Nana’s Knickers – Review

Having been an avid book reader since I was a wee lass, I’m very pleased that T is taking after me with her love of books. With her starting school in September (eek) we have been getting into the habit of reading books each day before bed to try and get her used to it.

When we were contacted by Nico Russell on Twitter @BlueFluffBooks with a view to reviewing his self published book “Nana’s Knickers” of course we jumped at it!

The very first thing that jumped out at me was the illustrations by Charlie Meyer, A4 pages full of colour and details. Even on the fourth time round T was finding new little things (the little mouse was a particular favourite). The font was especially chosen to help young children who are learning letter shapes and the plain backgrounds were painted yellow so those with dyslexia could see the text more clearly.

The book takes the reader on an amusing adventure as Nana wakes up and can’t find her favourite pair of knickers.  The tables are turned as her grandchildren advise her to retrace her steps (how many times have we as parent’s said that!) until Nana finds her frilly knickers! The words have a wonderful lilt and rhyme to them.

Nico wrote the book due to his unceasing appetite of his niece and nephew for new stories.  The process took two years and despite receiving tremendous feedback from schools and children, he has entirely self funded the book as publishing houses were unwilling to take a risk on a new author, despite him being the youngest ever winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2012.

This makes me sad.  How many other wonderful books are out there unread because publishers don’t want to take a risk? What if an author doesn’t have the option to go self funded?

Nana’s Knickers can be ordered at Blue Fluff Books for £5.99 (plus p+p) or a signed copy for £6.50 (plus p+p) –





Review – Persil Cook with the Kids

As a busy family we are always on the look out for time saving hints and tips. Anything that makes my life easier is always welcome.  To that end Persil have launched a new harder working formula washing up liquid.  According to them it’s been “rigorously tested and scientifically proven so that for every bottle used, you can get an extra 1,400 plates sparkling clean. In the long run, not only will you be spending less money on washing-up, but thanks to the new proven, powerful and harder-working formula, you’ll also be spending less time. You’ve got enough on your plate to have to worry about cleaning plates, pot and pans. Put Persil to the test and the results will be sparkling.”

I was sent two bottles of the new formulation Persil washing up liquid with the task to get baking with T and not to worry about the mess.


Challenge accepted!  We signed up to the website watched the video downloaded the pack and off we went.

I received these just before Easter so of course our first baking session had to be Egg Nests. Now normally when we do these I only have to do a quick wash of all the cooking materials as lets face it, there isn’t going to be much melted chocolate left on anything. But in the interests of giving it a good test I left all the spoons and bowls with chocolate on.

The sacrifices I have to make………..

I decided to do white and milk chocolate to see if that made a difference (and because white chocolate cornflake cakes are to die for).

As I am ever so slightly lazy and melt the chocolate in the microwave, I had to wash the jug in between the chocolates.


I used one squeeze in the jug and hot water and gave it a wipe round with a cloth. As I would expect the chocolate came off easily and I didn’t need to put a lot of elbow grease in.

Normally I would be chasing after T with a cloth catching (eating) drips and smudges but this time I went with the flow.

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I also decided to leave the bowls a while to let the chocolate harden to see how easily it would clean (the only time this has ever happened.

A quick squeeze, some hot water and a light scrub and the bowls were clean.  As an aside the smell of the orange Persil and the chocolate together was yummy!

The download pack from Persil contains ten tips for cooking with kids, some fun recipes and activities for the kids. Worth a look at for new ideas. It also kept T occupied and saved me from the incessant “Can we eat them yet Mummy?”

On a slight tangent I begrudge paying silly money for dishwasher tablets and have been known to use Starburst in my dishwasher in the week running up to pay day when I have run out.  I thought I would give the Persil a try, one squeeze into the tablet compartment and the dishes were just as clean, if not more clean than the Starburst.  Another handy tip I’ve picked up there.  I don’t know if Persil advise to use it in dishwashers but I’m sticking with it. Just don’t do what a “friend” did and put an extra squirt in the bottom of the machine, apparently that then gives you a nice lot of bubbles over your kitchen floor.  So I’m told…….

*I was sent two bottles of Persil for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


App review – Brian Cox’s Wonder of Life

Disclaimer – I may have a slight crush on Brian Cox. I even have a signed copy of “Wonders of the Universe” that I won in a competition.  I have always been a big Star Trek, space, astronomy fan even when I was a kid. I was that 8 year old who wrote to Nasa to enquire about becoming an astronaut, (they replied and sent me a pack on the latest STS mission, I still have it..) My “chosen” Mastermind subject was at one time “Episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation” I could tell you the name of the episode from the first 60 seconds of dialogue.

So we are clear on what type of nerd I am yes?

When I saw the opportunity to review the Wonders of Life app from the said professor I was all over it. Here’s a quick video to explain

(The app is designed for iOS7 so if you don’t have that you will need to upgrade in order to get all the features.)

Brian Cox App2

Designed as a follow up to the Wonders of the Universe, this app has been made in conjunction with the BBC and will see the Prof lead you on a 3D tour of the Earth’s most disparate climates and creatures.

Brian Cox App3

The app offers over 30 beautifully crafted creatures and habitats to explore. There are also over 80 articles delving into the intricacies of the natural world and the laws which bind it. It also includes over 2 hours of HD footage from the series and 30+ locations.

So there’s the spiel, what about the app itself?

The app opens with an amazing video of the Earth in space (nerd coming out again)

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You can currently choose to delve into either North America, Africa, Australasia, Sensory, Microscopic or Elements Processes.

Each category has lots of different things inside to watch or read. It almost reminds me of Encarta (showing my age there) in that it’s very easy to start looking at one thing and then before you know it you’ve been sat there an hour with a very numb bottom and a cold cup of tea.

It’s a bit too advanced for my four year old but then I don’t think she is the target audience for this. It is however very easy to navigate around, (just pinch and zoom to grasp the magnitude of the Earth and our place within it) press the rocket symbol at the top of the screen and you’re back to the title menu and can choose something else. She does enjoy sitting with me and looking through it though, the videos and pictures are of exceptional quality and this is definately an app that we can use as she grows and learns.

The app costs £4.99 which is a little on the expensive side but with updates I can see this being an app that is never deleted off my homepage. The app along with it’s predecessor Wonders of the Universe can be found in the iTunes Store.

*I was sent a code to download this app for review purposes but all opinions are my own*





Review – Mia Tui Bags

I was recently sent an Ella bag from Mia Tui to try out.


About Mia Tui – Charlotte started Mia Tui in 2010 after searching for years to find the perfect bag.  Mia Tui bags are designed for all women and can be used for many occasions, whether you are a mother using it as a changing bag, a working woman or off on holiday. Charlotte first designed the Amelie as a travel bag, needing to fit everything she needed and allow her to find things quickly but also fit under the seat in front of her.

With a range of 9 different bags their is something to match every occasion.

From their website

The Ella is a shoulder hobo bag featuring contrast stitching and zip closure, perfect as a work bag, baby changing bag, or stylish medium sized handbag

As with all our bags, Ella is waterproof inside and out and comes in a range of colours.

You’ll find our unique interior with multiple pockets, zips, clips and extra bags, means you never have to dig for a missing key or lipstick again. And you’ll fit everything you need in one bag to stay looking stylish.

Ella is made in ultra soft faux-leather.

Included with the Ella:

    • 1 Clear internal bag with hand strap
    • 1 Matching Clutchbag with hand strap
    • 2 Water bottle holders
    • Key clip
    • Phone pocket
    • Pen holder
    • Hands free shoulder strap
    • Pink Interior


    W40cm, D16cm, H32cm


    Outer Ultra Soft Faux Leather

    Interior PU coated Nylon – Pink

As a WOHM (Work Out of Home Mum) this bag is ideal. I don’t have the nickname Mary Poppins for nothing, and lets not mention how many changing bags I have gone through in three years…..

The two inside pockets are roomy and deep, no chance of items falling out and also big enough to hold the two extra bags you get.  The clear PVC bag (airline compliant for carry on liquids) is ideal for holding toiletries for you or a spare change of clothes for your child. The matching clutch bag is great for keys, money and small essentials for you, or to give to your child to hold their toys and crayons in. I also love the holdall it comes packaged in, another bonus bag. This will come in handy for picnics or seaside visits.


A typical work day bag

The water bottle holders are big enough to hold bottles and umbrellas. I especially like that there are two, one for your child’s drink and one for yours (it even fits a bottle of wine, no I have not tested that out yet)!

I personally haven’t used the phone pocket as I prefer to carry mine in my coat but have been using it for deodorant and lipsticks! The key clip is elasticated enough that I have even managed to use my keys to open the door without unclipping!

I have been using the detachable shoulder strap more as I like to have hands free and even with the mountain of items I carry for work or with Toddler I have found it comfortable and easy to use.

Mia Tui are also supporting the Lullaby Trust and donating 10% of their sales of the “Matilda Mae” bag to the charity

I have used this bag non stop for the last few weeks and there still isn’t a mark on it. On a work day mine has my Kindle and Filofax in along with the usual make up bag, purse paraphernalia and still has room to spare. On a weekend day, even with bottles and clothes and the teddy I end up carrying it doesn’t feel “stuffed”.

I have my eye on a couple more bags (I mentioned the bag habit above didn’t I) and definitely think these are worth the investment.

*I was sent the Ella Bag in Chocolate for review however all opinions are my own and have not been influenced at all*

**Update – Mia Tui have kindly offered readers and members of Mumsnet Peterborough a 15% discount code – enter Mumsnet15 to take advantage**


Treasure from Trash Exhibition

On Friday 31st January I was invited to a viewing of the new Treasure from Trash exhibition at Peterborough Museum.

The press release states:

Rethink the way you recycle at Peterborough Museum’s Treasure From Trash exhibition, which runs from 1 February to 27 April 2014. This captivating and accessible exhibition will intrigue anyone who has ever thrown anything away.

Treasure From Trash is an innovative new exhibition at Peterborough Museum which actively demonstrates and encourages reusing and up-cycling waste products, transforming them into useful artefacts and works of art.

You’ll be amazed at what can be made from rubbish – jewellery from old flip-flops, toy cars and animals from metal cans, and even a 3D chicken from plastic bags! This exhibition will appeal to families, be thought-provoking for school and college students and inspirational for makers, artists and designers.

Treasure from Trash has been curated by knowtrash – Ruth Thomson, children’s author and educator, and Neil Thomson, film editor and photographer. Their unique collection of nearly 4,000 upcycled artefacts has been sourced from makers and markets in more than 35 countries around the world. Treasure from Trash originated in partnership with the Eden Project in Cornwall and will be touring the UK in 2014 and beyond.

Back on our own doorstep, the exhibition also looks at the work of Peterborough’s waste management team and Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) to see what happens to our city’s waste and how we can recycle more. Plus, don’t miss the exhibition’s supporting series of creative workshops and events for adults and children.

Entry to this exhibition is FREE (except on special event days), so drop in at any time. For more information, call Peterborough Museum on 01733 864 663, email or visit

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Some of the pieces shown were truly remarkable, my particular favourite was the baseball cap made from Coca-Cola cans.  There was a short speech from the curators Ruth and Neil and then we were free to wander around.

From items such as waste bins made from cans to necklaces made of rolled up newspapers, pencil cases made from carrier bags to intricate children’s toys made of nuts and bolts, it really does change the way you look at your trash!

*I was invited to this event but all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way*

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