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Bellapulse facial care system

I was impressed when I first opened my package from Bellapulse.  I was only expecting a tube of eye cream, but also received the bellapulse facial care system complete with cleansers, moisturiser, and one of those vibrating face brushes. After my first few days of using the bellapulse system, my face had a purge.  Lots […] more

toytainer ice cream truck

ToyTainer

As usual, the kids got way too many presents from everyone, which means we had to cull lots of their old toys to make room.  And luckily for me, ToyTainer sent me a bunch of their products just before Christmas, which means extra storage places for all those Christmas toys. The princess castle (picture above) is a […] more

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Arbonne skincare

I’m always kind of scared to try to different skincare products.  My face is prone to breakouts and some skincare lines send my skin straight into eruption mode.  But at the same time, I’m excited to try different products because there is always the chance that they are amazing and take me away to clear […] more

oil moisturiser

Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil

Pros: -Made from natural, organic ingredients -Leaves face moisturised and fresh, but not oily -Feels fantastic on your skin -Made in Australia -Face is not shiny even at the end of the day -Lasts ages as only 2-3 drops are needed -Inexpensive (when you consider price per application) Cons: -Hard to distribute 2-3 drops evenly on […] more

Yummi Pouch

“If someone made reusable squeezie yogurt containers, they’d be rich.” I told Aaron one day.  Seriously.  Every time we go to the shops, my kids want squeezie yogurt.  They won’t eat yogurt at all unless it’s out of a squeezie pack.  Unfortunately, the squeezie packs are more expensive, and contain more sugar than I’d like them to.

The very next day, I got an email wanting to know if I’d review a Yummi Pouch.  Yes, someone actually did come up with a reusable squeezie yogurt pouch.  Or pureed fruit pouch.  Or baby food.  Or whatever you want to stick in there that is small enough to come out of the hole.  Ingenious.

Oh yes, reusable squeezie pouches

Oh yes, reusable squeezie pouches. Not sure why my screen shot includes a big square, but oh well.

As if I was going to say no.  A reusable pouch meant that I could make my own yogurt, sans all the sugar, and stick that in the pouch for the kids.

I made the yogurt in my $12 yogurt maker from Aldi, and then set about sticking the yogurt into the pouch.  Humph. That part was actually quite tricky.  I got a small spoon, and spoon ful by messy spoon ful, filled the pouch with the yogurt.  It would have been much easier with the special pouring into pouch jug they sell on their website.

See the pouring thing? Would have been very helpful.

See the pouring thing? Would have been very helpful.

The kids enjoyed slurping from their Yummi Pouches, and ate all of the home made yogurt within them.

The next time didn’t go so well.  ”I don’t like this yogurt Mommy.” Hannah told me.  Sigh. It wasn’t so much a reflection on the Yummi Pouch, but my home made yogurt.  Sigh. That’s what I get for trying to feed her greek yogurt instead of fruity yogurt.  Next time I will add some pureed fruit so it passes the taste test of a 3 year old.

I used to buy those squeezie packs of baby food to take when we went out anywhere when Daniel was little.  But again, they were comparatively expensive (just very convenient ). Yummi Pouches would have been great for when Daniel was a baby.

PROS:

-Reusable
-BPA and phthalate free
-Convenient
-Dishwasher safe
-Easy to clean by hand (with a bottle brush to get in the tip)
-Inexpensive
-Easy for kids to use

CONS:

-Hard to fill without the special filling funnel pitcher

Reverse Charades

love board games.  I’m not exactly sure how many Aaron and I have, but it’s over 100.  Maybe 150.  Point is, it’s a lot.  We don’t often get time to play them these days, with a rambunctious little toddler who thinks game pieces look mighty tasty and their boards look like a dance floor, and a preschooler who likes to play with all of the game pieces, but not very carefully, and not all in one spot at one time.

I was over the moon when I was offered a free copy of Reverse Charades to review.  Aaron, on the other hand, was not looking forward to playing it.  He is an introvert by nature and charades is just not his thing.  He didn’t think our usual gaming group would be into it either.

But he was wrong.  Very wrong.  Everyone was giggling from the very first round.  Initially, we were only going to play one game, just so I could review it.  We ended up playing 3 games.

Reverse Charades is like regular charades, except only one person is guessing, and the rest of the team are acting.  In our case, we played with the minimum of six players, boys vs. girls. The players who are acting out the clues are encouraged to use each other as props, which looks hilarious and makes everyone roar with laughter.

At one point, my friend and I had to act out “honeymoon.”  We stood there acting out a quick wedding ceremony, followed by running around like airplanes.  Our team mate still hadn’t guessed the word, so we lowered ourselves to air humping each other whilst pointing at our wedding rings. The boys team were nearly wetting themselves from laughing so hard.

You have until the sand timer runs out to act out and guess as many clues as you can, with a point awarded for each one you get right. Then the next team has their go, and so on, until a team gets to a predetermined amount of points.

It’s seriously fun.  And hilarious to watch.

There are a few little problems though:  I’m not sure if it was just the sand timer in my particular box or Reverse Charades, or if it’s a flaw in all of them, but one side of the timer was actually longer than the other. When we turned it over to let the sand run from the long side to the short side, the sand would get stuck near the end and stop flowing.  We could get all of the sand into the short side, but only by banging it on the table.  After a couple rounds, we found it much easier to just use the timer on someone’s iPhone.

The cards look the same on both sides, so when we passed the card box around, we often pulled out the same card the other team had just put in.  It would be nice if the box was labelled “this side” and “that side,” or “front” and “back,” with the cards being a different colour on each side.

There is no score card, or paper to use to keep score.  We had to scrounge around for some scrap paper to keep score on.  A little square of dry erase cardboard and a dry erase pen in the box would come in mighty handy.

The main problem we had though, were the USA specific cards.  My team had “Grand Slam.”  Whilst I was pretending to be a baseball player, my team mate was trying to convey winning lots of different tennis matches.  No one in our group apart from me, the American, knew what a Grand Slam in baseball was.  We pulled out another card that said “Rosebowl,” and again, everyone but me had blank stares.  Maybe there could be an international version without all of the cards that only Americans would actually know what are.

Later, my husband found Reverse Charades for the iPhone.  It does all the timing for you, keeps score, tells you whose turn it is, and so on.  It’s not a shortened version, or a different version of the game, it’s the same, only easier because it doesn’t all the fiddly bits for you.  You can even add more “cards” to your iPhone deck through the app store.  I would definitely recommend the phone version rather than the box version.

PROS:

-Fun with any sort of group.  Unless they have zero sense of humour.
-You can make the game long or short depending on how many points you play to.
-Comes with a large deck of double sided cards so you won’t be doing the same ones over again for a long time.
-Can get it on your iPhone or Android phone
-There is no maximum player amount, so you can play in a large group

CONS:

-Timer doesn’t work properly
-Cards are the same colour and pattern on both sides and box doesn’t differentiate between sides either.
-Some cards are USA specific.
-Doesn’t come with anything to take score.

 

 

Wonder Winnie

I was excited to try the new Wonder Winnie thirst quenching drinks.  I am all for food/drink products that don’t contain bucket loads of sugar, and aren’t sweetened with carcinogenic artificial sweeteners. I am also a fan of stevia,  which has been used as a natural sweetener for decades in Japan, and centuries in other countries, according to Wikipedia.  Stevia leaves are 30-45 times sweeter than ordinary sugar, extracts around 300 times sweeter, and it has the added bonus of hardly affecting blood sugar and not containing many calories.

I use liquid stevia concentrate to sweeten healthy cookies and muffins and things that I make for the kids, so I’m quite familiar with it.  Wonder Winnie drinks are sweetened not with sugar, or artificial sweeteners, but with stevia.  They come in 5 different flavours, each “enhanced with the added bonus of Aloe Vera, Gingko Biloba,Echinacea, Rosehip, and Guarana.”

After doing some research, I found that aloe vera can actually be toxic, and there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims that it is healthy for the digestive system.

Gingko biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for ages.  Some studies have shown that it can improve blood flow, protect against free radicals, and slow the effects of Alzheimer’s. Other studies are contradictory.  People who are taking anticoagulants, certain types of antidepressants, and pregnant women should not take biloba.  Some people experience side effects after consuming gingko biloba, including gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, and restlessness (Wikipedia, side effects), yet there was no warning at all on the label.

Echinacea supposedly boosts immunity and shortens the length of colds, but once again, different studies proved contradictory.  Echinacea should also not be used for more than 10 days in a row, and should never be taken by anyone younger than 1, and is not recommended for children between 1 and 12. Again, nothing on the label states this.

Rosehips are very high in vitamin C lycopene (an antioxidant), and has anti-inflammatory effects.

Guarana is a plant, whose seeds contain about twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans.  It increases memory, mood, and alertness.  According to Wikipedia, “Guarana extract reduced aggregation of rabbit platelets by up to 37 percent below control values and decreased platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid by 78 percent below control values. It is not known if such platelet action has any effect on the risk of heart attack or ischemic stroke.” Delightful. Guarana is definitely something that kids shouldn’t be having, nor pregnant women, but again, no warning on the label.

All of the info I’ve found regarding these “added bonuses” is quite alarming. Since there are no warnings on the labels, it begs the question, is the 0.1% (the amount put in the drinks) such a small percentage that it’s not even remotely worth worrying about and therefore just added to the label because people in general think it’s good for them, or are they trying to hide the fact that it can actually be harmful?

I tried the drinks before doing any of this research, and therefore had no bias against them. I thought they’d be delicious. Boy was I wrong. I had my first taste when they first came in the mail. It was a hot day and I wanted something to quench my thirst. I nearly choked on how foul the Cranberry, Apple & Lemon Wonder Winnie tasted. It was extremely bitter, with a very strong liquorice like after taste, something stevia is known for at high concentrations.

I thought maybe they’d taste better cold, so I put them all in the fridge and waited. A cold sip proved much better, though still very bitter and still with the aftertaste that lingered for ages. I couldn’t drink the whole bottle, and only managed a couple of sips.  Same story with the rest of the flavours. I just couldn’t bring myself to have more than a couple sips of each one. I didn’t find them pleasant at all.

I’m not really a soft drink (pop/fizzy drink/whatever you call it) consumer though. I drink water, a bit of milk, and occasionally home made iced tea. So maybe I’m not the best judge of flavoured beverages.  I don’t particularly like most flavoured beverages. I really don’t like bitter drinks, like coffee and wine, so maybe those people who do enjoy bitter things would like these drinks.  If you are a person who consumes lots of fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise, the raspberry & cranberry with rosehip flavour (because rosehip doesn’t have any adverse effects) would probably be a good substitute for you.  The aftertaste is something you could get used to, and it’s much better for you than sugar laden or artificially sweetened drinks.

PROS:

-Sweetened with stevia
-Don’t need to be refrigerated until opened (except for the taste, but they won’t go bad if you store them in the cupboard before opening)
-5 different flavours
-Low calorie/Kj
-Bottled in Australia

CONS:

-Questionable “added bonus” substances
-Horrible after taste
-Bitter
-No warning labels for Guarana, Echinacea, and Gingko Biloba

I sent this post to the PR people who sent it to the brand for comment. This is what they had to say:

Firstly, thank you for your feedback regarding the Wonder Winnie range. While you didn’t enjoy the products, we do value all feedback and will take this onboard when reviewing this range.

 

With regard to your feedback on the addition of Aloe Vera, Ginko Biloba, Echinacea, Rosehip & Guarana – we have used these botanicals as a flavouring only, which is why the content is low and is also why we do not reference these as providing a nutritional or health benefit. The botanical ingredients at the low levels we have used, are safe for use in a range of foods and beverages, including non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy, milk products, snack foods, imitation dairy products, chewing gum, instant tea and coffee and soups.

With regard to labelling regulations, all of our products undergo a legal review process to ensure we meet very strict guidelines. We can assure you that all necessary claims relating to the products are made on the packaging.

We have looked into your comments about including warning notes on each label listing the possible adverse side effects of these herbal extracts, and advise that this is not a requirement given the low level of the extracts used in each serve.

The Wonder Winnie products were launched to offer consumers a low calorie, naturally sweetened beverage – as the market is swamped with artificial ingredients, preservatives and additives.

Thank you again for your feedback, we will definitely take on board your comments regarding the stevia flavour being too strong.

If you have any further questions about the range or regarding our labelling i would be happy to hear from you.

It Works

I had to try one of these wraps. I saw lots of posts on Facebook about them by Brooke (we went to high school together, just FYI…), but hadn’t heard of them before that.

She sent me one ages ago, but you’re not supposed to use them when breastfeeding, so it just sat there, waiting. Sigh.

I know, Daniel has been weaned for a few weeks now, but I also wanted to wait until I had a kid free 45 minutes so I didn’t have anyone wanting to be picked up, messing up the wrap, or worse, pulling on it in delight. You know how cheeky my kids are!

I opened the packet and unfolded the wrap, applying the lotion side on my stomach. The skin on my stomach has been stretched to the limit twice now, then shrunk back to size. Unfortunately, it has that stretched-then-shrunk look to it as well. Sigh. Especially around my belly button. My measurements before the wrap were: 26 inches (66.04cm) around the smallest part of my waist, and 28″ (71.12 cm) around my waist at belly button height.

Wrap is on, with cling wrap over it to keep it in place

It felt quite cold. I thought it was just because that’s how lotion always is when you first put it on (unless it’s hot outside of course). But it stayed cold the whole time. At least it felt cold. And tingly. It was nice. I felt like I was getting some sort of swish spa body treatment done. Except that I was doing the dishes while wearing the wrap. Gotta multi task when you have 2 kids! It would have been much nicer to sit on the couch and watch a cheesy chick flick while I waited the 45 minutes. Or maybe laying down and reading a book. Oh well.

When I took the wrap off, I rubbed the excess lotion into my skin, took some photos and measured myself again. I wasn’t actually expecting to lose anything. 26 inches around the smallest part of my waist. 27.5 inches around my belly button (69.85 cm). What?! I’m not complaining though.

My skin felt really smooth and soft and lovely. Less stretched looking? I’m not sure.

Over the next 3 days, I continued to measure and take photos. My measurements went back to what they were before wrapping. Until today, 72 hours after wrapping. Now, the smallest part of my waist is 25.5 inches, and around my belly button is 27.5. My stomach feels less poochy at the bottom, and I feel less bloated. The skin around my belly button is still saggy/stretched looking, but the skin below my belly button feels firmer.

Progressive shots. Not sure what happened to my day 2 photos. I think the camera ate them. Sigh.

Progressive, from the side. If you’re wondering about that scar on my hip, it’s where they took a chunk of bone to stick in my leg. But that’s another story for another day. No, I’m not trying to make the scar less obvious with the wrap, I like my scar.

Over all, I really liked the wrap experience. I think with regular wrapping my belly button skin would probably improve a lot.

If you would like to buy your own wraps, supplements, etc. or have a wrap party (you can even have online wrap parties!), contact Brooke. She can ship the wraps to you anywhere in the world:

Brooke’s It Works website

Phone number (USA) 425-328-7627. We offer a Loyal Customer program where Loyals get products at wholesale cost (they pay what I pay), saving 20-50% on their orders. Only 3 monthly orders is required for the first 3 months, after that they can order when they want and get the Loyal Customer price for life. There is no minimum purchase amount, and the Loyal Customer can change what is sent to them each month so they don’t always have to get the same thing. They start saving on their very first order.

Halftee

I love summer. Well, I love those days that aren’t a stinking hot 45 degrees (113f). I love wearing skirts and summer dresses and tank tops and sunglasses.

Unfortunately most of my summer dresses so low cut that if I’m not extremely careful, my nipple will hang out. Now I’m sorry, but that’s a bit too low cut for my liking. And any sort of bending over allows the entire world to peer down my top and see both of my boobs. Nipple and all. Sigh.

I used to wear a bikini top under my summer dresses, because believe it or not, those tiny bikini tops cover more of my boobs than the dresses do. Ridiculous, I know. But bikini tops look a bit silly when you’re over an hour away from the beach. I used to live a lot closer to the beach, so it wasn’t that weird.

Bikini top under dress. Still doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but at least my nipples were covered. Of course this was back when I actually had boobs (before 2 babies breastfed for a year each, sucking the life out of my poor chest) and was much younger and could get away with wearing such things.

Last year I bought these bandeau top things to wear over my bra and under dresses and low shirts to cover my cleavage. Seemed like a good idea. And it was. For about 5 minutes. Then the bandeau top starts to slide down and my cleavage shows anyway. Sigh.

Lucky for me, I was asked if I wanted to review a halftee. A halftee? What is that? 

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Half of a t-shirt. The top half. Not a baggy horrible one, a nice fitted one.

basic halftee

They also come in tank top style, 3/4 sleeves, just above the elbow sleeves, and in different colours. Brilliant.

 

The Halftee under a very low cut top. I would rather the world not see my boobs (lack there of)….

I thought maybe the bottom would ride up and start going over my bra, but it didn’t. It stays put. It’s super comfortable, and you can wear it backwards if you want it to come even higher on your chest. How clever is that? Apart from doing it’s job exactly as described, my absolute favourite part about the halftee is that there is no horrible, itchy tag, just a little logo printed on the inside of the shirt.

PROS:

-Lightweight
-Doesn’t ride up
-No uncomfortable tag
-Can wear the back as the front
-Comes in 7 different colours
-Comes in 4 different sleeve cuts
-Reasonably priced
-Website has a measurement guide so you order the correct size
-Ships worldwide

CONS:

-Needs to be ironed after washing. What, I hate ironing!

You can purchase your own halftees here. You can also purchase halftees from selected stores in the U.S. and Canada. Click here for the list of locations.

USE THE CODE mommyadventures10 FOR 10% OFF!!!!!! (code valid for 45 days from the date of this post)

Magnabilities – magnetic necklace

I’m just starting to wear jewellery again. I haven’t been able to in a long while due to Daniel pulling on it, and/or trying to eat it. Sigh. Before I had kids I always wore jewellery. I had 3 earring holes in each ear. My 3rd holes have now closed, as well as one of my second holes. The first holes? They’ll never close. I got them when I was two.

I wore necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Every. Single. Day. Now I’m lucky if I leave the house wearing make up. But, as I said, I’ve just started to wear the occasional necklace. So, I said yes to reviewing a very interesting and different type of necklace. This isn’t your run of the mill necklace. It’s unique. It’s innovative. It’s different. It was definitely something I wanted to try out.

It’s Magnabilities. 

First you pick your base necklace, then your pendant, then whatever circular inserts you want. The pendant is magnetic, and so are the inserts. Basically, it’s a necklace that can look different every day, depending on which insert you stick in it. Brilliant. Necklaces in general are expensive, so I’m all for a necklace that you can inexpensively change into a completely different looking necklace. The inserts are only $5USD for the standard ones, and the premium $13.95.

I was very excited when I opened up my Magnabilities package. The pendant they sent me had diamontes. I’m all about sparkle (seriously, you should see my shoes. Not that you can through all the sequins.) See that blank space in the middle of the pendant? That’s where you stick (magnetically) the insert.

Glam pendant

I told them I really like pink and purple, so they also sent me an assortment of beautiful/interesting/awesome pink and purple inserts.

One of my purple inserts. Oh yes, it has butterflies AND stars. Awesome.

It was so much fun holding up all of the inserts next to the shirt I was wearing to find which one looked the best, which one I’d wear that day.

Me wearing my Magnabilities necklace

I love these necklaces, they are so fun, and so different to any necklace I’ve ever had or even seen. Seriously, I think the necklaces are so awesome, I’m going to buy one for my sister in law for her birthday. I hope she’s not reading this….

PROS:

-Unique
-Good quality
-Stylish
-Wide variety of inserts
-Inexpensive
-Fun
-Inserts stay in the pendants, they never just fall out
-Tween range available
-Ships internationally (and it’s only $4.95 for U.S. shipping, and $10 for international shipping!)
-Inserts come in a pretty little drawstring bag (you can keep them in it so they don’t get lost)

CONS:

-Inserts can be a choking hazard for small children (little determined hands can get the inserts out of the necklaces)
-There are so many different inserts, it’s hard to actually look at them all on the website
- I can’t think of any other cons!

On another note, it would be awesome if they made a range for the 3 years and over girls. Hannah loves my necklace, and wants to wear and change the inserts. How good would it be if she had a suitable necklace of her own with fun cartoon inserts (or something like that)?!

To buy your own Magnability necklace, bracelet, ring, or earrings, anywhere in the world, click here.

Or, you could enter to win a $100 voucher (which is enough buy you a necklace, pendant, and plenty of inserts) to spend on whatever you want at Magnability. Entries are open to people anywhere in the world!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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