Preserving memories with “From you to me”

I sat with two sisters earlier this week, they looked over photos that one of them hadn’t seen before and they tried to work out between themselves who the subjects were and the circumstances.

It was bitter-sweet as both sisters had never known their maternal grandmother, she had died during childbirth, a week after the end of World War 1. Such an event had subsequently effected the surviving family and generations following that. They had never seen a photo of their maternal grandmother but presumed they had finally found a picture, an old greying picture showing her face.

There were so many unanswered questions, partly because their parents were long dead and partly because of circumstances and having lived through World War 2, their parents did not want to revisit painful memories.

Genealogy is something I am very interested in, simply because so little is known about my great-grandparents and their forefathers.

We are so lucky in this age of disclosure, social media and blogging. My children will have a permanent memento of their childhood, our wishes and hopes for them.

I was offered the chance to look through some journals produced by fromyoutome.com and found them to be a very useful tool in preparing memories for our children, and, hopefully in time, their children.

I was sent three journals to review, three wonderful hard-backed journals, full of questions and opportunities to find out about memories and experiences:

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The first one we’ve looked at is Kicking off Memories:

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Here’s what the website says:

Do you have a friend or member of your family who is mad about football?

Are they always telling you great stories about the games they have watched or the goals they have seen scored? Do they always have an opinion on the team that was picked or referees decision? Do you know why they support the teams they do or why they dislike others? What about the best goal that they scored themselves… have they told you the details and how did they celebrate scoring?

This is the gift you give … and then get it returned with an amazing collection of footballing experiences. Glorious goal celebrations, tears of joy and pain, and the drowning of sorrows will be enjoyably retold and shared.

Priced at £12.99, this is the perfect for the football fan in your life (ideal for Mr Bluecrisps!). Packed with questions like:
Who introduced you to football?
Which goals that you have seen scored would be in your top 10?
And
When having a “kick-around”, what have been some of the items you’ve used as goal posts?

T is really looking forward to reading his dad’s responses to these questions and I think it will prompt a few giggles and some great conversation. It’s something that T will be able to share with his children in time too.

Another one was Our Story for my daughter:

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Here’s the website details:

Our Story will inspire you to capture the unique story of you and your daughter. Allow an enjoyable hour or two once a year to complete your journal – a great opportunity to reflect on your remarkable relationship.

Our Story helps you to record your amazing family experiences and unrepeatable moments – the growth development and personality of your daughter, your time together and your emotional journey – your hopes and dreams, the ups and downs and, above all, the incredible mother-daughter bond.

On your daughter’s 18th birthday she will receive this beautiful hand-written story, a priceless record of years together to be shared and treasured forever.

Priced at £19.99, it has a lovely illustrated cover, with the drawings carried on throughout the book, a perfect memento to complete and present to a daughter when she reaches 18.

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And lastly, we’ve looked at Dear Dad, from you to me:

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Here’s the website details:

Everyone has a story to tell… and have you ever wondered just how well you really know your Dad? Life is a fascinating journey and some aspects are often shared with others, however most stories and moments are never recorded.

This Journal is full of around 60 wonderful questions carefully designed to inspire every father to tell his personal story.

Celebrate your Dad’s amazing story and give him the opportunity to find that ‘book’ within him … and provide a priceless collection of experiences and memories to be treasured.

Priced at £12.99, this is available in the sketch design cover – as above – or a more traditional family tree cover. It is full of wonderfully original questions such as:

Who was your best friend as a teenager..and why?
Did you have an idol when you were young, tell me yours and why
What was my nickname before I was born or when I was young
.

Lovely questions that, again, are going to be fun to complete and thought-provoking.

The journals can all be personalised with photos and names, please allow ten working days. A lovely idea for a special birthday or anniversary, click here for details.

For the two sisters I sat with – my mum and my aunt – so many potential memories have been lost in time, with these journals I can ensure the same doesn’t happen for the Bluecrisps family.

Disclaimer: we were sent 3 journals for the purpose of this review, my thoughts and words are my own.

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Having a girlie time with our new shoes

It’s always a challenge finding shoes that are affordable, practical and in stock! There’s nothing worse than coming back empty-handed from a specific shopping trip, especially with special needs children.

So, D and I were very pleased to have the opportunity to review a pair of shoes each from Shoe Zone.

I must admit, I hadn’t heard of Shoe Zone before but their stats are impressive:
“currently trades from over 550 stores throughout the UK and Ireland. Selling over 25 million pairs of shoes per annum, equivalent to 50 pairs every minute!”

Of course, there is the online site too, which we eagerly went on to.

There was a lot of choice, D – despite just turning 9 – is an adult size 3 and I’m a size 8 and we found plenty to choose from in shoes, sandals, boots and trainers, all well as bags.

Here’s what we chose:

D went for this:

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A Lilley Women’s Black Suede Effect Ballerina Pump at £9.99, reduced from £12.99. She was very attracted to the gem stone effect all around them and drew a picture in anticipation:

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I went for these:

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A pair of Adesso Women’s Flexible Multi Coloured Woven Shoe at £29.99.

We ordered online and they were delivered within two days via courier.

So, what did we think?

The service from selection to checkout to delivery couldn’t have been easier. Although we weren’t in when they were delivered, the package was left in a very secure place with a card put through the door.

Here’s D in her shoes, they’ve been tested on the trampoline, in the garden and she’s worn them to school today.

She thinks they’re “great” and says they are comfortable.

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My shoes are fantastic, I love the woven effect and because it’s all elastic weave they are very comfortable, the rubber soles providing a light weight alternative to my usual summer wear when it’s been raining too.

There is the option of wearing them as clogs but I prefer the heel effect. They do come in a more orange/red effect as well as sandals and I’ll definitely be getting some. Ideal for beach wear too.

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A thumbs-up from D and I, thanks to Shoe Zone.

Disclaimer: we were sent two pairs of shoes of our choice for the purpose of this review, our views and words are our own.

Want Noodles whilst dieting?

I’ve been trying to get my act together and achieve a healthier lifestyle since January 1st, some weeks have been easier than others due to the trials and tribulations of life but the one things I have missed are noodles!

Noodles contained within a mushroom chow mein, to be specific. The taste, the texture, the yumminess of them!

I found out about Slim Noodles via a twitter conversation and I jumped (albeit wobbly – being a #WobblesWednesday participant!) at the chance to try out a packet.

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As you will see from the pictures above, they are very low calorie and fat free, gluten free and carb free too.

Here’s what the website says:

What is the Slim foods range made from?
Slim Pasta®, Slim Noodles® and Slim Rice® are made from a water-soluble vegetable fibre called Moyu (konjac).

Will it taste good?
Slim Pasta®, Slim Noodles® and Slim Rice® are slightly chewy than normal pasta, noodles and rice and that is because it is made from fibre. It is also very absorbing, so if you add them to a sauce that is runny, it will absorb a lot more of the flavours. The down side of eating normal pasta, noodles and rice is that it is High in Calories, Carbohydrates and Sugar. You could either have pasta that contains 352 calories and 71.6g of carbohydrates (per 100g serving) or have Slim Pasta® that contains 7.7 Calories (Zero Net calories), 0g of Carbohydrates, of which Sugar is 0g. With any of the Slim foods range, you will feel full for up to 4 hours. You will get net zero calories and zero carbohydrates and zero sugar from the Slim foods range, and you will also lose weight from eating pasta, noodles and rice.

What is that odor you get when you open a bag of Slim foods?
The Slim foods range comes stored in a food grade calcium hydroxide water (lime water), and when opened, you will notice a starch like odor. This is perfectly normal, since it is made of a high quality and high viscose Moyu fibre. The starch odor disappears after 2-3 rinses under warm water.

What does ZERO Net Calories mean?
The calories per 100g in the Slim foods range is 7.7. However, these calories come from vegetable fibre, and it cannot be absorbed by the body. So although the food is made up of 7.7 calories, what your body absorbs is practically zero, hence ‘Zero Net calories’.

I am eating a Slim foods meal for the first time, how much should I eat?
Try not to eat until you start feeling full as the fibre in the Slim foods will expand to give you that extra feeling of fullness. The Slim foods range is very filling, so start with a very modest portion and see how you get on and increase the portions in your next meal until you are sure about the portion size. Try to remember that the Slim food range is not like your usual pasta, noodles and rice, you won’t need to eat as much as regular pasta, noodles and rice to feel satisfied (depending on your added sauce/ingredients).

So, what did they taste like and how did I cook them?

Firstly, as mentioned above, there is a starch-like odour when the packet is first opened, give the noodles a good 2-3 rinses in warm water and it does disappear.

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I microwaved them for one minute – as per the instructions above – and then added them to a runny satay-type sauce I’d prepared with peanut butter, but without oil. This gave the satay noodles effect without the considerable fat and calories then added in some no-skin chicken and peas. This was a side plate, not a dinner plate.

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The noodles are very chewy and very filling. I also found that the noodles absorbed the sauce quickly so next time I use them, I’ll make the sauce much runnier.

I felt full very quickly and it was good to be eating noodles again!

Click here to find out where you can buy Slim Pasta, Slim Noodles and Slim Rice. They are also available in multiple packs from Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was sent a packet of Slim Noodles to test. My words and views are my own.

Comfy vibrant shoes that fit through your letterbox?

Yes, I couldn’t believe it either. Shoes that you can order without having to wait for a parcel delivery, that’s assuming you’re in/the postman hangs around longer than ten seconds for you to get to the door.

This is where Cheeky Shoes come in.

Don’t believe they will fit through a letterbox? Take a look at these pictures:

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The shoes come in a fantastic range of vibrant colours and are very comfortable, D (being an adult size 3) has worn them to school and in the garden. They are very easy to clean too.

Here’s some details from the website:

“We wanted to design footwear that was fun and funky, and that made women feel good about themselves. We wanted to create a pair of comfortable, colourful shoes that you could buy online without having to worry about fitting. We wanted to create a product and shopping experience that women would want to tell their friends about.

The first few months of actual selling Cheekyshoes were amazing. We talked to pretty much everyone who bought a pair – women of all ages, lots of mums – and they all said the same thing: that in a tiring, busy lifestyle, where practical, comfortable shoes are essential, our colourful Cheekyshoes made them smile and feel happy.

This was inspiring – we were making women happy. It’s all we’ve ever wanted to do.

We know that buying shoes online can be a bit of a nightmare. How do you know they’ll fit? How do you know they’ll be comfortable? With Cheekyshoes it’s simply not an issue. Our shoes are made with a blend of Lycra and neoprene, making them really flexible, and allowing them to stretch and expand to fit your feet.

Imagine walking barefoot on the beach, being able to wriggle your toes, not worrying about falling off a pair of heels. That’s what wearing a pair of Cheekyshoes is like.

Except that thanks to a lovely lightweight natural rubber sole, you don’t have to worry about standing on a spikey shell.

We don’t buy into the idea that ‘sensible’ shoes have to come in ‘sensible’ colours either. Yes you want a pair of shoes that you can walk around in for hours, but we also want those shoes to bring a splash of colour into your day and a smile to your face. The only tricky bit here is deciding whether you are more of a sumptuous cerise or a luscious lemon. (When in doubt, we say suggest you buy both)”.

So, what did my little reviewer think of them?

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I’d say she’s very pleased with them! She loves the colour red, in fact she loved all the colour choices. She’s found them very comfortable and the stretchy fabric and the rubber sole means I don’t have to worry about her injuring her feet walking over stones etc.

The fact they are easy to clean and remove any marks is a definite bonus, keeps them looking nice and fresh.

A thumbs-up from us! Now we just need some sunshine…

To view all the vibrant colours in the range, please click here.

Giving my face a Moisture Surge with Clinique’s CC cream

Warning: this post contains images of *gasp* an un-made up face!

I’ve had a mini “eureka” moment this year and it’s all to do with my skin.

To quote the Adam Ant song “Goodie Two Shoes”, I “don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?”..the one thing I do admit to is a lack of sleep. As any parent will know, the “bank of sleep” can be seriously depleted by illness/stress and, having two SN children, my mind will just tick over all night at times. Routine is so important to my children, and the “bank” never gets a chance to refuel.

I’m also within that age where my skin is now classed within the “mature” age bracket so anything that brightens up my skin and additionally provides moisture is welcomed.

I was therefore delighted to be selected by Mumsnet to trial Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC cream, SPF 30.

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Here’s what Clinque say about their product:

“One day, your skin looks ‘different’ – too red, sallow, dull or ashy. Our guiding dermatologists know why. Skin’s undertones change. Now, Smart Colour Correcting Technology helps change them back. In seconds, you look like the picture of health. Lasting, oil-free hydration and a sunscreen mean a more flawless look tomorrow, too”

So, how did I find the cream and here’s where the *gulp* pictures come in.

Firstly, I have very sensitive skin, VERY, as well as combination skin. I haven’t tended to use foundations as I’ve always been worried that I’ll put some on and the familiar tingle of a reaction starts, which then leads to “little miss red-face” and a need to remove said product very quickly before the itching starts.

This cream has been fine.

Here’s a before picture, completely make-up and concealer free. I’m pale, I’m patchy, I need something to brighten up my skin:

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And this is after application. The cream was very thick, I didn’t need much for an even application, this is “Light Medium” shade. Regulated the colour in my face, smooth and even to apply and no sensitive skin reactions:

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I like the fact the cream also contains a UVA/UVB sunscreen as, even during cloudy days, the sun’s rays are still reaching your skin. It’s also fragrance free, which means my children aren’t going to object to the smell. Very important for those hugs at the school gates!

Disclaimer:
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

iWear Glasses lens reglazing service – Product Review

I was offered the chance to review iWear Glasses lens reglazing service, as I have joined the wonderful world of spectacle wearing. I didn’t realise until now that there are so many frames to choose from, gone are the limited choice of standard NHS frames (disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with choosing them) and now there are kooky/semi-rimmed/rimless/designer frames to choose from.

This is what iWear Glasses have to say:

“Buy Prescription Glasses Online or Reglaze your frames

Are you looking to buy glasses online? You’ve come to the right place. Offering prescription high-street style glasses at a fraction of the cost, iWearGlasses have a variety of great value glasses online today, including bifocal and varifocal glasses.

With 30 years’ experience of using the latest eye care technology, all of our work is carried out at our in-house UK optical lab. We use high quality Essilor lenses as standard (Essilor is the world leader in ophthalmic lenses) and conform to British Standard BS2738-3 2004.

What’s more, we’ll save you an average of 81% compared to high street opticians, and an average of 30% compared to the main internet retailers.”

I was sent a voucher which enabled me to choose replacement lenses in frames I supplied, which included the following:

“GOLD Package
+£45.00
includes:

Extra Thin and lightweight lenses (1.67 index)
Scratch resistant hard coating
Anti-reflective coating
UV-400 filter
See full details Gold Lens Package Details Includes:
•Extra Thin and light plastic lenses
•Scratch resistant hard coating
•Anti-reflect
•UV 400

Benefits:
•Extra Thin 1.67 index thin lenses + scratch-resistant coating + anti-reflective coating + UV400 coating
•Up to 45% lighter and 45% thinner than standard plastic lenses
•These extra thin lenses could really be of benefit if your prescription is higher than +/-3
•Results in thinner, more aesthetically pleasing lenses which weigh less on your nose – even with lower prescriptions”

So, how simple was it to use? The answer is very simple. As long as your prescription is less than 2 years old, you’re not under 16 or registered blind, you can use this service.

Here’s a step-by-step of how to order your new lenses:

Choose the “re-glaze my own frames” option (click add to basket) and then the type of frames you have:

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Next, choose what you use your glasses for and the re-glazing package you’re purchasing:

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Next there is the option of tinted lenses/sunglasses option and cleaning solution:

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Now we come to entering the prescription details, enter them as they appear on the prescription from the opticians. For some reason this made me really nervous and I re-checked I don’t know how many times!

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Once all the numbers are entered, give a brief description of the frames you’re sending off: colour/make/any markings etc.

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You’re then presented with a summary for checking before being directed to pay. Upon payment you receive an order number and an address to send the frames to. Include your name, address and order number with the frames. Be sure to use plenty of bubble wrap/packaging. The order is also emailed to you.

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This is where I have my only niggle. It would speed things up if the confirmation email also included a pre-paid pre-printed label, it would save time taking it to the Post Office to be weighed. I chose to send the frames by First Class Recorded Delivery, a cost of just over £3.

So, how long did the process take?
I sent off the glasses on the Wednesday and they were back with me – again by Recorded Delivery – ten days later. I was kept updated by email of progress and although it says allow 28 days, frames are generally processed sooner. A comparable amount of time with the High Street but obviously cheaper.

And my glasses? They were returned in a case, securely packaged with a cleaning cloth. The lighter frames sit nicely and I’m impressed.

My next step will be to get my lovely Marc Jacobs sunglasses done!

Recommended from me for ease of use, communications and the end product.

Disclaimer: I received a voucher code for the purposes of this review.

Body Star MAGIFIT trousers – Product Review

One of my intentions this year is to get fitter, it’s all part of my lifestyle change and the purpose of this blog, as opposed to my autism awareness blog.

I was recently sent a pair of MAGIFIT workout trousers to review:

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They are great! So comfortable, without any of the movement restrictions during a workout that you might experience wearing “normal” clothes.

The trousers are very nice to wear, the material is 89% polyester and 11% elastane. They do feel like they hold you in, but it’s by no means restrictive. I like the colour flashes of purple too, they are also available in a black/blue colour way if you’re not a purple fiend like me.

They wash very well and look smart enough to be worn on the way to the gym/exercise class. As I (hopefully) become smaller, the elastane in the trousers mean that they shouldn’t become baggy too quickly.

They are available here from Fashion World, and very reasonably and competitively priced at £28.

A definite and very comfortable recommendation from me.

Disclaimer: I was sent a pair of MAGIFIT trousers, my views are my own and I was not paid for this review.