Category Archives: lifestyle

Songmics Storage Ottoman review plus giveaway

Now I don’t know about you, but in our household, the boys seem to amass new possessions much more quickly than I can persuade them to filter things that they have really grown out of to either the charity shop or their younger cousins. So it is a continual struggle to keep on top of the mess and clutter that goes hand in hand with them. So I was delighted to be offered the chance to review a Fabric Folding Storage Ottoman Bench from Songmics for free.

Songmics Ottoman

The ottoman arrived flat-packed and you literally unfold the base to assemble in seconds. Couldn’t be simpler. Plenty of storage space inside for some of the boys’ toys and a comfortable padded seat on top. We’ve chosen to put it in the boys’ play area and they are now using it as a seat when playing video games. It is wide enough for both of them to sit together. A definite improvement rather than just sitting on the floor.

This product retails on Amazon, currently priced at £26.99 and comes in a choice of three colours, dark brown, grey and light grey. I opted for the brown which looks very nice against our terracotta carpet. A good quality sturdy product and very good value in my opinion.

According to the packaging, it has a maximum weight capacity of up to 300 kg. It does have a strange odour on the interior when new, but this wears off in a few days.

Songmics Ottoman

Do take a look at the Songmics UK Facebook page. They have a wide range of household products including interlocking storage units fairly similar to the one we purchased and assembled recently for our shoes. Wish I’d heard of this brand sooner.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Fabric Folding Storage Ottoman 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 top storage tips. I’m thinking another of these would be ideal for spare bedding.

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

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Guest post – Tangled jigsaw review and giveaway

I was recently offered the chance of reviewing a 100 piece children’s Disney Tangled jigsaw puzzle, but my boys took one look at the picture featuring Rapunzel and said “no way”. However I passed the opportunity onto my delighted niece.

Ravensburger Disney Tangled Jigsaw Puzzle

This is what my sister had to say.

My four year old daughter was excited when the jigsaw arrived, even though she didn’t know the movie, Tangled. Her six year old brother didn’t want to do it as he thought it was girly. She needed help with the jigsaw, so we did it together and then big brother decided he was interested and joined in about half way through. It was at the right level for him and they both enjoyed doing it. I thought the picture was fun, bright and lended itself well to a jisgaw for 6 year olds. 

Ravensburger Disney Tangled Jigsaw Puzzle

Ravensburger Disney Tangled Jigsaw Puzzle

Ravensburger Disney Tangled Jigsaw Puzzle

We don’t have Disney Channel on our tv, but I’m sure those of you with young children who do, will know that Tangled: The Series, a spin-off from the movie, launched on the Disney Channel earlier this year.

This lovely jigsaw made by Ravensburger features an image from Tangled: The Series, and with its 100 XXL size pieces, is targeted at children age 6+.

Ravensburger Disney Tangled Jigsaw Puzzle

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Disney Tangled jigsaw puzzle 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 about your favourite jigsaw ever. Mine was a 500 piece circular one from York Castle museum that I did over and over again as a child. I can’t remember who gave it to me, as I’ve never actually visited the museum.

Or what about your favourite Disney film? I really can’t decide as I loved so many of them.

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

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Guest post: Why to use more eco friendly products

Today more and more people decide to take up actions which are beneficial for our environment or at least to use products which will cause none or minimum damage to the nature. Actually it is something great that people become more conscious about their well-being and about the living world. We have only one planet to live on, right? We have to preserve it for as long period as possible. For this purpose, nowadays many manufacturers take advantage of the whole situation and try to promote their eco products convincing us that it is all about the environment. The truth is that everybody take care of their own interest but indeed going green can make a large impact- on our own lives and nature itself.

Living a green and healthy life is actually not something hard to achieve. You can simply start with changing what you eat or to run more frequently, for example. However, the easiest way to start changing your life and at the same time contributing to our environment is to change the products you use in your household. Fortunately, people have already realised that that the products they use are dangerous not only for the environment, but for themselves as well. When one’s health on the line, then change is possible and necessary.

hoome

Your home is your temple, in order to keep it clean and safe for you and your family, there are a few steps you can take. Unfortunately, there are various materials and tools common to many households that can simply put your health in danger. Great majority of the products we use in our every day life contain harsh chemicals, artificial ingredients and many more bad-for-our-health compositions. You probably did not know but the laundry detergent, for instance, which is one of the most toxic products we use.

Even though the nature responsible products has positive impact on the nature and our health, it is still not enough to change the mind of the rest of the people. One of the main reasons because of which people avoid using eco friendly products is their price. Yes, if you want to use such products you have to overpay a little bit more but you will surely preserve your health so we think it is worth the price.

In order to protect yourself and your family, Flat Cleaning Services advise you to use organic cleaning products. They do not contain artificial additives which put our health at risk, they do not contain harsh chemicals as well. What is even more, they do not contain perfumes and synthetic dyes which as you know can lead to serious health problems, allergic reactions or outbreaks. Inhaling these chemicals while cleaning may lead to serious damages on our well-being. Every time you use organic and eco friendly cleaning products, you, your family and the environment are safe and well-preserved.

natural products

The environment has been seriously damaged over the last few decades due to the usage of detergents containing various dangerous chemicals. The use of such has been inspected in details because of their toxic effects on the nature and its fauna. Save our planet and choose the green life- start choosing environmentally products which can help reduce the toxins and poisons that harm our environmental world.

The good news is that many manufacturers are willing to go green and keep on promoting their natural products aiming to protect Mother Earth and at the same time to satisfy people. The best option is to start using organic products that contain only natural toxin-free ingredients. They are safe for you and for our nature.

Guest post by Margaret Ellis

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Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

On Saturday I was very excited to be attending my first ever blogger event, namely the annual Board Games Championship Bloggers Event, held at The Owl and The Pussycat micropub in West London and hosted by Pork Farms. This event was scheduled to tie in with National Board Games Week 2017 which is this week, from 8th – 14th May.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

So train into London, then a couple of tube rides to Northfields. A short walk later and I found the venue. My first visit to a micropub and it certainly lived up to its name. The smallest pub I have ever visited and very cosy, with plenty of Owl and PussyCat decor. Book shelves lined the walls, very fitting as the premises was previously a childrens’ book shop. They even brew their own beer out back, so definitely no room for a kitchen. But not a problem, as naturally the Pork Farms team had brought along plenty of pork pies. A selection of brand new Hasbro games were laid out ready to play.

Pork Farms pork pies

So first up was Trivial Pursuits. This was the 2000s edition and I was rubbish, earning no points in the first round. My knowledge was abysmal. Think I’m too old for this and should stick to the original edition.

Next was monopoly. I bought plenty of property, but no full sets, so no building houses for me. Bad mistake. I should have looked at the score sheet, like winner Lea had obviously done, with her hotels on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road. You only scored for houses, hotels and the most cash. So my property portfolio was worthless. A second big fat zero, but at least I was having fun with a lovely friendly bunch of bloggers.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

We were so into the games, we didn’t break for lunch, but kept snacking on the pork pies as we played. Boggle was next and I was really looking forward to this. It was the game I chose to review with my family. And finally I had something to write on my score sheet. A respectable second place with 26 points.

Then onto Jenga which I’m usually useless at, but by some fluke, I didn’t knock the very precarious tower over on either round.

Finally Taboo, a team game in which your team has to guess the word you’re trying to describe without saying it or any of the 5 other taboo words within the allotted time. This certainly had us all in stitches, plus quite a few oops moments when someone accidentally uttered a forbidden word. Think I’ll be buying Taboo for Christmas as I’m sure my boys would love it. And hurrah I was on the winning team.

Pork Farms Board Games Championship Bloggers Event

And then to reveal the winners. I knew I wasn’t in with a chance after my bad start, even though my scoring had started to pick up. So in reverse order, in third place was Lea from Food Steam Ahead then second was Chynna from The Invisible Child and the grand prize winner of a huge pork pie was Laura from What’s Hot.

Of course we all got pork pies to take home too. My favourite variety were the Branston pickle topped pies. What a clever innovation as who doesn’t like pickle with a pie?

Pork Farms pork pies

And a huge thank you to Charlotte, Lotte and team from Pork Farms who kept us entertained and topped up with pie and drinks throughout the event. I won’t forget the story about the Christmas Day pork pie breakfast.

Lastly I must wish good luck to all those who have made it through the heats of the National Board Games Championships. The semis and grand final will be held at BeerheadZ Grantham, next Saturday, May 13th. They will be battling it out at Boggle, Taboo, Monopoly, Jenga and Trivial Pursuit 2000s, just like we did. Hope they have as great a time as us bloggers.

I’d love to hear about your favourite board games.

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Disclosure.  This post mentions an event I attended and products I tried all for free.  All opinions are my own.

Turning tears into smiles

Britmums have challenged bloggers to participate in the #TearsIntoSmiles Campaign. I received two free packets of Elastoplast plasters and a garden ring toss set. We already have a quoits set and the boys have come up with the idea that they can both play simultaneously now.

Elastoplast challenge

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During that period he had a weekly blood test for which we tried to numb the pain sensation by applying Emla cream an hour in advance. We then had to talk soothingly to him whilst he removed the large sticky dressing holding it in place. He would never let anyone else take it off. So by the time the blood test was completed, he had had enough of anything adhesive and my brave boy would always refuse a plaster.

But at least now son1 has finished chemotherapy and had his portacath removed, we can enjoy outdoor play so much more, without the worry of bumps and tumbles. So he now can join in with his classmates playing rugby and he has done his Bikeability. He’s slowly building his stamina back up again.

Playing Quoits

Meanwhile son2 is usually distracted by a picture on a plaster whenever there is a scrape or a cut. Luckily we didn’t need any first aid on this occasion, but he likes the look of the Star Wars pack. Both my boys are keen Star Wars fans. However he has declared that we can give the Frozen pack to my niece. I wish there had been pictures on plasters when I was a child. What a clever innovative step forwards.

Elastoplast challenge

So my top tip for happy outdoor play in the event of tears, besides remembering to pack the plasters and rest of my mini first aid kit in my bag before we head out for some fun is distraction. This could be pointing out nice things nearby, telling a fun tale, singing a song, promising a treat or finding something your child will want from your bag like a biscuit or toy. Don’t forget to follow through if you make a promise. Hugs and cuddles used to be good too, but sadly the boys are now getting to the stage of rebuffing me, if I try to give them a hug.

I’d love to hear how you turn tears into smiles?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Chewy Moon snack box review and giveaway

I have received a free sample Chewy Moon healthy snack box via Talk To Mums. The box size is designed to fit through your letterbox.

Chewy Moon snacks

These boxes are aimed at children from age 3 upwards and son2 was really excited when he saw the pug on the outside of the box. Even though he is fairly dog-phobic, he has recently started asking if we can get a pug. Whilst son1 who is equally wary round dogs wants a labrador. But no need for them to argue over breeds, as a puppy is not on the agenda since I work full-time.

These boxes contain 5 individual snack portions along with some fun activities and a page of nutrition facts. Our activitites were a pop-out frog, a short comic story and facts about ants.

Chewy Moon snacks

The 5 snacks we received were:-
Snacko Italiano (Tuscany cashews and baked cheese)
Happy BBQ (smokey almonds and coconut chips)
Crazy Crunch (smoothie bites)
Cherry Cola (cola raisins, cherry, cranberry)
Freaky Fruits (blackcurrant drops, apricot sticks, cherry cubes, peach cubes, raspberry strips)

Chewy Moon snacks

Son1 chose the Snacko Italiano first whilst son2 opted for the Cherry Cola. He did insist that son1 give him the empty Snacko Italiano pug box afterwards though. Son1 loved the pieces of toasted cheese, but only liked the Italian herby cashews. He let me try a couple of the cashews and I thought they were delicious. Meanwhile son2 quickly scoffed the Cherry Cola.

Chewy Moon snacks

The next time son2 selected Freaky Fruits whilst son1 went for Crazy Crunch. Once again son2’s snack vanished very quickly and he gave both a resounding thumbs up. Although son1 is a huge smoothie fan, he wasn’t convinced by the Crazy Crunch flavour, so offered them to the rest of us. We all enjoyed them but none of us guessed the flavour correctly which was blueberry and red beet.

Chewy Moon snacks

And to avoid arguments, I got the fifth pack, the Happy BBQ, which was right up my street, as I love almonds and coconut. Very yummy indeed.

Chewy Moon snacks

These packs are ideal for an after school snack. But if your children attend a school that has a nut-free policy like my boys’ school, then you wouldn’t be able to send either Snacko Italiano or Happy BBQ in as a playground snack. However there is a “no nuts” option when ordering.

You get to rate the snacks, to build up a profile of which your child does and doesn’t like for future boxes. Each box currently costs £4.93 including 98p P&P, but you can get your first box free. You select between fruit box, variety box or savoury box and you can order for multiple children. The boxes are delivered weekly and you may cancel your subscription at any time. A competitive price in my opinion.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a month’s Chewy Moon subscription of 4 boxes to one lucky winner. What a tasty 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 snack ideas.

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

How to relieve sleep disturbances, plus giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may have heard me mention previously that I am a shiftworker. This means that I have to adjust my body clock whenever I work nights. I usually find it okay adapting from day to night, but very hard adjusting back to days afterwards, feeling tired and irritable. So I was delighted to be given a chance to try out some sleep goodies for free.

Sleep goodies including wake-up light

I received the following products.
Lumie Bodyclock
Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate
Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam
Pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals

First up is the Lumie Bodyclock, a wake-up light. My other half used to use something similar by another brand, but it broke about a year ago. He really misses it, so we were both very keen to try this one out. It was well packed and all I needed to do was install the light bulb, plug in, set the time and alarm.

Lumie Bodyclock Wake-up light

It does both a gradual 30 minute sunrise and sunset, with an optional audible alarm. The sunrise and sunset features were great but I didn’t like the alarm sound. It was too harsh for me with no choice to change to a gentler sound. Although I’m sure some people appreciate a loud alarm in the morning. Our previous wake-up light had a range of natural sounds like bird song. However on the positive side, the Lumie Bodyclock was a lot simpler to operate than our old one.

Then the Hot Chocolate. This is a malted variant including Barley malt extract on the ingredients. You just need to add hot milk. We all found it to be a very yummy drink. Malted drinks are ideal at bedtime. For a good night’s sleep, you certainly want to avoid stimulants like caffeine. I try to only drink decaffeinated tea and coffee anyhow.

Whittard Hot Chocolate

Next the bath foam. It felt so lovely relaxing in a bath with this and smelt divine. I was very chilled and ready for bed after my bath. I’ve always known that lavender is reputed to have calming and relaxing properties. Years ago I used to make lavender bags, primarily aimed at putting in my clothes drawers, but I used to scatter them round the bedroom too.

And lastly the mini journals. At just 6.5 x 10.5cm, there is plenty of space on my bedside table for one of these to jot down any thoughts or worries I may have whilst trying to go to sleep. A great idea that I’ve never thought of previously.


One in three people suffer from poor sleep and it’s often identified by feelings of tiredness, low energy and irritability. However, worryingly, it can also lead to impaired judgement, reduced memory, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can have a considerable negative impact on quality of life and a good night’s sleep is essential to allow us to feel refreshed and ready to perform at our best every day. See here for why lack of sleep is bad for your health.

Here’s a list of 10 Things to Relieve Sleep Disturbances.

Try these lifestyle changes and you might find a good night’s sleep a lot less elusive. For some people it could be enough to fully address their sleeping problems. There’s certainly quite a few that I ought to address myself, particularly the no smart phone in the bedroom.

  • Always get up at the same time – even at the weekend.
    It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid catnaps during the day.
    It’ll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.
  • Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
    Alcohol won’t help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day past which you don’t have it.
  • Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
    Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.
  • Exercise during the day.
    Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.
  • Get to bed at the same time every night.
    It’ll help your body prepare itself for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
    No TV, no smart phones!
  • Alleviate your worries.
    Try writing them down before you go to bed.
  • Don’t lie there frustrated.
    If you can’t sleep, get up and do something (non-strenuous) for a while.

Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy – Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet.

To offer assurance that Kalms Night meets the Traditional Herbal registration (THR) requirements, the Certification Mark can be found on the product packaging.

Kalms Night tablets
Kalms Night tablets are available to purchase online at www.kalmsrange.com and supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
Kalms Night RRP: £4.89 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.19 for 21 tablets.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a hamper of sleep goodies to one lucky winner.  The prize comprises a Lumie Bodyclock, Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate, Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam and a pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals. What a great prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

The prize is one hamper as detailed above to be sent to the winner directly from the prize sponsor. Available to UK residents over 18. The winner will be chosen wthin 5 days of the competition ending and has 28 days to acknowledge their win. Please allow 28 days for delivery. Should any issues arise I will do my utmost to help resolve this. the competition will run until the 08/04/17. Please make sure to enter options carefully and fully, any incorrect entries will be void, I do check.

I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. I am working in collaboration with Kalms and I was provided with the #wakeupready sleep hamper to assist with writing this post and hosting the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Country House in Spring jigsaw puzzle review and giveaway

Although I don’t often find the time now to sit down and do a jigsaw puzzle, I’ve always loved them ever since childhood. Nowadays it is usually only on holiday or our annual gift from a friend of a 1000 / 2000 piece jigsaw made from one of his stunning photographs. Wish I could take a decent photo.

So I was pleased to be offered the chance to review a 300 piece jigsaw of a beautiful country house in spring design.

Country House in Spring Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

I checked the dimensions before I started to ensure I chose a big enough surface to make it on, as I don’t possess one of those puzzle mats. Something that has been on my wishlist for a while. It was 49 x 36 cm, so would easily fit on our breakfast bar. Not a problem as we usually eat at the dining table.

I think everyone has their own method of tackling a jigsaw. I tend to work on the edge first to give me a frame for the rest of the puzzle. I then pick out easier features, so for this jigsaw, it was the chimney, the top of the roof and the bright pink flowers in the bottom right hand corner.

Country House in Spring Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

I forgot to time how long it took me to do, but I did it over one weekend. Occasionally son1 popped a piece in place for me as he passed by.

The pieces all fitted together well, as you would expect from a premium brand like Ravensburger. This was one of their bigger pieces range and the puzzle came with a guarantee. Not needed in this case, but great if you were to experience an issue. I can’t think of anything more frustrating than to discover you are missing a piece from a jigsaw puzzle.

Country House in Spring Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Country House in Spring jigsaw puzzle 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 about your favourite jigsaw ever. Mine was a 500 piece circular one from York Castle museum that I did over and over again as a child. I can’t remember who gave it to me, as I’ve never actually visited the museum.

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

Personalised Christmas cards and voucher giveaway

We’ve been creative and made our own personalised Christmas photo cards this year. Firstly I took some festive photographs of the boys and then chose the following two shots to use for our Christmas cards.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

I uploaded these to Snapfish who have given me a free £25 voucher for the purpose of this review. I already have an account with Snapfish, as I have reviewed their products previously for both Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

But I recall that it was very simple to set up an account with Snapfish and it is also easy to upload photos.

Then comes the more time-consuming part, namely choosing your Christmas card designs as there is a huge range, over 1200 of them. Of course, you can do this quickly by limiting your selection to what you see on the first page, but I wanted to browse around a bit. There are plenty of filters to narrow your choice such as how many images you want on your card, orientation and colour. You can also narrow down by size and flat or folded card, but bizarrely I couldn’t find a way of combining this with the other filter.

I had already decided that I wanted folded cards using one image per card. I also wanted minimal text on the inside, as I intended to write my own greetings inside. So this is what I chose, both in size 7×5″.

Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

The cards cost £1.25 each because I bulk-ordered 20 cards. The pricing is on a sliding scale, which currently ranges from £1.99 for an individual card down to 75p for 100+ cards.Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards

The cards arrived quickly, well before the estimated delivery date and were well packed. They looked great, nice and glossy.  Also 15p of the purchase price of each card goes to Macmillan Cancer Support.

I am very happy with my Snapfish personalised photo Christmas cards and recommend that you take a look. They also do a wide range of other personalised products including Christmas baubles. Please note that the last order date for Christmas is 20th December.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a £25 Snapfish voucher to one lucky winner. What a great prize.

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 choose from Snapfish?

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Disclosure.  I received a voucher to purchase items from Snapfish.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: How to Buy a Real Birthday Card

Balloons

Source: StockSnap

How to Buy a Real Birthday Card Online

It may seem old fashioned, but I still love getting and giving real birthday cards – and collecting my children’s cards for them to look back on one day.

Though the online age has tried to replace cards with e-cards or Facebook messages, I still prefer getting a real card, chosen by someone who knows me, with a handwritten message inside (and if they send a personalised chocolate card, I won’t complain!). I can’t lie though: it can be really hard to find the perfect card for my friends and family, and I don’t always have the time I’d like.

However, there are some great options for buying cards online including a new store in the US that’s doing something truly groundbreaking: sending real cards, with your own message – in your own handwriting – right from your computer.  Here’s a round-up for you other busy mums!

Moonpig – https://www.moonpig.com/

Established in the UK, USA and Australia, Moonpig’s biggest appeal is being able to add your own photos and text to their designs. If you want to make a movie poster featuring your child, husband or best friend in the starring role, this is the place to go.

The actual editing interface is very simple and it’s quick and easy to add photos from your computer, phone or Facebook gallery. Once you’ve customised the front of the card, you can type your message and name in the card and then send it to your recipient – though I tend to leave it blank, send it to myself and add my own handwritten message.

Best for: Using your favourite photos to create personal cards; send a gift at the same time

Drawbacks: Can only type name and message in cards; interface can be temperamental if you want to review designs

Blow Birthday Cards – https://www.blowbirthdaycards.com

A new US company that’s sure to grow fast, Blow Birthday Cards only work with independent artists and aim to have the right card for everyone, no matter their age or interests – so if your mother is turning 60 and loves fishing, you should check out their birthday cards.

What really sets Blow apart is the unique ability to take a photo of your handwritten message and signature and have it instantly appear in your card. After that, just check out as normal and your card will be printed and sent to the birthday boy or girl the same day with free postage. They also have a useful birthday reminders feature to make sure you can choose and order future cards in time to always guarantee delivery.

Best for: A real birthday card with the convenience of an e-card; helping small businesses and designers

Drawbacks: Currently US-only

Blow cards

Source: Blow Birthday Cards

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/

The marketplace for all things handmade, artsy and craftsy, Etsy isn’t just a great place for cute gifts, its designers also sell a wide range of handmade greetings cards. Though it’s not really designed for browsing cards, the onsite search makes it easy to find cards around specific things your friends or family love.

While it doesn’t offer the kinds of customisation that Moonpig and Blow allow, it does give you a real alternative to cards on the high street if you’re looking for that perfect card or need to squeeze card shopping into an endless to-do list.

Best for: Unique craftsy cards; finding great gift ideas

Drawbacks: Cards all take different lengths of time to make and send; more expensive

Guest post by Will Chivers of ThoughtShift.