Category Archives: Product Review

YOU – naturally powerful cleaning

Some of you may know that I have been on a bit of a mission to try to cut out some of the “nasties” in our house recently – by “nasties” I mean unnatural chemicals.

I was reading one of my many home magazines while on holiday and came across YOU. They are a company that produces 100% plant based cleaning solutions, therefore extinguishing your families exposure to the harsh chemicals so often found in everyday household cleaners.

YOU products are approved by Ecocert, who recognise products that are made from natural origin and use processes that are respectful to the environment. I have found with some “natural” cleaners that they just aren’t as effective as the harsher cleaners, but the same cannot be said here. I tested the ‘all purpose cleaner – disinfecting’ and the ‘kitchen cleaner – ultra degreasing’.

Let’s start with the Kitchen cleaner:

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It takes a lot for me to muster up the enthusiasm to clean so when this arrived I thought I would give the kitchen and all the cupboards a much-needed seeing to! When I sprayed the cupboards, the cleaner immediately lifted any grease, I didn’t have to scrub or leave it any length of time, it really was instant – I cleaned the whole kitchen in less than an hour. I struggle with some cleaners as they aggravate my asthma, but because this cleaner didn’t let off any harsh fumes it made the whole process much more bearable. It has a fresh, but not overwhelming smell and it’s effectiveness was very surprising.

The all purpose cleaner:

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I am not a huge fan of disinfecting everything, I have always been a hot soapy water kinda girl as I feel it is kinder to young tummies and my hands! I honestly don’t know what I did before I had this though, I use it for cleaning the potty, the kitchen sides, the table, the kitchen floor….everything! I previously might have used antibacterial wipes for some of these things, but they inevitably end up in landfill whereas I can use a piece of kitchen roll with this spray, which I can then compost.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s no need to buy a new big bottle every time you shop, instead you just buy one of their teeny tiny refill bottles, top it up with water (yes, even hard water works!) and you’re ready to get cleaning again. In turn, you reduce your carbon footprint, save money and produce less waste.

What’s not to like? I am a convert and will be buying their bathroom cleaner on my next visit to Waitrose – the latest supermarket to stock the YOU range.

To full the full range available by YOU and to read more about their company just click here.

Triplet rating: 10

Please note: I have been sent these products by the company to test and review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Are your gums in need of some love?

I have to admit that I have been a little neglectful in the teeth department since the trio came along (I mean it’s not like I was busy or anything!) So, I took the plunge and organised a family trip to my quite unsympathetic dentist earlier this month, where she told me that I had swollen gums and was at risk of developing gum disease! What?! I have never had a problem with my teeth or gums, I don’t even have any fillings! She said that pregnancy can bring about all sorts of hormonal changes affecting teeth and gum health and I needed to act quickly to avoid further damage.

Anyway, after my dentist had thoroughly butchered my poor mouth explaining that she had removed all the plaque (whilst I think repositioning my jaw) she explained that I needed to take better care of my teeth by flossing every day (chore!) as well as using a pro gum toothpaste and mouthwash.

The #OralBLoveYourGums challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I started using the Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste right away and after a only a week of using it together with my new Oral B electric toothbrush my gums had stopped bleeding whilst flossing and my mouth felt a lot less tender. It also tastes pretty good too, unlike some of the other pro-gum toothpastes and mouthwashes available.

I have also had my husband using it as he was told that he needed to buck up his ideas and look after his teeth and he too has noticed a significant difference!

In my opinion I think that a combination of the Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste, electric brush and mouthwash has significantly improved the condition of my teeth and gums and I suspect has eradicated the pending gum disease.

My advice if you want to try and avoid a telling off from your dentist (as well as a rearranging of your jaw), gum disease and the extortionate costs of dental treatment you should invest in some Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste.

Oral-B also have lots of excellent advice as well as further information about their products on their website www.oralb.co.uk.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge  sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com.

#Schwartz2in1 “What’s for Dinner Tonight” Challenge – perfect for when you have company

Schwartz have asked me to try and test a new range of lovely recipe mixes as part of the Britmums “What’s for dinner tonight” Challenge. I decided to try the Schwartz 2 in 1 Mediterranean Chicken Pasta & Cheesy Crumb Topping Recipe Mixes-  a mix of tomato and oregano, which is finished perfectly with a crunchy cheese and garlic topping. You can find out more here:  www.schwartz.co.uk/Products/Recipe-Mixes/2-in-1.aspx

 
I figured the best way to put the mixes to the test would be to invite a dinner date over for the boys.
The mixes require a minimal amount of ingredients and even the most challenged in the kitchen could manage to throw this tasty dish together.
 
Ingredients
 
1. 1 sachet Schwartz 2 in 1 Mediterranean Chicken Pasta & Cheesy Crumb Topping Recipe Mixes
2. 1 tbs oil
3. 450g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
4. Peppers – I used half a green, red and yellow pepper together with a pack of chicken breast.
5. 150ml water
6. 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
7. 200g pasta, cooked and drained
8. 75g cheddar cheese, grated
 
Method
 
Bring a pan of water to the boil and add your pasta.
 
Cook your chicken breast in a pan for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through.

Add peppers and cook for a further 2 minutes
 
Mix the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Recipe Mix with water and add to the pan with Tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the pasta and heat through for 2 minutes.



Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle with Garlic & Herb crumb topping.


Sprinkle with cheese

 
Grill for 4-5 minutes until golden.

Dish up for your critical MasterChef style panel – hope for the best.
 


There are no complaints here!

 
Our little guest seems pleased too, now we just have to work on the boys’ table manners if they are really going impress the ladies.
 
“This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz. Find out more about the new 2in1 mixes here 

Fun in the garden – The MoneySupermarket Kids Grow Wild Challenge

MoneySupermarket sent us a free gardening starter kit as part of their “kids grow wild challenge”.

Our lovely little starter kit

Now those of you that know me, know that I do not do gardening, I seem to manage to kill pretty much anything that’s green. I have a few very hardy house plants that I have brought back from the brink of death many times after I neglected to water them for weeks (possibly months) on end! However, upon receiving this kit I decided to get my paws dirty, dig up some weeds and sow some of the seeds from our free pack.

This was Oscar’s reaction when I told him I was doing gardening. 

First I had to find a suitable location and de-weed it with my “helpers”.

It really was like a jungle, with weeds taller than my toddlers.
After blowing the dandelions, we begun the de-weeding!
Suddenly my helpers disappear
They have much more important things to attend to it would seem

We sowed the seeds and I asked the boys to help me water them, of course most of the water ended up over them, but they still had plenty of fun.

The watering can spent a lot of time in the sand

Then we waited…

And we watered (ourselves, the patio and eventually the seedlings) some more…

and then we waited some more…

Until 4 weeks later we finally started to see some results…

It was lovely to get the boys involved in some gardening and it will certainly make that part of our garden much prettier and will encourage me to keep control of the weed situation.

We have also since planted some hanging baskets, I’m totally into this gardening thing now!

This post is an entry for BritMums’ #kidsgrowwildchallenge. For further information please click here http://www.moneysupermarket.com/home-insurance/competitions/kids-grown-wild/terms-and-conditions/

Mini Meatball & vegetable caterpillar recipe

Richmond were kind enough to send me some vouchers to purchase and review some of their new mini meatballs. I am always a fan of time saving when it comes to making dinners without compromising on quality and these mini meatballs really hit the spot.

I was hoping to make some sort of hungry caterpillar type kebab for the boys in the first instance but figured that sharp wooden tools and toddlers probably wasn’t the best idea so instead of the wooden skewers I decided to use spaghetti instead.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is very adaptable, you can use up whatever veg you have left over in the fridge or whatever your child has a preference for.

If your child is older you can also use wooden skewers instead of spaghetti.

My ingredients


Ingredients:

For the caterpillar

  • A pack of 20 Richmond mini meatballs
  • Half a red pepper
  • Half a green pepper
  • A hand full of cherry tomatoes
  • A hand full of button mushrooms
  • Spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Chicken stock
  • Pasta of your choice (I used fusilli).
  • A teaspoon of pesto (optional)
For the sauce
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Dry mixed herbs
Prep time: If using spaghetti skewers: 15 mins / If using wooden skewers: 5 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins.
Method:
1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

2) Chop your veg into kebab size chunks.

3) Take 2 pieces of spaghetti and begin carefully threading the veg and meatballs along it in your order of preference. Be sure to leave a little spaghetti showing at one end as these will be the caterpillar’s ‘feelers’. Once complete place the caterpillars into an oven proof saucepan (I placed mine straight onto a plate to take a picture and then had to transfer them. Not easy!).

NB: If you have trouble threading the ingredients then try piercing them first with a shorter piece of spaghetti  and use the hole that you have created as a pilot hole when threading onto the longer piece of spaghetti. see below.
Once you have threaded all of your ingredients you should end up with something that looks like this:
In hindsight I should have just put these straight into the pan so I didn’t have to keep transferring them!

4) Now that you have your caterpillars in the pan pour over enough chicken stock to cover them. Simmer for 4 mins. This will allow the spaghetti to soften. (If using skewers you can skip this stage and go straight to stage 6)

5) Pour the stock away into a separate saucepan (this will be used to cook the remaining pasta later).

6) Drizzle over the olive oil and throw any left over veg/meatballs into the pan too. I cooked my whole pack of meatballs, but of course you can always save yours for another yummy recipe. Place the pan in the oven for approx 20 mins or until the meatballs are golden and the veg is nice and soft.

7) While the meatballs are cooking. Cook your choice of pasta in the left over chicken stock and heat your tin of chopped tomatoes in a pan. Once the tomatoes are simmering, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs and allow to cook for 20 mins or until reduced.

8) Dish up your pasta, with a dollop of the tomato sauce in the middle. Add a little teaspoon of pesto (optional leaf for the caterpillar to munch on). Carefully place your caterpillar on top of the cooked pasta and sauce so that it’s head is placed on the pesto.

9) There you have it! A hungry caterpillar munching on a leaf!

Check out his little feelers!
My boys agreed that it was very yummy indeed!
Oscar, Lucas and Harry with their mouths full

Harry seeing how much he can ram in

Harry trying to work out how his meatballs and veg were stuck together
We then carried on the theme and went on to read a book about caterpillars and butterflies for their bedtime story.

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs” http://wp.me/p3bVJd-5wB

Riverford Organic veg box review

Like many mums I am very keen to feed my boys healthy food made from fresh ingredients. I Hadn’t really considered using organic fruit and veg before as I always assumed it would be too expensive and for a family who lives on a tight budget this would not be feasible. However, after a very lovely neighbour pointed me in the direction of Riverford I thought I would give organic a go!

Riverford were kind enough to let me review one of their medium sized veg boxes priced at £16.65. The box arrived on Thursday, delivered by a very friendly lady who it turned out delivers these boxes to one of my other triplet mummy friends!
In my box I received: 
Onions
2 cauliflowers
Lettuce
Cucumber
Peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Turnips
Mushrooms
Potatoes
Runner beans
Carrots
This box is designed to feed 2-3 adults for the week and I found that it was quite sufficient for 2 adults and 3 babies. One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about this is that there is NO PLASTIC! Everything comes in recycled and reusable packaging and only if it needs it. The produce is sourced locally so I know that I am supporting my local community rather than handing our hard earned pennies over to those greedy supermarkets.
The box comes with a wonderful little hand book which is now stuck firmly to my fridge offering recipe ideas, information on different vegetables and even how to store and cook them. There are also lots of lovely recipes on their website for you to try with your veg boxes.
My complete box

Saturday kitchen chef James Martin says that you shouldn’t wash mushrooms because they absorb water, but I wasn’t even tempted with these ones. They looked and tasted amazing.

There’s something very rustic about having carrots with their leaves still attached. Although the little handbook says that you should remove the leaves as they draw moisture away from the carrot itself.
I love a brown paper bag and it adds to the ‘homegrown’ feel of the box.

Here are some of the dishes that I made using the veg box

Mushroom and tomato pasta sauce

Homemade quiche made using the onions, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce.

Creamy spaghetti made using the mushrooms

Vegetarian enchaladas made using the carrots

Sausage casserole made using the delicious potatoes and turnips.

Fresh ingredients ready to make a lasagne.

Homemade lasagne.
Oscar agrees that it was all quite delicious!
At the end of the week I had some peppers, potatoes and carrots left over and as the weather had been so miserable I decided to blitz it all and make a soup. Nothing goes to waste in this house!
I can genuinely say that I have been surprised at the fact that no veg was wasted this week and the quality of the food is far better than the supermarket equivalent. 
I have already ordered my next box so it goes to show that you don’t have to earn a fortune to eat organic food whilst at the same time supporting your local growers.
It’s not just veg that Riverford offer, they have meat, dairy, herbs, bakery products and much, much more.
For further information on the Riverford range please click on the following link:

My top products for reducing back pain after having a baby (or 3)

Like a lot of new mums I suffer with back trouble. I had a bad back before the boys were born and used to visit a wonderful chiropractor every few months, however money and time is in much shorter supply these days so about 6 months back I started looking into some alternatives.

I mainly suffer with mid-lower back pain due to lifting babies (often incorrectly – who has time to think about posture when your baby is about to take a nose dive off of the sofa?). Here are the three things I have tried which I really think have contributed to less pain and better posture:

1) Yoga – I joined a local yoga group and participated in a five week course with a friend. I loved it! It allowed me to escape the house after a busy day with the children and as well as a work out, it did wonders for my state of mind.

I have since started following yoga on YouTube as it allows me to pick and choose what areas of my body I want to work and for how long. Sometimes I do 2 x 30 minute sessions a week and other times I do a 1.5 hour block. I love that you don’t need much equipment either, you can buy a yoga mat from Tesco for about £5 and your away!

2) Bodi-Tek Back Magic – This is a back stretching device that was recommended to me by several people. They swore that their back pain was eliminated by using this thing.

It looks basic and I’m sure you could get a similar stretch with a rolled up cushion under your back, but I thought I would give it a go. You have to lie on it for 5 minutes twice a day and as you get more used to the stretch you can increase the height of the arch in the plastic to enable an even deeper stretch.

I think that together with the yoga this has improved my posture as after using it I feel so much taller and my back is noticeably less tense.

I bought mine from amazon using the following link: Bodi-Tek Back Magic

3) Posture Plast – This product is quite incredible. As soon as I put this plaster on, it completely eliminated my back pain.

The company very kindly sent me 4 plasters to try and I have only just used my last one. It works by reducing the tension in your lower back and safely controls your movement so that you cannot cause any further damage. I found myself bending at the knees more when lifting without even thinking as the plaster held me firmly in the correct position. It is almost like a training aid for your back and teaches your muscles correct posture so that in the long run you therefore endure less injury.

It is very discreet and can be worn even under tight fitting clothes as it comes in a nude colour. The only thing I would say is that it can leave a sticky plaster residue on your back after you remove it, but it’s a small price to pay if you have lower back pain. I managed to make mine last for a maximum of 36 hours as I found that it began to lose it’s stick after I’d had a shower.

I will definitely be buying these again as I cannot afford to be out of action with 3 young toddlers running around and I don’t like taking copious amounts of paracetamol and ibuprofen to manage the symptoms.

The plaster instructions have a very detailed description and even a video link showing you how to apply the posture plast, but it is definitely easier if you can get someone to help you.

You can buy the posture plast online at Amazon using the following link: PosturePlast Triple Action Lower Back Pain Relief Plaster

Product Review: Snoodies

Product Review – Snoodies!


Last week we awoke to a lovely crisp cold autumn morning and it was my first opportunity for my little monsters to road test the absolutely gorgeous Snoodies that were sent to us by one of my favourite retailers – Mamascarf.

The snood has been a very popular accessory for adults for a while now, but no one has ever thought to design one for a baby, until now! The Snoodie not only keeps your baby’s neck lovely and toasty, it also absorbs all of that lovely teething dribble. 

The Snoodie contains an inner absorbant layer to catch dribble and stop it from rolling down the neck.

All three of my boys are teething at the moment and so they really have put these scarves to the test. I found that the bibs absorbed all of the dribble and it didn’t seep through to the skin at all so the boys stayed nice and warm on our chilly walk.

I also love the designs, I often find with bibs that they don’t do three different patterns for boys, but you are spoilt for choice on the Mamascarf website. Designs include Navy & white stars, green, purple and red with white spots.

The Snoodies also have adjustable poppers on the back which allow you to adjust the size of the bib according to your baby’s needs.

Keeping my trio still to take photographs is not an easy task, but I just had to show you some pictures of my little ‘Snood Dudes’ (as I like to call them!)

Oscar, Harry and Lucas


Harry and Lucas ready for our walk

Oscar and Mummy

Lovely and toasty!
Triplet rating – 8/10

Another success for Mamascarf!

To purchase your Snoodie, just click on the following link:

Other Mamascarf products include: 






From The Makers Of Sock Ons – Dribble Ons and Mocc Ons Review

Dribble Ons and Mocc Ons


I previously wrote for my absolute love of Sock Ons. Well, my love has not dwindled and I recently bought 6-12 month version for my ever growing boys.

After I wrote my review for the Sock Ons, the company very kindly sent me some of their gorgeous Dribble Ons and Mocc Ons to review. I have had these for several months now as I couldn’t really test the Mocc Ons properly during the summer months (HA summer…).

Anyway we stepped out in them for the first time on a fresh crisp Autumn morning just this week. I got so many compliments on them that I find myself again writing a very positive review for the company.

The Mocc Ons have a lovely soft washable (very handy) leather sole which is stitched to a lovely warm patterned cotton fabric. The stretchy cotton fabric reaches just below the knee and they are quite snug so they are difficult for the baby to kick off.

Mocc Ons come in various designs including pink spot, zebra stripe, rainbow and funky cow print! I love that they are a bit different and you can really accessorise your children’s outfit with bright colours on a dull day.

I think they will be perfect on hard floors when they are starting to try and stand and toddle too.

The other product is the Dribble On. These dribble bibs are wonderfully absorbent and because they are fastened with a popper they are impossible for your baby to pull off. They are made from a combination of lovely stretchy cotton fabric and terry toweling so it fits comfortably around your babies neck.

I have washed and tumble dried these bibs so many times and they have still not lost their colour or their shape. I’m really impressed! My boys are constantly dribbling because of their teeth so they are permanently wearing a dribble bib. On a REALLY dribbly day I think I would probably get through 2-3 Dribble Ons per baby, but on a normal day I would only need 1 per baby and I would hang them to dry whilst the boys were napping.

The Dribble Ons come in a wide variety of colours again so you can pick and choose to suit your babies outfit! Here are just some of the designs available:



Once again I am thrilled with the products and look forward to road testing their future inventions!

Babasacs – The Ideal Sleep Solution For All Occasions!

I recently went to the baby show in Birmingham and came across a lovely lady called Keria who had designed the most wonderful products. She is a mother herself who has taken the huge step in setting up her own business. Keira has been credited with awards from Mumsnet, Practical Parenting & Pregnancy, The Baby Products Association and many more!

The Product


The Babasac is a multi tog sleeping bag for use day and night, all year round. It comes in 2 gorgeous designs of either pink hearts or blue stars.



The sleeping bag has 2 layers and so in the summer you can unzip a layer leaving you with a sleeping bag that is the same thickness as a sheet (1.0 tog) or in the depths of winter you can zip the second layer back on to have a lovely snuggly 2.5 tog sleeping bag. 

I think this is probably my top buy for my triplets, it has saved me a fortune as I am not having to buy several sleeping bags for the boys for all of the seasons. You also avoid the whole wriggling out of their covers and getting cold issue!

They come in the following sizes:

0-6 months £37.99
6-18 months £38.99
18-36 months £39.99

If you pre-order now you can receive £5 off your babasac.

For more information just click on the following link, which will take you to her website:

Harry, Lucas and Oscar in their Babasacs

Keria has also very kindly offered mums of multiples a discount of 20% off their order. All you need to do is contact her directly on info@mamascarf.co.uk to get your discount.