Category Archives: lifestyle

AD Claim your freebies to help save water, money and the environment

Disclosure.  This post contains links to the Save Our Streams campaign. I may earn commission on completed campaign questionnaires.  All opinions are my own.

waste less water

Regular followers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the environment, so when I was recently asked if I could help to promote the Save Our Streams campaign, my answer was a resounding yes. This campaign helps both the environment and the consumer’s pocket.

Save Our Streams

The water we drink comes from our local environment, flowing through nearby rivers and streams.

Save Our Streams is the UK’s biggest ever water saving initiative, focused on saving our incredibly rare chalk streams, and the habitats they provide for local wildlife.

They have made it easy with lots of free water saving devices and bespoke expert advice for you. Get started by entering your postcode – it’s quicker than making a cup of tea.

The advice will help you with ideas on how to reduce your water consumption, plus the associated environmental and financial impact.

Here are some of the tips.

water saving

This is something I’m very guilty of exceeding, as I find it so relaxing standing under a hot shower, that time just passes by. A navy shower would be even better, but that would definitely be a step too far for me. However one of the freebies is a shower timer, which I could definitely do with.
water saving

I’ve already ticked this one off years ago.

water saving

And this one, definitely no need for a full kettle just for one cup of tea.

water saving

Wow I knew this would be bad but I am surprised by the magnitude of this statistic. I’ve been planning to look into purchasing a water butt, so I ought to bump that up my list. I have a broken gutter which I stand a watering can under, and it does fill quickly in the rain.

The time of day can be key too. Did you know that it is best to water in the morning or the evening to avoid evaporation.

I did the questionnaire myself although I wasn’t entirely sure of some of the answers. For instance, I’m wondering by process of elimination whether I have a gravity shower. However I was very pleased to see the question regarding using a washing-up bowl. I always do that, but so far have been unable to persuade my other half to do similarly.

Freebies on offer include:-
Regulated Shower Head
Shower Regulator
4 Minute Shower Timer
Plant Water Saving Gel
Universal Sink Plug
Bubblestream Swivel Tap Aerator
Regulated Tap Insert Twin Pack
Buffaloo Cistern Bag
LeakyLoo Detection Strips

Anyone can fill in the quick questionnaire for personalised water saving advice, but consumers need to be in the following geographic area to redeem their freebies or to have leaks repaired for free.

– Bedfordshire
– Berkshire
– Buckinghamshire
– Essex
– Hertfordshire
– Surrey
– Some London Boroughs

Here is a funny video of Sandi Toksvig promoting the Save Our Streams campaign.

 

I’d love to hear your top tips to waste less water.

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Foul Play is afoot After Dark – review and giveaway

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

There seems to have been a trend in my recent posts of what we’ve been doing for entertainment during lockdown, so games have been interspersed amongst my many book reviews. We’ve also been digging the jigsaws out of the cupboard, but they are more of a long term project that we just do a few pieces at a time. This is the especially the case with the 2000 piece one we’re working on at the moment, which is very difficult with lots of sky, water and rock.

Foul Play Game by After Dark

But today I’m sticking with the game theme, as we have received another game free to review. This time it is Foul Play, The Manor House Murder Mystery Card Game from After Dark. Now regular followers of my blog will know that I love to read a good murder mystery story, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I enjoy seeing a murder mystery on stage or being involved in a murder mystery game. Whether it is solving or actually being the murderer, which I’ve done twice. The first occasion was at a party but the second time, one of the amdram groups that I used to belong to, had been booked as the entertainment for a murder mystery night. Yes people actually paid to try and guess and if I recall, none of them worked out that I was indeed the culprit. And guess how many versions of Cluedo we have here, not one, not two, not three but four. We have the original version, Super Cluedo, Harry Potter and Doctor Who versions.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

Murder Mystery events are the bread and butter business for After Dark and of course the pandemic has kept actors out of work for the time being, although they do hope to be back performing soon. But they extended their business model to come up with the Foul Play card game.

Dispatch was super speedy and I was very pleased to see how small the box was, just the size of a pack of playing cards. The boys have so many games that rattle around in big empty boxes, that we are almost running out of shelf space. But as the cards fitted so snugly in their box, I really didn’t see the need for the plastic around the cards inside. Hopefully they will reconsider that.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

This is a game for 2-5 players and is suitable for age 8+. It is set in Edwardian England and the Lord of the Manor is dead. You have to work out which suspect killed him. There are two versions of the game, one where you play as Good Cop and the other as Bad Cop.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

We tried the Good Cop version first, where you need to uncover the three pieces of evidence to track down the killer. My youngest got really into the swing of things by having several magnifying glasses as props and writing his suspicions and clues in a notebook. Although other players along with the fish seemed to be his prime suspects rather than those on the cards. The fish being the Red Herring of course! And his detective bear joined in the fun too.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

However props and notebooks are just window dressing for extra fun. All that is needed is the Foul Play deck of cards. But beware of other players stealing your cards, as I became a target. The boys kindly left me with one card rather than eliminating me from the game, so I had to steal a card back in order to have enough cards to revisit the crime scene.

The next day we played again but as Bad Cops this time. With 15 pieces of evidence in play, we found this to be a much faster game, as you’re trying to pin the crime on any suspect. Although Good Cop would have been quicker if my son had realised that watches didn’t have to be worn on wrists, He had the killer card, but swapped it at the crime scene.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

Until you have played the game a few times and become more familiar with the suspects, I did initially feel one of the pieces of evidence was slightly unfair. It said the killer is not related to any other suspect. I subsequently discovered that there are some extra downloadable resources on the website, so we could have printed a full list of suspects. And read a handy synopsis on each suspect, although the formatting needs to be improved to prevent text wrapping over other text.

The instructions were very comprehensive. The only things we felt unsure of were whether to shuffle the discard pile before restarting it again as the Evidence Locker, and should both players get to pick a card when swapping on Fair Play or only the player who played the card.

Foul Play Game from After Dark

As per all of my game reviews during the pandemic, we didn’t just limit it to playing in out household, we also tried it out over Zoom, which worked fine too. Great for mental health and wellbeing, to be able to involve those that the pandemic has forced into a lonely isolated lifestyle.

Foul Play currently retails at £8.95. Excellent value in my opinion and so much fun. The official case file reference for solving this crime is #foulplaygame and I’m delighted to see that a second game Once Upon A Crime will soon be hitting the shelves. Any suggestions for what other versions you would like to see?

Foul Play Game from After Dark

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition, courtesy of After Dark to giveaway a Foul Play card game 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 game or idea for a new game.

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Game Off Celebrities – a Head to Head Battle – review and giveaway

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

We love playing games in our household, but during this winter lockdown, I’ve frequently been heard calling out “Shall we play a game?” It helps give the boys a break from their screens, which they would be reluctant to do otherwise, when most of the activities they enjoy are off limits. And although we have our favourites that we play again and again, we really like trying something new. So I was delighted to be offered the chance to try out the new Celebrities version of Game Off for free.

Game Off Celebrities

Gosh I’ve never compared games to buses before but it had been a while since I’d reviewed a game and now this is the second one our family have put to the test in a matter of weeks!

Dispatch was very quick and it was good to see how small the box was. No wasted empty space in a large box. A win win all round as it will take up less space on the shelf, plus portable too, which will be a bonus once we can finally start going on holidays again. But putting on my “Reduce Plastic Pollution” hat, did it really need two layers of plastic, one round the box and then a second one inside round the pack of cards. Ideally I would like to see none, but can understand the need for some method of sealing the new product. Perhaps something the company can review before their next production run.

Game Off Celebrities

Moving onto the game itself, I loved the chatty friendly style that the instructions are written in, with a cheeky way of deciding who goes first. It says that it is suitable for ages 8-118. We joked here about having to stop playing when we reach 119. Of course we’re a long long way off that upper age limit, so with technology advances, who knows what humans life span may be in the future.

There are five types of cards – Body, Mind, Skill, Courage and Luck. The object of the game is to be the first person to collect one of each category. You win the cards via head-to-head battles with the other players acting as judges, so it needs a minimum of 3 players.

Game Off Celebrities

So each card describes a challenge based on a named celebrity, who range from current right back into the depths of history like Pythagoras. Some of the challenges are verbal, others require pen and paper and a few you need to improvise with props. It certainly makes it funny being the judges and the rules have cleverly thought out what to do in a draw scenario.

There is an additional rule which permits players to swap three of one type of card for another. This could prove useful in changing the dynamics of the game.

Game Off Celebrities

As we played, one thing became quite apparent quickly. Not everyone had necessarily heard of all the “famous” people or fully understood the particular challenge. For instance, my youngest son could not get the concept of “sharpest cheekbones” for a Keira Knightley Off. This did tend to take the edge off the boys enjoyment of the game somewhat. I haven’t played any of the other versions of Game Off, but I’m sure the Family version would have suited them both much better, although this Celebrities one does suggest from age 8 up, so should have been fine. I did think this would work excellently as a party game for adults though once parties are back on the agenda.

We certainly had lots of giggles with it and some ideas were very tongue in cheek. All us judges abstained when the boys went head to head in a Greta Thunberg Off. We were supposed to be voting on which of their letters would make the world a better place. Neither would and son1 was advocating to destroy the world entirely!

Game Off Celebrities

Afterwards the boys took a look at a few more of the cards, and I have to say it would be very hard for the games designers to guess which “famous” people to include for older children. For instance I was very surprised when I realised that neither of them had heard of Nelson! He is obviously not on the history school curriculum these days. But my youngest is an avid reader of history genre books and still hadn’t come across him. Yes really!! Maybe a testing panel of say age 8-16 would be useful in determining which “famous” people to include or exclude.

And we didn’t just limit it to playing in out household, we also tried it out over Zoom. Great for mental health and wellbeing, to be able to involve those that lockdown has forced into a lonely isolated lifestyle. We did have to adapt slightly, so that someone else rolled for him, as this was the first time any of us had ever seen a Left / Right dice, so obviously he didn’t have one of those. There were some of the challenges that wouldn’t have really worked remotely, but luckily those didn’t come up for him, but if they had it wouldn’t have been a problem, as we could have just redrawn a different challenge card.

Game Off Celebrities

According to the website, there are several other versions of Game Off. The original family version is suitable from age 3 up, then there is the sequel, Game Off 2 suitable from age 5 up plus an 18+ adult only version, so something for everyone. Plus this Celebrities version also comes in Spanish and German editions.

Any suggestions for what other versions you would like to see?

Game Off Celebrities currently retails at £12.99 and is sold via Amazon. Good value in my opinion and plenty of fun. I love its hashtag #EverythingIsAGame

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition, courtesy of Captain Fats to giveaway a Game Off Celebrities to not one, not two, but three lucky winners!

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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 game or idea for a new game.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Do you Love Corn? – snack review and giveaway

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

I’m feeling very important and special today as I’ve received a large box of LOVE CORN snacks free to review, which the barcode has labelled as a VIP box!

Love Corn

The box contains 12 packets of LOVE CORN savoury snacks, 3 packs of the following 4 flavours along with some promotional merchandise.

Sea Salt
Salt & Vinegar
Smoked BBQ
Habanero Chilli

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

Once I opened the box and saw them, I recognised the branding and realised I had already tried a packet in a Christmas hamper last December, which had been very moreish. I was immediately really looking forward to trying the other three flavours.

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

The whole family put them to the test and three of us agreed that all the flavours were very yummy and delicious. We particularly loved that crunch of the kernels, so their hashtag #ThePerfectCrunch is spot on. However my younger son wasn’t convinced but he doesn’t like popcorn, so I had anticipated that it would be a hard sell for him. The rest of us all had different opinions as to which were our favourites but loved them all. Mine was the spicy Habanero Chilli.

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

These snacks are gluten free, vegan, kosher, sugar-free and non-genetically modified. The packet size is 45g which is enough for a small dish if you’re putting out a selection of snacks or appetisers. Also an ideal lunch box size, but the packets are resealable if you don’t eat them all in one go. We mostly snacked them on their own, but I also tried them sprinkled on a salad which worked perfectly too. They also come in a 20g or 115g size too.

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

The corn is roasted, then seasoned. All the ingredients are natural, with the Sea Salt flavour containing just corn, sea salt and sunflower oil. And a few extra ingredients for the other flavours. The products are all long dated with at least 6 months until the best before date.

Two of the flavours bear the logo of a one star in the Great Taste Awards. Well done.

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

The packets also display a recyclable symbol of a 5 in a triangle. I have looked this up and it means they are made of polypropylene which is accepted by a few councils kerbside recycling collections. You’ll need to check for your area. Ideally I would prefer to see all snack brands move to compostable packaging, like a few I have reviewed.

Now I didn’t realise that they were sending promotional merchandise too, otherwise I would have politely requested them not to include those. Regular followers of my blog will know that I am a keen follower of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra. My opinion of the taste of the products is not going to be impacted by a LOVE CORN hat, bag and stickers, so may I please respectfully request the brand to consider reducing their use of promotional gimmicks.

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

LOVE CORN is stocked in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco or you may purchase online in boxes of 10 or 24 with free UK shipping. They also operate a loyalty points bonus scheme.

The LOVE CORN 3 year goals are to donate 1 million samples, build 50 school 
learning gardens and support local 
communities.

Please note if you have allergies that the packets do warn that they may contain tree nuts or peanuts as they have been made in a shared facility.

In summary, we loved these crunchy healthy snacks, a great savoury alternative to crisps, nuts or pretzels.

If readers of my blog would like to  receive a free sample pack containing 4 packets of LOVE CORN, 1 of each flavour, just paying £1.99 shipping, then please click here.

Plus I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 20% off your purchase at LOVE CORN with discount code: CRUNCH20

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a LOVE care package which includes 12 bags of LOVE CORN and smokin’ LOVE merchandise to one lucky winner. A yummy 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 your favourite savoury snack?

Love Corn #ThePerfectCrunch

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Last night I had 20 Dreams to giveaway …

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

Games have always been something we have enjoyed in our family, but during this winter lockdown we have been playing even more, whilst it is too cold to spend much time in the garden. So I was very pleased to be offered the chance to try out the brand new 20 Dreams game for free.

20 Dreams game

20 Dreams, a creative storytelling card game was ‘dreamt’ up by Karen Stallard, an Arts Psychotherapist. It focuses on using the more emotional side of your brain, rather than logic. Then launched as a small business venture with a successful Kickstarter campaign last summer.

20 Dreams game

Dispatch was quick and I was glad to see the care that had been taken to ensure the product was plastic free, with just a couple of paper strips to secure the cards. Every little helps to try to reduce plastic pollution. Plus a nice small box size was a bonus too, as not everyone has space to store many large games.

20 Dreams game

In fact, even the box gets used during the game as the ‘penalty box’ for incorrect guesses. Great innovative use of the box.

20 Dreams game

The game has different variants depending on how many people are playing. So there is a 2 player cooperative game, working together to collect points or a 3-6 player competitive game or a team version. So far we’ve tried playing it with 4 and 5 players, including over Zoom.

Playing 20 Dreams game

You take it in turns to tell a dream which includes the 3 picture cards and expresses the emotion on your white card. The other players then have to guess which emotion it is from their own coloured pack. Get it right and the dream teller earns points, but get it wrong and the penalties start stacking up!

The rules suggest a certain number of rounds depending on the number of players. Well son2 insisted we continue playing until all the emotion cards ran out as he was enjoying it so much, so you can adapt your own variations too.

As mentioned above, we did also try it out over Zoom. Great for mental health and wellbeing, to be able to involve those that lockdown has forced into a lonely isolated lifestyle. Ideally this would be best with a game set each or at least to have given a player pack to the person playing remotely. However we didn’t have this opportunity so our workaround was for him to write down the list of 20 emotions and cross them out once played.

Playing 20 Dreams game

I have to say son1’s emotions were impossible to guess. Every dream he told in a flat monotone, with barely any story around the 3 pictures. Very hard to work out what he was feeling so I think I wrongly guessed “calm” every time for him, until someone else played that emotion card. Meanwhile he seemed to deliberately guess almost the most opposite emotion possible for the rest of us. I’m not sure if it was tactical play on his part, but it meant all his blue cards ended up in the penalty box. And for the final scores, we all were negative, although son2 was the winner being least negative points. But everyone had great fun, even son1. We were in fits of giggles over how hilarious some of the stories were.

Playing 20 Dreams game

The dream teller is supposed to start each dream saying “Last night I had a dream” and end it by saying “and I woke up feeling …?” Well son2 even involved his bear by wearing the outer box showing those phrases.

The box indicates that this is the 2020 classic pop art edition and their online shop also says 1st edition, so looks like there will be more releases to look forward to. Any suggestions for what other versions you would like to see?

Playing 20 Dreams game

I believe that our family are all more analytical than creative, so I would be very interested to play this with a different group of people too, as I’m sure the dynamics of the game will be quite different. And the 20 Dreams website says that it can also be used as an educational tool by parents, teachers or therapists, with plenty of resources, tools and ideas detailed.

The game is aimed at age 12+ but on the website, they suggest that it can be adapted for younger or neurodiverse players by removing the more difficult emotions to make the game shorter and more accessible.

The only thing that did slightly surprise me was that the box says ‘Made in China’. I had just assumed that as a small start-up business, who had taken the effort to help protect the environment by avoiding single-use plastic, that the product would have had a lower carbon footprint and supported other local industry if made in the UK.

20 Dreams currently retails at £14.99. Great value in my opinion. I can certainly highly recommend this game, which has been very well thought out. Fun for all the family across the generations.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 20 Dreams game 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 your idea for a new game.

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Boostology here to give you and the planet a boost

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

Regular followers of my blog will know that I am passionate about the environment and keen to support small independent UK businesses who are of a similar mindset to me. Boostology+ is a brand who caught my eye recently and they have now sent me a liquid hand soap in a glass bottle free to review.

Boostology liquid soap

These days where possible I buy loose bar soap as the best zero waste option. However there are plenty of reasons when only a bottle of liquid soap will do and I’m not just talking hand wash because of coronavirus. For example how about when you have been touching raw meat or someone in the household has a skin infection or for guests. Or it could just be a space issue, as the wash basin in our downstairs toilet, is too small to balance a soap dish, (see photo further down). Previously I’ve only seen liquid soap in  plastic bottles, so I was delighted to find this in an attractive amber glass bottle.

Boostology packaging

Dispatch was very prompt and the package was carefully packed with a prominent fragile warning sticker. Another label inside described how it is an eco-friendly parcel, telling the customer that the box and brown paper packing tape can be recycled together. Also that the natural starch beads are biodegradable and compostable. Thumbs up!

Boostology packaging

Looking at the glass bottle, I was very pleased to see how easy the pump mechanism is to open and close. Opening pump-operated bottles is something that has defeated me on several occasions in the past. Or it could just be me, as also trigger spray bottles seem to stop working for me about half way through most bottles, but that is a problem to resolve another day. The pump is the only component which is still plastic, so it would be great if Boostology+ could perhaps introduce a liquid soap refill option with a metal lid to the range, for returning customers to purchase.

Moving on to the soap itself, I found it lathers up well and the peppermint and eucalyptus fragrance is amazing. I love it, and big plus point, you would certainly know if your kids say they have washed their hands but haven’t actually done so. They also stock a hand sanitiser in the same flavour.

Boostology liquid soap

I’m a firm believer in using one product for multiple purposes, so I also tried this in the shower as well as for hand-washing. It is absolutely brilliant in the shower, my skin felt really moisturised. And the Boostology+ tagline of each product is designed to give you, and the planet, a boost really comes into its own, as it gave me a fab boost especially the aroma which left me feeling tingly and revitalised, ready for the day. Great feeling for well-being. The product’s name Revive is spot on in this regard. I shall be trying it on my hair next.

It is a convenient 250ml size, made of 100% natural ingredients including 25% organic ingredients, essential oils and coconut oil. Plus it is palm free, vegan, cruelty free and handmade. The coconut oil will provide antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. There are 5 symbols on the bottle for things like vegan, but I’m not sure what the second one down means, so it would be helpful to be able to match these symbols against meanings on the product webpage. Yes it is more expensive than you would pay for soap in a supermarket, but look at all its qualities that I have listed above. I would certainly be more than happy to buy this and support a small independent UK business.

Boostology liquid soap

This product in its beautiful amber glass bottle would make a lovely gift for a friend. Also a helpful nudge in showing options for reducing plastic, if they are not already taking steps in that direction. Boostology+ has lots more great gifts in the range besides natural skincare, like jewellery, candles, face masks, diffusers and essential oils. Do take a look at the full range on their website, which is extra user-friendly with its filtering options by category, occasion, speciality or values. Each of their gifts is kind to you and has minimal impact on the environment. The range encompasses natural, organic, vegan, plastic free, handmade, reusable and made in the UK. They also offer a 60 day refund policy.

Boostology liquid soap

Having tried the Revive soap, I’m now very tempted to try their volcanic potpourri in the same peppermint and eucalyptus scent, a product sold exclusively by Boostology+ I did have to swap to browsing on my phone to discover this, as the drop down list of six scents seemed to be incompatible to view on my MacBook.

Returning to the sustainability angle of the packaging, it was great to read all the eco-information on the label and see how Boostology+ have taken steps for a plastic free delivery. But as a consumer I wish to pose more questions. Does that mean home compostable or would it require an industrial composter? How about an estimate of how long the beads take to biodegrade and what conditions are required. For instance, it partially defeats the purpose if the consumer then tips those beads into a plastic bin bag, ties it up and sends it to landfill. Also stickers are not generally recyclable, as the adhesive can get caught in the recycling equipment, so are the ones used here okay in that regard or not? If not, then how about warning the consumer to remove the labels before recycling. Yes they are probably better than self-inking stamps, but is there an even better solution? Maybe the eco-friendly details could be emailed on the order confirmation and “Fragile” could be hand-written.

Boostology liquid soap

I was very pleased to read that Boostology+ plant a tree for every order placed, no matter how small the order. A good step to help tackle the climate crisis. And they recycle all their office waste and use 100% renewable electricity at their HQ (from solar, wind and hydro-electric power stations).

So to summarise, I highly recommend both this product and brand.

And I’d love to hear your top tips for eco-friendly bathroom swaps you have made.

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Who’s hungry for Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps? – review and giveaway

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

With everything going on this year, some businesses are really struggling in these tough times. So with the future still very precarious in the hospitality industry, The British Snack Co. has had to change their focus from the pub to online sales. They produce three brands of snacks which you may have come across previously:- Awfully Posh, The British Crisp Co. and The British Popcorn Co.

I particularly enjoy snacking on something savoury, so I was pleased to receive a box of 5 packs of Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps free to review from The British Snack Co.

Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps

If you haven’t heard of Lomo, it is cured Spanish Pork Loin, which is one of my favourite cuts of pork. I’ve previously enjoyed it as Tapas, but haven’t come across it as a crisp before. These Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps have been air dried, not fried and made using 100% Spanish Pork, cured with a blend of paprika and garlic. And I can affirmatively say that yes they taste as delicious as they sound. Very moreish and definitely crisp and crunchy. Much better than your average crisp.

They are high protein and low carb comprising 63g protein, 0.5g carbohydrate, 23g fat and 6g salt per 100g. They are also gluten free. The packet size is 25g. They therefore work well with both the KETO diet and Atkins approach to meal plans. It is always a plus point in my opinion to have high protein products like this which do not need refrigerating.

Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps

Lomo is a new addition to the Awfully Posh range which also includes Pork Puffs, Pork Scratchings and Pork Crackling in a selection of flavours. However Lomo Crisps do seem significantly pricer than all the other products in the range, probably due to it using a premium cut of pork, namely the loin.

You may purchase them via their online store in boxes of 10 packets and they are also stocked in places like Fuller’s and Waitrose.

One thing I would like to see changed is the packaging. It has the dispose in litter symbol. Hopefully they are investigating alternative compostable or recyclable packaging.

For those of you hoping to try them in a pub after lockdown, here is son1 enjoying them whilst taking mask precautions.

Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps

Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps

If you don’t mind the price for a premium product, I highly recommend that you give them a try. Otherwise try some of the cheaper items in the range.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a box of Awfully Posh Lomo Crisps courtesy of The British Snack Co. to one lucky winner. A yummy prize. But you’ll have to be quick as this one is open for less than week.

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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 savoury snack?

You can find Awfully Posh on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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AD Britmums #ACEit Challenge or has she gone conkers?

Disclosure. This post is an entry for the #ACEit Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get ideas on how to wash whites, treat stains and laundry like a boss with tips from the ACE site!
This post mentions a product I received for free. All opinions are my own. This post is classed as an advert because of the requirement to include the #ACEit hashtag.

Britmums recently challenged bloggers to take part in the #ACEit Challenge for brighter whites when trying the new ACE Ultra for Whites. I was in two minds whether to take part in this challenge or not, especially since it is in a plastic bottle. Regular followers of my blog will know that I am trying to reduce plastic. Pity it isn’t a powder rather than a liquid, as the last ACE product I reviewed, ACE for Colours Powder came in a plastic-free fully recyclable carton.

ACE Ultra for Whites

However I have to admit that my whites have been starting to look rather off-white since I swapped regular detergent for more eco-friendly alternatives, like soap nuts or homemade from horse chestnuts (conkers). Don’t get me wrong, my laundry is clean, but not bright white. I know you can’t expect a natural product to give the same results that bleach does, so perhaps this would be the answer, an occasional helpful boost from ACE.

So I signed up and received a free 1L bottle of ACE Ultra for Whites.

#ACEit Challenge

Now onto the actual washing test. There were my eldest son’s school shirts complete with very bad underarm stains and greyish grimy collars, plus off-white socks and undies, along with a very grey floor cloth. Unfortunately only a very small load, as ACE Ultra for Whites should only be used on totally white items. Again from an eco point of view, I prefer to do a full load which would normally include cream coloured bedding and towels too plus clothes which are part white, part coloured.

#ACEit Challenge

The instructions on the bottle suggested 4 possible alternative methods of use as follows, (along with household cleaning instructions for your sinks, etc too) …

  1. Fill your CL bleach compartment with the product. (My washing machine doesn’t have a CL compartment.)
  2. Fill your fabric conditioner compartment with the product, if you’re not planning to use fabric conditioner.
  3. Pour product directly in during a pre-wash cycle.
  4. Soak by hand in 10L of water to 150ml of product, for 20-30 minutes before rinsing and washing as usual.

#ACEit Challenge

I decided to opt for method 4, but I have to say I didn’t see much difference after the 30 minutes, but I assumed that perhaps I had over-diluted it, as I had just guessed how much to fill the sink. I didn’t actually measure the 10 litres of water. Also there was no indication of what temperature the water should be, so I had opted for warm, which may have been wrong too.

#ACEit Challenge

Since I still needed to wash the clothes, I tried again, this time using method 2. A much better success. Everything did look bright white. However ACE didn’t work its full magic on the underarm stains. They were better but still yellowish. The most remarkable change was on the floor cloth. It actually was white again.

#ACEit Challenge

About ACE Ultra:

  • It’s specifically formulated to help brighten dull whites.
  • It’s gentle on delicate clothes.
  • It tackles germs and odours, including viruses. That means not only do your clothes smell cleaner, they actually are cleaner – something even more important in the current climate.
  • It’s concentrated, making it among the most affordable ways to keep white clothes looking bright!
  • It’s available in Morrison’s.
  • NOTE: ACE Ultra includes bleach.
  • ACE Ultra for Whites should only be used on totally white items.

So yes I can see some plus points from ACE Ultra, but I think on the whole, it is not the product for me. Instead can anyone point me in the direction of an eco-friendly answer for brighter whites please, if such a thing exists?

Horse Chestnuts for laundry

And for those of you still wondering, how on earth do I use conkers for my laundry, let me point you here to The Watercress Queen who I have to thank for this environmentally friendly idea. I tried this out last Autumn and I still have over 4 big jars left, so no need to collect any this season. Plus not only is it eco, but it is very cost effective too, saving all the money you would have spent on detergent. I made a couple of variations to the original method, one being I dried the pieces of conker spread out on trays in the airing cupboard for about a week. And secondly I only do two soaks rather than three. I can highly recommend you try this idea out, but if you do, please remember to plant some of the conkers you collect.

Soap Nuts for laundry

Before trying this, I had bought a large bag of soap nuts shells, which work on the same principle. However I am a bigger fan of using conkers because they are grown locally so have a minimal carbon footprint in comparison. Also subsequent to buying the soap nuts, I read that the export market has driven the price up so locals who have been using them for generations can no longer afford them, which is so wrong and needs addressing. I do also use the soap nuts in the dishwasher although I haven’t dared try conkers, since they are poisonous.

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Guest post: 4 Ways To Improve Your Running Speed

Whether you run for the joy of it or are prepping your 11th marathon, sooner or later, you’re going to want to boost your running speed—to shave off seconds, or even minutes, from your personal best.

Improve Your Running Speed

If you’ve reached that point, then today you’re in the right place.

In this article, I’ll unravel four training strategies for taking your running speed to the next level.

Let’s lace up and dig in.

Hill Reps

The extra resistance of going up a hill puts a much greater demand on your body and cardiovascular system than running on a flat surface—the more challenging, the better.

Although hills come in various sizes and inclines, the main idea is the same—You run up the hill as fast as you can with good technique, then jog or walk down for recovery.

Here’s how to do them right. Start by locating a hill that’s roughly 150 to 200m in length with an incline that’s enough to test you but not to the point where your form goes south.

Improve Your Running Speed

Then following the warm-up, run up the hill at your 5K pace, or a little bit faster.  Once you get on top, jog down at a very easy pace to recover, then repeat the process for 15 to 20 minutes.

Make it a goal to maintain the same effort level as you climb you the hill. Engage your core, keep your shoulders loose, and gaze straight ahead.

Go Plyo

Plyo training consists of high-velocity, explosive exercises that depend on the power produced through the stretch-shortening cycle by often performing bodyweight jumping movement.

These are an awesome way for you to increase your power output and athletic performance.

Again, don’t take my word for it. A study published in the Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research reported that middle and long-distance runners who did plyometrics for six weeks improved their race results by up to 4 percent.

Just like sprinting, a few minutes of plyometric can go a long way.  Try doing 5 to 10 minutes after completing an easy run or as a part of your weightlifting sessions.

Just make sure to push your body to the max. Here are some of the best plyo moves for runners:

  • Jump roping
  • Box jumps
  • Burpees
  • Med ball toss
  • Jumping lunges
  • Jumping squats
  • Skipping drills
  • Standing long jumps

What’s more?

Typical plyo moves are technically more demanding and call for good form for making the most out of them while staying injury-free. To err on the side of caution, consider hiring a personal trainer to evaluate your form or filming yourself so you can assess your form. 

Strength Train

Not all the steps required to improve your running speed are running steps. Your cross-training activity—as in, non-running workouts—can also greatly impact your ability to crank up the speed and maintain it. One of these favorite cross-training options is strength training.

A regular weight lifting routine achieves the following:

  • Helping run faster by improving power and neuromuscular coordination.
  • Preventing injuries by but not only strengthens muscles but also joints, bones, ligaments, and tissue.
  • Enhancing running economy by promoting stride efficiently and coordination.

Here are some of the strength moves that are the most beneficial to runners.

  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Back squats
  • Front squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Nordic curls
  • SB hamstrings curls
  • Russian twists

 To build your routine, feel free to either focus on one area (upper body, lower body, or core) or pick a couple of exercises from each area for a total body workout.

Improve Your Running Speed

Avoid Overtraining

Don’t assume that giving it your all every day will make you better a runner—in fact, push your body too much too soon, and you’ll be asking for injury and burnouts.

When you exercise, especially when you push your body hard, you create micros tears in your muscles. The only way to let those micro-tears and damage heal by letting your body rest.

As a rule of thumb, don’t perform back-to-back days of intense training—at the very least, give yourself one recovery day per week.

How do you know it’s time to ease off?

Here are some of the signs that you’re running your body into the ground.

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Inability to focus
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Poor athletic performance
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling like you’re getting sick
  • Poor sleep

Conclusion

There you have it. In order to improve your speed, you simply need to put the following tips into practice. Then it’s just a matter of time before you start reaping the results of your hard labour. The rest is just details, as the saying goes.

What about you? Do you have any favorite speedwork you’ll love to share with us? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

About the author:

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

Guest post by David Dack
Images purchased by David Dack from Fotolia

Guest post: When should I replace my running shoes?

“When should I replace my running shoes?” This is a common question all runners have. But why should you even consider swapping your running shoes?

Here’s the truth. Even if your shoes feel as valuable as gold, they won’t last you forever.

As you log in more miles, the cushy foam starts to get compressed under the weight, and the outsoles begin to go bald. Once your shoes are past their prime, they can no longer protect your body from the repetitive pounding, leading to soreness and injury.

That’s why it’s always vital to know when to replace your shoes.

old running shoes

To help you make the right decision, I’ve compiled a list of tips and signs to help you decide when your shoes are indeed done. This guide will show you how long-running kicks typically last, the telling sign of a worn-out pair, and when to replace your running shoes.

Sounds good?

Let’s get started.

The Exact Range

Estimates on how long running shoes should last vary, but the rule of thumb says to look for new ones every 400 to 500 miles. This means if you average 15 miles per week, you’ll need new kicks every six to eight months.

Of course, I guess you could keep running in worn-out shoes, but just like driving a car on bald tyres, the risks of something going wrong increases each time you stride the ground.

However, the 400 to 500 miles rule is not cast in stone. It’s simply a rough estimate. The exact mileage depends on many factors, such as your body weight, running style, training intensity, and more importantly, the surface on which run.

So, for instance, if you run on tough terrain or trails, you’ll need to swap your trainers for a new one sooner than if you primarily stick to softer surfaces.

The Signs to Check for

Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your sneakers don’t run you into the ground.

Keep track of your Shoe Miles

It’s often hard to tell just how many miles you have logged in your shoes, especially when you are not following a detailed running plan, or rotate through many shoes.

Here’s how to make it easier.

Use a permanent marker to write down the date of first use on a part of your trainers that won’t get worn off, then keep track of your mileage in a diary to know when it’s time to swap them out.

You should also consider using running apps such as Strava that let you monitor your mileage in different pairs of shoes. Some apps may even inform you once you’re past that 500-mile mark and suggest that you start looking for a new pair.

Check the Outsole

The outsole consists of the rubber part of the shoe that gets in contact with the ground from heel to toe. It plays an essential role because it offers the clearest sign of wear and tear.

The outsoles of your running shoes are equipped with treads, just like car tyres, which helps reduce landing’s impact and grip the road. As you log in more miles, the rubber on the bottom outsole begins to wear away.

Look for any bald spots on the outsole of your trainers where the rubber has broken down.  This is especially the case if the tread is entirely gone or the outsole is completely white.

You’re Feeling Pain

Wear, tear, and mileage aside, one more thing to check whether you need to ditch your shoes is your own body.

When your sole-mate no longer offers ample support and protection as they did when you first started using them, it usually leads to pain.

If you’re starting to experience annoying little pains, especially aching arches, sore soles, painful knees, tender shins, and other small nuisances, then it’s time to assess your shoes.

running shoes

Conclusion

There you have it! The above guidelines are all you need to make sure you know when it’s time to turn off the switch on your running shoes and look for new ones. Just make sure to head to the nearest running speciality store when looking for new sole-mates. That way you make sure you make the right decision both for your wallet and running enjoyment. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

About the author:

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

Guest post by David Dack
Images purchased by David Dack from Fotolia