The Berry Berry Designer Bags: Stylish Sustainable, Ethical Fashion

Have you heard of The Berry Berry designer bags yet? If not, you should have done! This ethical fashion brand was set up in 2014 by Lucia Jombikova;  she has developed a range of seven gorgeous bags out of fabric offcuts, reclaimed clothes and even upcycled magazines and sweet wrappers. Her bags come in a range of sizes from a small clutch bag and mini clutch purses to large tote bags and messengers, including one perfect for men. Each bag is unique and ethically made by a team of mumpreneurs.

Messenger bag. Girl and boy sat on wall next to river. Both have a bag

Protecting our Environment

In the UK alone, there are 1.3 million tonnes of textile waste each year, and in Europe 4.3 million tonnes. Fast fashion is an ongoing problem, but there is a much needed rise in sustainable and ethical fashion developing as consumers begin to increase awareness of this issue. The Berry Berry helps to tackle this; for every two handbags made, one kg of textile waste is saved from landfills.

Dominka Berry Berry Bag

Giving Back

For every five bags sold, The Berry Berry donates a bag filled with female essentials to Project Purse, a NGO who distribute them to homeless women, women in refuges and those who need assistance.

Lucia says: “it was important to me to create an ethical handbag range, as I found only either good looking but expensive handbags or cheaper, non-ethically made handbags. There was a definite gap in the market which now I hope we, at The Berry Berry can close so that women don’t need to compromise style, cost or the environment and no one needs to suffer in the making of the handbag. Women can wear our handbags with pride knowing they’ve empowered other women, the mumpreneurs I employ to sew and make the bags and those other women at Project Purse who also benefit from them purchasing one of our handbags”.

Justina Bow Bags. 3 bags on wall next to water

Kickstarter Campaign

The Berry Berry is running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to fund the larger scale production of their first batch of bags. The campaign aims to raise a minimum of £10,000 and, in return for your support, you will receive your chosen handbag in time for Christmas. To buy a bag and support the campaign please back them on Kickstarter before 24th October.

Types and names of The Berry Berry bags

Giveaway

I have teamed up with The Berry Berry to giveaway a gorgeous clutch bag to one lucky reader. Enter via rafflecopter below. Competition ends 11th November 2018. Good luck!

Clutch bag made from sweet wrappers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is a collaborative post with The Berry Berry.

YouTeachMeToo Tutorial Subscription Service: Review and Giveaway

YouTeachMeToo is an innovative educational subscription service that enables access to teaching videos. It allows parents and their children to watch and listen to teachers teaching in a range of schools across the UK, including mainstream, special schools and a Royal School for the Deaf. There are currently 2,000 videos to view, mainly primary currently, with new videos being added regularly.

YouTeachMeToo costs £10 per month and you can cancel anytime.

YouTeachMeToo screenshot of search page

Background

The idea originated as a video-sharing system for schools, created by a former infant school headteacher. The videos are shared with the learner for use in school lessons and can also be viewed at home, enabling parents see what and how their child is being taught, and therefore be able to support their child’s learning more effectively. This concept was then developed into a parent-friendly version of the same system.

How it Works

For £10 per month, parents access the teaching videos, choose which ones they wish to share with their child/ren, then share them through a viewing account made for each child. The child then views the videos chosen specifically for them via their own account.

YouTeachMeToo Tutorial Subscription Service: Review and Giveaway title image

The Review

I really like this system. The website is set up in a way that is very easy to use; search the subjects and when you find videos you want to share with your child, just click on the star. You can also add a whole series of video lessons in one click to make it easier too. You then send the videos across to your child’s dedicated account where they can view them.

There are no ads, no unnecessary screen ‘clutter’ and no risk of them stumbling across anything they shouldn’t; all they can watch is the videos you have selected and sent to their account. It is a very simple, and very effective, system.

The videos themselves are good quality, and vary in length and style, which means you can find ones to suit your child’s learning preferences. Squiggle needs short and simple tutorials that are visual, rather than auditory. I found what I was looking for in no time!

Screenshot of parent section You Teach Me Too subscription educational videos tutorials service

The only minor hiccup I found was that after she watched them once, a couple then seemed to disappear from her account even though she wanted to rewatch them. I am not sure this is meant to happen and might just be because we were on my android? However, I resolved this by adding the missing ones to her library so she could find them there, which solved it easily.

Squiggle has been keen to do some new art projects and develop her creative skills, so I found her some videos on sketching techniques and using oil pastels, which she has already watched and will be putting into practice soon! I have also found her some sports rules videos, which I think she will find useful.

Screenshot of Squiggle's pupil account. Educational teaching learning videos. YouTeachMeToo tutorial subscription service.

My Verdict

I really like the concept and it is carried out very well. The videos are good quality and are a helpful teaching aid. The website is well designed and easy to use. I personally feel £10 per month is reasonable for this service. We will certainly be using it alot more!

Giveaway!

I have teamed up with YouTeachMeToo for one lucky reader to win a family subscription for one whole year! To be in with a chance of winning, enter via rafflecopter below. Ends 9th Sept 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Disclosure: I received a year subscription to YouTeachMeToo for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Meetchu Dating App: Review

Oooh, I have something a little different to write about today – and I admit to being quite excited about this! Whilst I am not interested in dating personally, I have single friends who use dating apps, and quite frankly I have sometimes felt like I am somehow missing out on the fun of these! I have always been quite intrigued to know what they are really like. I guess not least of all because I hate feeling like I am ‘out of touch’ with anything – that is so not me – I like to know everything! So when I was given the opportunity to review Meetchu – a cool new dating app with a twist – I found myself saying yes

Meetchu Dating App: Review. Couple holding hands walking down the street. Into the sunset.

About Meetchu

So as I mentioned above, meetchu has a twist – prospective love interests can actually ‘meet’ each other before they meet up, via video or voice calling directly through the app. This means that you can get to know someone abit better before deciding whether to meet in real life, and you never have to give out your phone number to anyone.

Meetchu app icon

Setting Up

Meetchu verifies who you are by connecting to Facebook. This provides an extra layer of security to avoid getting catfished, which is good. It is also really handy as you can then access your facebook photos to upload to your profile, which makes setting up quick and easy.

Meetchu dating app home screen

You can include photos and short 10 second videos on your profile, as well as some details about yourself and what you are looking for. There are various options to choose from under settings, which helps to narrow down your search so you are more likely to find your true match! For example, you can specify gender and age range. In the premium version you can also specify distance too.

Edit profile screenshot

Using Meetchu

The app is very easy to use; simply heart or swipe right if you’re interested, of click the x or swipe left if not. Matches are then found at the bottom section of the screen. Aside from their photos/ video clips, it also tells you age and distance. I would possibly like a little further info before chatting ideally, but on the otherhand it does help to keep too many personal details away from strangers, which helps me feel more secure.

If you are a match (i.e. you both swipe right or heart) then you can video chat or call each other through the app. I really like this because it means you definitely know who are meeting – no catfishing! It makes the idea of online dating somewhat safer. (Although you still need to take sensible precautions when meeting someone for the first time, of course!)

Another security feature that I really like is that you can delete your messages from the other person’s phone at any time. I think this is a really good idea!

Meetchu app in use. Swipe left or right.

Overall

I love the attention to security and ‘meet before you meet’ concept. Who knows if you might find your true love on this app; either way, you’ll have fun trying!

Join for free!

Download the app using my code to receive a one month’s free premium membership!

This gives you unlimited voice and video calling, as well as unlocking all the emojis. Premium membership also allows users to refine search location. Last but not least, it means you can jump the queue and be seen first in match searches! Premium membership costs from £4.99 per month.

Happy couple

Have you ever tried Meetchu? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: I was given free download for the purpose of this review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Review

Did you know that roughly a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure? The good news is that it can often be addressed by making simple lifestyle changes. Through regular monitoring, triggers can be identified and simple measures taken to improve heart health and overall wellbeing.

Yet people are far more likely to track daily steps and weight, rather than blood pressure. Only 15% use health tracking devices to keep a regular check on their blood pressure, according to recent research by Braun, compared to almost 50% of UK adults who weigh themselves and count their daily steps. In fact, two thirds of adults surveyed only get their blood pressure checked occasionally during routine GP appointments, while 7% never get it checked at all.

This simply doesn’t add up; heart health is the number one measure of overall wellbeing, and people fear that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke or heart attack – yet most people do not think to monitor it. As medical expert Dr. Achim Max Brenske points out:

“There are many health measures that we are already consistently tracking, yet blood pressure is a metric that is often not thought about but could be one of the most important. Making blood pressure monitoring part of your at-home health checks, with an easy to use wrist or arm monitor, can help to identify triggers and allow you to immediately make simple adjustments to significantly improve your health and wellbeing. It’s such a small change that really can make a big difference, and ultimately save your life.”

Both Squiggle and Andy need to be particularly aware of their blood pressure; Squiggle due to her anxiety and the meds she is on, and Andy because he has thyroid issues. Both of them therefore need close monitoring for existing health reasons. My own blood pressure and health is fine, but it is also equally important to ensure it stays that way!

Since as a family we already understand the importance of keeping tabs, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the brand new iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor by Braun..

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Review

Using the Monitor

The Braun iCheck 7 wrist blood pressure monitor comes with a quick start guide and more detailed manual. However, as the device is so intuitive, apart from double-checking which app I needed to download on my iPhone (Healthy Heart), within two minutes I had the batteries in, was connected to my phone, had the device on my wrist and had taken my first measurement.

With its one button operation and clever positioning tool – a ‘ball in the hole’ system that helps guide you to the correct position for taking an accurate reading – the device is simply fool proof and incredibly comfortable.

Healthy Heart App

The iCheck 7 syncs with the free Healthy Heart app on your phone or tablet, which then displays data using charts and graphs. The Healthy Heart app follows the simplicity of the device and, in addition to showing your recording history in various formats, it includes information on blood pressure, tips for recording the most accurate measurements and lifestyle recommendations for a healthier blood pressure.

Screenshot of Healthy Heart app

To get the most of the app you can add detail on diet, exercise, mood, medications and sleep. This helps you to analyse how your lifestyle impacts your blood pressure. Blood pressure readings can also be shared with your doctor to discuss your health further.

Reading the Results

Results are colour coded both on the device and in the app; green (normal), yellow (mild hypotension), orange (moderate hypotension) and red (severe hypotension). This makes it really clear at a glance. In addition to blood pressure, the device records heart rate and alerts you to any irregularity.

Braun blood pressure chart

Andy’s Analysis

Andy used the monitor to record his blood pressure regularly over the course of several days at various intervals. He discovered that most of the time his blood pressure was normal but he did have mild hypotension a few times and moderate hypotension once.

He will use this information to think about any positive lifestyle changes he can make to impact his blood pressure. One idea is using relaxation techniques before and after meetings. He will also discuss the results with his GP too. He will continue to monitor results closely as well of course.

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor on arm

Our Verdict

We are impressed with the monitor and its ease of use. The only thing that could improve it, is maybe if it came with a carry case. Aside from that, it is absolutely brilliant! If you’re looking for a quick and simple compact blood pressure monitor, this device is for you. If you’re not looking for one, why not?

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor box

Cost: RRP £99.99. The monitor is available to purchase from Boots.

Experts Tips for a Healthy Heart

Understand the factors that affect blood pressure…

Dr. Max Brenske, German GP and medical expert, explains that factors can vary: “your genetic disposition, age, sex, obesity, physical fitness, lifestyle factors, the time of day and medication can all play a role in your blood pressure and heart health. Explore the effect of these factors on your blood pressure by taking readings regularly.”

Mood Matters

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Research Institute of Happiness, has plenty of tips for improving mood and blood pressure. He points out that our daily lives can be made healthier by making simple choices such as cycling or walking to work. Studies show that people who have active commutes not only enjoy their journey more but also have lower mortality and obesity rates. He also has these words of advice: “Learn to say no – We often try and pack too much into our daily or weekly schedule. Be realistic when you are making your to do lists.”

Lastly, he suggests investing in relationships: “One of the best predictors of whether people are happy or not is whether they are satisfied with their social relationships. We all need to be heard, seen and understood and have someone we can share worries and dreams with.”

Sleep

With almost half of Brits revealing that they don’t regularly get a good night’s sleep, what are the reasons we are tossing and turning throughout the night? According to the research, financial worries (49%), relationships (47%) and health concerns (35%) top the list as the main contributors. Stressing about these factors impacts on sleep patterns, which in turn can raise blood pressure.

Nick Littlehales, Elite Sport Sleep Coach offers the following strategies to help improve sleep:

•Educate yourself on circadian rhythms so you’ll know when your body naturally has higher blood pressure, releases hormones and is optimised for either activity or sleep.

• Resting at multiple times during the day, rather than just at night, encourages your body to be in harmony with the circadian rhythms of the day.

• Manage your intake of stimulants, such as caffeine, to allow your body to recover and sleep more efficiently.

• Adopt good bedtime routines. Strenuous activity before bed will mean cortisol is heightened, keeping you awake. Take time to relax before bed; deep breathing, stretching or yoga for exanple. Also, reducing your exposure to blue light and encouraging the release of melatonin, your body becomes suppressed and ready for sleep.

• Your body has a natural drop in temperature before sleep, so moving from warm to cool will help you get quality, uninterrupted sleep. Having a warm shower and then moving into a cooler bedroom environment will help this process.

Health and Fitness

Simple activities, such as power walking can really make a difference Faya Nilsson (@FitnessOnToast) explains. However, she also suggests you need to put in the effort to train regularly to ensure optimal blood pressure levels.“Workout for 30 mins a day, four times a week; that’s the regularity you’ll need to help keep blood pressure at normal levels. If you have high blood pressure you should gradually and slowly increase training. I would advise training for shorter periods of time but more often. If you are struggling to find the time to train try body weight exercises to do at home like push-ups, pull-ups and lunges. You can do them anywhere.”

Food and Water

Faya also emphasises how crucial it is to drink plenty of water. “Dehydration absolutely impacts the blood pressure, leaving behind more sodium in the blood, so drinking two litres a day, throughout the day, will keep your blood pressure better regulated.”

Last but not least, she reminds us to eat well. Leafy greens, oily fish and berries are good choices, especially if you have high blood pressure. She recommends a healthy Low-GI diet with complex carbohydrates, reducing the amount of sodium in the diet.

Remember; small changes really can make a big difference. Knowing what triggers blood pressure spikes, through regular monitoring, is the first step to making long-lasting changes that will improve your heart and overall health.

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor boxed

*Disclosure: I was sent a Braun iCheck 7 wrist blood pressure monitor for the purpose of review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Grofresh Kitchen Garden: Review and Giveaway

Grofresh kitchen garden is a brilliant way to grow herbs, plants and flowers indoors, with no mess and no fuss! It uses a clever patented celpod method of growing. This allows you to grow most plants quickly and easily, and is eco-friendly too. It is perfect for people who don’t have a garden, or who just want to grow extra food in their kitchen. It is fully automated and keeps the environment under optimal conditions, so you don’t need to be green fingered to gain a successful crop; in fact, it literally couldn’t be easier to grow your own food!

We were kindly sent a Grofresh kitchen garden to review…

Setting up

The Grofresh kitchen garden is extremely easy to set up as it comes pre-assembled except for the biolite, which easily slots into the base. You then simply add the nutrient solution, prepare the hydrocels, plant the seeds or plugs in the biocel, then turn it on.

Grofresh microgrower kitchen garden

Step by step;

Mix the nutrient solution provided with 1.3L of clean water and pour it into the base by removing the water filler cap, then replace the cap. Do not overfill. Make sure the growtop is on the growtank before filling. The essential nutrients are mixed with the water and delivered directly to the plants root system several times a day.

Prepare the hydrocels by soaking them in water until they are soft then squeeze out excess water. Slot them back into the celpod, securing them with the feet.

To plant the seeds just slice through the top of the hydrocel and put the seeds in about 1cm from the top, then place it in the biocel. Plugs are similar; just slice right through the middle of the hydrocel instead. See the instruction manual for more details on planting.

Functions

The microgrower has three watering settings (low, medium and high) and you can change between them using just one button. It uses flashing lights to indicate which setting has been selected. Check the seed packet to determine the correct level needed. I would also recommend planting either the same plants, or ones with similar watering requirements.

A single red light will flash every 30 seconds to indicate the water is low and requires refilling. The rest of the time it flashes green every 30 seconds to indicate it is working correctly. So this is a pretty fool- proof system!

The bioight will automatically switch on for 16 hours then off for 8 hours. The timing can be adjusted by using pressing a button on the base. If you turn it off, it will remain off for 8 hours then automatically turn on for 16 hours, back off for 8 hours and so on. If you turn it on, it will stay on for 16 hours, then off for 8 hours. You get the idea! It is all automatic, so no need to do anything.

Grofresh kitchen garden

Other Information

Grofresh kitchen garden comes in a range of colours, so you can match your kitchen decor.

You can grow most things that grow above ground (not below ground).

The hydrocels only last for one growing cycle but you can purchase more from the website. Replacement hydrocels cost £9.95.

Grofresh kitchen garden RRP: £59.95.

Purchase at wizal.co.uk

Grofresh advert

Our Verdict

The Grofresh kitchen garden is so very straightforward to set up and use, it takes up hardly any space in the kitchen, and after just a few days shoots are already appearing – so it is clearly a very effective system! We love it!

Shoots growing in Grofresh kitchen garden after just a few days.

Discount

Enter code WZLKG3 at checkout to receive £10.00 off all Grofresh kitchen garden orders! Valid until end of June 2018 only.

Grofresh kitchen gardens discount code

Giveaway Time!!!!

To be in with a chance to win your own Grofresh kitchen garden, enter my giveaway via rafflecopter below! Ends 22nd July 2018. UK residents only. T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was sent the Grofresh kitchen garden for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trint Transcription Software: Review

Trint is a clever piece of software that transcribes any video and audio files into text. It was founded by Jeff Kofman, a former war correspondent for CNN. Jeff had to manually transcribe thousands of interviews throughout his career, so he decided to develop Trint, to save people the hours of time and effort it takes to transcribe manually.

Trint is useful for a range of purposes, such as journalists and broadcasters, podcasters and content creators, or for students transcribing lectures. It’s also helpful for those who cannot write or type often, which makes it an excellent tool for those with SEND or accessibility needs.

How it works

Here is a short video explaining how Trint works…

Prices

Trint has various pricing options. You can pay as you go at £13.20 per hour. Or you can subscribe to either the basic package for 3 hours per month at £36 or the supercharged package at £100 for 100 hours. For both subscriptions, unused minutes can be carried over for up to 60 days. You can cancel anytime.

Trint’s video to text transcription software is also available via Adobe Premiere Pro, thanks to the newly added plug-in.

A review of trint subscription software text. Background image in grey of laptop, notebook and pen.

My Review

I tried Trint on my android, but the website is so easy to navigate anyway that it probably wouldn’t make difference what device you use, which is useful. As I mentioned above, it can also be used directly on Adobe too. I didn’t test this out personally but I imagine it is very useful!

The software couldn’t be simpler to use; you literally just select the video clip or audio you want to transcribe and click the button. You can also create folders for the files so everything is nice and organised.

Screenshot on my Trint folders.

Trint takes roughly the same length of time as the video clip itself. That is speedy transcribing! It did seem to glitch slightly when I tried to select multiple videos, and a couple of times it got stuck when I was trying to open the transcribed files. However, admittedly I tend to multi-task so that was likely more a reflection on my phone’s capabilities, and my impatience, than this software! Aside from that, the process of transcribing it was incredibly easy.

Trint screenshot of the actual transcription.

In terms of accuracy, overall it did very well in the right situations. It clearly struggled with Squiggle’s voice generally, although it fared somewhat better with her in a Q&A style video with myself. It does suggest that ideally the speaker should be close to the camera and to speak in a clear voice without background noise, so that might also have improved the outcomes.

Of course, the vast majority of users would be adults anyway though, so let’s find out how well it did with me…

As you can see it is very accurate with only a couple of minor errors. Andy also tested it on a longer video presentation he did and it was almost perfect, aside from some missed punctuation, which would have just been down to his presentation style. So he was very impressed!

Overall, Trint is very useful if used in the right contexts (i.e. in situations where the speaker on the recording is very loud and clear, with an adult pitch voice, without too much background intereference). It could certainly save time, effort and money in transcriptions – it is much easier than doing it yourself manually, and far cheaper than hiring someone else to do it!

Find out more about Trint on their website: trint.com

*Disclosure: I was given free minutes for the purpose of review and compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rockford’s Rock Opera Review & Giveaway Bundle

Rockford’s Rock Opera by Sweetapple is an ecological musical story about extinction, biodiversity, the value of the natural world and bringing endangered species back from the brink. It was created by a group of friends (Matthew Sweetapple and Elaine Sweetapple, husband and wife, and comedian Steve Punt) in an attic in Barnet, Hertfordshire and was first launched on the web in 2008. Rockford’s Rock Opera is enjoyed in 100,000 schools all over the world. This year it is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary and is now in the process of being turned into a feature animated film! With a production budget of $38,000,000 it will be one of the UK’s
biggest-ever independent films.

Rockford's Rock Opera

The story is unique in it’s format and delivery; combining pictures, animation, songs and dialogue. It is a truly touching story with an important ecological message. In essence, it is a musical story about a boy from Battersea called Moog and his Dog, Rockford. The underlying message is that one day we’ll discover the greatest secret of all; how every species on earth can live together in harmony. The creators, who describe it as Jungle Book meets Jurassic Park, suggest it is aimed primarily at ages 6-12 years old.

I downloaded all four of the parts on my iPhone from the App store (part 1 is free, parts 2, 3 and 4 cost £1.99 each). Each app contains extras as well as the story itself; including the music, story background and useful learning material (did you know that 99.9% of all creatures that have ever lived may now be extinct?!) as well as links to environmental organizations and charities.

Rockford's Rock Opera app

The story itself is a good combination of stills and CGI (some quite psychedelic; it took me back to the Beatles yellow submarine), supported by clear narration and varied styled music – some with singalong lyrics (one of my favorite touches). Not wishing to give too much of a spoiler, the story centers around Moog and his rescue dog Rockford from Battersea Dogs’ Home, who find themselves travelling across the sea of tranquility to an island called Infinity; home to the last creature of all extinct species. Here they encounter many fictional creatures, including a small yellow sticky creature with a green stripe called a Cocklebur Ink, a ten tentacle octopus called a Dectopus and a menacing guitar playing mantis called The Registrar, to name just a few. Moog and Rockford must race to the centre of the island against the backward flowing river to stop the extinction of all dogs and humans on earth. But, given humans were the cause of many of the islands creatures’ extinctions, not everyone wants them to succeed.

Rockford's Rock Opera Island of Infinity

All four parts run to 2.5 hours in total but is divided into chapters, making it perfect for bedtimes or car journeys. It has no in app purchasing and does not require an internet connection, so it’s 100% safe for children to use unassisted.

I have to say I fell in love with this story. It really tugs on the heartstrings and inspires empathy in such an original way. It gets the message across very clearly, and is hard hitting, yet also simultaneously approaches it in a sensitive and tactful way; it is a delicate balance that has been achieved remarkably well.

The songs range from slow, emotional songs such as ‘This Tail is True’ to really rocky tunes like ‘I Am The Registrar’. My absolute favourite though, is the incredibly catchy ‘Tale of The Cocklebur Ick’. This one has literally not left my head! I think not least of all because it carries such a strong message and is so thought- provoking. That tale in itself can lead to many hours of valuable discussion; indeed there are entire lesson plans on the website to cover just that part of the story.

The website is filled with tonnes of useful information, from detailed lesson plans to practical ideas on how to protect our environment. It also has loads of other cool fun stuff too, so do check it out! RockfordsRockOpera.com

Giveaway!

I have an awesome Rockford’s Rock Opera giveaway bundle for one reader to win! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Competition ends on 8th July 2018.

Rockford's Rock Opera giveaway bundle

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was given free access to the apps for the purpose of review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Bumper Birthday Gift Guide: Present Ideas For Adults

This bumper birthday gift guide for adults features present ideas for men and women from brands such as CanvasChamp, Adagio Teas, GiftsOnline4U, Latest Deals, Hunkemoller and more…

Do you get stuck on what to buy for birthdays? Whether it is your partner, a relative, friend or even a colleague, my bumper gift guide will inspire you to find the perfect gift…

Bumper Birthday Gift Guide: Present Ideas For Adults

Engraved Watch – GiftsOnline4U

Any watch makes a lovely gift, but a personalised watch is even better! GiftsOnline4U have an excellent selection of engraved watches to choose from to design a unique gift for someone. I was gifted this gorgeous ladies watch to review from them…

Giftsonline4u engraved ladies watch flatlay image.

The website itself is easy to navigate, with clear instructions at checkout. Personalising the watch was also very straightforward. You can enter up to 72 characters over 4 lines for the message, which is plenty of space. You can then preview the engraved before ordering. Gift bags and greetings cards can also be selected.

I had my watch engraved with an Albert Einstein quote “Time is just an illusion.” Just a note, the back of the watch is actually silver, it is just the reflection of the camera making it look black. It isn’t the easiest thing to photograph (or I need to improve my photography skills… take your pick!) but in real life the engraving is clear and beautifully written.

Delivery was efficient and there are various delivery options available. Standard delivery is free, charges apply to speedier services. The watch arrived nicely presented in a gift box.

This contemporary style watch is plated alloy with a leather strap and retails at £39.99. GiftsOnline4U also do a range of other personalised Birthday gifts on their website too.

Ladies watch from GiftsOnline4U in box

Canvas Print – CanvasChamp

A canvas print can brighten up any wall and makes a wonderful gift! It is a very thoughtful present, especially if you choose a meaningful photo with the recipient firmly in mind; such as a photo of their loved ones, their favourite place or a picture that captures a happy memory of theirs. If you are familiar with their home, try to consider their colour schemes too, to really make sure you pick out the perfect photo to use.

Canvas on wall. Matches colour scheme. A well coordinated cat is sat on the sofa too, also matching the canvas art!

CanvasChamp specialises in canvas wall pictures and other types of print. Prices start very low (from £3.89) and they offer a wide range of sizes. There are also different options for finishes, and various styles too. For example, you can select from a variety of choices of wrap and border, so you can customise it exactly how you like. I uploaded a photo straight from my instagram and the quality was fine for a fairly small canvas, but if you are going to opt for a larger size then I would recommend using a higher resolution image.

Canvas hanging on wall. Wrap sides

For something even more unique, CanvasChamp offers split picture prints (i.e. the picture goes across two or more canvas), collages, mosaics and wall display sets. As you can see from my photos, the single 12 x 8 canvas looks abit ‘lost’ on such a large bare wall space at the moment, but it will look brilliant as part of a larger wall display!

As an alternative to canvas, you could also opt for acrylic or metal prints. So plenty of ideas to choose from!

Delivery takes up to 8 – 10 business days according to the website, although mine arrived much quicker than this. Shipping is free on orders over £40 and costs £4.99 for orders under that value.

(I was sent a 12 x 8 canvas for review).

CanvasChamp canvas wall hanging art. Picture of Southend beach, Essex. Photography of sea by Living Life Our Way.

Adagio Teas

For tea lovers, Adagio Teas might be just what you are looking for! They have an excellent selection of tasty teas that make a cool gift for any avid tea drinker in your life. There is a wide range of loose tea flavours, as well as tea bags and iced teas too. They also stock high quality accessories and some funky gift sets too. For something even more quirky, check out their awesome signature blends.

A photo of Adagio Teas and accessories

We were kindly sent a variety of teas to try from Adagio; in fact they were incredibly generous and sent us a massive box filled with goodies! If I waited until we had sampled them all before writing this post, it probably wouldn’t be published until 2020! However, what I will tell you is that the selection looks amazing and I literally cannot wait to try them all out.

Bundle of Adagio loose teas, tea bags, ice teas and accessories inc ingenuitea, glass mug and infuser, tea filters

Some of the loose leaf teas we have been sent to try out include calypso green, citrus mint green and raspberry green from their green tea range, spiced apple chai tea, earl grey moonlight black tea, peach oolong, green rooibos bonita, pu-erh hazelberry, hibiscus, coconut, passionfruit and mango flavoured teas, plus berry blues and samurai mate from the herbal tea range. This is just some of the many choices they have available. I am so excited about the pina colada! I am also particularly looking forward to the fruit medley herbal tea and intrigued by the chocolate chip flavour too.

The website has lots of useful information about tea preparations, pairings and health benefits. You can also learn more about the origins of the different types of tea; it is really quite educational!

A selection of Adagio Teas and accessories

I was also sent some very cool accessories too, which are very cleverly designed to make life much easier when preparing loose teas. The ingenuitea teapot has a special valve in the bottom that releases the tea directly into the cup, leaving the tea leaves in the mesh filter. The teapot is easy to clean; just rinse it out with water or pop it into the dishwasher. This retails at £18.

They also sent some paper filters, which are made of taste- neutral wood and hemp fibres, so are fully biodegradeable. You just fold them over the edge of your teapot or mug, then throw them away. So simple! And very good value at £4 for 100 filters.

Then there is the glass mug and infuser, which is handy for use anywhere. RRP £18. As the website explains:

“An ideal ‘have tea anywhere’ set that combines a glass tea mug with a removable stainless steel infuser. In addition to being convenient, it is also loads of fun: watch the leaves dance as they infuse a perfect cup of tea. When done, remove the infuser (the cover doubles as a coaster) and have a perfect cup of tea wherever, and whenever, the mood strikes. Perfect for home or office use.”

Brummie Gal in Cardiff has some useful video clips and tutorials of these fab accessories in action.

Adagio Teas Prize - ingenuitea, glass mug and infuser, tea samplea

I have also teamed up with Adagio to offer a lucky reader a chance to win a bundle of Adagio teas and accessories. The fabulous prize includes an IngenuiTEA teapot, glass mug and infuser, plus 15 sample pouches (which makes up to roughly 150 cups of tea!) To be in with a chance of winning, enter via rafflecopter below.

Competition ends on 10th June 2018. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jewellery – BlueNile

For people who love bling-bling, a pair of diamond studs would be ideal. Blue Nile offers a range of affordable choices to choose from. Prices start from £162 and there are more than 50 designs available. And if you need some help with choosing a pair, this guide here has some useful tips you can refer to.

Underwear – Hunkemoller

This one is just for the ladies! Whilst some people may feel uncomfortable gifting underwear, as a female I think a bra or matching set makes a lovely gift to either give or receive from a close friend or partner. (As long as they know your size!) Hunkemoller have a beautiful selection of pretty designs that come in a good range of sizes, including for fuller figures. Prices start from £12, with free shipping on orders over £20.

I really love the non- padded underwired full cup black bra I was sent to review. It is very comfortable and it looks so pretty on that I almost shared a photo of me actually wearing it. (I said almost…) It is gorgeous and makes an ideal gift. The box is lovely too! (And it is recycled!)

Hunkemoller underwired non padded black bra flatlay. Pretty box next to it says life is about pretty moments, enjoy this one. Love, hunkemoller

Find Inspiration… Plus Save Money Too!

Searching for gift sets on Latest Deals is a fantastic way of saving money, but also a great place to get inspiration too. As I browsed through the current offers listed, I spotted some really awesome ideas that I might not have thought of otherwise, such as a ‘grow your own superfoods kit’ for example. You might also come across lovely new brands that you haven’t heard of before too. The perfect site to find some fresh new gift ideas and get yourself a good deal in the process!

Screenshot of grow your own superfoods gift idea from Latest Deals website

Subscription Boxes – Various

Organising a subscription box as a present is almost like a gift that keeps on giving! Whether you go for 3, 6 or 12 months, the recepient will enjoy getting their monthly box of goodies. Many offer one- off boxes too if that is kinder on your budget. There are plenty of topics on offer to choose from; such as mindfulness, eco friendly, art, healthy snacks, yummy treats or gardening activities, just to name a few, so easy to pick out one you know they will love.

Experience Days/ Event Tickets

Not every gift has to be tangible. Days out, experiences or event tickets make an amazing present too. Whether it is a relaxing spa day, the chance to zoom around a race track, or a fun night out seeing their fave band, tickets/ vouchers to go somewhere or do something is a brilliant birthday surprise!

Other Gift Ideas

For more ideas, you can also check out some of my previous gift guides full of wonderful gifts:

Mothers Day Gifts

Men’s Gifts Under £20

Eco- Friendly Gifts

Gifts for Health and Wellbeing

Unique Personalised Gifts

*Disclosure: I was gifted items for the purpose of review and also compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are of course my own.

Grange Raised Urban Planter: GardenSite’s Gardening Solutions for Small Spaces (Review & Giveaway)

As you all know, we love being outdoors in nature, and part of this includes gardening. I have written before about some of the food we have grown, or at least attempted to grow! So what do we think of our new urban planter from GardenSite? Read my review…

Grange Raised Urban Planter from Gardensite title with image of planter

About the Planter

Grange Raised Urban Planter is built using only FSC timber that has been pressure treated, and is resistant to rot and fungal decay. In fact, it actually comes with a 20 year guarantee against rot. It has six pre- divided sections to grow a selection of plants, and it also has a handy shelf underneath. The planter usually retails for £89.99 RRP but is currently on sale at £77.99 at the time of writing.

Delivery

The planter took just under a week to arrive after ordering. We were kept updated with the progress of our order and delivery details. The courier company they used was a good choice; they followed our delivery instructions, and they were friendly and helpful.

An image of all the parts of the planter pre- assembly

Assembly

The Urban Planter is very well designed so it only requires basic assembly instructions. It is very high quality thick wood, so you will need a decent power drill though; it couldn’t be done manually, or with a small basic electric drill that people have around the house to put together flat pack furniture. It took well under half an hour to assemble with the right drill.

Tip: The PDF instructions on the website are different to the paper version it comes with. Take a look to see which you find easier to follow! We personally found the website PDF version clearer.

It is worth noting that the planter is very heavy so ideally it needs two people to move around. Or assemble it in the right place!

Grange raised urban planter

Our Verdict

We really like this planter. It is really sturdy and of excellent quality. The shelf underneath is useful as storage, or even for small potted plants that like the shade.

The six sections make it easy to grow a selection of plants within a small area. It doesn’t take up too much space, so is a genuine solution for small urban gardens. Also, we often have cats hanging around our garden, so we appreciate the benefits of a raised planter!

It is not cheap but it is made extremely well and is therefore worth the cost, in my opinion; I personally would consider it decent value for money. Overall, we definitely recommend this planter!

Grange raised urban planter by GardenSite

Check out the full range of stock on GardenSite for other planters and a wide range of other garden items. I spent ages browsing their website, they have an excellent selection!

Giveaway

I have teamed up with GardenSite for one very lucky person to win a Grange Raised Urban Planter! Competition open to UK residents only and ends on 3rd June 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent the urban planter for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Name A Star: Review and Giveaway 

Are you looking for a last minute gift idea? Or do you get stuck when looking for presents in general? Or perhaps you are simply on the hunt for something abit different? Whatever the occasion, I love finding thoughtful gifts; something handmade, personal or unique in some way. But sometimes it can be difficult to come up with the perfect idea. Until now…

Naming star, own star, star name registry, gift ideas, outdoors, stargazing

Star Name Registry is the UK’s number one online registry company who offers this unique gift. There are a variety of packages to choose from, with prices ranging from £14.99 for a standard star to £69.99 for a binary star gift set, as well as several other options inbetween. Their gift set version of each package comes with a framed certficate beautifully presented in a silver box, whereas the regular version comes in an envelope. If you need it in a hurry, you can choose to have it sent via email for an extra £4.99 (sent within 12 hours of order received) or £6.99 for next day delivery (paper version). Gift sets can also be sent via next day special delivery for £8.49. So handy to remember as a last minute present too!

I originally found out about naming your very own star with Star Name Registry last year, when I was contacted by their lovely team to review their extra bright star gift set and host a giveaway. It really is such a fab gift idea! It is ideal for the person who has everything, anyone with an interest in stargazing or outdoors in general, or for someone who just likes something that bit different!

This lovely set includes your very own star that you can name, and choose which constellation you would like it to be located in too. It also has an explanation of the star, free download of software, map and framed certificate in a gorgeous silver box. It does make a really unusual and very lovely gift.

Star Naming Registry Uk, name star, own star, gift ideas, outdoors, Living Life Our Way

For my original review, I took quite sometime trying to decide on the name of my star and considered a couple of different options; for example, I thought about naming it after my daughter, or even her nickname ‘Squiggle’. But then I came up with the perfect idea: I chose our family name, because then the star represents all of us together. Wherever any of us are, we can look up at the night sky and see our star, and know we are together. It even includes our furbabies! Perfect.

This time, I didn’t have to think so hard because I knew it would make the perfect gift for a family member! So I named it after them, along with a short personal message to them to show our gratitude for all they do. They were very grateful!

And one lucky reader can win an Extra Bright Star gift set too! To be in with a chance of winning, enter my rafflecopter giveaway below. Good luck…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 29th March 2018. Open to UK residents only. Winner will be emailed a coupon code to redeem the Extra Bright Star gift set prize themselves. Other T&Cs apply.

Star Naming Registry UK, name star, own star, gift ideas, outdoors

*Disclosure: I was gifted Extra Bright Star gift sets free of charge for the purpose of review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.