Tag Archives: gift

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 wants to win a pair of environmentally friendly hummingbird earrings?

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

With the lockdown continuing, perhaps the chance to win something sparkly might cheer you up, either for yourself or as a gift for a special person. So read on for details of a great prize.

Worth £69, these handmade silver hummingbird ear studs will add sparkle and charm to your look. Inspired by the amazingly unique and tiny hummingbird, these dainty earrings have been hard carved and cast in sterling silver by master goldsmith Jana Reinhardt. Measuring 10 x 6 mm, the studs would make a lovely addition to any jewellery collection. Hummingbirds are believed to represent strength-of-being and resilience, things we all need a little more of at the moment. They are beautiful earrings that are subtle and classic enough to be worn every day, as a little reminder to hang on in there, whatever challenges you face.

Hummingbird Earrings

Based in Sussex since 2006, Jana Reinhardt handcrafts fine jewellery and bespoke pieces for people who appreciate the lighter side of life. Jana Reinhardt jewellery designs are inspired by the natural world and the naive art movement. They don’t use machine manufacture, preferring the old techniques of wax carving and fabrication to create our products. These traditional methods have no negative effect on the environment, making Jana Reinhardt a more sustainable choice for jewellery lovers. All metals used are from accredited suppliers, based in the UK and Germany, that continually buy back and recycle scrap metal, thus helping to create more environmentally friendly jewellery.

Hummingbird Earrings

And I’m hosting a giveaway to win a pair of these beautiful hummingbird earrings, courtesy of Jana Reinhardt jewellery.

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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 might cheer you up during lockdown.

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An eco Christmas Gift Guide ad

Disclosure.  This post mentions products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.
This post is classed as an advert because I have been requested to include a specific URL

It is getting to that time of year to start thinking about Christmas presents, so I would like to share some of my gift guide ideas. Regular readers will know that I’ve tried to adopt a much more sustainable philosophy this year, so I’ve been keeping an eye out whenever I’ve been in the charity shops. I’ve got quite a few toys, games and books as stocking fillers for the boys. Some of them even look brand new. Of course I still plan to get them at least one thing that they each specifically request.

Sous Chef salt plate

However you can also get some nice new sustainable gifts and when I was browsing the cookware section of the Sous Chef website, I discovered some great finds, which they kindly sent me for free. First up is this fab Himalayan salt plate. It comes in two sizes and this is the smaller 21cm x 10 cm. Salt is naturally antibacterial, so there is no need to use soap to clean the plate. Just wipe with a damp cloth, and dry well before storing. You can heat the plate in the oven or chill it in the freezer, and it will season the food you are serving on it. Just imagine frying scallops on it or using it to serve your caramel ice cream. What a wow factor at the table!

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

And for the gardener in your life, there is a great range of grow your own products. I chose these grow in the bag Towering Sunflowers and Gigantically Good Dinosaur Kale (cavolo nero). The instructions on the reverse indicate that you start the seeds off in the natural biodegradable jute bag, then transplant the whole thing outside to mature. See I’m also thinking about the bees with the sunflowers, as I had been contemplating making my own bee bombs.

Sous Chef grow your own sunflowers and kale

I’m planning to make some homemade foodie gifts for the extended family, so the final two items I chose from the cookware range are early Xmas gifts to myself to assist in that process. There is a large Cook’s Muslin Square 93cm x 100cm that I’m hoping to use to strain jellies and steam Christmas puddings. Two things I’ve never tried previously, but I can remember as a child watching my mum tie her jelly bag onto a kitchen drawer handle overnight when making crab apple jelly. You never know, I might even try making my own cheese with it. Muslin is a natural fabric which can be washed and reused time after time.

Sous Chef Cooks Muslin

And after any cooking, there is the cleaning afterwards, which is where this copper washing up sponge will come in very handy. It is made by Andrée Jardin, a traditional French family business where everything is produced in small batches, using artisanal techniques. The company’s motto is Simplicity, Quality, Sustainability.

Sous Chef copper sponge

Do take a look at the Sous Chef site here https://www.souschef.co.uk/collections/cookware. There are so many more fabulous items. I’ve got my eye on the dehydrator. It would be great to make my homemade fruit snacks and vegetable crisps, avoiding all the plastic packaging that they tend to be sold in. The trays are stainless steel, so no need to worry about toxins from plastic either.

My other big sustainable gift suggestion is to give someone a memory. I’m thinking of paying the entry fee for a swimming race for my partner, but it could be buying a membership of say Woodland Trust or adopting an endangered animal via WWF or tickets to an event. The list is endless.

I’d love to hear what you would like to give or receive for Christmas. I’m especially looking forward to hearing about sustainable ideas.

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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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Christmas gifts for under £5 – the SDfiverChallenge

Hope it is not too early to mention the Christmas word. Britmums have challenged bloggers to take the Christmas #sdfiverchallenge to find some great gifts for £5. And as one of the first 100 to sign upto the challenge, I received a free £30 SportsDirect voucher to purchase my gifts.

Now I regularly pop into our local branch of SportsDirect to buy football boots for the boys and my running gear. So I have noticed other items like kids’ wellingtons but had no idea that they stocked toys and other gifts.

Sportsdirect.com is not just football boots and inexpensive trainers. It features fashion brands, leisurewear and more! Because of its buying power, Sportsdirect.com is able to get products you’d expect to pay more for elsewhere. Their range of £5 gifts for Christmas means you can shop for family, friends, teachers and even your book-club buddies for less!

I think I am trying to do my Christmas shopping too early, as this gift link wasn’t visible from the homepage menu. But that didn’t put me off and I chose the following gifts from their £5 and under range.

SportsDirect gifts

A Manchester City Fidget Spinner for £5

and a 4 piece Minions wash set for £2. I think I must have got the last one of these, as I couldn’t find it subsequently to add the link. Hopefully they will restock this. I did notice that most of the items in the gift range were aimed at children.

However sticking with the £5 price, I bought some other items, not from the Christmas range, but just as good for gifts in my opinion. These were
Star Wars mens underwear
I chose to buy 2 pairs of these as they were priced at £5 each or 2 for £8.

Marvel Civil War t-shirt
Minions trunks
The trunks are a tried and tested product as we already have a similar pair in a different design, which need replacing due to fading.

These all came to a total of £25 as I had saved the remaining £5 for shipping.

I then completed the checkout process easily but do have one complaint. When I added my voucher code, it automatically repriced my multi-buy on the men’s underwear back to the original price with no prior warning. This was disappointing, as I ended up paying £2 more than anticipated.

Standard shipping is a flat rate of £4.99, but I did notice that they do offer an alternative collect in store service, where they reimburse the shipping with a £5 voucher. Seems a rather cheeky way of enticing you to make another purchase. Why not just offer a free collect in store service.

SportsDirect gifts

I was pleased with the dispatch service as the items were delivered very quickly and the clothes were all individually wrapped in polythene. However a total failure when I tried to remove price labels from the fidget spinner and the wash set. When I buy something from a gift range, I expect to be able to easily remove the price, not end up with the result in this photo below.

SportsDirect gifts - Fidget Spinner

Also if I pay £5 for an item like the Minions swimming trunks, I’m not particularly impressed to receive them with a price label of £2.50, half the price I actually paid. At least son2 was happy.

SportsDirect gifts

Son1 wasn’t quite so convinced though as I had decided to get him a t-shirt in the next size up to ensure he didn’t grow out of it too quickly. But it was huge. Never mind, he will grow into it. So full marks to SportsDirect on sizing, as it looks like it would have been roomy enough if I had got it his actual age.

SportsDirect gifts

And I’ve already mentioned how I was disappointed to end up paying £10 rather than £8 for 2 pairs of men’s underwear. To rub salt into the wound, they arrived complete with “2 for £8” labels still.

SportsDirect gifts

So in summary, yes I succeeded with the #sdfiverchallenge of buying plenty of gifts for £5 or less, but I did have a few issues along the way.

I’d love to hear what you would buy from the SportsDirect Christmas range?

And subsequent to the delivery, I’m very pleased to say that SportsDirect refunded the additional £2 that I had paid.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I purchased using a voucher I was sent for free. All opinions are my own. This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportsdirect.com.

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All I want for Christmas is ….

Nude Jewellery is an independent London jewellers who stock a wide and varied range of contemporary jewellery. They are running a competition for bloggers to write a post, selecting a piece of jewellery as their Christmas pick from their website.

They have designer jewellery handmade by leading local, national and international designers, unusual jewellery and bespoke jewellery so plenty for me to browse around. There are some amazing items. I am really spoilt for choice, but I’ve finally decided that my Christmas Pick is this beautiful necklace.

Fleur - Garnet Silver Pendant

I was really attracted to this beautiful Fleur – Garnet Silver Pendant. Absolutely stunning in my opinion. I’m sure I would get some great compliments wearing something like this unusual beautiful piece.

The pendant with flowers surrounding red tear shape garnet gemstone centre has a 22mm height and 11mm width and is on a 16-18 inch silver chain. It has been designed and created in the UK.

Have a look around their website at the lovely handmade jewellery. What would you pick?

This post is my entry into the Nude Christmas Pick Blogger Competition.

My review of Sew Personal To You

A parcel arrived in the post which we had been eagerly awaiting.  Inside was a cushion beautifully decorated with my sons’ artwork drawing, embroidered into a hand-stitched design by Natasha of Sew Personal To You.  In fact it was even more than we expected, as I was assuming that we would just receive the cushion cover, but a cushion pad had already been inserted inside.

Here are my sons’ original designs, which they drew specially for the cushion, the day we agreed to do the review.  These are pictures that they think Daddy will love, as whisper, they plan to give the cushion to Daddy for Christmas.

Happy Face by son2

Happy Face by son2

Yoda by son1

Yoda by son1

And here is the beautiful cushion created by Natasha.

The finished result

The finished result

You can see how accurately Natasha has copied the boys’ artwork, even the gap where son1 didn’t quite join Yoda’s leg upto his body.  It is a wonderful way to preserve your childrens’ precious doodles by turning them into unique personal items either to keep yourself or as a gift.

Natasha has only recently started up Sew Personal To You as a small business, inspired by transferring her own childrens’ artwork onto polo tops.  She maintained excellent communication with me, letting me know when she was planning to start the embroidery and when it was finished.  And she explains in advance how line drawings, rather than coloured in, are preferable since she tries to match as close as possible what your child had drawn, line for line – tricky when coloured in but not impossible!

So if you’re thinking about Christmas presents take a look at Sew Personal To You.  Your childrens’ doodles can be transferred onto all sorts of personalised items – clothing, cushion covers, hankies, shopping bags, tea towels, wall hangings, bookmarks, notebook covers and much more.  And you may include extras such as the date and your budding artist’s name.

The boys were thrilled with the cushion and they even got a sticker each.

And I’ll let you into a little secret.  I’m planning to host a giveaway on behalf of Sew Personal To You early in the New Year, in plenty of time for Mothers Day.

Family Fever

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