Cham’s Jams Jamberry Charity Wrap

Every few months I will have a different Jamberry Charity Wrap on offer. I will pick a charity, normally one close to me and pick a wrap I feel is fitting towards the charity (or the time of year). When you buy this wrap 100% of my commission (30% of the cost after VAT removed) will go towards that selected charity.

The current wrap is Up and Away

Jamberry Charity Wrap

The current charity is YoungMinds – YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.

I chose Young Minds (well, my VIP group did from 3 choices) because I recently went back to college to study counselling. My aim by the end of the course is to work with young people as I feel life pressures are a lot more intense these days than they used to be. Exams, peer pressure, family life is a lot more erratic and the support isn’t always there – it is getting a lot better now the right people are seeing a need for this care. I hope to finish my courses and either work with a charity such as Young Minds or in a school/college.

I chose Up and Away for the wrap because I liked how colourful it was, how the balloons fill me with joy and that it will match with any of the colours on there as an accent nail or works perfectly on it’s own.

If you would like to purchase this wrap, and like I said the whole of the commission goes straight to the charity, then you can do so by going to it’s page on my shop HERE or drop me an email to see when my next bulk order is going through.

PLEASE NOTE: only wraps purchased DIRECTLY through me will have their commission donated to charity – this is me offering my commission and not connected with Jamberry or any other consultants.

If you have any questions or comments then pop them below or drop me an email.

Weekend Box Review

I first came across Weekend Box while scrolling through Facebook – it popped up as a sponsored post asking if my child was the next Mary Berry – well, Eban does love the GBBO. I decided to take a look at what it was all about because I do love a subscription box but as this one is aimed at children I thought it’d be nice to treat Eban to a couple of them to see what they were like. Here is my Weekend Box review.

Weekend Box review

A weekend box is basically what it says on the tin – it’s a themed subscription box aimed at children to give them something special to do over a weekend. Boxes come in two sizes – Mini which gives you 2 activities in each box for £4.95 and Bumper which is 4 activities per box for £7.50. Boxes are delivered either fortnightly, monthly or as a one-off (you need to manage this from your account). Siblings can be added for an extra £4 per box so you can get enough to keep all the kids happy. They also fit through most letterboxes so there is no need to worry if you’re not going to be in when it’s delivered. They are dispatched on a Tuesday and aim to be with the lucky child by the Friday, ready for the weekend.

Unboxing

Expect plenty of pictures for this as the box is rather deceiving in size and what you get is enough to keep them occupied for a few hours. I ordered the Bumper box which comes with four activities. When you first open the box – which is customised with your child’s name (I’ve removed as my address is also there) you are met with the four Weekend Box characters; Wooster – a rabbit who enjoys cooking, Hattie – a hedgehog who enjoys gardening, Sammy – a squirrel who enjoys being creative, and Oswald – an owl who loves a good book. Each character sets their own activity which is colour coordinated but I’ll go into that further down.

weekend box review

Inside the brightly coloured flaps there are all the pouches you need, information about winning prizes for sharing the completed activities and letting you know that your child can create their own certificate.

weekend box review

As I said above, each of the activities is colour coordinated with an instruction card and almost all the items you need to do it – the instruction card informs you if you need any additional items such as fresh ingredients or scissors. In this Weekend Box it was rainforest themed, so all the activities were aimed towards the rainforest. They included: yellow – making a bubble wrap snake, red – making trail mix cookies, blue – making a parrot mask, and green – growing a rainforest.

weekend box review

Each activity is given a difficulty level so young children might need a hand with some of them but older children should be off and away. I also mentioned further up that your child gets their very own customisable certificate – you can cut this out and they can colour it in, write their name on it and display it for everyone to see.weekend box reviewAlso included is a loyalty chart where the child gets a sticker (or two in the Bumper) that they can add to the chart to receive loyalty gifts – each box purchased will give points that can be seen in your account (the Club House) and then redeem them for things like aprons, lunchboxes and mugs. It makes using the boxes a lot more special if they can save up for extra gifts.

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A few extras included are the stickers for each activity, these can be stuck on the activity sheet to show that it was been completed, stickers for the loyalty chart and a small info sheet that comes with some fun facts and vouchers for their friends to use.weekend box reviewI have to admit that I am very impressed with this little box, it is jammed packed full of things for your children to do and I like that almost everything is included; the things that aren’t are basically not suitable for the box (fresh fruit, scissors, bottles etc). When your box is being made you get an email so you know it’ll soon be here and it also includes anything you might need for the activites – the trail mix cookies told me I needed a banana to make them.

If you’re interested in giving them a go then you can get your first Bumper box for FREE by clicking this link (worth £7.50) – you can then either keep the subscription or log in to your account a week before the next one is to be sent and cancel the subscription.

Make sure you check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information and the chance to win some prizes.

Now, I better go let Eban actually play with all this stuff as he’s been bugging me to get started since it arrived – he knew that mummy had to do the Weekend Box review first.

If you have any questions then feel free to drop them in the comments below.

Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Vacuum Cleaner Review

I’ve been “adulting” since I was 18, that’s when I moved out and had my own place, paid my own bills and did all the housework myself. It dawned on me last week that in the last 13 years I’ve never actually bought a brand new hoover – we’ve always just inherited them. Last week we decided that it was time for our Dyson to go to the vacuum room in the sky because it just didn’t seem to pick very much up. We have a child, a cat and a dog but there never seemed to be much in the cylinder, that coupled with the fact that the husband’s allergies started to flare up meant it was time to find something new. We spent a fair bit of time looking at several brands, their efficiency ratings and reviews when we came across one that seemed to tick all the boxes: energy efficiency, suction efficiency, good reviews, for pets as well as being in the right price range so here is my Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Vacuum Cleaner review.

Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Vacuum Cleaner Review

What drew us to this particular model was the way the cylinder and hose completely detach away from the rest of the hoover so it makes stair cleaning really easy, it’s also tiny compared to the old Dyson which means it is easier to store. It is so lightweight (just 6kg) that you can even run up and down the stairs with it.

The first time I ran it around the living room you could see the difference, the hoover basically sticks to the carpet to pull everything up and the amount of dust and hair it picked up was shocking – it confirmed our fears about the now deceased Dyson. As I was hoovering you could see where I had actually been and what the hoover had picked up.

Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Vacuum Cleaner review

A full hoover of the house and this is what it picked up.

At the moment the house is completely carpeted (except the kitchen and bathrooms) but over the coming months we are looking into getting hardwood flooring throughout the downstairs and luckily we know this will perform well on there too – it has adjustable suction for where you need it.

Other Pros:

The steering: It is a pleasure to maneuver around the room, it is so light that it takes no time to get around each room.

The 10 meter cord: This is fantastic as I can plug it in downstairs and take it up the stairs and do both bedrooms without having to pop back downstairs to unplug it.

The noise: It is the quietest hoover I’ve ever used. I can still hear my music and phone while using it, it also startles the dog less.

The extras: I’d say these were extras, they come as standard but it’s the little tools you get to help make the most of the hoover. So, it comes with a mini-hoover (TurboTool) attachment which can be used for furniture or the stairs. The brush attachments for cleaning skirting boards, picture frames etc.

Washable filter: There is nothing worse than a clogged up filter, luckily the Vax is washable. It recommends you rinse it every three to six months to keep it performing its best.

The Cons:

There really aren’t many I’ve found – the cylinder is a lot smaller than on my old Dyson so it needs clearing out more often BUT it is lighter, nippier and easier to use so I’d happily sacrifice that space.

I know it’s strange to get excited about a hoover but I’m a sucker for any gadget that makes my life easier, this Vax has literally halved the amount of time it takes me to hoover.

At the time of writing the Vax was on offer on Amazon for £129 (from £249) with free Prime delivery. If you have any questions relating to my Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet Vacuum Cleaner review then please drop them in the comments, I’m happy to help anyway that I can.

Becoming a Vegan

If you follow my YouTube channel then last week you may have seen that I restarted my Vlog and the first installment was the announcement that the husband and I had decided to go Vegan. Over the last week I’ve had a few friends ask “Have you gone Vegan?” because of the food posts I’d been sharing on Instagram with the hashtag #vegan so I thought, for those who don’t do YouTube, that I’d pop a post on here about it.

vegan

This choice wasn’t a spur of the moment thing, we’ve been thinking about it for some time and even gave vegetarian/flexitarian a trial at the end of last year, beginning of this one. We did end up reverting to old habits for a few months but after numerous documentaries, piles of research and the fact we’re both fed up of being in pain all the time – we decided to go for it.

Why did we choose to do this?

Well, first and foremost it was a health issue. Both of us suffer with stomach problems which we have narrowed down to meat and dairy being the cause. For Aaron it is mostly meat and for me it is mostly dairy so the logical thing was to cut out both from our diets. Two weeks into our new lifestyle and neither of us have suffered with any stomach upsets, we both feel healthier and neither are constantly bloated.

While doing the research into making the switch I came across a YouTuber called Kalel and watched her video about her becoming vegan. She pointed out the ethical reasons behind her choice and opened my eyes to how the animal food industry really operate. I’m assuming it was pure ignorance on my part that led me to believe that the animals I was consuming led an ok-ish life – well, as good as you can get for something that is going to be slaughtered soon enough. I truly believed that free-ranged meant that chickens were hopping around the place all happy and healthy when it really doesn’t. After watching this YouTube video I sat here at my laptop and I cried, I cried hard. I then showed Aaron it when he got home and we both cried.

We were planning on a “treat night” once in a blue moon but now neither of us want that – we’ve even gone off Masterchef since removing animal products from our diets. That is how strong a message we got from this video – and many others we have watched since.

We’re also slowly making the change to other products as well as food, I already use (and sell) cruelty-free makeup and nail wraps – some of which is vegan-friendly but everything else will be a slow transition.

Now I’m not preaching, I’m not here to change your mind and if you want to continue to eat meat, eggs and dairy then I’m not here to convert you – just to explain why the two of us chose this change.

What about our child?

I’ve already faced the “I hope you’re not going to force this on Eban” comments to which I’ve replied no I’m not. Eban is a bright and clever boy who knows what being vegan is, he knows we are doing it because it’s healthier and because we don’t want to hurt any more animals – he also knows it’s his choice what he wants to eat. That said, he has already expressed a preference to rice milk over cows so that will no longer be bought, he loves tofu and the vegan cheese we get. We won’t be buying in any more meat and dairy so he’ll eat the same as us at home, if he is anywhere else then he can choose what he wants to eat.

Some people have already commented that this is just a fad for us, I can’t blame them after all we have tried many different lifestyles over the years but I can assure anyone reading this thinking the same that it isn’t. The thought of meat now makes me feel sick and the images I’ve seen cannot be unseen. Being vegan will also now become a regular part of my blog – this is an awesome new journey for my family which features many new things to try, review and tell people about. I won’t be removing any of the previous content I’ve written because that isn’t what I’m about.

Please, if you have any questions about become vegan, about why we did it or about how we are finding it then pop them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

Nominate Your School For The Churchill Lollipopper Fund

Churchill Lollipopper Fund

When I was young the school run was always a rush for my family, both my sister and I always waited until the last minute to get ready and would fly through the back door for the 10 minute mad rush to school. I can still remember the route we’d take which included two busy roads and multiple side roads through our village. We were always met by a happy lollipop person when we arrived to school who would guild us across the road safely – even though there was a crossing.

The school run with my own child is very different to mine as it involves having to catch a bus as well as crossing three very busy roads; including a dual carriageway.

Churchill Lollipoppers Fund

First of the busy roads to get to the bus stop – there is an island further down for safe crossing.

The journey to school is a long one, as you might expect and crossing the first road on a morning can be a bit of a nightmare – we only have an island to help us and normally end up waiting for a car to let us cross.

Churchill Lollipoppers Fund

Very busy dual carriageway – we use the underpass.

Once we get off the bus we are met with a busy dual carriageway, this road leads from the M18 straight to the M1 connecting Rotherham to Sheffield so as you can imagine it gets very busy. We are lucky as on our journey we have an underpass (my son loves going through) so we can cross to the other side safely.

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The final busy road, school is on this road.

The final main road on our journey is the one that the school is on – as you can imagine it is very busy around school hours and some of it’s users aren’t all that safety conscience when they use it. Across from the school there is a pedestrian crossing but you still have to really keep an eye out for the drivers because they sometimes don’t watch for you.

Churchill Lollipoppers Fund

We are so lucky to have a Lollipopper on this road.

Luckily for us we have a really friendly lady manning this crossing, some days she isn’t there and you really notice as not only do you miss her warm hello and smile but also the fact she will ensure the drivers stop for you. Some schools aren’t as lucky as me though, Lollipoppers are on the decline after UK legislation in 2000 stated that there was no longer a legal requirement for schools to have one.

For this reason I am so happy to support Churchill in their bid to readdress the balance by giving 50 schools the funding they need to have their own Lollipopper with the Churchill Lollipopper Fund.

If you think that your child’s school or your school (if you’re a staff member) could benefit from it’s own Lollipopper then head over to www.churchill.com/lollipoppers where you can nominate them.

Research carried out by Churchill found:

  • 95 per cent of parents and 88 per cent of children (aged 5 – 11) feel safer knowing there is a Lollipopper present on their route to school
  • 91 per cent of parents see a Lollipopper as being safer than a zebra or pedestrian crossing

“With child pedestrian casualties during the school run still an issue in the UK, we wanted to gather the opinion of both parents and children to investigate what they see as being the safest option. Although no longer a legal requirement for schools, it is great to see that the apparently evergreen Lollipopper is still valued as the safest option for parents and children but concerning that many have noticed their numbers diminishing in recent years.”
Michael Bristow, from road safety charity, Brake, added: “With the highest rates of child pedestrian casualties in the UK occurring during the school run, the provision of a safe road crossing at schools plays a key part in our work. With a decreasing number of lollipop men and women on the roads, the safety and lives of children are being put at risk as other school crossing alternatives don’t offer the same level of vigilance and care.”

I think every child should be given the option to cross the road to their school in complete safety and that Lollipoppers provide a valuable service in keeping them safe. Make sure you nominate your school for the Churchill Lollipopper Fund so we can start bringing back these much needed men and women.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.