heyworkout

Hey workout review

Back at the start of the summer I wrote a post about how it was time to get back into exercise.

And as part of that I tried out a 3 month membership with Hey Workout.

If you’ve not heard of them before then I highly recommend you go and check them out.

Basically, you sign up for membership on their website and then you get access to all their webcam fitness and yoga classes.  So what that means is, you watch the class live online and, if you want to, you can turn on  your webcam so the instructor can see you too.

They’ll then give you feedback and help throughout the class.

So it’s like going to a class, with the professional feedback to make sure you’re doing everything right, but without having to leave your house!

heyworkout-portrait-1

And if you can’t make it to the live classes then you can just play them back at a later date.  There’s a big library on the website with loads of different workouts to chose from.

Class options include:

  • Prenatal and postnatal yoga
  • Legs, bums and tums
  • Vinyasa yoga
  • Back and arm tone
  • HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

I would say, if you’ve not exercised for a while, make sure you ease yourself in with some of the more gentle classes!

The classes might only be 30 minutes long but you really work for that time, so be prepared!

Now, I’ll be honest with you all here.  When I first signed up for my trial I was all geared up for making a change and getting back into some sort of a routine of exercising regularly.  But then I came down with a nasty throat infection, and life in general happened and things didn’t quite go to plan.

There’s a whole other post in there somewhere, about how to make exercise a priority and how to fit it in to a busy life, but that’s something for another day!

I honestly think though, if I had made attending the Hey Workout classes a priority then I would’ve seen great results.

Before I got ill I did several different classes and thought they were great.

The first class I did felt a bit strange to begin with as there’s no music playing, and I’m used to exercise dvds that always have music on alongside the trainer’s chat!

But after a few minutes I stopped noticing that, and in a way felt that the lack of music made it easier to focus on the technique and the moves.

If music is important to you though, you might want to have a cd ready to play when you go to do a workout!

The trainers at Hey Workout are all really experienced, and passionate about what they do.  And that comes through when you workout with them.  I found having them do all the moves with me, and counting down the reps as they do them, really helped drive me to keep going.

Sometimes if you go to a class at the gym the instructor will demonstrate the move and then stop, and I much prefer this approach where I feel like they’re in it with you!

So, if you don’t feel like you can make it to the gym for a workout, but want something a little bit more interactive than a dvd, then Hey Workout is a really good option.

If you click on the image below you’ll be taken to a page where you can sign up for a 14 day free trial, so you can see for yourself how good it is.

What have you got to lose?

 

heyworkout

I was gifted a 3 month trial with Hey Workout in exchange for my honest review.  All words and opinions are my own.

maxi-cosi-rodifix-air-protect-review

Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Airprotect car seat review

Before Rhys started school I really didn’t drive that much.

If we needed to go out to the local shops we would walk there, and I would have the big weekly shop delivered, rather than battle with taking him with me (he was a very lively toddler!).

But now he’s in school, and Nerys is in nursery a few mornings a week, I drive a lot more.

And I’m really conscious of wanting them both to be safe and comfortable in their car seats.

Rhys now has a Maxi Cosi RodiFix Airprotect seat that we all really love.

maxi-cosi-rodifix-air-protect-review

The RodiFix Air Protect seat is a group 2/3 seat, suitable for children aged 3.5 – 12 years, and 15 – 36 kilos.

Our seat is the River Blue option which we love, but there are several other lovely colours you can chose from.

I personally love the colour of the River Blue seat though, especially with the little bit of striped detail on the top section!

rodifix-maxi-cosi-review

One of the things that initially attracted us to the seat is the fact that it uses isofix.  

Installing the seat in the car using the isofix connectors was really quick and easy and the seat felt lovely and secure once it was in.

Unfortunately we had to change our car over the summer and our new one doesn’t have isofix.  However the RodiFix still feels nice and safe in the new car, secured in place by the seatbelt.

maxi-cosi-rodifix-airprotect-review

Speaking of the seatbelt, the RodiFix has a fab belt guide which holds the seatbelt in the right position, making it really quick and easy to do it up.

I’ve found that with the seatbelt in place through the guide Rhys is much more able to help me with doing up his seatbelt which does make life a bit easier.

maxi-cosi-rodifix-review

I love the fact that, because the head and shoulder support is fully adjustable, the seat will grow with Rhys.

Although I do find it funny to think that he’s comfortable in it now, aged 5, and yet he will still be able to use it when he’s about 12!

Knowing that the seat will last him for so long is really great though, and makes it feel like a really worthwhile investment.

rodifix-airprotect-maxi-cosi-review

Rhys seems really comfortable in his car seat, and it has 2 recline positions so if he ever falls asleep on longer journeys we can make him even more comfy.

Most importantly of all though, I love how safe the RodiFix is.

The headrest offers side-impact protection which helps to reduce the risk of head injury if we were ever in an accident.  And the seat also provides excellent side impact protection for the lower back and hips.

Of course, I hope we’re never involved in an accident but it’s really reassuring to know that Rhys will have some additional protection in his seat if anything does ever happen.

rodifix-airprotect-maxi-cosi-car-seat

We’ve been using the RodiFix Air Protect for several months now and are really happy with it.

I love that we’ve been able to use it in both our old car and our new car, as there is isofix available but the seat can still be used without it.

One thing we really noticed when we were moving the seat from one car to the next is how light it is!

It’s weighs just over 6kg which makes it a really good choice if you have to move it between cars a lot.  It’s also quite compact, which is really useful in our new car.  The seat belt plug is almost flush with the seat which can make doing up the belt quite fiddly and tricky.  But with this seat there’s actually a nice amount of room at the side of the seat to be able to get the seat belt in easily.

In our time with the RodiFix we’ve not come across any negatives at all, and I’m confident that Rhys is nice and comfy in it, which really makes a difference when we need to go on longer car journeys to visit family and friends.

You can read all the detailed specifications for the seat on the Maxi Cosi website.

I received this car seat for the purposes of writing this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

bonfire-night-crafts

Bonfire night crafts – #BostikBloggers

I’ve recently been invited to join a lovely group of bloggers in creating crafts using items provided by Bostik.

And I am so excited about it!

This month’s theme is Bonfire Night, and I was sent a fab box of materials to get creative with.

I decided to try out 2 different crafty ideas – mitten light catchers and a bonfire collage.

 

First, I made these mitten light catchers.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of bonfire night I think of mittens!

I think of wrapping up warm in hats, scarves and mittens and trying to write words in the air with sparklers.

So I wanted to make a mitten-related craft of some sort.  And I decided to go for mitten light catchers.

Here’s what you need and how to go about making them.

I used thick black paper, tissue paper, thin patterned fabric, glue, and glitter glue.

bonfire-night-mitten-craft

Get an A4 sheet of thick paper or card and fold it in half.

Draw a mitten shape on the folded card.  You can either do this freehand, find a template online or draw around your hand to get a mitten shape.

Cut round the outline so you end up with 2 mitten shapes.

Draw a smaller mitten inside your existing mitten and then cut that out, so you’re left with a sort of mitten frame.

mitten-suncatcher-bostik

Stick the fabric and tissue paper to the back of the mittens.

Decorate the edges of the mittens with glitter glue and if you feel fancy you can also add pom poms, sequins, or whatever you have in your craft stash!

Once dry, hang or stick the mittens to a window to let them catch the light.

mitten-suncatcher-bonfirenight

The second thing I made was a bonfire collage.

For this you’ll need black paper, glue, lolly sticks, tissue paper, various materials in red, orange and yellow, sequin stars and glitter glue.

bostik-bonfire-001

First of all, pop some glue on the back of the lolly sticks and attach them to the paper to create the woodpile at the base of the bonfire.

bostik-bonfire-002

 

Next, spread some glue on the paper where you want your flames to go and start layering up your tissue paper and other bits.  Red things first, then orange and then a small amount of yellow bits in the middle.

bostik-bonfire-003

 

Finally, use the glitter glue to stick down some sequin stars and other sparkly sequins to make stars in the night sky.

bonfire-craft-bostik

So there you have it.

Two easy and fun crafts to make to celebrate bonfire night!

I was sent a box of craft materials to create this post, but all words, opinions and creations are my own.

 

jord-wooden-watch

Jord watch review and giveaway

I realised at a wedding I was photographing recently, that I’d become one of those people.

One of those people who use their phone to check the time, rather than wearing a watch.

I think one of the reasons it happened to me is that I didn’t really know what style of watch suited me these days.

When I was younger I had a really funky, green, baby G watch.  But that doesn’t really work for me any more.

It’s a shade of green that I don’t really wear, and it just doesn’t really feel ‘me’ now that I’m in my 30s.

And a few years ago my sister bought me a lovely, pretty silver watch that I wear for special ocassions, but it’s just a bit too pretty and dainty for me to wear everyday.

It doesn’t sit quite right with my jeans and jumpers.

The thing is, I didn’t know what style of watch would go with the clothes I wear.

But then I started seeing these gorgeous wooden watches by Jord appearing on blogs and social media.  

And when I was offered the chance to review one I was over the moon.

jord-wooden-watch

I spent a really long time browsing Jord’s website.

All the watches are absolutely stunning, and there is so much choice in the women’s watches section.

In the end though I chose the dark sandalwood and smoke watch from the Frankie series.

The watch arrived in a beautiful presentation box which I thought was a lovely touch.

jord-wooden-watch-box

If you were to buy one of these watches as a present I think the person you bought it for would be thrilled.  There’s something a bit special about the way it’s packaged up.

All the colours and materials used in the presentation box work really well with the natural style of the watches, and it all feels beautifully high-end.

jord-wooden-watch-box-001

I thought it might feel a bit strange wearing a watch again after not wearing one for so long.  But this watch just felt ‘right’ as soon as I put it on.

It’s much lighter than I expected it to be, so it’s really comfortable to wear.

I also really love the fact that the watchface is nice and big, and the simple, classic design makes it really easy to tell the time with a quick glance.

wooden-watch-jord

I love the fact that, due to the nature of the wood, all the watches are ever so slightly different.  I’ve always liked things that are unique, and I would definitely call this a unique watch!

The dark sandalwood and smoke watch that I chose is absolutely gorgeous.

I love how well the colour of the watchface goes with the wood of the strap.  And I think it’s really striking, yet quite subtle at the same time.

I’ve already had loads of compliments on it!

wooden-watch-jord-001

Now, here’s the exciting part!

You can win a $75 voucher to use on the Jord website just be clicking here and entering the competition.  And even if you don’t win, every person who enters will get a $20 voucher!

So, what are you waiting for, go and enter now for your chance to win!  The competition ends on Sunday 30th October 2016.

I’d love to know what you think of my new watch.  

Have you seen a wooden watch before?  Is it something you’d wear?  Have you been over to the Jord website and chosen your favourite?!  Leave me a comment and let me know.

 

Luxury Wood Watch

This post was sponsored by Jord watches.

 

twitter15

4 easy and fun Halloween crafts

Both of my children love arts and crafts activities.

Painting, glueing, colouring, creating; they love it all.

So we were all really excited when a box of craft materials arrived from Viking, for us to have some fun creating some Halloween crafts.

When I opened the box I found some white, orange and black wool, black paper, funky craft scissors, googly eyes, lollies and pipe cleaners.

I wasn’t sure what to make at first, so just spread everything out on the table, grabbed a few other supplies and just let everyone come up with ideas!

4 easy and fun halloween crafts
This is what we ended up creating.

 

Fluffy ghosts

I love this super simple craft.

We cut ghost shapes out of cardboard, spread them with lots of glue and then covered them in bits of cotton wool.

Then we added some googly eyes to bring them to life.

So easy, and so much fun.

And if you’re feeling creative like Nerys you can add loads and loads of google eyes to make a crazy monster ghost!

cotton-wool-ghosts-halloween

 

Tissue paper pumpkins.

For this toddler-friendly craft I cut out a simple pumpkin shape from thick black paper, which we then covered in bits of orange tissue paper.

Then we cut some eyes and a mouth out of black paper using the funky scissors from Viking and stuck those down to complete the pumpkin,

tissue-paper-pumpkin-halloween

 

Threaded wool spider webs.

This is a great craft for toddlers as it really helps with fine motor skills.  But it can also be really good fun for older children who can get creative with the pattern they make with the wool.

I cut a circle out of card and then cut a smaller circle from the middle of that.  You could use a paper plate instead if you have some at home.

Then I went round the circle with a hole-punch, making little holes to thread the wool through.  Then just start threading in a random, criss-cross pattern to get a spiderweb effect.

These would look great hung up around the house at halloween.

And you can even make little pipe-cleaner spiders to sit on them!

wool-thread-spiderweb

 

Spooky spiders.

While the children were busy with their ghosts and pumpkins, Steve and I had some spidery fun with the pipe cleaners.

I wrapped some round a lolly and added some googly eyes to make a tasty spidery treat.

While Steve got creative and made a spider with a cottonwool body and pipe cleaner legs.  And another made entirely out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes.

Hmmm, there’s a bit of a similarity between Steve’s multi-eyed spider and Nerys’ ghost!

pipecleaner-spider-halloween

 

Pumpkin tealight holders.

If you’re not up for the job of carving out a pumpkin, but still want something to add a little glow to your halloween decorations then these little tealight holders are a great option!

Grab an empty jam jar, clean it out and take the label off.

Then mix up some pva glue and water and use that to stick orange tissue paper all over the outside of the jar.

When that’s all dry you can either cut out some features from black paper and stick them on, or you can draw them on with a black marker pen.

Then pop a tea light in the jar and enjoy the spooky atmosphere!

You could also make ghost ones by using white tissue paper instead.

pumpkin-tealight-halloween

So there you have it, a handful of ideas for easy halloween crafts to make at home.  Will you be making anything to decorate your house with this year?

 

We were sent a box of craft materials from Viking for the purpose of creating this post, but all words and makes are my own.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
brownie-recipe-001

Simple brownie recipe

Brownies.

Ahh, brownies.

Honestly, can you beat a good brownie when you need a chocolate fix?!

I’m not sure you can!

Now normally I would tell a nice story about making these with the children and about how much fun we had, but I have a feeling if you’re reading this you actually really just want the recipe!

So, here you go:

brownie-recipe

What you need:

  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter
  • 300g (11oz) caster sugar
  • 200g (7oz) dark chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g (3.5oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Handful of chocolate chips

brownie-recipe-001

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4) and grease and line a cake tin (one that’s about 20in square).
  • In a large pan melt together the butter, sugar and chocolate.
  • Once all that’s melted and mixed together, stir in the eggs and then the flour and cocoa powder.
  • Pour the mix into the cake tin and then sprinkle over the chocolate chips.
  • Bake for just over 20 mins and then check to see how it’s looking.  You want it so it’s just set to get the right fudgy texture, so you need to check every now and then to get it right.  In my oven it takes about 28 minutes to get it just right.
  • Once it’s looking good, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool before cutting into pieces.
  • Sprinkle with some icing sugar if you want to make them look even prettier.
  • Eat.  And eat and eat and eat.

These brownies are nice and simple, and so, so good just as they are.

But I’m already thinking of things I can add to have a bit of variety now and then.

 

Here are some of my plans:

  • A layer of After Eight mints in the middle of the batter.  And then some sort of minty glaze on the top.  Oh  yes.
  • More chocolate chunks stirred through the batter.  Some white and dark chocolate would be good.
  • Some fudge chunks mixed in with the batter.
  • Little bits of reese’s pieces stirred in, and then a layer of peanut buttery goodness on the top.
  • Get fruity and try these cherry brownies from Mummy Vs Work.

 

simple-brownie-recipe-uk

Do you like your brownies classic and simple or are you a more-the-merrier kind of person when it comes to yummy additions?!

Leave me a comment and let me know!

real-baking-cookie-kit

#RealBaking review – Cake pop kit, Cookie kit and Chocolate pen.

Oh we’ve been having some fun in the kitchen lately!

We recently reviewed the great baking set from Vivid Imaginations and had a lot of fun with that.

So Nerys and I were really quite keen to get stuck into the other sets we were sent to review.

Here are my thoughts on the cookie kit, chocolate pen and cake pop kit.

 

Real baking cookie kit

First up we spent a rainy afternoon trying out the cookie kit.

The set comes with a silicone baking sheet, a rolling pin, a rolling pin guide, a piping bag and a selection of cookie cutters.

real-baking-cookie-kit

As the set is designed for children aged 6+ everything in it is child-sized, which is lovely because it is nice and easy for a child to use it all, but it does also mean that you can’t make that much in one go with it.

As you can see from the photo you can only fit about 6 ‘normal’ sized biscuits on the little baking sheet, so you have to either make them in batches or do what we did and make lots of smaller biscuits and put the ones that don’t fit on a separate baking sheet to cook them.

The set comes with instructions on how to use the items included, but would be even better if it included a recipe or two.

With no recommendations in the kit it’s hard to know how much dough to make to work well with the size of the tray.

In the end I found a simple biscuit recipe that actually worked out really well and was nice and easy to make.

Nerys then really enjoyed rolling out the dough using the rolling guide to help her.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious about how well this would work.  I had visions of the whole thing just sliding around and her getting frustrated.  But actually she managed it really well and the guide really did help get the dough to a perfect thickness to then cut out the shapes.

real-baking-cookie-kit-rolling-guide

Once we’d used up all the dough we popped the biscuits in the oven for about 12 minutes.

I was really pleased with how well they came out!

real-baking-cookies

I would point out that even though the kit is called the ‘cookie kit’ you’re much better off finding a biscuit recipe rather than a cookie one.

Mainly because cookies quite often spread when you bake them, whereas biscuits will hold their shape better.

This kit comes with quite a nice selection of different cutters so it’s fab when they come out of the oven looking like the butterflies, flowers and stars that you wanted!

 

Real baking chocolate pen

Next we tested out the chocolate pen kit.

Oh I had such mixed feelings about this!  

On the one hand I was really excited to try it, because chocolate!  But on the other hand I just wasn’t sure how easy it would be to use.

And after reading the instructions I wasn’t feeling particularly reassured, because honestly it all looked quite fiddly.

In the set you get the Chocolate Pen, 3 mould trays, 4 nozzles & clamps, caps, 12 bags for chocolate and an instruction booklet.

real-baking-chocolate-pen

Firstly, I was a little bit disappointed when I realised that the pen requires batteries but these aren’t included.

Luckily we had some at home, but it was still a bit of a faff to dig out a screwdriver to put them in.

Secondly, I think the kit would be that little bit more special if there were a couple of bags of chocolate buttons in there, as this is what is recommended in the instruction booklet.  But there isn’t any chocolate included in the box.

Once we got started though I found that setting up the pen wasn’t quite as fiddly as I’d expected.  But I’m really not sure how well a 6 year old would manage if they tried to do it.

You have to fill one of the little bags with chocolate, attach a nozzle and clamp and then put the bag in warm water to melt the chocolate.

Once it’s all melted you put the bag into the pen and fasten it all up.  This part is a little fiddly but after you’ve done it once or twice it does get easier.

To get the pen to work you press the big button on it, which pushes a plunger inside the pen that then forces the chocolate out of the top of the nozzle.

You can then use it in two ways.

You can use the pen to fill up the chocolate moulds or you can draw freehand with it onto baking parchment.

We tried both and had a lot of fun.

The moulds I really liked.  There are quite a few to chose from and you can layer up colours if you feel fancy.  We only had milk chocolate in the house so ours are quite simple but I still think they came out really well.

And I think they’ll be lovely to make with the children to give to people at Christmas time.

real-baking-chocolate

As for drawing with the pen?  Well, maybe with a bit more practise we would get better but our results this time weren’t amazing!  The nozzle is quite big on the pen so I’m not quite sure how you could achieve the lovely delicate writing that’s shown on the box!

We ended up with a sort-of butterfly (my effort), a lovely muddy puddle (Nerys’ work) and a big flower with a leaf on the stem (a joint effort).

Not too shabby for a first attempt, but nothing like the examples on the box.

real-baking-chocolate-pen-001

My main feeling with this set is that, once you’ve got it up and running, it’s a lot of fun.

Nerys really enjoyed using it, and Rhys is desperate to have a try too.

It is tricky to get amazing results with it, but then it’s not claiming to be a professional tool.  To my mind, it’s a toy.  It’s supposed to just be fun, and to encourage children to want to bake more and get more involved in the kitchen.

And I think that it works well with that in mind.

 

Real baking cake pops

The last thing we tried out was the cake pop set.

And like with the chocolate pen, I was a bit apprehensive.

I’ve always loved the idea of cake pops but had never actually made them before because they always seemed a little complicated.  And at first glance this set didn’t make it look simple either, mainly because of the number of steps there are in the instructions!

In the kit you get 2 silicon mould sheets, 2 cone moulds, 1 mini doughnuts mould sheet and 12 lollipop sticks.

real-baking-cake-pop-kit

First impressions are that the pieces all feel nice quality, but there’s not much to the kit.

It seems a bit of shame that you can only make 4 cake pops at a time, it would be so much better if there were 2 of the mould sets in there.

And the little doughnut mould is sweet, but slightly random as no recipes are provided so I’m not really sure what to do with it.

The kit comes with 2 cone moulds as well, so you can either just make basic cake pops or you can melt chocolate and pour it into the moulds and then put the cake pops on top of those, to make sort of cake ice creams.

In the end we decided to just go for the basic cake pops, but I’ve promised Rhys we’ll get the kit out again soon and make the cones too!

To make the cake pops you make up your cake mix (I used my basic 2-4-4-4 fairy cake recipe) and then spoon some into one half of the silicone mould, up to the line.  Then you put the other half on top and press it down to secure it in place.

Then bake!

As the cakes rise they form themselves into nice little balls of cake.

I was so sceptical about this.

I really didn’t think it would work properly so I was amazed when I popped open the mould after the cakes had cooled to find these neat little cake balls!

real-baking-cake-pops

The next step then is to simply put the lolly stick in and then dip the cake pops in melted chocolate and decorate.

The issue I had here is that there’s nothing in the kit to use to stand the cake pops up while the chocolate hardens.  So you’d have to lie them down on some greaseproof paper or something similar, resulting in a random flat spot of chocolate.

I got lucky and had a plastic tub waiting to be recycled that actually had 4 little holes in the bottom, just the right size for the sticks.  So I put my cakes pops in there for the topping to set.  I would love it though if the kit came with something like that to make life a bit easier!

The end result though is really good I think.  

Not quite bake off standard but still!  It’s just a bit of a shame that you can only bake 4 at a time.

real-baking-cake-pop-set

There are one or two little niggles with all three baking sets that we tested.

Each set could do with having a few more key bits of kit to them, and it would be really nice if there were recipe ideas in the boxes to get you started.

Overall though, we really like them.

We’ve had a lot of fun and really enjoyed baking something other than our standard fairy cakes.

And I think that’s the key to these kits.

They’re fun.

They’re meant as a way to get kids interested in baking, and trying new skills, and having fun.

And from my experience with them they succeed on all those points.

My adult self has a few nit-picky reservations but the child in me, who always loved the look of things like Mr Frosty and easy bake ovens, really enjoyed them!

We’ll definitely be getting all these sets out again over the coming months.

 

Disclaimer – I was sent the kits for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.