Read my UK lifestyle and money blog

matched betting box

 RSS Feed

» Listings for 2013

  1. A spotty alternative to a plastic carrier bag

    It is one of my missions for 2014 to make sure we always remember our reusable shoppers.  This will stop us wasting plastic carriers, anywhere between 300-700 per year apparently... wow! It's a funny thing as when I was younger it was just 'hippies' who recycled and took reusable bags to supermarkets.  It just wasn't the done thing.  It's so silly really as we all should have been raised just dong these things.  I'm so pleased we will raise our children with these environmentally conscious things as being the norm.  Hopefully the future generation will nurture our planet and looking after it will be second nature.

    When growing up we never had a recycle bin.  The council didn't push recycling on anyone, let alone collect it from our residence.  We had a stash of carriers under the sink, but only incase we needed to take a PE kit to school or transport mucky trainers around.  We never took the back to the supermarket with us.  We just got new carriers when we were there.  It's pretty terrible really.

    I was very thankful to receive this fabulous Baggu bag from a friend for Christmas last week.  Reusable shoppers don't have to be boring at all!  I'm looking forward to them becoming the norm and everyone using them! 

    Maybe they should just ban plastic carriers altogether and force shops to only sell reusable ones made from recycled materials?

    Baggu Polka Dot Shopper

    The Baggu bags are designed to be as eco-friendly as possible producing minimum waste.  They are made from ultra strong material and double stitched to ensure they last for years and can carry up to a whopping 50 lbs.  The materials are ethically sourced, recycled or recyclable themselves and the bags are also ethically made.  Definitely all great reasons to purchase a Baggu shopper.

    I love the polka dot style and the fabulous bright blue colour.  They also sell a range of cool animal prints and bright block colours.



  2. Minimal Thread and Crystal Stone Arm Candy

    I'm totally obsessed with Etsy and often spend hours admiring the unique and fabulous makes for offer there.  It's a little dream that one day I will buy a house and furnish it top to toe only with creations purchased from this most wonderful handmade site.

    Minimal jewellery often appeals to me.  As much as I love big, bold statement pieces I also love those which ooze simplicity and make their own statement through this unfussiness.  With this in mind I just had to order myself a 'tiny herkimer flash // minimal wrist armour' from Etsy store The Solar Flare.  There was something that greatly attracted me to the simplicity of this bracelet and the beautifulness of the teeny herkimer diamond.

    The Solar Flare | Etsy Shop | Minimal Herkimer Bracelet Review

    A herkimer diamond is a double-terminated quartz crystal.  This means the crystal has points on both ends instead of just one.  They are truly beautiful when they catch the light and sparkle. On a simple waxed string the crystal makes a simple yet very effective piece of jewellery which is certainly perfect for wear with any outfit.  I now want to purchase a stack of these as I feel a few layered upon the wrist would look just magnificent.

    The Solar Flare | Etsy Shop | Minimal Herkimer Bracelet Review


    The Solar Flare also sell their minimal wrist armour on cool neon coloured string.  I am very tempted.

    The Solar Flare | Etsy Shop | Minimal Herkimer Bracelet Review

    The Solar Flare | Etsy Shop | Minimal Herkimer Bracelet Review




  3. Make cool things with paper

    The team at Popagami got in touch to see if I fancied having a go at their new Combi Pack.  To be honest I’d never heard of Popagami but it sounded intriguing so I searched for their website to see what exactly it was. 

    The name did give it away slightly and it turned out it was origami animal fun.  Popagami is a modern twist on the traditional Japanese art of paper folding (origami) to create fun, colourful animals.  They suggest filling the large ones with sweets and giving to a friend and the smaller ones make adorable finger puppets.

    popagami review origami paper craft

    I thought the pack look quite fun, even for adults, so decided to give it a go.

    I had a go at four of the large animals and my first three attempts were rather shocking.  I am definitely not a natural at origami.  After these terrible attempts I had to pop onto their website and watch the video to see exactly where I was going wrong.  I managed to make Gilly Giraffe on my fourth attempt and was rather chuffed with her.  Very soon there will be little Popagami creatures all over the house! origami paper craft popagami review kids adults gift

    I think these are probably most suited as a children's gift, but also a fun adult challenge with your family at Christmas!

    The pack I received is available for £7.99 on their website at



  4. The Relaxation Den in Gloucester Review

    I was very privileged to recently be invited for a massage of my choice at The Relaxation Den in Gloucester.  Such an offer was certainly far too tempting for me to refuse!

    The Relaxation Den is a brand new luxury salon based in Gloucester.  They offer ‘a wide variety of treatments from facials to manicures, pedicures to massage, threading to body toning treatments'.

    The relaxation den massage therapy gloucester

    I’ve never had a hot stone massage before so emailed Heather (the salon owner) and checked out their website to see what exactly was involved and the benefits.  The website describes the massage as ‘a variation on classic massage therapy. As well as being held by your therapist, heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body stimulating blood and lymph circulation and aiding relaxation. One massage stroke with the stone is the equivalent to 10 strokes with the hand generating a very relaxing yet very beneficial massage.’ 

    Heather further explained the treatment by saying: ‘A hot stone massage is lovely! A mixture of the warmth in a massage makes a big difference! Also, the stones penetrate deeper and work the muscles more to loosen those knots and tension!’

    I was sold.  It sounded totally fantastic, deeply relaxing and very beneficial for my knot prone muscles.  I booked my appointment and somehow patiently waited just over a week for my slot.

    A week soon rolled by and I went along to meet Heather at The Relaxation Den (at 6.15pm last night).  They regularly offer early evening appointments which are ideal for me as I care for my young daughter during the day.  Also perfect to pop into after a long hard day at work for a de-stressing therapy or two. 

    I’ll admit, the location appeared a little odd at first.   It was in an office type room in one of the converted dock warehouses in Gloucester.  However upon arrival I discovered Heather is currently waiting for her permanent premises to be ready.  A dedicated location will soon be in Gloucester city centre where the business can truly be established.

    So Heather left me to it and I whipped off everything and lay on the cosy treatment bed.  It had an extra super soft layer so was amazingly comfortable which aided to the relaxation.  The hot stones are not actually placed on the back, as I perhaps stupidly originally thought, but instead a towel is placed over the back first and the stones on top.  I didn’t notice the stones too much as Heather gave me a really satisfying and tingling scalp massage.  I am definitely a sucker for a good head rub, and a scalp massage by a professional is highly recommended.  The hot stones were removed after a while and a back, neck and shoulder massage given to finish off the treatment. 

    The Relaxation Den Gloucester Review

    Although the treatment was only half an hour it felt considerably longer, much to my satisfaction.  The finishing massage was really very pleasurable and by the end I was almost drifting off which, of course, is a very good sign.  I felt suitably relaxed, calm and less stressed.  My back muscles were notably more relaxed and I felt as though my shoulder blades had dropped two inches down my back due to being less tense!  A good massage definitely benefits my shoulder muscles and the results are always instantly pleasing to feel. 

    The massage took place last night and my back still feels lovely and relaxed today.  My mood seems calmer and more worry free than usual.  I really believe regular massages really can benefit the mind as well as the body.

    Heather’s professional and mature approach is admirable; I was very surprised to learn Heather is only twenty one.  Heather’s ambition and passion for her business was clear to see as we chatted away after the treatment!

    The Relaxation Den in Gloucester’s contact details are:
    Tel: 0114 209 6213
    Mob: 07749 724746
    E: [email protected]
    Twitter: RDgloucester



  5. I was very lucky to recently be gifted with a fabulous ClaireaBella jute bag.  These are wonderful jute bags which are hand painted in the UK with generous amounts of glitter and sparkling Swarovski elements.  They feature a character which you can personalise to look most like yourself by choosing an eye colour, skin colour, hair colour, length and style and even an outfit!  The website is so fab it even lets you preview your chosen design before you purchase to ensure you are happy with it.  You can add a name, business name or even short message to the bag too.

    Personalised ClaireaBella Jute Bag Review

    Personalised ClaireaBella Jute Bag Review

    I chose a purple outfit, long dark hair, natural tone skin and blue eyes.  I excitedly awaited my ClaireaBella arrival!

    The bag arrived quickly and came in a pink mailing bag via a courier service meaning the bag reached me in the finest condition.  As soon as I opened the bag I was instantly impressed.  The bags look even better in real life and are even more sparkly.

    Personalised ClaireaBella Jute Bag Review

    I will most definitely be taking my dazzling ClaireaBella on my next shopping trip.  Using a jute is a much more eco-friendly way to shop rather than wasting carriers from the stores.  This personalised ClaireaBella jute is also much more glamorous!

    You may have spotted ClaireaBella on TV as they are featured in two national TV adverts regularly shown on E4, MTV, E! and Viva.  ClaireaBella has many celebrity fans too including Amy Childs, Michelle Keegan, Kelly Brook, Tess Daly and Una Healy.  They have all been spotted out and about with their very own personalised jutes.

    So how did the ClaireaBella brand come to be?  It was started by a lady called Claire who wanted to raise some extra money for her family.  Claire is a mum of five and had a job working in the police force too.  She never dreamt the brand would grow so considerably and it is now the bestselling personalised fashion bag in the UK.  This is an amazing story and a fabulous brand to support and watch grow.

     Personalised ClaireaBella Jute Bag Review

    The bags are available from where they also stock a whole range of personalised products