Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Real Effect jewellery - elegance and glamour at budget-friendly prices

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I wouldn't describe myself as a materialistic person.  I don't have rows of shoes or lots of bags with designer names.  But I do love a few choice pieces of jewellery that truly mean something to me.  I love symbolic pieces that represent things and I love delicate looking jewellery that completes an outfit by adding a touch of sparkle .  There is always a time and a place for beautiful jewellery pieces that can  be worn over and over again.

With that in mind, I'd like to introduce you to a jewellery website called The Real Effect.  They specialise in jewellery with gemstones that feel and look every bit as lustrous as diamonds. The craftsmanship is amazing and every piece is brought together with perfection.  The wonderful thing is that so many of their pieces are stunning and yet affordable.

Stunning sterling silver and rose gold 3 in 1 ring
There were two pieces that specifically caught my eye on their website.  The first one being the STUNNING STERLING SILVER AND ROSE GOLD 3 IN 1 Ring

I just love the way the different colours incorporate to create a really classy piece of jewellery, the crystals add a touch of sparkle and I can imagine this looking very graceful upon my finger.  As I am a very sentimental person I would like this ring as a representation of my husband and two sons.  It's beautiful!  At £79.25 it is within my budget range too.

The ring would make a beautiful representation of the precious people in my life.

Secondly, I was really attracted to the Stone Set Half Eternity Cluster Ring
The Cubic Zirconia gemstones combine to create a thoroughly elegant ring and would be perfect for me, as this year I celebrated 15 years of marriage!

So here's my ode dedicated to The Real Effect:

For elegance and glamour you need The Real Effect,
Cubic zirconias and silver combine to be simply perfect,
Fantastic craftmanship makes the jewellery a joy to behold,
The unique designs really break the mould,
Budget-friendly, so much choice,
For The Real Effect we all rejoice!

This is my entry in to The Real Effect blogger competition in conjunction with The Diary Of A Jewellery blog.  For details please visit:

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Review: Judge Fro-Fru Maker

If you are looking for a quick and easy activity to do with the kids over the Summer, then look no further...  With this wonderful machine you can produce a delicious array of desserts in seconds.  I have included a demonstration below so that you can see how easy the machine is to operate.  This was our first attempt at using the machine and there were absolutely no hiccups at all.  

The machine works by pushing frozen fruit in to the chute and then pushing it down with the feeder stick.  This all gets grated up inside and comes out through the nozzle in the form of sorbet.  Clean-up is really easy too as everything disassembles quickly and apart from the main body of the machine, it can all be put in to the dishwasher which makes cleaning up a breeze.

We have tried various experiments with the Fro-Fru Maker.  Our first attempt was a berry sorbet, but we did find this a little tart and sour so we needed to sprinkle a little sugar.  Our second attempt was a huge hit and very simple; using frozen grapes we produced a delicious sorbet.  The natural sugars in the grapes made the sorbet sweet and refreshing and is something that we are keen to repeat using the machine.

Finally, we tried something a little more complex: 
Rainbow sorbet:
For this you will need the following:
Frozen coconut milk blended with honey (do this by freezing in an ice-cube tray).
Frozen strawberries
Frozen bananas and oranges - mixed in as one using the Fro-Fru Maker
Frozen kiwi 
Frozen blueberries

For the first layer I blend the frozen coconut milk and honey and place in a sundae dish or milk-bottle.
Then repeat as follows, until you have a number of visual layers.
 Blend the frozen strawberries.
Then the banana and oranges.
Then the frozen kiwi.
Then the blueberries.

This was absolutely delicious and I feel we are only at the very beginning of discovering the amazing results that the Fro-Fru can produce!  I look forward to creating more interesting creations in the months to come.  

I really love this machine because it gives my children a fantastic way to enjoy delicious healthy desserts which contributes to their five-a-day.

Disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge, but I included a video for you to see just how quick and easy this machine is to use and therefore how truthful my review is.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Duck Tape World Cup - a delightful array of patriotic crafts

I was delighted when Duck Tape recently contacted me to be one of 8 bloggers to take part in the Duck Tape World Cup. The idea is that each blogger gets given a group in the World Cup.  Duck Tape then sends the bloggers some coloured tape and we then have to create anything related to the country's flags.  Each blogger is then in a sweepstake and whichever team wins the World Cup, the blogger with that team wins a batch of product and some additional craft goodies.  Exciting!

So the goodies arrived and I was allotted Team G which meant my countries were: 
  • USA
  • Ghana
  • Portugal
  • Germany
This is what I decided to make:

GERMANY: Bunting

I started off with something relatively easy.  All you need for this project is:
  • black, red and yellow Duck tape
  • craft knife and craft mat
  • paper
I folded an A4 piece of paper in to quarters and then cut them.  I then drew lines so that I could see where I needed to stick my Duck tape.

This was a really simple project to do.
Once I had finished sticking the Duck Tape on I attached them to some wool and strung them up.  It looked great!

Ghana - Ghana flag 
This project requires:
  • red, yellow, green duct tape
  • craft knife and craft mat
  • paper
  • photo frame

Following the same principle as above, I just drew my lines on the paper and then stuck on the Duck tape.  I then free handed a black star and stuck on.  Voila! 

USA - Rose bouquet

On to something a little bit more complicated this time, but I was amazed by how brilliant the results were.  I've made some Youtube tutorials if you want to have a look at how to do this yourself.  

 Portugal - Shaker

 This is another simple project which the children actually helped me with.  We covered the bottle in red and green Duck Tape and then the children drew the emblem and stuck it on  When this was done we then filled it with rice.  Simple!!

Now all that's left for me to do is to hope one of my teams wins in the World Cup.  This project has certainly made the World Cup a lot more fun than it usually is for me.  

Thanks Duck Tape! 

For more information on Duck Tape please visit

Sunday, 1 June 2014

GALT Mini Masterpiece – The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

How I used to love Galt as a child...  My favourite thing about going to the local garden centre was being able to pick up crafty toys from the Galt range.  Now I have my own children, they are even more appealing as it provides us with some important creative time together.

This month Galt's challenge was to recreate Vincent Van Gogh's Masterpiece 'The Starry Night' using any craft materials that you wish.

This is the template we were provided with:
 This actually provided us with an interesting opportunity to read up on who Vincent Van Gogh was.  I think I actually appreciated this more than my five year old if I'm honest, but I was interested to learn that this picture was of the view from his asylum.

Here's what we did with the picture:

Step 1: Print out 2 templates.  Paint on the first one and us the second one for reference.

Step 2: Paint the top half blue and the bottom half black.  Using the picture for reference draw in detail with a cotton bud.  This makes things much more interesting for children.
 Step 3: Accent and embellish the piece through the use of gold and blue glitter glue and gold beads and charms.  
 Simple but produces brilliant results.

 My son loved this activity so much he even went on to do a second one:

For more information on this interesting challenge please visit :

Review: Magno-Z from Brainstorm

We were recently picked to be a Hair-ee Spring Magno-Z ambassador.  This is an exciting opportunity which allowed us to get hold of the toys and test them out before they are even out in the shops.  

Here's the video review of what we thought of them:

But I'll sum up what we loved about them for any of you who simply wish to read about them.

Magnetic properties:
These toys are educational without children even realising it.  It's a great way for children to understand the basic principles of magnetics ie the way that they repel against each other if you have opposite sides facing each other.  It's also a great way for them to find out about the materials that magnets work with.

 Play potential:
Children will love the way in which Magno-Z connect.  Magno-Z characters can compete with any circus performers with the crazy positions and stunts they are able to pull.  The springiness of the arms and legs allows for backflips and lots of other fun.

Children love things that they can collect and the fact that the back of the pack gives you a bit of information on each personality allows children to develop this personality through imaginative play.

If you would like to compare how our review lives up to the advert you can watch this here:

Magno-Z will soon be available from Smyths Toys, Amazon,
The Entertainer,Toymaster and all good Toy Stores.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Center Parcs April Challenge: Easter Egg Nests

We tried to pack in as much Easter craft and cookery as we could this half term, but we were very pleased to be prompted in to making some Easter Egg Nests in order to take part in this month's Center Parcs Challenge.
Taking inspiration from Center Parcs Creative Director Lynne Dixon we decided to use some cereal as the base for our Easter Egg Nests.  We opted for cornflakes.

The great thing about making Easter Egg Nests using cereal is that most of the items needed are store-cupboard items, so there's no need to hunt down that elusive ingredient.

Ingredients needed are simply:
225g Chocolate
50g Butter
2 tbsp Syrup
75g Cornflakes
36 mini chocolate eggs

This is such an easy recipe to do with kids.  Just melt the chocolate, butter and syrup together by putting the ingredients on a plate over a saucepan of hot water.  

 Then for the really fun part....  Mixing the melted chocolate with the cornflakes.
 Then divide the mixture in to paper cases and top with mini eggs.

 And then refrigerate. Of course, some little people have to have a taste first.
 And he gave the big thumbs up!
We also made some Easter Egg Nest cakes too using desiccated coconut and green food colouring - yummy!
This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 April Challenge.  If I'm chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest.

If you would like to find out more about the challenge then please visit

Monday, 21 April 2014

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

I'm always keen to create traditions for Easter; I think it's a very special time which allows for creativity and thoughtfulness.  SO when I spotted the 'Breakfast or tea with the Easter Bunny' event I was very excited.  Booking on-line the process was quick and easy, within a few days I noted the event had sold out....

On entering the lovely, warm and welcoming cafe in Swansea Wyevale I was surprised to see that the number of children was no where near as many as I was expecting.  The staff member said they keep the numbers low, so that the experience is less overwhelming for children and the Easter Bunny can spend more quality time with each child.  The amount of children made the environment really relaxing as there was no pushing and shoving trying to get to the Easter bunny.  

On our table there was a goodie bag for my son containing a soft cuddly chick, crayons, mini eggs and  a bag of bird seed.  The toy felt a good quality toy and I think you'll agree he looked rather cute.

A nicely wrapped bag of Mini Eggs

On our table was an activity sheet to keep my son busy and a drink of squash.

Alice in Wonderland visited all of the tables and chatted to the children about their excitement to meet the Easter Bunny.
 We were soon presented with a delicious cooked breakfast.  Bacon, beans, fried potatoes and sausage.  Whilst the grown-ups (extra tickets required) had bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, black pudding, sausage, fried bread and toast.  Again, quality ingredients that really pleased all of our tastebuds.  It really seems to me that Swansea Wyevale does put quality first.  
 After the children had eaten their breakfast, out came the Easter Bunny.
 There were lots of photo opportunities and the characters seemed to be in no rush if you wanted that perfect photo.
Next, was Easter nest making.  Cups of mini eggs and cornflakes were presented on new tables and then Alice in Wonderland came round to pour the warm chocolate in to our bowls.

This was the finished result!

 Overall, this was definitely an experience I am keen to repeat next year.  We created some lovely memories!  Thank you Garden Centre Group!
Please note this is my own review - I was not sponsored or giving a freebie trip to write this.   I paid and it was well worth every penny!