Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review: Sudocrem Moisturising and Sunscreen Mousses

I'll be up-front and tell you - I like Sudocrem, it is the nappy cream of choice in this house and in fact the kids call it Mummy's magic cream as it is used for all skin aliments, grazes and rashes.  If I am not sure what is wrong with one of the kids then Sudocrem is the way to go, as I know that it won't cause any harm.  But 9 times out of 10 the kids wake up the next morning after using it and whatever was wrong is either healed or well on the way to being better.

When I heard that Sudocrem had two new products on the market I was eager to test them out with the kids and I can happily tell you, they are good.

The first one we tried was the kids and babies moisturising mousse.  This retails at £8.99 for a 150ml can of mousse and you really do only need a small amount. A golf ball sized ball of mousse was able to do the full bodies of both my 5 year old twins after the bath and they loved the fun of rubbing it in themselves.

Straight after their skin was slightly tacky but the mousse soon dried in and it really does feel as if the skin is smoother to the touch.  There is no smell to the mousse, making it perfect for young children and babies.  There are also no colours, fragrances, parabens or other preservatives. The formulation of the mousse is gentle and hypoallergenic which is great for us as Miss E can suffer with eczema at times.

The Mousse contains ProDerm® technology, which forms a highly effective moisturising and protective layer just below the surface of the skin.

Next up we tried out the Sudocrem sunscreen mousse, which is SPF 50 with a UVA 4* rating, just perfect as all my kids are fair skinned and thus it is important for us to use high factor protection. I normally find with high factor creams that they are thicker and more sticky and thus a  bit of a pain to apply to the kids.  Not so with this mousse, it is still light and fluffy and goes on well, it gives good coverage and dries in fast.

As with the moisturising mousse it is 'nasties' free and has the ProDerm® technology too. The instructions advised me to reapply 2 or 3 times during the day and to especially reapply after swimming or towel drying.  I used it on a 31 degree day out at the kids farm and none of the children had any sign of prolonged exposure to the sun when I showered them that night, so I consider that a big success.

The sunscreen mouse again comes in a 150ml can and it retails for £14.99, which is pretty comparable with other high factor sunscreens. I think the moisturing mouse is a tad expensive at £8.99 a can but it is really nice and I would be tempted if I saw it on special one day.

Both products can be bought from Boots or other good retailers.

Centre Parcs Competition with Sudocrem's Bruce the Moose

Also, I just thought I would make you aware too, Sudocrem have a fun competition running over the summer which could lead to you winning a £1000 Centre Parcs family break. Sounds good, yes? 

Take a peek at their Facebook page, like it and then Click on the 'Bruce on Tour application', register your details and complete the sentence I am going to take Bruce The Sudocrem Moose to.....”.  Make it fun, make it original, and you could be one of the lucky 100 who will receive a Bruce the Mousse toy. Close date for this first stage is 13th August 2012.

If you are lucky enough to be one of the 100 selected to receive a Bruce the Moose, you then need to take Bruce with you on your travels and upload a funny, inspiring, entertaining (delete as appropriate) picture to their facebook page. A shortlist of 5 will be selected and then 1 lucky winner will gain the Centre Parcs holiday and the 4 runners up will receive a family day pass to Chessington World of Adventures. Close date for this stage is 19th September 2012.

Go on then, what are you waiting for....  go and join in!


Disclosure:  I received the two mousses for the purposes of this review, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Review: Baker Days Personalised Cakes by Post

It was my little ladies 5th birthday this week, so what better timing could there be to review 2 Baker Days letterbox cakes?


Hmm whats a letterbox cake I hear you ask?  Well as you may guess, it is a small personalised real cake that is packaged especially to be sent by post and is small enough to come straight through your letterbox and amazingly it stays in tact and still looks complete when it arrives with you and I literally did watch mine come through the letterbox and slam on the floor.
As you can see, the cake arrives in a beautiful keepsake tin, the sticker which keeps it closed removed easily and then my girls have decided to use their tins as jewellery boxes - great idea!

These cakes which are sold as being suitable for for 4-5 portions ( 12cm diameter and 2.5" thick cake) retails for £14.99 including delivery for a traditional Madeira cake.  You can change the cake to carrot, lemon, double chocolate chip, fruit or even gluten and wheat free for an additional £1.20 - £2.00.  The site says that each letterbox cake comes with a party pack included - candles, gift card, party horn and balloons but I have to say none of the 4 cakes I received did.

On the plus side the Madeira cake did taste excellent, my girls were super excited to have a cake with their photo on and it was extra special that it was small and they could take the knife and carve it up themselves. However, I personally feel that £14.99 is more expensive than I could afford.

The cakes arrived quickly after order, which in one way was good but in another it meant I had to keep them for 5 days before my girls birthday, but I suppose it is a toss up of whether they should be there early or risk them not arriving on time.

Here are the girls cakes as they arrived -



As you can see from the photo below, the longer you keep the cake the more the colouring on the icing deteriorates.  The photo on the left is as the cake arrived and on the right is when it was served 5 days later, having been stored in its postal wrapping in a cool and dark cupboard. The photo does deteriorate in quality and the Princess becomes more plastic and blow-up doll like but it could have been a lot worse...

Left - as the cake arrived, right 5 days later
As the cake looks and is advertised on the Baker days site, quite a colour difference, I'm sure you'll agree!

....and talking of worse, the cakes I have shown you above were the second batch of cakes that we received.  As the first ones the postman did not put through the door, so they spent the weekend in the sorting office and the photos below show how they arrived with me.  As you can imagine I was seriously unimpressed.  I contacted Baker Days straight away and their customer service was excellent, they have a 100% satisfaction commitment and they were happy to send me more cakes, which of course you can see from above were far, far better.  I was also pleased to see that they had added stickers to the front of these boxes to say the packaging has been designed to go through a letterbox, so please post them.  It is always good when customer feedback is listened to.

The first batch of cakes that arrived were in poor quality after being stored at the post office depot

Whilst the second cakes that arrived were perfectly acceptable and my girls were very happy, I have to say that I was not blown away and for £14.99 I want to be blown away.  Also for me there is just too much uncertainty of when the cakes would be delivered, how they have been stored in delivery and what condition they would be when they arrived.

I do think the idea is a lovely one but just not for me.

Right of Reply

I received an email from the Mangaing Director at Baker Days in reponse to my review and I felt it was only fair to share their feedback with you.  I do like a company that take customer comments on board.

Here is what she said -

We really appreciate your feedback and valid points that you have made. We are now working on changes to our website to inform people that the colours and print out will be different to what they see on the website as the dpi quality is different to website then to printing on the icing . And you will be able to see it on www.bakerdays.com very soon. So thank you for pointing it out.


With regards to your points on your blog please find enclosed notes from me ( I have highlighted your text in purple)


’’The site says that each letterbox cake comes with a party pack included - candles, gift card, party horn and balloons but I have to say none of the 4 cakes I received did’’

All of our cakes come with party packs ( not only letterbox cakes), Letterbox cakes are the ones that come in the tin but all of our cakes come with balloons , candles and party horn

With regards to both of your order we have agreed with (our search company) that we will be sending cakes to review not the party extras. We have clarified that with (our search company) and you should have been informed. Please accept our apology if you were expecting the extras.

‘’The cakes arrived quickly after order, which in one way was good but in another it meant I had to keep them for 5 days before my girls birthday, but I suppose it is a toss up of whether they should be there early or risk them not arriving on time.’’

Just to let you know we do offer a dispatch date option on our website so customers can choose the dispatch date so if you are ordering from the website you can simply fill that info in . And we always deliver on time ( well royal mail and TNT do).

 Also for me there is just too much uncertainty of when the cakes would be delivered, how they have been stored in delivery and what condition they would be when they arrived.

As I have mentioned in my previous comment we do give our customer a choice when the cakes will be despatched.
 
Disclosure:  I received these cakes free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Review: Beefeater Grill Restaurant, The Stanborough

Beefeater are a name that have been around for years and I have to say I have not visited one of their restaurants for absolutely years, my assumptions have been that they are expensive and the food would not be that good.

I was wrong!  I'll say that again, just in case you are not sure.  I really was wrong.

The Service
On Saturday, late afternoon we were lucky enough to go along and try out The Stanborough Beefeater Grill in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and we had a really superb time. On arrival the 2 waitresses on the floor were busy but we were acknowledged twice and told they would be with us soon.  The greeting was warm and we were seated in a comfy booth.  The waitress was very friendly and chatted with my twins about the show they had been to see that morning.

The girls enjoying the colouring and activity sheet

Within a few minutes our waitress Simone came over and introduced herself and took a drinks order, she was very efficient and personable.  The drinks arrived quickly and were as ordered and Simone was able to make some food suggestions as we placed our order.  The feeling was that nothing was too much trouble. We did laugh though, as it had been noted in the reservations diary that our table was booked by the PR agency and thus I assume they realised we were either important to judging them. Because of this we keenly watched the rest of the restaurant and the service that other tables were receiving and I can honestly say that the service was consistent and they were just exceptionally good at the all round customer experience.

The Food
With regard to the food, again there was nothing to disappoint us. It was all cooked well and the portion sizes were good.  All chips are bottomless, including the kids and thus those with a bigger appetite can fill up. I felt that the vegetarian options were a bit limited but dh (who is the veggie) was quite happy and he had a vegetable risotto which he tells me was really pleasant.

3 good sized skins for a starter portion

For me, I started with the cheese and bacon potato skins, which we all loved and the kids nicked a good proportion of and then I didn't fancy chips so I went for the chicken breast wrapped in bacon with a black and blue sauce, served with new potatoes and vegetables.  I am pleased to report that the veg did taste fresh and the chicken was cooked to perfection. To finish I had a waffle with banana, hot toffee sauce and ice cream and it was large and very good.

The Kids Menu
I was particularly impressed with the kids meal, it is a main course and dessert with free drink for £5.25 and then you can add on a starter for another £1.  The choice is very good and the portion sizes were more than adequate. JJ opted for the burger, fries and beans, Miss E had the same but with fish fingers and Miss M has a spaghetti bolognaise, garlic bread and corn on the cob.  That was  a really hearty meal and was enough for Miss E to have some too!



The kids desserts are great, often I find you have a choice of ice cream or ice cream for the kids but not so here.  Miss E indulged in a large portion of profiteroles with ice cream and the other two had the mini chocolate challenge, where you can create your own dessert with ice cream, brownies, marshmallows and warm chocolate sauce.



What could they do better?
I have thought hard about what I might write as something to be improved for next time and the only thing I have thought of is that we were not offered the special daytime (until 6.30pm) value menu, but this is very minor when I think about just how good the food and service was.  I would also have been happy with the cost had I of paid for the whole meal, all of us having a 3 course meal and drinks came to just over £57 and for an evening out that is acceptable.

What promotions are there?
As mentioned there is a daytime value menu and also an evening value menu, the items on these menus are more limited but when a main course starts from just £4.99 in the day you can't really complain.  The upgrade for a starter and dessert is just 1.99 a piece, so you could end up with a 3 course meal for less than £9.00, sounds good!

Also, what we discovered while at the restaurant is that there are often good promotions going on. We were told about the breakfast deal where an adult can get a full english buffet with drinks for £8.25.  Nothing special there you may think until you realise that every adult can take 2 kids (under 15) with them to eat for free.  Fantastic, so when we have something to celebrate but not too much money we can all go for late breakfast on a weekend (up until 11am) and have a great meal for just £16.50 for the 5 of us  perfect!

The Final Verdict
Excellent, we would give the overall experience a 9/10.


Disclosure:  We received a £50 discount on the cost of our meal for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

GoGoGo! Show Review (at the Empire, Leicester Square)

We had a wonderful time today at the GoGoGo! show.  You know we had a good time as here I am on the same day but 12 hours later writing this review up.  I know exactly what I want to say and it is no hardship to write it.

In short, the show is fabulous if you have young girls in your family!

My twin girls turn 5 next week and we took them to the show as part of their birthday treat (oh the perks of being a blogger) and what a wise decision that was.  There were two other groups of girls there on birthday party treats and I would guess those girls were more like 8 and 10.  So the age appeal of this show is pretty wide, my guess would be 2-11 years, or maybe even beyond.  My JJ came with us and he is nearly 9 and whilst there were a few parts where he was chuckling away, mainly when a bit of gentle toilet humour appeared, in the main this was probably not really his thing.

So what is the GoGoGo! Show?
Basically it is 1 hour and 30 minutes of 5 super happy and contagious young people dancing and singing fabulous pop songs which have been penned by Mike Stock (yes, as in Stock, Aitkin and Waterman fame) and Steve Crosby who created Steps.  The songs were definitely my favourite part of the show, they had my feet tapping and even my dh commented how catchy they were. The show is interactive and you get to shout out and join in very regularly, oh yes do not get too comfy in your seat!

What did we think?
Fab, fab Fab!  Yes I cannot shout it enough, this show is perfect for anyone who likes things like Glee and High School Musical.  Or even if you just like holiday camp shows, this did remind me of the Skyline gang from Butlins but of course the songs are a cut above.  I could easily imagine a top 10 hit coming out of this show.

For Miss M it was the dancing that really captured her and she loved that the show is completely interactive and they want you on your feet joining in. The more you boogie, the better!  Apparently Miss M tells me Holly is the best dancer and she wants to be just like her.

And look, Miss M has not seen yet but on the website they have loads of dance tutorials -



Miss E would quite like a Fluffalope to take home with her, apparently the purple fluffy creative is 'really cute mum'.

JJ had to admit to enjoying some of the magic tricks performed by Carl, as he does have aspirations of being a magician himself one day!

Value for money?
I have to say yes, I have wanted to take my kids to a live stage show but I find London theatre so prohibitive when it comes to cost.  The GoGoGo! show is shown at the Empire, Leicester Square at 11am and as such they are able to keep the costs down.  It is £15 per adult and £12.50 per child but if you take a family of 4 it is £50 or 10 or more can get the tickets for just £10 each, that is practically cinema prices for a fully live and interactive show.Superb value and I also liked that you could buy a reasonably priced ice-cream in the interval.  The deal at the moment is 2 of the individual Hagen Daz pots for £3.00.

A fabulous extra!
For completing the tasks (which are part of the stage show) the kids all get a gold membership to the GoGoGo! getters club and they can go online and receive posters and music downloads.

My girls felt like special VIPs today, not only could the kids go down the front at the end of the show, all 6 stars then go out to the lobby after each show to sign autographs and have their picture taken with the children.  Today was not the busiest show but from what I saw I believe they would stay there as long as it took to speak to all the kids.  The 6 performers are genuinely warm and friendly towards all the kids.

In their birthday outfits chosen by them!


Mr Baffled signing the kids programs.

 
The GoGoGo! show is at The Empire over the summer, it would make a great day out during the holidays, especially if this awful rain keeps up!  You can book on the Empire's site. Go and check it out now.....

Disclosure: We were given free tickets to attend this show for the purposes of a review.  I was not instructed what to write and I remain honest.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Review: Almond Breeze Almond Milk from Blue Diamond



When this super breakfast hamper turned up at my door I can tell you I was a very happy lady!  Every Mum needs some quality time to herself and I was chuffed to hear that Blue Diamond almonds wanted to acknowledge this.

Have you heard of almond milk before?  No, me neither.  So when I was sent some to try out I was a bit unsure what to expect but it is absolutely delicious, well if you like nuts that is. Because it does taste a bit nutty in my opinion but as I like nuts that suits me fine.  I have found it best with muesli for my breakfast but my hubbie likes it by the glass as a nice cool evening drink. It is good in coffee too and adds an extra something. 

I must tell you that I expected the milk to leave an aftertaste or to be a bit powdery in taste (like almonds can be after you have too many) but it is not at all.  It really is very good and Blue Diamond are so sure that that you will enjoy it that they have a money back taste guarantee.  Fab hey?

Currently Almond Breeze is available in original, unsweetened and soon there will be chocolate here in the UK too.


Nadia Sawalha has been developing some recipes which include the Almond Breeze almond milk and I totally fancy the apple pancakes. In fact anything that you may cook which would include classic cows milk can be switched for almond milk for a slightly different flavour.

Of course this is also a fabulous alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or are vegetarian or vegan.  I was really interested in the nutritional content of this milk as it provides just 48 calories per 200ml serving, that is over half less than semi-skimmed milk and less fat too.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

Almond Breeze is currently on sale at Waitrose and Tesco, the RRP is £1.40 but Tesco currently has it on special at £1.00 and at that price I will definitely be buying it again as myself and my husband both really like it.  I could not get the kids enthused about it, even the one that likes nuts so perhaps it is a product more suited to adults.


Disclosure:  I received a breakfast hamper for the purposes of this review.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Review & Giveaway: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Congratulations to @dogbombs & @blueeyes_betty, you are the lucky winners.  Please email or DM me your address details and I will pass them to the PR to send our your books.  Thanks, Mich x
My little JJ is an avid reader, you often find him lying on his bed with a book and I love that.  As a reader myself I am so pleased my love of books has passed onto him.  Especially when you see all the research showing that boys nowadays are not interested in books and they would rather play with their computer games.  Well yes, JJ might if I let him but we work on the principle of balance in this house and thus he is time controlled on his games and needs to choose other options as well and for him that tends to be Lego and reading.

He loves non-fiction books and sucks up knowledge at an amazing rate, he has also just got into comics like The Beano and The Dandy and his love of Enid Blyton and Jacqueline Wilson has moved onto J. K. Rowling and J. R. R Tolkien.  Yes he is just reading The Hobbit and he tells me he loves it. When he learnt that the book is being made into a film and it will be screened at the end of this year he did an audible whoop!

At age 8 JJ found the Hobbit a little difficult to read to himself at first, he was complaining of too many difficult words that he did not understand.  So we moved to reading the story aloud together and discussing anything that he did not understand.  This was actually a lovely experience and gave us some blessed alone time most evenings. What I found was that the story was a little slow at first but then it really paced up and was completely captivating. Tolkien is the most amazing story teller and he really paints a picture in your head with his descriptions of trolls, dwarfs, the forest, well everything really.

The Hobbit is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which are so well known nowadays. This story of the gentle hobbit Bilbo Baggins in the mythical land of middle-earth is beautiful and enchanting.  You really do get swept up with the story and taken on a journey, which culminates with a breath taking ending.


It goes without saying that this book is well written, it would not have remained in print for the last 75 years if it was not.

Take a look at the trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which releases on 14th December 2012.



You can also check out some great Hobbit facts on the official blog.

The Hobbit books is a bit of a bargain, you can get it on Amazon at the moment for just £4.86.

JJ and I would highly recommend this book and we give it a 9/10.

So how do you fancy reading the Hobbit to your kids before they can view the movie?  I have 2 copies up for grabs by a couple of lucky readers -

To enter -

* Leave me a comment and tell me your favourite book to read and a way to contact you (mandatory)
* Tweet 'I'm in to #win 1 of 2 The Hobbit books from @MichelleTwinMum http://bit.ly/OB24G3'  and tell me you have done so. (for an extra entry, optional)


Terms and Conditions




  • The winners will be chosen at random
  • Open to UK and Ireland residents only
  • Giveaway closes at 12 noon on Tuesday 24th July 2012
  • The winners will be contacted within 5 working days of the competition closing
  • The winners needs to contact me within a week of my announcing the winner or I will draw again
  • The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative
  • The books will be sent direct from the PR agency


  • Disclosure:  I was sent this book free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

    Monday, 9 July 2012

    Review: Crocs Chameleon Carlie Flats

    Last month at BritMums I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of pairs of Crocs shoes for my girls to try out.  I knew as soon as I saw the Chameleon Carlie flats that my girls would just adore them.  I think it was the beautiful shiny pink lemonade coloured jibbitz that sold the shoes to me!  Yes I really am that much of a girl that a shiny button on a shoe would sell them!



    A pair of these shoes retail for £34.99 on the Crocs website and they look as if they are built to last, the TPU upper is flexible and hard wearing but I have to say both my girls got a blister on their first wear, so they are having to wear the shoes with socks now for a while.  The soles are the signature croslite material for comfort and hard wearing ability.

    This style is available in a children's size 9 up to a junior size 1. I believe the sizes come up slightly small. Miss M is a size 12.5F in Clarks and I received a C13 in this style but they were too small and I had to change them for a J1 which are just right. But that is no problem as long as you know.

    The real clincher with these shoes is the Chameleon aspect, when your child walks out into the sunshine the shoes instantly change colour, my girls went from the very pale pink/ white to a rich pink/ light purple and both my twins were thrilled with this!  Again I showed my girlie streak as I thought these were awesome too and JJ is angling for a pair or boys crocs with the same feature but sadly with his big feet he is out of luck!

    Take a look at the Chameleons in action -



    Miss E is crazy about Hello Kitty and that is another reason why Crocs are perfect for her as you can purchase Jibbitzs of your choice to adorn your child's shoes.  There are so many to choose from and they range in price from  £1.69 to £3.59 each but you get each third one free on the Crocs website.


    Whilst I do love the Jibbitz, we found that on this particular style they were prone to slip out and one Saturday we spent an extra half an hour traipsing back around the shops to find a lost Hello Kitty. Luckily it was sat by the comics in Smiths!  I have now super glued the girls ones in and solved the problem.

    In general I think these are a super pair of shoes, stylish and practical. They are not the cheapest shoes about but I believe they will last and are very versatile and therefore present value for money.  I give them a 7/10 overall.

    You can order direct from the Crocs website, where delivery is £4.95 per order with an easy returns system or alternatively crocs are stocked at many reputable footwear retailers or there are a number of dedicated Crocs stores in the UK which you can locate here.



    Disclaimer: I received 2 pairs of shoes for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

    Wednesday, 4 July 2012

    Review: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for the DS

    My JJ (age 8) was sent the DS game Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes to review and he was totally made up. He has a number of the other Lego DS games including Lego Batman 1 and thus he is a great candidate to give us his opinion on the game.

    I did a video interview with JJ but for some reason the sound was missing when I uploaded it so I have transcribed what he had to say.

    So JJ, tell me what you liked about Lego Batman 2

    It is really cool, I love the bombs that you can use to blow up things. Also, Batman has some really cool outfits which allow you to do all sorts of things (like increase his gadgets and abilities). Justice mode (freeplay) is also really good and the game gets much more interesting once you have unlocked that. I love Lego games as you get to smash things up and collect all the studs (which are like points).  You can also discover hints and hidden areas. It is great fun.

    What was not so good?

    It is quite like Lego Batman 1. He tells me there are new areas to explore and I have read there are more characters that you can access and play once you unlock them later in the game but fundamentally from an 8 year olds perspective, it is more of the same.

    So what is the game storyline?

    There is this baddie, Lex Luthor who wants to be the president and he works with the Joker to put kryptonite in the ballot box. Then Batman, Robin, Superman and loads of other super heroes all try to stop the baddies.

    I hear there is a full voice cast on this game JJ, do you like that?

    Yes it is good to have the sound on this game but it does mean I have to wear my headphones as no-one else wants to listen to it. (I understand this is the first game in the Lego franchise to have a voice over with it and opinion seems to be that it has worked well.)

    What do you think of the graphics for the game?

    They are great, the lego characters are excellent and fun to play.

    Here are some samples of the graphics -




    Out of 10, how would you rate the game JJ?
    He says it is a 6 but once he has played more of the justice mode it might go up as that is when it gets really interesting,

    I have to confess that I know nothing about computer games and have no real desire to know more, it is not my bag but I did sit and watch JJ playing for about half an hour and he talked me through what was happening and how to do different things and it was interesting and a real learning experience for me.

    I think for JJ these Lego games are like a dream come true as they combine his 2 favourite things - computer games and Lego.

    This game is PEGI 7 and available to buy from Game.

    I'll leave you with a short video trailer -



    Disclaimer: I received this game free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.