We were sent these two brilliantly interactive books by Jennie Maizels and Kate Perry that make learning grammar and times tables fun to review – The Great Grammar Book and The Terrific Times Tables Book.
New editions of these novelty books are loved by teachers, parents and kids alike as they make times tables and grammar approachable and fun. Lift the flaps, pull the tabs, turn the wheels and learn all about nouns, punctuation and time tables up to twelve. Join Noah as he counts the animals into the ark, help an octopus work out how many shoes she has and find the secret times tables hidden in the sweet factory. Play heads, bodies and legs to find out about adjectives, look in the mirror to discover what a pronoun is and take a dog for a walk as he explains prepositions.
As you can see, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful and there is so much to learn and interact with on each and every page. Now basic grammar skills and those pesky times tables might be essential learning for all primary school aged children but let’s face it, sometimes learning them can be a bit dull so I am all for anything that will keep my daughter’s interest. She is struggling with her times tables at the moment so these books couldn’t have come at a better time.
It is such a pleasure to see her enjoying reading the book, I think the whole ‘hands on’ approach is really helping her to learn. I’m a big believer in kids learning through all of their senses. Reading facts over and over can tend to go in one ear and out of the other (her brother was much the same at her age!) but with these books, her fidgety hands are being used to turn those wheels and lift the flaps and are actually helping her to learn. Every page is a feast for the eyes but is also jam packed full of facts and tips.
The creators, Jennie Maizels and Kate Perry, have worked on eight books together including these two and have won multiple awards and sold over a million copies worldwide. Sadly Kate passed away in 2007 but Jennie continues to produce fabulous pop-up books as well as illustrating a range of stationery, mugs and iron-on patches. She also runs a sketchbook club in person and online (that you might remember me reviewing here on my blog!) I’m such a huge fan of Jennie she is amazingly talented!
The Great Grammar Book and The Terrific Times Tables Book are available now from Walker Books priced at £14.99 each. You can find out more at jenniemaizels.com.
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review I was kindly gifted both The Great Grammar Book and The Terrific Times Tables Book from Walker Books
Birchbox have picked out a fab December selection of beauty treats to keep you merry and bright this festive season, through Christmas and all the way to New Year’s Eve. Even the box itself this month is extra special as it transforms into beautiful keepsake storage.
As you can see, the box opens up into two halves. It is made from sturdy card so perfect for reusing on your dresser to have all your favourite products to hand or even as a desk tidy. There is also this handy little drawstring pouch that can be reused. I love these little extras they make the box feel that bit more special. I always find a new use for my old Birchbox boxes, I don’t know about you?
Also inside this months Birchbox you will find a little gift card for you to give to someone special this Christmas. After all, a Birchbox gift subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. You can buy a 3, 6 or 12 month gift subscription and then you just need to fill in the details on the gift card (you’ll find the claim code in your confirmation email) before handing the card to your lucky recipient. But not only is it a gift for them, but it is also a gift for you as you will be awarded with up £20 to spend in the Birchbox Shop. How cool is that? You can find out more here.
Anyway, let’s take a look at what is inside this months box. First of all we have the Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara which isn’t available in the shops until next March so it’s a bit of a sneak peek! This volumising mascara lifts, lengthens and plumps each lash thanks to its tapered brush and kohl-pigmented formula. I’ve never used a Bobbi Brown mascara before and I have to say that I was impressed it’s lovely. Next we have the Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm which is a true multi-tasker as it not only moisturises your locks but also boosts shine, smooths, softens, protects and speeds up styling. My hair needs all the help it can get at this time of the year so I look forward to trying this.
Then we have the Ciate London Fierce Flicks Eyeliner which is a full size sample and worth £15. This felt tip liner has a super black formula and the precision tip can be used for a fine line or you can turn it on its side to create a thicker bolder finish. The teen assures me it is fab. I didn’t get a look in with this! Ha! Next we have the Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Matte Rescue which is a product that I have tried before and loved. Smooth a thin layer over your face after cleansing and before make-up to absorb oil and minimise pores. And last but by no means least we have the Dr Brandt Pore Dermabrasion. Brimming with salicylic acid, this powerhouse exfoliator unclogs pores, evens skin tone and strengthens your complexion for a brighter finish.
As always, you can subscribe to Birchbox for just £10 a month (plus £2.95 p&p) and for that you will get five personalised beauty treats. This months box really is a cracker and everyone will receive the full size Ciate London eyeliner so it’s a great time to sign up if you haven’t already! Go on, treat yourself! Or somebody else maybe?
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review I was kindly sent this Birchbox free of charge but I would never ever recommend a product or service to my readers that I didn’t hand on heart truly love (and I hand on heart truly love Birchbox)
Disney have just launched their latest collector’s item, Big Sleeve Editions, which are vinyl sized sleeves containing a host of bonus content and beautiful bespoke artwork for six movies; Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Guardians of the Galaxy, Aladdin and Finding Dory; with further releases planned next year. We were lucky enough to be sent the Finding Dory Big Sleeve Edition to review here on my blog.
The sleeve opens up and inside there is the movie on Blu-Ray, DVD, a Blu-Ray bonus disc plus exclusive 12 inch art cards.
We planned to go and see Finding Dory at the cinema over the summer holidays. It was pencilled in as one of our rainy day ideas but in actual fact, that rainy day never came so we didn’t get to see it so I can’t tell you how excited the kids were to have this on DVD. We were big fans of Finding Nemo so we were dying to watch this new movie and it did not disappoint. An instant hit with all of us and now it is something that we can watch over and again of course!
The Finding Dory movie is just wonderful. In fact so wonderful that it made me cry! Big fat happy tears – I’m such a sap honestly! Our old pal Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family who may be looking for her so she, Marlin and Nemo take off on a life changing quest to find them. They are helped along the way by Bailey a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz and Destiny a near-sighted whale shark and Hank the cantankerous octopus (we loved him!) It’s a fantastic undersea adventure filled with imagination, humour and heart. A must see for any Disney fan – young or old!
The new Big Sleeve Editions are available now and priced around £20 which is a snip considering that includes all three discs and the amazing art cards. I can certainly see why they are set to become a collector’s item, they really are great and would make a fabulous present for any Disney fan this Christmas.
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review we were kindly provided with the Finding Dory Big Sleeve Edition by Disney
Whether you are looking for that perfect table centrepiece, a gift for your loved one, closest friends, family members or cute stocking fillers, Hotel Chocolat have got something wonderful for everyone this Christmas. It really did feel like Christmas had come early when I was sent this gorgeous Classic Christmas Sleekster to review.
I am a big fan of Hotel Chocolat (as you might already know if you are a regular reader!) and I always look forward to the new Sleekster every season because it’s such a great way to try out lots of different flavours. For me the Sleekster always seem to pick out the very best of new flavours and old classics. There is always something for everyone so they make an ideal gift – for yourself or someone else!
This new Christmas selection certainly didn’t disappoint and was packed full of festive flavours such as mulled wine, champagne, mince pie brownie, clementine, cinnamon bun, praline and even my favourite Eton Mess has been given a festive makeover to become a Christmas Mess with subtle cinnamon and cranberry. I particularly loved the little solid chocolate characters. There was a dark chocolate penguin, white reindeer, caramel spruce and milk chocolate Santa.
The Classic Christmas Sleekster contains 30 chocolates in festive and favourite flavours and costs just £22.50. Or you might prefer the smaller Classic H-Box that contains 14 chocolates from the same variety for just £12.50. I can’t think of a more perfect gift for any chocolate lover!
Disclaimer: I was very kindly sent the Classic Christmas Sleekster from Hotel Chocolat for the purpose of this review
I swear the older I get the quicker the time goes but the end of November has really crept up on me this year, I can’t believe that I’m writing this already?! Anyway, here is what I have mostly been reading this month.
First up we have Disclaimer by Renee Knight which has been sat on my bookshelf for some months now having been recommended by so many friends. But I’m afraid that it didn’t do much for me. I don’t think it’s the books fault, it is perfectly well written. I just think that I have read one too many of these types of stories in the last year or so. I think I am all thillered out. I found that it took me a while to get into it as I couldn’t easily differentiate between the voices of the characters as it swapped and changed to tell the story from different points of view. The characters just weren’t quite strong enough for me to care. There was a twist along the way – as is the norm for the big blockbuster thrillers these days – but it didn’t blow my mind I’m afraid. Still worth a try if thrillers are your thing though, I wouldn’t let me put you off.
Next came The Forever Girl by Alexander McCall Smith which I absolutely loved. I haven’t read many of his books but I have loved every one of them. He is such a brilliant storyteller and this book read like an absolute dream. It is ridiculously romantic and starts out by asking if the proposition that for each of us there is one great love in our lives, and only one. So of course I was hooked from the get go. This is something that absolutely fascinates me because even though it denies all logic, I do think it might be true. We first meet the main characters as children and it follows them through to adulthood on love’s unpredictable path. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Then I read Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia which was a really good, fun read. There are broken off engagements, self-help websites and drunken declarations of love at extremely inappropriate moments. I found it really funny and refreshingly honest. I wanted to take the main character Viv under my wing and tell her that everything would be alright in the end. And it was of course because in true chick lit style, the love of her life was under her nose the whole time, she just couldn’t see it.
And last of all we have A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler which I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy much. Judging by the comments I received on social media, this is a bit of a marmite book. People seem to love it or hate it. Unfortunately it was the latter for me but I did plough on until the end. The story follows four generations of the Whitshank family but it was one of those books where not much happened at all. It just didn’t seem to gather pace for me. The annoying thing was that it seemed to brush over the few characters who did seem a tiny bit interesting and stick to telling the story of the main – and more boring – family members.
So that was me, what have you been reading this month? As always I love to hear your recommendations either here in the comments or over on social media. I would especially love to hear about any Christmassy recommendations you might have lined up for next month!
My love affair with perfume goes back as far as I can remember. Even as a little girl I remember making the most disgusting concoctions of crushed up rose petals and water from an old bucket in the garden and trying to flog it as perfume to my friends. They were never too keen. Funny that. Then later of course came the scent drenched years of my teenagehood where I would spend far too many hours trying out any sample I could lay my hands on in Boots. More was more. The smellier the better. I seem to remember graduating from The Body Shop Dewberry to the sickly Exclamation! before moving on to my first ‘real’ perfume Lou Lou. Those were the days! I’m getting a headache just thinking about it!
Over the years I’ve had quite a few signature scents – Gio by Giorgio Armani (which I don’t think even exists anymore?) then came Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (although way back when it just called Jean Paul Gaultier by Jean Paul Gaultier. Remember back in the 90s when designers were name mad? Like, how many times can we fit the designers name on to one product?!) Then came the Chanel years with Allure, Chance and Mademoiselle Coco all taking their turns. Then for a long time I wore nothing but Daisy by Marc Jacobs and because I loved it so much people (very kindly) would buy me it as a gift so I ended up wearing it for years.
But in recent months, I have found myself switching and changing between the perfumes I have without really having a signature scent for the first time ever. I had Decadence by Marc Jacobs, Chance Eau Fraiche by Chanel, Paul Smith Women, Paul Smith Rose, Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana, Daisy by Marc Jacobs and a cheap as chips but really very lovely Zara perfume called White all on the go. It felt like time to find my new signature scent. Something completely new. Something a bit more grown up. And it felt like time to pop my Jo Malone cherry.
The problem (well, if you can really call it a problem) with Jo Malone is that I find the sheer number of scents they have completely overwhelming and that’s even before you go in the whole art of fragrance combining that they are so famous for to create your own bespoke scent. I loved so many of the fragrances that it really was difficult to choose one let alone think about layering combinations. After much sniffing though, I went for the Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne and treated myself to the bath oil too. Such a luxury. Jo Malone baths are my new most favourite thing.
I was hoping this modern classic could be my new signature scent. But after a few weeks of wearing it, as much as I love it – and I really do love it because it so unlike any other scent on my dressing table – it’s just not The One, you know?
So I’m back to square one. Still on the hunt for a new signature scent.
Clothing and lifestyle brand We Are All are pleased to announce their launch into the European market. Having launched in Australia earlier this year, the brand’s debut collection is a children’s lifestyle range for boys and girls aged from 2 to 12 years old. The new collection includes 28 individual pieces and 4 styles of sneakers and sandals. We were lucky enough to be sent some gorgeous outfits for my youngest two girls to review here on my blog.
The founders of We Are All, Rebecca Amos and Chantel Phillips-Hill, are well known in industry circles, having worked collectively worked on many of the best Australian and international lifestyle brands. The collection was inspired by 15 years of global travel for fashion and design by both women, who have used that knowledge to create an Australian owned brand with a global perspective.
In fact, both women developed the idea of We Are All during an annual trip to Maison & Objet in Paris, so they say that for them, the brand was conceived in France but born in Australia. The brand’s connection with Europe is clear as Rebecca and Chantel’s desire to have a presence in this market.
The grey Charlotte T-Shirt Dress as worn by my ten year old has a great loose fit and perfect for layering. She especially loves the metallic dragonfly print on the front. We Are All have a real focus on custom prints and the Loretta pants as worn by my eight year old are a perfect example of that in this bright pink floral design. They are a lovely lightweight material with an elasticated waist and cuffs so really comfortable to play in. The Fae T-shirt is a perfect match in pink with floral placement print. The clothes really are beautifully made too so not only do they look fabulous but they are very hard wearing too. Everything that you want from a kids clothing range I think.
When I first saw the collection, my first thought was that it felt like such a breath of fresh air. I loved the bright colours and patterns. My youngest two are eight and ten so it is great to see a kids range like this that still cater for their ages. I don’t know about you but I often find that this inbetweeny age is sometimes a bit forgotten and I love that the range goes right up to age 12.
The launch collection is available through the We Are All with free shipping to the UK during the month of November using code FREEUK and if you sign up to their newsletter, you will receive 10% off your first order.
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review we were kindly gifted the outfits shown from We Are All