Thursday, 27 November 2014

'The Dinosaur that Pooped...' series by by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter - Review and Christmas Giveaway!

Just in time for Christmas I have three rather naughty, but also quite clever and very very funny books to show you (and at the end you'll have a chance to win your own set). Quite some time back I heard that two of the cheeky chaps from the band McFly had put their hand to writing children's books but never got around to getting them (partly due to my sensitivity to Ethan using words like 'bum' and 'butt' but we'll go in to that more a bit later) - I'm so glad we have had the chance to read them, though, as there's actually much more to them than just poo (admittedly it's a pretty big part of it).
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the McFly boys due to a school friend being a massive fan - I've been in to rock and metal music for as long as I can remember so joining her at McFly gigs, learning so much about them and knowing a lot of their songs word-for-word didn't come naturally to me. But looking back on it I do still remember those times as lovely and still remember far too much about that rowdy bunch of music makers.

Regarding me and my issues with books about poo and the word 'butt'... I used to swear quite a lot but, obviously, that turned in to not at all when Ethan was around. I've always been very aware, after having worked in schools myself, that it isn't just swear words that we need to worry about with our little ones - Words like bum, butt, fart, stupid and shut up are all things I've avoided with Ethan because I thought the longer until he started using them, the better, partly for my sake, partly for when he started school. That's not to say I have a problem with anyone else using those terms with their kids (I know some awesome parents who do), I'm just a bit prudish about it, though not really sure why... the end of this story is that Ethan's been in school for a few months and he uses most of those words now, haha, so I'm not anywhere near as worried about them, now, and as long as he knows they're cheeky, and not to say them to his teacher... well I've read books about dinos pooping, with him, so you can probably guess I'm not as worried now.

Anyway... yes, we're reviewing books aren't we!

Honestly, the baubles weren't placed deliberately - Totally random but rather well positioned don't you think, hehe.

'The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas' is the first of the trio of books - Put simply it's about a little boy called Danny (can't help but assume that's a cheeky dig at Tom and Dougie's fellow band-mate) who's very greedy and wants more and more for Christmas. So, obviously, Santa gives him a really hungry dinosaur instead! The dinosaur goes on to EAT Christmas, from the decorations and the tree, to the food and his Granny!

Obviously Danny is really sad, and begins to cry, so what does the Dino do to rectify the problem? Well there's only one answer, he poops it all back out and Danny promises that he won't be greedy again next year. The story is rather simple, but there's a good moral in there, don't be too greedy boys and girls! Of course, the odds of a dinosaur eating their family are low, but still, this way of telling them is likely to stick in their minds, haha.

The thing that I liked, the most, about the book is the rhyme - You can see that the guys have put their lyrical talents to good work in the writing of these pages, and I just Have to believe that there are influences of Dr Seuss in there; the way the rhymes flow and the use of language just screams Dr Seuss to me and that can Only be a good thing!

The second book that was brought out was 'The Dinosaur that Pooper a Planet' - As you'd expect, when a Dino eats your Christmas, Danny and Dinosaur are friends now. Mum warns them to make sure to take their packed lunch with them when they do to the space museum but they forget, Oh No!

Of course, as always happens, when Danny and Dinosaur spend their day at the museum they find a space ship with the perfect space in it for a Dino and a boy and before long they're in space... but Dinosaur gets hungry. It goes without saying that Dino eats the spaceship... and the moon... and the stars and don't forget some Martians too! Poor Danny gets really upset when he realises that they're stranded so there's only one thing that the dinosaur can do... oh yes, all of that food turns him into a giant poo rocket and before long they're home and that evening, when they gaze at the moon, they see his poop, turned in to a whole new planet!

This is the first of the books that Ethan and I read together and he thought it was fantastic, he giggled along and when it came to 'What was the only thing that Dinosaur could do?' he knew, with a resounding confidence, that the answer was POO! (and, of course, he hadn't read the other books so this proves that he was able to follow the story and guess what'd happen next). When I asked Ethan what he thought about the book he said 'It was so good because he did a poo' - I mean, goodness, what better a commendation can you get?

The newest of the three books (it's only been out a few months) is 'The Dinosaur That Pooped the Past' - This is, without a doubt, my favourite of the three books but I'll explain why in a mo.

In this story Danny and Dinosaur are celebrating Granny's '1008th' birthday and she cooks themm lots of green and sprouty food. Danny's not too fond but, lucky for him, Dino loves eat and he eats his own and Danny's too! After their veggie dinner they pop outside for a play on Granny's tree swing which just happens to be....  dun dun dunnnn a time travel device! They travel back to the time of the dinosaurs but the swing breaks and they get stuck there, they meet three new friends Dino Dude A, B and C who try to help as a volcano erupts and threatens to extinguish them all.... things don't go too well but, thankfully, Dinosaur has a plan and all of that green and gassy food from Granny helps him do such a big poop that it gets them moving at 80mph and sends them back to the future! Along the journey Dinosaur's poop invades various points of history before they end up back in Granny's garden, but the Dino Dudes have hitched a ride!

Now, many of you may have guessed why I liked this one so much, not sure? Well I love that the McFly guys (Yes, McFly as in 'Back to the Future') managed to incorporate time travel in to this one and they even reference the film by noting that Dinosaur reaches 80mph - It's a really nice tip of the hat to the grown-ups with this one.

The Seuss-like language continues through all of the books and I just love it as it feels a little like it evokes some of the similar magic. The stories are simple but they're lots of fun and kids are bound to laugh at poop... it seems we all must give in to that knowledge, as hard as it might be. Honestly, though, these are going to be some very popular bed time stories in this house and 'The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas' may well have to be our bedtime story on Christmas eve this year!

Now, it's been a long post, but you may remember that I mentioned a little giveaway? Well that's right, you can win not one, not two, but all three of the Dinosaur that pooped series in my giveaway!

As always, fill in the Rafflecopter below, t&c's are underneath and good luck! These really would make a great Christmas gift for a little one in your life!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
- You must be 18 or over to enter the giveaway

- The Giveaway is open within the UK only
- The winner will be picked, randomly, via Rafflecopter
- There will be one winner. 
- I will need your address once I tell you you're the winner, to pass along to the company who're providing the prize. 
- The winner will have 28 days to respond to my email informing them of the win, if they do not respond another winner will be drawn.
- The giveaway runs until midnight on 14th December.

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I was sent these books to consider for review purposes - All opinions are honest and are, entirely, my own

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Azii's First Infinity Crate - Animation theme for Novemer - Unboxing

It looks like Azii has caught the sub box addiction from me... though discovering geek themed sub boxes probably would have happened irrespective of my own boxes, haha. He's had another sub box for a few months and it's been good but not exciting enough to make me want to blog about it. But last month we got introduced to Infinity Crate (Thank you Sarah!) and Azii, instantly, asked his Mum if he could get a sub from her, for Christmas.

His first box, the November box, has an Animation theme which is a theme he's had from another company but we weren't too impressed with their offerings; we really had high hopes for Infinity crate being able to pull it off much more successfully. The thing that makes IC stand out from other sub boxes is the fact that they ask you to fill in various categories of likes, when you sign up, which they will try to stick to when they put the box together. Now, obviously, you're not always going to get things off your lists, it depends upon the theme and upon what they have available (for example, if you aren't a fan of animation then regardless of your likes, you're not going to be over the moon - Thankfully Azii likes animation a lot!)

Like I said, with a previous sub box we were a little underwhelmed by the items they included for animation but the moment we saw this card we had high hopes, just look at the great variety of  characters even on here!

And here's what he got! We were both very impressed with what's in there - I've, since, spoken to other subscribers and it really does sound like the boxes are varied and what Azii has got fits really well with his interests.

The thing that you can see rolled up in the pic above is this cute little print - I love it, there's just so many of our favourites on there plus others that we like that we might not consider absolute favourites, very cool. (I think everyone got this)

I believe that everyone got this little dude, too. Jake, from Adventure time, has appeared in previous sub boxes and he's really rather cool. I've not watched the full show but clips of it are funny and we think it's something Ethan will like in the future. Azii's not mad for it but he does like it, himself, too. Rather cute little plush keychain!

The Simpsons seem an obvious thing for an animation box but what's cool is that they've appeared in a pair of socks - They were rather prevalent in the box by the other company but in the form of items that we'll never really use. We like the Simpsons, we don't Love the Simpsons, but everyone needs socks and these are rather fitting for Azii (he's not a morning person). I think other subscribers got other pairs of socks, I've seen other Simpsons designs and Minnie ones (I kinda wish he'd got Minnie ones, I'd have loved to wear them, but I guess they had to base the items based on the fact that he's male).

We like the turtles and I always liked Leonardo because he's the purple turtle, haha. A cute little addition to the box - I love that there's a lot of different things in the box, even though the majority are lower value; when you only get one or two things, despite the value, you've got much smaller odds of loving things and if you get a large item, but you don't like it, there's very little else - Whereas, in this box, there's lots of little things and we've both liked all of them.

Another reason why it's good to get lots more smaller things is because Infinity Crates always have a Pop Vinyl figure, in them, and they're quite high value on their own. Azii got sent 'Perfect Cell' from Dragonball Z and Dragonball Z is a show that he listed as one of his likes, on his profile. I've never watched Dragonball Z but I loved the original Dragonball series so I think this is rather cool.
Azii was Very, Very happy about this.

And This was the best thing in the box - I absolutely Love this Pokemon tee with Charmander, Charmeleion and Charizard on it (you have to look closely to see all three!) This tee is definitely deriving from Azii's list of likes (there was a variety of other tee's available this month) and Azii absolutely loves it too. Similarly to the Pop, the IC comes with a tee every month, too, just hope they're always as awesome as this!

With these boxes you pay £16.99 for one month, or you can get a 3 month or a 6 month sub - The bigger subs have the money taken out in a lump sum but they do end up costing less overall; a 3 month sub ends up with each box costing £15.49 and the 6 month results in the boxes costing £14.99. Even if you pay more a month the value of these boxes are great; the Pop and the tee are worth around £20, minimum.

Azii got the 6 month sub, thanks to his lovely Mum, so there's 5 more exciting boxes to come. And... as if that wasn't enough, Infinity Crate also do Christmas Crates. I have been stuck what to get for Azii, and still had some of my Xmas budget for Ethan so I've ordred Azii a Christmas Crate and Ethan a Kid Crate. Sadly they've sold out, now, sorry, but I'll be blogging them so you know to look out for them in the future!

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Makeup Revolution 'Lip Hug' lipsticks - With Swatches and on the lip photos

The moment I first saw the '#LipHug' lipsticks from Makeup Revolution I just knew I was going to love them - Balmy, moisturising, soft, huge range of colours... Just yes!

They're, currently, only available on the website so I had to consider postage costs when I ordered, as such I only got four. I already want more. Honestly I love them, they glide on to the lips, they are really pigmented but still sheer enough that your natural lip colour will have an effect on them, so so soft, just beautiful.

The four shades I've got to share with you are 'I think you're amazing', 'We have Come too far', 'Saviour Will Come' and 'To Get Lucky' - Originally I had planned to swatch them with 'Savour will come' last (as you'll see in the picture above, but I ended up swapping them around by accident which is why from now on they'll be in the order I've written above)

They come packaged in a red, metallic box with the name written on the front of the box as well as on a colour sticker on the end - This is great for storage and I'm really pleased to see it as one of my only, small issues with Makeup Revolution products in the past is that it's been hard to tell the shades/names.

Taking that a step further (and, yet, these are in the order they'll be swatched), there's a colour sticker on the end of the actual tube which is just perfect as it means that you don't have to keep the box and you can store them upright and always know the shade names and an approximation of the colour - Thank you Makeup Revolution, perfect packaging!

So, here's some quick swatches (in the order of the pic directly above), for you, they did not want to play ball the other day and they kept not capturing very well but I think this shows them quite well - You can see their balmy texture but also how well pigmented they are from the paler shades to the darker. Though, I think, you'll also see how they translate to the lips and how a hand swatch isn't quite enough for these as the natural colour of the lips alters them somewhat.

First up we have 'I think You're Amazing' - Is it a nude, is it a peach? Well it's hard to tell. It's definitely less orange on the lips than it is on a hand swatch, and I do really like it, but I want to get some more pinky nudes for my collection, too, I think. As you can see the colour saturation is great, even though it's the palest shade, and even though my lips were quite dry you can see the the colour sits on there beautifully and has a lovely shine to it.

Next up we have 'We have come too far' - I think this is the shade, out of the four I have so far, that I'll wear the most as the beautiful rosy pink just works very well for my pale skin tone. I absolutely love this shade and it'll be an all year rounder.

The last two shades that I've got are slightly stronger shades - This is 'Saviour will come' and it's a more brown toned plum. It's a lovely shade and perfect for this time of year, it's plum without being too stark - The formula is so lovely that this is amongst my favourite plum shades, from my collection .

You can see why, originally, I had wanted this above the previous colour but photo slip ups are what they are. This is 'To Get Lucky' - This shade is hard to describe, it's somewhere between a darker rose shade with a hint of plum? I love it, though, and I think I'm going to spend A/W torn between which of these to wear.

Honestly I love these. They're only £2.50 each which is just amazing considering the cost of other balmy lip products that are popular. I definitely want maybe 2 or 3 more shades but it's going to take a little while to decide which ones I want and these are going to do nicely for now. Definitely a real hit amongst the Makeup Revolution lip products, I love their other lipsticks and glosses but I love balmy lipsticks, anyway, so these were always going to be a winner for me.

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Christmas Gift Ideas - Photo gifts from Photobox

You might already know that I'm quite fond of photo gifts at Christmas - They're just a lovely thing to gift to someone (or to receive); what's more personal than something you've spent time putting together for someone, and with photos that you know will mean something to them! With digital cameras these images are so much more available to us and it's a lovely alternative to just having that standard school photo on the mantle piece. 

I was thrilled that Photobox wanted to work with me as they're a company that I associate with quality and fantastic products And they currently have a special offer on (until Thurs 27th which makes them an even bigger bargain for you all if you hurry!)

I have been given a chance to try some of their products in order to recommend them to you - I've, actually, only got one that I've seen myself to show with you but that has actually led to me being able to think up a lovely idea to theme this post by. I was asked to review a calendar and a diary but I had to explain that I couldn't review a diary, it'd be a waste, as I have my Personal Planner as well as a diary I bought a few months ago. I did look at whether or not I could order it now, for 2016, but when I was looking (Early Nov) the latest date I could order it for was March - My lovely contact agreed that I could keep the credit to get a diary next year. It really did get me thinking about the idea of seeing photos that are older, though, about ordering something 4 months in advance and then putting it away; getting that lovely reminder of those photos at a later date. 

Photo from the Photobox website
And it really did make me think, even if you don't buy one in advance, these photo diaries are Such a lovely way of getting regular reminders of old favourites - The photo, above, is of the large diary which I'll be buying next year. In the large diary you have a beautiful picture, every week, even if you got one/gifted one, this Christmas, as the year goes on those photos are going to be of older memories and are going to be so lovely to remember.

The large diary normally costs £16.99 (but is currently on offer, check it out!) and, as you can see, has really big areas for all of your entries and would make a great week-to-view diary. When I first saw them I assumed that you got to put your own photo on the front but finding out that you add a photo every week is just amazing! The book comes spiral bound with a protective, plastic sheet on the front. I can't wait to get mine next year! 

The item that I did get, to show you my version of, is the A4 Wall Calendar - These normally cost £18.99 but are, currently on offer (as well as the additional offer at the moment) so well worth checking out in the lead up to Christmas.

The A4 size is lovely for a family calendar as it means you've got a really big photo but also a nice, big area in which to write your appointments, plans etc. We're going to be keeping ours in the hall way which is where we keep a calendar so that we can all correlate our plans and make sure we don't overlap plans and the likes (even more important when we live with my parents; they're happy for us to go to our friends' for example but obviously they can't be here whilst Ethan's in bed if they have plans themselves! Not that we go out very often at all) 

As with the diary the calendar has a frosted plastic cover which is lovely, we've often had a calendar hanging up ready to open before it's needed and having a big picture on the front, which is kept nice by the plastic, is great.

There are so so many different colour themes and backgrounds that you can get with Photobox's products but we're not in to that and we just went with a simple white background - On the glossy paper, with the large photo in great quality... I think it's such a classic, perfect look.

I'm really impressed with the quality of the photos, this one was a portrait photo so it had to zoom in/crop it to make it fit in to the landscape view, but it's done it really well and the clarity hasn't been compromised at all. A lot of the photos I used were portrait but they worked really well; if you did want to stick with portrait there's a number of layouts you can have for the photo. 

As you can see, I opted to have two portrait photos, side by side, for December - This was inspired by the remembering older photos idea. We didn't have a Christmas photo for Ethan, last year, but we had the two above for the previous two years and I thought it would be lovely, when December 2015 rolls around for this to be turned over; we'll be able to remember not one, but two, favourite Christmas pics from when Ethan was much younger - I just know it's going to be lovely and Ethan's going to love seeing pictures from when he was a baby. 

The quality of the products from Photobox is really impressive and the range of Christmas gift ideas is great - I'll definitely keep using sites like this because it's just so, so, nice to be able to make our photos real again, rather than them remaining digital! 

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I was sent this product to consider for review purposes - All opinions and words are my own - The photo used from the site was used with permission. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Organise your life with a Personal Planner - And a Personal planner Christmas giveaway!

Hello, my name is Laura and I'm a stationery addict... and a chronic list writer... and a crazy planner (who often ends up having to keep moving my plans to the next day and the next because... life!)

When I found out about Personal Planner it was like someone had answered all my dreams at once. I spend So long looking for the perfect diary, a couple of months ago, but it turns you don't Need to find the perfect diary anymore, if you get a Personal Planner you can just make it in to your perfect diary yourself!

And here's the beauty that is my Blog Planner for next year! (Actually I was too impatient and started it early so it'll be a year from now, oops!). I have one of the large planners (which comes in at £21.95) and, as you can see, it definitely lives up to that name - It's wide, and thick, and it's got this really strong, good quality feel and a really nice weight to it (yes, weight matters in these things). 

I opted to have one of the pictures of some of the flowers that my Mum made for the wedding, as my cover, and I think it works really, really well. You can also decide on the font you have on there; I put my font at the bottom corner as I didn't want it to detract from the image, and I made it a little transparent as I thought it was still readable but not too in  your face. The grey is because I've gone for grey and pink on the inside.

If you don't have a picture that you love, for the cover, then there's a number of patterns and designs available during set-up, which mean that you can go for something simpler if you do wish.

If you were wondering why my picture was so muted and blurry... this looks better? The diary comes with a plastic sheet as an additional cover which keeps your image safe and, also, adds to that quality feeling that I mentioned earlier. The image is on glossy, almost photographic paper - It definitely needs that added protective layer but makes for a beautiful way to cover your planner.

See, there's that pink and grey I mentioned, I think it goes nicely. If you were thinking that choosing your own cover was how you personalised this little beauty then you're in for a surprise. You can personalise So much of the inside too. As well as the design on the front of the planner you can pick a theme to run through the inside of the book, see the pink birds at the top?

You can pick how you have these pages set up, too. They can be vertical (as I have) or horizontal - I opted to have mine vertical as, that way, I could pick the timetable to fill it in; the hourly breakdown means I can plan much more easily when I have a busy blog day, or when things need to happen more specifically. But you might want to leave it a blank column, or just have ruled lines down it instead. 

My only, only, qualm with the Personal Planners is that the timetable starts at 6am - I'm very lucky in that I do not get up at 6am, and even if I did it'd be for childy stuff, the things I want to plan out don't start until 9, it'd be Really nice to be able to pick what hour it started at. Having been a bit of a night owl, I prefer to start my day later and then be productive longer in to the evening (at least I used to, recently I struggle to do much after Ethan's gone to bed, but I'm hoping to get back in to productive mode at some point!) But, as far as qualms go, it's not a biggun' and Azii even suggested that if I did start being productive again I could carry each day over and use the 6, 7 and 8am slots, for the following day, for midnight and onwards... that said I need my sleep So much more these days that this may not be a necessity (I really, really miss my times of being a night owl)

As well as deciding how to fill the columns you can also personalise how the little modules at the bottom are used - I went for rules lines as it gives me the freedom to use however I want but you can pick from things like a dinner planner, an exam timetable or even music script so you can pen in a tune! Rather random but really quite cool for those who're musically inclined. There's three modues, you can see just one of mine next to the little purple headed calendar, the other two are on the previous page and you can have something different in each module. When we've our own place I'd have loved to have a dinner planner in there, and then two blank modules... maybe another year! 

And, as if all of that wasn't enough! You can also add in a little weather tick box on each day which allows you to plot the weather throughout the week, there's a 'workout' addition and there's a 'work' one; if you see at the bottom of my columns there's a little square and in there I can put the hours that Azii works which helps us keep track of things.

One detail that I didn't go for, but would have been great, is that you can make an account and upload you personal dates to remember (birthdays, anniversaries etc) and they can be printed in when your book gets printed, how awesome is that!

It's all about the little details with these planners  - Each month has a little colour coded calendar which shows which week you're in, and that same colour corresponds with the month written at the very edge of the page; this block of colour can be seen from the side which means you can always remember which pages to go to, based on that.

You can also pick things like the colour of the ruler that you get included (I went for grey, as pink was the overriding colour on the pages and that helps out the balance) and you an pick the colour of the elastic which will hold the book closed for you.

Lastly there's a number of pages at the back of the planner - An 8 page section and a 10 page section. There's masses of options for what you can have printed on these pages from an address book, maps, sheet music or sudokus and much more. I went for 10 pages of lined paper and 8 pages of colouring book, how cute is that! I'd like to say that the colouring pages are for if I got stuck somewhere with Ethan but odds are they'll be coloured in by me; I used to colour in loads as it's really soothing but my hands haven't been up to it for a while (though, when they are, you know these pages are going to get some love)

So.... how amazing are these planners?! You can, really, personalise all the little details; no worrying about finding a diary/planner that is already made that suits you, you can just design your own. They're not cheap but I know a lot of us will be willing to invest in a good diary, anyway, when you have to plan your whole life to a tiny detail you want to do it well. As such I think these are an absolutely amazing investment; I get the feeling that once I've got in to the swing of using this baby I'm not going to have a clue how I lived without it!

And if you want to find out how one will fit in to your life.... well this could be your lucky week! I have a giveaway which will give you the chance to win one of these yourself! Just in time for Christmas, or the start of the new year, you'll be able to customise a planner and go to town with all the features, work out the best lay out for you, pick a good image, the lot (Honestly, it takes a while to go through and make your planner, and it takes a while for it to be made, and sent, but is worth it go get something that's totally yours!)

As always, use the rafflecopter below (I believe the issues with RA have been ironed out, if you have any problems entering please tweet me @petitmoi_laura ) and I'll see if there's owt I can do.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

- You must be 18 or over to enter the giveaway
- The Giveaway is open within the UK only
- The winner will be picked, randomly, via Rafflecopter
- There will be one winner. 
- I will need your address once I tell you you're the winner, to pass along to the company who're providing the prize. 
- The winner will have 28 days to respond to my email informing them of the win, if they do not respond another winner will be drawn.
- The giveaway runs until midnight on 3rd December.

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This product was sent to me for my consideration for review. All opinion and all words are my own

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