Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Keeping the Kid Clean.....

When it comes to chores I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to have life made a little bit easier and to get it done quickly and that is how I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 30 (I’m aware 30 isn’t that old but I’m still in mourning for my 20’s) doing laundry by the chuck it all in method and hoping for the best. Up to press I’ve never really had any major catastrophes, unless you count shrinking Ants favourite Tshirt once and turning the lining of J’s beautiful Gruffalo snowsuit a murky brown because I didn’t use a colour catcher as disasters. However. Now that J is in school and I’ve just had to sell one of my very poorly functioning kidneys in order to fund kitting him out I guess I best start being a grown up and doing this laundry thing properly in order to prolong the life of his uniform. That means separating my darks from my lights in order to keep his lovely white shirts white rather than grey and gloomy. My grandmother did also mention I will have to start ironing! And so I had to go sit in a dark room and rock to console myself at the thought, I haven’t quite forgiven her for upsetting me yet.

Getting J dressed can be a task in itself. If he was given the choice as to what to wear he would be dressed as a superhero 24/7 or completely naked so in order to try and make our morning routine a little bit smoother and take away the chaos that would ensue from “where is your jumper?” type conversations I introduce the DRAWERS OF DOOM.

The drawers of doom consist of 5 drawers labelled Monday to Friday and each drawer contains a full days uniform - vest, undies, socks, shirt, jumper and trousers. Now some may find it a little excessive to have fresh on every day especially with Jake only being in school for 2.5 hours at the moment. However my son could be in a pure white empty room and end up mucky. The fact he drops to the floor during melt downs no matter where we are mean his trousers get dirty, he misses his mouth 9 times out of 10 when eating, he’s a grim boy who despite having tissue available wipes his nose on his sleeve and then there’s just the typical actions of reception that involve paint and glue and other rather lovely fun tasks that make him need to be washed so for us the fresh uniform each day works.

As soon as J gets home from school he gets changed into normal clothes although tbh if we are just at home he prefers to sit in boxers and a vest, it’s a comfort thing and I can’t blame him as I love nothing more than changing into my Jim’s. We have two laundry baskets so that we can put trousers and jumpers in one and shirts and vests in the other. J has to wear certain socks for school so if he takes them off they go in the cute little laundry bag sent to us by Ecover so as not to get lost. ( We have sock gremlins and I’m colour blind so would end up with mismatched socks otherwise). I’m also hopeful that the action of putting his clothes in the wash basket will stand me in good steed as his father is 31 and still hasn’t mastered it!

The actual physical act of washing is a doddle. I wait till the weekend when the baskets are full and then I have one load of darks and one of lights. I love to use the quick eco wash setting on my machine which is a 15 minute 30 degree wash. We don't have a washing line outside as my garden is J's safe space complete with 14ft trampoline, swing, slide etc and there just isn't the space so it's an airer jobby or the tumble dryer for us. I'm especially liking that our tumble dryer is collecting a lot of the excess fluff from J's jumpers rather than the fluff ending up all over the shirts although I do miss the days of seeing cute tiny outfits hanging out in the sunshine.

In order to wash clothes you need detergent, which brings me on to the Ecover Laundry detergent we were sent to try. It promised to be gentler on our skin and on the environment but would it be too gentle to deal with our mucky clothes?

First Impressions: The liquid is a lot thinner than other mainstream detergents we would normally purchase and it's perfectly clear rather than having some bright funky colour tinge to it. The bottle says you get 25 washes from it and by using the measuring cup that doubles up as the lid I'd agree as a little seemed to go a long way. The fragrance is Lavender and Sandalwood and I thought it smelt a bit like our local surgery whilst in the bottle, almost medical smelling.

Using: Anything of J's with a stain on I would normally presoak in some stain remover before putting in the machine however with the uniform I didn't. I put half a scoop of stain remover in the drawer with the ecover and hoped it would live up to the label of being tough on stains.

Results: All the clothes came out spotless, all stains had gone which I was really impressed with as it means I can remove the presoak section of laundry from our routine! I also found the scent had changed, it no longer smelt medical at all but was a very gentle scent - clean, fresh and slightly floral without being overpowering which is great news as J is very sensitive to smells and if it had been too strong I would have had to rewash it before he would wear it! I'm always wary about changing brands as both me and J have super sensitive skin but we needn't have worried as Ecover is specially formulated for those with sensitive skin and it didn't cause any reaction at all and I can have a reaction to my own tears so you know it's good!

Final thoughts: I was really impressed with the Ecover liquid. It seemed to tick all the boxes and live up to it's promises as made on the label. It's a little bit more pricier than my typical brand which is something to take into consideration especially on those weeks when there is more month than money. However as somebody wanting to try and do a bit more for the environment because I want to protect the future for my son and his children I don't think the price is excessive and weighed up against the time and amount saved by not needing to presoak in stain remover it's a good balance.

This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover.
I was sent a bottle to Ecover Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent to review; all opinions are my own

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Was September Super?

September started and things went a bit (a lot) wrong and it just got a bit too much so I've spent the most of September as a hippopotamus. A great big hippo wallowing in a giant puddle of pity and woe is me, losing sight of my usual positive outlook and so lots of things took a back seat (not just comping) and I lost a lot of motivation for things I usually enjoy doing. Things have now turned a corner I've put my big girl knickers on and manned up and given my head a shake and that leads me on to my post about what I won in September which despite my lack of comping (some days I didn't even bother picking the laptop up) was still pretty super!

My first win of the month was on the 1st September. I received a message on facebook from the Entertainer to tell me I had been chosen as their 3rd place winner in their LEGO competition. My prize was a subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine and a Jungle Helicopter LEGO set. Now a lot of compers know me through the Childrens Magazine Group I run, and a lot of compers also know I LOVE LEGO so this was a pretty fantastic and perfect prize for us. We haven't received our first issue of the subscription yet but as we've previously bought it I know J will enjoy it. He loved building the LEGO set too.

My second win was again on the 1st and was a Garage Anthems CD which arrived in the post with no notification as to where it was from but I managed to track it down and find it was an email competition with the Star. My partner was convinced I had bought the CD as it was one he'd actually mentioned wanting so it was lovely to have won something for him that he wanted.

Next up was a With Love gift box from a comp on instagram. Subscription boxes seem to be all the rage nowadays and there are so many different types. This one is classed as a 'well-being' box. It had a beautiful sleep mask, oils and a buddha card inside.

I won a rug on instagram at the start of the month too. It's a gorgeous brown rug that matches my decor and actually fits perfect in my living room too! J has loved laying on it as he says it feels so soft.

I won a colouring in book about preparing for birth with lots of zen like calming, yet empowering pictures inside which I'm planning on giving my friend as she is due very soon.

Another baby related prize I won is a board book called 'What Does Baby Want' which is a book about breastfeeding and has caused great delight and giggles from those who have seen the video of me reading the book. It's a bit of a random prize but brilliant none the less.

£50 Pets at Home Voucher this was a low entry facebook competition where you had to post a picture of you pet in their home and I posted a picture of Boycie one of our bearded dragons. The voucher has come in very handy for buying some new decor and lights for the vivariums and some bugs to feed them.

Eyeko Mascara - there were 1000 of these available and I was really pleased to have won one. The tube is well cool it's more like a toothpaste tube than a typical mascara tube, but they RRP at £19 which is nuts!

Boss Baby Blu-ray - this arrived through the post as a surprise, I have no idea where from but J has loved watching it  and it was a film I was actually looking into buying. However J now wants us to get a baby as he thinks people just knock on your door and deliver them.

Another fab LEGO win soon followed, this time with Smyths on facebook in one of their Force Friday competitions. We won a LEGO BB-8 which is amazing! and a Star Wars Path of the Force Lightsaber RRP £49.99!!! The lightsaber has been put away for Christmas.

Next up was a small instagram win of a personalised box frame from Littleunicornwishes. I'm torn between getting a Christmas themed frame or one with a letter J in for the boys room but he does have quite a lot of personalised name plates and things.

You may remember last month I won a Deluxe barbecue, well it came and we decided it was too big for us as there is only the three of us and although I like a BBQ only Ant is the big meat eater. So I did a deal with a friend where she got a bargain and we got a little bit of money to use towards a smaller barbecue. No sooner had I dropped it off and got back in the car I got a notification from Nisa on instagram to say I'd won a Weber Compact barbecue. Just perfect for us.

Bandai ran a competition across their social media pages to win a Power Rangers Star Sword Star Shooter and we were picked as one of the winners. J will love this however I'm not looking forward to the prospect of getting shot!

J won a LEGO Batman DVD from one of the kids mags we buy and enter via entry form. We actually already own this on blu-ray from a previous win so we are sending it to a comping friend for her son to enjoy :)

Another instagram win came from Espa who ran a comp giving about 20 prizes away and said they were sending me a surprise product. I am really pleased as they sent me the Pink Hair and Scalp mud which is £34 a jar and absolutely amazing!!!

MONUSKIN sent me a facial wash through a competition they ran around 3 months ago where you had to follow them on instagram and fill in a form. As it was so long ago I thought I hadn't been successful but it arrived and the reviews sound great.

Another kids mag win for J of a Nickleodeon goodybag which contained a light up fidget spinner which he loves! a tub of Nickelodeon slime which again he loves (but I don't as he got some on his brand new school vest and it had to be binned) and a JoJo Siwa bow which we have given to a comping friend for her daughter.

I won a beautiful corded bracelet with mother of pearl beads from Celestial Design on facebook.

Pip.Milburn ran a competition on instagram to win a Strong Girls Club tshirt, a grey tshirt with a golden pineapple on the front and a gorgeous smelling Relax candle from Soul_Candles. It was a lovely wee pick me up and the candle smells AMAZING!

I won a £50 Amazon voucher from Sytner Seat for answering a picture quiz I'd seen on my timeline. I had intended to use this voucher for LEGO but hubby got in their first and bought himself Forza 7!

CraftsBeautiful on instagram gave away some adult colouring books and i won a beautiful Birds of Paradise one. It has some gorgeous pictures inside one of which I'm considering framing in my room as I love it so much.

On the same day I won the colouring book I also got a message on instagram from Poundstretcher to say I'd won a mug which says 'I'm not bossy I'm the boss!' and is going to be given as part of a Christmas present.

A lot of compers have been trying to win personalised Onken Yogurts, or Yougurts as they are calling them and whilst I'd had a couple of goes I'd not got lucky (I'm too lazy and lack the motivation to do comps like this daily so tend to just do them when I remember or see them on friends walls etc) my lovely friend Emma posted that she had won one so I decided to copy her ingredients and won one! Yay for Emma haha. It was cherry, rhubarb and mango flavour that I won.

loveyourhome.yorkshire ran a competition across their insta and facebook for some wax melts and snap bars and I was chosen as a lucky winner. One of the items specified was out of stock so she sent me a few alternatives. They smell great and as you can probably tell I love candles and melts so these are a fab win for me!

The biggest win of the month for us has to be a Sphero Ultimate Lightning McQueen which is RRP £299.99 this was an effort comp which was found in the effort section of Compers News. It was run with Tesco and Hallmark you had to buy a card (so I bought myself a birthday card haha) and then print out an entry form and design a race car. Me and J did a picture of a car together and filled in the form about why we thought it would win the race. I sent it off and thought nothing of it as I expected it to get loads of entries and our creation wasn't the best however we received an email telling us J had won and they are coming to present it on the 3rd October. From what I've seen online it looks amazing!!!

Another lovely instagram win came from lisa.bramley who runs Apple of My Eye. I won a gorgeous necklace that is double sided and says 'First my mummy, forever my friend' This was such an apt prize to win. I got notification of the prize on the afternoon but in the morning on the walk to school I'd been trying to coax J in by saying 'you are going to have so much fun at school today, you are going to make some lovely friends and get to play with them' and he replied 'but mummy you're my friend can't I just stay home and play with you?' which melted my heart and so it was perfect timing for the necklace.

Anatomicals did another instagram comp where the first x amount of people to comment and send a picture received 2 facemasks. I'm going to use one myself and put the other in a Christmas hamper.

I won a magnetised energy bracelet from dream_goddess_sweden and good_balance on instagram. I'm not sure if I've noticed an improvement on my energy levels or how I'm sleeping but it's pretty and I like it so will keep wearing it.

J had another mag win! This time from Kraze mag for asking why old men had hairy nostrils haha. He originally asked why his grandad had hairy nostrils but when I filled the form in I thought it might be a bit personal so changed it to old men. The mag answered his question and he will love the goodies as since winning the blu-ray earlier in the month he's really enjoying the film.

We finally had a twitter win towards the end of the month and won a Mini Hornit. These are a light which you can fasten on to childrens bikes or scooters. They have a solid light as well as the chance to have flashing lights in either white or green and they have 25 sounds from a bell ringing to a dog barking which can be activated by a button that sticks on the handle bars. J has had great fun changing the sound and setting it off while riding around on his bike.

Another childrens mag win of a Shopkins Swapkins bundle! It had 24 blindbags inside! J loves blind bags and surprise eggs so took great delight in opening them however I think we only ended up with 5 different ones as we had a lot of dupes.

Another 'surprise' egg type of prize came from Tubz Brandz Ltd on twitter. They sent us 6 of the new Sqwishland suprise balls, some marshmallows and a chocolate egg. J tried to make an unboxing video on my phone for this bless him but the lighting and quality wasn't brilliant so we couldn't upload it. I need to get him back in my room where we have a better back drop and lighting for videos rather than just in the living room.

Novicemama_char on instagram did a competition for a cute heart plaque and some headbands which I won. I've chosen a lovely Robin design which I think will be perfect for Christmas. We've never really done the decorations, we had a tree once for about 3 days, so I'm looking for little bits and pieces that will help the home feel more festive.

Carabao have been running a competition on their cans of energy drink to win football tickets. I'm not a fan of football but Ant brought me some ringpulls home from work so I went on the Lucky Learners facebook group I'm in to see how to enter. Whilst reading the comments I noticed a comper saying they really wanted to win Man City tickets so when I got the Congratulations screen pop up I sent them a facebook message asking if they'd like them and they said yes! I hope they have a great time.

Emoji lunch bag from the cheesestring daily, I have won 3 of these now and as great as they are I'd love some of the other emoji items like stickers.

Youngblood ran a competition across their social media pages giving away Colour Lip Crayon kits. I was an instagram winner and chose the Angeleno shade. I just really love the little lip shaped pouch that thee products came in. I think it's very quirky.

Another small win was a bottle of Cloudberry Bubble Bath for J from goodbubbleuk on instagram.

Since updating the apps on his phone hubby keeps getting twitter notifications when people he follows tweet about certain subjects, one of the notifications he got was about the hashtag #PowerRangers and was because UKMumsTv were having a twitter frenzy. He asked me what he had to do and I said just retweet the competition posts they put up and he won a Power Ranger jigsaw for J which is fab!

I received an email on Thursday afternoon from our local radio station advising I'd won 4 tickets to go see the new LEGO Ninjago movie which we've been to see today and J loved it. Previous readers will know that cinema trips are usually a big no no for the boy but we actually managed a full movie! It was fab we also got a free LEGO keyring each which is super cool and we followed the movie up with a meal at a local All You Can Eat place that I won back in April in an Easter Competition.

My last two wins of the month were both on instagram.

I won a brooch making kit and glitterlips and stardust from Glitterlips. The brooch kit is right up my street as I love crafting and I'm sending the stardust to my friend as her daughter is a dancer so it will be perfect for her.

The last win is one that I won for me and a friend. We both get a back to school pack with an Art and Stationery set, Rainbow pencils and a Colouring Activity Pack and those were won from irishfairydoor on instagram. I love comps where I win something for me and a friend. It gives me more of a buzz getting to do something lovely for them and giving them a treat.

So there you have it, if it wasn't for social media and the support of some fab people I would be well and truly buggered. I'd like to think I'm proof that you don't have to enter EVERYTHING all the time to be a winner.

This is how September Should Be

It's been a while since I've blogged. I was in a fog and family life, my mental health and the real world kept me away. I would ty...