Friday, 22 August 2014

Miss E jumps for joy with her new Mountain Warehouse winter coat


So here we are in August and whilst the weather has definitely cooled in the last couple of weeks I'm still hoping for some sunshine and the chance to wear short-sleeves next week whilst we are on holiday. My little 7 year old Miss E is seeking something quite different though!

In my quest to get ready for going back to school and preparing for the cooler months I was given the opportunity by Mountain Warehouse to let Miss E choose a coat for herself, well as soon as I showed her the girls coats web page she knew exactly what she wanted. "Ohh mummy, I love it. Look at the hood, it is so cosy, I'll be just like Elsa" (that's a reference to the film Frozen in case you are unaware).

So when the package arrived she pulled it open and rushed to put her coat on. I told her I needed to get some pictures and at first she started to pull cute faces and snuggle into her beautiful fur trimmed hood. Here is her best cheesy grin -


Then when I told her we needed to head outside to get some better shots she got up on the bench and started to jump for joy! I think these above photos pretty much sum up how she feels about her new coat, it is a definite hit.

The Victoria kids quilted jacket normally retails for £69.99 but I see there is a special 50% off everything this weekend on the Mountain Warehouse website (how fabulous is that?) and delivery is free for purchases over £50.

The coat is available for ages 5 through to 13 and it feels true to size, as Miss received a 7-8 year size and it is just right for her, with a bit of room for growth. They grey outer fabric feels soft like felt (but much more sturdy of course) but it is actually 89% polyester, 10% viscose and 1% elastine and it is 100% polyester lined and padded. I was really pleased to see that the coat can be machine washed and then drip dried.

The lining inside is a beautiful fuchsia pink and it feels really thick and will keep Miss E warm I have no doubt. I had worried it would just be a toggle button front fastening but there is actually a full zip and bottom popper to keep it done up. There are two front slant pockets which are deep enough for Miss E to get her hands in. One thing I would like to have seen is ribbed cuffs inside the sleeves to ensure no cold air gets up there in the winter but as they are with gloves I am sure they would be fine.

The coat is a good length and covers Miss E's bottom and has a back pleat to allow for good room for movement.


As the coat has been folded in transit it was quite creased when it arrived but after being hung for a few days it has dropped out nicely and now looks pristine, ready for Miss E to wear it once the appropriate weather arrives.

We think this is a lovely coat and would be happy to recommend it and Mountain Warehouse. As I stated in my other recent review we have been customers for a whilst and are completely happy with their products and service. I recently had to return a coat for Jacob and it was very easy to use the returns label to send via the post office. There is also the option to take it in store or to use Collect +. So shopping online with Mountain Warehouse really should not create any fuss at all.


Disclosure: We received this coat free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Picture Perfect: 4 Tips To Make Your Photo Gifts Beautiful


Photo gifts are a fantastic way to share treasured memories with those you love. But to make sure they look picture perfect follow these four tips to make sure your photos look beautiful.

Practise, Practise, Practise

If there is one thing that will improve the look of your pictures, and therefore your photo gifts, it’s taking a lot of pictures. Don’t just snap away blindly though. Think carefully about your shots, but make sure that you’re taking photos every day. Even if all you do is take pictures of everyday objects that’s fine, but see how you can make them as interesting as possible. By practising regularly you’ll find that your photos not only look better but that you can take them quickly and still make them look great, ensuring your photo gifts turn out simply stunning.

Compose Yourself. And Your Picture

Don’t fire off a salvo of pictures like a machine gun, hoping that one will turn out great, because it probably won’t. Instead take a second to compose your picture properly. Obviously with action shots you won’t have much time, but for anything else always think about what you’re shooting before you hit the button.

The Importance of ISO

Most people leave their ISO setting on automatic, and this is often because they don’t quite get what ISO does or why it’s important. All ISO really does is control the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light, and the higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor. This means that pictures in low light are often clearer. But the problem is that turning up your ISO also increases ‘noise’ in your pictures. It’s similar to turning up volume on a tape recorder. The sound is increased but so are the background hiss and pops. To get the best pictures for your photo gifts take control of your ISO and match it appropriately to your lighting.

Set Your White Balance

White balance is another camera setting that some people shy away from. You may have noticed that when you take photos in different lights that white areas can take on unusual colours, appearing blue-ish or having an orange tinge to them. White balance corrects this but sometimes the automatic white balance setting overcompensates or fails to correct the problem. To avoid your photo gifts having odd colours try adjusting your white balance based on the ambient light.

If you want to give photo gifts to family and friends you want to make sure they look as good as possible. Hopefully these four easy tips will help you take beautiful photos you want to preserve forever.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Review - Temple Run (Run for your life) Multiple-ending books

JJ is a mega book worm, he adores reading and this is brilliant as otherwise he would want to sit at his screen all day. When I heard that Egmont were publishing some Temple Run multiple-ending fiction books I hoped he might like these and agreed for him to review them.

We received the first book in the series, which is available as of today, 7th August 2014. Temple Run - Run for your life - Jungle Trek is a 152 page paperback, which retails for £5.99 but I have seen it available on Amazon for £3.55, which is a super bargain. You can see it is aimed at a child by the large spaced writing.

Based on the very popular computer game, this book places you on a plane with Guy Dangerous and Scarlett Fox when it crashes. You need to make choices as you move through the book to determine how you will survive. The choices you make change the story and this means a different story every time. Your decisions will effect the outcome and if the story goes badly - which it often will - you can just start all over again.

JJ did like reading this and I have seen him pick it up a number of times but he said he preferred a classic book where there is just one ending as he wants to get into the plot. It seems like this book might be good to encourage kids who are not big readers to read a bit more as it is quite light and you can read through it fairly quickly.


JJ is nearly 11 years old but is a bit of a softie at times and he felt he could not read this book at bedtime as some of the plot lines like brain eating monkeys and snake pits worried him a bit, because of this I would not let his younger sisters read it. From the parts I've looked at though I think this book would be enjoyed by an older girl as much as a boy, particularly if they like adventure.

As well as this multi-ending book another has also been published today called Doom Lagoon and there will be another two to follow in November 2014.

We were also sent a couple of activity books, which are the shape and size of an iPad. These are approximately 50 pages of puzzles, quizzes, word searches, doodling, stickers, challenges and other word games. Retailing at £6.99 each I think they are good value for money and would make a fabulous gift for a youngster who is off to travel for a long journey and needs something fun to entertain them. The pages are a good thick quality paper and there is excellent variety in the books.


Disclosure: We were sent these books free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Back to School with Nutmeg at Morrisons (Review)


I'm always keen to get sorted for the back to school time as soon as the summer holidays start, I know some people think that is a bit sad but for me it just means I can then enjoy the six weeks off with the kids and really have some fun.

This year Morrisons have helped me with my getting organised mission and sent me some uniform for my girls to review. To be honest, until they contacted me I had no idea that Morrisons sold school uniform but then I suppose I've never really been to one of their big stores. Before we moved last year my closest supermarket was a Morrisons but it never had uniform, I'm now keen to travel to a big store and see the full Nutmeg range and what it has on offer.

The first thing I'd say about the Nutmeg range is that it appears to be really good prices. The 2 packs of polo shirts (sold in white, blue or red) start from just £2 per pack or £3 if you need the larger sizes like my girls and they are really soft.  Not as thick as some we have had previously but then at that price I don't really expect anymore. The good thing is that at £1.00 or £1.50 per top if the girls totally trash it then I'm not too worried. Have you ever tried to get that black dry wipe marker from a white polo shirt?  It's not easy, I'll tell you.


I thought the plimsolls were great value at £2.50 per pair and they have a good firm velcro fastening to keep them on little feet. The rubber round the edges seemed good too and I think they would last although Miss E felt they were a bit boyish for her but I'll soon sort that with some fabric paint!

Miss M liked the charcoal woven trousers and she especially like the fact that they had pockets and a bow detail on each pocket. These trousers for girls are £3 or £4 each depending on size and again that is a good price. They are quite a thick and rigid material rather than being a lighter flowing one, so I think they would wear well and the knees should not get worn through too easily.


We were sent the woven skirt, which again is a good price at either £3 or £4 each and it comes in either charcoal or black colours. Again it was a good thick material that is Teflon coated but I have to be honest and say I would not buy it as the pleats did not stay in. The items were sent to me via post so they were quite creased but even with ironing the pleats did not stay in nicely and this is one of my musts for a school skirt, I'd rather pay more for stay-pleats. On the plus size both the skirt and trousers had adjustable waists so you can make sure they are a good fit.


Finally the girls received a cardigan each and these are 100% cotton and feel super nice to the touch. The cardigans are available in cobalt blue, navy and red and retail for £3 or £4 (can you see a theme?).  They ironed well and looked really nice on but I did notice how easily they creased and this means by the end of the day the girls might look a mess after sitting on them or stuffing them in their bags. One of the really good things was that the cute little heart shaped buttons are really easy to do up and the girls commented on how cool these were.

In conclusion Nutmeg appear to have a good range of school uniform for both boys and girls, it does not appear to be available online and only up to about an age 13 years. They are not the best quality uniform out there, seams might not be perfectly matched and it is not the highest quality fabrics but in general they look like they will wear well and are very good value for money.

Disclosure: We received the school uniform free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.