Puressentiel have the solution!

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Having 4 children – and working in schools – my stomach doesn’t drop when we get a letter home informing us that headlice have been detected within Munchkin’s year group. Having said that, it’s never pleasant having to apply a treatment, especially as Munchkin has such sensitive skin on his scalp. So when Puressentiel contacted us and offered to send us their ‘anti-lice’ solution, I was thrilled.

Puressentiel products are formulated with natural ingredients in a way that’s environmentally responsible and fair to producers. They aim to be more pure, more natural and more effective. Their products contain 0% parabens, synthetic fragrances, colourants, preservatives or animal products.

The anti-lice lotion is made from vegetable oils to obstruct the respiratory openings of the lice, larvae and nits – and because of this, there is no danger of them building up a resistance to the solution (crucial if your child gets infected on a semi regular basis!) Essential oils are also added to soothe and as an antiseptic.

The bottle has a fabulous design, with a neat little nozzle that allows for precise and direct application against the scalp and reseals to prevent leaking. The lotion itself is lovely and thick and doesn’t drip down the neck or into the eyes. A wonderful long, micro-grooved, steel toothed comb is provided in the box for lice removal too.

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I decided to treat Munchkin and give my own hair a precautionary treatment at the same time. One major advantage is how quickly this treatment works; 10 minutes and you’re ready to comb then rinse. I found it very easy to wash out too as it left our hair incredibly shiny, soft and fragrant, like a conditioning treatment.

Also in this range is the lice repellent spray which is effective for up to 24 hours. During periods of infestation at school, you can spray the lotion onto the hair to increase protection.

Having seen how gentle and effective these products have been, I am going to check out other products from Puressentiel as I have been really impressed. If you want to check out why they’re so impressive, you can read about them on Facebook and Twitter.

DISCLAIMER: we were sent these products for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Festive nail wraps

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve kinda missed the boat with these little beauties – but in my defence, they were given to me with a whole pile of amazing things and I had completely overlooked them.

I love having pretty nails. Who doesn’t? I used to have gel done at the salon but finances didn’t allow that last year. So I bought myself a home gel kit which has been fabulous – but my nails are incredibly short and peeling at the moment (I assume it’s down to stress and diet) which means my gel doesn’t stay on perfectly so I needed something different.

You may have tried nail wraps previously. I have. And I didn’t really get on with them. They were the ones you need to warm before applying. They felt thick and ‘plasticy’ on my nails and I was constantly aware they were there.

But these festive nail wraps from Paladone claimed to just be stickers that you simply peel off the backing and apply to the nail.

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Oh my!

As these were just sitting in my bedroom and I was looking to avoid finishing the tidying up, I thought I’d give them a whirl. What’s the worst that could happen? I could just peel them off again and no one would be any the wiser.

The first thing I noticed was how thin they were. Almost like when you absent mindedly peel off your gel (admit it, you’ve done that too!) Secondly how easy they were to apply – no heating, no faff, apply, rub, done!

I added two coats of clear nail varnish to protect them and give a lovely shine too.

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As I said, my nails are particularly short at the moment and that kind of detracts from the cuteness of the detail on the snowman and penguin. But I love how they look  – I really love the red with white spots on and would happily wear that all through the year.  And at just £2.99 you just can’t go wrong!

Easi Yo Yogurt

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Here at the sixdegrees house we get through a lot of yogurt.

Our boys like flavoured yogurt as a pudding, I like low fat natural yogurt with fruit for breakfast and Mr six likes it at any time of the day!

I use it in cooking too; natural yogurt makes a much cheaper alternative to sour cream when we have fajitas and I add it to curry and soup instead of cream.

So when we were asked to review the Easi Yo Yogurt maker, we jumped at the chance.

When the box arrived, we were eager to open it. Inside was the large red insulated maker and a lidded beaker. Surely making yogurt couldn’t be *THIS* easy?

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And we were surprised at just how easy it really was…

Having read the instructions thoroughly (I still wasn’t convinced that we were doing it right) we set about rinsing the housing unit and beaker. Then we were good to go. The boys chose the forest fruit flavour and we started.

TAKE NOTE – IT REALLY WAS THIS SIMPLE

Firstly we filled the kettle. Whilst it was boiling I placed the ‘shelf’ in the insulated unit and then we half filled the beaker with room temperature water and added the sachet of powder. We shook that vigorously for a minute or two then added a little more water and gave it another shake.

Once the Kettle boiled, I poured the water in to the insulated unit up to the ‘fill’ mark and placed the beaker in.

Then we sealed the lid and left it for 12 hours.

When we opened it, the consistency of the yogurt was…’unusual’, incredibly thick and resembling PVA glue. I went back and re-read the instructions. However, undeterred by the thickness, Teen 2 set about eating it. He said the flavour was immense and as he stirred the yogurt, it became less viscous and far more like shop-bought yogurt.

In fact, he loves it so much that we have been out and bought lots of flavours now and have made yogurt a couple of times per week!

The Easi Yo yogurt maker can be purchased direct from Easi Yo individually or as part of a bundle. The flavoured sachets and all accessories are also available direct. You can also purchase from well known high street stores too.

DISCLAIMER: We were kindly sent this product for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Handy ‘Write Size’ pencils

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When I worked as an ALN (additional needs) teaching assistant in primary schools, I saw a lot of small children struggle to hold a pencil correctly. For a tiny hand, with developing fine motor skills, regular size pencils are too long – imagine having to use one of those comedy souvenir pencils (that were oh-so-popular in the 80s) to fill in important paperwork!

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The solution to this comes from Write Size; a range of pencils made to scale for children’s hands, because better control means better results.

They say:

“We would never give a 4 year old child an adult size football to play with or a full size guitar to learn to play music with.”

So when we were sent a pack to review, I was eager to set Munchkin loose. The range comes in ‘three sizes’: Age 2-6, age 6-10 and age 10+. Munchkin has just turned 7 so the 6-10 were a perfect size.

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We had a lot of homework to get through, so we decided to give them a whirl.

Slightly chunkier than a normal pencil, they enable children to control and grip correctly. The reduced length means that children can improve their writing ability and in turn gain confidence.

Munchkin was really happy using ‘Write Size’ and I was impressed that he didn’t once complain of hand strain. In fact, after completing his homework, he decided to write a book…

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These wonderful pencils are available in packs of 5 (£4.99) and classroom packs of 72.

We were kindly sent this product for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Be Kind!

When I was little, school told us that we could all be ‘the best’ at something; that if you weren’t good at one thing, not to worry because you would be ‘the best’ at something else.

Which was great.

Except that attending a Roman Catholic school, in the 70s, in  rural Wales, meant that there weren’t *that* many things to try your hand at and therefore not many things to be the best at.

As a consequence, I’ve always compared myself to others.

I saw other people succeeding and I knew I could never do any better. I was scared to try new things and often wouldn’t even try – or if I did, I judged myself quickly.

But as I’ve got older, I’ve realised that school got it wrong.

You don’t need to be the best at something.

You just need to be the best that *you* can be.

Do your best!

Obviously at school you have to work hard. And then there’s your job too. But it does go further..

What about being the best person you can be?

What about using kind words? Smiling? Holding doors? It is what my husband calls “old fashion values”.

It might be a small thing to you, but it could make someone else’s day.

Make a difference.

Be that difference.

All Change

Things have been hectic here in the sixdegrees household.

Radio silence has ruled.

It has been hard to find the time to write. It has been hard to find the time to do anything.

In July, Mr six changed jobs. He wasn’t in a good place in the job he had; bullying, long shifts, injuries, poor mental health. But that’s behind us all. He has a wonderful new job now though – and he’s loving it. The Mr six that we know and love is back!

Teen 1 and Teen 2 had exam results (A levels and GCSE).

At the beginning of September, new school term began! Teen 2 started in 6th form and is flying – I’ve never seen him so happy – Teen 3 started his GCSEs and Munchkin in year 2 (drawing a line under what was quite a negative last year).

The start of a new school year also saw me start a new job. Finally coming off supply has been a god-send: regular hours, a chance to get to know my colleagues and form friendships, to build relationships with the students – and a regular income.

Teen 1 left for uni. This has been a long time coming; he was desperate to spread his wings and experience a new life. He’s a very independent and resourceful young man and I just know he’ll make us very proud – and he’s loved his first few weeks, I’m happy to report.

So there we are. All adjusting to new routines, mum guilt heaped on, childcare booked, tired with no time for other things – but very, very happy.

Club Petz Bam Bam

The sixdegrees house is busy.

And noisy.

Two slightly aging adults (ahem), three teens, a 6 year old and a dog that doesn’t know he’s a dog. Add to that, three drum kits and 5 guitars…

Well you get the idea. So when the subject of another pet was mooted, it was fairly quickly vetoed. So when we were asked to review one of the new Club Petz range from IMC, I thought this could be the answer.

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Bam Bam is an adorable hamster. The packaging that he arrived in doubles up as his house and with the cutest face we wouldn’t wait to play with him. In fact, someone (okay, me) was so keen to play that the button was pressed and he bounced his little home around the living room.

No, really.

He bounces with such enthusiasm that he went off, still attached to the packaging.

And oh! That laugh. It’s so infectious (if a little loud). See for yourself…

I can really see our little niece loving this too; chasing Bam Bam around the living room, excited by his chuckles and bounces.

Bam Bam is available from Amazon, Argos and other toy retailers for £19.99 .

DISCLAIMER: We were kindly sent Bam Bam for the purpose of this review but all opinions are my own.

Friday Night Fake Away

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Friday night.

The end of the working week.

Take away.

Well, in the sixdegrees household Friday night usually means pizza. We used to order in from a take away, but now with our boys having after school clubs, meeting up with their friends and working, it’s difficult for everyone to get together, so now we fake away.

Chicago Town  have a fantastic range; stuffed crust, pizza subs, pizza melts, small individual pizzas to large family sized, cheese, chicken, meat… And this means that I can keep everyone happy by getting just what they want.

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All the pizzas looked particularly appetising and had plenty of toppings. They had fluffy bases and a generous amount of cheese.

Munchkin tried the 4 cheese deep dish individual pizzas. He said that the sauce was delicious – he even managed to eat both!

Teen 2 and Teen 3 opted for the four cheese melt with tomato stuffed crust. Teen 3 added olives and pineapple to his but both were very happy.

Teen 1 works until late and as the only non-vegetarian in our house, he sampled the BBQ chicken pizza melt (similar to a bun rather than the traditional flat pizza) – I can only assume he REALLY enjoyed it as he practically inhaled it!

DISCLAIMER: We were kindly provided with these pizzas for the purpose of the review, but all words are my own. The Chicago Town ranges are available from all major supermarkets

Reading with The BFG

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Munchkin is an avid reader.

He brings a book home from school every day; he’ll read to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen, he’ll read to me whilst I’m cooking dinner, he reads in bed. He can’t get enough.

We are members of our local library – and over the summer we have taken part in the summer reading challenge. As libraries are celebrating 100 years since Roald Dahl was born, it is called ‘The Big Friendly Read’. Children receive a little pack that contains a reading log and need to read at least six books.

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Then as they read and return books they are rewarded with scratch and sniff cards, a book mark, goofy glasses and finally, on completion of book 6, a certificate.

We have been reading the ‘BFG’ together. And today I found Munchkin on my bed, eagerly reading on without me.

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It is such a wonderful story; Roald Dahl tackles some dark topics with his usual brand of magical words – and with the help of Quentin Blake’s beautiful illustrations, manages to paint very powerful mental images. Beginning with Sophie (an orphan) being snatched from her bed, the BFG’s crazy diet, a meeting with the Queen and ending with acting on a grand plan. Ultimately it is a story of hope and good triumphing when people work together. And it’s enthralling!

The book contains a BFG quiz and you can learn how to draw the BFG. The book also  features a new cover to coincides with the release of the new major motion film.

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Once we finish the book together, we will definitely be heading to the cinema to watch!

Cheat and cheerful

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Big news!

I have a new job. An amazing new job. A permanent, all singing, all dancing new job. No more supply. No more 4 hour commute. A job that I have always wanted. And I cannot wait to start.

But one thing that I’m very aware of is how little time there will be for preparing meals. And if you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that family meals are very important in our house.

I’m thinking that slow cooker meals will be an easy way to ensure we sit down to a proper meal every night. I am going to invest in liners for the slow cooker which means that I can spend Sunday afternoon prepping dinners, pop them into the bags and into the freezer, grabbing them each morning. This will also mean that the slow cooker will need little more than a rinse too!

We recently trialled slow cooker vegetarian fajitas which went down a storm! All I did was slice up peppers and onions, throw them into the slow cooker with some Quorn chicken style pieces, crushed garlic, homemade fajita mix and a tin of chopped tomatoes. I left it on low for 6 hours then served in flour tortillas with natural yogurt (in place of sour cream), sliced chillies and some grated cheese.

As for breakfast – well I have a complete winner that means our boys will be heading out with something warming over the winter! Everyone loves a certain fast food breakfast, but it’s not the kindest to the health or the pocket so welcome to my version which has a pocket friendly price tag, it’s low in fat takes less than three minutes to make…

All you need is one Quorn sausage pattie, an egg and a wholemeal muffin.

Simply split the muffin and toast then microwave the pattie for 90 seconds. You’ll need to leave it to stand for a minute so lightly grease a cup, crack an egg into it and lightly break the yolk (yolks explode in the microwave), add a light sprinkle of cheese then microwave for a minute, in 20 seconds bursts just to prevent the egg expanding. Then enjoy…

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If you have any quick and easy – cheat and cheerful – recipes, please do tell me