Category: Product Reviews

Neo Child Friendly Lava Lamp Review

Mathmos are the original inventors of the lava lamp (invented in 1963!) and they have just released an exciting new product design- Neo.

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“Neo is designed by lighting designer Jonathan Coles and is the only lava lamp in the world that has been completely tested and verified for customers of all ages. Every detail has been designed with safety and quality at its core.
Neo is made from precision cast metal and is low voltage; powered by long lasting halogen capsules for extended use. Its internal diffuser ensures that the heat and light are directed into the bottle ensuring the best view of Mathmos’ unique lava lamp formulation. The shatterproof bottle is made in Britain and filled in the Mathmos’ factory in Poole Dorset.”

This all means that the Neo lava lamp is completely child friendly. Amazing right? I remember when I was growing up, my parents would never let me have one out of fear. The horror stories they had heard about the next door neighbours cousins brother, who had fallen asleep and left his lava lamp on all night, which had they overheated; probably something like that anyway, I just know I wasn’t allowed one!

We were lucky enough to be sent one to review for Violet’s room. I have to admit that I was a little worried as there must have been a good reason as to why I wasn’t allowed to have one; so I keep telling myself. However, as usual there was nothing to worry about- I’m super impressed!

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The Neo took all of five minutes to set up and we put it straight into Violet’s room. The one I chose is absolutely perfect for her room too as I have recently decorated it using bright pink and bold purple. We did make a mistake though… Clearly we should have turned it on for the first time whilst she was in nursery as the first night we switched it on, whilst she was pretty impressed with the lighting and colours, within fifteen minutes she was declaring she was bored as the lava wasn’t moving! Bad Mammy didn’t realise that the first few uses would take between 1-3 hours for it to warm up properly to disperse the lava- whoops!

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A few days later, having switched the Neo on every night for an hour or so, Violet became amazed once again seeing the lava ‘bubbles’ dancing around the lamp! She’s hooked now, every night before her bath it has to be turned on so it’s ready for when she has her bedtime story. It really doesn’t overheat either and isn’t hot to the touch. Obviously we tell her not to touch it, more that we don’t want her to knock it over or anything and we never leave it on very long, usually just until she’s had her story. I kind of want one for my bedroom now!

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The Neo comes in four different colour combinations and is available in both chrome and copper finishes.You can find out more about Mathmos and buy your lava lamps here.

Did you ever have a lava lamp? Let me know your thoughts below!

Mother Hermit xx

*We were kindly sent a Neo Lava Lamp in return for this post. All views and opinions are that of my own*

Num Noms Mini Chef Creations

Myself and Violet were invited to take part in a #MiniChefs challenge by Num Noms! Of course I said yes straight away, before realising that I had absolutely no idea what Num Noms were! I know, how on earth have I missed them?! It didn’t take me long to find them and wow- they’re oh so cute!

For those of you that, like me, may not have heard of these little beauties, Num Noms are cute little collectibles which all come with their own scent. You can then create your own creations, flavour fusions and recipes with them.

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We were set the challenge to create our own recipe using the Num Nom’s packs we were sent; Series 2 Diner and Brunch. We couldn’t just settle on one though so we decided to create two courses using both packs, with the help of Daddy!

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For the main course we mixed Frenchie Fries, Haley Hot Dog and Cheesy Go-Go;

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This really is as simple as it looks, sliced hot dogs, french fries and melted cheese and it was oh so good! Huge thumbs up from Violet so it could be on her menu a lot from now on 🙂

For dessert we mixed Berry Cakes and Jammin’ Razzy Go-Go;

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We got super creative and messy with this one! Myself and Violet both absolutely love Raspberry flavoured anything so we took full advantage. Thick maple syrup pancakes topped with a generous amount of raspberry jam, topped with squirty cream, raspberry sauce, repeated and finally topped with sprinkles! As you can tell by her face on the photo above, Violet adored this one and it was pretty hard to get a photo before she got stuck in!

Not only are we huge fans of Num Noms now, Violet is also enjoying creating different scents and flavours with the toys so watch this space for more recipes!

Have you heard of Num Noms before? Have you tried anything like this with them?

Mother Hermit xx

*We were very kindly sent both packs of Num Noms in return for this post. All views and opinions are that of my own*

 

Caketoppers Ltd Review & Discount Code

Regular readers will know how much I LOVE cake. It’s certainly a favourite of mine, along with wine. (I just typed wine instead of mine, guess I have something on the brain?!)

Anyway, I was recently sent two gorgeous cupcakes from the lovely Sam at Caketoppers Ltd. What made them even more perfect was the fact that they were personalised and topped with a photo of my choosing. I chose to have my blog logo on both and was super impressed with how clear the images were when they arrived and how easy the process was. I simply chose and image and didn’t have to worry about resizing or cropping bits to fit, Caketoppers do it all for you.


I was sent one chocolate cupcake and one vanilla cupcake which were both individually wrapped- perfect for gifting, parties or even a cheeky treat in your lunch box! They even guarantee that they stay fresh for at least 5 days after delivery as the foil cases and iced topping help keep in the moisture. I can confirm this, I didn’t actually eat my vanilla one until 1.5weeks after receiving them and it tasted just as delicious and fresh as the chocolate one did the day after arrival.

Usually I’m a plain old vanilla girl and tend to give G anything chocolatey, but on this occasion I kept the whole thing to myself. The cake is seriously moist (I hate that word too!) and the generous topping of sticky icing is the perfect amount for the cake (the more the better I say!)- absolutely gorgeous and a great size!

The topper itself was fantastic, the image remained clear and the colours were just as bold and bright as the image I emailed to the guys at Caketoppers.


It’s not just cupcakes that they can personalise for you though, there are also full size cakes for any occasion and preprinted toppers and cakes. Have a look for yourself at the Caketoppers website here. I also have a code for you to get 10% off your order;


I just have one complaint though, there weren’t enough cupcakes in the box! 😉

Mother Hermit xx

Laughing and Learning with LeapFrog

I love a good toy- (even the noisy ones!) and was recently asked if I would like to try out some new LeapFrog ones with the kids. Now with Billy being only 7 months, we hadn’t really thought about buying him any toys just yet as I remember going slightly overboard when Violet was that age and can still picture the confused look on her little face as if to say “What on earth am I supposed to do with these woman?!” I really went THAT overboard and was clearly buying the wrong ones for her because Billy hasn’t stopped playing with this one toy since the day it arrived!

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Scout’s Count & Colours Band

This is the one I was sent for Billy. How cute is the little dog Scout?! It’s aimed at ages 6-24 months and the curriculum taught from the toy is counting, as you can see by the numbers on each instrument. Obviously Billy is a little bit young to be learning to count yet but I love that he will grow up playing with this toy, not even realising that he’ll be learning and most likely counting to 5 in no time!

“Rock out with piano-pup Scout, and get jamming on skills like cause and effect, counting, colours and more.”

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As soon as Billy saw the toy he grabbed for it, obviously those bright colours were all too tempting for him. As soon as I switched it on and the music began to play that was it, he was hooked. He couldn’t sit up on his own quite steady enough then so liked to have it on his lap in the bouncy chair and constantly played with all of the buttons to try to figure out what to do to make the music start again- don’t worry though as theirs a button to turn the volume down! You can also choose between three different modes, music, colours or numbers. On the music one you can press the different instruments to find out what they are and what they sound like as well as playing along to different tunes. On the colour mode it tells you the colour of each instrument depending on the one you press and on the number mode it tells you which number is written on the top of each instrument depending on which one you press. I think this is fantastic as the toy will last years and will help Billy to learn his colours and numbers whilst he is playing. We’ve had this for around 4 weeks now and it’s the first toy he grabs, especially as he’s now sitting up on his own. Violet enjoys sitting playing with it too when Billy’s not looking!

Melody The Musical Turtle

Melody the Musical Turtle™

This is the one we were sent for Violet. It’s aimed at ages 2-5 years and again the curriculum taught from the toy is counting. It’s also a fantastic one to help your little one learn the colours.

“Race the music to find numbers and colours, repeat patterns and create turtle-rific tunes in 10 snappy, light-up activities.”

This one is absolutely perfect for Violet. She may only be two but she already knows her numbers and colours and can often get a bit bored of the usual games played to help her remember these. Melody however is totally different; again there are 3 different settings to choose from and the first is music. You can choose how many players are taking part and then you have to follow the colours by pressing each one which lights up as quickly as possible to find out the song behind the pattern. It will then play the song and finish by your little one having to press all of the lit up buttons as quickly as possible to switch them all off. The next one is a challenge setting in which you again select the number of players and then play a memory game by following the pattern of lights and remembering which number was lit up. This one’s a bit tricky for Violet just yet but this means the toy will last her a long time! The last setting is numbers. Again you choose the number of players and then find the number or colour Melody tells you to find and press it as quickly as possible. It’s very exciting for a toddler!

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I really do think that both of these toys from LeapFrog are fantastic and perfect for my two. I love that they will grow with these toys are learn more and more from them as they get older. Now I need to have a look at the rest of the range for Christmas!! 🙂

Have you tried any LeapFrog products for your children before? What do you think of them?

Mother Hermit xx

I was very kindly sent these two toys for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

GroCycle; GroKids Pack Review

Getting your kids to eat vegetables can be rather impossible sometimes- for some anyway. I appear to have a rather strange toddler who would choose veg and salad over sweets and chips any day; can’t complain really though! I eat loads of fruit and vegetables so this helps massively- your kids like to eat what you eat- but I also think that having an allotment, seeing everything grow from scratch and having Grandad pop in every week with bags and bags of fresh produce from said allotment helps massively in encouraging Violet to eat these kinds of things. Obviously not everyone has an allotment or has the room to grow their own fruit and veg in their gardens at home though, and this is exactly why I thought that the GroCycle GroKids pack sounded like an amazing idea and I just had to try it out!

The GroCycle Grokids pack is a full kit which enables you and your little ones to grow your own Oyster Mushrooms on your kitchen windowsill! The grow kit contains the coffee waste of 100 cups of coffee which is the food to help your mushrooms grow- how amazing is that?! The booklet included has full instructions on how to get started, fun facts and puzzles and a recipe for you to try with the pack of dried mushrooms which are enclosed for you to get cooking straight away.

Violet was happy enough to do the colouring and puzzles within the booklet but as she’s only two, she had no idea why I was trying to encourage her to look in ‘a bag of mud’ as she put it LOL, so I got to the growing on my own! First I had to cut out the panel on the front of the box, cut a cross in the front of the plastic bag and then leave it to soak in a bowl of water overnight. As you can see by the photo I had to weigh it down as it was floating around at the top.

The next day I took the bag out of the water, left it for a few minutes to drain and then returned it to the box and stood it on our kitchen windowsill. Now for the waiting. I have no patience at all and Violet’s is even worse- they didn’t automatically shoot out as she’d expected so apart from the twice daily water spray they needed, the mushrooms were forgotten about.

You don’t really need much patience for this grow kit though! Every morning it became a daily thing to check on the mushrooms and how well they had grown overnight. Violet was amazed to see the changes everyday and after a few days you could see the growth taking place. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen by day 7 the mushrooms had started to stage a takeover!

Day 7

After day 7 it all got a bit crazy! Everytime we went into the kitchen they had grown even more. There seemed to be more mushrooms coming and they were just getting bigger and bigger. After a few days they were massive and it looked like the box was about to topple over- that was it- time to harvest! Violet couldn’t wait to eat some and we ended up using them all pretty quickly by putting them into all our meals- her favourite was definitely the bolognese we made with them.

Hang on though, that’s not the end, as once you’ve harvested your first crop, you can leave the kit for 2 weeks and then soak the bag overnight and start again for another mushroom load! Have a look on their Facebook and Twitter and you can see how others have been getting on with their packs!

You can now purchase a GroKids pack from the GroCycle website here. They are £19 each which in all honesty I feel is a bit on the expensive side for my little one as she is only two and didn’t really understand it, although she did enjoy watching them grow. However for older children (and adults- I loved it!) I feel that this is definitely worth the money as they can learn so much from it and get around 2-3 harvests from the kit.

Happy Growing!

Mother Hermit xx

Party Time with Party Bags & Supplies

Usually when it comes to G’s birthday I always go for the same theme of Wales as he’s a very proud and patriotic Welshman. I always go for Wales flag bunting, napkins, table cover, red, white and green balloons and have even made my own Wales flag birthday cake for him one year! So when I was asked by the guys at Party Bags & Supplies if I’d like to review one of their party kits I thought I’d go for it and try a different theme altogether.

The choice is amazing, there’s so many to choose from and something for everyone. G’s a massive Avengers fan, especially the Hulk so I was hoping they had something like that, which they did but unfortunately it was out of stock at the time so I had a look for something else. I then came across TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) which were also one of his favourites growing up so I rather quickly made my decision and chose that pack.


Everything arrived a few days later all packed neatly into a box- thankfully you couldn’t tell what was inside or my surprise party plan would have been ruined. It contained 8 paper plates, 8 napkins, 8 cups, a tablecover and 8 party bags which were already packed with goodies! How brilliant is that? Okay so this was for G’s 30th birthday so I wasn’t too concerned about the party bags or their contents but they were great and for kids parties it’s a genius idea! No more having to run around buying numerous amounts of bits and pieces to fill up the bags- it’s already done for you! The TMNT theme was carried on within the contents, they contained stickers, spinners, mini frisbee’s, wristband, a little puzzle, some sweets and a little toy. I think if I was using these for my childs party I’d probably only add some bubbles and then a bit of the birthday cake to take home so they’re perfect.


I was really impressed with the items I received and G was over the moon! I even found a TMNT cake in our local supermarket which matched the theme perfectly and our daughter had hours of fun with her party bag 🙂


This pack which I received is £28.00 which I think is a bargain considering you’re getting the pre-filled party bags! You can also add on extras such as balloons, banners, invitations and so much more to complete your party. Of course it’s not just birthday parties either, they have things for practically any occasion and you can find the full range on their website here.

Which theme do you like the look of?

Mother Hermit xx

 

I was kindly sent this party pack in return for an honest review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Bibetta Lunch Bag- A Review

We love to take our own snacks for the kids when we go out and about and are always looking for alternatives to our usual tupperware in a carrier bag so when I was asked to review the Bibetta Lunch Bags I couldn’t refuse.


The lunch bags are made from neoprene which ensures that the contents stay at the right temperature and they’re also stretchy so you can fit allsorts in. They come in four different colours and patterns, Turquoise Birds, Pink Butterflies, Green Owls and Blue Fish. I chose the pink one for Violet- she loves testing out products for me! The bag is much bigger than I was expecting and Violet has been testing it to the max by filling it with every toy she can find- it passed! The colour is beautiful, bright and bold and the butterfly pattern is really cute. There’s also a little butterfly name tag attached which makes it perfect if you’re going to take it anywhere it might get lost or mixed up with other bags. They can even be put in the washing machine which is an absolute bonus-well for me it is, Violet loves to be messy!


These lunch bags are usually £9.99 each however they are currently on sale for £4.99 which is a bargain. You can purchase them from the Bibetta website here and you can also like them on Facebook.

Mother Hermit xx

I was sent this lunch bag in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Wicked Uncle Challenge

On one of my usual daily perusals of Twitter I came across a company called Wicked Uncle- Brilliant Children’s Presents. I noticed that they were looking for bloggers to participate in a challenge- The Wicked Uncle Challenge- and thought I’d have a look into it.

The challenge is to find a Wicked Grown Up to pass a voucher code to (provided by the guys at Wicked Uncle) so they can then spend it on buying gifts for your children on their website. They then report back to me on how they found the website and it’s then up to me to report on how well they did with their choice of gifts. Obviously I opted to take part and passed the details and voucher code straight onto my younger sister, who is yet to have little darlings of her own. This is her experience;

What if today we were just grateful for everything-

So yeah, at the time I gave her the challenge she was sunning it up in the Dominican and she’d probably had a cocktail or two by this point so it shows just how easy the website is to use. Once she’d ordered the gifts she challenged me to have a look at the site myself and see if I could guess what she’d picked. I couldn’t. All of the gifts on the site are put into categories of gender and age range which makes it so easy to pick something for the child you’re shopping for. Ok, well maybe it doesn’t as there’s so much to choose from, but you could do an ‘eeny meeny’ type riddle or rhyme to help you finally decide I guess!

What did she choose? Well we obviously had to wait for the Wicked Auntie to get back from her jolly holidays to find out but when she returned we weren’t disappointed!

Violet’s was gift wrapped which made it even more exciting for her- what child doesn’t love tearing paper off presents- or for that matter what adult doesn’t like to?! It was opened pretty quickly to reveal the Baking Set! Perfect! I’ve recently started baking myself and Violet loves to help out. It has a whisk, rolling pin, cookie cutters and a book of recipes and it even comes with the cutest little apron for her to wear! Wicked Auntie did good on this one so I sent her a text to come over and help us test it out 🙂

Billy’s wasn’t gift wrapped- he’s only 6 month and I don’t think he was too bothered by it 😉 He got a Monkey! Marvin the Monkey to be precise. I should have known really as our Nicola is pretty obsessed with them herself. The big grin on his face when we showed it to him said it all. It was quickly out of the box and Marvin joined Billy in his jumperoo. Marvin comes with a little battery pack which slots inside of his back and it plays music. There’s a little volume button and four different buttons to play different types of music to suit what your child is doing like playing or sleeping. Sayings as Billy was due his nap I decided to give the sleep music a go. As you can see by the photo’s below it worked a treat and didn’t take him long to drift off to sleep whilst giving Marvin a snuggle. He now takes Marvin everywhere he goes and if you attempt to take it off him you’ll have a screaming baby to deal with- just don’t take it away!

Well done Wicked Auntie, you can now have him overnight- just pick a day yeah?! 😉

So there you have it. The Wicked Uncle Challenge was accepted and The Wicked Auntie absolutely nailed it with utter success! I have a feeling she’ll now be using the Wicked Uncle website for the kids presents on all occasions- I’m happy with that 🙂

If you want to have a look at what they have to offer yourself head on over to their website. You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Mother Hermit xx

As stated in the post, we were provided with a £40.00 voucher code for the purpose of this challenge and review. All views and opinions are that of my own unless otherwise stated.

Just us Box- Getting Prepared for a Stargazing Date

It’s definitely true in my experience that after having kids date nights with your other half become a thing of the past. By the time it gets to the end of the day we’re both so tired I end up curling up with a glass of wine in front of a good box set and G sits on his PS4- that’s just our way of relaxing! We do try to make time for dates but as we’re so tired our planning doesn’t go very far and we end up sitting in front of the telly and most likely falling asleep. It’s nice when we do get to go out for a date but as our one babysitter is my younger sister we don’t like to ask her loads. So when I came across Just Us Box I had to see what it was all about.

“We are on a mission to help you disconnect from your screens and re-connect with your partner with a monthly date night subscription box so you can spend some quality time together… just us!”

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Ok, how amazing does that sound?! So basically you get a ‘date night’ box sent to you monthly which includes everything you need to have the perfect date night with your special someone. And it really does include everything you need. I received the July box with the theme of ‘Let’s Go Stargazing’ which is the perfect date, especially for us busy parents, being able to have a nice date in your own home or back garden once the little ones are (finally!) in bed is just what we need.

The July box contains a large selection of things to make your date amazing- you can see everything in the photo below, hot chocolate with disposable cups, Haribo sweets, a small torch, UV nail polish, a creative pack to make ‘The Kepler Telescope’ and a picnic blanket. It also includes a ‘date plan’, a list of activities, an envelope of ‘Stargazing Challenges’ and a list of conversation starters. You’d think that the conversation starter list would only be useful for first dates and such but to be honest when G and I are alone without the kids these days we tend to really struggle to have any kind of conversation which isn’t about the kids- until we’re a wee bit tipsy that is! There’s even some suggestions of stargazing themed music for you to play whilst having your date.

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We haven’t actually managed to use our Stargazing box yet as I want to be able to use it properly outside in the garden one night and the weather has been terrible with wind and rain recently so we’re saving it. But I think this is honestly an amazing idea and is totally perfect for me & G as now that we have two kids we’ve lost all sense of making time for ‘Just Us’ and it really is an important thing to do.

So Just Us Box is a monthly subscription and each month you will receive your date night box with a different theme. Each box then contains everything you need to create the perfect date and everything relates to the theme chosen. If you like the sound of it but you’re unsure of whether it’s something you would use every month, head on over to their website where you also have the option of ordering a ‘trial box’. This is exactly what you think, a one off box, which is smaller than a usual monthly one, for you to try out to see whether you like it or not and this costs just £18. I have a code for you to get 10% off at the checkout too which you’ll find below and the August box is ‘Indian Summer’ which you can order up until tomorrow- so get in quick!ESTABLISHED1856You can keep up with the Just Us team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram– keep an eye out for hints for the themes for the boxes in the coming months!

Mother Hermit xx

Have you tried something like this before? What do you think of it?

 

I was kindly sent this trial box for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wild On Meats- A Review

Food. I absolutely love food and grew up with the family nickname of ‘dustbin’ because I would literally eat anything, try anything, have seconds and then happily finish everyone else’s leftovers. And meat. I could never, ever even attempt to try a diet which didn’t contain meat- it just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Over the past couple of years I’ve even started getting a bit more adventurous when it comes to meat by trying something exotic everytime we head to a local food festival and a favourite of mine is Kangaroo.

A couple of month ago a fellow North East blogger posted in a blog group that a new local business was launching and they were looking for people to review and the business is called Wild On Meats- clearly I offered to review without question!

I received a sample selection of some of the meat products they have available; Camel Sausages, Kangaroo Burgers, Crocodile Burgers and Ostrich Burgers. I’ve already tried Kangaroo and Ostrich before and know how incredible they both are so was very interested to try the other two.

First we tried the Camel Sausages which I grilled and dished up with some Cajun Rice, Stir-fry Veg and a chunky Tomato & Garlic sauce. The whole thing was incredible but the Camel Sausages were a million times nicer than I was expecting! They looked quite dry once I’d cooked them in the grill but they weren’t at all, they were deliciously succulent (without all the grease) and the flavour was amazing. I’m not going to compare them to pork- they don’t taste like that and were miles better than some pork sausages I’ve had. It did say on the pack that they go really well on a breakfast and I wouldn’t hesitate to throw them on my fry-up!

The following week we decided to try out the Crocodile Burgers. Again I threw these under the grill but you have to be careful with them as they can fall apart quite easily. Like the sausages though, there was no excess fat dripping out like you’d get from a regular beef burger!


Now I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the burger 🙁 This is totally unheard of for me but the texture just wasn’t for me. They’re so juicy that they are really soft and quite mushy- but the flavour was gorgeous so I think next time I might try a cut of Crocodile Tail rather than the burger. G was extremely impressed though and demolished all of his plus the half I left- typical bloke- and Violet had a few bites and enjoyed it.

Wild, exotic meats seem to be becoming more and more popular because they are high in protein and very low in fat and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. They’re also low in cholesterol which is a bonus because all I seem to hear these days is advertisements about how we need to be watching our cholesterol and brands coming up with lowering alternatives. In fact my Dad has just been told he needs to watch his cholesterol so I might get him on the Camel Sausages for breakfast!

Wild On Meats offer a large selection of wild, exotic meats to try and they even have BBQ, Student, Fitness and Steak Packs if you want to try a good selection, check out their website here. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mother Hermit xx

I received this sample selection of products in return for an honest review. All views and opinions are that of my own.

Mudpie Fridays