Review: Wraptious – Affordable And Unique Gifts For Art Lovers

I love making gift guides for special loved ones featuring my new favourite finds. I especially like it when a product or idea combines art with ethical standards. When Wraptious contacted me to review one of their product and their site, I didn’t know too much about them. Wraptious sells award-winning gift items supporting artists. The first thing I came across, was their competition they run twice a  year. They invite artists to join them and upload their work which gets shared and voted on by the public. This year’s shortlist has been already selected and the shorlisted artists’ designs are available in their online store. Wraptious currently works with more than thirty artists: painters, illustrators, photographers and designers. The artist community is expanding, thanks to the competition too.

What really makes Wraptious ethical in my eyes is their manifesto, which is promoting independent art. Directly supporting their artists, who receive a share of each sale. Yes, this means, a percentage of each sale goes directly into the artist’s pocket. The best way to support independent art: buy it. Also, all their products are produced in the UK and on recycled or sustainable resources where possible. 

Learning all this, I was really looking forward receiving my cushion I picked from their collection. It was hard to pick, but I chose a cushion designed by Paul Robbins:

Take a look at the details, such a lovely piece!

Though Wraptious has a lovely selection of cushion designs, I fell in love with this one for the first sight. I love the yellow background highlighting all the hypnotisingly beautiful colours of the bear’s head. The colours are strikingly vivid, I have used no filter on the photo above. This cushion is available in two sizes: 45 cm x 45 cm and 60 cm x 60 cm. The cover is made of super soft and velvety vegan-suede.

The same design is also available printed on gallery-quality original print, in case you’d like to coordinate or highlight them.

My top tip:  grab 2-3 pieces of quality art products from the same artist to turn a simple room into a stylish living space. Given the affordable prices what Wraptious provides, it’s easily doable.

Prices start at £22.95 (cover only).

 

I received this product to review it and publish my honest, unbiased opinion.

 

One Messy Mama

Day Out With Thomas The Tank Engine At Mid Hants Railway – Watercress Line

We have visited the Watercress Line a couple of times already as both daddy and son are big train enthusiasts. However, we never attended a Meet Thomas Day.


For those whose never been there, the Watercress Line is located in Alresford, Hampshire. It’s a heritage railway which was saved by enthusiastic volunteers in 1973, and Watercress Line was re-open as a tourist attraction four years later. A 10 mile line is operating currently with steam locomotives between Alresford and Alton. They regularly do Meet Thomas The Tank Engine days, in every few months.

Visiting the Watercress Line is great fun every time, we especially like stopping at Ropley, where all the engineering works are being done, and can be watched too. Fascinating for train enthusiasts. There’s a playground for small children (I’d say from 3 years up) and picnic area. Snacks and drinks are also available in the station gift shop. The King’s Cross bridge from one of the Harry Potter episode is moved down to Ropley, so even Harry Potter fans will find something exciting.

Visiting the restored ticket office and the station masters lounge makes you feel, that you stepped back in time. Even the toilets are made to look vintage. Another times we also stop at Medstead and go for a picturesque walk to Alton, visiting the Jane Austen House in Chawton village.

This April we booked tickets (£18 for adults and £12 for children) to see Bobcat’s favourite character Thomas The Tank Engine. We arrived early to make the most of the day, as you’re entitled to unlimited travel on the day, so we stopped at every station, marvelled the engineering works, watched the character trains pulling into Ropley station. The trains were running up and down between the stations in every half an hour.

We went for a few rides on the miniature train, which was one of the top favourites of the day. We packed lunch and had picnic, whilst the little guy spent some time on the playground and went for teacup rides – he was way too excited to eat. Outside of the station we even met with Bertie the bus, his second favourite character from the show. Apart from Thomas, some other tank engines are present (don’t ask me names, all I know that, they all have a name and a number) and running between the stations. He also shook the Fat Controller’s hand – the organisers really paid attention to the smallest details.

There was a tent with story corner where they did daily story time and DVD shows. Also some tables and chairs with Thomas themed coloring sheets and play sets. Bobcat received a certificate and some Thomas stickers too. The only thing we didn’t try was the big bouncy slide, it said from 3 years+, but Bobcat was too small for that, we thought. But he didn’t mind, he was perfectly happy with all the other fun things. Naturally, fell asleep on the way home and had an unusual long nap which resulted him bouncing around till 11pm that night. Oh well.

 

Real Mum Reviews
Bridie By The Sea

How To Find Local Professional Services With Bidvine.com

We have a growing local mummy network where I live and we have a Whatsapp group to support each other, make friends and ask for advice or recommendations. Our chat tends to revolve around a few categories:

1. Baby poo

2. Can anyone recommend a gardener/carpenter/nanny/tutor/yoga-class/cleaner/mobile beautician

3. When is the next mummy night out

4. Chicken pox

5. Random voice messages recorded and posted by the children when they get their hands on mummy’s phone

6. Breastfeeding support

So asking for recommendations is frequent thing, but the recommended person or company is often not available or is simply not the right one for you. And it’s always the best to shop around. For example, I’m on the look out for a proper Hatha yoga class. Now, I’m sure that Jenny’s bestie is a great trainer, but she teaches Bikram yoga, which is not what I want. So, thanks for the recommendation, but it’s not very useful.

I was introduced to Bidvine.com recently and I started to browse for local Yoga-lessons because I want to do yoga in a small class, with a trainer again. At home, exercising became impossible with having both children around me most of the time. The only way is to get daddy or grandma to look after them for two hours whilst I’m out. Also, I always preferred classes with a good trainer rather than just do it by myself.

To submit a request is easy: all you need to do is to type the requested service and your postcode in, and then answer a few service specific questions to make sure that you’re getting a bespoke bid, tailored for your needs. Then, within a few hours you’ll receive bids from trusted local professionals and you just have to pick one, contact them, and pay them directly. Easy-peasy.

On Bidvine.com, you can hire a trusted professionals like: plumbers, electricians, handymen, all sorts of teachers and tutors, fitness and health trainers, cleaners, even wedding and event organisers.

It’s very useful for busy people (busy mums!) because the bids arrive in a matter of few hours, and you can trust the service provider, you don’t need to double check it. You’ll only receive bids from the available professional, so you don’t need to change your plans.

What I really liked about the website is that it covers the whole of the UK and that also offers you some related services too. (Are you moving? Do you need a man with a van? You might need someone who helps assembling the furniture too.)

 

This is a sponsored post. I have written about my own, unbiased review of my experience and I can highly recommend Bidvine.com.

 

 

Review: From Earth To Earth Bamboo Toothbrush

I was very much looking forward to test this toothbrush. I completely ruin a toothbrush in every 2-3 weeks. Don’t ask me how, I probably just brush like a maniac. Which means, I go through a lot of toothbrushes a year. Unfortunately, I never quite got used to the electric ones, I just miss my own brushing action. Lots of toothbrushes mean lots of plastic waste. Billions of them are getting discarded yearly. Many of them ends up in the ocean. Along with plastic bottles, plastic bags and fast fashion clothing item fibres, toothbrushes are posing serious threat to the nature.

So when From Earth To Earth asked me to review their bamboo toothbrush, I happily said yes. I received a soft bristles toothbrush although, I would normally prefer medium one. (Better fit for my manic brushing style.)

About the toothbrush:

It’s made of 100% biodegradable, natural bamboo. (Just chuck it in the garden when finished, but pull out the bristles first.) Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest naturally renewing resource. Bamboo is anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. That’s good to know, since you’re going to put it in your mouth. The bristles are made of BPA free nylon. It comes either soft or medium bristles and you can choose a single or a family pack of 4 with clever colour coding, so you won’t mix them up. Price-wise, the single toothbrush costs £4 and the family pack costs £15. Which, I’d say it’s a little bit expensive, but unfortunately all new ecofriendly innovations cost more money then the plastic mass production.

Review: 

Overall, I was very pleased with the toothbrush. It’s a brilliant product. The soft bristles did the job. The only thing I missed is the jagged design of the plastic bristles. But then I also floss, so problem is solved. I’ve been using it for 3 weeks now, so far happy with the result. I’d change the inner sleeve for a paper one instead of the styrofoam type material otherwise it is still way more ecofriendly than any other brand from the supermarket.

I received this product for my honest, unbiased review. It passed the test for me, I can really recommend it. You can also buy it on Amazon.co.uk.

 

Review: Term Footwear Wellies

Wellies are essential clothing items when you’re a young child. All that outdoorsy fun you don’t want to miss because of bad weather. In fact, that’s part of the fun. One word: PUDDLES. Have you met a kid who doesn’t find puddles the most exciting thing in the world? No, me neither. Bobcat is definitely a huge fan of them. Loves jumping into them and kicking the mud around. Shouts PUDDLE! every time he notices one. And goes straight for it. So he’s got a few pair of wellies, and we need to leave a pair in nursery too, for playing outside. The other reason he wears wellies quite happily, is that he has hyper mobility, so it’s simply comfortable for him and he’s ankle is well protected too.

Term Footwear is a small UK company specialising in children’s outdoor and school shoes for 7 years. Bobcat picked their Green Roll Top Wellies, his new favourite colour. They are very good quality and -with or without the removable socks – very comfy.

I find it very clever that they are coming with welly socks, so you don’t need to buy extra socks for winter wearing. In spring and summer time, simply remove them. Removing and putting the socks back is very easy, you can even put them on the child’s feet first, then put the wellies on. The wellies are made without using lead, nickle and cadmium. The other thing I found very good about the wellies, that there is a reflective strip on the back of the welly, making the child noticeable in the dark. The material is very durable, it meant to last for a season, but for me it even looks better than that, and possible to give it another life by passing it on to the younger sibling. After wearing them for avfew weeks, not much scuffs! With designs coming in 5 primary colours, they are made absolutely unisex. 

Bobcat loved his shiny, new wellies and it kept his feet lovely warm, and also protected his ankles.

Tip: when ordering them, select the size according to the season: in winter you’ll use the socks and when the socks are removed, the welly is one EU size larger, allowing room for growth.

HAPS SuperFruits Drink Review – Plus SuperBreakfast Recipe

I always believed in the “you are what you eat” theory and that nutrition is a key player in our wellbeing. Backed up by science and focusing on a certain area or problem, the right nutrition can be a lifesaver. Not only on physical but mental level too.

When Rik, the cheerful main guy behind HAPS contacted me, I was just having my annual dip in good old spring fatigue. As a mum of two mini energy bombs, I only have busy days. Yup, call it a cliche, but it’s a 24/7 duty. Luckily, I haven’t been physically ill lately, but mentally, it’s a challenge. Especially, if you’re sleep deprived, which I am. Rik has also fought his own fights with anxiety when he decided to develop HAPS with the help of nutritional experts.

HAPS is yummy fruit drink designed to help improve low mood and boost wellbeing. Containing only Baobab, Mango, Pear, Pineapple, Guava, Banana, Griffonia Seed Extract [5-HTP], Ionic Electrolytes, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 C, D, Zinc, Natural Flavour, Stevia. And nothing else. No bulking agents and cheap chemicals. All ingredients can be found in our food (or is a food) however, we can’t get enough or can’t absorb enough.

Review

I loved the drink just by itself, it’s tasty and refreshing. I drank it instead of my post lunch coffee and I felt quite energetic even at 21:30.

I thought even though the drink is very tasty, maybe it can be more versatile than that. It can be added to smoothies or yogurts. So next morning, I prepared this yummy breakfast bowl:

HAPS SuperBreakfast

1 sachet of HAPS SuperFruits drink

1 banana

half of a ripen mango

handful of blueberries

4 handfuls of organic puffed brown rice

3-4 tbsp of greek yogurt

1 tbsp of ground almonds

With a handmixer, combine the yogurt, HAPS drink powder, banana and mango. Leave a few bits for decoration. Add the puffed rice. Arrange everything else nicely on your plate. Ta-daa!

Doing Good on the HAPS way 

Let’s not forget about mentioning this. When I review a product, I highly appreciate when the brand does puts some effort into corporate responsibility. HAPS is sourcing the ingredients responsibly, not harming the Earth and they are all 100% natural.

If you buy HAPS, click here: Buy Haps Prices from £1.10 per serving.

I have received this product for my honest and unbiased review. I’ve concluded that it’s a great product with a small but enthusiastic startup behind it, believing in doing good.

 

Name A Star – A Unique Gift Idea Review And Giveaway

Bobcat just turned three. He received so many toys and books, that (sorry, friends and grandma) that at least two-third of all the presents ended up hidden and we will release them slowly over the next year. We had to do this, as last a Christmas he got so overwhelmed by opening all the presents containing toys, that we decided, that next time we will somehow try to keep it under our control. His birthday fast approaching (knowing that this was going to happen), I really struggled for a few weeks, what kind of personalised gift we can get for him. And all of a sudden, the perfect present just showed up.

Name a star. A real star. An actual star. I’ve heard about this before, but I always thought, that it’s a long and complicated process, costing you the Earth and you need to contact NASA or something. Well, none of those.

Name A Star is an online registry, where you can simply fill in a form and it’s all done in a few days. You can pick different packages depending on your budget and select the constellation (which I found really amusing). Also, you can pick a star, which is visible in the UK. With a memorable date written on the Star Deed and a personal message, you can further personalise the gift.

I received an Extra Bright Star Gift Set, in a tasteful silver coloured presentation box. The framed A4 star deed was accompanied by confirmation letter and large sky atlas. (We hung the sky atlas in his room, as he loves space related things, so that itself is a present for him.)

The whole presentation (even two royal blue wooden roses!) makes the gift set looking very elegant, so it would make a lovely novelty present for special occasions. Prices start at £14.99 and six different packages are available with fast and free shipping.

GIVEAWAY!

star-name-registry.com also offered the fantastic opportunity to WIN a an Extra Bright Star Gift Set worth of £34.98! (You will receive the certificate and the constellation map in an envelope after naming your star.) For a chance to win, please enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

This competition will open on 30th of March 2017 at 12:00 am and will close on 7th of April 2017 at 12.00 am.
One winner will be selected at random.
UK entrants only.
No cash alternative will be offered.
The winners will be announced on Captainbobcat.com social media outlets and will be contacted by email.
The winners will have 28 days to respond to their winner’s email.

Mummy in a Tutu

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Mother’s Day Giveaway: Win A Carry Me Wrap By Fornessi

A few weeks ago I reviewed a fantastic new baby wrap by Fornessi

I absolutely loved this wrap, and there are lots of reasons for that! Read my review: Fornessi Carry Me Wrap Review

For this Mother’s Day, we teamed up with Fornessi again and one very lucky mama can win a Carry Me Wrap in fabulous Fresh Blueberry colour (worth £59).

For a chance to win, simply enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

This competition will open on 21st of March 2017 at 12:00 am and will close on 28th of March 2017 at 12.00 am.
One winner will be selected at random.
UK entrants only.
No cash alternative will be offered.
The winners will be announced on Captainbobcat.com social media outlets and will be contacted by email.
The winners will have 28 days to respond to their winner’s email.

 

 

One Messy Mama

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Family Fever

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rachel bustin

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November Rain Waterproof Poncho Review And Giveaway

There’s no bad weather just bad clothing! I wear sneakers or wellies, gilet with a hood and jeans from autumn to spring. My husband keeps making fun of me, how I became a “Surrey Mummy”.  Well, we’re not going to sport an evening gown to drop the kids off at school, are we? What I was actually missing is a proper rain coat. Now, that I have a tandem buggy to push, I can’t navigate it skill-fully with a single hand. Therefore, when it’s raining, I can’t hold an umbrella, and I can’t keep fidgeting with the never deep enough hoods. (What are they meant to be used for, really?)

Lucky me, November Rain just sent me a gorgeous waterproof poncho to review. Designed in Australia, these ponchos are just landed in the UK. I picked the Oriental Bird pattern, as it looked so pretty and colourful on the website.

My review 

I was pleasantly surprised: the pattern and the vivid colours are the same in real life. Second pleasant surprise: it fits and sits nicely, even though it’s one size for everyone. Tested it on a grey and rainy Monday morning: it also does its job well and is 100% waterproof. The hood is deep enough, and it’s equipped with a front pocket, which is great for the house keys and the phone, no need to carry a bag. All together it looks very durable and it doubles as a wind cheater. Another very clever idea of the makers, that the little carrier bag is made from the same waterproof material, so if you have to fold it away whilst it’s still damp, no problem.

These ponchos are printed using sublimation. This printing method uses very high heat to transfer the print to the fabric, which is an eco-friendly waterless method. 

The giving back project

November Rain pledges 10% of all revenue is donated each quarter to various water related projects. The first project is progressing in Northern Thailand (a hydrophonic vegetable growing system at a children’s rescue mission).

GIVEAWAY

Win this fantastic rain wear in the colour of your choice, just perfect for the spring showers ahead! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions 

This competition will open on 28th of February at 12:00 am and will close on 8th of March at 12.00 am.
One winner will be selected at random.
UK entrants only.
No cash alternative will be offered.
The winners will be announced on Captainbobcat.com social media outlets and will be contacted by email.
The winners will have 28 days to respond to their winner’s email.

Fornessi Carry Me Wrap Review

I use baby carriers with Babi a lot, sometimes even at home to calm her down (teething…) or help her to take a nap. It also played an important role in establishing breast feeding in the first few weeks.

It’s good to keep more than one, just in case, or for different tasks. I have never tried less constructed baby carriers before, so I was very exciting when our new Fornessi Carry Me Wrap arrived. The lovely Angelika Cullen is the mumtrepeneur behind the brand and she’s a fellow eco-warrior. Knowing that a product is eco-friendly, was a big plus for me. The Carry Me wrap is designed to have only a minimal impact on the environment: it’s biodegradable (so as its stylish storage bag), coloured with non-toxic ink, and doesn’t contain solvents.

I chose a brilliant pink colour for my little girl. The feel of the fabric is super soft and silky, with great elasticity. Putting it into use was very easy, even for a wrap-newbie like me (with the help of Fornessi’s Video Tutorials). Babi is quite a little wriggler, so after fastening it around my body, I sat down to wrap my baby. This method worked the best for us. The wrap is long enough to fit it around any body shape.

My baby girl fell almost instantly asleep when I wrapped her in, which is a good indicator how comfy and safe the wrap is. She snuggled in, and absolutely loved it. So did I. We tested the wrap out on a walk and at home, just doing stuff.

In case you haven’t heard about the advantages of baby wearing, here’s just a few reasons to give it a try:

  • For all the sceptics out there, baby wearing is not a neo-hippie thing: humans are using baby wraps for thousands of years.
  • Especially in the first few months of their little life, it helps bonding, calming and feeling secure.
  • The closeness raises mum’s oxytocin level, which is beneficial for breast milk production and helps to fight off PPD.
  • An easy and handy option for transporting the baby.

 

I’ve been sent this baby wrap to review and share my unbiased opinion about it. I absolutely loved it and wholeheartedly recommend Fornessi’s Carry Me wrap for mums to buy.