Valentines Day Gifts For Eco-Savvy Couples

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Valentines Day is just 1 week away. This doesn’t give us much time left to (panic) buy a present for our loved ones. The world is changing fast, more and more people are starting to understand the importance of looking after our green and pleasant earth and love all of the living creatures (including plants!) which reside on it. Buying a vegan some milk chocolate is out of the question and getting an eco-warrior a chemical ridden bath bomb is too. Gulp.

But don’t panic. I have it covered. So if you’re worrying what to buy your hard-core veggie hippy partner this Valentines Day, let me put a few ideas into your head.

Tropic Lipsticks : Kiss-proof colour*

I am loving Tropic Lipsticks! The vegan and cruelty free brand tick all of the boxes when it comes to creating a pretty, great looking lipstick that doesn’t carry any extra guilt. It has a wallet friendly price tag too.

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I found that Tropic’s Colour Click Lipsticks went on super smooth and apply easily. The lipstick doesn’t dry out your lips, leaving them feeling moisturised for hours at a time. The lipstick colours are so nourishing because they are made from conditioning camellia, jojoba, avocado and argan oils. I had to top up my colour after 3 hours, but this was after I had been out for a meal and was drinking too. With 7 colours to choose from, there is plenty of day and night colour choices to be made.

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The lipstick is cleverly encased. Instead of just pulling your lipstick from it’s case, Tropic’s Colour Click Lipsticks have to be clicked in and out of their packaging. Easy to do one handed and it reduced the risk of your lipstick lid popping off in your bag, covering everything in greasy colour. It also stumped my curios 22 month old. HAHA! SAVED!

The Tropic Colour Click Lipsticks are available from the Tropic online store here. The lipsticks are just £14 and are available in 7 different colours to suit any occasion.

 

Meantime Brews*

It’s nice to share a tasty treat on Valentines Day and if you are planning on cooking a special candlelit dinner at home, why not polish off the meal with a special drink? Step away from the supermarket wines and try something new with Meantime Brews.

Meantime chocolate porter yakumi red

I am a huge lover of chocolate. Obviously. I am also a huge lover of beers with hints of chocolate. I have previously stuck to old favourite Youngs Double Chocolate Stout, but it was time to try something new. Meantime Chocolate Porter was gently poured into my glass on Saturday evening. Oh boy! it was good. The porter is super dark in colour and rather malty in taste, but the rich chocolate flavours soon hit my tongue. This is a very chocolaty brew so would really suit being poured and served after dinner, with a pudding. It is rather warming and does go down very easily as it avoids the ‘fizz’ that many bottle beers tend to carry.

If you were expecting to drink a beer that resembled a bottle of melted chocolate, I can tell you now that you wont be finding that anywhere. Instead chocolate beers tease the taste buds with subtle hints of cocoa buried beneath the hops. This malty brew does carry a sweet chocolate smell and throws out more of a chocolate flavour than some other supermarket varietiesthough. The Meantime Chocolate Porter is 6.5%ABV and costs £21.99 for a case of 12 x 330ml bottles. A definite winner for me, as an after dinner treat!

Meantime also offer something very different with their Yakima Red beer. I’ll let the (rather funny) guys from Meantime explain a little more about this craft brew…

Whilst I grabbed the Chocolate Porter, it was my husband who decided to road test the Yakima Red. Jay says: “I was surprised at how red in colour this beer was once I had poured it. I never actually expected it to be so red. Think Ribena and you near enough have the colour right. Yakima Red is very fruity, with a beautiful  soft fruit aroma to enjoy while you drink. I also found after tones of citrus, which was a pleasant surprise.”

Meantime Yakima red is 4.1%ABV and costs £20.49 for a case of 12 x 330ml bottles. Check out the Meantime website for more brews, news and shopping.

Urtekram Rose Body Care*

The word Urtekram means ‘herbalism’ in Danish. The brand Urtekram is a natural as it’s meaning. If your lady loves to have a long soak in the bath or spends far to much time in the bathroom, then the stunning Rose range from Urtekram may make the perfect Valentines Day gift.

urtekram rose reviewAll of the Urtekram Rose range is all vegan and cruelty free and the Urtekram brand pride themselves on their certification by Ecocert Greenlife. I instantly fell in love with their hand cream. I have to use hand cream so often. My hands take a bettering from working in the garden and so much DIY work at present. Dry cracked hands are no fun in the cold weather either, so they are always in desperate need for a special moistening treat. The whole range smells so strong of roses, leaving lovely scents on your skin for hours.

I have rather greasy hair, that gets terribly knotted. It’s a nightmare especially for me, as I am rather low maintenance. The shampoo shifted any dirt and grime quickly (even with just one application of shampoo, rather than my usual two) and the conditioner smoothed my hair and removed those tricky knots. I noticed the rose scents lasting in my hair for a full day, which was a pleasant surprise.

I was really taken aback by the size of the shower gel bottle. A huge 500ml, it’s nice to see a brand think about value for money. I am sure the bottle of shower gel will last a long time. Even though the rose range has a rather feminine scent, my husband joined in with the special treatment and used the shower gel (admittedly he had run out of his own) but he agreed that it was a lovely product to use.

The Urtekram range starts at just £1.75. You can find more information about the Urtekram Rose range (and many of their other ranges) on the Urtekram website.

Nelsons Arnicare Bath and Massage Balm*

A quiet night in, a long soak in the bath and a relaxing massage is a stereotypical scene throughout homes on Valentines Day. And so it should be! Nothing beats letting go of all your daily worries and allowing yourself to completely relax at the end of the day. Having your partner deliver a massage is the perfect treat to top it all off.

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Arnicare by Nelsons have created a wonderful product that can be used as a gorgeous moisturising bath oil, or as a sensual scented massage balm. Add a few drops into a hot bath and soak away the days tensions. The balm mixes well with your water, and works it’s way into your skin leaving you feeling soft and refreshed. To use as a massage balm, simply add a few drops into warmed hands and work gently into your tired muscles. I felt completely serene when my poor tired and tight legs were sent into absolute rest. Bliss. I am heavily tattooed, and I also found that it revived some of my old fading ink. Bringing out colours and clarity to some of my oldest tattoos.

Nelsons Arnicare Bath and Massage Balm is enriched with natural Arnica Montana, the Evening Primrose oil and Almond oil works hard to hydrate the skin. The balm works so well at calming you down with its Lavender and Grapefruit essential oils. You can really smell the lavender oil, which instantly calmed me down and reduced tensions. I found that the gorgeous scents from the balm carried around the house, when added to a hot bath. I love it when this happens! It made the whole house smell amazing all night long.

This has quickly become one of my favourite multi-use products, and I have been recommending it to quite a lot of people recently!

For more information about Nelsons Arnicare Bath and Massage Oil check out the Nelsons Website here. The 200ml bottle is available from Boots and costs £8.55

Bluebeards Revenge Eco-Warrior Deodorant*

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I no longer use deodorant. I haven’t for a few years after going through a detox of sorts. It works for me and I confidently say that I do not smell. Thankyouverymuch.

My husband though, is yet to take the detox. I get the grump with him quote often when he’s spraying the stinky stuff in the bathroom. It reeks out the house, makes my throat hurt and creates some weird mystic haze of chemicals that hover in the air. Maybe it was time he tried something else.

bluebeards revenge eco warrior deodorant

Bluebeards Revenge Eco-Warrior roll on deodorant eliminates the stinky mist that my hubby creates daily, which is my first positive. The deodorant has a lovely manly smell, nicer than that really famous high-street spray on that attracts the ladies. IYKWIM. This all natural and organic deo works hard all day to keep pongy pits at bay.

I was really surprised to see what was inside the box (other than the deodorant of course). Printed on the inside was a whole load of information on men’s health and how to keep your eyes peeled for worrying signs of prostate, penile and testicular cancer. A wonderful addition to the packaging.

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The Bluebeards Revenge website has a whole range of awesome manly products. The deodorant comes in a 50ml roll on and is available to purchase from the Bluebeards Revenge website for £3.

 

All products marked with an * have been sent to me in exchange for an honest opinion of the product.

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide For Little Kids

**Firstly, I want to apologise for how late this gift guide post is in coming to you all. I wanted to have this post live 2 weeks ago, but unfortunately the last 2 weeks have brought me constant puking, upset tummies and 10 Disney films per day. All 3 of my girls and my husband have all been ill with the classic winter sickness bug. So again, apologies but I do hope it can be of some help for those last minute buys. **

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Maybe you have completed the main task, but you just need those last few little stocking fillers. Buying a Christmas gift for big little kids can be quite tricky. They are too old for cuddly toys but too young for complex board games and fiddly crafts sets.

I have 3 girls aged 4 (nearly 5), 3 and 1 (nearly 2). The girls all share toys and all play along together nicely. I am starting to notice though that my 4 year old is outgrowing the toys her siblings play with. But of course they all have to share. Well, not always share, if you know what I mean. I’m not a fan of computer games or consoles and I firmly believe that pre-schoolers should be having fun, playing, being active and learning about the world. Of course it is OK to have some screen time, in whichever form, but kept to a minimum. You shall not be finding any iPads or mobile phone lookalikes here.

I have compiled a tidy list of gifts suitable for children aged between 1 and 6 that siblings can enjoy too. From electronic toys to board games there is something for every little person, and parents with all budgets.

The Newhouse Family Top Picks for Christmas 2016

Who Tooted?*

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Who Tooted? is set to be the board game of the season. A hilarious game of guffing and bluffing! Kids love toilet humour and fart noises are regularly thrown across the room (even by my 1 year old, who now gets it). Players must work out who made to Toot fart noise, point their noses at who they think the culprit is, while the Tooter tries to play a game of bluff by either playing their best straight face or giggling. The game was easy to set up and the rules of play are simple. Each player hides a whoopee cushion controller under the table, 1 player’s controller will light up, the player pushes the button to control their flatulence and the game board will toot (leaving everyone in hysterics). Because the whoopie cushion controllers are hidden under the table, the tooter is kept anonymous.

My 3 year old kept forgetting about hiding the controller which was the only downside to playing with a 3 year old. Other than that, she got the concept of the game well. Players then have to choose who they think made the noise. It really is a game of Bluff as the tooter can keep a straight face or giggle (lie) their way through and pass the blame to someone else. Score is kept by moving little standing characters around the board, moving along the fart clouds.

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We completed the game in just over 30 minutes, so attention spans were kept easily. Great when playing with such young gamers. Keep your eyes peeled for a full in-depth review of Who Tooted over the next couple of weeks, when we aim to publish a series of board games to enjoy over the Christmas period.

Who Tooted is made by Goliath Games and has a RRP of £19.99 and is available in Toys R Us, Smyths and Amazon.co.uk

Rainbow Art*

rainbow art painting set

This lovely little art set is honestly one of my favourite stocking filler ideas this year. In just 3 simple steps children can create pretty colourful paintings in the simple glide of a brush. There are lots of ways to create amazing rainbow coloured paintings. The set comes with a variety of brushes that are simply dipped into the colours to then create non-drip painty fun.

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The set comes with 5 colours but there are over 500,000 different colour combinations ready to create. A lovely no-mess creative toy suitable for children aged 3+, and makes a perfect boxing day boredom buster.

The Rainbow Art Creative set has an RRP of £9.99 and is available on Very.co.uk and Ocado.

Code-a-pillar

Code-a-pillar is an all new fun interactive toy from the clever clogs at Fisher-Price. The caterpillar toy aims to help children with planning, problem solving, sequencing and experimentation. Coming apart in several sections and rearranged as the child sees fit, with the 8 sections that come with Code-a-pillar. Children can create obstacles for Code-a-pillar to move around (think cushions and bottles!) and have fun working out the correct pattern to programme the Code-a-pillar to follow. There are also expansion packs available so Code-a-pillar can make longer journeys. Check out the Code-a-pillar video below.

Code-a-pillar is available in a variety of stores online and on the high street and costs around £50 but do shop around for the best deal.

Pickin’ Chickens*

pickin chickens game review

A wonderful game for big kids, little kids and adults of all ages! This  colourful game sees players spin the chicken field, lift up the chicken coops and collect the hens! But, players must be careful because a nasty fox is ready to jump up and take away their precious chickens.

pickin chickens game

My girls worked out how to plat this game quickly and had great fun. The game can also be adapted to suit different ages ranges of the players, so no one needs to feel left out. A stylish game which I think has been very well designed for little children (and little hands) which has quickly become a family favourite.

pickin' chickens game

Pickin’ Chickens is for children aged 4+ but my 3 year old gets the idea of the game and also plays with ease. The game does contain small parts, so please do bear this in mind. Pickin’ Chickens is a Drummond Park game and is available to buy for RRP £19.99.

My Little Pony Chocolate Factory*

MLP Make a bar chocolate factory

Who doesn’t love chocolate?! My girls are all chocoholics (they certainly take after their mum). The adorable My Little Pony Make-A-Bar chocolate factory kit contains 100% Belgium chocolate and a great range of MLP stencils to decorate your bars with. These chocolate bars are super easy to make, with no dangerous heat and super simple instructions, ideal for pre-schoolers who fancy a spot of DIY!

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Each portion of chocolate is sealed inside of a foil bag which you just immerse into warm tap water, then you simply snip the corner of the foil pouch and pour the yummy melted chocolate into the plastic tray supplied. The chocolate bar is then put into the fridge for half an hour to set. The MLP Chocolate factory kit contains 2 sachets of dark Belgian choc, 2 white, 2 milk, the mould tray and 16 decorations. The white choc makes the decorations. The kids loved making their bars, had even more fun eating them!  RRP £9.99 from Argos and Very.co.uk. Ages 4+.

Toot Toot

Our love for the Toot Toot range has grown and grown over the last year and a half. Toot Toot by Vtech are available in a number of ‘themes’. The Newhouse Family favourite Toot Toot range has to be the farm set, but there are also Toot Toot Friends and Toot Toot Drivers to explore. The ranges have grown and expanded a lot over the last few months, with so many more toys in the range to explore. Last year we started our Toot Toot set with just a chicken and a pig, we have since gained 10 more and they are played with daily!

Inkredibles Thomas & Friends mess free painting*

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This lovely little painting book is mess free, reusable and perfect for smaller children. The painting book says 3+ but my 1 year old loves it! The Newhouse Family are huge fans of these books, and own quite a few of them now. The Thomas The Tank Engine version above has a wonder selection of paintings and games to enjoy over 4 pages.

Before!
Before!

The book comes with a paint brush which you simply unscrew and fill with water. The brush is then ready to use and is wiped across the paper. As if by magic, lovely colours start to appear! I stood the book on its side with the pages fanned out for quick drying to then be enjoyed another day.

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After!

There are also Inkredibles Paw Patrol mess free books available, and can be purchased from Smyths for the RRP £4.99

Story Cubes

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You may have guessed by now that we at huge fans of games in our house. Not just board games but story games, silly games (Cards Against Humanity wins that race – NOT FOR KIDS BTW!) anything goes really. Story Cubes are a really simple game. You play it in exactly any way that you want to play it. Roll the dice, look at the images shown on the dice and whip up something astonishing. “Once upon a time…”

Story Cubes has some special edition packs too. Batman, Moomins, Loony Tunes, Scooby Doo and Dr Who all have their own special packs. The packs each contain 9 story dice and cost £9.99 each. Expansion packs are available.

Hallmark Itty Bittys*

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All kids love cuddly toys, fact! As a parent, it sometimes feels like I am drowning in soft, cute fluffy teddies but Hallmark have made a little and very adorable plush toy for small people to enjoy. The Itty Bitty range launched earlier this year and has proven to be very popular. These adorable plush toys are designed by Adan Chung who wondered what popular characters would look like if they were shrunk down to an ‘itty bitty’ size. The results are adorable!

Willow loves Star Wars, this is a relatively new obsession after watching the films with daddy one weekend and a close buddy of hers is also obsessed. So a little Star Wars themed gift seemed an obvious choice. She’s too young to appreciate SW figures and Lego kits so a cuddly soft plush seemed to be the best option. Welcome Itty Bitty Darth Vader and BB-8…

star wars itty bittys

How cute are they?! Standing at just 13cm high and fitting in the palm of my hand, the toys feel well made from excellent quality materials. They also look sturdy enough to withstand the constant cuddles and trips everywhere that toddlers would rigorously put them through. Itty Bittys vary in price, but the BB-8 costs £6 and Darth Vader is £6.75. Check out the Itty Bitty range on the Hallmark website here.

PS: The Itty Bitty Chewbacca will make your heart melt. Quite possibly the cutest cuddly toy EVER.

Amazon Kindle*

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I am a self confessed book hoarder. And so is my husband. And so is his mum, his dad, his brothers and so are our kids. Books everywhere. We. Love. Books.

Kindle for Kids is a superb feature on the Amazon Kindle. Your child can safely read and enjoy books while letting their minds grow and their imagination run wild, through parental controls and password permissions. Every child has the right to enjoy reading, no matter who or where they are. The Kindle runs with this concept, and creates a learning environment in which reading goals and achievements can be set.

To read a full in-depth review on the Amazon Kindle, including our thoughts on the Kindle’s style, battery life, features and accessories you can find the link here.

Write Size Pencils*

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Little hands love to draw. Letting young children explore mark-making is a key part of their development. In today’s modern world where parents often hand kids an iPad over a colouring book, it is more important than ever before that we get kids exploring pencil and paper. Let imaginations run wild and those first written words flow with Write Size. The pencils aim to provide less strain on smaller hands so neat handwriting can be practised an achieved much faster and easier.

A neat little stocking filler gift, that children can enjoy at home and at school. Olive holds the aged 2-6 year range pencils with ease and has been practising writing her name (on Xmas cards for her class mates)!

 

 

Note: All gift ideas marked with a * have been sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.