Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Review: With This Ring Photo Frame

With This Ring Photo Frame is an ideal gift for the Happy Couple to celebrate their big day.

Each stunning With This Ring Frame is free-standing and finished in a lacquer coating to ensure it is tarnish resistant.

Our With This Ring Photo Frame comes neatly packaged in its own gift box and is padded with bubble wrap for safe delivery.

A perfect Wedding or Engagement gift to hold treasured photos from the big day.

REVIEW: Wedding photographs are so precious and yet they are often hidden in wedding albums. What a lovely idea to get the new bride and groom some lovely photo frames. More precisely a frame that will do the photographs justice. When I was browsing the http://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk/ website, I knew instantly that the 'With This Ring' photo frame was a frame that would sit on my sideboard and get lots of admiring glances. It was just so unique. The shape for one thing. Most frames are plain squares but the fact that the whole frame was two rings interlocked really appealed to me.

I hate it when you order something on the Internet and are then really disappointed afterwards. Of course it was the total opposite with this iteml as the frame cost only £7.99 I was expecting a rather flimsy item. So imagine my delight when I realised what good quality it was. It was really rather weighty and the engraving of the writing of the words 'With this ring, I thee wed' was done perfectly. The packaging made it look like a gift from some expensive gift shop and the engraved hearts on the rings reiterated the fact that this was an ultra-romantic frame.

There are lots of wedding photo frames about but I am hard pushed to find one as nice as this. There are so many options with how you situate the photos too. The layout in the photo above suggests that you could put a photo of the rings in one and the happy couple in the other. Other ideas could be; wedding photo in one and honeymoon in the other. I actually split a photo of us together sitting on a bench, so I was in one frame and my husband was in the other. It looked really effective, as you can see below.



You have the option of hanging this frame on the wall or just sitting it upright on a sideboard etc. I'm sitting mine on my sideboard as a centrepiece. It looks fabulous!! I will definitely be searching http://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk/ for more beautiful photo frames in the future. They are the best website going for unique gifts!


For more info please visit www.gettingpersonal.co.uk

Teachers gift idea: Samigail's Personalised thank you teacher gift

It's that time of the year when you want to show your child's teacher just how much you appreciate the help and support that they have given you and your child. It's lovely to give a 'Best Teacher' mug, but how many do they receive? What if you give chocolates and they are on a diet. I'm always told teachers like wine, but I'm sure not all teachers drink alcohol. There's one thing for sure though; a teacher loves a present with thought gone in to it. It's the best ingredient any present could have. I always believe placing yourself in the gift recipient's shoes gives you the utmost inspiration. And so when I came across Samigail's websites and the heartfelt words which I could have written myself, I knew I had to have a personalised plaque done from my son.


Instantly the words summed up our feelings and I hope by reading these precious words the teacher will realise just how much she is appreciated. The words are heartfelt without being over the top and insincere.

"Thank you (teacher's name)

You're a very special teacher

I just wanted you to know

All year you've taught me wonderfully

and helped my mind to grow"

with 2 wooden embellishments added - ruler and crayons.

On the rear "love from (child's name)" wording will be added, and the date eg July 2009. The plaque has rustic hanging twine added and a gingham ribbon attached to the twine for a finishing touch.

Anyway, there were many gorgeous items to choose from on the Samigail's personalised website but I opted for the above plaque. Delivery was mighty speedy and Samigail's works to tight deadlines if you need a gift made quickly.

I was so pleased with the plaque! The wood was excellent quality, and it was nice to know that the wood was ethically sourced. The high quality birch ply comes from commercially managed forests. The gingham ribbon made it look ultra cute and the little accessories that graced the plaque added a totally unique touch. The coloured pencils and ruler give the plaque a 3D element and really emphasised the fact that we appreciated the tools of the trade for a teacher.

I loved the standard of the pyrography! I have seen some really poor quality items in craft fairs but this; wow! This is what makes the gift look so amazing! The fact that the writing is so neatly (burnt/ etched??) in to the wood gives it a handmade look but gives it a totally elegant slant too.

Finally, the fact that all the gifts can be personalised really emphasises the fact that you haven't just picked something off a supermarket shelf last minute. A lot of thought and time has gone in to this present. I just can't wait to see the look on my son's teacher's face when she receives it. If I was her this would be something I would always treasure.

I loved the items on the Samigail website so much that I ordered a door plaque for my son's bedroom door and I was equally pleased with everything about that.
10/10 for quality, personalisation and delivery. Will definitely be using Samigails in the future. So if you are stuck for a teachers gift you know where to look!


For more info please visit http://www.samigailsgifts.co.uk

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Review: Build it with Bob Construction Kit




Can we build it? Yes we can, and all thanks to this great 'Build it with Bob Construction Kit.' All those times my son has gazed at the way builders slap on the cement and lay the bricks to overlap. Now he had a chance to give it a go himself......

Although this is marketed as a toy, the fact that it contains real bricks and cement means that it provides a huge educational and fun element. Master Craftiness couldn't quite believe the fact that I was letting him loose with real bricks and cement.

He could have used this indoors as the set comes with a wipe-clean mat, but as it was such a lovely sunny day outside I decided that it would be lovely for him to get fresh air whilst building (just like a real builder). So he took the set to the outside table and chairs and invited his grandfather to help him build. There they sat for the next hour looking like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

All the tools are included; all you need to supply is a dessert spoon of water. Very cute looking trowel too I might add.

After mixing up the cement, you are left to decide which model idea you would like to follow. Master Craftiness opted for the clock tower. As you can see from the photo at the top of the page this turned out brilliantly!

The various shaped bricks mean that you can make some nifty creations, after making the clock tower we soaked the bricks and made a wall with the bricks. Now we need to order some more cement as there is enough cement in this kit for around two creations. But Master Craftiness can't wait.....

This is messy but not excessively so, I believe it quells a need in all boys and girls for getting messy and learning a new skill. This makes a great alternative to traditional toys.

Master Craftiness says: "Making the bricks stick together neatly meant that I had to use all my concentration. I felt very proud of myself when the building was completed. I will definitely be telling all my friends about this kit."

We award this 8/10.

For more info please visit www.mapstoys.co.uk

Monday, 28 June 2010

Review: Bloco Scorpions and Insects Set


Poor Master Craftiness has been very ill all weekend with severe tonsillitis. Worst still was the fact that he was stuck in bed when the sun was shining so beautifully outside. There was a plus side though, and it was a massive plus side for us; we discovered Bloco. Bloco was a totally new medium for us to work with, and the joy experienced was like discovering Lego for the first time. I think that is a hard comparison to beat.

Anyway, for those of you who have never used Bloco before, then it is basically a set of foam pieces; tons of different shapes which can be connected in a number of different ways. You can either connect the foam pieces together by slotting them together in a certain way, or you can connect them by little ball connectors (which can also be used as eyes).

If I haven't explained that well enough, here's how the Bloco website describe it:

"The Bloco™ construction toy is a patented concept that uses high density foam designed in unique colourful shapes. Foam pieces link together and rotate to any angle using the special connectors. Build and create your own creatures or build from the instructions provided."

The pack which we had to review was the 'Scorpions and Insects' pack. This is a 162 piece kit which has orange, red and green pieces. The pack comes with instructions to make four models. When discovered that you could actually make around two models at a time. Any more than two models and you would have to start dissassembling made models to get the parts to make the other models. This was the only downside. I think I would rather pay a little more and have enough pieces to make all four models without having to disassemble the other models. However, when I buy another kind of Bloco kit this can be used in conjunction with this kit. So we will soon be able to make amazing creations without dismantling the ones we have just made.

Here's a pic of the first creation:

A little tip from us would be to follow the instructions to make the four amazing models. After this you will be extremely well versed in the way in which parts connect. We started off by building the scorpion together; this was so enjoyable. As Master Craftiness gets older it is becoming a rarer and rarer opportunity that we get to do things together, as he would much rather be outside kicking a ball with his friends. This kit provided a perfect bonding opportunity.

It could have made a scene from a sitcom, as I went out of the room for 15 minutes to tend to my other son, I left Master Craftiness in bed moaning and writhing in pain. When I had come back Master Craftiness had really perked up and was sitting in bed with the model of his spider which he had made all by himself. He said to tell anyone that reads this review, that he thinks this kit is "absolutely brilliant!"

Here is the spider which he made all by himself:


We were very impressed with the fact that the foam was so sturdy. When we read that this was a foam kit, we were expecting our creations to fall apart at the slightest touch. Which was certainly not the case. We also thought the fact that the creations actually looked like they did on the pack was a huge bonus!

As you can see the detail of the pieces are amazing! This grasshopper almost looks like he is going to fly towards you!



After making the four models, Master Craftiness then went on to make various creatures with the kit. The great thing is when we buy another Bloco set we will even be able to connect the pieces from this kit to that kit, so we can come up with even crazier inventions. Bloco has an online gallery where you can upload and show others your creations, which is brilliant if you have just made something that you are particularly proud of!

What I really loved about this kit was the fact that it wasn't a kit that was made and then forgotten about. Much the same as Lego the pieces can be reused over and over and so we will get tons of use out of this ONE kit!

Our verdict: Amazing!!!
9/10

For more info please visit www.mapstoys.co.uk

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Review: Sports Day Set from Brightminds


If you are looking for inspiration for the summer holidays, then look no further than this 'Sports Day Set' from Brightminds. It's the perfect way to keep the kids active throughout the summer months. If you buy it now, you can even give your kids tons of practice in preparation for the school Sports Day.

Sports Day Set contains:

4 x Jumping Sacks
4 x Plastic Spoons & Eggs
4 x Bean Bags
4 x Plastic Stakes
1 x Ankle Straps
1 x Start Line
1 x Finish Line

The children in our street had such a lovely evening with this set, I am sure it will be one that they all look back upon. This morning I was greeted by lots of parents saying what a lovely idea it was to host a little 'Sports Day' on the green. "Organise it" I thought, truth be known, my son took the box outside and soon kids were lining up to take part in sack races and egg and spoon races. There were parents watching from gates at the fun being had by the children. It looked very effective too as they were all hopping along in different brightly coloured sacks. Screams of laughter could be heard as they took part in the three legged race using the ankle straps and tried to keep at each other's pace.

The Sack Race, Egg & Spoon race and the Three Legged race were self-explanatory but we weren't sure what to do with the beanbags. Luckily for us, the Sports Day Set comes with instructions. And the kids enjoyed learning a new game. The Bean Bag Race involves children balancing bean bags on their head without holding on to it with their hands. If the bean bag falls off, that player goes back to the start. The team or player that is the first to complete the number of rounds wins.

All the equipment is great quality so there were no mishaps whilst playing with it, so I am anticipating that this set will last us some time.

Not only were the children having great fun but it brought back fond memories of Sports Day when I was a child. This set could even be a huge advantage if you are trying to get your neighbourhood more 'community friendly.'

Master Craftiness says: "Its awesome being able to have Sports Day whenever I want in my own home. I am hoping by Sports Day in school, all the practice I have had will help me win. And I am really looking forward to using this set a lot over the Summer Holidays. A great set!!!!

For more info please visit www.brightminds.co.uk

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Review: EZ-FORT





The countdown is now on until the summer holidays..... I always love to have a plan for each day for the summer holidays to give us something structured to look forward to each day. And I have now been able to plan lots of days outside in the sunshine with my children playing with EZ-fort building playhouses and the like.

I had never heard of this product before I was contacted to review it and after checking it out online I thought it looked pretty good. Roll on to when the package arrived...

My son excitedly ripped the packaging open and got stuck in with building straight away. He didn't even need to look at the booklet. I think he was agog at having a life-size version of a building toy i.e. lego or Knex.

Upon opening the upstairs window later that evening, I gazed down on my son and a group of friends that had quickly gathered after seeing the EZ-fort. It was a lovely feeling because you had the children who had pools in their garden, and children with trampolines and bouncy castles. They had all these lovely things in their garden and they were all drawn to the EZ-Fort. I think all the kids were attracted to the EZ-fort because it was something that could produce big and impressive structures that they could be proud of; and they could even play inside the structures afterwards. It was also really lovely to see the teamwork that was going on. Boys being boys; pure and simple. Creating something lovely - together. I also didn't have to worry about any bones getting broken or slipping on water like I do when they are on trampolines and pools.

They quickly erected a den and came inside for some sheets. I can't tell you the amount of fun they had that evening with the EZ-fort. Imagine the delight that Lego and Knex brings x1000.

The following statement from the EZ- Fort website really sums up everything about EZ-fort.

"It’s the perfect size for any living room, bedroom or den. Not too big, not too small. A playhouse in the morning or a fort in the afternoon...EZ-Fort is always engaging and versatile.


EZ-fort also promotes critical thinking, creativity and social skills. Think about it....Children love to create special spaces for playing make-believe, hiding out, chilling out, and who knows? They may even take a nap!

Building with EZ-Fort stimulates independence and imagination"

Usually statements by companies are far from the truth when it comes to how good their products are, but this statement really hits the mark for us. Each night since we have had EZ-Fort, my son has come home from school and the first thing he has asked is whether he is able to take the EZ-Fort outside to play.

So are there any negatives? The only thing I can suggest to EZ-Fort is that it would be great if they could include some sheets in with the sticks and balls. I would happily pay extra for this, as my sheets and towels are constantly going missing as they partake in becoming the world's greatest den, house, castle etc.

Here's Master Craftiness giving his opinion:



We had a great time on YouTube watching videos of creations made with EZ-Fort; it gave us tons of inspiration. We are thinking of investing in another pack so that we can make even bigger creations.

I'm giving each week in the summer holidays a theme; castles, animals, sports etc and the challenge will be to make a suitable structure. What will you do with your EZ-Fort? The possibilities are endless.....

If you fancy an even bigger and stronger version, then look for the older brother of EZ-Fort which is called Toobeez. This comes with fabric panels too. It's £99.95 but worth every penny.

For more info please visit www.mapstoys.co.uk

Monday, 21 June 2010

Friday, 18 June 2010

Review: Marc Jacobs Splash 'Biscotti'



Marc Jacobs introduces a collection of pure, clean fragrances that evoke simple pleasures and experiences.
Lighter, fresher scents.
Pure, true colours.
Simple packaging with clean lines.
Larger sizes to be splashed on liberally and enjoyed fully.

Top Note : Orange Flower, Bergamot, Dewy Freesia
Heart Note : Mugget, Pistachio Blossom, Orris
Base Note : Vetyver, Vanilla, Creamy Musk

I love Marc Jacobs Fragrances; they have something special about them. The packaging is never over fussy but simple; and the reason for that? The amazing fragrances contained within the bottle. My favourite Marc Jacobs fragrance so far has been 'Daisy' but that was before I smelt this gorgeous fragrance. What is so unusual about it is the fact that it is one of the Marc Jacobs 'Splash' Collection. Each fragrance from this collection is based on a 'Patisserie' smell, which let me tell you are absolutely amazing!! It's so different to any other fragrance I have ever smelt. A fragrance based on a food is a very new and novel idea, but it really works. 'Biscotti' is one of those biscuits you dunk in your coffee and this fragrance incorporated all the satisfaction you would gain from dipping one in your coffee. The fragrance surrounds you in an air of comfort somehow.

As soon as I opened the bottle I was transported somewhere very dreamy. The perfume had a warmth about it without it being overpowering and unwearable. Some fragrances can be categorised by 'night' or 'day' fragrance; this fragrance can fall in to both categories. It is really, really wearable. The immediate note that hits your nose after spraying is a comforting orangey smell, which I assume must be the bergamot and orange flower. Bergamot is particularly good at releasing endorphins, so no wonder this is the ultimate feel-good fragrance. After about 10 minutes of wearing however, you can certainly smell the vanilla and a very small amount of musk.

Here's my video review:


For more info please visit www.theperfumeshop.com

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lakeland Push-Along Mower


The Lakeland Push-Along Mower (Ref 51499).

This mower has really awakened a love for gardening within me. The mower makes cutting grass so easy; and the fact that the mower is so light also means that it is very portable.

The lawnmower needs assembly when you first get it out of the box. However, once assembled it takes literally seconds to get ready for mowing. It is simply a case of unlocking the shed door and you are away to go. There's absolutely no fussing about with leads or worrying about petrol. Just mow and go. It's really satisfying to see the lines which the mower produces. Several neighbours have commented on the results, which was particularly pleasing to me. The fact that the mower has a grass-catcher is another bonus because it means I can empty the grass straight on to the compost heap.

Anyway, for a more comprehensive review please watch my video review:


For more info please visit www.lakeland.co.uk

Friday, 11 June 2010

Father's Day gift idea - Day 8 - Luxury experience from Buyagift.com



Buyagift.com is the UK’s leading online experiences company and have several fantastic offers for dads this father’s day. A Ferrari Driving Thrill For One, now only £74 gives dads hours of exhilarating laps of fun and is a chance for him to show who’s really number one.


There's nothing like a professional wet shave to make you look and feel your best and with this shaving class you can learn traditional techniques with the experts from Truefitt and Hill, traditional cut throat barbers, you can be sure he’ll enjoy a close shave at the oldest barber shop in the world for £79.


A great barbeque can be a landmark event in the summer so make sure it’s a memorable occasion and treat your dad to a BBQ Cookery Class with Michelin Star Chef Thierry Laborde. This 3-hour cookery class costs £69 and is a hands-on cookery class available from buyagift.com.



Dad says: "These would be dream experiences and I can only imagine my delight if I was able to do one of these as a gift for Father's Day. I've always wanted to drive a Ferrari, so this would be a perfect gift idea. I could have spent a few hours on the Buyagift.com site dreaming about all the things I would love to experience."

For more info please visit www.buyagift.co.uk

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Father's Day gift idea - Day 7 - Tools from Wilkinson



If you are stuck for ideas why not get down to Wilkinsons. How about getting Dad a brand new tool box and filling it with some bits and pieces. Most dads will be only be too pleased to renew their tool collection. There’s nothing more annoying than asking your Dad to fix your wonky shelf for you, only to find that he can’t place his screwdriver. So now you can make sure he’s raring to go on a job, and can find his screwdriver and tape measure in a convenient tool box! Or maybe he wants to get stuck into the garden this year, but he’s not sure where to start. Grab him the essential tools from your local Wilkinson store, at really low prices.


Dad says: "Not only were these great gifts for me, but now I can return the favour and get some of those long awaited jobs done. The Large Tool Box (£9) is 20 inches, this is really great as there is plenty of space to store everything. The tool box is light but strong and comes with an inner tool tray caddy with a handle, so that you can take selected tools in a little carry tray. You are also able to lock it with a padlock.

The Stanley Screwdriver Set (£9.77) was fantastic! It even came with a holder to hang them straight on the wall. The screwdrivers also have a shadowing system; so that you know what screwdriver goes where and if one goes missing you will know instantly which one. They felt very durable and the tips were very strong. The grip was very comfortable. This was an awesome set!

The Stanley Tape Measure (£5.49) was very strong and flexible, with a nice smooth action. It is also coated in Tylon to make it stronger. This would certainly makes DIY dads very happy!

For more information please visit www.wilkinsonplus.com

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Father's Day gift idea - day 6 - All Star Karate for Wii by THQ


All Star Karate by THQ is great for Dad’s who want some time by themselves to chill out. Alternatively it is great way for dads to bond with their teen kids as this will leave them able to challenge players to punch, kick and chop their way through the game with play features based on real karate moves. With optional Wii MotionPlus™ compatibility, the game offers a true full-body experience by allowing players to experience the life of a karate trainee who is under the guidance of a wise, but humorous sensei, and is on the path toward attaining a black belt, the highest achievement level in karate.
In All Star Karate, players will follow the life of a young, martial arts novice whose noble attempt to save an elderly man from a pack of ninjas brings him face-to-face with a true karate master. The sensei, a cantankerous old-timer, offers his services and teaches his new protégé the proper techniques and disciplines of karate and guides him toward achieving the black belt. In single-player, Career mode, players will execute and master various karate moves utilizing the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk, or two Wii Remotes, in order to attain the seven different colored belts or achievement levels in karate, including the black belt. Additionally, players can show off their hand, kicking and blocking techniques by sparring with a friend in Challenge mode or by creating their own move sequences to perform with the Kata Editor.

Dad says: I loved this game as a Father’s Day gift idea as it’s perfect for when I come home from a long stressful day at work and need to unwind. I never realised how karate releases the stress of the day. It was particularly enjoyable to play the mini-games with my son who had us chopping and punching away. It’s also a relatively good way to burn off those extra calories as all that chopping action soon has you breaking in to a sweat.

Father's Day gift idea - day 5 - Table Football from www.brightminds.co.uk


Next it was time for some father/son bonding time and so we hunted down some games that would be suitable for Dads to really bond with their children over. We suggest:

Table Football (£29.99) from www.brightminds.co.uk

This is a fantastic table top game which really encourages interaction between parent and child. These days so many things are computer based that we have lost the pleasure that simple games bring. If you don’t have a games room or basement you can still enjoy this table-top. It’s lightweight and easy to move and is great for inducing some heated action. Whoops and cheers will soon be heard from both players as the game gets in full swing. And only a small amount of assembly is required to get this up and running.

Dad says: Not only was this is a brilliant gift idea for me and my son games-wise, it also proves a good opportunity to get him in to real- life football. Also a timely gift considering we have the World Cup coming up shortly. I was particularly pleased with the quality of this item and I can see this becoming a family heirloom. My son and I have had so much fun with this, that my son actually commented that he preferred this to computer games. Which was a huge compliment coming from a computer addict. Seriously though, the whole family can get involved in this. We even had Mum playing the winner out of the two of us. This game has provided us with hours of quality ‘family time.’ And so for that quality alone, I would really recommend this as a Father’s Day gift. It even allows dads to revert back to their childhood, which is a pleasurable thing to be able to do at any age. Brilliant!!”