Friday, 30 November 2018

Prize Unboxing November 2018

A relatively quiet month as far as unboxing goes, but I did also win a pair of tickets to watch Ruby Wax in a couple of weeks time, along with a download code for a videogame. I've definitely had worse months!

Here's the video...

Be lucky!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The #MyAquaphor Challenge

Winter is coming, and the prospect isn’t pleasing. It’s the time of year when the fuel bills rocket while the house sags under the weight of laundry drying indoors. The children are marching school germs and slimy footprints everywhere and the bathroom is arctic when you go for a midnight wee. And as if that wasn’t enough, my hands are cracking apart. But not just my hands - my kids’ hands too. All that beautiful baby-soft skin, unworn by a lifetime of gardening, sunburn and air-conditioning, is on the fast train to calamity.

Everything today's schoolkid needs

They don’t help themselves, of course. It’s bad enough that they don’t dry properly after hand-washing, but then they leave their gloves on the table when they go out to play in the cold and damp. At least mine aren’t warming their hands on the radiators, but it’s only a matter of time.

Such dermatological abuse means one thing: a house full of dry, cracked and irritated skin.

Moisturiser alone is not enough: if the skin can’t retain the moisture, it’s still going to dry out. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me a long time to work this out, but at least I now know that once the clocks go back, it’s time to dig out the water-free balm.

As you can imagine then, when Netmums asked if I’d like to try Eucerin’s Aquaphor soothing skin balm, I bit their (soft, smooth) hand clean off.

For the uninitiated, Aquaphor’s water-free formula was introduced more than 90 years ago, making it a tried and tested classic. It has only seven ingredients, thus minimising the likelihood of allergy. Of those ingredients, perhaps the most important is glycerin, which is proven to improve skin regeneration and improve the skin’s natural barrier function. Once applied, the semi-permeable barrier that it provides can regulate the natural rate of water vapor loss and help the skin to retain the moisture it needs.

Well, that’s the science. In layman’s terms, it’s a waxy affair that the skin needs a few minutes to absorb, so if you need to finger your fancy curtains, be sure to do so BEFOREHAND!

I applied some about an hour ago, and while I’m now completely touch dry, I can still really feel the layer of protection on the tips of my fingers. I can imagine Nordic fishermen smearing this round their chops before a long December day in the North Sea - it really is that good.

The other great thing about Aquaphor is that it is totally versatile. If I’m going away for a weekend, I can leave my lip balm at home, meaning I’ve one less thing to forget. It’s also useful for skin prone to rubbing and blisters or other skin damage due to frequent exercise, as well as chafing and sensitive baby skin - and way more besides.

But why take my word for it? After all, I’m no skincare expert and I’ve been given a free tube - perhaps I’m biased. I asked my son to provide an independent review, and here’s what he had to say.

Could you ask for a better recommendation than that?!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin.
Discover the benefits of Eucerin

Friday, 9 November 2018


I won watches. Fancy watches. His & Hers fancy watches. They’re made by Mr Jones Watches, and they’re utterly bonkers.

Hand-made in London with a self-winding mechanism, on the face of it, there’s nothing half-cocked about these timepieces - unless you’re looking for some kind of instrument with which to measure the passage of time with any degree of accuracy.

It’s worth noting that the last time I had to consult the instructions for a wristwatch I was six. In that respect, this win has given me an exquisitely novel way to relive my childhood that doesn’t entail wrestling with the hourly chime on a plastic Casio.

While it’s not the first time someone has designed a wristwatch with neither numbers nor hands, this has to be one of the most bonkersest designs yet. It’s like someone copped a snook at the entire history of timekeeping and thought, nah - I’ve got a much better idea.

I’m going to level with you here: it’s not a practical solution. If you’re the type of person who keeps time through quick, furtive glances at their watch, then you’d hate these.

On the other hand, if you want a wrist ornament that demands contemplation before it yields the vaguest insight into matters horological, then this is the stuff of dreams.

I love them!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Touching base...

It's been a little quiet on here for the last few days - that's because I had the absolute honour of appearing on Di Coke's SuperLucky blog. In all the excitement, I've quite neglected my chores, so I'll have to lay off the typing for a few days. In the meantime, if you'd like to see my best Blofield impression, do pop over to Di's most recent Meet the Compers post!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Prize unboxing - October 2018

It's a fairly digestible video this month, although I should apologise for the muck on the camera lens that's making the focus go all screwy. Also, I assure you that the soap doesn't smell of Wickes.

Be Lucky!

Monday, 15 October 2018

The #ACEforSchool Challenge

The bottom of the laundry basket is, for most parents, the promised land. We know that - technically - it has to exist. That’s just elementary physics. Its glory, however, is not for us to behold.

Personally, I’m fine with this: given the volcanic urgency with which my basket spews soiled clothing, the precambrian linen at its lowermost stratum is best left to the experts.

The ever-spewing laundry basket
It never stops...
What I can say, however, is that I spend an awful lot of time dealing with laundry - mostly other people’s. As a result, I see things - things I can’t fathom, and things I can’t unsee.

This doesn’t make me special. There isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t marvelled at how creatively filthy their offspring can get themselves, even during the most benign of tasks.

The most obvious danger zone is of course the dinner table. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve drilled your child in table manners before they start reception; within one week of school they’re kneeling on the table and eating soup with their fingers. If you've ever stepped foot in a school dining hall, you'll understand exactly why your children never fail to come home looking like Jackson Pollock’s compost bin.

Then of course there’s the art lessons. Not to boast or anything, but my kids really know how to put the pain into painting. For years, my eldest refused to entertain the idea of whitespace, and instead approached the canvas as a drunken ship dabber might a barge. At night. Without glasses. So well did he gloop up the sugar paper that it was still wet when it came out the kiln. Against such robust artistic expression, aprons and old shirts provide little protection.

As for the genius who had the bright idea to give marker pens to infants in white shirts, if you’re reading this, we need to talk.

I’d go on, but the number of ways kids can filth themselves up grows by the day. This is a fact universally acknowledged, of course, not just by parents but thankfully also detergent manufacturers.

ACE laundry products

Indeed, it was with this in mind that the kind folks at ACE recently asked a whole bunch of parents to road-test their wares, specifically their ACE Stain Remover spray and ACE for Colours gentle stain remover liquid, to demonstrate how well they tackle stains and grease and keep colours bright and fresh.

I’ve got to level with you here: in the two weeks between receiving my ACE products and publishing this post, my offspring - despite their perpetual grime - somehow managed to stain nothing so badly that it needed pretreatment, so I can’t yet comment on the efficacy of the stain remover spray. However, in case you’re unable to read between the lines here, that translates to a vote of confidence for the stain remover liquid - I’ve successfully purged their uniforms of multiple varieties of food grease, as well as chocolate cake, tomato sauce and glue, not to mention various other stains of unknown origin.

The Eight Deadly Stains that ACE promises to sort
This is great because when my lads eat in their shirt sleeves, I invariably end up tackling the tomato sauce stains with a combination of washing powder and sun-bleaching. That’s fine in June, but at this time of year, not so good.

I've also dealt effectively with more bed-wetting than I care to recall and spruced up some shorts I found that were still coated with ground-in muck from several months back.

What's also great is that ACE promises to look after my colours - something that's really important when both my children are wearing dark trousers and navy sweaters on a daily basis.

All I need now is something that will stop my eldest son from insisting on three outfit changes per day. If ACE can do something about this, then the laundry really will be the least of my worries!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEforSchool Challenge, sponsored by ACE. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper. or to buy head to your local Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Prize Unboxing September 2018

It's a personal best - the epickest unboxing video yet! Which is to say, epic in the sense of longest, as I've just broken the 15 minute barrier - you have been warned!

The unprecedented scale caused YouTube to blow a gasket, which explains the unusual thumbnail, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Be lucky!