Review: @Everpure_ #shakersaver

Plastic bottles. Shakers.  Travel mugs. Why are they so hard to clean, and why do they pong after a while?

That’s a rhetorical question, please don’t provide me with  an answer.  I could Google it, but I’ve a strong feeling that the answer would contain references to bacteria and I do definitely not want to think of little alive things wriggling round my drinking vessels.

I stumbled across Everpure on Twitter and managed to blag a sample.  They sell little fizzy tablets that they claim to freshen your stinky plastic shakers, bottles and whatnot.

Being the owner of a a couple of malodorous bottles myself, I ran a little test, with the help of my glamorous assistant (assistant? I think maybe I am HIS assistant but for the sake of this story let’s not quibble).

Henceforth shows a how-to guide, along with a results test, shot by my rather inexpert self.  I did end up using two tablets for the big black really smelly one, but at £2.49 for 15 tablets that is not a great loss, and the results were amazing:

Competition & discount code – TLC sport

Have you seen the new blog, Salamanda Style?  It’s a place that is being set up to be your go-to place for women of all shapes and sizes.  Salamanda has had trouble finding great sportswear in larger sizes – most brands only go up to a size 16 if you’re lucky.

I am only a 12, but am still concious, even after two half marathons, of body parts that are less firm than they used to be twenty years ago.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t even be beating myself up about it and I know that a 40-something year old will never have the body of an eighteen year old but that’s what living in a media-obsessed world does to the subconscious and fight it as I will, it’s a niggle.

TLC sport do an amazing range of leisurewear and dresses designed to be flattering to women up to a size 20 and make our workouts as worry-free as possible, holding us in and hiding sweat patches.  A lot of their clothes can also cross over into everyday wear and I really want one of their control frocks.

They have been amazingly generous and are offering a prize of any one pair of the figure firming/tummy control leggings – there is quite a variety including high waisted and cropped and bootleg!

In addition to this, they are giving all of you an exclusive code for ten percent off, so that even if you don’t win, you can get some money off these amazing products.

The code is: MLCOMP10

And you can try your hand at winning, with the rafflecopter below.

No cheating, I do check, and the competition is open wordwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition: Win a £15 or £100 voucher for DogBuddy

Finding a great dogs sitter is always a bit of a pain, but this great new website makes it so much easier.  MyDogBuddy lets you input your postcode and quick as a flash you see all your local sitters.   Perfect!

Try your hand at this instant win competition, and see if you can win £15 or £100 to test them out:

 *update: Lots of people are saying that they are getting a message that the voucher has expired.  You will get a voucher code emailed to you if you win, please ignore what the widget tells you. You then use the voucher code on the website.

The Most Popular Fabrics for Bed Linens

When shopping for sheets or bed linen, it’s really important to choose the right fabric. After all, not only are bed linens quite costly, but you also need to consider what will make you the most comfortable whilst you sleep. Of course, the way that you look after different fabrics also varies, so it’s important to know in advance how much time it will take you to wash and dry your sheets. Keep reading for a list of the most popular fabrics for bed linens. Hopefully you will find the right one for you.

Cotton

Cotton is the most common material used to make sheets, and is also usually the cheapest option. When buying cotton sheets, it’s important to take a look at the thread count – this is what determines whether your sheets will feel luxurious or uncomfortable, with the lower thread count sheets being those you will do best to avoid. 100% cotton sheets are a must for many people, and can be found from sites like Threel.co.uk for affordable prices. They’re also, usually, the best option during the summer months.

Flannel

Technically flannel is a variation of cotton, however these are usually put into their own category as they have a totally different texture. Flannel sheets are usually soft and cosy, and are the ideal choice for people who want to stay warm in bed during the summer months. Although you’ll be a bit more limited in design options, you can still find flannel in some fun prints, as well as all of the usual plain colours.

Silk

Silk is the ultimate in luxury sheets, but it’s also the most expensive option. Made from the cultivated silk fibre of silkworms, silk sheets are the softest bed linen you will ever come across. Along with being absorbent, silk sheets are also extremely lightweight. A couple of things to keep in mind, however: silk sheets are not particularly suited to people who like the cool, as they do keep you warm. They also cannot be washed like normal sheets – they will usually require dry cleaning.

Beech

Made from beech wood, beech sheets are the ideal option for the spring and autumn seasons, when you want something a little warmer than cotton, but cooler than flannel. A very fluid and silky fabric, beech sheets are extremely soft to the touch, making them a good material for bed linen. They’re also priced quite reasonably too, and come in a variety of designs and colours.

Cotton Polyester

Cotton polyester sheets are cheaper than natural cotton, and they’re also not as comfortable. Lightweight and warm to sleep on, they’re unfortunately not as breathable as cotton, and they’re also not as durable. Also, they begin to pill with washing, meaning that they begin to feel rough and sandy, which can lead to a bad night’s sleep. It’s almost always better to invest in real cotton sheets if you can afford to – they will last a lot longer than the cotton polyester mix so don’t work out much more expensive in the long run.

2015 – the Year of Happiness

..or, so I am trying to make it.

A few weeks ago on twitter, somebody tweeted an image of a positivity jar.  What a grand idea I thought, a jar filled with lovely things, so that as the year progresses we can see it filling up with nice thoughts.

I happened to have a kilner jar in the cupboard from my one foray into damson vodka-making, so I dug it out and decorated it, and here is our Happiness Jar.  Happines JarI got a lovely notepad for Christmas so I put that inside and a pen and each time we think of a happy thing, we write it down and pop it in.  “What’s inside it?”, Aunty asked.  “Happiness”, replied the Cub.

It’s a visual reminder of all the good things, and if we feel sad, we can pull some out and read them to remind us what we have got.

Coincidentally, Yankee candle sent me some Happiness Votive candles, so that the sitting room can be filled with happy scents such as watermelon, blackberry, shea butter and aloe water.

What a great start to 2015.

What wonderful way to start the year :)

Pawsome Box

This January Shadow got a lovely surprise gift through the post from Pawsome Box.  Pawsome box is a monthly box subscription for your dog, and it’s filled with all the treats you could want to keep your special furry friend happy for a whole month,and longer.

Here’s our official unboxing:

January’s theme was American-themed, with a baseball chew, a Nobbly Wobbly, some crunchy chicken bites, a hot dog, a collar LED and some bacon strips.

As you can see, Shadow was thrilled with his presents and soon took off with his baseball chew and made short shrift of it.  These days, he is almost always seen skulking hopefully with a hot dog, hoping that I will throw it for him a few times.

Shadow and hot dog toyIt’s a great idea, and a great gift to give someone.  Often we have people in our lives – Mums, Dads, Grandparents, that seem to have everything they could need and are hard to buy for at Christmas and birthdays/mother’s/father’s day.  This could be the solution – let Pawsome fix them up with some treats for their pet or pets.  If your loved one is a cat lover, they also do a Purrfectbox.

It would have to be a gift for a very special person though because it is a bit pricey, with a six month subscription coming in at £107.  But for that money you’ll be getting enough toys to last for years and years, and the contents of each box always come in at way more than the subscription price.

You could always club together with other family members – if there are five of you wanting to buy a nice Mother’s day present that’s only a little over twenty quid each.  And the gifts keep on coming for six months!

Each gift is high quality and durable.  We are happy, why don’t you go and check out previous month’s themes and have a look for yourself?

King Tut’s Tomb Would’ve Provided Gold Dealers In Melbourne Much to Ponder

king tut

Image by: alirjd

Of all the Pharaohs and rulers of Egypt, the best name recognition is unquestionably 18th-dynasty pharaoh King Tutankhamen, a boy king with rounded hips, buck teeth, and a club foot (which may be because his parents were brother and sister). Still, Tut’s actual physical appeal aside, he’s had three surges of world renown – in 1922, when his in-tact tomb was discovered, in the late 1970s, when tomb contents went on a world tour, and, more recently, when his DNA was examined.

As Steve Martin sang, in his 1979 hit song, “When he was a young boy, he never thought he’d see people standing in line, to see the boy king.” Despite his short and comparatively unremarkable reign, King Tut, who died in 1322BC, represents all of the golden splendour and treasures of Egyptian royal glory. Thanks to Scottish Lord Carnarvon’s coin and English excavator Howard Carter’s tenacity, the discovery of Tut’s legendary tomb provided archaeologists, scientists, historians, metallurgists, adventures seekers and the curious plenty of material for contemplation. The legendary Valley of Kings was thought to have been thoroughly gutted by the previous excavator, Theodore Davis, a wealthy American “robber baron,” (or more accurately here, tomb raider) relinquished his permit. But Carter was determined to find Tut’s tomb, and after six excavation seasons, he begged Carnarvon (whose house, Highclere Castle, is used for “Downton Abbey.”) for one more and was granted it. He had a hunch that Tut’s tomb may lay beneath excavation rubble placed by Davis, who made a discovery near by. He was right. On 4 November 1922, Carter’s team found steps the steps which led to the passage. He wired Carnarvon, so his patron could amongst the first to enter the tomb, which they did (along with Carnarvon’s daughter), on 26 November. Carter glimpsed ebony and gold treasures from his candlelight, and an anxious Carnarvon asked, “Can you see anything?” To which Carter famously replied, “Yes, wonderful things!” More than 5,000 wonderful things, in fact. The entire room featured an annex, an antechamber, the Treasury Room, as well as the burial chamber.

“He gave his life for tourism…” Steve Martin, “King Tut”

The discovery was huge news. But despite the flood of reporters, only one, H.V. Morton, was allowed on location. The others wrote from their hotel rooms. For three months, the antechamber was catalogued, and on 16 February 1923, Carter opened the doorway that led to the burial chamber and Tut’s sarcophagus. The following year, Carter toured the U.S. with a lecture series and it sparked Egyptomania, and influenced architecture, interior design, music, fine art, film and fashion.

It took until 1932 to catalogue and clear the tomb of its inestimable treasures. Tut still rests in his tomb, in the Valley of the Kings, but nearly all the treasures were brought to the Cairo Museum). Two tiny mummified foetuses and a dog were found in his tomb. There were 413 “ushabtis,” figures depicting Tut in everyday life.

Gold dealers In Melbourne might be able to give a general value, based on whatever the current rate for gold is, but the true value of treasures is likely to never be estimated accurately, given the historical import. Tut’s tomb alone was solid gold, weighed 1.5 tons, and took eight men to move it (its estimated value is $13 million USD). In fact, there were so many valuable artefacts, even evaluated today; the sum would be an estimate.

Poor Tut. Although the most remarkable aspect to the discovery of his tomb was that it was the only burial chamber in tact, people still wanted pieces of him. In England in 1968, scientists who planned on x-raying the mummy, two valuable pieces of jewellery Carter left on it, a delicate skullcap and golden beaded big, had been stolen, likely, during WWII. (Tut’s two-inch penis — with a straw to keep it erect — was thought to be missing at this time, too, but it was later found in the sand.)

Tut’s death mask alone could be $1.5 million USD. In 2004, an evaluation put the value at close to one billion dollars USD. But to archaeologists, Egyptologists and many others, the tomb is priceless.

Swap January #AldiChallenge

I’ve got a good opinion of Aldi beauty products but they sent me some samples and challenged me to find a better product and cheaper.

I failed.

Here are the products they sent:

The products included are:

Rp_Haircare_TH4a_6b9e071773Rp_Skincare_TH13_2c334def80Rp_Skincare_TH12_5efbd91112Rp_BathCare_TH1a_b0f77202dfRp_Haircare_TH2_v2_1d124bccf7Rp_Skincare_TH10_c0f4bbc333Rp_Skincare_TH19_3f6c2313abRp_Skincare_TH18_e5e83c26bd

  • Carino Hairspray (79p).  This is exactly the same as Elnett, at £2.50 (see this swap and save blog here
  • Lacura 3-in-1 facial cleansing wipes (89p). Boots own are £4.74 and the next cheapest I found was Waitrose own at £1.59.
  • Lacura cotton buds (35p).  The next cheapest cotton buds to come in a handy plastic storage pack (good to recycle for crafts and whatnot) is Superdrug’s brand at 59p.  Aldi cotton buds are strong and do not unravel and bend like some cheap ones I have tried.
  • AquaV Kick Start shower gel (69p).  This is equivalent to Original Source at £2.20 a bottle.
  • Carino shampoo and conditioner (65p each).  The equivalent are perhaps Alberto Balsam at £1 per bottle but I think Carino do a better job on my hair (silky! See below).
  • Lacura roll on deodorant (59p).  The next cheapest I found was Sanex at 94p.
  • Lacura Q10 daily face cream (£1.49).  I’m not sure what to compare this with but the next cheapest Q10 face cream was £2.25.  This one however really is brilliant – my London sister gets me to buy it and send it to her, it’s brilliant stuff.  Way cheaper than No7 or anything previously heralded.
  • Lacura Expert Day and Night Cream (£3.99 each).  This again is in a category of it’s own.  I’ve been using the day and night cream for a few days now and I love the smell but it’s early days and too soon to tell if it actually reduces lines.  I will add to this post in a month and tell you.  So far, it’s very lovely to use, make up goes on nicely over the day cream and you can smell a subtle fragrance that is beautiful and very expensive-smelling.

20150116_152940

 

Supersizing Ambition: The Biggest Loser is Taking Away Some of Australia’s Curves

Australia's Biggest Losers Are On a Roll Shedding the Biggest Pounds

All over the Western world obesity is becoming the earmark of decadence and excess, and it is hurting us. In Australia alone over 63% of teens aged 18 years and above are grossly overweight and that number is growing at a quickening pace. Only a mere decade ago, that number just about two thirds of what it is today.

While many refer to this wave of obesity as an epidemic, we will not pander to those victim-minded views. The truth is, the food we eat is poisoning us and our technology obsessed lifestyle is making us about as stationary as a leopard slug.

The end result is an ever-growing, consistent reminder of our mortality; our creature comforts are killing more people than any crusade, holy war, or fight over oil. Convenience is the new religion that crept in during prosperous times, and now the average middle class person has become a slave to it.

The effects of being overweight are metamorphosing our body chemistries, raising our blood pressure, decreasing our required nutritional intake, and increasing our likelihood of diabetes while putting new notches in our belts. And not the kind of notches we were proud of in our younger, more vital and healthy years. And our new young –they’re missing those healthy young years altogether.

Extreme artificial flavours engineered to make us crave more, slick advertising, and images of beautiful healthy people eating unhealthy foods have convinced us it is alright to skip reading the nutrition facts and put things into our faces that have never existed in the natural world. It isn’t right, but no one seems to do anything about it.

Until recently, these habits were going largely unabated –and that pun really is not intentional, it’s a truth that sooner or later every family will have to come to terms with.

We Can All Be Losers

And not the kind you’re thinking of. Obese people aren’t losers whatsoever; but they can be. Pound for pound, unhealthy overweight people are being inspired to make a change by dropping that dinner roll in favour of some vigorous exercise and new dietary habits of the healthy persuasion. And all because of the popular reality television show “The Biggest Loser: Australia Challenge” –a show gaining popularity in 2015 because it is reducing the waistlines of its contestants and giving them a new lease on life. Now <there’s a show worth watching.

In rich contrast to other reality shows where the prize is money or worldly assets, this is one television programme where the winner gets to ride home in a newly refurbished bodily vessel. And the reviews are through the roof.

The exploding popularity of health television programmes like this are motivating people all around the globe to turn the television off, eat right, get outdoors, and shed unhealthy body mass.

Why I Want to Be a Loser

The Biggest Loser Australia is not just a show about people who are overweight doing rigorous exercise. It is also a show about pain, love, endurance, self-respect, and choosing life.

Contestants on the show provide advice and counselling to one another to help them through the weaker moments, and embrace the pain that comes with pushing their own limits.

The hosts of the show educate each contestant how to eat right for their body mass index, how to combat unhealthy cravings, and tear away at their nerves to bring out the right emotions to fuel the change. The Biggest Loser is a perfect fusion of family television, health education, and athletic prowess.

And it doesn’t come without its challenges and heartache. Some contestants have left the show set in ambulance stretchers, while many others have shed more than their share of tears alongside pounds.

A Matter of Endurance and Willpower

Of all of the challenges the contestants on The Biggest Loser have faced which include obstacle courses, climbing the Sky Tower, shovelling copious amounts of sand and gravel, and pushing giant stationary objects like shipping containers provided by Port Container Services, not all of them are so intense. They also play team-building games like beach volleyball, work on personal development through food temptations and after-event wrap up discussions, too.

Contestants have given up, and contestants have returned for newer seasons. Some have triumphed and turned their lives around, while others have been crushed under the weight of all of the pressure and their own body mass. There is no challenge one can overcome in this world, and this is one television programme that tests the mettle of every single contestant while inspiring its viewers.

A Matter of Money

The truth is, this show exists because we made it exist. You and I, and how we vote with our television remote.

The same network that runs The Biggest Loser also runs programmes that reinforce poor health choices, chisel away at self-confidence, and make us better consumers. While I am quite sure they choose the commercials that appear during The Biggest Loser’s time slot very wisely –children’s prime time is still rife with adverts that lure children into becoming the next big weight gainers. It is a business, it is about ratings and nothing more.

And taking a step back a little further; that box which all of this business runs on –the life blood of living rooms everywhere—the only appliance who earned its own pre-packaged dinner (the “TV dinner”) is a massive contributor to our proud nation’s massive waistlines.

Perhaps we only need one episode when we need some motivation. The lures of human interest stories can build us up, or they can suck us in, enforcing the need to watch a whole season or the whole series in its entirety instead of taking much needed action to repair our health.

The next time you pick up that remote ask yourself when enough is enough every 10 – 15 minutes. It is time to stop watching the lives of your dreams, and start living it yourself. I wish you all the sincerest best of luck.

Why Steel is Important and Why You Should Care

I know that doesn’t sound like the most enthralling article title in the world, but bear with me. What I have in mind is educating yourself about steel so that you can share it with your kids. Steel is absolutely vital to our survival as a modern society and civilisation, but we never really here about it, except when it goes wrong. Anyway, steel is fascinating and vital and so should be celebrated and learned about.

First of all, see this link to find out how steel is created.

Why is it Used?

Steel is an extremely durable metal. It takes a hell of a lot of force to dent the stuff and thousands of degrees of heat to melt and so it’s perfect for keeping buildings strong. Another reason it is so widely used is because, whilst being durable it can easily be made into shapes such as archways, but also it is turned into nuts, bolts, nails, cable etc. These are vital for the success of bridges, aeroplanes, and sky scrapers.

The Everyday Uses

It might be interesting to your kids to find out that steel is used in cars, on roads, in bridges, and on train tracks. In fact without steel, our bridges wouldn’t be as safe or as cost effective to build, as steel is fairly cheap to make and so not only is it one of the best metals for the job, it is also economical. Because of its economical nature, it is great for commerce; businesses like cannonsteelsltd.co.uk make good business from steel which contributes to the economy as a whole. Steel is an important and should be respected for its value to society, both monetary and physically.

The Exciting Stuff

Well there are few examples of steel being used that might get your kids interested in it. Firstly, steel is used by aerospace engineers. Aerospace exploration is evolving very fast and the old materials aren’t cutting it anymore and so they are looking into the application of other steel products to help upgrade the existing equipment to allow for a more efficient exploration of what humans can do in the air.

Aside from the aerospace another deployment of steel is in the area of military protection. Steel is a common ingredient in the armouring of military vehicles to allow for soldiers to survive the deadliest of clashes with opposing forces. It is also commonly used in armour for humans in the form of jackets.

That should perk your kid’s ears up a little.

The ball is in your park

Now, it’s up to you whether you want to bother your kids’ heads with something you might deem to not be important. All I’m saying is kids need to learn how the world works and steel is vital to life in this country and so should be an important feature in their education. It’s up to you. Do what you will with this knowledge.