Tag Archives: gift

Fun flying a Remote Control Helicopter

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

The boys have really enjoyed playing with childrens’ basic remote control car toys in the past, but now that they are older, these only get played with very occasionally, mostly sitting neglected on the shelf, whilst video games now dominate. So when Carrie from Syma Toys approached me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing one of their more sophisticated remote control vehicles which are aimed at all ages, also advising me that Syma products are designed to be as eco friendly as possible and are constructed to minimize material waste and ensure high quality, I immediately said yes. An ideal chance to get the boys outside and interested in something non-screen based.

Syma toys Remote Control S37 raptor helicopter

I showed my younger son the pictures of the three choices on offer and he selected the remote control helicopter drone, which was sent via Amazon. Dispatch was very prompt and it was a good job that Syma had packaged the product well, as at some point during delivery, a hole had been torn through the Amazon box, which went right through the Syma cardboard too. I have no idea how that happened, but actions in the supply chain like that can be so frustrating for both the customer and the vendor, particularly small businesses like Syma.

yma toys RC S37 raptor helicopter

Moving onto the product itself, the package contains the RC helicopter itself, the RC transmitter, along with a spare rechargeable battery for the helicopter, a USB charging cable, a spare tail blade, screwdriver and instruction manual. I’m unsure why a spare tail blade is included as standard, but other spare parts can be purchased via the Syma website. And if you prefer visual instructions, videos are available to view. I knew in advance that I would need to provide batteries for the remote control transmitter, so I purchased those at the same time. Amazon indicates that you need 6 AA batteries, but actually it is only 4. However I’m pretty sure most customers would prefer for the batteries to be included too. Maybe something Syma could consider in the future.

yma toys Remote Control S37 raptor helicopter

The instructions indicated a 150 minute duration for a full battery charge, which should give about 7 minutes flight time, so I set to with that as the first activity, getting both batteries charged up. It is easy to know when they are ready as the charger changes from red to blue light. Always best to stop charging at that point, as over-charging would degrade the life of a battery.

Charging RC helicopter battery

We don’t have space inside our home for flying it, so we had to wait for a wind-free day to fly outside. The instructions advise wind conditions of Force 1 or less. Finally we were good to go. My younger son and I had both read the instructions and watched the videos to make sure we knew what we needed to do. It all sounded reasonably straight-forward but this was where things started to go awry. We couldn’t seem to get the helicopter and transmitter to pair together, even though we following the correct logic sequence of plugging the power lead from the battery into the helicopter, swtiching on so the helicopter light started flashing. Then switching on the transmitter, so it started flashing too, pushing the left joystick up, then pressing back down. At this point both devices should have a constant light, but we were only achieving that on the transmitter, whilst the helicopter light was continuing to flash.

yma toys Remote Control S37 raptor helicopter

But Syma customer service to the rescue. We sent them a video showing how we couldn’t seem to pair the helicopter and transmitter and they sent us another. So 5 stars for helpful support. This time we were in business. A piece of cake to easily pair the two this time. And even more of a bonus, it arrived on a beautifully sunny calm day. Ideal flying conditions.

yma toys Remote Control S37 raptor helicopter

yma toys Remote Control S37 raptor helicopter

Our first flights were in the garden, but with an inexperienced pilot at the controls, we soon realised the lack of space, between walls, fences and other obstacles, with a few minor crashes. So we decided to drive to somewhere with a big open space. We opted for a large meadow, but another difficulty became apparent. It is not so easy to take off in long grass. And an even more challenging problem, was locating it when it landed at a distance away. Also we were slightly worried that it was going to fly off on its own, as my son said it wasn’t always responding to his joystick directions. The instructions do indicate that the operating range is 30m.

So in hindsight, when learning to fly, it would probably be best to start in a large indoor area, if you have access to somewhere like a church hall or scout hut. And failing that, a large open outdoor space with easier terrain like tarmac or paved. However, all told my son had a bundle of fun and will certainly be practising his flying technique. Otherwise we may be checking out their spare parts store sooner than anticipated.

This helicopter is the deluxe top of the range S37 raptor model which currently retails on Amazon for just under £120, so excellent as a gift or special treat to yourself. Syma also sell much cheaper budget aircraft. This toy appeals to children and adults alike, although children aged under 8 will require adult supervision. Plenty of fun to play with.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 5% off at Amazon with discount code: NZOJLDUU.

Do take a look at the Syma store. If you prefer you may purchase directly from them rather than via Amazon. They also sell some great looking camera drones, boats and tanks.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I always check out the sustainability angle of products, so this is what I found out on their website. The majority of their product lines are ethically made in China. Symatoys products are designed to be as eco friendly as possible and are constructed to minimize material waste and ensure high quality – exactly what Carrie told me.

And from the circular economy viewpoint I discovered they have a Reuse Program where they will send you free RC products which they cannot sell due to open packaging, to avoid plastic pollution of the warehouse wastefully disposing of them. An excellent idea in my opinion.

I also read that you may apply for an extra free battery to enjoy a longer flight time. A very kind offer. Plus once you register the product for 2 year warranty, most spare parts will be free of charge.

So to summarise, a great fun product and excellent customer service.

I’d love to hear about your favourite remote control toy.

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Tiddledy Wink Wink to Jaques of London – the oldest games company in the world!

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

Regular followers of my blog may have seen when I featured the family fun we had playing Chinese Checkers and Shut The Box about 6 weeks ago. So I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review another two products for free from Jaques of London, .

Their wooden toys all look excellent for younger children and some are suitable for babies. And it is excellent that they are made from 100% sustainably sourced wood. However as the boys are both in double figures now, I have chosen two traditional classic games – a Draughts Set and Tiddlywinks.

Jaques of London games

Once again very fast dispatch and beautifully presented, although still encased with the needless layer of single use plastic. I did highlight this to Jaques following my previou post and they have passed my comments onto their Product development team. It is something that they are looking into changing for the future of being a sustainable business.

I was very interested to read that Tiddlywinks was a Jaques invention back in the 1800s, patented under the name Tiddledy Winks. Those who have more than a passing interest can read all about the history and official tournaments on the Tiddly Winks Association website. Yes you read that right – the game has its own Association. Who would have thought that this game, which I had always imagined to just be a fun children’s pastime, is actually as strategic as the likes of chess?

Jaques Tiddly Winks

The version of Tiddlywinks that I received is the travel edition, so it didn’t include a playing mat, but no problem, we just mapped out an area on the carpet with the Jaques ribbons. Good bit of thinking that. No idea if it was the correct size though, so might be worth specifying on the instructions. However don’t worry, for the purists amongst you, they also sell a full version including a baize mat. Plus bonus points – the full edition has been manufactured to the original 1800s Jaques design which looks amazing.

Jaques Tiddly Winks

I was wondering what the winks would be made of, as I’ve only ever seen plastic tiddly winks. However these are also plastic which was a slight disappointment. Also the instruction sheet needs some proof-reading, since it is inconsistent in regards to the number of tiddly winks, as to whether each person plays with 4 or 6. But we didn’t have a choice, as only 4 were included apart from lucky red who got 5.

As we read the rules, we did laugh over some of the terminology. The large winks are called squidgers which makes sense, but if your wink lands on top of another wink, the one on top is squopping and the one underneath has been squopped. Where did they come with those words? However my son managed to do something which hadn’t been defined. He got a wink trapped under the pot. Who can come up with an equally silly name to define that?

Jaques Tiddly Winks

We found Tiddlywinks was a fun game to play, although I couldn’t seem to get the knack, as almost every time, my wink ended up outside the playing zone, so I kept forfeiting my next turn. I didn’t manage to actually pot any winks. We left the pot open, so we effectively had 2 chances at potting, but even so nobody got all 4 potted in the time limit. 2 was the best, so we definitely need more practice. We cetainly won’t be entering any tournaments anytime soon. Not sure whether the pot should have been left open or closed, but if we had closed it, none of us would have potted, as all winks potted were in the larger lower pot.

Tiddlywinks can be either played as 2 teams of 2 or upto 4 individuals. A great game for all the family apart from very young children due to the risk of swallowing small pieces. Perhaps Jaques could consider producing a version with giant winks as the hand coordination element would be good for young children.

Jaques Draughts

Moving on to the second game. The solid wooden draughts board looks very elegant but I am in two minds as regards the quality of the pieces. This is because one piece doesn’t look as attractive as all the others. So on the one hand I am pleased since they are hand-crafted but on the other hand I want them to look perfect as a set. Sorry am I being too greedy?

Jaques Draughts

I don’t think I’ve played draughts since childhood, but the instructions were clear to follow. However I think I should have chosen to play my first game against one of the boys rather than my husband as he remembered the rules no problem and absolutely whooped me in a very short time, crowning 3 of his pieces. A great strategic game.

Both games are very good value for money, for excellent high quality products which should last a lifetime. Suitable for children or adults. Buy for yourself or as gifts. And lots of screen-free fun family time together.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed I got a surprise bonus in the draughts. A prize code. So keep your eyes peeled when you order, in case you get extra lucky too!

Jaques of London have an amazing heritage. They are a long-established games, toys and sports manufacturer spanning 8 generations of the Jaques family back to 1795. Their products are still timber-based today. And not only do they make them, they have been inventing games and toys too. With my interest in genealogy, it was fascinating to read the family history of the oldest games company and sports manufacturer in the world.

I certainly recommend you have a look round their website. They have some great special offers. So many fabulous eco-friendly plastic-free fun toys, games and sports equipment. Plus you can get 15% off if you sign up to their newsletter. And they currently have a promotion where some lucky shoppers will win their money back.

So what is your favourite game?

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Sustainably made games and toys from Jaques of London – the oldest games company in the world!

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

When Rosey from Jaques of London asked me if I would do a Christmas feature, I took a look at their website and was instantly drawn to their heritage. They are a long-established games, toys and sports manufacturer spanning 8 generations of the Jaques family back to 1795. It was refreshing to read that their products are still timber-based today. And not only do they make them, they have been inventing games and toys too. With my interest in genealogy, it was fascinating to read the family history of the oldest games company and sports manufacturer in the world.

Jaques of London family games

I had a good browse round their website and saw that they sell toys suitable for babies upwards, family games and sports equipment like croquet. Spoilt for choice, I selected a couple of traditional classic games – Chinese Checkers and Shut The Box Game which they sent me free to review.

Jaques of London family games

Dispatch was very fast and both games were beautifully presented with reproduction tissue paper and personalised cards from the team members who had hand wrapped them. You could tell a lot of care and thought had gone into that. They immediately made me think of “Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things” from The Sound of Music. You won’t need to wrap these, they are ready to go under the Christmas tree. However the one thing that was definitely surplus to requirement was the single use plastic encasing each box, as they were already doubly secured with an attractive ribbon.

Jaques of London family games

But since it is obvious that sustainability is something that is key to this company with its environmentally friendly wooden products and brown boxes in preference to shiny ones, hopefully the single use plastic is already on their agenda to remove. I didn’t manage to find a sustainability page on their website, but did come across an interesting article on their blog about What Wood is Safe for Children’s Toys.

So onto the products themselves. I was delighted to spot Shut The Box Game in their range. This is a game that I originally wanted to buy for son1 back in 2013 but couldn’t find it stocked anywhere. He had enjoyed playing it multiple times whilst in hospital with leukaemia. A great distraction for him at the time and educational too.

Jaques of London family games - Shut the Bo

This dice game can be played by any number of players, even just one and is good for arithmetic skills. This is an attractive wooden framed version with a baize lining. Numbers go upto 12, but they sell various versions including one with numbers upto 9 and a travel edition.

The other game I chose was Chinese Checkers and when it arrived, I discovered a bonus. Chinese Checkers on one side and flip it over for a game of Go Bang. All the pieces of this edition have been beautifully hand carved.

Jaques of London family games - Chinese Checkers

Chinese Checkers is a traditional board game for 2, 3, 4 or 6 players. Each player chooses a peg colour and a starting point of the star. The objective of this game is to be the first to get all 10 of your pegs to the opposite star point. Jumping is a key feature of the rules and depending on the position of the pieces, we sometimes got lucky travelling right across the board in one move with a series of jumps.

Meanwhile Go Bang is a strategy game of territorial capture for 2 players.

Jaques of London family games - Go Bang

All the games came with comprehensive detailed instructions. And very good value for money for excellent high quality products which should last a lifetime. These would both be great for Christmas gifts.

So I certainly recommend you have a look round their website. They currently have some great special offers. So many fabulous eco-friendly plastic-free fun toys, games and sports equipment. Plus you can get 15% off if you sign up to their newsletter.

Finally a random fact for the day, the origin of Chinese Checkers is in Germany and not China, so why do they call it Chinese Checkers?

I’d love to hear your favourite game or idea for inventing 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 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.