Friday, 31 January 2014

The Tesco Baby Event and An Amazing Competition

Those of you who know me, know I love entering competitions. Well, I'm here today to tell you about a fabulous competition run by Tesco Baby through their Tesco Baby Event, and also about some fab offers that Tesco are running at the moment.




The Tesco Baby Event gives you the best prices and great bargains on a range of baby products, in fact, everything you need for your baby and toddler. 

I remember when my son was little I tried to feed him the best food, and in my eyes, this was organic baby food. When I didn't make it myself I would have some pouches and jars in the cupboard as a stand by when I needed something convenient and quick. Often organic baby food isn't the cheapest option so I would stock up when Tesco had offers on, like in this Tesco Baby Event. The cost of nappies and wipes also add up, in fact, it's not cheap to raise a baby, so as they say "every little helps".

With brilliant advice and offers on a wide range of baby nutritionorganic baby food, and organic baby products including half price offers, you would be foolish not to check out the Tesco Baby Event online or in store, if you have little ones. 

As a competition lover myself, I always keep an eye out for Tesco competitions and today I have a scorcher for my fabulous readers! How would you like to win a holiday to Florida?!

Win a Holiday To Florida

Tesco Baby Club in conjunction with Hipp Organic are giving you a wonderful chance to win a 7 night family holiday to Walt Disney World, Florida. 

There are a few different ways to enter 

1. Via Twitter Follow @TescoBabyClub on Twitter. You must be a follower to enter the prize draw so we can DM (direct message) you if you win! You must also reside in the UK. To enter, simply follow us then tweet or RT (retweet) #TescoBabyEvent and link http://bit.ly/1kveIqb – if you don’t include these, your entry won’t be valid.

Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt...
Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Via email Send your name, address and daytime phone number to competitions@tesco-baby.co.uk with ‘Dream holiday’ in the subject line.

One winner will be picked at random after the closing date of 11.59pm, 3 February 2014, and contacted via DM on Twitter or by email within three working days.

What do you think of the Tesco Baby Event? Have you been to Florida? Have you ever won a holiday? Tell me!

* This is a sponsored post
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Thursday, 30 January 2014

What Something For Free? Sign Up To The Work Perk

The Work Perk is a company that delivers branded products to your desk.

Think of it as a little treat that costs nothing only your time to fill in a short questionnaire. You get the chance to try products you may have not tried before and you may find your new favourite drink, snack or cosmetic brand.




They have a great international network and work with top brands such as Ryvita, L'oreal, Coca-Cola and MTV amongst others. In this day and age and especially as we are coming out of a global recession, you don't often get something for free, so this is all the more exciting.


They sent me a bag of goodies so I can show you the type of things you can review. My goody bag contained past products they have used and I had a selection including Tropicana, Batise dry shampoo, Nescafe coffee and Popchips. They also included some perfume samples and men's moisturiser. 

The Tropicana drinks were different flavours to that I have had in the past. Incorporating Guarana, it is a great idea for an energy drink. The Mango and Guava with passionfruit was particularly delicious.

The Batise dry shampoo they sent had a coconut smell, the sort of smell that reminds you of hazy laid back holidays in the sun. I am already a fan of Batise as I use it after Zumba, to make my hair fresh again, but the smell was so gorgeous I will certainly be looking out for this item in my local shops. A big thumbs up from me!

Now onto the Popchips. This low fat crisp style snack still packs a full flavour treat. The sour cream and onion flavour only has 95 calories per packet, great when you get the munchies.

I was impressed with my selection of goodies, I still have to try the perfume and my husband the Nivea Moisturiser for men. All the brands I know quite well too.

If you fancy trying some treats for you company or workplace then just fill in the form on the website with you company details and before you know it your work perk will be on it's way... Your office must have a minimum of 200 staff to take part, and you must fill out a short questionnaire when you get your goodies. 


You can contact The Work Perk 
on Facebook
or on Twitter

I think it's a fab idea, hope you do to!

Until next time...
Mel x

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Current Competitions And A Facebook Competition

Hello lovely readers!

Did you know I have a competition on my Facebook page to win a piece of jewellery?

To enter you need to pop on over to my Facebook page and enter by telling me which of my recent or current competitions you like the most.  The competition ends on Valentine's day.


While we are at it here is a list of my current competitions.

Win a gorgeous bouquet from Serenata Flowers - end 09/02






Win a bottle of gin from Tanqueray Gin - ends 06/02





Win a statement bracelet from Curbbz - ends 09/02





Win a beautiful engraved necklace from Merci Maman ends 10/02




Win one of two skincare sets from Nelsons - ends 07/02 



Most of my blog competitions you can enter daily,  by tweeting through the Rafflecopter application, so it's a great idea to bookmark the page and enter daily, if you really love the prize.

If you want to keep up to date with my posts you can follow me by email as well as following me on Facebook, Twitter, Blog Lovin', Networked Blogs and so on. All the links are on the right hand side of my blog.

What prizes would you like to see on my blog?

Good luck everyone!


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Gluten Free Cakes

A guest post by Erika from Eclectic Enchantments

Gluten-free doesn’t have to be a bore!

Hello, everyone!  I know, I’m not the fabulous Mellissa that you know and love, but I hope to be a halfway decent replacement today.

Some of you will be aware from my previous guest posts, or if you read my blog Eclectic Enchantments, that I have Coeliac’s Disease.  This means I can not eat anything with gluten/wheat/rye/barley/oats.  If I do I get extremely unwell as my body basically attacks itself.  This can cause long-term damage if you would like to find out more, check out the Coeliac UK website.

Anyway, today I wanted to tell you about the amazing fun I have had baking. Before being diagnosed I adored baking, cupcakes, Swiss rolls, confectionery, anything sweet and tasty.  As with cooking, the diagnoses t
hrew me and my food became very boring and bland.  You become so careful checking everything you eat, that it is easy to forget how much fun food can be.  So, I set about remembering the glorious possibilities baking can bring, but being completely gluten free.


Okay, so my first attempts, whilst tasting lovely, fell short of being visually appealing.  They were Christmas themed, even including a miniature roast dinner on a plate, made from marzipan and painted with food colouring.  They were not what you would call exciting, I had forgotten how to bake aesthetically pleasing food with all my concentration focused on ingredients.



These lemon cupcakes and chocolate mint cupcakes were the start of me getting my groove back.  I was also experimenting a little, the mint came from my garden and was home grown, I have about five different varieties.  I hadn’t previously thought about using herbs in baking, but when I had wanted to make the chocolate mint cakes and realised I didn’t have any peppermint essence, it was my first thought.  It worked really well.



Something I missed immensely after my diagnosis was Lemon Meringue Pie.  Having, at this point, not tackled the task of making the pastry, I had no way of recreating my favourite dessert gluten free, until inspiration struck me.  I had just made my first batch of Lemon curd, (I have a bit of a thing for lemon, so fresh and tangy).  The smell was filling the house and I was thinking to myself how I would love to eat some pie.  Before I knew it I had made some very delicate cupcakes, gently flavoured with lemon and had hollowed out the centre.  Into the recess I placed some of my homemade lemon curd, then I made some meringue, swirled it onto greaseproof paper and baked it.  Popping them on the top, I had what was very close to a lemon meringue pie.

Baking isn’t all about cakes, though, there is a whole array of confectionery and sweet things to make.  I have tried my hand at fudge, peanut brittle, coconut ice, nougat, profiteroles and much, much more.  The thing to remember in my experience is that because something is free from, whether it is gluten/wheat, nuts, dairy or something else altogether, it doesn’t have to be boring, you just need to take a step back and let inspiration take over, who knows what you might create!

What do you think of Erika's cakes? Do you try to avoid gluten?
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Monday, 27 January 2014

Vintage Styler Jewellery Review

Vintage Styler is a brand that has a passion for all things beautiful... I mean seriously beautiful. 



They love to source items that make you feel special and are very stylish, perfect for those girlie girls amongst you. Vintage Styler really focus on design, and glamour for a perfect night out, with statement necklaces and jewelled earrings key pieces on their website.  Fabulous clutch bags are another feature including wedding bags, and they have a great selection of wedding accessories too.

So, as they know my love of sparkly things, I was sent this Vintage Styler bracelet to review.





Hattie Limited Edition Vintage Bead Bracelet

My first opinion of the bracelet when I took it out of the box, was that is was a very pretty bracelet. They have sourced the centre bead in these bracelets from a special supplier and ensure that these pieces are from the 1970's.  I could see myself wearing it out for a meal with my husband or sitting in a cocktail bar sipping my favourite cocktail - a mojito. I also think it fits well with 50's style, It has a real old school vintage feel and elegance about it, I was taken back to the era of Hollywood glamour and proper movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

Screenshot from Charade showing Cary Grant and...
Screenshot from Charade showing Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The centre bead of the bracelet, has a parma violet hue and is multi-faceted with an iridescence that's unique. Every bead they pick will have a slightly different colour and I think that's a lovely touch. Either side of the parma violet bead is a silver sparkling bead that is beautiful when it catches the light.



Smaller silver coloured beads are alternated with black faceted beads to make up the bracelet, and the t-bar clasp has a Vintage Styler tag. These bracelets are made in a limited number so you know you will be getting something that is unique and different.


If you have fallen in love with this bracelet, like I have, why don't you check out the Vintage Styler website for other glamorous items.
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Thane Steam Cleaner Review



What do you know about steam cleaners?

Did you know that a steam cleaner can:-

Kill up to 99% of bacteria,
Be used on upholstery, carpet, vinyl and a whole host of other surfaces, 
Can be used to steam garments,

and that's just for starters!

Well I didn't know much about the steam cleaners until I was sent the Thane H20 Mop X5 to review but I had heard good things about these type of cleaners.

So firstly when I got it out of the packaging I realised it was light in weight. It had to be assembled but the instructions were quite simple and straightforward. I picked the red cleaner as my kitchen is red and black and I thought it would look quite stylish kept in the kitchen.

The Thane H20 X5 is 5 steam products in 1 – a floor cleaner, fabric steamer, window cleaner, handheld steamer, and carpet cleaner, and all for £99.99. It is simple to use, it just needs ordinary tap water, which it turns into steam at a touch of a button. The X5 kills 99.9% of salmonella and E.Coli on contact and the included micro fibre pads grab the dirt and lock it in.






Firstly we used it on our vinyl kitchen floor. The cleaner coped with this well, although with the micro fibre pad it didn't glide as well as I thought it would. I find the kitchen floor hard to clean in certain areas such as under the fridge/freezer and in the areas around the kitchen door. It was really good under the fridge freezer as the head swivels, and so I found I managed to get it under the bottom section of the fridge/freezer and clean the areas exposed easier than normal. On the kitchen door and around the cooker hob, Mr W used the angled jet nozzle. This is great for a powerful jet of steam, and the grime was simply steamed away.


Before and After

Mr W then used the round metal brush on our cooker door. We tested it first in a small area to see if it would scratch at all, but we were pleased that it didn't. I would advise you to do the same if you are trying it out. Our cooker door was well and truly brown with baked on grime and food deposits.  With a little time and some patience, Mr W worked on the cooker door until it was thoroughly cleaned. I was delighted with the result and now it looks sparkly and much cleaner. 



Before, During and After

Then we moved onto the bathroom. Mr W used the angled jet nozzle on the grouting.  I was expecting a miracle here but personally, I couldn't see a huge difference. 

Next, he tried it out on one of our windows, in the lounge. We both thought it was excellent cleaning the windows, and the finish was shiny and streak free.

I am looking forward to using it next on an old carpet we have, to breath some new life into it. Apparently, it's great on mattresses to help eliminate dust mites and bed bugs.

What did I think of the Thane steam cleaner in general? I think this a useful addition to any household. If you have young children the Thane H20 X5 is great to sanitise and clean any surfaces in which they crawl around, such as kitchen, bathroom and playroom. It's perfect for hard to clean surfaces like ovens. Due to the condensation, it can create be sure you open the windows in the room you are using it in. It does produce a powerful jet of steam so be sensible when using it, and always test it on a small area first to ensure it doesn't damage or mark fabric materials. 

Would I recommend it? Yes most certainly. It did a great job in the kitchen particularly with the cooker with which I was delighted with. It has great versatility and at this price, it's affordable too. 

If you got to their website www.thane.tv or call the order line: 0844 571 7526 and quote HOMESWEETHOME you can also get 10% off your order while stocks last, but be quick as this is a time limited offer.

What do you think about the Thane H20 steam cleaner? Have you used one? Let me know!

* I was sent this cleaner to keep for an honest review

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Skiing Techniques

Advanced Ski Techniques



Skiing is a thrilling sport, which only seems to become more thrilling as expertise grows. Learning to ski can be tricky and challenging, but progress is exciting and fulfilling. Once expertise has reached a certain level, it is only human nature to look to increase the level of danger, and there are a number of excellent venues across the world where experienced skiers can show off their skills and daring.

Achieving greater speed is something many advanced skiers like to do, but what techniques can you use to boost your speed on the piste? There are some basic things which any skier can do to improve their speed and overall technique.

Get the Basics Right

Before learning any new advanced techniques, though, it is important that you have a few fundamentals in place. If you are a recent convert to skiing, make sure that all your basic techniques are honed to perfection before trying anything more advanced. It is also a good idea to improve your cardiovascular fitness and core strength, as both of these will be crucial to becoming a better skier. Always seek professional advice from an instructor before trying anything new.

Improving speed is something which requires concentration and practice. Techniques such as the traverse, vertical slideslips and hop turns will all make you a better skier. They are not techniques which you can pick up by magic, though. Only by concentration and application can you become a more efficient downhill flier.

Body Position is Key

An important part of learning to ski more quickly is body position. An expert skier will always ensure that they are leading with their chest. Pointing your chest forward, and getting your upper body into a position where it faces downhill will keep your speed levels high. This is where having good core strength can help significantly.

Obviously, the best way to learn these techniques is from an expert instructor, and most of those are based in ski resorts. If you are looking to learn advanced skiing techniques, then it is best to find a ski resort which offers the resources to enable you to learn. There are plenty of more exclusive ski resorts across the world which will give you the opportunity to go faster.

Race these Routes







One of the more impressive ski resorts in Europe is Zermatt, located close to Davos, in Switzerland. This was actually the birthplace of modern downhill skiing, giving it a pedigree which most resorts can only dream about. Skiers climb to the top of the 2,662-metre Weissfluhjoch, using the Parsenn railway. Once at the summit, the routes down are stunning. The longest route down is the eight-mile cruise to K├╝blis. Another popular resort for advanced skiers is Zermatt, Switzerland. There are gruelling routes for advanced skiers, plus plenty of great apres ski. There are also great chalets in Zermatt, so book ahead and you could be very pleasantly surprised!

Skiers who are after some of the most challenging runs in the world should make sure that they travel to Sarenne, near to Alpe d'Huez, in France. Here, skiers can find the longest black run in the Alps. This 10-mile route usually involves 90 minutes of almost continuous skiing, with a nearby vertical drop of 2000 metres adding more than a soupcon of raw fear to proceedings. Not one for the faint-hearted, or the inexperienced, this venue offers a true test of technique and nerve.

Conclusion


Learning to become a better skier is no easy thing. Finding the best instructors and venues in which learn is key to improvement. But in the end, what will make you a better skier is hard work and application. Improve your fitness, and practice hard, and you will soon see impressive results. Then you may be ready to tangle with the routes on offer at Parsenn or Sarenne.

Sources:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/skills/

http://www.wikihow.com/Ski-Faster

http://www.youcanski.com/en/instruction/advanced.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2002/nov/10/wintersportsholidays.wintersports.observerescapesection


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Silent Sunday - 26th Jan 2014




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Friday, 24 January 2014

Fashionably JNBY at Selfridges

Have you heard of JNBY? JNBY are a Chinese international fashion brand, founded in 1994 in China with over 400 stores worldwide.

In 2013 they came to the UK and they are available exclusively to buy in store in Selfridges London and Manchester and online. 

JNBY (which stands for Just Naturally Be Yourself) is characterised by clean lines, muted colours and quality materials that are perfect as either stand alone pieces or dressed up with accessories. The clothes are all made with natural materials and the emphasis is on innovative design.

The new Pre-SS14 collection comprises of 22 pieces of which these five are a particular favourite.


Wool and shearling jacket

This biker jacket updates your look to give it a fresh modern vibe in sculptured wool and shearling. Detailed with an asymmetric zip fastening and inverted shearling panels at the sleeves, the cropped design is given an edge with contoured detailing at the hips. I'd wear this jacket with skinny jeans, boots and a sparkly top for the evening or with a pencil skirt and high heeled boots for an edgy look. 


Sleeveless wool coat 

An on-trend makeover for this 100 per cent wool coat, it's all in the detailing with two textured faux fur panels and sheer details on the front. The open front pointy hem gives this piece a contemporary look - perfect for those fashionistas amongst you. 


Silk and wool tunic dress 

This silk tunic, has fabulous contrasting silk and sheer textures. The nipped in waist, gathered detailing and dipped hemline is so versatile too. Wear dressed down with boots and why not add a blazer for a chic and edgy office look. For evening try some sparkly or coloured heels and a jewelled necklace or cuff for a stylish look, cocktails anyone?
Sheer detail camouflage jumper 

The camouflage trend gets fresh! Detailed with a marbled mix of camouflage with a semi-sheer backdrop, the look is anchored with contrast sleeves, neck and hemline and is a great staple piece for any January wardrobe.    


Semi-sheer silk skirt

Lastly this maxi skirt has the sheer detailing that they pull off so well. Accented with contrast detailing at the hemline and pockets, this fashion forward design is finished with a statement oversized centre-back vent. Again this skirt will bring great versatility to your wardrobe, layer yours with an oversized sweater for daytime or a lacy slip for a super sexy yet chic evening look.

What I like so much about these pieces is the quality and the layering ability. You can tell these pieces are extremely versatile and will take you through season after season. This brand is also great at understanding the sheer trend.

What do you think of these fashion pieces? How would you wear them? Let me know your favourites!

*This is a sponsored post
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Different Romantic Date With The London Jewellery School

For Valentine's Day it's often difficult to find that gift that is that little bit different, well I think I have found the perfect present for your other half.

The London Jewellery school is offering the perfect antidote to the usual dinner date. They are offering a Valentine's Day workshop where you get to make a special silver ring for each other and you finish it with a glass of bubbly.

This evening workshop is a perfect gift for those who are creative but it is also suitable for complete beginners to jewellery making.  Workshops are small with no more than 4 couples per group and tutors are professional jewellers, patient and informative, guiding you through the whole process of cutting, texturing and shaping your ring for the perfect fit.

At the end of the workshop you will have two silver rings to take home and cherish :)





So if you are creative, adore unusual gifts or simply love the idea of creating two special rings as a little gift or as a sign of commitment to each other why don't you sign up to this workshop.

Date: Friday 14th February 2014 
Times: 6.30-9pm 
Location: London Jewellery School, B7 Hatton Square Business Centre, 16-16a Baldwins Gardens, London EC1N 7RJ 
Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane or Farringdon Price: £99 per couple (all inclusive) 

Advanced booking is required and can be done online  –  Or call 0203 176 0546

What do you think of this idea as a Valentine's gift? I thought this was a lovely idea, I was not paid for this post.
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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Tom Aikens Chelsea - A Meal In Pictures


Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche
Bread

Rabbit

Piglet Belly
Onions

Cheese
Pineapple

Petit Fours
Petit Fours


Petit Fours

Recommended ****

Have you ever been to a Michelin Star Restaurant?
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Not On The High Street - Unique and Different Gifts

I love supporting local and small businesses and I adore Not On The High Street. It has all your small family run businesses online, it's like your local independent and artisan marketplace and you can order all at a touch of a button.




If you want the most exquisite gifts and unique products then this is the place. They are passionate about hand-picking the best creative small businesses to sell on their marketplace, making it simple for you to find inspired, personalised, stylish or unique things.

The website is easy to navigate in various categories. Want a present under £15? No problem! Want to find a personalised art print?  They have plenty. What about a vintage style rag doll or a wooden train set? This is the place.

The difficult thing was picking items to review, as I really couldn't choose. 

Firstly I picked the cookie cutters. Recently I have been cooking more than ever and I thought these looked cute and would be great to give my biscuits that professional look. I wasn't disappointed, a beautiful looking cookie cutter which made great cookies. I just loved the gingham packaging too.



Cookie Cutters by The Little Picture Company

My next item was a gorgeous pearl bracelet with silver coloured initials from Kathy Jobson. The freshwater pearls were a lovely ivory colour and although the initials are not silver the bracelet was only £11.50. For a quality piece of jewellery this price can hardly be beaten.



Initial Pearl Bracelets by Kathy Jobson Jewellery 

My last lovely item to review was the Marvellous Movie Night Hamper. I ordered this as I thought it would be a perfect treat for my son. He loves movies and wants to work in the film industry. The tote bag is packed full of delicious treats such as tortilla chips, gourmet popcorn, American sweets and other tasty goodies. A perfect present for a friend or loved one that just adores films. Unfortunately a couple of items were missing from my hamper (the Reece's Peanut butter cups and Oreo cookies), and the presentation in the tote bag could have been better themed as the bag was plain. Still a tasty gift but perhaps a little bit expensive at £24.99.

I am keeping this for him for his birthday, just have to add the film Alpha Pappa now :D


Marvellous Movie Night Gift Bag By Whisk Hampers

With many items delivered free and reasonable postage costs for others, Not On the High Street puts all the best stylish, cute, luxury and quirky shops together.

One thing you can guarantee if you want 'A life less ordinary', shop here. 

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