Renna's Discoveries: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Annie's Closet - the Place To Buy Accessories

Annie's Closet is an online accessories shop full of wonderful cute and beautiful items. They have Bags, Bracelets, Coin Purses, Scarves, Necklaces and other accessories. She is based in Horsham in Sussex. A great way to see her items and have fun is to organise a gift party. If you are within 25 miles distance from her, Annie will come to you and bring some stock for you and your friends to all have a look at.

I chose a bag to review for you, as I knew it would come in very useful for my daughters new daily school bag. I needed a bag that is good quality and will last, as well as being strong enough to hold her books. My daughter and I went through all the options on the website, which is really easy to navigate yourself through and pick your favourites. Annie has loads of beautiful bags, so we had to do the art of elimination as we loved so many. After deciding and ordering it arrived super quickly and beautifully wrapped up. This also makes for a great gift, as you can order online and then get it posted to the recipient. Bonus!
 Now, the colour pink is slightly different from the website, as we were expecting more of a reddy pink, but actually its pink pink. It's a really nice, strong canvas material. The handle is nice and thick too, so it shouldn't break like her others have in the past, it's also adjustable so anyone can use it. The bag measures 30cm by 30cm and what I like about it, is, it doesn't have a over flap to go over the zip. Its just a straight forward bag, so for school, it is easier to use in a hurry.
The two front pockets have a popper to hold them secure and the back has a zipped pocket. Perfect for easy access to their purse or phone. 
 Front poppers, which will hold together very well. You can see by the pictures of the fantastic quality.
 Top of the bag is nice and secure with a full zip across.
I love the inside, its a fun funky design and it have another zipped pocket and it has two small compartments for small items.
 It really is very pink, and its beautiful. My daughter loves it.
 This is priced at £14.00 online with £3.00 postage. With each purchase you can gain loyalty points too which then in turn will be points that you can use against another order in the future.

A couple of other favourites from the site are : 
Have a look at Annie's Closet, if you are need of any accessories or gifts. They really do have a wonderful selection, all at a great price.
www.anniescloset.co.uk


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fentimans are launching Sparkling Lime & Jasmine Drink

When companies start bringing out more lime flavoured drinks, I automatically think of the summer. Its perfect to have an ice cold refreshing drink whilst sitting out in the sun. It is absolute bliss and something I look forward to instead of holding Hot Chocolate, Tea or Mulled wine when you are out in the cold for winter events.
Fentimans have just launched a new drink this month called : Sparkling Lime & Jasmine

Monday, February 22, 2016

Kiddyum - Made for Mini Tums

Preparing meals for young children can be quite daunting, as they can be such fussy monkeys. Whilst they are babies, they have milk then they move on to yoghurt and then vegetables purées. So they don't get a variety of flavours in their meals, as its all blended and on a spoon. So once they get old enough for lumps and different textures, they have to get used to different foods. This is always tricky and can cause the most amount of mess.....on the floor.....or in your hair.......or all over the table.....it just happens, there is no controlling it. I remember it well (especially in the hair malarky!!!)
So when they have finally got used to certain foods, as they get older they can get more adventurous with small versions of adult food. This is where is all gets exciting as then you can all sit down together and have dinner as a family.
I was contacted by Kiddyum to see if we would like to try their easy meals for kids. I have a four year old who really likes his food, and he enjoys a variety of flavours. However, I generally cook fresh foods, but when I am in a rush because of after school clubs, dinner can be a simple pasta dish. So with having a few frozen meals in the freezer can be a blessing when time is limited.
Kiddyum have 5 different flavours at present. Kiddyum is actually a home based business that became so popular that Sainsbury's had to stock it because it heard how great they are. Each dish is designed by a mum for her kids and now we are all benefiting from her skills. Thank you Jayne !!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Smurfs Baby Slumber Nightlight

Smurfs...who doesn't love The Smurfs. I grew up watching them and thought they were brilliant. Then the brought the films out to give The Smurfs a reboost and the kids loved them all over again. 
I was asked if I would review a Baby Slumber Nightlight, so of course, I jumped at the chance as they look super cool, and any kid will love it. My youngest is 4 and I knew he would love him, plus he still doesn''t like the dark, and we always have to have the hallway light on (until he is fast asleep) and then it gets turned off. 
He is packaged nice and snug in a open box, however, if you order him online, he will come with plastic wrapping to protect him. He is super cute and I have to say, I fell in love with him when I saw him. I knew the kids would love him too. Hes approx 30 cm tall and can spread upto 30 cm wide. 
Lovely, isn't he??
This is him, with his night light on. This turns on really easily, so if the light turns off, a small child would be able to turn it back on with ease. Just a quick light push and that's it. 
He has a loop on his head so you can hang it if you prefer, as he plays a lovely lullaby for upto 15 minutes, so he could be hooked on the wall very easily. You can also take out the light and wash the Smurf with ease. This is a great attribute, as my first thought was ....oh no, he's going to get so dirty with the kids holding him. 
 He is really soft to the touch and grab-able. His hands, feet, nose and hat bobble are all fine for chewing on (if you a kids that chews or sucks everything)  and squeezing. So, its more than just a light. He sings and comforts all the same time. 
My kids are really enjoying cuddly up to him. He is the perfect size. 
His functions are:
Press 1 x = Light
Press 2 x = Light & Music
Press 3 x = Music
Press 4 x = Off. 
Light stays on for 30 minutes and the music is 15 minutes. 

He's a great size for kids of any age. He would make the perfect gift for any child. 

This has been produced exclusively by Ansmann who are experts in batteries, rechargeable batteries and night lights and torches. This Smurf is part of their Smurf Range. Have a look on Amazon HERE

Wild About Beauty - Make Up by Louise Redknapp

Putting make-up can sometimes seem like a chore. Especially when time is of the essence. Being a busy mum, sometimes, make-up just doesn't seem to happen in the mornings, however, I do love a good tinted moisturiser. When I go out I like to put foundation on, although, I can't be bothered with all this contouring business, I use the old fashioned way of using different shades of foundations and concealer. Its been working fine for years, so I'm not going to stop now. However, these past few years BB Creams and Tinted Moisturisers are everywhere again and a great option for people who don't like the heavy look, or just don't wear make-up very often. 
Now, getting the right shade is always a challenge, especially for me, as I have olive skin that tans easily, so throughout the year my shading really differs, and at other times, I like to give myself a glow. 
At present I am using Louise Rednapp's - Wild About Beauty - Sheer Glow Moisture Tint. In Nude and Beige. 
Now, Wild About Beauty is actually a collaboration between Louise Redknapp and Kim Jacob. The two ladies met 10 years ago on a photoshoot, and Kim is a professional make-up artist. Louise needed a bit of extra help with her skin and Kim was there to help mix shades and make sure she had the natural even glow that Louise likes. Louise likes light on the skin make-up. Which after many years of wearing a lot of make-up for photoshoots and videos, it must start to feel very heavy on the skin. So after a while they decided to work together to make a new brand that was make-up with great coverage but still feels extra light on the skin. Louise wanted to produce a quick and easy confidence in a bottle brand, and the Moisture Tint is spot on. 
They have many products, that I wish to try, however, for now I chose to get the Nude and Beige Sheer Glow Moisture Tint with SPF 20 (bonus!!)  so I could also blend the colours if I needed or just stay my natural colour or give myself a good glow. They are very different shades and I've been using both. 


On a night out, I blended YSL and Wild About Beauty.
 

The Nude is perfectly in line with my own tone at present and the beige gives me a natural glow, which I prefer during the warmer months. It is a great base for your day to day look, and just looks natural. 
It gives a flawless natural finish, and removes any shine. 
On their website they have three examples of Get The Look, and I'd like to try all of them. 
I do have to say that I really like the packaging, it's a simple beauty and I love the Silver and Purple combination.  
Absolutely everything that is on their Best Selling make-Up page is on my new wish list !!!! Have a look here, and get your orders in, because this brand is going to be huge!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blogger Beauty Box - January

Here is January's Blogger Beauty Box. I decided to get a beauty box every other month if I can. Its only £10 per box including delivery and its for Bloggers Only. You will need to register your details and your blog to apply. I've previously received the November Box which I thought was fab, which obviously encouraged me to get another box.
Here is my post about the November Blogger Beauty Box HERE

Januarys box arrived and I was very impressed.
1: MooGoo How Now Brown Cow - Gradual Tanning Full Cream for the Face & Body.
This is an Australian Brand and states it is not tested on animals. Which made me laugh, as actually the brand came from designing cream for cows udders. It is full of natural ingredients which help keep the skin beautiful and soft. They have a huge range of products from moisturisers to lip balms to anti-ageing. Most of their products helps with problem skin conditions and they have a range especially for babies too. The packaging is fun and looks like a milk carton. I cant wait to try this self tanning cream. I'll wait a few more weeks, as its so cold at the moment, I'm completely covered up, but I'll let you know how I get on with it when I start using it. This is priced at £15.50 on their website. 

 2. Anubis Red Fruit Cream. This is antioxidant facial cream with red fruits. This is a Spanish brand and all the products are made in Barcelona. It is sold worldwide and the easiest way to buy it is online from their website. It has many many products, most of which you wouldn't have a clue what it does apart from keep your skin looking young. Many of them has names such as Caviar and Pearl Cream, Tenso Gold, Bi-Gel, Q10 Active Aloe Vera and Q10 Retinol Cream....This sounds more an Spa Product to me. I've seen Anubis somewhere, as I've heard of the brand, but trying to find information about this particular cream has proven tricky. So it must be quite exclusive. I like the packaging of the products, quite clean cut. I have to say, that I liked this cream. It's quite a thick cream and when its on the skin, it feels really smooth and it smells nice too.
www.anubis-cosmetics.com
 3. I love .... Its everywhere and its amazing. Whilst looking online, they have a new fragrance coming out with Peach and Passion fruit - I'd love to try this. Infact I'd be happy to have any of their products. They are fun great products, I think the packaging is great and really does look fab all together with all of their amazing colours. It is sold everywhere, however easiest places are Superdrug and Boots. They have amazing gift sets and all for a really great price. These beauties are going to go by my bath for us all to use.
www.ilovecosmetics.eu
 4. MUA - Makeup Academy Intense Colour Lip Liner in Red Drama
MUA do amazing makeup. Its great value and fun. This Lip Liner is just £1.00 and it even has its own sharpener in the lid !! Funky hey. Its a really soft liner and glides on easily, and it really is Red !! I would like to try more of their products. They are currently exclusively sold in Superdrug stores. Have a look at their website for the rest of their products.
www.muastore.co.uk


*UPDATE - BEAUTY BLOGGER BOX HAS CEASED TRADING

Monday, February 08, 2016

Weekend Arts & Craft Box for the Kids

Its been raining a lot lately and its also been bitterly cold, which unfortunately means staying in a bit more. So this is where arts and crafts comes in handy. Some parents struggle to find the right crafts for the kids and end up throwing a load of colouring books at the kids. I'm pretty crafty, and I can come up with ideas. Normally by looking in our craft draws and see what we can make out of them. Some people don't have a craft draw or cupboard or have no idea what to do. This is where the Weekend Box comes in handy. Its a box of activities that you can spread over the weekend, or you can have them for a weekend away or at Grandmas house or similar. It does all the thinking for you, and the kids actually really enjoy it.

What Have I Been Eating ? - Second Instalment with more Nutribuddy Help

Continuing on from my Healthy Eating and my NutriBuddy journey, I thought I'd let you know how I'm getting on. In truth....not too bad actually. I've had a few slip ups and treats, but on the whole, I think I've been doing well. I've certainly cut down on the chocolates , and just generally really watching what I eat and portion control. Obviously I am exercising more - I really do need to do more I think, so I'm going to make myself get on the exercise bike every day for at least ten minutes as well as my floor workouts and my almost daily walk. 
My breakfasts still consist of porridge of some description. Its easy to do, and I use the sachets and then add linseed, fruit, or a scoop of whey protein to it. I'm using a mixture of Cows Milk and Almond Milk when I need milk as the almond milk has very little calories. 

 I've had a few treats, but I tried to counteract them on extra healthy eating afterwards. But, treats are needed and keep you happy. I've dieted before and it can get very depressing not being able to treat yourself. Plus it just means you have to exercise more, and hey, that's fine. I had my yearly Chai Latte at Costas whilst out with a friend. My goodness....its delicious !!!
 So, with this in mind, 
I've discovered a healthy Hot Chocolate for the really cold evenings and when I fancy an evening snack. I'll just mix a small amount of milk with Nutribuddy Mix and then add hot water. This has certainly stopped me from eating chocolates in the house. 
 My Healthy lunches and dinner have been similar, unless, I replace a heavy lunch with a Nutribuddy Shake and some fruit. 

Lots of salads, salmon, chicken, eggs, avocados and vegetables. I haven't cut out potatoes or bread items, I'm just eating less of them. Pitta bread with hummus makes a great lunch too. 


Another treat I discovered, is a large scoop of Greek Total - No Fat - Yoghurt mixed with 15g of Chocolate Nutribuddy Mix and when this is mixed really well, its a fab snack , and really delicious too !!
Walking the dogs with my Nutribuddy - kept me going. Although I should have done a Hot one, as its so cold out there. 

I recently ordered some more Nutribuddy, as my pack went down quite fast at the end as I was experimenting more with the mix to see what else I could make, and I had a few disasters. Never add Boiling Hot water to whey...it curdles big time, others were, I tried making the shakes with different ingredients, or mixing the ingredients, these didn't work for me, and also, if you just use water, dont accidentally pour too much, as its really not nice. 
So as I ordered more, I thought I'd add the Vanilla Sculpting Whey to my order. This way, I can do more filling smoothies with the fruit (My favourites are Banana and Blueberry - these are super healthy for you and you can have for breakfast or lunch). If you use frozen fruit, this tastes so much better. Although, if you want to do smoothies, you will need a proper blender, not a shaker. 
 These were super naughty treats. Sausage and Mash from a restaurant in London, as I was out with the girls, and salads just weren't on the menu, and the Churros from Chiquitos, as I fancied something sweet, and these were shared between the three of us, so actually it wasn't super naughty, tasted fab though.  

Just to congratulate myself, I did actually see a ZERO after my EIGHT last week. I couldn't believe it, I haven't seen this in years, so I was so so happy (possibly why I wanted to treat myself....but hey, I'll get back there) So, my new mission, is to try and keep that ZERO for a while. Obviously being human, our weight goes up and down all the time with what we eat and drink and how our body is retaining or not retaining. So I bounce between pounds, but this is normal, and the weights aren't everything, its how you feel that actually counts. 
Please don't forget that I am only 4.11ft, therefore my weight is low anyway, and in-line for what I should weigh at my height. (For my US readers this is 51kg)
I'm super happy to have lost the bloating feeling, and I'm also happy that I'm being more conscience of what I eat. Otherwise I would quite happily eat pastry after pastry. I've got 5 months until the summer, and I want a lovely toned body by then. So wish me luck !!

If you wish to purchase Nutribuddy, have a look at their website NUTRIBUDDY, they deliver worldwide !!! 

2018 UPDATE FROM NUTRIBUDDY: 
We’re going Vegan!
As Nutribuddy has developed over time, we naturally started to head in a more ethical direction. It felt right. Every product we launched after the Sculpting Whey Protein was naturally vegan. We also started attracting many vegan customers. It wasn’t just that we wanted to accommodate for vegan customers but we actually felt passionate about the move to launch more vegan products. Changing to completely vegan is something we really felt passionate about doing. It lines up with our brand values and means that all our products are suitable for everyone! As a new start-up company, we needed time to find out what was right for us. 2 years on I can happily say we have found the right route and that involves being a vegan brand. Our customers and team are a mix of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. The one thing we all share in common is caring about the food we eat and the environmental impact of food and packaging.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

BikyBiky UK - Cycling without Stabilisers made Safe & Easy

Teaching the kids how to ride a bike can be quite a difficult or a back breaking task. I taught my eldest by holding on for dear life and either helping her hold the handle bars or hold the seat or just by holding onto her. Going down a hill is always fun, however, it really hurt my back bending over at funny angles.
My son has used, very successfully a Balance Bike, which has been amazing. He actually got really fast on it, but, there are no peddles...obviously as it's just for balance. So when we got him his first proper bike at 4 years old, he felt nervous on it and said the peddles got in the way.....well.....we have tried and tried, and eventually he started to like the peddles...woohoo! Now starts the mission of balancing and peddles at the same time. After holding on and hurting my back we started to get somewhere again.  He's quite confident riding on the grass, as if he falls, it doesn't hurt as much as the pavement. So, when I saw BikyBiky and their amazing Strap on Vest, I jumped at the chance to try it!

Toy Fair 2016

I recently went to the London's Toy Fair last week with a friend of mine Lucy from London Bird Lucy and I thought I would quickly show you what is coming up in the stores this year and some of my favourite items. After having way too many toys in the house, I am now quite fussy with what my kids get, and whether it has value for play. As we know kids can have very short attention spans, so the toy choice is very important.
Character Toys: I could have stayed at their stall for ages just playing....they have loads of different TV characters, like Teletubbies, Ben and Holly, The Zelfs, Fireman Sam, Scooby Doo, Peppa Pig, Teksta, and Many More so there was loads to see.
Now my absolute favourite was the Pom Pom Wow. This is launching this summer, and I am super excited. It is basically a plastic tube which holds a pom pom inside, when you attach a sticky pad to one end of the tube and then stick it onto something flat, you pull the plastic tube and you're left with a mini pom pom....these can then cover anything and everything and be made into the most wonderful creations.
You can buy a kit that you can use to colour the pom pom or add glitter to them. This is something I would have loved as a kid, and probably would have literally covered a whole wall with them. I'm visualizing Pom Pom Parties in the summer for birthdays and just when the girls get together. I can not wait for this. Roll on Summer!!

See there You Tube Video for Further Ideas.

Stretch Armstrong, took me back. This has been going for 40 years and is back with a bang !! He stretches to 4 times his size and he's looking good !!!
(this is also a great stress reliever for the parents ....just saying...)

Teksta is back !! With Much better toys. These robots are finally interactive by voice and not by strokes and pushing buttons etc.
The Talkative Teksta Toucan is amazing, and I would like one in Every single room in my house. He is ultra intelligent, as if you get the App that goes with him, he is not just a toy but he can tell if there's an intruder in the room. So no more sibling fights when they sneak into each others rooms, or when the kids are sneaking around the house at night time. Its brilliant !!! OK its not just for that , but he is super fun too. He tells jokes, does impressions, sings songs and also just acts like a normal toucan. He works via Bluetooth too so that's nice and easy. He is being launched in July 2016, and I know for a fact that this is every teenagers dream. This is the toy to get!!!!

So Character toys are bringing Food into the toys. This is so up my street, so I had a good look at the new up and comings (but sadly didn't take many photos as I was too intrigued and forgot...)
So they have the Chillfactor slushy maker, where you put liquid into a frozen cup and shake....and that's it, slushy is made. There are going to be many new character slushy cups so there will be something for everyone.
They also have a Ice Cream tray, where you pour a mixture over the Magic Frozen Tray and it turns into instant ice cream. brilliant hey!! this is going to be so popular and great for the summer.
Then my last favourite was the Banana Surprise. You attach the banana into the banana holder, and then push through the tube to then it make a hollow inside. This is then filled with whatever the kids fancy squeezing into it. Chocolate spread is obviously going to be the first choice and then honey and cream. It makes it fun, and I have to say, I actually wouldn't mind one of these in the kitchen for myself.
We saw so many fab new toys, it was actually quite overwhelming and one day is not enough to see all of the toys and talk to everyone.
Xootz had their new array of all their new wheely toys. Scooters, Go-Carts, Skate boards, all made into fabulous quality toys that will last.

So many cuddly toys everywhere....I love love love cuddly toys, always have and probably always will. Way before Toy Story, I did actually believe that my toys would come alive at night time and have parties whilst I was sleeping, so they were never thrown into a box (because they couldn't breath) they were always displayed in such a way where they could get out easily. And yes...I still have loads of mine. Some of the cuddly toys in my house are over 30 years old and a lot have sentimental reasons for keeping. (Like my GCSE Mascot - Barney) I have loads. Hundreds have gone to the charity shop over the years, and each time, my heart broke. So I'm not allowed to buy any, any more. The kids get new ones very rarely, as they now have way too many too. But I LOVE THEM ALL and would have them all if I had somewhere to put them.
Snoopy is back with the gang, and they are fab.
LAQ - Innovative & Creative: This is a very new company they were launching at The Toy Fair. I really liked this idea. It is basically small flat pieces of plastic that come in just 7 shapes and can be made into so many creative ideas...you name it, it can be built. Some of the pieces are very small, so this is definitely for the over 8's I would say. When you put it together they all 'snap' into place so its nice and secure and also the kids feel as if they've actually done something when they hear the noise. Myself and my son made a car that was gifted to us, and I thought it was a genius idea. I would recommend this for the very creative. 

So, we also have the scientists toys and the animal toys. One that I have seen a few times, but have never used, is the Insect Lore Butterfly World. In the pack you get a net and  and you can send off for Caterpillar eggs, which you then look after and watch them grow into butterflies. I personally would love this, and I would do loads of them. This is not for young kids to use unattended, they are ALIVE, they are not toys. I know both of mine have done this at school in Nursery and then they all have a butterfly release ceremony. Its really cute and great to teach the kids the life-cycle of the butterfly. 
We saw many games that I can't wait to be launched. Many games that we saw are still prototypes, so they wont be in the markets until very late 2016 or 2017. So, we'll tell you more soon. But they are educational and fun and will definitely keep the kids entertained for ages.

My last favourite toy is the Magformers sets. These are such fun and one for the very creative. They are different shapes that are all magnetic and you just stick them together. But they can be made into...almost anything. They have sets of 16 pieces to 400 pieces. They all have instructions and you can build a box, to a house, to a bunny, to a plane, to a dinosaur, the possibilities are endless. I would love my kids to have some of these. These are going to huge by Christmas...so get ready !!



I am looking forward to the next Toy Fair already and I think this summer is going to be a massive boom to the toy industry. Thank you to Lucy for taking me along. Lets do it again soon.

See you next year !!