Rugs from Carpetright

I spent about three months looking for a new lounge rug , and bought one about a month ago.  Then I had an email from Carpetright asking me if I’d like to review their new range of rugs, I didn’t know they did rugs and it never occurred to me that they would!.

I have bit of a soft spot for Carpetright, all the carpets from our first two houses came from them and they are cheap and hard wearing. So I was quite interested to see what they had one offer as finding a nice stylish rugs is much harder than you’d think, especially having wasted hours looking for one!  I was sent a pretty decent selection to choose from and I went with the charcoal patterned rug.

Yes I know this pattern is everywhere in the American blogs, but it’s next to impossible to get it here and I’d loved it for ages.

The rug looks nice in my lounge, but is a smidge too small.  I’m just making over the office and I’ll think it’ll look good in there, it’s lovely and thick so should be good to keep the room warm in the colder months.  But I’m super pleased with it, I look forward to seeing what other rugs will be on offer in the coming months.

 

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Review: Flamingo Gifts

I’m still slaving over making the office back into a bedroom. In the middle of the book sorting madness (SEVEN bin bags went to charity!) I had an email from Flamingo Gifts asking if I’d like to try any of the items on their website. Yes I would! I really needed a nice little present to cheer me up..this job is never ending.

Miss L has been having some horrible (hormone related) nightmares of late so I picked a Gummy Bear nightlight hoping that it’d be of help and it was super cute.

I chose for me a horses head squirrel feeder. We’ve only recently started getting squirrels in the garden so I thought it’d be nice to encourage them. Also because I am basically a small child, I thought it was hilarious!. But I’m sure they’ll enjoy the nuts I’ve put in there once they figure it out.  I gave the last choice to Miss L and she choose a hand held old school mirror. I swear she’s been watching way too many Disney movies of late. It’s now living on her desk, so it’s getting lots of use, I suspect trying to sneak on makeup is coming soon.

They turned up the next day and we’ve been enjoying them ever since. The Gummy Bear nightlight has been a god send, it’s the right level of light and not on all night as there is a little switch at the bottom you can flick to give it a timer,  so it’s not eating the batteries by being on all the time.  Also you squeeze it’s tummy to turn it on which just makes it way too much fun too use! 

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Gummy Bear Lamp

Thanks so much Flamingo Gifts! You brightened my week!  Go check them out some interesting gifts 🙂

**Full disclosure I relieved the above goods for this review**

 

 

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Upcycling Garden Furniture with Farrow & Ball Paint

Farrow and Ball wanted to know if I’d like to upcycle piece of garden furniture with their exterior paint – OF COURSE!!!

I love Farrow and Ball a little too much, as pretty much the interior of my house is painted in it, Wimborne White is everywhere!. But I’ve never used the exterior paint or primers, so I was excited to be able to try them out.

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I have an ancient Ikea table kicking around in the shed, which has seen better days and we tend to use it for putting BBQ plates and food waiting to be cooked. But it’s really old and is now impossible to clean which isn’t great for BBQ’s. That seemed like the ideal candidate for a makeover.

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I chose Teresa’s Green, which I thought would be a medium duck egg blue which would tie in with the other colours in my garden, yeah it’s not at all.  It’s a beautiful delicate, pale duck egg blue – oops!  But it meant I also chose the wrong primer colour, I should have gone with the one for pale colours and not the dark colours, turns out it didn’t matter that much.

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I didn’t do much (read any!) prep on it, other than brush off some spider webs and stand it up. I then painted it with the Dark Primer – which is a really nice colour, it’s a dark grey which actually looks lovely.  It took me 20 minutes to paint the primer on and I left it while I did the school run to dry in the sun.

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When we got back we sat out in the sunshine and painted on the Teresa’s Green, it actually covered the primer well which was a surprise as it was so pale. It dries really quickly in the sun and I managed to get a second coat on before sundown and left it to try overnight.  That was two days ago and it’s been sitting outside in the autumn elements and this morning it absolutely poured down on it when I left the house. I came home this afternoon and it’s still looks perfect!  According to the can it should last for 6 years, so that’s that table done for a long time.

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I’m so pleased with it, and although I can’t use the left over paint for my laundry door, as it’s too pale for the house. I’m going to use it for my dining room chairs as it’s the perfect pale colour to go with my newly Wimborne White dining room.  Which gives me the excuse to try a new colour on the laundry room door…hmmm which colour..I really like that dark grey!

***Full disclosure – This feature/challenge is brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball***

 

 

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{Review} Homebase Soft Furnishings

Homebase asked me if I’d like to try their new soft furnishing range. Originally it was supposed to be a rug, but it turned out that my local store didn’t sell them. So I changed to cushions – which is a good thing! I made a massive decorating error a couple of years ago when we got the new sofa’s.  They are dark grey, it was December and I went mad with festive red. We have a red rug (which I now hate!) and lots of red cushions. It looks amazing in November/December, pretty much looks ridiculous the rest of the year, it’s like the ‘Home Alone’ lounge! I have regretted it ever since, so I was quite pleased to be asked to review cushions. IMG_3071 My ‘local’ Homebase is 15 miles away from my house so it’s not somewhere I pop to on a regular basis. So I was quite surprised when I visited to see it had been made over and is now a very lovely Homebase ‘Design’ Centre. The difference is amazing, it’s gone from looking like somewhere my Dad would love to shop, to somewhere I can browse, rather than rush in buy paint and leave. it’s now full of decorating ideas and helpful staff who can advise on pretty much anything. As a result of the changes, there is now a small home furnishing section which has some cute shabby chic inspired cushions (the knitted ones are fab!) and picture frames, vases and candles (LOVE the owl candles there!) and there is also now a mini Habitat which is now part of the Homebase/Argos group. IMG_3073 They had the loveliest grey cushions, so I snapped up the super cute owl cushion which has enough red in it to go with my other cushions but grey enough to tone down the other red cushions, and a lush silver grey velvet cushion. They’re lovely and the sofa now looks a lot less ‘red’ and festive. IMG_3078 I’m really pleased with them, the lounge still looks snuggly but less…well red!  Thanks Homebase! **Full Disclosure: I received £60 of Homebase vouchers in order to review these cushions**

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{Review} The Fine Bedding Company

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The Fine Bedding Company asked me if I’d like to try one of their duvets. Couldn’t come a moment too soon, ours was on its last legs and was impossible to wash, so I jumped at the chance.

We have a Super King Sized bed, we bought it when Miss L was a toddler purely so we could all get some sleep. But it has made buying bed linen and more importantly a duvet to actually fit the bed.  I’ve had, I think three duvets since we got the bed and although they said they were Super King…well they were lying! They tend to fit the bed exactly with no overlap, that might have caused a few arguments about duvet hogging over the years!

The duvet they sent me was a Spundown washable (yay!) synthetic, 10.5 tog, allergy proof one. The packaging was lovely, nice big zip-able bag. You know me I’m a sucker for nice packaging 🙂  The duvet itself is MASSIVE and is a proper Super King sized, even fits our duvet cover which hasn’t happened before. There’s a great overhang now all over the bed – my husband is a happy man!

My one misgiving when I opened the package was it’s a 10.5 tog and normally because our bedroom is on the cold side we have a 13.5 tog. You know what, it’s made no difference, this is much warmer than our old duvet and I’ve needed a hot water not to once this week.  I’m looking forward to washing it in the spring, I don’t think that it’ll fit in our washing maching but at least it’s washable and I can take it down the launderette. Also the bag it came in was so nice I’ve put our spare guest double duvet in it to store it. Win/win!

So a big hit with us, it’s on their website for £80 at 10.5 tog for a Super King, which considering what we’ve paid before is pretty reasonable.

***Full disclosure  I received a duvet for this review****

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{Book Review} Beginner’s Guide to Reading Music

Let me preface this with, I literally don’t know a thing about reading music. At my 1970’s  junior school we were only taught the triangle. In my secondary school there was a music block mostly there for impressing parents, but you weren’t allowed to use it unless you had out of school music lessons and could be trusted. That pretty much ruled my friends and I out of going anywhere near it!

So when Miss L came home from her new school last year, telling me about her ‘Theory of Music’ lessons and Band Classes, I was made up for her. In September she’ll start learning the Cello and it’s dawned on me that she might actually have some music homework and need support at home for learning music, not something at the moment we can really provide!

At the begining of the summer holidays Flame Tree Publishing offered to send me Beginner’s Guide to Reading Music, so I jumped at it, because I will actually have to learn some of this alongside Miss L.  It seems to me with my albeit limited knowledge a comprehensive, well illustrated beginners book which explains what all those funny squiggles are. I now know what all the types of Clef are *proud face*.  If you’re one of those people who actually know a Clef from your elbow, you can look inside the book on Amazon and it’ll give you an idea of what it’s like.

Miss L and I have had a look through it, and she already understood a lot of the early basics in the book. But as the book goes on it builds on the basics, and gives you lots of diagrams to tie in where the music is on the page to where you’d need to place your fingers on an instrument – this is going to come in very handy!  I do think you need an instrument to use with this, or at the very least a piece of software like Garage Band to simulate having an instrument, to help with the exercises.  But it’s a good starters reference guide and I suspect we will be using it a lot in the coming weeks.

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{Review} Clarks Shoe Shop

Now I get offered all sorts of weird and wonderful things to review on Violet Posy, but occasionally I get a product I can’t refuse because I love what they sell. Last month Clarks asked me if I wanted to review their school shoes and they would pay for them so I thought why not?

I wore Clarks shoes as a kid, Mum and I would have knock down, drag out, screaming matches in Stead and Simpsons as to what my school shoes would be. It’s only as I head towards 40 without bunions and perfect feet that I can thank my mother. She made me wear them until I was 15 – oh yes you can imagine the shame – 80’s wedge heal anyone?. Thankfully they are now far more stylish and even my little fashionista will wear them without complaint, and trust me that doesn’t happen often!.

I normally get Miss L’s school shoes from our local independent shoe shop which is excellent and there is always a choice of Clarks or Start Right. The ladies in there have known her since she was a baby and they are excellent at measuring and getting just the right shoe, but it can be bit of a bun fight at ‘Back to School’ time.

We went to the Store in Bury St Edmunds which is about a 45 minute drive from ours, for about 9.30am as we walked in we were greeted by the manager who gave Miss L a 3D mini magazine (with glasses) to keep her occupied and me a number to wait in line. He wasn’t expecting us and looked a bit blank when I told him why I was there, but fair enough I had a voucher so I wasn’t that bothered. The magazine came in handy while we were waiting to be served and we only had to wait a few minutes before the fun began.

They had a fancy machine to measure her feet rather than the plastic ‘foot’ and measuring tape we’re used to, it said her feet were just over size 1.5 and nearer a 2. So the nice fitter, asked me what kind of shoes we wanted and listened to the fact that I didn’t want any with dolls in, the one and only pair we’d ever had last Easter didn’t even make it to half term, the inner soles disintegrated – I wasn’t best pleased!

He came back with 3 pairs for Miss L to choose from, all of which were suitable for school and she chose a cute pair which should last into November/December when no doubt her feet have grown again. As she’d gone up a full size, I also asked for some trainers (which were on special offer £5 off) and he duly listened to what I wanted and bought me back the right thing, her school are incredibly picky about them being white or blue . It was very sweet as he was fitting Miss L he was asking her about school and she was giving him a full rundown of everyone in her class LOL! Thankfully were were done in record time, and could get out of the shop which was by now really busy.

The shoes and the trainers came to £57.00 (I had a £50 voucher and I paid the £7.00), which was less than I usually spend as the trainers were on offer. We had a great experience and it wasn’t anything like as stressful as some school shoe shopping trips I’ve been on. Most importantly Miss L loves her new shoes to death – thank you Clarks!

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{Mini Review} Feather and Black

Feather and Black sent me some Pajamas for Miss L to try as they have just launched a new kids range.   Miss L’s just gone into age 9-10 clothes despite being only just 8 (tall like her daddy!) and finding appropriate clothes for her age in that size is getting harder and in some shops.  She’s still of an age where she wants snuggly PJ’s and nighties which are pretty – not the easiest thing to find anymore I’ve discovered!

So Feather and Black asked her to choose a pair from their new range of girls pajamas and she chose the Lola Pajamas which in her size are £20 and £19 for younger sizes.

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I liked them, they are of similar quality to White Company and Boden PJ’s and at the same price point.  I think unless she has another massive growth spurt (please no!) we should have about a year’s wear out of them which is what we normally get from White Company and Boden. I’ve washed them 3 times so far – seriously if there’s tea or jam about that child can get it all on PJ’s! – and they have come up just fine each time, even on a 60 degree boil wash.  They are a little more modern and less ‘little girly’ which Miss L liked, but they have a nice selection so check out their range for boys and girls here

 

 

 

 

 

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Respect Organics Cake Review

I get sent a lot of PR requests and I turn most of them down I tend to only go with ones from companies I’d actually ever use. Also most of them are baby related, trying to get a 7 year old into a baby buggy to test it really isn’t that easy 😉  But how could I turn down reviewing cake? Especially when three of them Carrot, Banana and Ginger are Dairy free and all of them are organic?

Respect Organics sent me 4 of their cakes, Chocolate, Carrot, Banana and Ginger Crush – you should have seen my face when the courier delivered them, there may have been a happy dance thrown in!

Paul and I dived into the Ginger Crush cake first as it was a work coffee break  – light and moist it was lovely, the only bit neither of us were that keen on was the actual bits of stem ginger in it as neither of us are ginger fans. So I’ll give it a 4/5 because of the stem ginger but that is a personal like or dislike.

Up next was the chocolate cake which was an afterschool treat for Miss L (and me!). It’s a beautiful moist cake with a deep layer of chocolate frosting.  I really liked it, but I think it’s a ‘grown’ up chocolate cake as Miss L thought the frosting was a bit too much – I’ve never seen frosting beat her! 🙂  But she ate all the sponge and asked for seconds so it must have been ok!  4/5 from me and a 3/5 from Miss L.

We left it a few days to try the Banana Cake and the Carrot Cake as we were a bit caked out for a few days as there’s only the three of us.  But the Banana Cake was a handy ‘Elevenies’ on Friday – light moist and just delightful. I’m a big Banana cake fan and this was my favourite.  Ummm I might not have shared this one with the rest of the family, and it’s still in hiding waiting to be finishes – 5/5 from me!

The Carrot Cake I’m saving for Easter Sunday to take to my Mum’s and share with the rest of the family.  It’s my Mum’s best friends birthday and she adores Carrot Cake so I’m going to use it as her Birthday cake.  If it’s anything like the Chocolate Cake – she is going to be a happy woman.  When we’ve tried it, I’ll update this post and give it, it’s rating.

All in all it was a lovely experience and I’d like to thank Respect Organics for sending us such beautiful cakes to try out.

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Up Review *Small Spoilers*

I’ve been made a ‘Disney Blu-Ray Ambassador’ which basically means that every now and again Disney will send me Blu-Ray DVD’s to review – hard life eh?  I love Disney movies and one of the joys of being a parent is getting to make popcorn, and snuggle on the sofa to watch movies together – love it!

So this week I received ‘Up’ which we missed at the cinema entirely, so I was made up to have it on Blu-ray to watch.  My favourite thing about Disney movies is that they bundle the new Blu-Ray format in with a DVD as well – so if you have 2 different players say a Blu-Ray in the lounge and a DVD in the playroom/bedroom it can be watched on both machines.

But back to ‘Up’, it’s the story of Carl a retired Balloon seller.  The story tracks Carl from his childhood when he meets his future wife Ellie, through their lives together living in the same house that they played in together as children.  The first 15 minutes of the film is single handed the most poignant, moving piece of animation I’ve ever seen.  I sat there and sobbed my eyes out while my ever cynical 7 year old told me to ‘pull yourself together woman!’  Kids eh! But there is lots in the film for the kids to love, Russell the Wilderness Scout who’s never been further than his garden, Kevin the bird and Dug the dog are hilarious for the kids.

Without telling you the whole story and thereby spoiling it, it’s one of the best Disney/Pixar films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s touching funny, and the animation looks just amazing in the Blu-Ray format.  The extra’s on the Blu-Ray are really good as well, there are a few short movies, some games and a very interesting ‘making of’ I love that the animators visited some South American jungle to get the look of the movie right – you can see it all over the movie.

Here’s what Miss L thought about it:

‘I like the bit where he keeps on shutting the door on Russ, it was very funny.  When Dug the dog talks and the Dug’s Mission extra DVD bit.’

So all in all the film and the extras on the Blu-ray get 10/10 from the VioletPosy Household!

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