Category Archives: Giveaway

Jewellery box giveaway for Christmas

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

Songmics jewellery box

Now that we are in November, I hope it is okay for me to mention the C word. Are you starting to think about Christmas presents? Well if you’re looking for the ideal gift for a special person in your life, then read on for details of a great prize.

Songmics jewellery box

I’m hosting a giveaway to win a fabulous 8-layer large white jewellery box with plenty of space to store rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches, keeping them all organised. This is a sturdy wooden box with a synthetic leather cover and soft velvet lining, which currently retails on Amazon for £56.99.

Songmics jewellery box

This prize is supplied by Songmics, who specialise in a variety of storage items including the ottoman that I reviewed a couple of years ago.

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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 what you would like to give or receive for Christmas.

Songmics Advent Calendar giveaway

Plus more chances to be lucky every day with Songmics early Xmas Advent Calendar giveaway which is already live! No need to wait until December for Advent to begin this year.

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Brushd ecofriendly dental review and giveaway

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

Brushd dental care

I started trying to address the amount of plastic in the bathroom earlier this year including dental products, but it did feel a little hit and miss regarding where to locate alternative products and would I like them. For instance the first plastic-free toothpaste I purchased, a Georganics jar of paste tasted horrid. So I was pleased to discover the dental care brand Brushd via the Ethical Influencers network, as they seem to have a wide choice of eco-friendly oral care products. Brushd are aiming to help reduce plastic pollution without compromising on good oral health, and they are dentist approved.

So I received the following products free to review.

1. Bamboo toothbrush with charcoal infused bristles.
2. Toothpaste Tablets (Fluoride-free)
3. Dental Supplements
4. Mouthwash tablets
5. Interdental Brushes
6. Electric toothbrush heads.
7. Natural Corn Dental Floss

The charcoal bamboo toothbrush was fine. The bamboo handle is biodegradable and can be composted or put in your food waste bin, but you would have to break off the bristles first. I won’t know how easy or difficult that is until the toothbrush comes to the end of its life. And Brushd do say that they are working on a solution for the bristles. But I do have a question. I couldn’t find any mention of why the bristles are charcoal infused. I’d love to know what benefits does that give?

Toothpaste tablets is a swap that I successfully made earlier this year. These are the third type of toothpaste tablets that I have tried, but I have to say unfortunately these are the ones I like least. A toothpaste tablet works on the principle of you chewing the tablet before brushing. These had a rather unpleasant taste as I chewed, although less noticeable once brushing. A shame as I have really enjoyed using toothpaste tablets until now. I don’t know if it is because these fluoride free and I have always chosen to purchase ones containing fluoride. Brushd do also sell a fluoride version, but I didn’t receive this. There are 62 tablets in the jar which is a nice touch, since it means there is enough for a 31 day month. This product was almost entirely plastic free apart from a “sealed for your protection” disc inside the lid. I’m not convinced that this was entirely necessary as the similar mouthwash tablet jar did not have one. And there was also one of these discs inside the dental supplements jar too.

Which brings me on to discussing the dental supplements. Do you know that although I’ve taken multi-vitamins for years, I never realised that you could purchase vitamins and minerals specifically targeted at healthier teeth and gums, which is the purpose of these daily dental supplements. They are suitable for vegans and contain calcium and potassium along with vitamins A, C, D3 and K. Simply take one a day with water. Perfect. 60 tablets in the jar.

Mouthwash tablets is a swap that I successfully made back in January. And these ones were just as good. In fact, they seemed to dissolve even better than my existing brand. Just pop a tablet in about 20ml of water at the start of your dental routine and it will be dissolved by the time you reach the mouthwash stage. Then gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting out. Easy. 120 tablets in the jar.

The Interdental brushes come in packets of 5. The ones I received were 1mm brush width, but they also come in a 0.8mm size. Personally I would like to see some even narrower widths added to the range, as although this size was great for my back teeth, I struggled to insert the brush between my front teeth, which are very tight together. Perhaps down to 0.6mm would be good. However I was very pleased with the short handle length and how flexible the brush head was, making it much easier to reach the inside of my teeth. The handles are bamboo, but I’m not sure whether the bristles are still plastic. I assume they are. Also personally I do like a little paste on an interdental brush which I haven’t come up with a solution for yet. Since swapping to toothpaste tablets, I’ve been using the kids toothpaste for this purpose, as they have refused to give tablets a try. The box states that these are recommended by dentists, are BPA-free, vegan and 100% recyclable. However it doesn’t say how to recycle them, as presumably it will be different for the bristles to the handle? I would like to see more information on how to recycle them. Also this product is not suitable for children under 8, but I think you would be hard-pressed to get kids to do more than just brush their teeth anyhow.

I was very excited about the idea of recyclable electric toothbrush heads, as I expect that a large proportion of the population, myself included, already possess an electric toothbrush. I was envisaging that this would also be bamboo, but sadly not. Also there is no indication of whether they have perhaps been made from recycled plastic, so I’m guessing not. It seems to just be that they have their own recycling scheme, so not really any different from TerraCycle. The heads are compatible with OralB electric toothbrushes but not with Colgate ones. It also mentions that the bristles are charcoal infused, but as already mentioned I have no idea what that does. But why have the toothbrush heads got individual plastic covers over each one? Those seem totally unnecessary. I’ve certainly never seen anything similar previously. And apparently every order comes with a pre-paid compostable mailer bag so that when the brushes come to the end of their life, they can be sent back for recycling. Sounds great but I didn’t receive one of these bags, so can’t comment further. Again not suitable for children under 8.

The corn dental floss is 100% biodegradable so can go in your home compost. It does seem slightly thicker than standard floss, so although it was perfect for my back teeth, again I did find it a struggle to get between my tightly packed front teeth. This meant it did seem to break more easily too. It comes in a handy jar, but there doesn’t seem to be an option to purchase a refill. That would be a logical addition to the range in my opinion.

brushd dental care

Oral hygiene is very important. So it was great to read that not only are Brushd focussed on helping to reduce plastic pollution, but that each time you buy a toothbrush from them, they gift one to someone in need on your behalf. This is via two charities – A Reason To Smile and Dentaid.

And I also read that they plant a tree for every subscription via Tree-Nation. I’ll be investigating this site myself, as I wish to offset CO2. By subscribing, you would save 25-30% on tablets and toothbrushes. The products would be sent to you every 4 months.

It would be fabulous to see these products in my local zero waste store, but I can’t find any mention of stockists on the website. A great range and hopefully they will address my few concerns.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of Brushd to giveaway 6 months supply of toothpaste tablets 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 what is your favourite product from Brushd or your suggestions for additions to the range. I’d particularly like to see them branch out from just dental supplements to a much broader range of vitamins. For instance I’m still searching for a plastic-free multi-vitamin and mineral tablet including iron.

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The new way to drink Coffee plus giveaway

I’ve always thought that are basically two ways to make coffee at home, either using ground or instant. Of course there is a lot more choices to the ground method. Are you going to grind your own beans? Do you have a coffee machine, a percolator or a cafetière? We’ve always kept it simple by just having a cafetière, but it broke last year. I’ve been trying to see if we can get by without replacing it, since we usually only got it out when we had guests. And I certainly wouldn’t wish to upgrade to a coffee machine, as I imagine there must be a lot of waste with all those pods.

Therefore I was very interested to find out more when I heard via the Ethical Influencers network that there was such a thing as coffee bags. These passed my deal-breaker test with no plastic in the bags, so I put my name forward to review New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags. I had been putting teabags in the food waste bin for years when I first heard that most brands of teabags contain plastic. Now I either buy loose tea or better still, cut a sprig of fresh mint from my garden, and then compost the waste.

New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags

I didn’t even know coffee bags existed, but they definitely sound the way forward, being biodegradable. I was pleased to receive 3 free boxes of New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags to review, each containing 10 bags. These currently retail at £6.99 for a box of 10. There was a dark roast from Indonesia, a medium roast from Guatemala and a light roast from Ethiopia. They also do a decaffeinated roast from Peru, which unfortunately I didn’t get to try. Slightly ironic since my coffee of choice whenever I’m in a coffee shop would be a decaf skinny latte.

Plus points for the packaging they used to post me the coffee. The box had been sealed with paper tape. No sellotape in sight. I think this is the first time I’ve received a delivery using paper tape. So no need to remove the tape for recycling. Ideal since it can be so frustrating trying to pull plastic tape off parcels before the boxes can be recycled.

New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags

Their coffee is organic and fair-trade, two more ticks. The coffee bags are made from Bioweb, which is a 100% biodegradable product made from a totally renewable and sustainable source of corn starch. These can go in your food waste bin. Or home composting is possible for the bags but the temperature required to fully decompose them is not always sustained in home composters, especially as we enter the colder months.

But they are currently using individual sachets made from a mixed foil and plastic laminate to help keep the coffee fresh for longer. I’m not so happy whenever I hear about mixed materials like this. However they have taken the initiative to team up with TerraCycle, so that these can be recycled by sending them back. As they are a fairly new start-up company, I don’t believe there are any local drop-off points yet, like the way I take my old pens to our library. Plus the outer boxes are made of 75% recycled cardboard. And since they are currently working with their suppliers to find a more environmentally friendly alternative to the foil sachets,  I’d say that still adds upto 9.5/10 on the environmentally friendly front. So well done.

Hopefully they will come up with an alternative idea to the foil sachets soon, which doesn’t compromise on freshness. Perhaps the bags could be sold loose in a jar, as there is always plenty of reuse options for jars.

New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags

Simple to make. Pop a bag in your cup. Add hot water, stir, leave for 3-5 minutes, stir again, squeeze and remove bag, add milk if desired. And of course, you have been waiting for a verdict on the taste test. I enjoyed all three varieties, but I’m not a connoisseur of coffee, so although each pack describes what notes the flavour comprises, I personally couldn’t pick those out. I’m similar when it comes to wine.

However I experimented and came up with a variant that I absolutely loved. I tried adding one of the light roast bags to a cup of very hot milk instead of water. For me this was perfection, a real comfort drink. I’m also planning to try the same with both the medium roast and dark roast for comparison.

New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags

You can purchase the bags in varying quantities from 4-100, either on a one-off basis or with 10% off via a monthly subscription. The boxes I received have varying best before dates ranging between June 2020 to October 2020, so again thinking about those pesky foil sachets, even if they are needed for keeping the larger quantity boxes fresh, a box of 10 is going to be drunk relatively quickly. Even one foil inner packet containing all the bags which the consumer clips shut after opening would be a step in the right direction, rather than individual sachets.

New Kings Coffee gourmet coffee bags

Also I was very pleased to read that New Kings Coffee support the people and communities in the coffee growing regions, by making a donation to the charity, Grounds for Health, who provide screening, treatment and training to support cervical cancer patients in developing countries.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 20% off any order at New Kings Coffee with discount code: YABM20.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 3 boxes of coffee courtesy of New Kings Coffee to one lucky winner. That is one each of dark roast, medium roast and light roast, each box containing 10 bags.

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Now to enjoy my next cup of coffee whilst I browse online to find some environmental projects which I could consider contributing towards to help offset the carbon footprint of coffee being flown halfway across the world for my consumption. Coffee is not a plant that can be grown here in the UK.

I’d love to hear about your favourite cup of coffee.

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

Organic Cacao Butter Buttons recipes plus giveaway

Cocoa butter (also known as cacao butter) is well known in skincare for its moisturising properties but did you know that it can also be used in the kitchen. I didn’t so I was intrigued when I saw it listed as one of the products that Indigo Herbs were looking for bloggers to review.

Once I realised that it is a raw by-product in the cocoa Industry which can be used to make my own sugar-free chocolate, I immediately applied. I’ve always loved chocolate and I have tried to convince myself that it is good for me, due to the iron content, as I easily get anaemic. However over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to reduce my processed sugar intake, but chocolate is one of the areas I’ve particularly failed to reduce. Nearly every visit to my local Co-op, I still come back with a bar, patting myself on the back because it is fair-trade and wrapped in foil and paper, ignoring the high sugar content.

Cacao butter buttons

So I was very pleased to receive a 500g packet of Indigo Herbs Organic Cacao Butter Buttons free to review.

Cacao has been harvested from the bean for centuries and dates back at least to the days of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec cultures. It has many health benefits. Cacao is the highest wholefood source of the mineral magnesium, an important mineral for heart health, which is rather lacking in most modern diets. It is also a valuable source of iron and an extremely antioxidant-rich superfood. Plus raw cacao is a great mood enhancer due to the abundance of feel good phytonutrients it contains.

The packet states that these organic buttons are 100% vegan, a natural source of healthy fats and an excellent source of essential fatty acids. On opening the packet, the aroma was absolutely divine, like a rich dark chocolate. And here is a birds-eye view into the packet. You can see that they look very similar in appearance to white chocolate chips, but that is where the similarity ends as these buttons are sugar-free. They are smooth to the touch, and melt easily over hot water.

organic cacao butter buttons


I currently have lots of apples and blackberries to put to good use, so I decided to come up with a recipe using these.

Apple and Blackberry Traybake

Apple and Blackberry Traybake

Ingredients (makes 16 slices)

100g cacao butter buttons
300g cooking apples
100g blackberries
250g almond flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
25g date sugar
200ml oat milk

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 degrees C.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Boil a saucepan of water and then turn off.
Melt the cacao butter buttons in a bowl placed in the pan of hot water.
Meanwhile peel, core and dice the apples.
Stir the almond flour, baking powder and date sugar into the melted cacao butter.
Mix in the oat milk.
Stir in the blackberries and chopped apples.
Spoon the mixture into the baking tin.
Cook on middle shelf of oven for about 40 minutes, (until a skewer comes out clean).
Cool on cooling rack.
Cut into 16 pieces.
Serve and enjoy.

This was very tasty and shows how cacao butter can be used in a non-chocolate recipe. However the texture was rather soft, so it would probably have been better to serve this as a pudding rather than as cake. I’ve deliberately kept the recipe vegan and gluten-free, but you could easily adapt it.

Apple and Blackberry Traybake


And of course, I wanted to try my hand at making my own homemade chocolates. Having been tempted to taste one of the buttons straight from the packet, I knew I was going to have to sweeten the cacao somewhat, but to keep it reasonably healthy, I wanted to add as little of the date syrup as possible, so I gradually added 5g at a time, until discovering that 20g was optimal.

Homemade Chocolates

Homemade Chocolates

Ingredients

50g cacao butter buttons
35g cacao powder
20g date syrup

Method

Boil a saucepan of water and then turn off.
Melt the cacao butter buttons in a bowl placed in the pan of hot water.
Mix in the cacao powder.
Stir in the date syrup.
Spoon the mixture into moulds.
Place moulds in fridge for an hour.
Gently press chocolates out of moulds.
Serve and enjoy.

Homemade Chocolates

Wow. Thumbs up. These yummy treats both tasted and looked amazing. A nice slightly bitter dark chocolate flavour. I shall definitely be making these on a regular basis. I used moulds which I had repurposed from advent calendars and Easter, but you could alternatively make a bar.

A 500g packet of Indigo Herbs Organic Cacao Butter Buttons currently retails at £12.99 and is also available in 250g or 1kg sizes. They have a long shelf life being dated best before December 2020, although mine will be long gone before then. Unfortunately there is no mention of the cacao being fairtrade. Perhaps that is something that could be looked into.

I also want to talk about the packaging. Regular followers of my blog will know that I began this year with the aim of reducing my household waste, in particular plastic. I’ve gradually broadened this to think of the whole carbon footprint in terms of my purchases and trying to buy more organic and more local products with low food miles. So the buttons get a big tick for being organic. I know the cocoa bean doesn’t grow in the UK, so can’t do much about the fact of the cacao coming from Peru. Just got to accept that. It is the same with other products that I intend to continue purchasing like bananas. One of the things I plan to look into going forwards is how I personally can offset my carbon footprint of these products having been flown halfway across the world for my consumption, with a view to contributing to some environmental projects.

So back to the packaging. Unfortunately there is no mention on the packet of how to dispose of it, which is information I would like to see all food packaging display. I think it looks like either a plastic or a mixed material, probably not easily recycled. It seems reasonably robust, so I will probably be able to repurpose it temporarily as a freezer bag. But what about after that? How about selling them in glass jars instead, or even better loose though refill stores.

I couldn’t actually work out where my nearest stockist is as there seems to be a glitch with that page. Every store on the map seems to currently be listed with a Bristol address.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 500g pack of cacao buttons courtesy of Indigo Herbs to one lucky winner. Think of all the tempting treats you could make with this.

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Right I’m off to browse the Indigo Herbs website to see what other products they sell. It is thanks to them that I previously discovered my love of chia seeds, something that I now use almost daily. You may check out my chia seed review here.

I’d love to hear your recipes using cacao.

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

Jibbergiggle game including giveaway

A rainy day in the long school summer holiday and what better way to spend it than trying out our latest free game Jibbergiggle from Gamely. We have had great fun playing their other three games, so we were certainly looking forward to testing this one out too.

Jibbergiggle

Also just like the other three games, Randomise, Soundiculous and The Pretender, it comes in a nice small box, the size of two decks of playing cards. This has always been a plus point for me, as the boys’ possessions seem to be gradually taking over the rest of the house. And I’m even more focussed on minimal packaging this year, so I would add that perhaps they could lose a layer of cellophane to reduce waste. Currently the cards are wrapped in cellophane and then the external box is wrapped again.

Moving onto the game itself, the boys were delighted by the rule of how to choose who plays first, this being the player with the longest tongue. Son1 was voted the winner on this count, but who would become the ultimate Jibbergiggle champion.

Jibbergiggle

Once the rules are mastered, it is fairly simple to play but lots of fun. 9 possible scenario cards are laid out, the player then looks at their nonsense sound card and secretly chooses which scenario they wish to perform. But you have to sit on your hands and only perform the scenario using your sound and facial expressions. For example cast a spell using only the phrase “piggle wiggle”. The other players try to guess, but have to shout Jibbergiggle before making their guess. We had quite a few instances initially where the Jibbergiggle shout was forgotten allowing another player an opportunity.

Jibbergiggle

I do have one question for clarification though. We were playing as a 3 person game and both boys guessed wrongly for one of my scenarios, so they were out of the round. We misinterpreted this as just out of the turn and it was only when I re-read the rules that I realised it should have been out of the round. Doe that mean since I was the only one left, with nobody remaining to guess, that we should have discarded the remaining round 1 cards and moved onto round 2?

And as you can see from the photo below, hands did not remain sat upon for long.

Jibbergiggle

Our game went to a tiebreak between son1 and son2, with me trailing in third place. My reactions just weren’t quick enough.

The rules indicate that it is for 3-8 players and suitable for age 8+, so good for a party. What a lot of fun for a load of nonsense.

Jibbergiggle currently retails at £12.99 on Amazon and John Lewis. Great value in my opinion. I can certainly highly recommend this game.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Jibbergiggle game to one lucky winner. What a fun prize. Open worldwide.

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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 idea for a new game.

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

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies by Stuart Reid plus giveaway

Time to tell you about another of the Gorgeous George books by Stuart Reid. This time it is Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies, a book that my usually reluctant reader, son1 chose to buy himself.

To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies by Stuart Reid

Here is the book blurb.

Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!

A chemical experiment by the military has gone wrong and the toxins are now airborne. The pupils of Little Pumpington primary school are breathing in the gas and their behaviour is becoming bonkers.

Do you still pick your nose? Do you sit next to someone in school who still picks their nose? Do they eat it, even in secret, underneath their hand when they think no one else is watching? The Little Pumpington nose-pickers are taking over the school and their own bogies are not enough any more; they need to eat everybody else’s too.

These psychotic snot-zombies are on the rampage, feasting on the nostril contents of the entire town and the army will do nothing to prevent them.

Can Gorgeous George, Allison and Crayon Kenny find a cure before the military decide to blow up the school? With the help of Grandpa Jock, Ben and Barbara and a box full of the tissues, they must stop the snot-zombies biting their booger-crusted fingernails to the bone.

Parents will not be able to read this book. This book is for strong-stomached children only so no wimps need apply. This is the last taboo known to mankind and way beyond the comprehension of adults. The older you are, the yuckier this book will be. You have been warned!

Must…..have….bogiieeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

Gorgeous George and the ZigZag Zit-face Zombies is another brilliant book in the Gorgeous George series

This is what son1 had to say about the book.
I liked this book. It was about a few kids who became bogie zombies and infected a whole school.

Short and to the point, but son1 told me that the book erases your memory of reading it. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, since it was last year when he read this book. And I decided to risk the warning on the back cover that parents will not be able to read this book. The author is correct, it does make disgusting reading for us adults, but just the sort of thing of thing that kids love and find really funny. It goes into the details of kids with green snot streaming down their faces, which they wipe with their sleeves or even worse, lick up. You get the picture. Definitely one to let the children enjoy on their own, rather than reading it out loud as a bedtime story, unless you’re into that sort of humour yourself.

A really silly storyline where almost everyone at the school including teachers becomes infected and turns into a bogie-eating zombie. The army puts an exclusion zone up around the school, but who is going to come up with a cure and save the day? Can anyone avoid infection?

Another disgustingly funny book from Stuart Reid. Great even for reluctant readers like my son. Each story always features something like poo, bottom burps or snot, which most children delight in reading about.

And Stuart is passionate about kids reading as we saw at his entertaining Boogers, Books and Big Bottom Burps show at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer. In between writing his books, he spends lots of his time visiting schools not just in the UK, but worldwide promoting his books and reading. He will be back at the Fringe next month, so if you are in Edinburgh, do pop along. His shows are fab.

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback.  There are now 7 Gorgeous George books in the series, targeted at children age 8+, with another title “Grandpa Jock and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident” due to be published in a few days time on July 8th. A big thumbs up from son1 for this book from best-selling children’s author Stuart Reid.

Gorgeous George and the Timewarp Trousers Trumpets by Stuart Reid

You may see son1’s reviews of two of the other Gorgeous George titles here.
Gorgeous George and the Jumbo Jobby Juicer
Gorgeous George and the Timewarp Trouser Trumpets

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies to 1 lucky winner.
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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 book we purchased, although we have received other titles by this author for free. All opinions are mine and my son’s own.

Ethical amaranthine lip balm review and giveaway

I recently discovered the natural skincare brand amaranthine via the Ethical Influencers network. Amaranthine is a small, independent, ethical skincare company based in Edinburgh. All their products are luxurious, handmade, 100% natural and palm oil free. Amaranthine is the first skincare company in the world to receive a palm oil free certification trademark.

Doesn’t that sound great? So I was delighted to have the opportunity to review their lip balm for free.

amaranthine lip balm

Dispatch was very quick and the lip balm was packed securely in a small jiffy envelope. I was very pleased to see that the product comes in an aluminium tin. Regular readers of my blog will be aware from my series of posts on reducing waste that I am doing my best to reduce my use of plastic. My existing lip balm is in a plastic tube and I had been rather reluctant to swap to vaseline, which was the only other product I was aware of in a tin.

No such reticence with the amaranthine lip balm. The aroma of the cocoa and peppermint flavour was absolutely divine when I opened the tin. It reminded me of the smell of After Eight chocolates. I couldn’t wait to try it.

I’ve now been using it only for a few days and already my lips feel so moisturised and much softer than before. Easy to apply using your finger tip. Certainly much better than what I was using previously. Of course, my lips need a lot more pampering in the winter, so I can’t tell you currently how it performs in harsh weather conditions.

amaranthine lip balm

And according to the website, most of the ingredients are organic. And the shea butter is also fair trade too. So thumbs up from me on the ethical front. It is always great to find a company who focus on sustainability and being eco-conscious. One thing that isn’t mentioned is whether the lip balm has an SPF factor, so that would be useful to know particularly at this time of year.

It currently retails at £4.50 for 14g. An ideal size to keep in your bag for when you are out and about. The bottom of the tin indicates it to be best before 6/20, so I know it is fresh. Plus it is handmade in small batches.

amaranthine lip balm

I am certainly happy to highly recommend this product. And do take a look at the range of other products on their website. Also please take a minute to read their very informative blog post regarding palm oil. I found that very useful. For instance I had no idea that glycerin could be a by-product of palm oil. Or that palm oil could be hiding in products under the guise of 100’s of different names.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of amaranthine to giveaway a lip balm to one lucky winner. Open to UK and Europe.
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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 what is your favourite product from amaranthine or your suggestions for additions to the range.

And do you know what the word amaranthine means? I didn’t. It is an adjective and means undying, immortal, eternally beautiful. I think that is so apt.

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

Super Nutrition by Terry McIlroy plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the cookery book Super Nutrition by Terry McIlroy to review.

Super Nutrition by Terry McIlroy

Here is the book blurb.

We have all uttered these phrases at one time or another:

“Your health is your wealth.”

“You are what you eat.”

Deep down, we all know, that what we choose to eat and drink has a massive impact on our health.

Confused about your nutritional needs? Not anymore! With a clear focus on sourcing the right ingredients, including condiments, herbs, spices & organic produce, we can all take advantage of, and unlock thepowerful nutrients within them, to try and ensure that we are not insufficient or deficient in any given vitamin, mineral, macro or micro-nutrient, whilst tryingto reduce our toxic load, thus easing the burden on our body’s natural ability to detoxify itself and restore homeostasis/balance. This book gives you the tools and knowledge to structure your diet and help you strive towards optimal health, with totally unique, delicious, health giving recipes, so you can enjoy the ride.

Start your new journey to health and happiness here NOW! Grab a copy of Super Nutrition today and take control of your health once and for all, shed those unwanted pounds, balance your blood sugars and heal your gut with nutritional therapy

Terry McIlroy has taken well-known, popular dishes and transformed them into nutrient dense powerhouse meals, just by making a few ingredient swaps with modern twists, such as his New Dehli Fritatta, Carrot Cake Smoothie, Mixed Mushroom, Almond & Tarragon Soup, Curried Quinoa Taboulleh Salad, Proper Spelt Bread, Southern Fried Chicken, Millionaires Shortbread and of course Fish ‘n’ Chips.

I’ve always loved recipe books, but I found that this book is much more than just recipes. In the introduction, we find out how some simple dietary changes cleared up life-long mouth ulcers and acne for the author, who was already a qualified chef, inspiring him to next enrol on a nutrition diploma. He has created nutritionally balanced recipes which can benefit everyone.

The author shares his top 10 health tips. Some great advice here. I’m certainly going to focus on choosing organic where possible.

There are sections on Epsom salts, pink Himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar and raw honey plus we are reminded of the importance of planning and preparation, before we reach the recipes. However I have to say although raw honey sounded excellent, I am none the wiser as to what is raw honey and what is not raw honey. I’m guessing that the honey I usually buy from the supermarket falls into the latter category. It does say that raw honey is not suitable for children, but again doesn’t say why.

The book also includes an extensive list of cooking equipment, although I have to say even with a large kitchen, I think I would struggle to find room for 6 different types of juicers / mixers!

A great selection of recipes for juices, breakfast, smoothies, salads, soups, breads, lunches, snacks and dinners along with a rainbow of photographs that certainly got my taste buds watering.

However I was a bit mystified by the weekly meal planner proformas at the back of the book as to why there were two as they were both blank. One entitled example weekly meal planner and one entitled my weekly meal planner. Was the example planner supposed to have been filled out. Would be good if it was, as that would be extra helpful.

Super Nutrition is newly published on Amazon today, currently priced at £17.99 in paperback or £5.99 in Kindle format. A great cookery book which is so much more than just recipes.



Of course I had to test out one of the recipes. I decided that I would try my hand at making some tortilla wraps, a staple in our household but something I’ve never made myself before. Here is a copy of the page from the book. Click on the image to enlarge.

Tortilla Wrap

I had been meaning to buy some spelt flour for ages to try out, so I added that to my shopping list. And pink Himalayan salt is another new ingredient for me. The book lists plenty of health benefits of pink Himalayan salt, recommending that you switch plus I learnt that regular table salt is heavily processed.

ingredients for tortilla wraps

Wow I never realised that wraps could be quite so simple to make. Okay mine don’t look very professional as they are not pristine circles. But I frequently buy wraps and lately I have been feeling guilty as I haven’t been able to find wraps without plastic packaging. Although unfortunately the recipe does say to wrap the dough in cling film. A single-use product that I’m trying to avoid. Shame to see single-use products mentioned in a new book.

tortilla wraps

tortilla wraps

tortilla wraps


About the author

Terry McIlroy is a Professional Chef with over 27 years experience within the culinary industry. He is also a Nutritionist/Nutritional Therapist, specializing in the field of Naturopathic Nutrition. He has inspired many with his passion, knowledge, creativity and flair in the kitchen, As an Executive Head Chef, whilst running several businesses. During his clinical experience he transformed the lives of all of his clients, giving them Nutritional, Supplemental and Lifestyle protocols to follow, all of whom reported dramatic improvements in their health and wellbeing, after implementing his bespoke diet plans, and lifestyle changes.

Terry has combined his Culinary and Nutritional Expertise to produce his inaugural Book ‘Super Nutrition’ which is set to inspire and transform the lives of millions. He offers, (never before seen in one piece of work) unique Health & Wellbeing Advice, Tips and Recipes, Arming the reader with the tools to take control of their health, and live a vibrant, happy life.


Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of the book to one lucky winner. Think of the tempting dishes you’ll be able to try making.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts to see what they thought of this book too.

Super Nutrition by Terry McIlroy

I’d love to hear what healthy recipes you enjoy?

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

Free From Fellows sweets review and giveaway

For the last few years, I have become more aware of how bad sugar can be for us. It is known to be one of the worst foods for a variety of common diseases like arthritis, cancer and autism. I enjoy sweet treats far too much to eliminate them, but I do try my best now to reduce my sugar intake. I’m now buying less refined sugar and opting to purchase the likes of date sugar or coconut sugar instead. I’ve made a few little changes like always having fruit with my porridge instead of sugar and sometimes opting for something like a cheese scone or slice of fruit bread rather than cake.

Now although I feel like I personally am gradually winning the battle against sugar, it is a different story when it comes to my youngest son. He is such a fussy eater and so skinny compared to his brother, but he does have a sweet tooth. So we do have sweet treats in the store cupboard for him to help himself to, as I don’t aways have time to bake and sometimes he rejects my lower sugar baking anyhow. And one thing he has always been partial to is the likes of Haribo.

Free From Fellows sweets

So I was delighted when Free From Fellows contacted me, asking if I would like to review their sweet range. They sent me 9 free packs of their sweets along with a Utopia preserving jar. I used this to make a very retro look sweets jar. It looked just like a mini version of what I fondly remember being stocked at the sweet shop when I was a child. I particularly have fond memories of counting out chocolate mice from such a jar.

Free From Fellows sweets

The range includes the following six varieties.
Gummy Bears
Cola Bottles
Midget Gems
Rhubarb & Custard
Pear Drops
Lollipops (packet contains cola and strawberry flavours)

Their sweets are sugar free, gelatine free, gluten free and have no artificial colours or flavours. They are also suitable for vegans which is great as so often gummy sweets can contain pork gelatine. Apart from the lollipops packet which was 60g or 5 lollys, the other packets were all 70g each. All the packets were very long-dated to 2020.

However when I looked at the packets, I found they did contain other sweeteners instead of sugar. The 3 gummy varieties contain maltitol syrup and steviol glycosides whilst the lollipops contain isomalt and steviol glycosides, and the other 2 hard sweet varieties contain isomalt and sucralose. This reminded me that I had planned to do some research into sugar substitutes a while ago, but this is still outstanding.

Free From Fellows sweets

With all the choice of sweets in the jar, the boys took their time choosing which variety to try first. But once they had tried them all, everything got the thumbs up. And I have to say I’m struggling to decide whether cola bottles or rhubarb & custard is my favourite.

Free From Fellows sweets

Free From Fellows are stocked both in-store and online at Sainsburys, Morrisons, Ocado and Boots plus many smaller health food stores. I was just browsing in a small independent store called Honest To Goodness last week whilst on holiday and spotted all the varieties on the shelf there.

However one thing that was a shame was the packaging. Not only was it plastic packets, but the pear drops, rhubarb & custard and lollipops were all individually packed in plastic again inside the outer plastic packet, so an unnecessary double layer of plastic. How about considering compostable packets like a few brands are starting to move towards? Or since they were keen for me to use a jar, how about selling them in jars in the first place?

Free From Fellows sweets

One word of caution though. However tasty they are, don’t eat too many at one time. There is a little word of warning on the back of the packet that if eaten in large quantities, the sweets can occasionally give some an upset tummy.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 12 packs of sweets from Free From Fellows to one lucky winner. That will be 2 packs of each variety. What a sweet treat of a prize.

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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 about your favourite reduced sugar treats. Or perhaps you have an idea to share for an addition to the Free From Fellows range?

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

STEM Box review and giveaway

It has been a while since we last reviewed a Weekend Box. The boys have had great fun doing the activities from these in the past, but they have now got a bit old for them. However I recently found out that Weekend Box have extended their range to include a STEM box for older children. For those of you don’t know what STEM stands for, it is science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM box sounded right up my boys’ street, as son1 already participates in the YES programme via school. All these acronyms – YES stands for Young Engineers and Scientists. So we were delighted to receive a free STEM Box to review.

STEM box

Son2 was the lucky one who got to put this box to the test.

STEM box

So the first part of the fun is opening the box to find out what exciting activities lie within.

STEM box

Son2 was quick to check out the booklet. He immediately decided that of the three main activities, he wanted to start by making a rocket. Most of the necessary equipment was included in the STEM box, but we would have to provide a plastic bottle. Oh no, there’s a word we didn’t wish to see – plastic! It was son2 who got us started on our journey towards a plastic free future in the first place. I haven’t bought any drinks in plastic bottles at all this year. However I had a rummage in the kitchen cupboard and found a suitable apple drink hiding at the back.

STEM box

So son2 did all the crafting to make his rocket indoors before we headed out into the garden for the scientific action. Add warm water and the effervescent tablets, pop the lid on, give the bottle a shake and put upside down in a mug. Then wait for the rocket to launch.

STEM box

We didn’t manage to capture a photo of the rocket launching.

The other two main activities in our STEM box are making a kite and pinwheels, as this box is on the topic of things that fly. Son2 plans to do those next weekend. Plus the booklet is also packed with plenty of bonus activities on the same theme. There are facts, jokes, puzzles and instructions for making two types of paper planes along with an experiment evaluation table and a “touch down” certificate. And there is even a door hanger to colour on the inside of the box. So lots more fun to be had.

When I had a browse round the Weekend Box website, I was pleased to see that everything contained in a box is either reusable or recyclable and that 95% of each box contents comes from recycled material. So if they are so committed to the environment and sustainability, why ask us to provide a single-use plastic bottle? Could something else have been used to make the rocket instead perhaps?

The STEM Box is a new addition to the Weekend Box range, targeted at older children from age 7-12. It currently retails at £8.95 including free delivery, the same price as a Weekend Box. It is sent out monthly and the one difference is that there are 3 activities, rather than 4. Well worth the price in my opinion for all the educational fun.

We have reviewed the Kids Weekend Activity Box a few times previously. You can see the fun we had before, on the following posts, along with an introduction to the principles of Weekend Box.
A mask and a rainforest
Chinese New Year activities
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.

If readers of my blog would like to try out any type of Weekend Box, I have an ongoing unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 6 month subscription of STEM Box to one lucky winner. What a fun prize.
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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 what STEM or crafting activities you enjoy.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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