Harry Potter Goodies at Paladone

We were invited to review a selection of Harry Potter goodies at Paladone. Now, when you have a Potter-mad daughter you want to make sure that what you choose is sensible but fun. I decided I should choose gifts based on the kind of things she goes for when she spots a Harry Potter section in stores; namely, writing things, sorting hat related things and general cool things.

Harry Potter goodies at Paladone start with the basics; a simple writing set which looks a bit like your letter to Hogwarts. We had seen this recently and thought about buying it for H but the price had put us off. At Paladone it was a lot cheaper for exactly the same thing. Sometimes it helps to shop around to save a few pennies.

You get twenty sheets of paper, ten envelopes and ten stickers in each pack.

Harry Potter Letter Writing Set

When it arrived H’s first words were “Oh my GOD! COOL!” so now we’re encouraging her to write her friends letters like she promised. After all, doesn’t every ten year old child want to get a letter from Hogwarts; just in case it’s an invite?

Harry Potter Hogwarts Colour change coaster showing all stages of colour change.

I had never seen our next choice anywhere before, and liked the fun element of it – four colour change coasters. You pop your warm mug on the coaster and it changes to one of the houses. So my little Hufflepuff happily plonked a cup on hers and waited excitedly to see which house she had chosen. Slytherin. Whoops. It didn’t go so well – though she soon sussed that as there were just four coasters each one had a different house on it. Depending on how seriously your child might take it, this is one to consider – she’s taking it back to show family and find out which house they’re in for half term. Now she’s over her Slytherin shock she’s enjoying them again, and has also made sure she warms each one a little bit before choosing hers.

Paladone itself has lots of different themes of things to buy. What I liked about the Harry Potter goodies was that there is a lot of choice; often things that you may not have seen in shops before. We’ve been to plenty of shops too…

Harry Potter Potion no 86 colour light in green

Now H is ten her bedroom is moving from that of a young girl into one of a tween/young lady. We still have our beloved Miffy pictures on the walls; slowly the rest of the space has Harry Potter merchandise on it. When I spotted the Potion Bottle light I knew it would fit in with her room; and make a great night light too. Her room gets pretty dark at night, though you do need a bit of light to avoid the Lego on the floor. The Potion Bottle light does the trick. It comes with a cable but no plug, though any USB plug will work. We have it positioned on her bookcase where the room has a nice low glow but not too much to stop her sleeping.

At Paladone there are gifts to suit all price ranges, from pocket money to the more pricey.

We were gifted £30 worth of Harry Potter goodies at Paladone and spent that money easily. The prices were good and there was a lot of choice. Out of stock items are clearly marked as well. All in all, we have one very delighted ten year old with a load of new Harry Potter goodies – it’s a win-win for everyone!

Dragons : Dawn of New Riders Nintendo Switch game

We were sent a code to review Dragons : Dawn of New Riders Nintendo Switch game, a game from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

Dragons Dawn of New Riders formats available to buy

Dragons : Dawn of New Riders is a new game from Outright Games, based on the popular How to Train Your Dragon series. We haven’t seen the new film yet, though H knows the series well.

The game was easy to set up and install; once we got started it was learning what each button on the console does. There’s a lot to think about, although H picked it up way faster than I did!

You control two new characters, Patch and Scribbler. Scribbler is a scholar who cannot remember his past, and Patch is a different kind of dragon, a ‘chimeragon’ who has powers which are different to that of the average dragon.

Dragons Dawn of New Riders gameplay

They have new islands to explore, battles to fight and things to find to complete the adventure. Using their skills they pick up treasures along the way such as armour and herbs to make potions; so they’re well again after a particularly brutal attack or two.

There’s also the ability to swap between characters. There are some things that Scribbler can’t do, but with Patch having different powers, there are things which solve problems. Think along the lines of there being an obstacle and a bit of team work in resolving what needs doing and you’re getting close to the feel of Dragons : Dawn of New Riders.

Dragons Dawn of New Riders gameplay

The ultimate goal is to recover Scribbler’s lost memories.

The battles are quite fierce too and quite take it out of you! Fortunately as you go along you can smash barrels and plants which allow you to pick up herbs which can be made into potions. However, some battles are difficult, so you need to think about what you have and whether you might need help from Patch.

The game features familiar locations such as Havenholme, Blood Briar Island and Valka’s Mountain. There’s a lot to cover, so plenty to play with.

Dragons Dawn of New Riders - screenshot

If you lose all your lives you restart in the area you lost your life with a newly replenished supply of ‘life up’ potion (H’s name). We’re currently in battle trying to defeat and outwit a giant dragon which isn’t easy. We can’t seem to defeat him though H is the closest. We like a challenge!

Dragons Dawn of New Riders dragon battle

Overall we’ve found Dragons : Dawn of New Riders a fun game to play. It has enough challenges to keep nine year old H happy; she’s not frustrated when things don’t go her way (usually battles).

Dragons : Dawn of New Riders comes from Outright Games. It is out now on Nintendo Switch, XBox, PS4 and PC. Amazon link here (affiliate link). We were sent a code for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

I suspect if you visit Shrek’s Adventure there may be lots of Dragons themed characters on display there to tie in with this too.

Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper – Paper with a Conscience.

Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper is 100% recycled toilet paper that builds toilets. Every box you buy benefits someone somewhere in need. 50% of the profits go straight into this scheme. They’ve already donated over a million pounds.

Who Gives a Crap 48 rolls delivery in a box, pretty wrapped toilet paper

Who Gives a Crap toilet paper is a mail order toilet paper company. Now, you could ask what the point is of that, I mean, we can all buy toilet paper from the supermarkets and it’s really nice and cheap. May I present Exhibit A – my favourite Aldi coconut toilet paper vs Who Gives a Crap paper.

Who Gives a Crap vs Aldi side by side comparison of the toilet rolls
Aldi to the left, Who Gives a Crap to the right.

So okay, here’s the thing. You get a smaller cardboard roll with Who Gives a Crap vs your supermarket specials, and you also get a lot more pieces of toilet paper on the roll. Look at the difference. To compare by cost, Aldi is £3.09 for nine rolls, Who Gives a Crap is £36 for 48 rolls. So already Aldi looks the more cost-effective. However, break that down a bit. Let’s do the per-sheet calculation.

Aldi works out at 20.2p per 100 sheets. Who Gives a Crap works out at a spectacular 18.8p per 100 sheets. Now, Who Gives a Crap does have slightly smaller sheets than usual, but on saying that, most people don’t use less than three when wiping their bums, right? I’ve found I’ll still use three sheets and it does as required.

So I’ve taken out a subscription. Every 12 weeks I get 48 rolls sent to me. That means we need to make sure our supply lasts us three months. Across two toilets between three of us it could, we’re only a month in right now. On average I’m finding a Who Gives a Crap roll lasts a week in the toilet, rather than two in a week when we had Aldi ones.

Oh and I forgot to mention. Each loo roll is wrapped in paper. There is no plastic present. Just a gigantic box filled with loo roll. They even have a limited edition colouring in paper for sale at the moment.

There’s always a dilemma though, what if you run out? How will you know you’ve run out? Who Gives a Crap have got it covered. There are two emergency rolls at the bottom of your box. Genius!

Who Gives a Crap emergency roll

I should really finish this going into the good stuff Who Gives a Crap does, but I think this page explains it way better than I could.

All I can say is that alongside my Smol and Splosh subscriptions, my Who Gives a Crap toilet paper deliveries are making me feel a whole lot better about things I do in this world, especially when most things going on fill me with despair.

If you’re thinking about taking out a subscription, this is my referral link. You get £5 and I do as well. So it’s a bonus! You can wipe your bum and feel great about everything, it’s a winner.

Who Gives a Crap - please do more ones and two's, information about the loo rolls

Splosh – It’s a New Way to think About Cleaning

Splosh have a solution for our plastics problem, and it’s one that works for us. You still use plastics, but what if those bottles are refillable ones? So you only need the one bottle, and order in refills which can fill them up a few more times.

Splosh cleaning products, Washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner and kitchen cleaner

Splosh are a mail order UK based company who offer many different types of cleaning solutions. From laundry to general cleaning, toilets to dishwashing. Maybe not in that order.

Allow me to explain. You order in your initial bottles. We live in a two bedroomed house with two toilets; that’s two toilet cleaners, one washing up liquid, one kitchen cleaner, one bathroom cleaner, one glass cleaner. We already have our Smol subscription so we don’t need laundry cleaner, although I’m considering getting the stain remover spray.

I think that’s probably all we need. If I was to buy these from say, Waitrose, I’d be buying new plastic bottles with the liquid in every time. I get that, you can’t generally transport the liquid inside easily. However, Splosh have a solution! Quite literally.

It’s letterbox sized, a solution in a pouch. Save the pouches as when you have eight you can send them back to Splosh who recycle them. To use the solution, you generally have to fill your bottle with water to the line on the bottle then top it up from the pouch. Give it a good shake and you’re ready to go. Oh, and the refills work out cost-wise about the same as you’d buy in a supermarket – and with free delivery.

Oh, and by doing it this way you could be reducing your plastic use by up to 90%.

Who Gives a Crap Toilet paper and Splosh Toilet cleaner on a bathroom window ledge
I’ll get to Who Gives a Crap soon enough, this week it’s Splosh’s turn. Basically, our daily essentials are all things which don’t hurt anyone or anything and do something good for other people.

It really is that easy. All Splosh products aren’t tested on animals and are vegan-friendly. They proudly display the jumping bunny on their site.

There’s a handwash which is imminent. I’ve recently switched to soap bars at home, although we were big handwash users – all that plastic though. Urgh.

I haven’t been paid in any way to write about Splosh, I’m spending my hard earned cash. If you fancy trying it out, then my unique code is WDECMRLM96 which will give you £3 off a Starter Box (you need to spend over £15). I wish I had bought a Starter Box, as I’m still adding random bottles to my orders as I need them – so I’d definitely recommend looking into this option. While it seems like a lot of money up-front it works out more cost effective over time.

Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn

Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is the second book in the series. We reviewed the first book Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond a while ago.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn
Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is the second book in the Sherlock series. The books are written from the perspective of John Watson’s diary, following him and Sherlock Holmes through school and any mysteries or cases they need to solve.

In this book, they go to Baker Street Academy, where the caretaker says he spotted a ghost. They try to solve the mystery, which involves finding out what the curse is and working out what was happening. Was it a ghost or not? Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have to find out.

The book has plenty of pictures and is laid out in a comic strip style, which is fun to read. H really enjoyed it, she says it felt like it made the story fun to follow and got her thinking about the plot and things that were going on a bit more than if it was a straightforward story.

There are also journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. Essentially it is Dr Watson’s casebook in junior form – ideal for younger readers who need an introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson and of course Martha Hudson.

It gets yet another thumbs up in this house!

Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse by Sam Hearn is published by Scholastic. It is suitable for age 8+ and is available now from all good bookstores. You can also buy it online here – but please support your local bookstores if you can.

We were sent this book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. Thank you to Scholastic for sending us a copy!

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie

It has been a while since we’ve done a book review and H has had her head firmly stuck into all of my Harry Potter books! We have a new book to read and review, so here’s H’s opinion about Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie.

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie is a cyber thriller for children age 12+. Knowing how well H does with her reading, I knew it would be okay – and it was. She really enjoyed reading the book, but don’t take my word for it, this is what she had to say.

Cyberhawks versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie

“It was a good book, my only problem is that it wasn’t long enough!” she tells me. So I’m wondering what makes it a good book.
“It’s an enjoyable read! The story was exciting and I couldn’t put the book down”. Sounds fair.

So what is the story about?
“Cyberhawks are a group of three friends, the Stormtroopers are an organisation for brain damaged children. The Cyberhawks are Ty, Kess and Corey. One day Ty receives an email written in code. Luckily he knows about computers and Ty cracks the code. He finds out that terrorists are going to attack the London Underground and it will be the worst attack the world has known.”

So what do the Cyberhawks do about it and do they tell anyone?
“Nobody listened to them, so they had to do it all themselves. I’m not going to say any more as I don’t want to give away the plot!”

H hopes there will be more books in the series as she really enjoyed reading it.

Cyberhawks Versus Stormtroopers by Mark Logie is available now from all good booksellers – order a copy here! (affiliate link). Mark Logie has a YouTube channel with songs that inspired the book here.

We were sent this book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

Rabbitgoo No-Glue Window Film Stickers

Rabbitgoo no-glue window film stickers are my latest find. They provide privacy to our house where we haven’t got around to buying curtains. 

Rabbitgoo window stickers for privacy

Rabbitgoo is a simple, easy solution to privacy at home. Got windows which look out onto the road, and you’re not quite ready to buy curtains or blinds just yet? How about a simple plastic film which you cut to size and stick to your windows?

It really is that simple. My neighbour at our last house had some on her windows and recommended Rabbitgoo. 

Rabbitgoo is easy to apply as well. Cut the film to size first of all, and I’d also recommend peeling a section as it can be tricky. Simply clean your window surface, add soapy water and stick on the film. A squeegee is handy for getting rid of bubbles too. It can be peeled and re-stuck easily. 

The soapy water holds the film in place nice and securely too. We’re a week in and other than spotting a few bubbles here and there, it has done exactly what we need it to. 

The good news is there are several types of Rabbitgoo designs and Amazon has them all for sale. Each tube is around the £10 mark. We have enough I could do our windows again too.

I like that it gives us a bit of privacy through the day. With us being in a new build area, there are often people driving around looking at the different houses. 

rabbitgoo window stickers rainbow patterns

There are a lot of designs available with varying levels of privacy. I like the design I chose as when the sun comes through the windows it creates several little rainbows on our kitchen tops and floor. 

We’ve already had a lot of comments from friends about how good it looks as well!

Primark Foot Peel – Holler and Glow Purrfect Pedi

Sometimes you want to put your feet up and relax, and then you look at your feet. In my case, it’s dry, scaly and quite frankly, unattractive views which happen. It’s not great. So I bought the Primark foot peel from the Holler and Glow range. I want lovely feet.

Primark foot peel Holler and Glow purrfect pedi The Primark foot peel has a bargain price of just £4. My kind of budget. But does it work? This is the important question. Will my heels be as soft as a baby’s.. um… heel? The Holler and Glow range is low priced and from what I’ve read has good reviews of the face masks (I am yet to try them) – but what about the feet? Last year I tried a foot peel and what should have taken a couple of weeks took almost two months to peel. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have perfect holiday feet, I had peeling Birkenstock feet. Not an attractive look.  As we’re not going on holiday this year I figured it would be a good time to try again, after all, what’s the worst that can happen? Things I learned from last time. Soaking feet helps a lot. Not soaking feet means it takes forever. So I was sensible, followed the instructions and kept these delights on my feet for an hour and a half. Attractive. Primark foot peel - Holler and Glow Imagine my surprise when experiencing the heatwave we’ve just had in the UK, on removing my socks from my sweaty feet, my feet had already started peeling quite significantly! If only I had known six weeks earlier… it took a day and the softer skin was coming off. Annoyingly, it seemed to be only these sections of my feet which peeled off. The very dry skin is still there and very dry. I’m a couple of weeks in now with minor peeling left and I don’t feel like what I hoped would happen has happened.

I really wanted the hard skin on my heel to have gone, but it’s still there, as dry as ever. I’m not sure the Primark foot peel works the way it is meant to – possibly not getting deep enough into my dry skin layers?

In summary, if you’re expecting miracle soft feet from the Primark foot peel, it’s unlikely to happen. If you want to go in with a soft level peel, this might be a good place to start. Me? I’m just waiting for next spring to try again. Maybe with my knowledge across two foot peels I might get it right the next time!

Smol Laundry Capsules – Washing by Mail Order

I’m not sure where I spotted the advert for Smol Laundry Capsules. It might have been Instagram or Facebook. But I was intrigued; laundry capsules sent to you by Mail Order. How so?

Smol Laundry Capsules are a pretty simple idea that I’m really liking at the moment. This year I have made a conscious effort to make sure we only use cruelty-free products and laundry was always the most difficult.

smol laundry capsules

Smol Laundry Capsules do not tested on animals, nor sell in countries that insist on animal testing. This is important to me, as quite often a lot of brands say they’re cruelty free “except where a country requires it” – so that’s hardly cruelty free, is it?

There are several options available. I went for our usual Non-Bio and sent off for a trial pack which costs £1. You can’t go wrong with nine washes for £1 can you? Unfortunately it took the Croydon depot a really long time to deliver it, my first proper delivery had already arrived!

After washing the first thing I noticed was the smell. Oh my, it’s a good smell, a lovely fresh scent. My clothes came up clean and so far, several washes in I have no problems to report. For larger washes I’ll use two capsules, though in this warm weather most of my washloads are fairly small.

When the Smol Laundry Capsules arrive, they’re in a nice small package. Probably around the size of a Graze box – letterbox sized. This means they also store well in the cupboard – I’ve often found my washing products take up a lot of space. Not any more.

smol laundry capsules storage

So how does it work? You work out roughly how much washing you do, Smol will then send you your next load of 24 capsules before you run out. At the moment I’ve put us down as doing a washload every day so should get more Smol in a week or so. If you do more then it’s easy enough to increase the amount, and of course if you’re on holiday it’s really easy to skip a delivery too.

Smol costs £3.85 for each pack of 24 capsules with postage included.

As a cruelty-free option for something I do a lot, I’m pleased Smol Laundry Capsules exist, and hope that more people will get on board – it’s a brilliant idea and so far I’m impressed.

For a free trial head over here.

You might be interested to read my other mail order products I buy which make a difference. My Splosh review is here and my Who Gives a Crap one is here. https://www.mum-friendly.co.uk/who-gives-a-crap-toilet-paper

Double Felix by Sally Harris – Our Review

We’re participating in a book tour for Double Felix by Sally Harris this week.

Double Felix by Sally Harris is a new book, also illustrated by Maria Serrano. It tells the story of Felix, an eleven year old boy with OCD. He does things in twos. This is from skipping on every second step to tapping door handles twice. Or even just placing everything in pairs.

Double Felix by Sally Harris

A new girl starts in school, Charlie Pye. She has cereal for lunch and lives on a boat – and more importantly hasn’t grown up with rules in her life. It’s a whole new world for Felix. How can he possibly deal with someone who has no rules or order in their life?

It’s safe to say, Double Felix has become one of H’s new favourite books. She’s on her fifth or sixth read already.  (whispers – it might have even replaced Jaqueline Wilson’s ‘Katy’ as the new-favourite)

So what was it about Double Felix by Sally Harris that made H go back and read it again? Here’s H (age 8)’s opinion :

I like it. Felix does things twice, he’ll say things twice. He goes to see Hugo Fielding, a counsellor at school which helps him. He’s taught to fight back against the thing in his head – Basil the Bully (named after the Basal Ganglia in the brain).

A girl arrives at school, she doesn’t wear the correct uniform and that annoys Felix to start with. They become friends, and that helps him a lot. He has someone to talk to and play with. They don’t seem to have anything in common, but their friendship grows. I really liked that. 

I asked H what it was that she liked. She couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but liked that it had a happy ending.

She breaks the rules and to start with Felix can’t deal with that. His life revolves around the number two – he doesn’t like odd numbers, he doesn’t like to get odd numbers on things. Only even. Even the chapters are in even numbers! The only odd number chapter is Chapter 27. This is because it’s the last chapter in the book, and Felix has learned to accept odd numbers I think. 

It’s a really good book and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I feel like I’ve learned about people who have OCD a little bit by reading this book. 

Sally Harris’ website is over here

Sally Harris

Double Felix by Sally Harris is available to buy now over here. (affiliate link). We were sent the book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

Double Felix by Sally Harris Banner