Review round up – home & hygiene

Review round up - home and hygiene

It’s time for the monthly review round up – this month I am featuring a range of home and hygiene products.

Persil and Comfort

Persil and Comfort

Did you know that 73 per cent of new mums think their babies have a better wardrobe than them? This is definitely the case in this house – my kids have far better (and far more) clothes than me. A recent survey commissioned by Persil Non Bio and Comfort Pure shows that in general, mums feel they have less time to get ready and lack inspiration about what to wear. It can be hard when you have little ones to consider can’t it?

I have been using Persil Non Bio Small & Mighty recently in an attempt to return Jacob’s school shirts to their former white selves. You really don’t need to use much of the liquid to get a great result, and I have found that when we have a particularly tough stain it works well as a pre treatment option too. 

I am comfortable using both the Persil Non Bio and the Comfort Pure on all the childrens clothes – it doesn’t irritate Max’s eczema, the scent is soft and gentle and they leave clothes feeling silky smooth.

Dettol

Dettol

Most of us have heard of Dettol, and their surface cleanser has been in use here since before Gemma was born. However, we have never tried the surface wipes or the no-touch handwash system, so we were keen to give these a go. 

The surface wipes are definitely worth a go – especially after having read an inforgraphic stating that 60% of UK dishcloths are contaminated with E.Coli. And you use those to wipe down your worktops? Bleurghhhh. I am definitely going with surface wipes from now on – they do the same job as a spray, but are much more hygienic and can just be thrown away after use to prevent the spread of germs.

As for the no-touch handwash system – it’s a total winner. It prevents so many of the issues we have with other handwashes – the big splodges that my kids manage to get all over the sink and surrounding areas, the fact that they use far too much, and the difficulty we face when hands are dirty but you need a clean hand free to press the soap dispenser? None of these are a problem any more – the kids simply hold their hands underneath the dispenser to release a good amount of soap to allow them to wash their hands properly – without making a big mess!

Teangi tea tree shampoo & conditioner

Teangi shampoo and conditioner

2,000 parents of school age children were asked what they dread most out their return to school and six out of ten agreed that the idea of dealing with head lice was by far the worst implication of walking back through the school gates this autumn. The thought of having to de-louse the whole family, the messy, smelly treatments and the hours spent combing and checking – it’s a nightmare. Those of you with school aged children will know just what a problem head lice are. 

Teangi tea tree shampoo and conditioner contain tea tree, which is a natural insect repellent – making it ideal to use as a preventative measure against head lice. It also works as an antiseptic with anti-bacterial properties keeping hair clean and free of dandruff, and the conditioner has a nourishing and moisturising effect, making tangles a thing of the past. Plus, it smells nice too, and is priced at a very reasonable £3.85 for the shampoo and £3.45 for the conditioner, both available from Amazon.

Maizy cat litter

Maizy cat litter

We got 2 kittens a couple of months ago, and so have been using cat litter since then as they were not big enough to go outdoors. They are now – but that’s a whole other post!

Maizy litter is 100% biodegradable and earth friendly, which is appealing to me, and makes it a lot easier to dispose of. It’s made from puffed corn kernels which are super absorbent and do a good job at masking odours. It ‘clumps’ well too, so you can easily remove wet/dirty areas without the need to remove more litter than necessary. When you do need to change the lot, it’s dust free, which is really great – there is nothing worse than pourinf litter into a tray only to end up breathing half of it in.

The cats accepted it easily, despite having had a very different brand previously, and although they now go out, we will be keeping this in the cupboard for when we go away on holiday. You can find Maizy cat litter at Pets Corner. 

Viakil bathroom cleaner

Viakil bathroom spray

Limescale can be a problem in pretty much every bathroom up and down the country. I have recently been trying out Viakil (available from Amazon, Tesco and Ocado), in both a liquid and spray form.

The spray is of course, a super handy formula for quick, daily bathroom jobs. Not only does it help with limescale around the taps, but it works as a general bathroom cleaner too – just spray on and rinse off.

Viakil bathroom spray

Viakil limescale remover

Excuse the photo of my horrible soap dispenser and taps before – I blame the children, who are huge fans of flicking toothpaste everywhere – but you can see the difference after a quick wipe down with the Viakil! The spray is just so convenient to have to hand for all those bathroom spills.

The Viakil liquid is also great to have for the tougher jobs. We have used it recently for our shower head – we removed it, soaked it in the Viakil and rinsed – and it’s like having a new shower again! It’s the limescale you can’t see that sometimes needs some attention. 

Project 365, days 257 – 263

Project 365, days 257 - 263I can’t believe I have made it this far through Project 365. I really thought I would have given up by now, but I am really enjoying it and taking a daily photo has become habit, and a lovely way of recording the ordinary moments. So, without further ado, here is our week.

Day 257 – A relaxed Sunday afternoon in the playhouse. Max took his deck chair in there and sat watching the older 2 playing.

Day 258 – Jacob has finally lost his first tooth. Unfortunately he managed to swallow it, so a note had to be written for the tooth fairy. Luckily she accepted it ;)

Day 259 – Today was our 8 year wedding anniversary and I received these beautiful flowers.

Day 260 – A rare photo of me with Gemma and Jacob.

Day 261 – Gemma is suddenly looking so grown up. I can’t believe she is in Year 4 now.

Day 262 – I really didn’t want to wake this sleepy head up for the school run. He has a bit of a cold and cough and clearly needed the sleep.

Day 263 – A haircut with a cup of hot chocolate. I told you she was looking grown up!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

The top 5 reasons why you should sponsor a child

Most people are familiar with child sponsorship, and when they see adverts on TV or in magazines they may even feel that sponsoring a child would be something they would like to do. But sometimes doubts about how effective it is can creep in and stop people making that final commitment.

Child sponsorship has enormous and tangible benefits for disadvantaged children and their communities. Here are the top five reasons why you should sponsor a child.

  1. Providing Essentials For The Disadvantaged. We sometimes take it for granted that we can turn on a tap and get fresh water, or nip down to the supermarket to top up the bread and milk. Millions and millions of people around the world have no access to safe, clean water and the food they have is of poor quality and its supply precarious. Without these essentials life is difficult to maintain and the effects of malnutrition and dirty water can be life threatening. When you sponsor a child you’re helping fund projects to build and maintain wells and water sources for villages. You’re helping supply food and also train and educate people to be able to grow and produce their own food, helping them become independent from charity.
  2. Helping Deliver Education To All. A good education is one sure fire way to break the cycle of poverty. In many developing nations access to education is limited, especially for girls. Research has revealed that if a girl completes an extra year of secondary school education her eventual earnings are boosted by up to 25%. Importantly children who are well educated go on to prize and encourage education in their own children, thus lifting generations out of poverty; a great benefit that you help make a reality when you sponsor a child.
  3. Saving Lives. In the developing world child mortality is higher and life expectancy is lower. There are many factors that contribute to this, but limited medical facilities are a major part of it. By choosing to sponsor a child you’ll be helping to build medical centres, train staff and provide vital medicines. Preventive measures are also important, such as raising awareness of proper sanitation, sexual health and practices that can limit preventable illnesses. Your sponsorship helps fund such educational initiatives.
  4. Helping More Than One Child. Child sponsorship programmes aren’t direct one to one sponsorships. When you sponsor a child the money you generously donate every month is pooled together with that of others to fund projects in your sponsored child’s community. This means that when you sponsor one child you are in effect sponsoring many more. In fact on average for every child sponsored an additional 55 benefit.
  5. Making A Connection. Child sponsorship is definitely about helping disadvantaged children, but sponsors also see a wonderful benefit. By choosing to sponsor a child you’re doing more than handing out cash, you’re stepping into a meaningful relationship. You’ll get to exchange letters and photos with your sponsored child, watching them grow and develop and see the incredible impact you’re having on their future. For some this develops into a lifelong friendship, and some sponsors even visit their sponsored child in person several times.

If you want to change someone’s life, sponsor a child. The benefits for them are many and almost immeasurable, and you can feel like you’re making a real impact on the world.

Find out more about how to sponsor a child.

Plan UK - sponsor a child Photo Credit: United Nations Photo via Compfight cc

This post is in association with Plan UK.

The bedtime routine

Bedtime has always followed a strict routine in this house, and for the most part it seems to work really well. Of course there are days when it all goes out the window – nights out, special occasions, holidays etc but on an average day the following happens:

  • School pick up. I collect the bigger 2 from school at 3.30pm, or 4.30pm if they are doing an after school club (football, computer or Lego club usually!) We walk home and chat about their day. I often let Max walk too, it’s nice for him to be out of the pushchair, and our route home is pretty much road free.
  • When we get home, the kids get any reading books or homework out of the way. It’s really hard to know when to fit this in – it seems a bit harsh getting them to do it straight after school but the walk home freshens their minds, and if we leave it too late then it’s just a huge battle.
  • Dinner time. We all eat together between 5 and 5.30pm. The kids are fairly good eaters (with the exception of Jacob who will tell you he doesn’t like anything except beans on toast. This is not true). Max eats absolutley anything. Dinner tonight was sausage casserole with mash – we tend to eat fairly typical family meals, nothing too exotic.
  • After dinner play. Because the kids got their homework out of the way earlier, I am happy to let them play while I clear up the kitchen. They either play out on their bikes, go on the swings in the garden or get the colouring books out. Ocassionally they play Skylanders on the computer, but I try to limit this to once or twice a week.
  • Max bath time. Some nights I need to ferry Gemma and Jacob to various activities – swimming, Brownies or Beavers. This is squeezed in around Max’s bath time. He loves the bath and will happily splash about for a long time, tipping water over himself from a bucket and playing with the rubber ducks. 
  • Gemma and Jacob bath/shower time. Depending on time and the childrens preference, they will have a quick bath or a shower. They are at an age where they can do a lot of this themselves, which is really helpful when time is short!
  • Wind down time. All 3 of my children love books, so after bath time we will snuggle up on someones bed and read a bedtime story. Sometimes Gemma will read to us, but 9 times out of 10 they like to be read to. Max drinks his bedtime milk during story time.

Bedtime routine - reading

  • Bed time. Max will settle himself in the cot with his zebra comforter and go straight to sleep. Gemma and Jacob are allowed their bedside lamps on for a bit and will read (or look at the pictures) for a little while before lights out. 
  • Adult evening. Because this is such a tried and tested routine, it means that once the kids are in bed, we know we have a good portion of the evening ahead of us, to catch up on work, watch TV or have a bath. During the week it’s just me here as Kevin works away, hence a lot of my blogging gets done after the childrens bedtime!  All being well the kids will sleep for 12-13 hours.

Do you have a bedtime routine? What works for you? Have you ever had problems establishing a routine?

A letter from Santa

I know, I know – it’s only September. But with 3 kids to buy for, as well as a large extended family, I start to plan for the festive season nice and early – that way I avoid the mad mid December rush and heaving crowds. So when Mrs Claus herself got in touch recently to chat about personalised letters from Santa, I wasn’t phased by the time of year, and I couldn’t wait to order Max his very first letter from the big man.

My Letter from Santa Claus aims to ignite the magic of Christmas with a very personal letter from Santa. I have had ‘personalised’ letters before, but in all honestly, the only ‘personal’ part is that the childs name has been added. I was pleased to see that My Letter from Santa Claus is very different. If you choose the Premium letter option (priced at £5.69), you are prompted to enter a lot of information about the child, such as a present they have asked for, name of a brother/sister/friend/pet, age and a special event from the last 12 months. This is all translated into your letter, and so makes it a very personal option – which is exactly what a child would expect from Santa!

My Letter from Santa

The letter arrives in a handwritten envelope with North Pole postmarks and a wax seal – exactly what you imagine a letter from Santa to look like to be honest! Inside, you get so much more than just a letter – you get a whole North Pole experience. As well as the gorgeous letter, detailing all the information you requested in a way that children can read, understand and enjoy, you also get a personalised Nice List certificate and a Santa Stop Here poster to colour in.

My Letter from Santa

My Letter from Santa

I love all the little details that have been added from the information I gave. Santa speaks of how he saw the elves in the workshop making a present for Jacob, and congratulates Max on learning to walk, asking about his favourite pair of shoes. It’s so personal, so beautifully written and such a special thing for children to treasure. It is by far the most wonderful personalised Santa letter I have come across, and I will definitely be ordering 2 more for Gemma and Jacob closer to Christmas.

Ordering from the website is so easy – you just add your details and address, the childs name, gender and personal info you want included, and hit order. It takes 5 minutes, and arrives really quickly too. As well as the premium option, there are other options available – A standard letter from Santa (3.99), an e-letter (£2.69) which can be ordered right up until Christmas Eve, and even the option to write your own letter (£5.99).

Have you ordered letters from Santa before? What do you think of them, and is it something you will be doing this year?

I’groo bodysuit review

If you are anything like me, you are always on the lookout for unusual and quirky baby clothes. I love Max to be wearing something a little bit different – and that’s where I’groo come in.

A British baby clothing company, they are proud of the fact that everything is sourced in the UK, made from 100% cotton and smooth print techniques. The products are designed to be quirky, fun and cheeky and to appeal to both adults and children alike – wonder if that will mean no more getting dressed battles? Can’t guarantee that one!

I'groo review

We were sent the ‘Born with Superpowers’ bodysuit to try out, priced at a very reasonable £7.95 Available in sizes 0-3, 3-6 and 6-12 months, the sizing is very generous – Max is 16 months and the 6-12 months fits comfortably. You can definitely tell it is made from 100% cotton – not only is it soft and supple but it washes really well and doesn’t irritate Max’s sensitive skin. Even the labels have been well thought out – they are on the exterior of the clothing so as not rub. The usual 3 poppers at the bottom of the bodysuit make for easy peasy nappy changes too.

I have received several comments on this bodysuit when we have been out and about – lots of people have mentioned how unusual it is, and how nice it is to see a slogan top that isn’t over the top or too grown up. I also love the colours, as it makes the bodysuit so versatile and able to be worn with almost anything, from jeans to shorts, and Max has also worn it in bed – it works really well with a Grobag, as it keeps his legs cool but his arms covered.

I’groo currently have a special offer running – you can get 10% off when you order from www.igroo.co.uk with Voucher code GR124. What are you waiting for? Go and treat your little one, you know you want to…