Lush Halloween and Christmas 2016

Lush is perfect for Christmas treats, amazing smelling gifts and pampering yourself from head to toe in naturally handmade products that leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and totally relaxed. I was excited to find out from Lush Plymouth about the latest arrivals for this years Halloween and Christmas ranges, some brought back from previous years and others new and intriguing.

lushThe array of goodies on the shelves as you enter the shop keep your eyes wandering in excitement whilst the aroma hits you and instantly makes your feel relaxed. I love looking at all the Christmas gifts wrapped in pretty boxes or super cute tins. They have a great choice to fit everyones tastes and price points.

We started off by having a demonstration of the Halloween range which has some super cute items including Boo a fun little bath melt, packed full of cocoa butter and ginger oil for a relaxing, softening bath. The bath bombs that stood out for me in this range are Autumn Leaf which looked so pretty as it melted away in the water and Monster’s Ball which looked fantastic as it dissolved as well as having the most heavenly fragrance full of both lime and neroli oils. What also looked amazing was the way the eye of the monster floated around in the water as the rest of the bomb dissolved – eek, a little creepy but perfect for Halloween!

lush-2Then is was time to check out the Christmas ranges and there were so many fun things, even my children would be spoilt for choice by some of the cute bath pieces. The Christmas Penguin bubble bar looks too cute to break up but it’s worth it for the mountain of bubbles it produces. Santasaurus would sit just perfectly in my little boys stocking this year, a reusable bubble bar meaning he could have several baths swishing it around creating bubbles whilst relaxing and playing in an aroma of orange and bergamot oils. lush-3For me I was tempted with the Golden Wonder bath bomb. It looks rather grand as it’s shaped like a huge present box and covered in a gold shimmer. It has one of my favourite fragrances, lime oil in it and as it melts away in the water is a secret surprise inside. Why not try one out for yourself for a long relaxing treat?

Another bath bomb that looked fascinating as it swirled around in the water is Northern Lights.  With it’s purple barrel shaped exterior, it spun around fizzing away in with colours shooting out of each end.

As well as all the bath treats are some rather fun looking soaps such as Shooting Stars with a fresh citrusy fragrance, Snowcastle which looks really creamy and Santa’s Postbox.  I must also mention the shower jelly’s that had extra large versions on display in the store, Santa’s Belly and Snowman look like great wobbly fun for in the shower!

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At the end of the event I was able to choose some of the goodies to take away and try at home.  It was easy to pick bath and shower products as that’s what I normally stick to in Lush, but looking for a body product I wanted to try something new and different that I wouldn’t normally use.  With my favourite Rose Jam shower gel in my basket (a must for any fans of Rose fragrances), a couple of exciting looking bath bombs and some soap samples, I decided to opt for my something else a little bit different.

wp_20161028_12_07_03_proI’ve never really used any of Lush’s face and body products so decided to go out of my comfy bath bomb box and try something new, not just for myself but to share with you, my readers. I tried Bûche De Noël, a facial cleanser, a totally fresh, natural cleansing product packed full of ground almonds, kaolin, fresh mandarin, dried cranberries and cocoa butter.  It does have a very festive touch to it but how would it work?

I’ll be honest, the first couple of times I used it, it is a little messy.  You need to take a generous pinch and mix in your palm with a few drops of water to make a paste and then massage across your face.  It has a light exfoliating action but gives a really deep clean.  I still wasn’t too sure about it, that is until I washed it off – Oh My!!  My face felt incredibly baby soft, smooth, ultra cleansed and looked really fresh.lush-buche

Lush at Christmas as you can see is packed full of amazing and exciting products that smell divine.  They have a fabulous gift range which is worth checking out and lots of fun little products that would make ideal stocking fillers!

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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Halloween crafts from Baker Ross

Kids just love Halloween and there are a range of fun crafts to make from Baker Ross that fit the Halloween theme.  We’ve been trying out a selection of those available including some super cute pom pom decorations.

wp_20161008_12_48_58_proWe started with the Haunted House Photo Frame Magnet Kits which are super easy to make and look really effective which keeps little ones occupied and they get to see a great result within a short amount of time.  All the pieces are made of foam and there are lots of brightly Halloween coloured shapes with a sticky peel off back which allows you to build up the images around the frame.

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Mister B loved making his frame and decided to frame himself in the middle until we have a chance to print out a photo and stick to the back.  When you have put a picture in the centre there are some sticky magnets to attach to the back which then allows you to use these as spooky pictures to attach to the fridge.

baker-ross-halloween-2The next Halloween craft from Baker Ross are the super cute Pom Pom Decoration Kits.  I absolutely love these as do the children who did require some assistance making these but they were really intrigued to see the wool turn into a pom pom shape. baker-ross-halloween-3These look fabulous, Mister B made the purple bat which he is really proud of and his sister Miss M made the green spider.

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As you can see these look fabulous and we will be hanging these up by their ribbons to decorate the fireplace in time for Halloween.  A really effective craft that is fun and looks great – I think I’ll be keeping these tucked away to hang up again next year!

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We finished up by colouring in some skull patterned mini gift bags.  These are a lovely size to pack a few sweets in, perfect if you are having a Halloween themed party for kids or if you have a few young relatives popping round at Halloween.  A fun activity for kids to colour in and then fill their bag with a few goodies.

baker-ross-halloween-4My children were delighted with the Halloween crafting range from Baker Ross this year and think that all the items look great and it has got them increasingly excited for Halloween this year.  They are now planning their costumes and deciding what designs we should carve in our pumpkins this year.wp_20161011_16_38_32_pro

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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A Sparkly Christmas at Lush

Christmas at Lush is a sparkly, glittery and seasonally fragrant affair that will leave you feeling all festive with all the products and gifts they have on offer.  I had a preview on the launch day of the new Christmas and Halloween ranges as they were fresh into my local store in Plymouth, to see what amazing new products have launched and which firm favourites have returned from previous years for another festive season.

lushWe were greeted with drinks and some fabulous cupcakes from the local Mrs Brown’s bakery which looked too good to eat and very festively decorated!

lush 3Then it was on to the bath section, packed full of glorious bath bombs, melts and bubble bars.  We had some demonstrations of bath bombs in action but here are some that caught my eye.

The Magic of Christmas reusable bubble bar is so festive, a star shape decorated with cloves and star anise, it’s perched on a cinnamon stick.  It’s burnt orange colour gives a warming feeling as the chilly evenings draw in and it’s covered in golden glitter, perfect for a hot bath to relax in the evening.  It has a cute ribbon tied around it’s collar along with a cute anti rusting bell.  The idea is you swirl it in the bath water to create a heavenly, softening bubble bath, packed full of bubbles and a Christmassy aroma of cinnamon, orange and almond.

Stardust is a snowy white Frozen inspired bath bomb with bergamont to uplift you.  Inside it’s white exterior lies a blue and white swirly mass of bubbles and a surprise of edible stars that will float around your bathtub twinkling under the lights.

lush aMagic Wand is a silver glitter coated pink bubble bar on a stick with a festive bell and ribbon attached.  I know my daughter will just love this so got her one to try out.

Five Gold Rings are individual bubble bars, glistening and tied onto a ribbon.  With a sparkly gold coat they are infused with fair trade vanilla and uplifting moringa oil.

Peeping Santa is a rather cute bubble bar that can be split into two halves for two baths!  Bursting with strawberry sweet bergamot and geranium oils and cocoa butter in the middle section, this sounds like a refreshing but relaxing bath full of bubbles.

Candy Mountain is a swirling pink bubble bar rich in vanilla for a soft, relaxing soak.

lush bNext stop, the shower section which was packed full of an array of different and interesting products.  First off, Snow Fairy, a popular favourite with candy floss aromas in a delectable pink colour.   I was tempted but opted to try the Rose Jam as I’m rather partial to to roses and love their fragrance. Never having tried Rose Jam I’m keen to give it a try in the shower over the next few weeks and trust me, it smells heavenly!

lush 7The Icing on the Cake Roulade is a shower smoothie and definitely one that looked quite luxurious, full of citrus peels and chestnut puree.  Perfect for a relaxing shower at the end of the day.

Santa’s Scrub is a mixture of castor sugar, dates and cherries to leave your lips smooth and soft and then you can follow it with Santa Baby, a long lasting lip tint with carrot oil and cinnamon.

Something that was new to me was shower jelly in the form of Santa’s Belly or Snowman.  They literally are just like jelly but quite stable and you rub them over your body to lather them up and wash.

The Cranberry Festive Face Mask smelt lovely and felt great on the back of my hand.  I think this would be wonderful on your face, packed with cranberries, fennel seeds, argan oil and rose clay.  It left the back of my hand feeling smooth and soft.

lush 5The soap bars available this Christmas are Yog Nog, Snow Cake and Baked Alaska shown below along with Reindeer Rock which I didn’t catch a picture off.

lush 2With so many products on offer, you really need to visit a store to check them all out.  Some I haven’t had time to mention are Christingle a body conditioner, Fairy Dust a fun glittery powder along with lots of other bath bombs and bubble bars.  Get along to your local store today and check out the amazing array of ethical goodies to fill your bathroom during the festive season.

I must just mention the Christmas gift selection with it’s cleverly thought out packaging, all very ethically sourced I must add.  Christmas Wishes is a wind up carousel that plays a festive tune, Sleeps ‘Til Christmas has a countdown dial on the front to help you count down the days and The Human Cannonball with it’s cracker snap to open the box that greets you with a colourful display!

lush 6I’m going to finish off with a quick overview of the Halloween range of which includes Lord of Misrule bath bomb and shower gel, Nightwing shower jelly and Sparkly Pumpkin which I couldn’t resist trying.  With juniperberry, lime and grapefruit oils this filled my bath with bubbles and left my skin feeling supersoft and relaxed. Definitely one to use again.

lush 8Keep an eye out for my review of the Xmas products once I’ve tried them in a future post.

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

Halloween craft from Baker Ross – Review

Halloween is a time of year my children love, dressing up, carving pumpkins and lots of spooky crafts.  Baker Ross has a wonderful selection of children’s crafts that different and fun, in fact both my children thoroughly enjoyed this selection.

baker ross halloweenThey were keen to decorate the top hats which I think is a really fun idea as it gives them something to wear at the end of it.   We also received some brightly coloured foam skull stickers to use and along with some coloured pens the children got to work.

baker ross halloween 2The hats came in three pieces which were easy to stick together with a bit of pva glue.  Once finished they looked fun as well as scary due to the bright colours and my children proudly paraded them around the house and are keeping them ready to wear on Halloween!

baker ross halloween 3Next we had a go at the stained glass monkey decorations which were really effective.  The monkeys come with pre punched shapes that the children enjoyed popping out.  Then they cut pieces of coloured cellophane which they glued onto the back of the monkey.

baker ross halloween 4This was simpler to do than I initially thought as you didn’t have to be that neat or precise with the cutting out as once the monkey is turned over you can’t see all the cellophane shapes and just see an amazing stain glass effect.  I thought these looked really good especially held up to the light!

baker ross halloween 5The haunted houses scratch art are fabulous, I never expected them to be so easy to scratch and the sparkly silver effect that they reveal underneath is really effective.  The pack comes with pre cut black haunted house shapes in various designs along with some plastic sticks to scratch with.

baker ross halloween 6Just a gentle touch was required with the stick to uncover a wonderful sparkly silver.  I wasn’t sure this activity would be suitable for my youngest but he proved me wrong and without any assistance, created a staircase with a spider hanging down and a bat flying overhead – I was so impressed.  Miss M on the other hand was well away inspired by the designs on the front of the packet.

baker ross halloween 7We absolutely love the sparkly finished designs and will be decorating our house with these for Halloween.

All the Baker Ross Halloween inspired crafts have been fabulous and an excellent way for children to be creative, a lot of fun with some great results!

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

 

Our Family Halloween Weekend 2014

This year the children were very excited about Halloween and couldn’t wait to celebrate.  Miss M was keen to dress up although Mister B just wanted to wear his scary hat.  Miss M wanted a new outfit so we set off to Tesco and she picked a sparkly black and silver dress and mask.  She also added some coloured hair clips with coloured strands hanging from them to spook her hair up a bit.

halloween 1We then headed home to carve our pumpkins that I’d bought a couple of weeks earlier (after previous years experience of not being able to buy within a few days of Halloween itself!).  Having left it a little late in the day to carve them, I decided to let the ever eager Miss M carve one and daddy do the other while I turned the insides into a delicious, warming soup!  Daddy carved a Spiderman face for Mister B and Miss M attempted her first pumpkin face.

halloween 2The evening was soon upon us and the children were eager to go trick or treating.  We met up with a few neighbours and followed the children up the road and around the block, only knocking on doors with a pumpkin in sight!  I have to say I was quite surprised by their haul, it’ll certainly keep them filled up with sweet treats for a few weeks, although Mister B, bless him, chose an orange from one house which he declared his favourite thing from his trick or treating haul and ate it straightaway!

halloween 8The next day we decided to continue the Halloween theme and visit our local National Trust property, Saltram House to do their pumpkin trail around the grounds.  The children love running around in the fresh air and with the added excitement of finding the pumpkins it kept them more than occupied.

halloween 3I love all the views from Saltram across the estuary, you are so close to the city centre yet feel so far away!

halloween 4Once the trail was complete and the children had handed in their clipboards we headed into the gardens of the wonderful Saltram House.  I just adore the exterior of the building and always have to stand and admire it each time I visit.

halloween 6The gardens still had a lot of the traditional garden games on the lawn which the children love and can play endlessly which is fabulous.  Such simple, classic games but so much fun, we played skittles, croquet, quoits and then they practising goal shooting in the football net.

halloween 5It was then time for some refreshments and instead of heading to the usual cafe we decided to try the new Edwardian cafe that opened this year to the side of the lawn for some tea and cake!  In vintage style with white linen table cloths, flowers and proper teapots, cups and saucers, it felt much more elegant and refined than the traditional cafe.  Miss M was loving it and so impressed that she got to pour her hot chocolate from a teapot and drink it from a proper little cup and saucer.  They also enjoyed a large shortbread biscuit each covered in chocolate toppings!

halloween 7All in all a fabulously pleasant and enjoyable Halloween weekend had by all the family!

Halloween Accessories from H&A

Halloween is the time of year when all little ones love to dress up and H&A have come up with some simple little hair and nail accessories that make it easy to transform yourself into a scary being!  Available from Poundland they are great value and we tried some out with Miss M.

Halloween 1There are a wide choice of hair clips and bands from black cats, to bats and some super stretchy wide bands that are a bit different from the normal type of hair tie.  We found these stayed in the hair really well and didn’t get tangled but also doubled up as wrist bands!

The coloured clip in hair pieces are a great idea, simple to use and look quite effective.  Being the same length as Miss M’s hair they were a good match that she enjoyed wearing.

Halloween 2The nail stickers were easy to apply and just required a coat of clear nail varnish on the top to make them durable.  There are lots to choose from in the pack and enough to do a few times over or on several children.  There are also stick on earrings which are great for young ones who don’t have their ears pierced.

Miss M loved trying to be scary thanks to her H&A extra accessories!

Happy Halloween all!!

Halloween 3All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the H&A accessories in order to write the review.

Halloween Dot to Dot and Return of the Jabberwock Story Book

Halloween is always a fun time for children, dressing up, eating sweeties and doing themed activities.  Top That Publishing sent us a couple of their Halloween themed books for my children to try out and they proved a big hit!

Halloween dot to dot bookThe 3D dot to dot book was perfect for Miss M age 5, it was the perfect level for her, a bit more challenging than what she had done previously but exactly what she needed.  She loved working through the spooky pictures.  The dot to dot book is not only an activity book, it doubles up as a story book.

dot to dotThe dot to dot images had Miss M in awe, she sat down consistently night after night completing her dot to dots, loving the challenge of completing the pictures.  In the really high numbers she made a couple of mistakes but nothing we couldn’t correct.  I saw this as great practice for her counting and number work and she loved the fun aspect of the resulting picture.

Halloween dot to dotThe 3D glasses added another dimension to the book.  They made all the images pop out in 3D, something Miss M found fascinating.  What I loved about this book is that a story runs through it about Max and Molly on their fairground ride which results in seeing lots of ghosts and spooky images along the way.  This was a great story that we can read up on the run up to Halloween and beyond.  Miss M actually went to great effort to read the story herself and read it to me last night.  There were a few words that caught her out but the majority, including long words such as ‘interesting’ and ‘investigate’ she was very proud to get correct herself.

return-of-the-jabberwock

The book The Return of the Jabberwock is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous poem.  It is a fabulous rhyming book that’s easy to read with engaging illustrations for children.  We enjoyed reading this together with the rhyming lines aspect being an added attraction.  The story images are quite dark and creepy feeling so definitely suited to older ones, 5 plus should be fine.   There is also the original Lewis Carroll poem included at the front which is a really nice touch.  Miss M didn’t enjoy this due to the old fashioned English but I loved reading it.  She did enjoy the main story though and the rhyming really engaged Miss M with her eagerness to hear the story throughout and see how it ended.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Halloween Crafts – A Book of Crafty Makes & Bakes

With young children, Halloween is always a time of year to get crafty, making and baking so when I was sent a copy of the new Halloween Crafts book to review, I knew I’d have two eager helpers keen to make something.

The book gives you full instructions for 35 different Halloween themed crafts all beautifully illustrated across colour pages of the book.  There are even patterns and templates included at the back of the book.  There is everything from balloon ghosts, bat ornaments, cobweb tablecloths and a spider pinata which looks fabulous, simply made from balloons.  The children’s costume chapter is full of ideas such as witches, spiders and skeletons to the more unusual Frankenstein’s Monster and Amazing Alien!

Halloween crafts

The chapter that really caught my eye was the edible one full of wonderful sweet treats from swamp jelly, witches hats and cauldron cake.  There is a good variety of recipes, something to suit everyone.  I really liked the look of the white and pale green ghost biscuits and the ghastly ghouls cupcakes – perfect for Halloween!

Halloween book

I think the true test of reviewing a craft book is trying to create something from it to see how easy it is to follow the instructions and how well the finished piece is.  We decided to try the Ghastly Ghoul Cupcakes although we did make one sneaky change to the recipe by exchanging two tablespoons of flour for cocoa powder as we are all big fans of chocolate cake.

With two keen helpers and taste testers at the ready we started, Mister B took the control of lining the cake tins, and Miss M mixed the sponge ingredients and cracked the eggs.  Mummy took control of the frosting as it needed to be whisked over boiling water and also was a little tricky for little hands to apply to the cakes. Halloween Cakes 1

We used raisins and chocolate buttons to decorate the faces of the ghouls once the icing had been applied.

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So the final test was the taste one – were they any good?

Halloween 3I think the pictures say it all – they loved them, I thought they tasted good too, I’ve not made that kind of frosting before and will definitely try it again.  The recipe was simple to follow and I think our cakes looked very much like the cakes in the book.

There are lots of inspiring ideas in the book, something for everyone.  We are looking forward to trying out some of the costume ideas for Halloween later in the year – this book gets a big thumbs up from us!

Halloween Crafts is published by CICO Books at £12.99 and is available from www.rylandpeters.com

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

A lucky Black Cat for Halloween?

One thing all children love to do is dress up – so when I was offered to pick a Halloween costume from the selection at Joker’s Masquerade, I knew 4 year old Miss M would be thrilled.  They have an extensive choice of Halloween outfits to choose from including Skeletons, Vampires, Zombies, Witches and Ghosts.  So what did Miss M choose? – A Halloween black cat.

And she loved it!!!  Miss M has worn this outfit for the last 3 days since we received the parcel, around the house, to the supermarket and riding up and down the street on her scooter which proves one thing – it must be very comfortable!  This is a very important aspect to me as there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable, itchy outfit that your child doesn’t enjoy wearing.

The Halloween Cool Cat outfit that we chose consists of a black shimmery all in one catsuit with a zip up the back, a velcro tail and a headband with ears.  The costume was very soft and smooth to the touch and easy to put on.  This outfit is suitable for 4-6 year olds and with Miss M just over 4 and half I would say this is the perfect fit.

This is a great little dress up outfit which can be used either to be just a cat or a Halloween black cat which we definitely will be this October.  So if you are looking out for a fancy dress outfit this year either for yourself or your little ones be sure to check out the vast range at Joker’s Masquerade.  You’ll be spoilt for choice – I certainly was!!

For more views and Miss M’s thoughts please watch our short video:

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.