Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream Review

I like to regularly change the products I use and I also love to try new things so if someone asks me to give their product a go then of course I'm going to say yes!

Introducing the Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream.

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream

I hadn't actually heard of the Jojoba Company before and I was keen to find out more so I headed over to their website to see what they're about - they create natural skin and body-care products which focus on anti-ageing and skin health.

Their hydrating day cream is vegan-friendly and made with olive leaf extracts and Siberian ginseng. It's a long acting moisturiser that actually protects and nourishes your skin. It has also been clinically proven to increase the production of elastin by up to 97%!

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream

So what did I think of the cream? 

The first thing I noticed was how quickly it was absorbed into my skin. For me there's nothing worse than a cream that stays on the surface of your skin leaving it feeling greasy and wet. This lightweight cream absorbed straight into my skin and left my face feeling fresh.

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream

After the very first use there was a noticeable difference to the smoothness of my skin and that has continued ever since. My face has never felt so smooth!

I like the pump-action dispenser because it makes it more hygienic. T's psoriasis doctor once told me to use a plastic spoon to get cream out of a pot because it wasn't hygienic to keep dipping your fingers in it. I hadn't thought of that before so since then I prefer creams to be dispensed in some way.

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream

The only slight downside for me was the fragrance, being a natural product it had a very distinctive, natural kind of fragrance. It wasn't unbearable, just not as refreshing as I like my moisturisers to smell.

The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream left my skin looking visibly brighter and smoother to the touch. With winter well on its way, now is the perfect time to get your skin in tip top shape and I think this cream is definitely worth a try.

You can connect with The Jojoba Company in the following ways:


Have you tried any products from the Jojoba Company? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


I received this product for review purposes. I am always honest in my reviews and all opinions are my own or that of my family.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Book Review - Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman

THE BOOK

Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 14 January 2016

"Catherine's ex-husband and business partner drops a bombshell over their Chardonnay: he’s about to marry his twenty-three year old girlfriend. Catherine has bras that are older than his new fiancĂ©e, yet he’s about to install her in Catherine’s beloved matchmaking business.

Meanwhile, architect Rachel is battling romantic mistake, James, to win their firm’s biggest project. So when she joins Catherine’s website, RecycLove.com, where everyone recycles an ex for the chance of an upgrade, she knows just who she’s going to trade in.

And it’s time for homebody baker, Sarah, to stop worrying about everyone else for a change. She reluctantly joins RecycLove.com with Rachel, but as minor adjustments to improve her chances turn into a complete overhaul, will her newfound popularity be worth the sacrifices she’s making?"

MY REVIEW

I sometimes find storylines which are told from a variety of perspectives too much. The initial 'getting to know each character' chapters can be overwhelming. A total information overload which leaves me struggling to connect with any of the characters. I'm pleased to say, however, that this book introduced me to each character in a natural, somewhat gentle way. I could feel the connection between them and I think this is why I found it so easy to fall into the storyline.

In the middle of everything was a dating website with a twist - the clients joined with their exes (an odd yet intriguing concept in my opinion). There was also a yummy sprinkling of baking, perfect for fans of The Great British Bake Off. The kind of drama that can only come from having to deal with your ex-husband's soon-to-be second wife on a daily basis and even the competition of working with an ex. 

But, if I thought the lighthearted, funny moments were as far as it went then I was wrong. There were scenes which pulled at my heart strings and gave the book much more depth than I had initially expected - what a bonus!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love watching characters develop and grow in front of my eyes. Catherine, Rachel and Sarah did just that. Each of their journeys in dating, careers and life in general had me flipping the virtual pages of my Kindle and hoping for the best possible outcome.

For me this was an easy book to read. I really looked forward to picking it up each evening (yes my reading time is now limited to just once a day) and finding out what was next for these characters who I had become rather close to.

Match Me If You Can was a fun yet heartwarming read that took me on an unexpected journey.

5 Stars














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Thank you to the publisher for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Zoella Scrubbing Me Softly Smoothing Body Scrub Review

Body scrubs have always been a little hit or miss for me so I never have big expectations when I start using a new one. This is why I was so pleasantly surprised by Zoella's offering. 

I can honestly say that I wouldn't have picked this up. I don't watch Zoella unless N happens to be nearby when she's watching her YouTube channel (she's a big fan) so I wouldn't actively seek out her products for myself. Thank goodness for birthdays! If you follow me on Instagram you may remember that I shared this photo of my birthday gift.

Instagram Photo

I have since become addicted to the beautiful fragrance which actually lasts ages on my skin, every time I move my arm I get another hit of loveliness. I've even resorted to sniffing myself because I just can't enough of it.

Zoella Scrubbing Me Softly Smoothing Body Scrub

I also have to mention how smooth it made my skin, particularly on my upper arms which have always been my problem areas. After just a few uses of this body scrub the difference was already noticeable.

It has a thicker consistency than most of the other body scrubs I've used and although this was something that I wasn't sure about to begin with, I soon realised it was a very good thing. It made the product feel more luxurious.

Zoella Scrubbing Me Softly Smoothing Body Scrub

Obviously with N being such a big fan of Zoella I've found myself sharing it with her and she loves it just as much as I do - the lingering fragrance is her favourite part too. With both of us using it I don't think it'll be long before I have to buy another pot.

If this product can impress me, a true body scrub sceptic, then I have a feeling it can impress anyone!

Have you tried the Zoella Scrubbing Me Softly Smoothing Body Scrub? Are you a fan of body scrubs? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Monday, 28 November 2016

Author Interview - Rosa Temple

Today I'm delighted to welcome author Rosa Temple to V Family Fun. She has kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about her latest book and writing habits so sit back and enjoy!

Firstly lets find out a little bit about Rosa...

Rosa Temple


Rosa Temple began writing romantic comedies and chick lit because of her passion for what she calls the 'early chick lit films', like: Sabrina, Barefoot In the Park and Breakfast at Tiffany's. She honed her skills as a ghost writer, gaining experience writing romantic novellas, both sweet and on the slightly steamy side. In her notebooks, she constantly jotted down story ideas of her own and she eventually completed her first novella Sleeping With Your Best Friend and now, the full length novel, Natalie's Getting Married.

Rosa Temple is a Londoner and is married with two sons. She is a reluctant keep fit fanatic and doer of housework and insists that writing keeps her away from such strenuous tasks. She spends her days creating characters and story lines while drinking herbal tea and eating chocolate biscuits. 

To find out more about Rosa and to catch up on all her musings please join her here on Rosa Temple Writes... 

You can also find out more on her Website, Twitter (@RosaT_Author) and Facebook.


Now take a look at Rosa's latest book...

Single By Christmas

"You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking."


***'Single by Christmas' is on sale in the UK at 99p from 28th November until 4th December***


Finally lets hear from Rosa herself...

Hi Rosa, thank you for joining me on V Family Fun.

Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to 'Single by Christmas'?

Single by Christmas is all about fun loving, Alex Marshall, who shows her 'girlfriend behaving badly side' in the run up to Christmas and risks losing her gorgeous boyfriend, Charlie, when she does something she later regrets after a drunken binge!

Where did the idea come from?

This story was just a seed of an idea that stemmed from me not wanting to write the traditional Christmas romance but hoping to go for something with a bit of an edge to it.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

I didn't want a typical Christmas novel cover. I came up with an idea that said it was Christmas but that the story might not have a straight forward Happy Ever After. I sent my sketches to a wonderful artist called Rima Salloum who I met after searching on line. She took my rough sketches and ran with them and was very patient with me when i needed any changes. Everyone should use her: http://rimasalloum.wixsite.com/rsgraphics

Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?

I would love to meet main man, Charlie because he is a research scientist looking into cures for breast cancer. I'm sure he'd make a great lunch guest. Of course I'd love to go out with Alex and her two best friends on one of their 'Boozy Nights'. A lot of chaotic fun but I'm not sure I could keep up with them.

What makes 'Single by Christmas' stand out from the crowd?

That would be down to my heroine, Alex. She's more of an anti-heroine really and everyone who has read the book would love to slap her. Me included. She's self absorbed and takes her wonderful boyfriend for granted. The thing is, she does have a good heart and if you stick with her you'll see it come out in spades. In this story you won't find snow swept villages or women baking mince pies but I'm told there are laugh out loud moments and that Single by Christmas is a book you could read at any time of the year and still enjoy it.

Is any part of it based on your own personal experiences?

I'd like to say it was all pure imagination but there is one aspect, the story of Alex's friend, Shalina, that did happen to someone quite close to me. 

Do you follow a plan when you are writing or do you let the story guide you?

I have a basic idea. Sometimes I even jot down a few plans but to be honest, once I start writing, the characters take on a life of their own and tend to do their own talking. I know that sounds weird but that's how it works for me.

Which of your books is your favourite and why?

This one is my favourite. It does come very close to my last one, Natalie's Getting Married, but I prefer this one because for me I felt as though my writing style developed further and took on a more polished edge. Every writer wants to get better and I think I can see an improvement in my writing style with Single by Christmas.

Pen or pencil?

Pencil because I always make mistakes!

Paperback or eBook?

Ebook because it's easier to take to bed!

Any last words for your readers?

I love to hear from readers and would welcome comments when they've read Single by Christmas. Also, I've created a new character called Magenta Bright whose three part series of books is out in 2017 so watch this space :)




That's all folks! 

If you are an author and would like to be interviewed on V Family Fun please email me at vfamilyfun@gmail.com and I will reply with some questions.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

V Family Games Night

With all the technology available to families nowadays it's so easy to become distracted and not give your full attention to your loved ones during family time. 

I'm not just talking about us adults though. I can't tell you how irritating it is to try to have a conversation with your teen/pre-teen while their eyes are glued to a screen. Even our two-year-old can sometimes be thoroughly distracted by the latest CBeebies app on my iPad.

Here in the V Family household we try to spend as much time as possible together, doing things that focus our attention on each other rather than the technology in our hands. Our most successful activity seems to be a good old-fashioned board game competition and I think that's because it requires concentration.

Introducing the V Family games night...

V Family Games Night

With help from the lovely people at The Entertainer (I'm sure those of you with children will be just as familiar with this fabulous toy shop as we are) our latest games night was even more fun! They sent us a box containing all the necessary ingredients for a fun games night with absolutely no technology in sight.

V Family Games Night

The first thing we did was pop the corn. Now this isn't something I've actually done before (microwave packets are all I've ever needed) but luckily hubby has so he took charge and we soon had a saucepan full of yummy popcorn.

Popcorn

We set the table up and filled the gorgeous carousel with sweets and cupcakes. 

V Family Games Night

At this point the kids had already abandoned their technology, even T had managed to pry himself away from his PS4 controller! We enjoyed coming up with slogans for the little hats and were clearly feeling rather optimistic. Can you guess who designed which hat?

V Family Games Night

The game we received in our box was Cluedo. I used to love playing Cluedo when I was younger but I have to admit to being a bit rusty on the rules. In my defence though, the game has changed a lot since my childhood version.

Cluedo

Although we have a range of ages in our family, everyone got involved. E was a little too young to fully understand the game but she enjoyed teaming up with me and being my mascot. She did a great job of looking after my cards. 

Cluedo

Z was hubby's mascot and spent the whole game asleep in his arms - luckily he was able to play one-handed.

V Family Games Night

This family time was filled with the kind of laughter, chat and, of course, obligatory trash-talk you can only get by putting your technology to one side. Thanks to The Entertainer for giving us the tools to make this possible and also for sending two chocolate winners medals so that even the losers could celebrate (hubby won and, yep, we split the rest of the chocolate between us)! 

V Family Games Night

There have already been discussions about the next V Family games night and I think a Cluedo rematch is definitely on the cards.

Do you have technology-free family time? What are your favourite games to play as a family? I'd love to hear from you.


This post was written in collaboration with The Entertainer.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Book Review - Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

THE BOOK

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows


Genre: Teens & YA
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: 26 January 2016

"Nicole Cassidy is a witch descended from the Greek gods... but she doesn't know it until she moves to a new town and discovers a dangerous world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole and four others -- including mysterious bad-boy Blake -- are gifted with elemental powers. But the comet has another effect -- it opens the portal to another dimension that has imprisoned the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes, it's up to Nicole and the others to follow a cryptic prophecy in time to save the town... and possibly the world."

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows is the first book in the Elementals series.

MY REVIEW

I was initially attracted to this book by the striking cover but it was the blurb that really piqued my interest and made me want to know more.

As I started reading I was a little unprepared for how quickly the storyline moved. Normally I appreciate a book with a fast pace but this felt too rushed for my liking. I was also unsure about the characters at this point, for me they just weren't connecting. Please don't let this put you off picking it up though because it's definitely a book that grows on you - the further I read, the more engrossed I became.

Nicole and her group of friends were taken on quite an adventure and there were times when I felt like I was there alongside them as they faced each challenge.

If you like Greek Mythology then Elementals is a series for you. In this first book I found it to be a fascinating part of the storyline and also loved how the author managed to incorporate witches into proceedings as well!

After a shaky beginning, this turned into an interesting read. A promising start to the series.

4 Stars
4 Stars
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Thank you to Barclay Publicity for approving my NetGalley request for this eBook in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Book Review - The Bucket List To Mend A Broken Heart by Anna Bell

THE BOOK

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication Date: 10 March 2016

"Abi's barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. 

When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. 

Will completing the action-packed list - no easy challenge for the naturally timid Abi - be the way to win back her man? Or might Abi just have a surprise in store...?"

MY REVIEW

It didn't take long to find myself absorbed in the storyline and giggling away at Abi's actions. The author had a humorous writing style which pulled me along easily and pleasantly.

The thread of romance running throughout was a little predictable but enjoyable all the same - it doesn't always matter if I know where a storyline is headed as long as I enjoy the journey!

Watching Abi grow in confidence was one of my favourite parts of this book, I love characters who push themselves and try to conquer their fears.

Being based in Portsmouth, which isn't too far from where we live, the storyline held a feeling of familiarity for me, particularly the Spinnaker Tower scenes. We have visited the tower a couple of times so I know exactly how tall it is - what Abi was planning on doing took some serious guts!

The ending left me with a big grin on my face, it was just what I had hoped for.

The Bucket List To Mend A Broken Heart was a lighthearted, refreshing read that was a pleasure to pick up.

4 Stars















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Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, 14 November 2016

My Top Five Baby Products - Up To Nine Weeks

By the time you get to your fourth child you've pretty much tried most of the baby products/fads. Over the years we've bought many things that we've either only used once or never used at all. Then there are the products that we couldn't live without, that have made life soooo much easier! 

We've used all of the following products during the first nine weeks of Z's life and they are must-haves in my opinion:

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine

This is the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine and has absolutely changed our bottle-making lives for the better. We first discovered this fantastic little machine when we had E back in 2014. We were amazed then and we're still amazed now. 

In just a few minutes it basically helps you make a fresh bottle of formula which is the perfect temperature for your baby. Gone are the days of waiting (with a screaming baby at your side) for half an hour or more while you try to make a bottle at just the right temperature.

We paid around £70 which is roughly the standard price depending on where you shop and what special offers are available. It's worth every penny in my opinion.


Chicco Next2Me Crib
Image sourced from www.chicco.co.uk 
This is the Chicco Next2Me side-sleeping crib and it's another product that has completely changed the way we take care of our newborn. 

I've always been one of those mums who gets very little sleep during the first months of their lives and not just because of the night feeds. I have to keep getting out of bed to check that they're breathing! I know there are products out there that can monitor their breathing for you but honestly it wouldn't be any good for me because I wouldn't trust it. I have to see their little chests moving up and down for myself. This is where the Next2Me crib is so useful - I don't have to get out of bed to check on her, I don't even have to sit up to make sure our lovely Z is breathing. I can simply open my eyes and see for myself that all is well. 

The main advantage of this product is that you can essentially share a bed with your baby without actually sharing a bed and therefore eliminating the risk of rolling onto baby. Another bonus for me is that I can fall asleep holding her hand, the best way to fall asleep I think.

We paid £165 which I believe is the standard price depending on where you shop. Another product that is fully worth the cost in my eyes.


Angelcare Nappy Bin

This is the Angelcare nappy bin. It is a must-have for us because our dustbins are situated right at the end of our garden so without it we would have to traipse down the garden after every nappy change or end up with a very stinky kitchen bin. 

We used a different type of nappy bin when we had E and I must say, although it kept the smell out of the room, I didn't like the way it worked. The twisting motion that was required felt too fussy for me. This one, however, is great. It's quick and simple to use, you simply open the lid and push the nappy through to the lower compartment. It keeps the nasty odours contained inside and holds a large amount of dirty nappies.

It only cost us £5 for the bin and around £12.99 for a pack of three cartridges. After 9 weeks of use we're still on the second cartridge.


NUK Bottles

For T, N and E we used Tommee Tippee bottles which were great but we always found it difficult when we first started using them on returning home from hospital. This is because the teats on the bottles they gave us in hospital were so different, they had a unique shape modelled on the shape of a mother's nipple during breastfeeding. They were NUK teats. 

This time I decided to make life easier by buying NUK bottles and I'm so glad I did. Z had no problem at all switching to these bottles and with their anti-colic air system she's had minimal wind issues. There are other options too, you can get glass bottles with latex teats and even character-themed bottles which have proved popular with my girls! 

We initially bought a starter pack for around £20 which included two 300ml bottles, two 150ml bottles and 2 NUK soothers. We've since bought extra bottles that have cost anything from £5 for a single character bottle to £16 for a pack of four plain ones.


Buggy Board

The Buggy Board is a product that is only useful if you already have a toddler. We had one for T when we had N and it was invaluable. The design has changed slightly and you can now get an attachable saddle so your toddler can sit down and rest their legs. We didn't get the saddle but we may consider it at a later date if we feel E needs it.

For me this is a lifesaver on the school run. For those days when we're running a bit behind because we're still getting used to having another baby to get ready. It means we can walk N to school quicker than if E was walking. We save the slow walk for the journey home, this is when E jumps off the board and can fulfil her splashing in puddles/kicking through leaves needs. While she's doing that I can hook the Buggy Board up on the attached strap so it's out of my way - a fab feature! 

It cost us £54. Once again the cost would probably depend on where you buy it.


I know how difficult it can be to choose baby products when there are so many available so if you have any questions about any of the above items, feel free to ask!






Thursday, 10 November 2016

Book Review - The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans

THE BOOK

Genre: Chick Lit
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 19 May 2016

"What magic is this?

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house.

They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder ... and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you've been waiting all your life to hear.

This house is Nina Parr's birthright. It holds the truth about her family - and a chance to put everything right at last."

MY REVIEW

Being a big fan of Harriet's books meant that I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one.

The first thing that intrigued me was Nina's relationship with her ex-husband. Why did they get divorced? Why were they still so close? Would they get back together? This was quickly followed by questions about her father and the woman in the red tights. Who was she? What was the truth about her father? I felt like there was a magical twist headed my way!

As the mystery slowly unravelled, I found myself coming up with all sorts of theories. A couple of which were not too far from the truth.

There was a lot of back-story and this was something I didn't enjoy reading as much as I normally would, my attention seemed to wander during those parts. The present day scenes were another matter though, they really held my interest.

The Butterfly Summer was not my favourite from this author but an enjoyable family mystery nonetheless.

Me, My Books and I 3 Stars
3 Stars















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Thank you to the publisher for sending me a proof copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Welcoming Our New Baby Girl

It's been a while since I last sat down at my computer to type up a blog post and I must admit that I've missed it. Last time I did this I was pregnant and to be honest quite miserable as I was suffering with pelvic girdle pain, a pain that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, not that I have any enemies mind you (not that I know of anyway) but you get my meaning.

New Baby Balloons

Well, it's all over now and our beautiful baby girl 'Z' is already eight weeks old! She's our third daughter (poor T is rather outnumbered now with three sisters) and weighed 7lb 11oz. 

She had to be born by c section as I had had three previous sections and although I always feel nervous about the op itself I wasn't any more anxious than usual even though I knew the risk of things going wrong increases with each c section you have.

Z's big entrance into the world went smoothly but as she was being dried and wrapped up in towels I heard the words "maternal bleeding" and after that things went downhill. I can only remember feeling nauseous and very very sleepy. 

It turns out I very nearly didn't make it.

After three long hours of drifting in and out of consciousness on the operating table, as my husband sat next to me cuddling Z and looking utterly bewildered, I was finally wheeled out of theatre and learned what had happened.

To cut a long story short, there was an extra piece of placenta which caused me to start bleeding out. The bleeding wasn't easy to get under control and I ended up losing over half the blood in my body. This meant I needed a blood transfusion and a Rusch balloon to help treat the bleeding. As a result of losing so much blood I felt incredibly weak and have been taking iron tablets since it happened.

You may remember that I was planning on being sterilised during the c section, this went ahead as planned and the doctor said that it was probably the only simple part of the procedure. She completely removed both of my tubes so there will be no chance of me going through any of that again, phew! 

I had my first cuddle with Z in HDU, after what had happened I felt incredibly thankful that I was able to do so. The alternative just didn't bear thinking about. 

Looking rough but very happy to be cuddling my beautiful baby girl.

It's been a slow recovery but I'm getting there. The pain from the c section itself was about the same as usual and although the sterilisation pain went on a little longer, it was manageable. The hardest part for me was the tiredness which has been far more intense than usual - an after-effect of the blood loss.

Z is an absolute delight, she has fitted in with our family beautifully. Each one of us have fallen completely in love with her, especially E who has taken to her role as big sister with joy. With her only being two years old we made sure she got lots of extra attention and, although she's had a few acting-up moments, on the whole she's been a superstar! 

I'm so looking forward to our future as a family of six, we have lots of exciting times ahead and I'm so grateful to all the medical staff who gave me the chance to be part of it all.