring furniture, passing the time in peace and hiding away from the world. A family secret, long held and never discussed, casts a dark shadow and Irina chooses to withdraw into her work. When an antique bureau is sent to her workshop, the owner anonymous, Irina senses a history to the object that makes her uneasy. As Irina begins to investigate the origins of the piece, she unearths the secrets it holds within.

Decades earlier, another young woman kept secrets. Her name was Abigail. Over the course of one summer, she fell in love, and dreamed of the future. But Abigail could not know that a catastrophe loomed, and this event would change the course of many lives for ever…

And I can safely say, not only did it live up to my expectations but it exceeded them. This book was a real page turner that I just couldn’t put down. It followed a similar format to The Silent Hours, with the narrative swapping back and forth between present day and 1952.

This book starts with a prologue in August 1952, then moves back to 3 months earlier to introduce Abigail and her friend Mary in Bristol, and then forward to now to introduce Irina, a furniture restorer. Abigail’s mum dies and she has to leave Mary and their dreams of a future in America behind and go and live in Lynmouth with her sister Connie who she hasn’t seen in over 10 years and brother-in-law Larry.

Meanwhile we follow Irina’s memories of her Dad and her brother Joshua. She also receives a new piece of furniture to restore – a bureau. From then on she experiences ghostly sensations emanating from the bureau. But she gradually discovers secret compartments in the bureau with mementoes hidden within. We see how Irina interacts with her mum, plus she meets up with her ex, Andrew again who wants to see the bureau too.

Andrew traces one of the mementoes, a ticket stub, as being from the Cliff Railway at Lynmouth. They take a trip there together but rush back when a call advises that Irina’s mum is in hospital.

Meanwhile Abigail makes a new friend with Richard and his dad Martin. But she is very wary of Larry who takes any opportunity alone to try to touch her up. Although she loves Richard, she knows she needs to get away from Larry, so she invites Mary in the hope they can continue with their plan of going to America.

But everything changes with the flood and that is all I’m going to say.

Hard to credit, but I actually liked this book even more than The Silent Hours. Maybe because I could relate to the location. I spent a week in Lynmouth on school holiday in the top year of junior school and can remember going on the cliff railway. I also was vaguely aware of the flood.

The Last Night may be purchased on Amazon currently priced at £12.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. It is published by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books. I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended and I shall definitely be waiting for Cesca’s next novel.

The Last Night by Cesca Major

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a copy of “The Last Night” to 5 lucky winners.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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