Thursday, 21 August 2014

Peeling off the years with Sk:n

I turn 30 in October and it's utterly terrifying. 

I've noticed that my skin has started to look drier and duller in colour. Fine lines are starting spring up around my eyes when I smile and I find my make up sinks into the creases on my face. As you get older the rate of production of new skin cells slows down and your skin starts to loose elasticity as the elastin and Collagen in your skin starts to weaken, with it comes those dreadful wrinkles. 

There are many ways to help prevent ageing to your skin. Over the last few years I've tried to follow a more rigorous skin care regime in an attempt to prevent my skin prematurely ageing. I've started making a conscious effort to cleanse and moisturise both morning and night and when finances allow I have the occasional facial and other none evasive skin treatments.

Before my own wedding last year I was terrified that my skin would look terrible on my wedding photos so looked at various treatments and products to try and reduce the risk of any spotty outbrakes. The thing that kept popping up was a skin peel, which is none evasive skin treatment, which is none evasive skin treatment that can help get rid of your dead skin cells whilst rejuvenating your skin and rolling back the years. The treatment is pain free and can help to revitalise the skin, whilst reducing the effects of ageing and the damage caused by over exposure to the sun. 

After much deliberation I booked myself a course of three skin peels and after only one treatment my skin looked brighter and I could see a noticeable difference to my enlarged pores. Having a course of treatments was one of the best things I did during the run up to my wedding. I felt more confident in my own skin and much happier to pose in my wedding photos. My skin was clear and glowing and it was one thing less to worry about. 

Skin peels can also help to improve acne and scars which is perfect for those who are involved in the Clear Skin Challenge - a group of ten people who are suffering from moderate to severe acne on various parts of their body and putting themselves into the hands of SK:N who is working with them on a full treatment package to change their skin .... and their lives. 

You can read more about it and keep up to date with their journeys on the SK:N facebook page

*Sponsored Post*

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Florentine, Sheffield

We recently stayed at The Florentine on Tapton Park Road in Sheffield. It's been quite recently renovated and stands rather grandly on the side of the road in Fulwood, a leafy and upmarket park of Sheffield. 

The hotel as a 20's feel to it, with gorgeous rooms, decorated with calming, muted colours and serving home cooked meals. 

We stayed in the Barrosa room which is a generous sized family room. There are 11 rooms in the hotel all which are named after different varieties of cow. 

I was very pleasantly surprised by how elegant and well decorated the room was. The colours were all soft pastel greens, blues and creams with very shabby chic-esque accessories and furniture. Each room has a flat screen tv and a hair dryer too. 

The room felt like a home away from home. The sofa and chair made it feel much more comfortable and I loved the solid metal coffee table. 

There were even two cosy white towelling robes for our use during our stay at the hotel and each room has free WIFI for guest use. 

The bed was absolutely massive! The picture above still doesn't really to it justice. There was so much space. Staff also brought a travel cot up for the little man without any issue and placed it at the foot of the bed. 

The addition of a thoughtful little welcome basket was a nice touch, especially the tasty pieces of tart made by the chef. It was great to be able to make a a cup of 'proper' coffee in our room when we arrived, particularly after the horrendous journey down the roadwork laden A1!

The whole room was laid out nicely, with plenty of space for hanging clothes, seating away for the bed and and a large full length mirror near the door. 

The bathroom was large with good sized shower, plenty of thick fluffy towels and I loved The White Company toiletries left for us to use. 

We dined in the restaurant during our stay. The hotel seem to plug both their pizzas and steaks on the menu and website so the logical choice was to try one of them.

Our food was truely delicious. I went for the ham hock as a starter followed by a cooked to perfect fillet steak. The prices weren't too bad considering how tasty the food was. 

The food was fabulous and the service was friendly and polite. There was a good selection of drinks, including cocktails and cask ales and the little man was able to sit with his in a high chair without any problems. 

The following morning we were offered a continental breakfast in a large bright, airey room, sadly the breakfast was the only let down of the stay. There was a imited choice which wasn't really a problem but there was no toast and the cheese that was out was quite dry and certainly didn't look fresh. You an order other breakfast items at an additional cost which if I stayed again I would probably do.

Overall, our stay was very pleasant, the rooms were attractive and comfortable, staff were helpful and friendly and the evening meal was absolutely delicious.

Check in at the hotel is between 2pm - 10pm and is done without issue at the reception area at the end of the bar and you can check out from 7am - 11am so you've got plenty of time to get sorted on a morning without having to leave at the crack of dawn. 

The rooms start at £80 upwards for a night and include a continental breakfast, which was us, was the only disappointing part of our stay.

One thing worth pointing out though, is that there is no lift. The hotel is not suitable for those who are disabled or guests with mobility problems as the rooms are all up at least one flight of stairs to access them.

DIY button photo frame with help from Glue Guns Direct

I've had a packet of blue mixed buttons and some white photo frames stashed away for ages in the spare room. The buttons were bought on a little jaunt to Hobbycraft where I tend to get overexcited and buy so many pretty things that I rarely use. The photo frames were bought in Ikea where again, I get overexcited and buy too many things.

After I was kindly sent a Tec 305 glue gun from Glue guns direct I knew I had no excuse not to start using up some of my crafty bits ... and making some space in the spare room.

Button photo frames have caught my eye previously, but they often come with a pretty hefty price tag, so being adventurous, I decided to have a go at making my own.

What you'll need:

  • A plain photo frame
  • Buttons
  • A clear surface
  • Glue - You could use any glue you liked to create the frame but the Tec 305 glue gun and 12mm Tecbond glue sticks seemed like a great choice. The gun heats up to 190°C and is ready to use in a super fast five minutes. It's extremely light weight and easy to use. 

Glue guns I've used previously don't have the fine nozzle that the Tec 305 does, the nozzle combined with the fact the gun doesn't drip makes it ideal for fiddly little craft tasks.


Make sure your frame is clean and laid out ready to use. 

Turn on the glue gun to give it time to heat up and choose your glue stick. I used 12mm tecbond silver glitter glue sticks to add a little sparkle to the frame and as a filler between the buttons. 

Choose the buttons you want to use. I found it helpful to lay them out so I was able to stick them on quickly while the glue was still wet.

Then simply ... get sticking! I made a short trail of hot glue along the edge of the frame and placed each button lightly on top. 

Fill in as many gaps on the frame as you can with a mixture of mismatched buttons. 

After doing two rows round the frame I thought it still looked a little bare so I decided to make it more 3D by layering the buttons and adding another one on top here and there.

You can add as many or as few buttons as you like. The frame I used is a box frame so ideally I'd have liked to cover the full frame with buttons but I didn't have enough.

For a first attempt I don't think it looks too bad. I love the colours and each button is securely attached with the glue.

Once the frame was dry I filled it with a picture of the little man. 

After I realised how good the Tec 305 glue gun is, I got a little glue gun happy and caught up with various 'sticking' jobs. 

I have had the little mans name in wooden letters for quite a while. They're been stacked up on the top of his drawers until I could decide on a place to put them. Ideally I wanted to stick them to the cupboard door in his room but wasn't sure what to fix them on with. I had intended on picking up some wood glue but just never got round too it. 

I realised that amongst some of the goodies I'd been sent were some 12mm glue sticks for difficult surfaces, they're ideal for more unusual surfaces and great for sticking things to wood. Great, no more excuses for not getting his letters up.

I used a few dots of hot glue on the back of each wooden letter before sticking them to the cupboard door in the little mans bedroom.

The glue dries quite quickly and extremely strongly! You need to make sure whatever you're gluing is in the right place as you'll not me able to reposition anything once the glue has dried. 

The letters look great, and I can't believe how strong the glue is, there's not even the slightest wobble!

Another thing I've found the Tec 305 glue gun perfect for is my Project Life scrapbooking. For those of you that don't know, I'm recording the little mans first year via Project Life which basically, is scrapbooking for the lazy or creatively challenged! It's a combination of photo's, journalling, embellishments and keepsakes all safely stored in an album.

I love being able to stick in some of the things from our life and adventures but I've always had problems getting them to stay put. Who'd have thought sticking shells into an album would be such hard work!? The glue I'd used previously had become unstuck quite quickly and the shells were left floating about amongst the pages of the album, most definitely looking to get lost. For this reason the Tec 305 has been a complete godsend! I've managed to safely secure all of the keepsakes into the album. The shells from the little mans first trip to the beach are no longer on the wander and my album pages look crisp and tidy. 

It's nice to know we can carry on collecting memories without worrying that they will get lost.

I'm really impressed with the Tec 305 glue gun. It's lightweight, extremely simple to use and it's suitable to stick pretty much anything. Glue Guns Direct stock a massive range of accompanying glue too, I'd have never guessed there was such a wide range if I hadn't had a look at the website. Glue Guns Direct offer free shipping if you spend over £50, and are a trusted company, having been around since 1979. The website is full of helpful advice and customer reviews to help you decide on the correct product for your needs. 

My next challenge is Christmas decorations! I'm going to buy some festive moulds and some more glitter glue sticks and create home made decorations to give out to family members.

*I was sent the glue gun and associated glue sticks for the purpose of the review. Opinions are my own*  

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Primark baby shopping haul

We've recently gone into the next size in clothing. The little man is now into 6-9 months clothes but quite terrifyingly, 9-12 months in some brands.

Despite the fact I have only two months left of Statutory Maternity pay before going onto absolutely nothing and I should be saving every penny, I just can't help buying pretty clothes for my little fella. 

Primark appear to be getting better and better with both the quality and the range of baby and children's wear every time I visit.  Not only are the clothes trendy and good quality they're also extremely cheap compared to some of the other high street brands. 

I love the blue polo shirt with boats printed on it. It's really cute and looks fab with both shorts or trousers. £3 is a great price and even if the little man grows out of it quickly I don't mind too much as it's hardly broke the bank. 

The other little t shirts are great. They're made from quite thick cotton which wash well and look great on. You certainly can't go wrong for a couple of quid each. 

When we're in the house the little man lives in these lounge leggings. They give him freedom to move, especially now that he's shuffling and dragging himself round the floor. They're soft and stretchy and allow easy nappy changes. 

This reindeer printed wool jumper is so sweet. I bought a slightly larger size so hopefully it'll still fit him around Christmas time. I'm a complete sucker for Christmas jumpers, especially on children. 

You may have noticed from previous clothing posts, the little man has quite a selection of dinosaur related attire. Blame his Daddy. Daddy is a complete dinosaur geek so when we see anything dinosaur related it ends up in the basket. God help the little man if he doesn't like dinosaurs when he's older. I'm not sure how his Daddy will cope!

The body warmer was a bargain at £6 and it looks great on. It's a little too big at the moment, which is perfect because it'll be ideal for when autumn has kicked in properly and the weather starts to get colder. 

I hate baby shoes. The stress me out but these ones are really cute and because they have Velcro fastenings I can tighten them to help stop them falling off. 

Another favourite of mine is this coat. It's fleece line and looks really sweet. It's another thing perfectly suited for autumn as although it's fleece lined it isn't too thick. 

Now, I really must stay away from Primark before I buy more pretty clothes for my little monster.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ozeri Elite Chef Black ceramic knife set

When we bought our house we picked up a cheapy knife block and five knives which has been a reasonably good purchase but by no means very good quality. Each knife is blunt not and for some strange reason starting to rust. When I was offered the opportunity to try out the Ozeri Elite black ceramic 3 piece knife set I was extremely excited. 

The knives arrived in a box, full protected and safe for transportation. There are three knives in the set, a 3" paring knife, a 5" slicing knife, and a 6" chef's knife.

Each knife is very elegant and 100% ceramic. Prior to using these knives I didn't even know you could buy ceramic knives. Ceramic will not rust or corrode and is similar in hardness to diamonds, because they're so hard you do need to be careful when using them. They should only be used for cutting in a normal way, not for prising things open etc as they will shatter and break. The sharpness of the blades is said to last ten times longer than those of normal steel bladed knives. 

The black bladed knives look both expensive and stylish. At £49.99 for the set they're by no means a cheap set of knives but even just looking at them, you can tell they're a quality purchase. 

They handles are ergonomically designed, making them more comfortable to use. Each knife is very light in weight and barely feels there when you're using it. 

Having never used ceramic knifes I've got to say how impressed I am. They cut everything I've tried without any issue or hesitation. I'm most impressed by how easily and effectively they cut raw meat. Our usual knives drag through it and the meat tends to look like it's been hacked into pieces, whereas the Ozeri knifes cut the meat neatly and easily. 

Overall I really like the knives and I'm impressed with their quality and how they're reduced chopping time during cooking in our house. 

The only thing I would have liked is for a storage solution to be included. Sadly they don't fit into the knife holder we own, so we'll need to keep them in a draw in their box. 


The set of knives look really stylish and expensive
They cut extremely well and seem as sharp today as they did at first use two week ago
They're very light weight and using them feels like a pleasure
They are delivered safely and well packaged


The don't come with any kind of storage or display unit
They're quite pricey 

*I was sent the knife set for the purpose of the review. All opinions are my own*

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Milton travel steriliser and Milton portable soother steriliser

We're still sterilising the little mans bottle and usually use a Tommee Tippee steriliser which has a massive 6 bottle capacity. It does it's job without any issue but, it's huge!
We like our little trips away and it's just not suitable to transport in the car and use while we're staying in hotels or caravans. 

Milton is a well known British brand, first made in London initially used during the First World War, before moving on to protecting babies. It's important to sterilise the equipment you use for your baby, as during their first 12 months, their immune system is still developing so they need extra protection from germs that cause gastroenteritis and other bugs and illnesses. 

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a couple of Millton products. 

One of them being the Milton Solo travel steriliser. It's a really compact size and can be used both as a microwave or cold water steriliser.

It's extremely simple to set up and use. You put your bottle (hole upwards) and components into the plastic container, fill with water so the bottle fills first and then continuing filling until the steriliser itself is filled to the 1.25l line. 

I did find it easier to use with our Tommee Tippee bottles rather than our Dr Brown's bottles. I struggled to get all the bits from the Dr Brown's bottles into the container. 

You then need to put in a quarter of a Milton sterilising tablet.

Close the lid and give it a quick shake. The steriliser is air tight and when sealed properly no water will come out. 

Then that's it, leave it for 15 minutes and you have one sterilised bottle. There's no need to wash or rinse the bottle, you can use it straight from the steriliser. If you keep the lid closed the bottle with stay sterilised for 24 hours until you need it. 

You can also use it in the microwave, though I haven't tried it that way yet. I took this on our recent trip to Yorkshire and it was perfect for the very small apartment we were staying in as it took up a tiny amount of space. 

Overall I'm really impressed with the steriliser. It's good quality, very small and light weight so perfect for travelling and transporting. I think it would be ideal to take abroad on holiday as it'd easily fit in your case and you can pick it up for the bargain price of £10.95. 

Pro's -
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Ease of use
  • Variety of ways it can be used
  • Reasonably price
  • Perfect for travelling and holidays

Con's -
  • Users of larger bottles like Dr Brown's will struggle to get them in the steriliser
  • You can only do one bottle at a time
  • Quite time consuming to do only one bottle

The other item I've been trying out is the Portable soother steriliser. We don't actually use a dummy very often but I was intrigued by this item.

In essence, it's a tiny little steriliser which is designed to be the perfect size for sterilising dummies when you're out and about. 

Before you leave the house, simply dissolve one of the mini sterilising tablets that comes with the mini steriliser in some water, add in two sponge cushions and screw the two parts back together. 

The special sponges inside the steriliser absorb the solution and helps remove dirt from the teat of the dummy when in use. 

To sterilise, you put the dummy into the hole in the centre of the sponges, replace the watertight lid and after 15 minutes the dummy is sterilised and ready to use, as with the previous steriliser, there's no need rinse. 

The solution in the steriliser can be used through the day, there's no need to keep changing it. The steriliser can be attached to your pushchair or change bag with the adjustable velcro strap, it means you won't have to go hunting for it when you need it. 

The portable steriliser costs £6.99 and comes with 10 of the mini sterilising tablets. It's a great idea for a new baby gift. I tried out the steriliser in blue but it's also available in two other colours, purple and green. 

I like the idea of the mini steriliser and it's simple to use but I imagine I would probably forget to take it out with me.  I'm not sure whether it's just as easy to take a couple of spare clean dummy's in an airtight container. 

Pro's -

Cleans dummies whilst on the move
Small and compact
Easy to use
Reasonable price

Con's - 

I don't think it's an essential item
Larger dummies won't fit into the gap

*I was sent the items for review purposes. Opinions are my own*