Dr Beckmann Products - Review and Giveaway Ends 12/04/2014

I wonder sometimes how I used to manage without my dishwasher. I guess it's part of everyday life these days.  Mine is a second-hand one inherited from my mother-in-law, and it's well-used every other day. It has seen better days but it does the job. Every now and again though, I think it could do with a clean, food seems to get caught in the filter and there is limescale build up on the door. Occasionally it has a slightly musty smell too.

So when I was offered a rang of Dr Beckmann's products to try especially the Dr Beckmann's Service-It Deep Clean for dishwashers I thought I would give it a go.

The company claim it cleanses the machine and kills 99.9% of bacteria and micro-organisms. So I put it to the test. The product comes with cleansing wipes to clean the door seals and front of the dishwasher. I tried the wipe and it was very effective although a little small, It could do with being made bigger.

I liked the simple easy to use instructions, you just fill the powder area with the powder, close the latch then put any over in the drum of the machine and switch on. That's how easy it was to use. You run it on a normal cycle and don't add any dishwasher powder.

When I opened the door it looked much cleaner, but to me, the main thing was the smell was so much better.  The next time I used it the dishes appeared fresher and there was no stale smell.

Next, I tried the Service-It Deep Clean for Washing Machines. To use you pour all the powder directly into the washing machine drum. You do not put any washing in the machine, and then you select the main wash cycle at least 60 degrees C. Again they say it kills 99.9% of bacteria. 

The benefits of using the Service It Deep Clean for Washing Machines is that your clothes will be fresher, there will be no nasty smells in your machine due to the powder helping to eradicate bacteria and any mould such as on door seals will be gone. They recommended that it's to be used every 30 washes or every two months to keep your machine hygienically clean and working effectively.

Did it work? Well, my machine looked cleaner and was smelling like a meadow of fresh flowers so yes, it certainly worked! 

The last product I tried was the Service It Power Descaler which is a machine limescale remover. Useful to descale the dishwasher or washing machine it cuts through build-up, preventing breakdowns. 

Another product that was easy to use, you just add both packets to the drum and set it at 40-degree cycle. 

It's not the sort of product that you can physically see a difference - but it will hopefully make my washing machine more effective in the long run, saving me money. Dishwasher cleaner tablets or a product like this are well worth investing in.

So to some up, Dr Beckmann's Service-It products help in making your washing machine and dishwasher cleaner, fresher and more efficient. Certainly worth trying especially if you are worried about mould, limescale and nasty smells in your appliances.

Today I have some Dr Beckmann's products to give away to a reader of my blog.

To enter, pop over to Twitter and tweet this "#RT I am entering to #win with Dr Beckmann and @melandjake99". You must leave a comment on this post saying you have done so leaving your Twitter name for it to count.

For an extra entry follow @melandjake99 on Twitter and leave a separate comment on this post leaving your Twitter name.

For another entry follow @DrBeckmannUK on Twitter and leave a separate comment on this post leaving your Twitter name.

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random 
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
Giveaway ends midnight on 12/04/2014
Good Luck!

Beaverbrooks For Mother's Day - Giveaway And Review Ends 21/04/14

I love supporting family run businesses as they really care for their staff and their customers. Did you know that Beaverbrooks, the jewellery chain started out as a family run business 95 years ago? No, neither did I!

From humble beginnings they have grown to over 65 stores nationwide yet they still care about their staff, being voted top 100 companies to work for in 2013 in the Sunday Times.

But that's enough about the company you may say, what about the jewellery?

Beaverbrooks sell a wide range of jewellery from Tresor Paris earrings from £14 to diamond rings for thousands of pounds. All the well known jewellery and watch brands are here from Links of London to Michael Kors, Thomas Sabo to Omega. It's certainly a feast for the eyes. 

They also do a range of their own well priced jewellery such as the Talisman range. Crafted in sterling silver or rose gold plate this range is based on Talismans which are objects thought to bring you good luck or protect you from harm. Wishbone, feather and key pendants are their top designs in this range, stunning jewellery that convey deeper meanings. 

Wishbone pendant from the Talisman collection

Beaverbrooks have sent me another of their own range jewellery pieces, a pretty rose gold on silver jewellery set to review and a pendant to giveaway to my readers.

The photos really don't do this set justice. The rose gold coloured hue, give this pretty pendant a warm glow. Sparkling cubic zirconia stud the bale and setting adding extra glamour. In the centre a white brilliant cut cubic zirconia brings the wow factor. This stunning set really looks glorious on and is fantastic value for money. I must admit, I'm a big fan of rose gold, it is very flattering on most skin tones, and rose gold plate is so affordable too.

You could win this in my giveaway!

The earrings are really cute. They have a warmth from the rose gold colour and beautiful sparkle from the cubic zirconia. They also look a million dollars but cost a fraction of the price!
Beaverbrooks have some lovely jewellery items on their website, with perfect Mother's day prices. They even do a click and collect service where you order your jewellery online and collect in store.

To win this beautiful necklace above, why don't you enter my giveaway? To enter just pop over to the Beaverbrooks website and come back and tell me which piece of jewellery you would pick as a gift for a birthday or for Mother's Day. Entry is via the Rafflecopter application below.

If you like entering competitions check out my other competitions here. You have to be in it to win it.

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
One entry per person
Giveaway ends midnight on 21/04/2014
Good Luck!

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Choosing The Perfect Wedding Reception Venue

There is so much to think about when planning a wedding, such as getting the perfect dress, picking the right wedding rings and choosing the perfect wedding reception and that's just for starters. Here are some tips about choosing the perfect wedding reception venue.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Firstly the budget has to be discussed as this can impact on the choice of venue. Do you have a limited budget or is money no object? If you have a limited budget then the venue will have to be cheaper and often this means the amount of people pared down. You may even decide to hold it in your house or a local hall or community centre as opposed to a country house, grand hotel or marquee.

Secondly do you have a number of people in mind you wish to invite, and can the venue cope with it? Things to consider include expectations of you by other people. You will more than likely invite close family but what about your mum's best friend? Would she be upset if you didn't invite her? If you have 20 people you are inviting then a small cosy meal in a local restaurant may be a great option but may not be suitable if you are inviting 200 people, when a country house hotel could be better.

Thirdly what type of venue would you like and where do you wish to hold the reception? There are many types of venues to consider and the main ones include hotel, restaurant, home, local hall or community centre, and marquee amongst others.

Fourthly what type of food do you want and are the venue able to provide this or are you bringing in outside caterers or cooking it yourself? Obviously the cost implications of cooking it yourself will mean you save a lot of money but do you have the time and inclination to do this so close to your wedding? Maybe other family members would help out if you wanted to go down this route.

Using a cosy room in a hotel may be perfect for an intimate gathering. Many hotels also have larger rooms than can be hired out for a large party. A large country house hotel is perfect if you want to push the boat out and have a higher budget. You may even pay to take over the hotel for your wedding. Are you ordering off the normal menu or is there a special wedding menu available? A special menu may be a cost effective option. Can you bring your own wine or will they expect you to buy it from them?

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Booking a table in a restaurant may be suitable for a smaller gathering, whilst hiring out the whole restaurant maybe possible for a large party. Again ask if they have a special wedding menu or are they able to put a menu together for the event? You will generally be expected to buy their wine and drinks for a toast and these maybe pricey.

If you use your home you need to consider will you use outside catering or are you or your friends and family cooking the food. This can be the most cost effective option. You can hire a marquee for the garden, and this is a lovely option for a summer wedding. Buying wine from a local cash and carry or even supermarket will be cheaper than buying wine in a hotel or restaurant.

A local hall or community centre can be a great cheap option when you really have to watch the pennies. Again consider who is making the food, will you hire an outside caterer or will it be friends and family making the food. Providing your own drink is cost effective.

Marquees can cater for a medium to large number of people, and some come fully lined and heated too. Smaller marquees can be a surprisingly cost effective way of catering for those as an added extension to your house. Some marquee companies will also provide hire services of items to furnish such as chairs, table linen and glassware for example. A great option for something a little different. Marquees may be set up in a country house hotel, a pub, your own garden or outside space. Prices vary depending on where it is set up, size of marquee, the furnishings and whether you are providing the catering or an company are.

As you can see there are many things to think about when considering the perfect wedding reception venue. 

Tell me - are you planning your wedding? If you are already married where did you hold your reception? What do you think of the options available?

* Sponsored by C & J Rentals  - marquee hire in Yorkshire and the North of England.

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Stunning Jon Richard Jewellery - Giveaway And Review Ends 15/04

The other day I was contacted by Jon Richard jewellery as they had heard about  my love of sparkly things. 

Jon Richard is a name that is becoming popular on the high street, with over 100 stockists in the UK and nearly thirty years experience of producing affordable fashion led jewellery. They also have concessions in large number of Debenhams stores as well as designing and sourcing jewellery for companies such as Butterfly by Matthew Williamson, Star by Julien Macdonald, Principles by Ben de Lisi and J by Jasper Conran.

With an eye on feminine styling and the season's key looks they design jewellery for all ages and tastes.

The bangle that I was sent to review was packaged in a lovely box with a ribbon. From the Simply Silver range it has an organic quality that I like, with unstructured edges and studded with cubic zirconia for that added glamour. It is simply styled but classic and classy looking. The thin silver bangle also does not feel lightweight on, it actually feels quite substantial.  I think this is a very pretty bangle that I would wear for a posh lunch out or an evening meal and drinks somewhere nice.

Jon Richard Simply Silver sterling silver bangle with cubic zirconia

This bangle also comes in rose gold on silver. Rose gold is very on trend at the moment and is particularly popular in the Autumn/Winter months. I find the warm hues compliment most skin tones and I have a number of rose gold pieces myself. 

Jon Richard Simply Silver sterling silver and rose gold bangle with cubic zirconia

This company is also great for brides, bridesmaids and mother of the bride too. From crystal necklaces to pearl earrings, diamante bracelets to flower hair combs they have something for all the bridal party

Jon Richard jewellery have given me a chance to give away the rose gold on silver bangle above. Priced at a very reasonable £40, the bangle is a stunning piece, perfect for a gift for Mother's Day or a treat for someone you love (or for yourself!).

To enter the competition pop over to the Jon Richard website  and then come back and answer the questions via the Rafflecopter application below. If you love the jewellery you can follow Jon Richard on Twitter or Facebook too.

If you are a competition lover all my current competitions are here - you have to be in it to win it!

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
One entry per person
Giveaway ends midnight on 15/04/2014
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Easter From Hotel Chocolat

I must admit, I am a bit of a fan of Hotel Chocolat and have been for a while. This British chocolatier that was set up 20 years ago, produce luxury chocolates with a sense of fun and an ethical conscious. Did you know they help support cocoa growing communities in Saint Lucia and Ghana?

What I also love about the brand is that their presentation and packaging are spot on. I do admit, I let out a little squeal when this was delivered by the postman. The ribbon and bow added some class to the gift bag and the card was a lovely finishing touch.

Inside the bag was a gorgeous box with the You Crack Me Up egg. This extra thick egg is sure to make you smile with its 12 smiley face chocolates and happy chicks. The thick milk chocolate egg is edged with white chocolate. This smooth, creamy mellow chocolate egg melts on your tongue and taste little a little piece of heaven.

I enlisted the aid of my son and husband to test the chocolate out - well I think if I hadn't they would have never spoken to me again!

I made notes on a number of the chocolates before they were scoffed by the family, unfortunately I didn't get to try them all - but that is a recommendation in it's own right!

The milk chocolate chick had a simple mellow chocolate taste that was very satisfying and yummy. The milk chocolate bunny was a favourite. The creamy milk chocolate had a hint of caramel running though and was simply delicious - a very luxurious tasty chocolate. Another favourite was the milk chocolate square with the white chocolate fried egg. It had a hard shell and inside was sweet toffee and a praline cream. The crunch of the milk chocolate shell and the dreaminess of the toffee and praline was a taste sensation. 

The You Crack Me Up egg

The You Crack Me Up egg is available in the run up to Easter from Hotel Chocolat priced at £28. It isn't cheap but it's certainly worth it to spoil that special someone. Hotel Chocolat have a range of Easter Eggs and Mother's Day gifts on their website with a range of prices. As always the quality shines out in their products and I feel you pay for quality in this day and age.

Recommended 5*

Tell me have you tried Hotel Chocolat's Easter eggs or other delights?
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Gemporia Jewellery - Giveaway and Review - Ends 12/04

At Gemporia, they believe that beautiful jewellery shouldn’t cost the earth, nor should it be mass produced or run of the mill. But it should leave a legacy, for those who wear it and those who help to make it. That’s why they only use genuine gemstones and precious metals to make their jewellery in limited runs. Their aim is to be original, inspiring and ethical.

This perfect partnership run by Steve and Sarah Bennett has grown from strength to strength as Steve sources the gemstones whilst Sarah designs the jewellery. They also work closely with The Colourful Life Foundation to aid communities where gemstones are found, educating and supporting as well as ensuring these communities benefit when they sell their jewellery.

I was excited when they said they would send me some earrings to review as everything looked beautiful on the website. 

I waited with anticipation until they arrived, and as I opened the packaged I was not disappointed. 

white quartz and silver earrings £16

The white quartz earrings they sent me are in a diamond cut pattern which catches the light. These earrings are a substantial size and very glamorous. Set in classic sterling silver with a frosted setting, I thought they looked stunning and fabulous value, priced at only £16. One comment is that they were much nicer in real life than on the website, see images above. I think this is because it's hard to represent white gemstones online, other than diamonds. These earrings are perfect for a night out somewhere special and I can't wait to wear them when I go out for a meal next.

Gemporia have such a range of designs on their website you will be surprised. From simple silver jewellery under £20 to platinum and diamond rings costing thousands of pounds. A great deal of thought has gone into picking each item, value for money, the quality of the stones and the perfect setting all create each individual piece.

2 ct diamond and platinum ring £9985

This company takes their ethics seriously and you can be reassured that if you are buying any diamond jewellery that all diamonds are sourced from legitimate sources and adhere to the Kimberley Process, and does not fund conflict at any time. Another tick for Gemporia I think you would agree.

In conclusion I think if you are looking for great value for money and a beautiful piece of jewellery you can't really go wrong with this company. They have a large selection of jewellery, something for everyone and they are a responsible company. 

If you would like to win an item of jewellery from Gemporia, why don't you check out my giveaway below. For my readers Gemporia are giving you a chance to win two prizes. The first prize is a pair of gorgeous gold and amethyst earrings. These earrings are dainty and cute with a vibrant colour. The second prize is a pretty silver and amethyst bracelet. A simple yet standout piece.

amethyst and gold earring and amethyst and silver bracelet 

To enter pop on over to the Gemporia Website and tell me which piece of jewellery is your favourite and don't forget to say why. Entry is via the Rafflecopter application below.

If you are a competition lover all my current competitions are here - you have to be in it to win it!

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
One entry per person
Giveaway ends midnight on 12/04/2014
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
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How to Make Strawberry Jam

A guest post by Erika from Eclectic Enhancements

My Dad loves to grow fruit and vegetables in his garden and he passed this love onto me, but I have a tiny garden and so space is limited.  Dad on the other hand has lots of space and grows too much.  As a solution to the worry he had about wasting what he was growing and because I have a tremendous love of it, I decided to put together a jam making kit.  It contained everything in it we needed to spend the day making jam together.  Our first effort was using market bought fruit, but Dad grows strawberries and raspberries among other things himself.

Our very first jam was Strawberry and my absolute favourite.  The recipe we used is from the book I bought my Dad, The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown.  (If you are interested in making jam at all, this book explains everything from equipment to recipes).

Strawberry Jam

This recipe makes around 6 average jars of jam, (approximately 1KG), it will take roughly an hour and the finished product lasts for up to 9 months!


  • 1KG strawberries, they need to be halved and hulled (the stalks taken out)
  • 6 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 900g of granulated sugar & 5-6 tablespoons of strong pectin stock (this is made from apples and can be done at home) OR 900g of jam sugar. 

For our first attempt Dad and I made some pectin stock and for our second batch, raspberry jam, we used jam sugar.  Both turned out delicious.

  • Using a big stainless steel saucepan, pop all of the strawberries and lemon juice onto the hob and cook on a gentle heat for about 5 -10 minutes.  You learn quickly that this isn’t a science, a lot depends on how fresh your fruit is, the heat you use, size of the pan and so on.  Once the berries have become soft you are ready for the next step.
  • Add in the sugar and pectin stock (or the jam sugar if that is what you are using).  Keep the heat on low and stir the moisture until the sugar has all dissolved.
  • Bring to the boil and then cook for 15 minutes.  You can be more precise by using the setting point for strawberry jam which is 105°C .
  • You now need to test for a set.  This is really easy, have a cold plate or saucer to hand (pop it in the freezer or fridge), pop a little of your hot jam onto the plate and leave for a minute.  Prod the jam with your finger and if it wrinkles, it’s set!
  • Now, once your jam has cooled slightly and you remove any surface scum, you can ladle it into sterilised jam jars.  (Sterilise in a dishwasher or microwave).  Cover with a wax seal/paper disc, pop on your lid and allow it to completely cool before opening! 
Have you ever made strawberry jam?

Rosie Willett Designs

There are special days in our lives that we treasure. My wedding day was one of the best days of my life. I spent ages planning the event, finding the perfect dress, shoes, flowers, jewellery and tiara.

Some suppliers were easy to find but getting the right jewellery and tiara took time and effort - perfecting the right look, picking the right colour of jewellery and the right tone of tiara to go with my ivory dress was time-consuming and difficult on times.

I wish I had found Rosie Willett Designs then. Rosie Willett is an award-winning tiara designer with a First Class Honours degree in Fashion Marketing. Her designs are unique and stunningly pretty. You won't find anything the same on the high street. From vintage-inspired designs, to modern side tiaras and forehead bands and vines, Rosie creates special individual pieces for your memorable wedding day. 

Rosie in a matter of a few years has also become the darling of the Wedding magazines, being featured in such publication as Brides magazine and You and Your Wedding. She has even had a number of her beautiful pieces used in Coronation Street and been featured on the front cover of Hello magazine as her headdress was worn by Mrs Georgia Jones, for her wedding to Danny Jones from McFly.

Rosie takes her inspiration from the shapes in nature and is also inspired by the cultures of art, film and fashion. The use of pearls, Swarovski crystals, silk satin and French lace inspire her to create jewellery, tiaras and headbands that are always feminine and beautiful.

The workmanship of the pieces are obvious, each item is lovingly handcrafted and designed by Rosie to produce an individual stunning bridal accessory.

Her wedding jewellery uses Swarovski AB crystal for that unique sparkle, as well as ivory pearls and diamante. Each piece has been designed to co-ordinate with her tiaras. From a simple pearl and crystal necklace to more elaborate designs, you are safe in the knowledge that you will look beautiful in Rosie Willett jewellery on your special day.

Her bridal tiaras are made using intricate hand stitching and beading techniques. Vintage style headbands, decorative tiaras and glamourous hair combs are all part of her range. Prices are also competitive for hand made pieces, with a range of prices from simple decorative hair combs to more elaborate vintage-style pieces.

If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, Rosie provides a unique bespoke service too, for that perfect match on colour, theme or design.

I think Rosie Willett Designs produce beautiful jewellery and headpieces. Tell me do you love the designs as much as me?

*This is a sponsored post

Augustine Jewels Offer

Augustine Jewels thanks Diary of a Jewellery Lover for Running Competition and Launches Spring Collection

Augustine Jewels would like to thank followers of Diary of a Jewellery Lover for their participation in the recent competition. Following the press launch, Augustine Jewels have now released their Spring collections to the general public. Inspired by the designer’s trip in Mexico and its stunning array of blossoming flowers in home gardens and nature, jewellery designer Alexandra uses these precious visual memories to create beautiful and elegantly feminine collections using primarily reds and pinks in tribute to Mexico’s obsessive devotion to flowers. 
Designed and founded by Esmod School of Fashion and Cambridge University alumni Alexandra Morris Robson, the three collections consist of the Heirloom, Spring and Ostrich using precious materials such as 18ct white old and sterling silver and with the finest quality natural gemstones of pink sapphires, rubies, garnets and diamonds. 

GIA educated Alexandra has ambitious plans for the future of the jewellery brand, “I want to create a piece that has an element of sentimental and lasting beauty for the wearer, an ‘heirloom’ or ‘iconic’ piece that can be easily identified as Augustine Jewels and treasured as an eternal keepsake.”

Naming the brand Augustine Jewels came to Alexandra naturally. Augustine Studios is the home and design studio where her creations, ideas and visions come to life. It was part of one of the largest decorative art and design studios in the UK from the 1860s to 1960s – a competitor to William Morris. The history of her home is the inspiration behind the brand Augustine Jewels. 

The retail price on the website ranges from £75 to £3,900. The bespoke service is from £2,000 to £100,000 +. 
Augustine Jewels were really thrilled by all of the lovely comments in my recent competition and wanted to thank you all for entering the competition with a 20% off gift for the first 20 customers...  They just have to enter the code LUCKY at check out. 

So add the code LUCKY at the check out to get 20% from Augustine Jewels!
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Win The Duchess Necklace From Merci Maman Ends 09/04

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis may have seen the lovely necklace from Merci Maman that I reviewed in January. The gorgeous little silver necklace was engravable and quickly has become one of my favourite pieces of jewellery I own.

Merci Maman is one of those small but perfectly formed companies that you may not have heard of, but when you find them, you wish you had heard of them before! They specialise in personalised jewellery in sterling silver and beautiful gold plate with cute touches, and they are always fashionable but classic in their designs.

Recently this company created six years ago by Beatrice, a French mother of four, has been featured in Hello Magazine since the news that their Duchess necklace was given to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge from her sister Pippa. The gold plated necklace features three charms adorning a long chain. 

Catherine or Kate as we like to call her was given a necklace with a mini heart engraved with W representing Prince William, a lovely little boy charm and a gold plated disc with her son's full name George Alexander Louis. It is such a lovely idea and a wonderful heirloom to hand down to your children, that I was extremely delighted to have the chance to review my own version of this necklace on my blog.

My Beautiful Duchess Necklace

When my necklace arrived it came in a lovely box with a ribbon tie, such lovely finishing touches that you learn to expect from this company. What I particularly loved about this necklace is the gold hue, which looked like a cross between yellow and rose gold and the belcher style chain, which appeared substantial but didn't overpower the necklace. The charms attached are super cute! I choose my son's name on the circular disc and my initial on the heart charm, the little boy charm is the final piece to the necklace. This chain comes in two lengths 45cm and 80cm and silver or gold plate. I choose the long-chain as I think long necklaces add a modern but fashionable edge to any outfit.

If you would like to buy the Duchess necklace you can here, and while you are at it why don't you check out the other pieces of personalised jewellery they offer.

Well, Merci Maman has been very kind to my blog and my readers by giving you a chance to win a Duchess necklace which would be the perfect Mother's Day gift.

For a chance to win answer the questions on the Rafflecopter application below. You have one mandatory entry by leaving a blog comment and a number of optional entries. If you like this competition please share via Google Plus at the bottom of the post and bookmark this page to enter daily via the tweeting option.

You can follow Merci Maman on Twitter, Facebook and don't forget to check out their blog. Make sure you subscribe to their newsletter on the left of the page to keep in touch with all the latest offers and news.

If you are a competition lover all my current competitions are here - you have to be in it to win it!

Terms and Conditions
My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only. 
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery.
No automated entries.

Giveaway ends midnight on 09/04/2014. 
Good Luck!