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If you're looking for MunchKim from Twitter .... you've come to the right place!

Monday, 21 February 2011

My little hobby

A couple of weeks ago I finally agreed to a challenge for this year, most of the ones that were being proposed around weren't ones I really wanted to get involved in, I don't like to make a list of things I want to win, there are things I'd love to win but I really don't want to tempt fate!lol So I agreed to one a friend suggested on her blog and I set myself the hardest challenge of a win a day for the year so this year I need to win 365 competitions and they all have to be items I want as well, no entering for tickets for things I'd never go to then just because they're giving away thousands of them!lol

 It's going OK so far, up until a week ago a was behind by quite a few days but it's picked up a little and now I'm just about there and my lists can be found here if anyone is interested :-)

The other bit of good news is my weight, another 1lb lost, I know it's not much but it's better than a gain so I'm happy with it and now I have a target to work towards, we've been invited to a family wedding in the summer and I'd really like to be noticeably thinner by then, well, either that or behind the camera anyway!lol

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

One Down

Well that was a busy few days wasn't it!lol I took the weekend offline as much as possible to spend it with Dave since it was Valentines Day on Monday and had a really lovely time with him, hopefully he did with me too ;-)

Dave's sister gave me a link last week to a website (http://www.fitday.com/) to track my weight loss for me, I've started using it now and find seeing the graph slowly working it's way down (yes, I backtracked and put my old weights in too) is good motivation to keep going!

Anyway, I know this is 2 days late but on my weigh in on Monday morning I found I've now lost a stone since I started on this Slimfast diet, I'm so impressed and keen to keep going with it, I'm really not finding this diet a struggle at all, I guess it's all the snacking that allowed with it really and it's fun cooking properly again, luckily Dave enjoys the things I can cook :-D

So that's one down ........ and I'm not saying how many more to go!lol

Thursday, 10 February 2011

It's cold outside!

After the last couple of days being bright sunshine everyday I'd started to think Spring was upon us already, well, Winter did come early last year with all that snow didn't it ;-)
But today the weather has proven it's not yet Springtime as it's grey and wet so to cheer myself up I've lit some of the Yankee candles tea lights that Dave got me for Christmas, I've 50/50 fruit salad and Cinnamon sugar smells nice now they've been on a while and don't they look pretty :-D

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

LOLcats are the answer!

Whenever I'm having a bad day, be it through having too much to do or things just not going right there's one place I always end up which always puts a smile back on my face http://icanhascheezburger.com/ I found their site a long time ago and just love seeing all the captions, they've been adding more and more sites to cover more funny pics as time goes on which should give everyone something to give them a chuckle, here are some of my favourites from the last few days:

funny pictures - What really happened to Major Tom
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures - YOU APPEAR TO BE LOST IN THOUGHT...
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Funny Pictures - Bunny Noms Carrot Gifs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

"Vote for me"

Over the past year or so there has been an explosion of "Vote for me" competitions, predominantly on Facebook. These competitions are run where you enter a comment or picture and get as many people as you can to like your entry and so the winners are invariably those with the most friends and not the ones with the best entries, or you'd think so but more recently with some of the prizes getting bigger some people have been rumored to be using fake accounts to gain themselves extra votes and this has lead to some competitions being pulled and changed over to the prize giver choosing the winner(s).

I really don't like this sort of competition, I'm not the sort of person who could go to all my friends and hassle them to vote for me in this or that competition all the time but there are some who do and who do very well out of them. but I saw this on a post on Facebook today and I have to say that I blew my top over it:

Now when you have a large community of people entering this sort of competition there is always some bad blood and accusations of cheating but when you add in that THE PROMOTER has put in the "and disliking the others" that's just asking for trouble between people who were once friends.

Comping used to be a friendly hobby but over the years I've seen greed get in the way of a few friendships, luckily I have some good friends and it doesn't get in the way between us no matter who wins what but the one thing we do all seem to agree on is our hatred of these comps and the feeling they create between people who were once friends.

Hopefully at some point in the very near future PR companies will stop being lazy and start judging entries again themselves or if not, make it a draw so it's fair to all the entrants :-)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Diet!

Like most of you I'm on a diet now, I started in the second week of January as I wanted to make sure as many temptations (Christmas snacks) were out of the way as possible when I began.
I decided to try the Slimfast system again, I'd done it many years ago and had had a little success with it and I am again so far and I'm really pleased, clothes are starting to fit better and I've hauled out the next size down from the airing cupboard as an incentive to get into them quicker.

So far, I've been on slimfast 4 weeks and have lost a total of 10lbs but I know I have many more left to go but as an added incentive, here's my before picture, this was actually taken on a very enjoyable evening last month when I finally got to meet up with some friends I'd met through MSE and Twitter
Yep, that's me in the red on the left, hopefully not for much longer though :-D

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Moving Day!

Well I have hunted high and low to find a way to move my blog posts from my old blog over to here and finally gave up and C&P'ed them to here instead.

I wanted to move them across to give a bit of background to me and really to add a few more posts as this place is looking very bare right now. I guess the answer is to get writing more really but I've copied a few of my reviews across anyway, sorry to those who have read them before but at least you should recognise them and know you've read them already!

I guess the main reason for me moving was that with wordpress I couldn't add some of the widgets that I wanted to have on my blog and I know I could have kept the same name but I felt a little restricted about what I posted with the name of it, now with this being my place, I get to post whatever I want to :-D

Parfums Love

Ever since I first heard I would be getting this set of perfumes I have been looking forward to them arriving as I love perfumes and collect them for both the beautiful bottles as well as the scents.

The EDT comes in some very pretty heart shaped bottles with colour coded caps matching the caps on the body fragrances. The outer packaging is fun and this matches the design on the body fragrance cans with the same name and survived being posted to me in a jiffy envelope so must be fairly robust. However, as you will notice from the photographs below the bottles are less than half the size of the boxes they come in so a bit excessive and misleading unless you are the sort of person who reads and understands volumes on perfume bottles. The EDT’s are 15ml (0.5 fl.oz) and the body sprays are 50ml (32g or 1.7 fl.oz) These perfumes retail around £3.99 and the body fragrances are £1 and they are squarely aimed at teens and tweens as can easily be seen on their website
LOST IN LOVE
The blurb on the website describes this as “The scent that allows the mystical feeling that takes you on a love filled journey. Run away and be set free with the scent that is all you and your love need.” it then goes on to describe the things you are supposed to be able to smell but on trying both the EDT and the body fragrance I have to say I really dont agree with it. The predominant smell is a very chemical one which is not very nice at all and this is followed by a very slight citrussy scent which soon vanishes again leaving behind just the chemical smell which is most unplesant but luckily doesn’t seem to last. This one really does show that most times you get what you pay for!
MY LOVE
The website defines this one as “A scent for girls who want and believe in an idyllic love and true happiness”
I found this one to be very light and fruity, you can easily smell the blackcurrent that they tell you you should be able to in both of the products but not much beside it. I would definately say that this is my favourite of the three scents that I received. It isn’t very long lasting nor very powerful but it does smell lovely and fresh.
YOU & ME
This is described as “A fruity scent, all about the two of you and nothing else matters……”
As soon as I sprayed this one I could smell the pineapple and then the mango/papaya crept in but then unfortunately so did the same chemical smell from the “Lost in Love” scent as well but it doesn’t seem to linger this time and soon it blends back to a fresh fruity scent thats really light and very pleasant.  This one actually apprears to be the most long lasting of the fragrances from the testing I have done and so if you can ignore the brief chemical taint, it’s wearable.

All in all I have to say that for the price these really aren’t that bad, well, other than the first one I mentioned anyway! They are obviously made with synthetic ingredients and very far below the level of most of the rest of my collection but 2 out of the 3 will be going in to my ones to use and the 3rd, well, the bottle’s very pretty!lol
It’s easy to see that most of the money for these products has gone into the design of the exterior, the bottles and the packaging of these very pretty items make them easy to pick up as a last minute, low cost gift. However, I think that if the same care and thought had gone into the products inside the bottles, those same girls receiving the gift would go on to re-buy this product instead of moving on to better things from other brands.

Originally posted on my other blog on August 20, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

After you by Julie Buxbaum

Most works of fiction start out in fairly normal circumstances, we get to know the characters and then something happens and we see how they deal with the aftermath of the event be it good or bad and then we leave the characters in most cases wondering how things went from there, especially if the book was so well written we came to care for the protagonists. This book is different from most because that is the point at which we join the characters.
We see the story unfold from Ellie’s point of view, as we join her she’s comforting Sophie, the eight-year-old daughter of her recently murdered best friend, Lucy. Ellie has dropped her job and the husband she’s been slowly drawing away from to go and comfort her goddaughter through this traumatic time in London, three thousand miles away from her home in Boston. As we journey through the days of trying to get life back on track, we see these two broken people bond over the reading of a childrens book, The Secret Garden.
As each persons story unfolds we learn the reason why Ellie feels so strongly that she needs to be with Sophie right now, we watch the hurt surface as she finds out Lucy had been holding back before she was taken from them about what her life in London had really been. We see Greg coming to terms with the loss of his wife and suddenly having to deal with nightmares and bedtime stories instead of his legal work and the late nights he was used to. And then there’s Sophie, already grown-up well beyond her years in so many ways and yet still so much a child who mostly doesn’t have the words to explain what she’s feeling.

There are good things that happen to those around this nebulous grouping but to tell you those would take away the joy they bring when you need them to in this sad and yet life affirming tale. The true joy of this book is in how amazingly well each character is written, there are no hero’s or heroine’s here, just real people struggling to cope in the aftermath of losing a loved one.
When I heard about this book I was intrigued by it, wondering if it was my sort of book at all as I normally read happy books or ones with mysteries that get resolved but something about it caught my attention and made me want to read it. When I began it I pushed aside all my feelings of apprehension and just concentrated on the story. I am so glad I did, it caught my imagination very quickly and soon I was involved in all of their lives, I laughed and shed a few tears as I traversed the months alongside Ellie as she tries to come to terms with everything that is happening to and around her and when I turned the last page I felt at peace. Yes, bad things do happen but they dont break us as much as we think they will when they first happen and that is the message I have taken from this book. I probably won’t read it again for a while but when times are bad, this would be a great book to read to give hope that things will get better. In my experience, then generally do, we just need something to remind us of that :) 

Originally posted on my other blog on August 18, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

Nelsons Arnicare – Bath & massage balm

I was recently sent this lovely product to test and give my views on prior to it’s launch next month and have been testing it out for the last couple of weeks and have found it to be incredibly helpful for me.
I tend to suffer with restless legs at night which leads to every few weeks I will suffer cramps in my calves waking me for a few days running. Once I received this I decided to try it out on those cramps, rubbing/massage doesn’t really help much other than to ease the current cramps and let me get back to sleep again.
I was woken earlier this week with my calf muscles cramping badly, I reached for the balm and poured a small amount into my palm and set about massaging to release the cramp and ease the ache it leaves behind. The first thing to notice is the smell, it’s faintly lavender and slightly medicinal but not unpleasantly either. I found the balm quickly warmed and was absorbed easily into my skin but still leaving me slick enough to continue rubbing. I found that my cramp eased and the aches were gone in a much quicker time than normal and after washing my hands I was quickly on my way back to sleep. Most surprising for me was that I next woke in the morning, usually I am woken several times a night with cramps once I have had them once and usually it continues on for the next 2/3 nights. The next night I thought about it and decided to try massaging the balm into my legs before going to sleep, I did and found I slept straight through, on the 3rd night (when I would usually still be being woken) I decided to not use the balm and see what happened and again I slept through with no recurrence.

I have also used the balm to ease the aches and pains associated with exercise and found it to be very effective. I pushed myself on the treadmill this week and by the end of the day one of my legs had become so sore it was painful to put weight on it. I massaged the area that was causing the pain to me and within a minute or two the pain eased right off and I was able to continue on with my day without further pain or effect from the extra exertion.
The balm may also be used in a bath and I can see it being very helpful used that way, I personally do not like baths prefering showers and when I do enjoy a bath I prefer to let the child in me loose and have bubbles rather than oils! But all in all, this is a product that I will be keeping in stock and would recommend trying especially to those who, like me, are just getting into regular exercise and suffer from the aches and pains that make it most difficult to get into a routine.
More information on this and their other products can be found on Nelson’s website alongside some fascinating information about arnica and it’s uses. 

Originally posted on my other blog on August 14, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

African Black Soap

I did a trade a few months ago with Ben & Jerry’s via a Fairtrade promotion they were running. I offered to send three of my friends a gift in return for some Shea butter and Black soap. I was lucky enough to have my bid chosen as the winning one and duly sent off gifts to 3 volunteers who in turn told Ben & Jerry’s that I had completed my side of the deal and my bid was then accepted as the winning one. It was a fun competition to take part in and I know a few of my friends were also lucky enough to have their bids accepted as well.

I was really pleased to win this prize as I’ve been using shea butter products for some time now and know how nice it makes my skin feel so I was naturally curious about the pure substance and the black soap, I’ll review the shea butter itself once I’ve tested it a bit longer and more fully but now onto my review of the soap.
The first thing I noticed was that there is no real scent to this soap, after years of using various types this came as a big surprise to me and I became a little sceptical about if I would like it as part of soap use for me has always been the smell, it’s always been how I choose which one to buy when shopping and probably the reason for how dry my hands have become! After getting over this and discovering that black soap is not actually black but more a creamy brown colour I decided to test it out and this is where I made the biggest mistake. When you buy the soap you can normally purchase it in either 100g bars or 1k blocks, mine came as bars and I assumed that is how you use it like all soaps but it isn’t! The soap becomes very soft and tacky very quickly when wet and doesn’t dry very well even in a soap dish so I waited it out till it was dry and cut it into 4 pieces which seems to be a much better way of using the bars. The bars cut very easily with a sharp knife, they are a lot softer than they appear!

Now on to using it, it’s only this year that I have returned to bars of soap after years of using handwash. I had forgotten how good it can feel to use a bar of soap, it takes the clean hand feeling to a totally different level that liquids cannot match. Well, this soap actually goes even further than that. Within a couple of rubs of the bar you have your hands full of a rich creamy lather, as you rub it around it feels more like rubbing in a hand cream than using soap, it is an experience that I found very pleasurable and after rinsing and drying my hands I found I did not need to use a hand cream, my hands felt wonderfully moisturised, very soft and smooth. I then set about thinking of a way to test it in the shower (bath would be no problem as you can just put it back on a dish when finished with to dry) The way I came up with was to pull a piece off about the size of a small grape and I pushed this into my shower puff, this worked very well and I found I had the same results again as I did with my hands, my whole body felt wonderfully clean, moisturised and cared for. I then came up with an idea!
I was sure I’d read somewhere online (I’m not sure where) that black soap is good for the hair/scalp so I decided to try it out, I still had some of the piece of of soap left in the puff so, once the puff was full of the creamy foam I rubbed it into my hair, I found it wasn’t like using shampoo, there was no instant lather and to a certain extent I couldn’t feel it on my hair at all. I rinsed off and then discovered that my hair felt much different to normal. My hair is very fine so I’m used to being able to wring it out after washing but I found I couldn’t. I thought for a minute and assumed it meant my hair must have gone really greasy from the shea butter in the soap but decided to dry it and find out for sure what had changed as I could always wash it again and I am so pleased I did! My hair wasn’t feeling strange due to greasyness, it was streange due to it being much much thicker and fuller than it has been since the disasterous bleaching attempt in the 80′s but this time it feels soft and silky and looks really healthy.

I love this product and can see myself using it for years to come, all I will say to you is, if you decide to try it, please make sure you get real African black soap and not one of the cheap imitations that are being mass produced in Europe and America! 

Originally posted on my other blog on August 10, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

Thomas Sabo Charm Bracelet

I was very lucky this week, I received an email from www.womenseverything.com informing me that I had been picked out as the winner of one of the competitions that they have recently had on their website. The prize was a Thomas Sabo pendant with a chain and charm carrier. I was delighted to hear this news as I have a Black obsidian bracelet already with a few charms so I know the quality of these pieces of jewellery.
I was even happier when the jewellers who had sponsored the competition telephoned me to tell me that unfortunately the item I had won was out of stock. They very kindly offered to let me choose anything from their website up to the same value even though it would only be out of stock for 2-3 weeks. I very gratefully took them up on their offer as I have been looking at getting one of the rose quartz bracelets for some time and through this I was able to get one as well as the two charms you can see on the image below.
I have to compliment RMA Williams on their level of service, obviously on this occasion I was not a paying customer but I couldn’t have wanted for a better experience had I been. All contact was curteous and friendly and the speed of the transaction and delivery really cannot be faulted. I really would recommend having a look at their site as they have many beautiful pieces including some of the amazing Clogau Gold!



I know, as you all do, that there are many types of charm bracelets available right now and I have both Pandora and Trollbeads bracelets in my collection as well but I really like the simplicity of the Thomas Sabo ones, yes, this type only take up to 3 charms but sometimes you don’t want to be rattling with every move you make and by only chosing a couple of charms each time, it is so much easier to tailor to your mood or outfit for the day.
The detail included on the charms themselves is outstanding, the guitar you can see in my image is 2cm but it is so detailed that you can make out the strings and individual tuners even the knobs on the body!
Sometimes we have to understand that less is more and with a Thomas Sabo Charm bracelet, this definitely is the case. 

Originally posted on my other blog on May 14, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

Forbidden Pleasures by Jo Rees


This book tells the stories of two very different women over a period of five years. Their lives to the point they first meet couldn’t be much different! Savannah is the heiress who has everything except that which she wants and needs most. Lois: the ex-cop who’s always worked hard for everything she ever had only to have it taken from her. This story follows the characters as they learn and grow from the choices they made before the book was set and from those they are forced into making as we travel with them. We share the highs and lows that life throws at them both as they struggle against their own personal demons. 




Set mostly in Las Vegas but with visits to other mostly glittering locations around the world this is the story of how they first meet and of their lives as they flow in a similar direction until the end, which is actually where the book introduces us to them. Forbidden Pleasures starts at an awards ceremony where both women are vying for the same coveted prize and contemplating the mysterious (to this point) circumstances which lead to them both being there. We then travel back five years to the night they first met and to the dramatic events which shape this tale. Both women face and fight one of their darkest fears on this night, how each approaches this and how they survive the aftermath of their actions makes for a totally engrossing read.
When I first received Forbidden Pleasures, I had an idea of the type of read it would turn out to be from the cover art and comments. I have to admit to being very pleasantly surprised by it! I was expecting the usual easy to read summer story of lust and glitz, what I actually found was an incredibly well written, absorbing read which captured my attention and even threw in a few shocking moments that were not immediately obvious that they were about to happen. The characters are so well written that while we might not immediately sympathise with them, we can understand them and how they have evolved into who they are as the story starts to unfold.
This is a perfect book to take on holiday with you, but just remember to set an alarm to re-apply your sun cream as this is a real delight to read, it will grip you and not let go until you reach the end! There are a couple of ‘WOW’ moments hidden in here, where things happen that were totally unexpected but after you’ve read you can see the pointers that lead up to it, all I could do after I read them was to put the book down and stare into space re-thinking what I’d just read an imagining what my own reactions in those situations might have been before continuing on and finding out how those involved reacted themselves.

All in all I have to say this is one of the best books I have read this year. The roller-coaster ride that’s set in motion and which we ride alongside the characters is brought to a wonderful conclusion that doesn’t disappoint. It really is a must read book for this summer and I shall certainly be reading it again before too long!

Originally posted on my other blog on May 13, 2010 moved here on Feb 6th 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Stopping the slowdown!

For the last few weeks I've noticed that after I've had FireFox open for a couple of hours or been through a few different sites it really slowed down a lot and became very unresponsive. I'd tried loads of things to figure out what was going wrong but ended up putting the difficulties down to the line speed (well, it is BT!lol)

Today something strange happened, I had a message flash up telling me that jqsnotify.exe had crashed, well, I really wasn't sure what that was so I went off to investigate and found that it relates to Java Quick Start. I then noticed that FireFox had sped up after the crash and so I did a little more digging and found people complaining about it slowing their machines down. The next thing I did was to find out how to turn it off (Control Panel --- Java ---- Advanced Tab --- Miscellaneous --- turn the tick off) and have been amazed at how much faster FireFox has been running for me! I'm not sure how/when this got on the PC,. probably a few weeks ago when I did a round of upgrading all the software we use but I'm so pleased I've found it and turned it off. We don't use java that often here so the benefits of turning this off are huge to us :-D

Friday, 4 February 2011

Why we stalk the postie!

I know stalking someone sounds like a bad idea but when you enter competitions its a part of your day when you're at home, keeping an eye out for him, knowing his routine and hoping each day that he will bring you a lovely surprise!
Today I have a prime example of why we do this, for the third time in 4 years of comping I had a sackfull delivered:

 Unfortunately this time only the 3 on the right are for me, the others are for Dave from Amazon but it was still so exciting seeing that pink sack make it's way to the door even though I did suspect what it might contain!lol

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A New Start

Thank you for coming to see my new blog, I've had a few issues with my other one with it not being able to do what I wanted to do with it and so I'm going to try this one out for a while now and hopefully things will go better for it and for me!

To start my new blog, I'm posting a request for help for someone, I hope that my readers (new and old) wont mind this since it is in such a good cause :-)

On the 17th April next year Dave’s Sister (Claire) will be running the Virgin London Marathon in aid of Children with Leukaemia and she needs sponsors for this. She needs to raise £2,000 by then and I’m really hoping that my readers will help since it’s such a worthwhile cause, if you cant donate yourself would you please help to spread the word around and get her some sponsors instead?

To sponsor Claire please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireJJones and please share this link yourself, lets get her all the sponsors we can!

Thanks for reading, and for any help you give!