After Life ( Netflix TV series) – review

Ok so I would like to get it out there first that in truth I’ve never been a huge Ricky Gervais fan (which stems from seeing a clip of one of his stand up shows where he takes the piss about M.E ……….no, I’m not just a bit bloody tired!) anyway, I wanted to be honest and say that up front now.

My son however is a MASSIVE fan of him and watches (and re watches) both The Office and Extras some of which I love……..favourites being the Sir Ian McKellan and the Ross Kemp ( super army soldiers) episodes. I even a few years ago managed to get BBC audience tickets for a recording of him doing the David Brent song to be used in a show, so you know that shows a mothers love doesn’t it? On said outing my son lost his wallet and had to back into the studio to look for it, everyone else had gone and because we had been delayed leaving we were lucky enough to see Ricky Gervais come down the corridor past us………………………we didn’t stop and ask for a picture but did the casual look and nod instead………..honestly I think my son would have died of embarrassment had I asked for a pic but looking back I really should have for his benefit at the time.

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N:rem sleep system review

As most regulars will know I have had M.E for the last 6 years or so and what comes with that ( amongst a long list of symptoms) is constant chronic muscular pain which is not helpful when trying to get a good night’s sleep ( something that eludes me most nights).

I was recently given the chance to review a ‘sleep system’ that gives you the option of choosing one personal to your own needs. For me most of my pain is in my neck, shoulders, back and then my lower legs and ankles, with my ankles being the worst and therefore I use a walking stick to help with balance issues and to help me be up and around for longer periods than I would normally be able to manage. With my neck it just seems impossible for me to relax my muscles and regularly use heat pads ( along with very strong pain medications) to help ease it a little.

So, when I got the sleep system delivered I read through the information that was sent with it to help you put the sponge pieces in the right place for you. I was told that this could take a couple of adjustments but i was really lucky to choose the right placement for me from the first night.

The system in made up of 5 sponge tablets of different support levels from ‘super soft’ through to ‘firm’ The information gives you an idea of where to place them in relation to where you need the most or least support.

My placement from top (head level) to bottom (feet level) went as follows:

super soft

Soft

super soft

medium

soft

these are the tablets for a single bed
these are the tablets for a single bed

They come in an easy to remember colour code so if you do have to change them up a bit it could be done quite easily, but for me this worked very well.

I am normally quite sceptical about these sorts of things, especially when they try and promise a great night’s sleep however, this one did surprise me a little. From the first evening I felt very comfortable on this and felt the top half really took a lot of normal pressure off my neck, shoulders, and even my hips as I usually lay on my sides most of the night. So in all honesty I really slept quite well ( for me anyway) on that first night. The next day I had a day where I needed to go back to bed in the afternoon ( something I have to do on a regular basis) for a few hours. I realised when I woke up that I was actually in the same position I had originally settled in, and I can tell you this NEVER happens!!

I did get used to the system very quickly and I can say that for a few days that week I seemed to manage a little better, yes the pain was always there as usual but as I was getting more quality sleep than I am normally used to, even if it was just an hour or two it did make me feel like I was able to do slightly more than I normally can.

Begrudgingly I had to give the system back after a week and funnily my husband has remarked that I have started to toss and turn again like I used too, so it certainly was doing something for me!

But for those of you who may suffer with disturbed sleep, or chronic pain that then affects your sleep this could proof suitable for your needs too. Having checked out their website they also offer a monthly payment for the system so you can spread the cost and equals to £1 a night- not bad for a decent night’s kip.

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**DISCLAIMER: I was given the use of this system free of charge for a short time for the purposes of a review, however all views are my own.

 

Chicago Town Takeaway pizza- review

I am surrounded by boys in this house, teenage boys with the biggest one of all being my husband! Anyone out there with teenagers will know apart from the forced grunts of Hello and Goodbye the only time you see them is when they are down raiding the fridge and kitchen cupboards for food.

Therefore, when I was recently contacted to try the new ‘Takeaway’ style pizzas from Chicago Town I jumped at the chance- let’s face it it’s pizza and generally 90% of what teens will agree to eat anyway.

Although other flavours were available we opted for these two
Although other flavours were available we opted for these two

I will admit I personally am not a lover of frozen pizzas in any shape or form as I find they are overly processed and generally have bases that could break windows. Our favourite pizza takeaway would always be Dominoes and they would generally retail around £15 mark for a large size, which to be honest we always buy 2 large as not only will they eat it that night but they also like a few slices left over for the next day ( see what I mean………..typical teens).

So we were sent some vouchers to go and buy our own choice of Chicago Town takeaway range which are available in most large supermarkets and will be priced around the £4.29. However, when we found our’s in Asda they were actually on offer for £2.97 each which was a great saving from the regular price. We opted for the cheese melt with a stuffed crust and a chicken and bacon with a normal crust, although there are also pepperoni and a sloppy joe variety and a limited edition pulled pork available too.

The biggest difference with these pizzas is the fact that the base is not pre cooked and therefore your teeth will be safe from any crunch damage you would get from a regular frozen style pizza. So when you pop these in the oven it is the first time the dough has been cooked and that in itself helps to keep the dough fresh and soft and very like a fresh takeaway pizza. I was expecting the stuffed crust to have that very processed almost ‘plastic’ after taste with very ‘ketchup’ style flavour to the stuffing but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The sauce that filled the dough was exactly the same as the pizza sauce on the base and therefore just enhanced the flavour and certainly didn’t leave an after taste at all. The dough was surprisingly light and airy and not heavy like you would expect from a deep pan style base.

How they looked when cooked- really resemble takeaway pizzas I think
How they looked when cooked- really resemble takeaway pizzas I think and  great size too for their ‘large’ as you can see

Although we only tried the two flavours I would certainly be looking now to try the others. The price is certainly at the top end of the market and in line with the fresh Pizza Express pizzas that are available from supermarkets, however, as when we sourced ours they were on offer for less that £3! That would mean I could buy 5 of these in comparison with 1 takeaway from Dominoes ( or 3 at full price). Both my teens gave them the thumbs up and said that they would be more than happy to have these when they had their mates around rather than order takeaway as they found very little difference between them.

Overall we were very pleasantly surprised at how nice these Chicago Town Takeaway pizzas were although I think I would be tempted to wait until they were on offer to stock up on a few, but you don’t have to take my word for it why don’t you give them a go yourselves.

 

***DISCLOSURE- I was sent vouchers to try this product however, all views are my own

 

A hidden treasure found in Greenwich!

I stumbled upon this little hidden treasure in Greenwich a week or two ago. I hadn’t been down to the market ( which I love to mooch around) for quite some time, but I was chaperoning my son on a photo shoot there and he happened to be in the next shop!

Mighty Fine Choc and Fudge!

Granted it doesn’t look too eye grabbing, however, this is a new venture after starting on a stall in Spittlefield Market. This is their 1st premises and they do make everything FRESH in their kitchen here!

This is what caught our eye initially……….

YES THAT IS A BATHTUB FULL OF MINI EGGS!!!!!

Enough to entice anyone in I should think. They have a great competition running at the moment (probably a week or two left) where you have to guess how many eggs in the tub……………BRILLIANT!

Try a guess on their Twitter feed @chocandfudge

I’m going to guess but send my OH if I win as he weighs much more than me LOL

I cheekily asked to try some of their signature makes, salted caramel fudge, milk and dark chocolate, chocolate fudge to name a few……………………………..

but check out the pics below to see some of the more unusual makes

just some of the fudge on display and freshly made
Check out some of the more unusual makes
Some freshly made just out of their kitchen!!!

I feel it is important to help promote local businesses in these far from easy economic times, especially one as ‘feel good’ as this little treasure.

The staff were VERY friendly and in fact encouraged you to come in and have a taste test before you buy- that’s how strongly they believe in their products.

Their name basically says what it is on the tin…………...Mighty Fine Choc and Fudge………in my humble opinion it totally lives up to the name. My OH totally endorses their dark chocolate saying it was much nicer than the regular Bournville! I am a total milk chocolate snob with only Galaxy and Diary milk meeting my high criteria, however, I tried their milk chocolate and biscuit slab which just melted in my mouth leaving no bitter cocoa aftertaste and absolutely went down a storm with a good ol’ cuppa.

My favourite had to be the Salted Caramel fudge, as fudge should be, sweet and sickly but oh soooooo moreish! So if you are watching your weight this probably isn’t the shop for you , but for a total treat or a great pressie for someone with a sweet tooth then this is the place to go.

I will go back, in fact I have to go back as they had told me about one of their signature makes that they unfortunately didn’t have at the time…………..CHOCOLATE BACON!!!

Yes you heard it here first, chocolate bacon??? I can see how this would work but I will DEFINITELY need to try.

Be warned @chocandfudge I will be back!

 

DISCLAIMER: I was not approached by this company for a review I simply saw it and tried and wanted to promote. I have not received any payment for this review and the opinions are totally my own view!

 

Back to earth with a bump!

Yes, the story of my Mum in Meltdown life.

I have spent the last 3 weeks swanning around looking feeling pretending to be a yummy mummy in my brand new Volvo XC60 ( on loan only).

I have enjoyed my bum being warmed by the heated seats, the fantastic CD/DVD/Digital TV, the cruise control, the comfortable leather interior the genius Blindspot indicators and even the reversing camera. I have driven safely across over 400 miles both on longer journeys and lots of urban shorts, with the standard safety that Volvo insists on (as most of the safety features, Blis, side impact, extra airbags etc coming as standard).

Yet as I look out of my window today I see this…….

YES it’s the empty space where it used to sit!! They came yesterday and took it from me………my time with it was up *weeps into my coffee*!!

As you can see I will be back to driving my regular family ‘cab’ car again, with a very cold bum and no fancy extras.

Hey, who was I kidding anyway…………..me- a yummy mummy?…………dream on!

THANK YOU VOLVO FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY DRIVING IN STYLE AND SAFETY…………………IT’S BEEN FUN!

Does my bum look big in this?

This is a question all us women like to know, however this girly doesn’t have to worry about this as her sizeable back end is VERY cleverly disguised!

I’m talking about my XC60 of course ( I’m well aware my bum probably looks big in everything!!).

I have this Volvo on loan for 3 weeks to use as a standard family car and see what I like ( or not) about it.

It’s a big meaty monster, sturdy as you would expect from Volvo and pimped to the hilt. Side by side on my small drive this thing is the same length as my good ol’ Zafira ( which holds extra seats or an estate size boot).

On first look at the Volvo I had expected the boot to be small but deep. I don’t know why, I just expected it looking at the shape of the car.

However, this little baby hides a huge backside inside her cool exterior…….

You can also half the size if it by putting up a divider so your lonely 1 bag of shopping does not roll around. But best of all this bottom panel can be locked, so if the kids have their games consoles on a journey and you want to leave them in the car, you simply hide them under the panel and it locks!! Even if someone broke into the back of the car this bottom panel remains locked………brilliant!

So yesterday the boys went to school and me and my OH headed to the coast for the day! I know, I know hand me the ‘Bad Mother of the Year’ award now……………..but the trip was combined with Christmas shopping, so we could hardly take the boys with us- right?

My OH drove so I could get some snaps of inside, granted they were taken on my phone and on the move so not the best.

The control panel…….everything from sat nav, digital TV, DVD and CD player, phone, reverse camera……oh and the heated seat controls LOL

Remember with these pics I WAS ON THE MOVE people!!

Now as a shorty myself I tend to get a restricted view out the rear view mirror and this car is no exception. However, they have made an easy, straight forward and frankly commonsense answer to this….

The normal view with headrests as usual in the way…..

Then……

Ta Dah……..the view with NO headrests!

Yes there is actually a button to put the headrests down!! Now when you press this button the headrests do flop down with urgency…….. so beware you don’t forget and do it with someone in the back. But I will admit I have had ‘bad thoughts’ about these headrests. My ‘Bad Parent’  laughingly thought these would actually come in handy  as a short, sharp. shock tactic to stop arguing teens in the back!!! What do you think? C’mon all you peeps with teens know what I’m talking about LOL. However, before you actually contact social services I haven’t tried it……………….just thought it!!

The car itself on a long run out was definitely comfortable. The sat nav worked a treat and we even had the radio going in the backround ( BTW the sat nav dips the sound of the radio so you can still hear the instructions properly). We had a play around with the Cruise Control which was definitely interesting and took a while to get used to not putting your foot on the accelerator!

Overlook the 75mph please, we were just testing it!

Oh and the Blis ( blind spot info system) worked a treat.

And although we tried our hardest to fill the boot with our shopping from Santa,I’m afraid it looks rather pitiful in the big bum of this baby!!

I now have just over 1 week left with this car *watery eyes and sniffs* and I still have things to test and try ( and I honestly don’t mean using the collapsing headrests on my teens……………….that would be just ‘WRONG’!)

OMG How the other half live!

No I haven’t won the Lottery ( I’m still waiting on that) however, I am getting the chance to drive something you may buy if you did win the Lottery!

Ok I will explain. I was recently offered the chance to ‘Review’ a brand new car for 3 weeks!!! YES a brand new car, from the lovely Volvo people, with a full tank of petrol( or actually diesel in this case) and both myself and my OH fully insured to drive it.

Well lets face I would have been a complete mug to turn this opportunity down- wouldn’t I?

So this car was delivered to my door yesterday evening and the driver took me through a quick brief of all the gadgets, buttons and controls.

To say this car has been pimped is an understatement!!

The car itself is a Volvo XC60……………I realise that will probably mean nothing to most of you so I thought I would show you instead:

I want you to overlook the rather BRIGHT blue colour!

This was a quick snap taken when I went out in it today……………yes I have already put it to use! This picture does not really do it justice so I will be posting better ones over the next few weeks, as I will be posting about how ‘we’ as a family find the car for town journeys, shopping and days out, how family friendly it is, and how we all get on with the gadgets…………..and believe me there are many!!!

Sat Nav

CD and DVD player

Digital TV ( I know……….AMAZING!)

Cruise control

Bluetooth technology to sync my phone ready for hands free!

Sun Roof

Tinted back windows

Heated Seats people!!! HEATED SEATS

That’s before I start on the safety elements on the car- all of which I will go into in later posts. Today on my 1st run out I happened to notice a little orange light on the inside of the door opposite the wing mirror???? Now I kept seeing this light coming on and off and couldn’t work out why!! Then the penny dropped…………………..its a warning light indicating that someone is overtaking and in my blind spot!!! GENIUS

Now as an ex driving instructor some of the available gadgets do go against the grain at first sight- the reversing camera for one! I’m a true believer that if you going to drive a car then learn to do it properly without relying on anything to do it for you!! HOWEVER, I’ve got to say I found myself looking anyway as it comes on automatically……….so I may get converted yet.

So, to say I am a happy chappy is an understatement.

Notice the BIG smile………I didn’t actually realise I had colour co-ordinated myself to the car!!!! DUH

For the next 3 weeks I will be looking as though I’m living like the other (rich) half do!! Blimey, who knows I could make a ‘Yummy Mummy’ yet……………………………………………………..OK don’t hold your breath on that one.

Review- Le Toy Van Car and Mat set

I was asked at the end of summer if I would review a selection of toys from  a company called Doll Houses via Big Game Hunters at http://www.dollshouses.co.uk

The toys on offer were really for children who were much younger than my boys, however, a friend of mine agreed to review them as her youngest was the perfect age group as he has just started in reception at school.

I chose the Le Toy Van Car Playmat which retails at £27.50, and the Le Toy Van London Car Set which is £13.00.

Delivery was swift and the items were very well packaged together.

This is what was in the package!

 

The cars still boxed
The mat unrolled

On first glance when I opened the roll mat I thought it seemed a little thin considering the price! However, it has a non slip back on it which compensated as most modern family houses have wooden or laminate flooring and the backing would be very practical.

The cars seemed in keeping with most other wooden car toys aimed at that agegroup, but I thought the London set was a great  idea as it was just after the Olympics and most adults and kids could relate to it.

So I handed the toys to my friend whose children seemed to enjoy immediately. She has 2 boys and 1 girl, 1 boy just started school and 1 just started secondary school with the girl in the middle!! She did pass on that they all had a play with it so we can certainly say it’s a universal toy suitable for slightly older children than it is targeted to as well.

SO HERE’S WHAT WAS SAID……….

 

‘At first glance this mat seems rather expensive but when I compared it to others on the market I would say it offers better value. It lays flat as soon as it is rolled out and has an anti slip backing which is great for our wooden floors! The pile is flat too, which made it far easier for my children to move the cars around. I particularly liked the attention to detail e.g. Disabled parking bays and bus stops.
The London car set that came with it was great too as my children immediately identified them (living in greater London). There was only one small design fault. The steering wheel had been painted on the left! My 8 year old daughter spotted this straight away which is a shame, as the car mat is designed for right handed vehicles.
Overall I would say they were both very good value for money!!’

So have a look at their website here as they cater for both boys and girls with what looks like good quality wooden toys. With Christmas coming this company is worth a look.
DISCLAIMER: these products were sent for review purposes only. All opinions are for a candid and truthful review of the product. No other payment was received with regard for this review.

Journey 2 -The Mysterious Island


I was sent a copy of the newly released Journey 2 The Mysterious Island to review over the half term, however earlier in the year my boys and I attended the screening for this film. Having no real expectations for this sequel to Journey to the Centre of the Earth, we were pleasantly surprised to come away having enjoyed it!!

So premise of the story if you don’t know:

Sean gets crypted messages from a ‘mysterious island’, Hank ( stepdad) helps him uncover the code and accompanies him find the island. Gabato and his daughter help them get there by using their helicopter. Long story short…….they get there by default, find Sean’s long lost grandfather (Caine) and have to find a way off the island as it’s sinking!! Cue the Nautilus/ Atlantis slant.

Anyway, all in all a great film to entertain the kids over the coming half term. Action, adventure and a splash of comedy makes for a kids film that even the parents may admit to enjoying for what it is. Michael Caine is great as the long lost grandfather and the initial strained relationship between him and Hank will have you smirking. Look out for the taut pecs and berries routine………don’t say you weren’t warned!

The film has been rated as a PG and has a running time of 94mins

Prices will vary depending on both the retailer and package ( dvd/ blueray/ or triple play)

DISCLOSURE- I was sent the DVD free of charge for review purposes only, however, all views expressed are my own.

Vimto Hot Mulled Berry Punch – a review

 

I was sent a bottle of this before Christmas in order to test out a non alcoholic alternative to mulled wine.

I like normal Vimto and I’m rather partial to a cup of mulled wine to get in the Christmas spirit. So I thought this would be right up my street!

 

“…Vimto’s much-loved original flavor has been blended with an enticing concoction of aromatic cloves, warming cinnamon and sweet nutmeg to pack a seasonal punch. Just add hot water for a warming non-alcoholic drink or use as a mixer to create a hot winter cocktail…”

Ok I know I’m a bit late for the Christmas rush but life truly got in the way over December and although I worked my way through half the bottle before Christmas I haven’t gotten around to telling you all about it until now……………….sorry.

Now when I first made this drink up I was a little worried as I found the smell to be a little overpowering. However, as a lover of flavoured teas I had a feeling the smell would be stronger than the taste……..and I was right!

At first taste I was a little disappointed as I thought it was just a cup of hot blackcurrant. Then the taste of the mulled spices kicked in and I was hooked. It did really have the taste of mulled wine without the worry of whether you could actually drive home!

The limited edition was available over Christmas in Tesco’s for £1.89 a bottle.

If we are lucky they may have some still left! I have still some of my bottle and to be honest it is a lovely alternative to tea and coffee as a winter warmer drink. So I will enjoy what I have left…………..until the next time.