Kids Lunchbox tips with #HartleysYourLunchbox

With two children at school I’m always thinking about lunchtime ideas, particularly for school lunchboxes and days out.  I aim to keep them healthy so that I know what they are eating and then can treat them at home when they are with me.  Hartley’s is a familiar brand that we often have at home, jelly is something both of my two love and being a low fat dessert is ideal to use for the kids.

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My top 3 tips for packing a healthy kids lunchbox that children will eat are:

  1. Keep it familiar – when children are away from home, if you give them the unexepected they are less likely to eat it, give them foods they eat at home and then you’ll know they’ll eat them when away from home.
  2. Add colour and texture – Keep children interested with various colours and textures in their lunchbox, this is easily done by adding fruit, vegetables and Hartley’s Jelly which all brighten up and add colour to lunchboxes.
  3. Keep it fun – try to make food look interesting, cut different shapes, add fun pots of salad, fruit etc to keep children intrigued as to what they will be tasting next.

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In supermarkets now, Hartley’s are offering the chance to collect 12 special edition green lids from across the No Added Sugar Jelly Pots (115g), to claim a free Hartley’s lunchbox and stickers.  You can claim their exclusive lunchbox by heading to the Hartley’s website www.hartleysfruit.co.uk. Each one comes complete with a sticker sheet of Hartley’s much loved characters and a sticker alphabet for children to personalise their lunchbox.
As you can see 5yr old Mister B loved personalising his lunchbox and he is really excited to take it back to school in September.  He has also asked for jelly to be included everyday as he thoroughly enjoyed devouring the Hartley’s jelly pot that we tried out!
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This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Chalenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly http://www.hartleysfruit.co.uk

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Time Bomb Larger Than Life Hair Care

After trying a number of skincare products from Time Bomb, I was excited to try out their Larger Than Life Shampoo & Conditioner.  With the ability to cleanse, soften, detangle and volumise they sounded like just the thing for regular use on my long straight hair.

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The products come in easy to dispense tubes and upon opening they smelt absolutely divine!  I couldn’t wait to try these out and when I did, they certainly didn’t disappoint.  The shampoo easily lathered and cleansed the hair really well, the smell was amazing and my hair felt great after that.  With the addition of the conditioner, my hair felt ultra soft and bouncy and of course was wonderfully fragrant.  It also contains a unique vitamin peptide complex helps improve hair’s condition, making it look thicker and stronger

I absolutely love these Time Bomb hair care products and if you are looking for a little bit of luxury for your hair, then these are the products to use.  The tubes are large too, so will last a while which is good because at £16.50 each they aren’t the cheapest of hair products but they are definitely worth it for a treat!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Garden Shed Makeover with Valspar Paint

Valspar paints from B&Q have a vast range of colours available and I’ve become a huge fan having used the paint in several of the bedrooms in my new house already.  It covers beautifully, gives a good finish and is very durable.  I was really excited to try out their Garden Colours on an old shed that was left in my new garden to see how it faired.

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Unfortunately the existing shed had seen better days, but my dad helped to bring it back to life by carrying our several repairs.  He replaced a number of the lower slats that were rotten and also completely recovered the roof with new board and felt.

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Then it was time to try out the paint.  I chose Dusky Lilac for the main areas and Moonglow for the accents.  First I enlisted the husband to wash down the woodwork before I started to work the makeover magic.

So onto the first brushstroke of paint and as you can see below, the coverage is amazing.  The paint appears fairly thin but as can be seen the finish is perfect leaving a smooth, even film that dries really quickly as well.

InstagramCapture_db3fd30b-43e4-4d47-a54b-2304cfae056bThe Valspar paint brushes I used look great and were perfect for the job, I used the 2 inch brush for the bulk of the shed and it was perfect, the paint glided off it, there was no shedding of bristles and it looked as good as new at the end.

valspar shed makeover 8With the paint being so easy to use, I managed to get around the entire shed in just a couple of hours.  It really was a dream to use, so easy to cover large areas quickly and with quick drying times it made it easy to manage.  I did do a second coat the next day to really help protect the shed and ensure every area was covered but the coverage was instant on the first coat.

valspar shed makeover 2So with the two Valspar paint coats done, here is the result.

valspar shed makeover 3Although I was really pleased with the finished result, I wanted to add a few further touches to make it look a bit more special and quaint.  First I got my dad to add a few strips of scrap wood to the edge of the windows to frame them and give me somewhere else to add my accent colour.

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I then also found an old, unused picture frame in my attic which I removed the glass and backing plate from and then painted it up in my garden colours.

valspar shed makeover 4And this is the finished result that I was aiming for.

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I’m really pleased with the result and I think it looks great in my garden.  I love looking at the before and after pictures to remind me of how good my revamped shed looks.  It was a much easier paint project to do than I expected, the Valspar garden paint was so easy to work with, I’d highly recommend it to anyone and am looking forward to finding something else to paint for my garden now I know what a pleasure it is to use.

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Being a water based paint the brushes are easily washed in water.  The brushes I used, you’d never know they’d been used to paint a shed and I can’t wait to continue using them around the rest of my house.  My garden shed is now a pleasure to see at the end of my garden.  We’ve also added some shelves and storage boxes inside and it has become a garden toy store and a place to keep gardening equipment.  I’m hoping we’ve extended the life of shed by a good few years with a combination of the replacement wood, new roof and fantastic new Valspar garden paint colour.

InstagramCapture_c520df79-335e-4bbc-a69e-5dc5ae3b09f0All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Sonic Chic Travel Toothbrush – Review

Sonic Chic toothbrush’s are a welcome addition to the dental market with their funky designed cases, these battery powered brushes are ideal for travelling or using on the go.  With the majority of us using electric toothbrushes these days, they are quite bulky to carry out of the house and there’s always that fear they’ll run out of charge.

sonic chic toothbrushThe Sonic Chic brush comes in a wide variety of brightly coloured patterned designs giving it a distinctive look and appeal.  It also means that everyone can have their own recognisable brush and you won’t get them mixed up.  The brush comes with everything you need to get started and can be used away.  It requires one AA battery which is included in the kit along with two brush heads.  The casing not only looks great but is simple to keep clean and having a hygenic cap means it’s great to just throw in your handbag for a quick freshen up.

sonic chic toothbrush 2The brush is quite powerful and certainly perfectly adequate for using out and about.  I used this recently on a trip away and it was great not having to worry about the charge running out and knowing if the battery was to go low I could just pop to a shop for a replacement.  It’s also really compact and just slipped into my toiletry bag and I knew that the brush head was protected.

I think these toothbrushes are a great alternative to electric ones for using away from home, weather it’s a quick freshen up after work before going out, at the gym, away for the weekend or a whole holiday.  Why worry about taking a charger, remembering to plug it in and the unhygenic toothbrush head rolling around in your wash bag.  For me it’s simple, Sonic chic toothbrushes are the answer!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

 

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Beauty from Holland & Barrett More Stores

Who’d of thought you would be shopping at Holland & Barrett for all your must have beauty buys?  The brand has been revolutionised with it’s new chain of ‘More’ stores and having been to the launch of the Plymouth branch (which you can read more about here) I can assure you they have so much to offer and the choice is vast.  The beauty section is bigger than you expect and packed full of beautiful natural products including interactive displays and products you can make yourself.

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The first range I have been trying out over the last few weeks is by Dr. Organics, a multi award winning brand that utilises the finest natural and organic ingredients wherever possible. The products are of a high quality with formulas that work and have a luxurious feel.

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Dr. Organic Rose Otto Body Wash is heavenly scented and if you love the smell of roses, then you must try this.  The scent just surrounds you in the shower as you wash and leaves you feeling uplifted and energised ready for the day ahead. Packed with heaps of natural ingredients including Organic Rose Otto Oil, Aloe Vera, Limeflower, Chamomile, Passionflower, Calendula plus Geranium and Clove Essential Oils.

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Next up is Dr. Organic Organic Snail Gel Eye Serum, which I have to admit sounds rather strange, but you’d never know it contained snail gel if it didn’t mention it on the box.  It comes in a handy to dispense tube and has a light creamy consistency that is easy to spread around the eye area leaving the skin feeling cool and firm.  Along with snail secretion filtrate, this serum contains oils from safflower seed, olive fruit, candlenut, moringa seed along with aloe vera leaf juice, vitamin E and jujube seed extract.  Loads of natural ingredients to boost your eye area and clinically proven to make you look 6 years younger within 4 weeks of use.

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I’ve always loved painting my nails and hate to have them bare so finding the range of Zoya nail polishes in Holland & Barrett was amazing. The array of colours are gorgeous and I chose a shade called Freja, a shimmery dark grey that goes with pretty much anything to try out.  The polishes are natural and organic with a long lasting formula that’s resistant to chipping.  I found the polish lasted well and only had to remove it due to natural wear around the edges after over a week of wear.  It also had a good sheen that I loved.

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Who doesn’t love a bath bomb?  An indulgent treat to add to a relaxing bath and Beauty Kitchen have come up with an array of 100% natural bath bombs to enjoy.  They all look gorgeous and this ‘Moon Shine’ looks particularly sparkly and pretty.  It smells incredibly relaxing and soothing packed full of lavender and rosemary to leave you ready for a good night’s sleep.

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Ok, so this next one isn’t a beauty product, but if your vegetarian like me or perhaps on a vegan or a gluten free diet, then this product will revolutionise your lunchtime and snacks. If you don’t eat meat, or are fed up with cheese, then this granoVita organic Herb Pate is just the thing you need.  Made from a yeast and tofu base there are five amazing flavours to choose from and I just love spreading them onto crackers or a chunk of fresh bread.  Totally delicious and a really tasty snack, I highly recommend this for a savoury treat!

As you can see above a lovely selection of products that I have been able to try from the Holland & Barrett More Store, some incredible products that you maybe wouldn’t expect to find in the store – the new ‘More’ store concept has really opened it’s doors to a wider audience and with the high standard of products available, it’s well worth a look inside.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

 

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Water Play Toys from the Entertainer

When the days are hot and the sun is blasting on the garden, there is nothing kids love more than playing with water, whether it be in a paddling pool, water guns or another form of water, the children just love getting wet and cooling off in the heat.  Addo toys have come up with a fabulous range of Storm Blasters water guns covering various sizes and price points all available from The Entertainer.

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We tried out the Hurricane Warrior, the largest water gun at £10 which can fire up to 10m and holds 2000ml.  We also had the mid range Tornado Trooper  at £6 which fires up to 7m and holds 1000ml and then the smaller Jet Stream which retails for just £2!

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The children were so excited to try these out and spent the evening soaking each other and informed me that “These are the best water guns ever mummy!”.

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They certainly did blast out a lot of water and were quite powerful but in the hot weather the kids love it and they are being active with plenty of running around.

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Something completely new and different for us is the Zuru Bunch O Balloons which are basically water bombs.  There are 100 balloons split into three bunches.  To blow up each bunch you simply attach a hosepipe to the top, turn it on and the balloons instantly inflate and as the weight of them drops down you do a sharp tug of the hose and the balloons release from the sticks and self seal with the bands around them.

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This is such a clever idea which the kids loved.  They couldn’t wait to get started and they were giggling throughout their water fight.  The balloons are a fun idea and just adds a bit of extra excitement into an afternoon of water play.

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As you can see my two children just love water play in the garden and it’s a great way to get kids outdoors and cool off in the Summer months.

I have one of the Storm Blasters water guns from Addo to giveaway (model will vary dependent on stock availability) so enter below for the chance to win:

Water gun

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Time Bomb Anti Ageing Skincare Range

Time Bomb is an anti ageing skincare brand that aims to ‘Stop the clock’ quite literally on your face and protect it from all the elements that contribute to ageing by bringing ground breaking formulas such as their complexion cocktails to your dressing tables to give your skin the best chance of looking younger for longer.  Here is just a small selection of the products available.

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I just love the packaging of the Powerball moisturiser and Troubleshooter Neck & Jaw Cream.  The ball shaped pots look fabulous on the bathroom shelf, but it’s all about the product inside that counts.

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Powerball is an intensive moisturiser aiming to hydrate and plump your skin.  It features bio-protectant Trehalose to help preserve skin’s internal fluidity, keeping it supple, elastic, resilient along with Ectoin, a miracle-working, microscopic protein found in the desert which is known for it’s moisture hoarding properties.

I’ve always found it to be rich, hydrating and leaving skin feeling plumped and protected but non greasy but ultra soft to touch.  You can read more about it in my Timebomb Powerball review.

Trouble Shooter is a new product to me, but I adore it’s silver packaging.  The formula aims to firm skin and lighten age spots.  Packed full of powerful plant ingredients, it really does smell rich and potent as you open the jar giving an immediately good impression.  I spread this over my neck and jaw area and it instantly sunk into the skin and already the area feels tighter and smoother.

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Over Exposed is a fantastic product to repair sun damaged skin, something I know I suffer from on my face.  It’s designed to reverse and repair UV damage, to bring your skin back to the smooth, supple feel it once had.  Using Omega9XEster, a vegetable derived emoillent to penetrate deeply into the skin it helps rid the skin of tough, leathery textures and brings back a youthful glow.

Well I tried this on one side of my face and I’m hooked.  It has a smooth buttery texture that quite literally melts into the skin leaving it feeling ultra smooth and soft, I couldn’t believe the difference between the texture in either side of my face – it’s amazing!

Complexion cocktailComplexion Cocktail with a shot of B12 is power blend of 12 Amino Acids and 2 types of Hyaluronic Acid replenishes skin’s surface layers and helps retain moisture for immediate visible plumping.  It’s so easy to use and can be just patted onto the skin with fingers or a cotton pad. I find these very reviving and boosting, check out my Complexion Cocktail review here.

Some excellent skincare products here from Time Bomb, do check them out, they are perfect for reviving your skin after the hot sunny days we’ve been having and will give your face a great boost before the Winter comes along leaving your skin feeling great!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

 

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Gemmies Design Studio Crystal Creations – Review

Gemmies Design Studio is a fun craft kit for children aimed at ages 6+.  It allows you to make crystal creations such as cute dogs, teddies, fish and more.  It also comes with a storage unit and station to make your designs on meaning it’s an all in one craft kit that children will enjoy.

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The kit comes with a design station that has a pull out drawer underneath.  This is comes divided into sections to store your beads in.  There are also gem style pots on top to hold further beads and loops.  There is a removable light up stand that requires two AA batteries.  Other accessories include six design cards, a tool to stretch your loops and various packs of beads and loops.

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My daughter who is 8yrs old enjoyed following the design cards and putting the correct colour and combination of beads onto each loop.  She found it easier and preferred to use the included tool to do this, but I found it easier to just use my fingers, either method works fine though.

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Miss M  could easily make small combinations of beaded loops but did require a little assistance from me to join some of the bigger sections together to make the final creation, so I do think that younger children would struggle too, although I do think that 7-8 years can do the majority of it themselves.

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What I found amazing though was that from a flat section of loops covered in the gem beads, you then fold it round and join particular beads and a recognisable 3D shape appears which really does look really fantastic.  So that you know where to join the beads there are bright orange beads that you place initially within the pattern but are then removed when you make the join.  This is a really clever idea and makes it simple to know where sections join up.

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My daughter loves her new Gemmies dogs and they take pride of place in her bedroom.  You can display them on the included light up stand or they will stand on their own elsewhere.  I think this kit is really clever and very different to any other craft kits we’ve tried.

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We’ve absolutely loved Gemmies and think it’d make a great gift for anyone who loves to craft and loves their gems!  I think it’s lovely that you get to make something to keep and it is something that will last.  The beads are secure and the finished designs hold together very well.  Why not try a kit like this out for yourself?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Keep the Kids Occupied with Collins i-SPY Books

Collins books have recently relaunched their iconic i-SPY books in twenty different titles, so there really is something for everyone and each situation.  So if you have curious and inquistive young children, then this is the perfect way to entertain them on days out and long journeys.

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We received ‘On a train journey’ and ‘In the countryside’ to try out.  Each book contains over sixty pages of things to find, each object with a full colour picture alongside a description of what it is.  There is also a points system when you can mark off and score each thing that you find, which leads to an opportunity at the end of the book to fill out a form on the internet to claim a certificate and badge once you’ve reached 1000 points!

i spy 1The book is a handy small size and my 8yr old couldn’t wait to flick through and see what she could spot.  We have a countryside holiday coming up at the end of August and she is determined to reach 1000 points after that as we have lots of woodland walks and trails to pursue on our break.  The points really encourage children to find things and they like to tick things of in the book too once they’ve been spotted.

i spy 2The Collins i-Spy range are a really fun idea, with a hidden educational element as they learn about the objects.  It gives us lots to talk about too and even my little boy was thrilled when he spotted a dandelion out the other day and remember he had seen it in the book so needed to tick it off when we got home – bless him!

If you want something to keep the kids occupied, then check out the various books available. Some others that have caught my eye are London, On a car journey, Every vehicle on the road, they all look great fun and something my kids would enjoy. I definitely think the London book would be ideal for a trip to the capital, which I hope to take my children on soon.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

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Kids Fashion with Petit Bateau

Petit Bateau the French clothing brand known for comfort and quality has a fabulous new season range of clothing for kids and we couldn’t wait to try it out.  The softness of their cotton clothing is like no other which is really important for me as my little boy has particularly sensitive skin.  The clothes we tried out are all well cut and super soft which is what the kids want, they just want to be comfortable and have the flexibility which these clothes allow.

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Miss M tried out a couple of long sleeved t-shirts and particularly loved the Breton top with a pair of eyes peeking above the stripes.  It’s perfect for everyday wear and I can see this being one of her favourites over the Autumn/Winter months.

The other top she tried is pale pink with a ‘tres chic’ logo on the front with a metallic rose gold leaf design around it.  A pretty top with an Autumnal feel to it and again very soft against the skin.

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Mister B tried out these really soft pyjamas with a wild animal motif in the centre of the top.  He loved the design spotting the various animals, zebra, giraffe, rhino and tiger and the combination of colours suited him.  Being really soft means they are really comfortable at bedtime and don’t irritate his delicate skin.

I’ve been very impressed with the softness of the cotton used in the Petit Bateau clothing and it’s perfect for children.  The children love the clothes too, which makes this a great go to brand for casual comfortable clothes with a lasting quality.

This is a collaborative post

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