Review: Treating myself with Dartington Crystal!

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I was contacted recently to ask if I’d like to collaborate with Dartington Crystal. As part of this collaboration I was given the opportunity to select anything I liked (to a certain value!) from their website.

I’m sure a brand like Dartington Crystal needs no introduction but just in case let me tell you a little bit more about them.

Dartington Crystal started out life when in 1967 a group of Swedish glassmakers brought their hand-making skills to rural North Devon and with that, started a very different glass company. Today, they continue to provide elegant, simple designs in crystal and glass and much of their range continues to be handcrafted in Devon. Did you know that Dartington is now the only crystal brand still producing in the UK? I didn’t!

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Now the problem is when you’re given SO much choice it can be really hard to make a decision but I decided rather than choose something I needed why not choose something totally frivolous and beautiful – so that’s what I did! It’s not often we mums get to splash the cash on ourselves so it was a nice treat to be able to select something just for the fun of it!

So once I decided that was the way forward, I decided what I needed was a vase. In my opinion, you can never have too many vases, even if your husband should be the type that absolutely never ever ever (ever) buys you flowers. Actually, scratch that, he did send me flowers on our wedding day but honestly outside of that I am hard-pushed to recall another occasion! Never mind, I don’t hold it against me, he treats me in other ways (thanks for the Apple TV Mr M!) and I just settle on buying my own flowers. At least that way I get what I want and they are colour coordinated.

I opted for one of their flower bottle vases – which are a distinctive Dartington design with a choice of colours and shapes. I plumped for the Daisy Flower Bottle which is made with a gorgeous cool turquoise glass and finished with a beautiful daisy illustration.

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It really is a gorgeous piece and as the Dartington Crystal website states, it is just as eye-catching without flowers (which is lucky really, huh!) and it really brightens up my kitchen. It’s currently residing on my bookshelves in the kitchen just waiting to fulfil it’s flower-filled destiny. I’d normally always choose a clear glass for a vase but I am totally in love with the colour and shape of this vase, which retails at £47. If you’re buying it as a gift you can also have it engraved and it comes neatly boxed.

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I was really impressed with this product, everyone who has come round and seen it in my kitchen has asked me about it – and I think that’s in part down to the gorgeous colour. The only issue I have now is that I want more! There’s a very special purple anemone bottle calling my name…

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Review: Vax Air Cordless Lift Duo

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I know, a vacuum isn’t exactly the most exciting of household appliances however I think everyone would agree that if you have carpet, it’s an absolute necessity, especially when you have pets and children, so when my 12 year old vacuum died a slow, agonising death it seemed like some sort of divine intervention* that Vax chose that moment to get in touch to see if I’d like to review one of their products.

*Yes, I am pretty sure the Gods don’t have anything more important to be dealing with right now than my cleaning needs.

I was sent the Vax Air Cordless Lift Duo. I admit, I was a little more excited about this than I should have been because ERM hello – cordless! My only experience with cordless cleaners so far had been with the handheld variety, of which they always seem to be a bit lacklustre on the vroomph (technical term) so I was keen to see how this new product stacked up.

A few facts about the Vax Air Cordless Lift Duo first.

  • It has a lift out cylinder which detaches from the main body.
  • The battery delivers up to 60 minutes of long lasting cleaning power.
  • It has WindTunnel3TM technology
  • LED headlights
  • Ultra-lightweight (just 5.1kg)
  • Boost mode

(I don’t pretend to know what WindTunnel technology is but it’s to do with providing three channels of suction across the width of the floor.)

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What is in the box? The Vax Air Cordless Lift comes with 2x Lithium Life Batteries and a charger and a 2-in-1 dusting brush/crevice tool.

I like that you get two batteries in the box, it’s the kind of thing I expect companies to persuade you into buying so it’s good that there are two supplied – it means I can have one on charge while I am using the other one, though in fairness the battery lasts a really long time so it’s not strictly necessary!

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And the battery already comes with some life in it, meaning you can get going straightaway!

Let me just tell you, I love this vacuum. LOVE IT. It has changed my life, not least because it’s so light and easy to use that my 9 year old son has decided that he likes doing the vacuuming!  But seriously, it’s so light and nimble.  My mother-in-law who is nearly 70 struggles with her vacuum so I am thinking one of these would be perfect for her – no wires to trip over either.

The fact that you can detach the cylinder means that it is a dream to use on the stairs. If I thought it was light before, when you’re just carrying the cylinder it’s a breeze! Again, my children now help with this as they can easily manage this on the stairs – of course, I don’t advocate child labour – they’re doing it for a pocket money top-up!

Having previously used another brand (known for it’s suction) I did wonder how it would fare in this department. I have to say I can’t notice the difference – this has a decent amount of suction and if you employ the boost function, it’s really powerful – I tend to use that on the high traffic areas only as the normal setting is perfectly fine.

The LED headlights though? Who knew you’d even care if your vacuum had LED headlights but I tell you what, I flipping well love them!

All in all I can hand on heart say that I love this product and it’s become my new best friend. I actually find I hoover more now because it’s so much easier to whizz around with than my old heavy, cabled contraption. I doubt I will ever go back to a corded vacuum again!

Before I go…I’ll leave you with this beautiful image. I had to take a photo of the bottom brushes purely because I knew it was a view I would never see again. Long hair problems.

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You can buy the Vax Air Cordless Lift direct from Vax where it is currently retailing at £229.99 with free delivery and a 6 year guarantee!
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The 5 step guide to purchasing a roof with confidence

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Buying a new roof for your home is a big step. After all, it’s something that you’re probably not going to do all that often, so when you do invest, you want to make sure that you’re happy with your purchase, and that you have something that you’re going to enjoy looking at for the next couple of decades. A successful roof restoration in Melbourne, Brisbane, Mount Isa or any other part of Australia boils down to one thing: Confidence. If you’re confident that you’ve purchased the right roof for your home, you’re more than likely going to be happy with your purchase. Being confident in your roof purchase comes from understanding the roof market – what’s available – and making your decision based on facts. There are a couple of ways in which you can familiarise yourself with the state of things in the roof department, and for the uninitiated, I have outlined five steps to follow so that you can buy your roof with confidence.

Step One: Grasp the basics of what’s out there
When shopping around for a new roof, it can be hugely helpful to drive around your local area and to take a look at the kinds of roofs that are out there, and to see what you like. You’ll find that there is a fair bit of variation in terms of the kinds of roof finishes (tiles, corrugated iron) and the various embellishments and guttering. You need to know what’s out there so that you can apply this to your own home, so head out, snap some pictures and start making a bit of a wish list that you can look at for your own home. You are going to be somewhat limited by the pitch and style of your home, but as long as you know what’s out there, you can make an informed decision.

Step Two: Consult the internet
There are myriad design blogs and resources available for people online to scroll through endlessly. Make a search online and check out what’s out there in terms of designer roofing. Design blogs with interesting roof options are a great source of inspiration, so make sure you start bookmarking your favourites so that you can link to them later on.

Step Three: Get quotes
Once you have an idea of what you want for your home, it’s time to start putting your dreams to the test. You’ll need to get a quote (or three) so that you can figure out what is the best option for you within your budget. Enquire about a few options with various designs and finishes and see what is the most economical and best option. Don’t forget to enquire about the durability of the roof as well as the warranties you may be entitled to. Remember though, you get what you pay for, and with a roof, it is definitely worth paying a bit more to get the best option to protect your home.

Step Four: Get a mock up
Once you have decided on the right roof for your home, you should take a final look at what it will look like on your home by asking the roofing company or designer to create a mockup of your home with the new roof. This will ensure that you will be happy with the finished product as you’ll see it on your home!

Step Five: Take the plunge
There’s really nothing else to it, it’s time to sign the paper and get the new roof on your home! By now, you should be hugely confident about the roof that you have chosen for your home, so now all you have to do is enjoy the process and look forward to the stunning new roof on your home.

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Disclosure: I have received compensation in return for hosting this content.

Down at the bottom of the garden…my Rocket Garden adventures!

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Firstly I need to start this blog post with a BIG apology to Rocket Gardens. I should have written this a long time ago but I have had the absolute craziest summer. Anyhow, I am here now, better late than never huh!

Back in the Spring a company called Rocket Gardens got in touch to see if I wanted to try out own of their vegetable gardens. As I like to grow-my-own I thought I’d give them a whirl.  Rocket Gardens, based in West Cornwall, are suppliers of “instant gardens”. Their farm is where they take the orders, grow the plants, pack your plants and send them off to you.  The company was started by Mike Kitchen in 2005 who has used his farming know-how and passion for plants to make growing your own veggies that little bit more accessible. I was really interested in this concept so gladly accepted the delivery of a Small Vegetable Garden.

Rocket Gardens are seasonal and there is always a variety to choose from. Right now if you look you’ll be able to view the Autumn/Winter range.   What you get is a box full to the brim (literally!) of baby organic vegetable and herb plants, packed carefully in straw and delivered right to you door.  I was a little concerned about this as I wasn’t sure how it would work. Would they be squished? broken? thirsty? No is the answer to all of those questions.

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They were packed incredibly well, in fact it took me ages to get them all out of the packaging and they weren’t dried out or squished at all. You DO have to be ready to plant though, however you get fair warning of when it’s going to arrive so you can make sure you are ready.  Once they arrive it’s simply a case of transferring the plants to the greenhouse, pots or beds.

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My Small Vegetable Garden contained rocket, mixed lettuce, dwarf french green beans, runner beans, beetroot, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, courgettes, seed potatoes, giant red mustard, carrots, tomatoes and peas.

It was a LOT of plants and I won’t lie, it was a massive effort to motivate myself into planting them all in one fair swoop when I’d been at work all day, but needs must and with a little help from my mother-in-law and husband we got the job done in an hour or two.

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The good thing is there really is no gardening experience necessary so it’s a really good starting point for someone who is perhaps just starting out with growing their own.

I have to say I was won over by the Rocket Gardens concept. Growing from seed can be a lot of effort and sometimes it doesn’t always work out. By letting Rocket Gardens do the hard work of growing and nurturing these little seeds into baby plants, there’s little risk of failure – unless you’re a completely neglectful gardener that is!

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My garden was sent in the form of a gift voucher. This is an AMAZING gift idea.

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A little package arrives in the post, detailing the present, what you get and how to redeem, meaning the recipient can order when they are ready (bearing in mind delivery seasons). There are several gift options available, including one for children which is a fab idea, and I ‘m thinking of buying this for a Christmas present for my mother-in-law.

I think the Rocket Gardens are a fab idea but not only are they a fab idea they’re also great quality. Nothing failed and we were provided with tasty veg throughout the summer months. I’d wholeheartedly recommend them as a gift idea or even just a treat for yourself!

Visit the Rocket Gardens website to find out more!

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Five pocket-friendly spring spruce-up ideas for the home

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It’s been a long cold winter, but thankfully spring is almost upon us and nothing warms our hearts like the first signs of sunshine. If, like many, the brighter lighter days have you itching to spruce up your house so, you’ll find these pocket-friendly ideas extremely handy.

De-clutter

Asides from freeing counter tops and surfaces from mess, de-cluttering the home will also help you to de-clutter your mind. Boxing up any unwanted toys, bags, books and clothes and taking them down to your local charity shop will not only make you feel good about yourself, but it will also prepare your home for any spring decorating ideas you have in mind.

Clean the windows

Your windows most likely haven’t been cleaned throughout the entire of winter – now is the time to change that. If you’re on a budget, instead of paying someone else to clean your windows – do it yourself.

A mixture consisting of one part distilled white vinegar and one part water makes a great homemade glass cleaner, simply pour the mixture into a reusable spray bottle and get to work. Cleaning your windows is an easy and effective way to brighten up your home.

Accessorise

Now that you have an abundance of clean, clutter-free surfaces at your disposable, it’s time to get creative with a few new accessories. The most simple and effective way to add colour to any room in the household is to invest in a beautiful bunch of colourful flowers. If you don’t have time to nip out to shops, have them delivered to your door with serenataflowers.com. You’ll find a huge selection of spring flowers online including everything from scented blue posies and daffodils to orange tinged tulips and lilies.

Bring the outdoors in

There’s nothing like a bright, sun drenched house to put you in the mood for spring. Whether you have a herb garden on the kitchen windowsill, a few potted plants here and there or an abundance of floral displays arranged in various vases, adding greenery to your home will instantly bring the outdoors inside.

Organise

Before spring is in full swing, try to reorganise closets, boot rooms, kid’s bedrooms and any drawers or wardrobes that appear to be overflowing with clutter. It’s likely you’ll collect just as much clutter over the next few months, which means you’ll need to make some extra room.

Now that you have a few spring spruce-up tips to hand, it’s time to combine these with decorating ideas of you own. Before you know it, your home will ready to embrace the warm weather.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post