Review: TINCTURE Cleaning Products

If you hate cleaning as much as I do, you’re always on the lookout for products which are not only effective but actually make the chore a little more enjoyable.

I was recently sent three products from the TINCTURE cleaning products range, the brainchild of sisters Angelika and Anastasia who created the range after searching everywhere for high-performance, non-toxic cleaning and lifestyle products safe enough to use around children and pets.

They also wanted products that wouldn’t exacerbate common conditions such as eczema or asthma.

Tincture cleaning products

After international careers in business and the fragrance industry, the sisters created their own, all-natural cleaning product range, aiming to create home cleaning closer to a spa experience than the more mundane task it usually is.

All the products incorporate silver technology into the formulations as well as the bottle material to ensure that the packaging stays bacteria-free.  Silver technology has been used for quite a while in the medical sector but TINCTURE is the first to use it in household cleaning products.

Their formulations include herbs and plants renowned for their antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, detoxifying and soothing properties.

You’ll find no Bisphenol, Phthalates, Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Benzyl Alcohol. The products are made in the UK and are cruelty-free.

The range is quite comprehensive and includes everything from bathroom, glass and mirror, all-purpose and washing-up products to a hand wash and hand lotion.  Products are sold separately, in combinations or in starter sets. There are also cleaning and bathroom accessories and gift packs.  Prices range from £7.50 for individual cleaning products up to  £20.00 for the hand lotion.

The products I tried were:-

  • Iona Room TINCTURE
  • Furniture TINCTURE
  • Floor Concentrate TINCTURE

Iona Room TINCTURE

A room spray to instantly refresh your home.  Active oils include Clary Sage, Rosemary and Clove.  Removes odours and restores wellbeing.

This is a pump-action room fragrance spray which adds a subtle, fresh fragrance to a room.  In fact, it reminded me of walking into a stately home!

We loved the fragrance but I have reservations about the non-aerosol pump (which you would expect to find in an environmentally friendly product) because directing the spray and controlling the volume is tricky.

That aside, there is certainly none of the unpleasant chemical smell lots of room sprays leave behind.

Tincture cleaning products - Iona room Tincture bottle

Furniture TINCTURE

This nourishing spray adds shine to all wooden surfaces.  Enriched with Beeswax, Benzoin Resin and Cedar Wood.

This was my favourite of the three products I tried.  Again, it has a subtle, lingering fragrance and it sunk quickly into our wooden mantlepiece without leaving any staining or dampness.  I would have preferred a slightly richer formulation but this wouldn’t work as well in a spray bottle.

Tincture Cleaning Products - Furniture Tincture

Floor Concentrate TINCTURE

A concentrated formula to clean and nourish all floors.  Enriched with the active oils of Patchouli, Cedar and Fir Needles to protect and enhance vitality.

Supplied in a flip-top bottle, I found this a pleasantly scented and effective floor cleaner.  I think clearer instructions need to be included on the bottle as there were no directions as to how much to use.  I just squirted a decent amount into my floor bucket but it cut through grime quickly and easily.

Whilst I love the ethos behind TINCTURE cleaning products and the spa-like look of the product bottles, I’m not sure these work so well for cleaning products you use every day.

TINCTURE cleaning products would undoubtedly make a beautiful and thoughtful gift but their price point demands more robust packaging and clearer instructions.

Find out more about the full TINCTURE range and order online at tincturelondon.com.

Review: Eye & Lip Power From Fitzjohn Skin Care

As your skin matures, and particularly around the time of the menopause, you find yourself constantly searching for that one eye cream that will halt the progress of those annoying fine lines (does nobody say crows’ feet anymore?).  And, as a long-term glasses wearer, I’ve often suspected that we are more prone to sun-related skin damage due to the concentration of the sun’s rays through our lenses.

More than any other product, I think a decent eye cream is the Holy Grail of lots of mature women’s skincare routines.  And I’ve tried quite a few.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power

Eye & Lip Power from Fitzjohn Skin Care

Let’s be honest here.  The only thing that truly removes lines and wrinkles is botox or even more invasive surgery and that really isn’t for me.

But if you can find a great cream that moisturises and hydrates over a decent number of hours, that isn’t too fragranced or heavy and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag then you’re on to a winner.

It goes without saying, too, that you don’t want a product chock full of chemical nasties nor one that is tested on animals.  It’s 2018 for heaven’s sake, surely there’s no excuse for animal testing.

I was recently sent Eye & Lip Power from Fitzjohn Skin Care.  They’re a British brand whose products contain award-winning formulations using high quality, nutrient-rich botanicals, the latest plant ingredients and essential oils.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power container with lid off

Their ingredients are ethically sourced, many of them organic and, they say, “free from slaughterhouse derivatives, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, silicones, plastic microbeads, parabens and animal testing” – practically every skincare nasty you can think of.

The range encompasses treatment products, like Eye & Lip Power, daily essentials like their Luxury Hydrating Facial Moisturiser and hand and body care, with products like Golden Body Oil and Decadent Body Butter Cream.

The packaging is divine.  Gold containers inscribed with white and purple make the products stand out on your dressing table. I find lots of the premium-priced skincare products have a clinical feel when it comes to packaging and it’s nice to be able to add a little glamour to your dressing table or bathroom shelf.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - the entire range

The product I was sent to try, Eye & Lip Power is designed to keep the eye and lip contours soft, hydrated and smooth.  It contains Lupine Peptides (for anti-ageing), organic Sea Buckthorn, vitamins and omegas.

Eye & Lip Power is a light textured gel creme dispensed via a pump-action vial and I found it to be quickly absorbed with no irritation to the delicate eye area. I think the idea of a product that treats eyes and lips is a great one.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power gel cream on finger

It isn’t a lip balm though, so you just apply it to the area around your lips and it’s great for those annoying little lip to nose lines where lipstick tends to ‘bleed’.

I actually found that the skin around my eyes, in particular, felt a little tighter after application.

What impresses me most of all is that Eye & Lip Power is still there in the morning when you cleanse.  It is almost as if it has created a protective veil.

At £46.00 for 15ml, I think it is a premium product at a reasonable price point.  It suits all skin types too, as do many of the other products in the range.

It’s great to discover a new British brand which offers an effective natural skincare alternative to all those other products chock full of manufactured ingredients.

For great advice on skincare, check out my review of Caroline Hirons’ Skincare Bible.

 

Review: Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll With Cocoa Bronzer

When I was young, I used to love Sindy, Pippa, Action Girl and, as a toddler, Tiny Tears.  But in those days, a doll was just a doll.  You could dress them up and, in my case, cut their hair off (yes I did) but that was it.

As you know, we are big fans of the Project Mc2 range of toys which combine fun toys with an educational element and we were recently sent a Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll with a cocoa bronzer experiment to try.

Caitlin with the Project Mcs McKeyla McAlister doll

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

If you caught our review of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse, you’ll know that we are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 and are really enjoying the growth in interest in STEM-based projects for kids and the recognition that science is for everyone, not just boys.

Caitlin with unboxed Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) is all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).

Heroine McKeyla McAlister and her friends work for a secret government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”) and they protect the world using their science and technology skills.

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll comes with a burgundy moto-style jacket with faux fur shoulders, a sequin dress and signature plaid shirt tied around her waist.  This is a rock band outfit which both Caitlin and I agreed we would wear.

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll - wardrobe detail

She’s one of a range of well made and attractive dolls which come with their own scientific experiment.  For example, there’s the Adrienne doll which comes with a perfume experiment, Camryn with her skateboard, Bryden with her glow stick and Devon with puffy paint.  Check out some of the other Project Mc2 dolls here.

The Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister doll is fully articulated (knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck) with glossy brown hair, glass eyes and eyelashes. She’s a decent size too, measuring in at around 30 cm.

She comes with a ‘make your own bronzer’ kit – you get a compact with a lid and a sponge applicator.  You need to supply your own coconut oil, cocoa powder and nutmeg, plus some surgical spirit for a quick clean of the compact.  We skipped this bit as I’ve read that surgical spirit can be irritating to some skins.

All you need to do is mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder and melt is for 15 seconds in a microwave.  Add a dash of nutmeg then mix and fill the compact 3/4 full.  Pop into the fridge for 15 minutes and hey presto, your own bronzer with no chemical nasties.

I was a little sceptical but actually, it gives quite a good colour and is certainly safer for Caitlin’s skin than some of the other kiddy make-up compacts you get attached to magazines these days.

The only downside is that in this hot weather you might need to keep it in the fridge because the coconut oil soon becomes liquid again.

The manufacturers suggest that the age range for this doll is 6+ which I think is about right.  I would say 8-9 is probably the top end of the age range these dolls would appeal too as, at nearly 11, Caitlin has almost outgrown dolls.  Kids these days are so sophisticated, aren’t they and the inclusion of an experiment with each one is a neat idea to keep their interest.

Other Project Mc2 dolls are available from Amazon, Argos and Tescos.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 Reviews

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic (Spy) Journal

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Review: Personalised Keepsake Photo Box From Lily O’Brien’s

It’s always nice to say thank you with some chocolates, isn’t it?  We were recently invited to take part in the Nominate A Friend campaign hosted by chocolatiers Lily O’Brien’s.  The idea behind the campaign was to express your love and gratitude to one of your favourite people with a gorgeous box of personalised chocolates, made, of course, by Lily O Brien’s.

I chose my dad, not least to say thank you for everything he has done for me, but particularly to thank him for the 24/7 care he takes looking after my mum who has a number of health issues.  At 78 and with one or two health problems himself, that’s no mean feat.

He is also a fantastic grandpa (or Taid as we say in Wales) to Caitlin and Ieuan and, whether it’s teaching them to play the piano, paint, draw, make bread and muffins or just play hide ‘n’ seek, he always makes time to spend with them.

So many of us rely on our parents to help with childcare and you could argue that many grandparents are unsung heroes when it comes to offering time and support long after they probably hoped that they could put their feet up!

Dad’s box of chocolates arrived with one of his favourite photos on the top – with Caitlin and Ieuan of course – and the Keepsake Photo Box contains a generous selection of 60 chocolates from Lily O’Brien’s new Elite Collection.

Inside there’s find Zesty Orange Chocolate, Key Lime Pie, Himalayan Salted Caramel, Sticky Toffee, Death by Chocolate, Le Crunch Chocolat, Honeycomb, Almond Crunch, Espresso and Marbellini.

Obviously, we had to help dad out with some of them – particularly the Himalayan Salted Caramel and Key Lime Pie!

If you would like to order your own box,  all you have to do is visit the website, upload your favourite image and Lily O’Brien’s will frame it on the lid for you and deliver it to your loved one. You’ll find a number of other personalised boxes with various layouts to choose from.

With the end of term approaching, this would be a lovely teacher’s gift which could be shared out in the staffroom.  I’m told shareable gifts are the most popular!

We thought the quality of the box, both in terms of contents and presentation was great and it made a really lovely surprise for dad.

Review: Two Great New Games From The Makers of Rubik’s Cube

The Rubik’s Cube has been with us forever (well since the 1980s) and I still haven’t mastered it but now, happily, this May sees the launch of two new games from John Adams Leisure, the makers of the original Rubik’s Cube. There’s “Flip”, a tile-based strategy game and “Battle”, a quick-thinking card game based on the Rubik’s cube colours.

Since we are on holiday in Devon and there have been one or two drizzly days, these have both come in very handy when even boredom with the iPad sets in.  It’s a rare event, granted, but it does happen occasionally.

Two great new games from Rubik’s

Rubik’s Flip

Rubik’s Flip is the fast-moving strategy game for 2 with only 8 moves per player! Place a tile into the grid then flip one of your opponent’s. It sounds simple but is a challenge to master. The winner is the first player to place 3 tiles of the same colour in a row that cannot be flipped.

Caitlin loved playing this one with her dad and was a very worthy opponent.  You do need to use quite a bit of strategic thinking for this game which is not dissimilar to noughts and crosses but with far more potential to outwit your opponent without them even noticing.

Rubik’s Battle Card Game

Rubik’s Battle Card Game is a quick-thinking, fast-action card game for 2-6 players. Deal out the cards and each player flips over their top card. Be first to spot a unique colour match and win the cards. Collect all the Battle cards to win!

This one is similar to Snap but you have to spot which colour is missing from your opponents’ cards or pick out a unique colour and that can make you go a little cross-eyed if you’re not at full mental sharpness.  (Comes with the territory when you’re a parent!)

Both games are suitable for the 7+ age group but work best, we found when played as a family as younger children may need a bit of help.

We thought both games were excellent value for money and ideal for adding to your suitcase for holidays and weekends away.  Great fun for adults too.

Rubik’s Flip and Battle Card Games are available in all good toy shops and from amazon.co.uk.

*We were sent PR samples for the purpose of this post which contains affiliate links.

Review: Personalised Letterbox Cake From bakerdays Cakes

A while ago I reviewed bakerdays Cakes on the occasion of Ieuan’s 4th birthday and, since that time, the company has gone from strength to strength.  When they asked me if I would like to review one of their personalised letterbox cakes once more, I was only too pleased to do so.

Bakerdays cakes - Father's Day Cake in its tin

If you’re not familiar with bakerdays, they are artisan bakers and creators of a clever range of personalised, quality celebration cakes for almost any occasion you can think of – teachers’ gifts, Father’s Day, birthdays or just to say hello.

bakerdays produce round cakes which come in 4 sizes, from the 3-4 portion letterbox cake up to the large 55 portion party cake. Simple to order, prices start from £14.99 and if you order before 2 pm your cake can be delivered the next day virtually anywhere in the UK. (Cakes ordered over the weekend will be delivered on Tuesday).

Choose your size, flavour and add your special message from the wide range of designs. Best of all, cakes can be personalised using photographs supplied by you.

Bakerdays Cakes - delivery tin and gift card

Your cake will be delivered in a cute airtight tin with a gift card

The letterbox cake which we tried, came neatly packaged in an airtight tin, together with a gift tag. It is a 5-inch cake, big enough for 3-4 modest portions (although I could happily have eaten the lot myself), and the cake we were sent was a traditional sponge cake covered in delicious fondant icing.

You can also choose to have a lemon drizzle, half chocolate half sponge, chocolate chip, gluten and wheat free or dairy free cake.

Bakerdays Cakes - Mat, Caitlin and Ieuan with the Father's Day cake

The design we chose was from the Father’s Day selection – the ‘Love You To The Moon And Back’ cake and we all thought it was pretty cute. You can upload your own photos though to personalise your cake.  Just upload a JPEG and use the editing tool to get your photo exactly as you want it.

bakerdays pride themselves on hand-making their cakes with natural ingredients and no preservatives and you can also order personalised cupcakes and balloons. Have a look at their website to see how easy it is to create a unique cake for your preferred design.

The letterbox size cakes are ideal to let someone special know you are thinking of them and, of course, there are much bigger cakes available if you are throwing a party.

Ours was demolished in no time at all and the traditional sponge was quite dense, just sweet enough and had a lovely buttercream on the bottom. Delicious.

Review: JoJo Siwa Hair Brush Collection From Hair Secretz

In case you’re not up with the current YouTubers your kids adore, JoJo Siwa is an American YouTube superstar, who has amassed over 6 million subscribers on her channel. She even racked up over 500m views on one music video alone.

JoJo Brushes - Caitlin wearing her JoJo Bow

JoJo Brushes - Pink and Blue brush with Caitlin's blue JoJo Bow

And if your daughter is anything like Caitlin, they’ll have a drawer full of JoJo bows to add colour and glitz to their look.

Now JoJo fans can brush their hair till it is as sleek and shiny as JoJo’s because HairSecretz has partnered with Nickelodeon to release the JoJo Siwa hair brush collection.

[amazon_link asins=’B075754RN2,B0754M8CQN,B07573RQSR,B07572L5N8,B07C472DSS,B07BN3D84T,B07572NM3Y,B077GXCN1Z’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’mothedistr-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’4250601c-e5f2-11e8-acc3-29ca0bdd9906′]

JoJo Brushes are unique with an ergonomic shape, innovative storage for hair clips inside the brush and dual-sided bristles; one side has bristles to detangle and to easily get rid of knots with the other side acting as a styling brush.

JoJo brushes - Caitlin using the pink JoJo Brush

The detangling side has three different heights of bristle which allow the brush to glide through hair in seconds. It’s a quick and painless way to get rid of hair whilst minimising damage and hair loss.

JoJo Brushes - pink

Once hair is detangled, the bristles can be switched using the tabs at either end – the entire brush easily flips around and clips back into place. The styling side of the brush leaves hair silky smooth in a flash.

JoJo Brushes - Caitlin showing the detangling side of the brush

JoJo Brushes - Caitlin showing the secret compartment in the brush

JoJo Brushes come in 5 colours, Pink – Sweet Life, Purple – Super Cute, Blue – Dream Crazy Big, White – Hearts & Bows, Gold – Eat, Dance, Sleep.

JoJo Brushes - blue

We were sent Pink – Sweet Life and Blue – Dream Crazy and I found the brushes sturdily made and a decent size so that they sit nicely in your palm.  The flip-over bristles idea is fun but Caitlin was quite happy with to stick with the detangling bristles side.

We did try the styling side and Caitlin proclaimed that her hair did look quite ‘sleek’.

You can use the detangling bristles on wet hair but I am always cautious about brushing wet hair due to the risk of hair breakage.

The colours of the JoJo Brushes are sure to appeal to tweens and teens and are ideal for slinging in a school rucksack, gym kit or ballet bag – and of course for taking on holiday.

The secret storage compartment for hair clips is a neat idea and the brush is really easy to clean since the bristles come apart from the brush.

JoJo Brushes are available from B&M Stores nationwide and at amazon.co.uk for £7.99.  It’s probably way too early to mention it but these would make a very nice Christmas stocking filler!

JoJo Brushes - Caitlin with pink and white tulips




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Review: Gazillion Crazy Wands – Bubble Fun For All The Family

It doesn’t seem to matter how old you are, bubbles are always fun and a great distraction.  We were recently sent some Gazillion Crazy Wands from Funrise to play with and you can see how Caitlin and Ieuan got on in the video below.

Gazillion Crazy Wands - Vampire Teeth Set

Gazillion Bubbles is the premium bubble brand that gives bubble fans the ultimate bubble experience! With spring just around the corner, what better way to encourage kids to play outside with friends and family than with the Gazillion collection of bubble machines, blasters and games.  Let’s be honest, anything that gets them away from the Xbox is a bonus!

For the selfie-mad, Gazillion Crazy Wands are great for parties and fun for the whole family! With 6 crazy styles (sold in packs of two), these photo-booth style wands are a must have for any occasion. For only £3.99 you receive two wands, a dipping tray and an 8oz bottle of Gazillion premium solution.

There are 3 different sets to choose from:-

  • Crazy Wands Bunny Teeth & Tongue
  • Crazy Wands Moustache & Lips
  • Crazy Wands Vampire & Monster

We found the bubble mix to be a decent strength and it is non toxic and non-staining.  That said, I’d still recommend you use these outdoors.

One bottle of bubble mix (8 oz) lasted my two about half an hour but it would have lasted longer if the kids had remembered to blow the bubbles as soon as they’d dipped the crazy wand in the bubble mix!  Still, you can always buy more Gazillion Premium Bubble Mix or make your own, of course, with washing-up liquid.

Great for a summer’s day in the garden with the added bonus that you look ridiculous whilst blowing your bubbles.  Still, you should get some interesting selfies for your Insta and Snapchat feeds!

Gazillion Crazy Wands are available at Amazon and ASDA stores. We found them to be better quality than lots of the other bubble mixes we’ve tried – and there have been a few!  You can also find these at The Range.

Which Gazillion Crazy Wands would you choose?

Review: Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack

Caitlin has been talking about Glam Goo for months and we have managed to distract her so far by making homemade slime or the foam dough in the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit so when we were offered a Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack to review, she was very excited.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - front of box

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - box detail

Slime lovers can make their own slime fashion accessories by filling the bow bracelet and the bunny charm with goo decorated with their own combination of shimmer powder, sparkles and coloured balls and scent them with the peach scent “So Peachy”.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - contents of box

There are several Glam Goo sets to choose from but this particular set comes with:-

  • small container with fluffy slime
  • bow bracelet
  • bunny charm
  • 2 pots of slime decorations (coloured balls and sparkles)
  • 2 coloured shimmer powders
  • 1 scent

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack bracelet and charm

The instruction leaflet comes with some suggested combinations for your Glam Goo mixing session – for example, there’s Rainbow Sherbet which requires mixing the goo with the So Peachy Scent and adding the Dance Mix (coloured balls) and Have Fun – one of the shimmer powders.

Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack - Caitliln playing with the goo.

Caitlin was happy to do her own thing and spent a happy half hour mixing and playing with the Glam Goo which has a strangely sticky consistency, slightly different from homemade slime.

You will need to cover the play area as the contents of the kit tend to go everywhere and obviously you will need to make sure that the powders, balls and goo don’t go near mouths or eyes.  There is also a possibility of some colour transfer so a craft apron wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Whilst Caitlin did enjoy playing with this, it is really, in my opinion, a one-time-only toy.  There is not a huge amount of Glam Goo to play with and once you have filled the bow bracelet and/or the bunny charm with your mix, that’s about it.

Oddly, the bunny charm does not come with a clip or loop to attach it to anything which makes it a little redundant once you’ve filled it unless you have a necklace chain or keyring.

The scent is a tiny bottle of liquid which appears half full and which, to be honest, I couldn’t smell.  Ours was called So Peachy and although Caitlin said she could smell peach, I certainly couldn’t.

The age range is 6+ and children under 3 shouldn’t be given it due to the risk of a choking hazard. I would say 6 or 7 is probably the top of the age range for this product.  Adult supervision is recommended and I would certainly second that.

We would have preferred a much bigger pot of the Glam Goo as this is the thing that the kids really want to play with.  Not surprisingly if you don’t put the goo back in the pot and put the lid on it, it dries up completely.

The bow bracelet looks quite pretty once filled but we are still not quite sure what to do with the bunny!

At around the £23 mark, I think the Glam Goo Slime & Accessory Confetti Pack is quite expensive for what you get, however, I can see that hardcore Glam Goo fans might still love it.

We’ll be sticking to the homemade slime.

You can find out more on the Glam Goo website.

*We were sent a Glam Goo Confetti Pack for the purposes of this review.

*post contains affiliate links

Review: Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic (Spy) Journal

As you’ll know from our previous reviews of the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse and the Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit, we were newcomers to the Netflix series Project Mc2 when we were asked to review these products, specially designed to reflect the current interest in STEM-based projects for kids, particularly girls.

Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal box held by Caitlin

STEM, in case you’re new to the term, stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. The idea is to build a love of learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as children work through the Key Stages in school.

The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!). In the series, heroine McKeyla McAlister and  her best friends work for a government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”).  They are a secret group of teenage female government operatives trying to protect the world using science and technology skills.

The Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

This time we’re reviewing the Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic Journal which stands for Advanced Digital Intelligence Spy Notebook.

It’s your chance to interact directly with NOV8 by becoming a secret agent just like McKeyla McAlister™, using your personal Project Mc2 ADISN device.

Inside you’ll find a bracelet to unlock the journal (ours said Genius but there is another that says NErDy), an invisible ink marker, a UV light tool hidden in a secret compartment, an activity booklet, and sticker sheets.

The Genius bracelet which unlocks the Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

To open you need to place the bracelet against the logo on the front and then the journal will spring open with a cheerful welcome message.  There’s a different message when the journal closes too.

Inside the Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal

It took us a while to find the secret compartment with the UV light but there are printed instructions in the packaging which tells you where to look.  Write your messages on the left-hand side with the secret marker and reveal them with the UV light.

There’s a secret compartment which fits a smartphone (not included) and you can find free IOS app Project Mc² ™ “Case Files” in the App store.  Note:  it does not fit an iPhone Plus and the app is IOS only.

As with the rest of the toys in this range, the Project Mc2 ADISN Electronic Journal is sturdily made and well thought out.  The booklet inside the journal could be a little bigger, however, the size is restricted by the journal itself.  Had it been any bigger there would be less room to hide precious things and, the true jewel I imagine to most teens, their mobile phone.

Since Caitlin doesn’t have a phone yet, this aspect of the journal wasn’t particularly appropriate for her, but she loves being able to hide things from her brother and having the ability to write secret messages.

The Project Mc2 A.D.I.S.N. Electronic Journal is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos and Tesco.

I would suggest that since this, and the Pixel Purse, rely on a smartphone as an integral part of learning and play, the age range is possibly higher than 6+ and certainly more useful for those children who already have a mobile phone (a highly contentious issue) or have regular access to their parents’ phone.

You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.

Read our other Project Mc2 reviews:-

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

Project Mc2 Pixel Purse

Project Mc2 McKeyla McAlister Doll with Cocoa Bronzer

 

Review: Mia Tui Jennie Travel Bag

GIFTED: I have always loved organiser handbags. They appeal to the neat freak in me who wants a pocket, slot, flap and zip-up compartment for everything. Insulated bottle holder?  Key fob?

You’ll find all these in a Mia Tui bag and there’s no doubt that they are the experts in designing multi-purpose bags in a wide range of sizes and colours.

 

organiser handbags - Mia Tui Jennie Travel Bag

They also make some of the few bags I’ve come across that will take a PC or Mac Book.  They are also very reasonably priced.

You’ll find a comprehensive guide to choosing the right Mia Tui bag for you on their website and the Jennie is one of the larger bags designed for travel.

This bag has a cleverly designed pocket which slots over the handle of a standard suitcase so that it sits securely on top.

The Jennie comes with a clutch bag that has a cross-body strap and wrist strap, small PVC bag, two insulated bottle holders, clips for your keys, phone & pen pockets.

This bag will also fit a 15″ laptop!

There’s a smaller version of this bag – the Mini Jen – too which has all the same features as the Jennie, but is a bit smaller. You can still fix it on to the handle of a standard suitcase.

I really love the bright blue interior – no more rummaging around in a black hole trying to find your keys at night and the Jennie comes in a range of gorgeous colours including mine – the rose gold.

There’s free shipping on orders over £25 too.

Don’t forget to check out Mia Tui’s other organiser handbags as there is a great selection of bags suitable for baby changing, work, gym and as day-to-day handbags.  I love that they are all designed for you to take your favourite piece of tech with you (e.g your Kindle) and there’s no chance of losing your keys.

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 – A Great Cinema Experience At Home

When I worked in marketing for the law firm many moons ago, one of the things I least liked was hiking across various cities encumbered with display equipment.

I can still hear the clack clack of my heels across pavements or through bleak and deserted shopping malls in the early morning, as I lugged trolleys stuffed with brochures or sweated buckets pulling along exhibition stands and, of course, laptops and projectors.

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650

Glamorous it was not. And it was certainly stressful wondering if everything would connect, switch on and if Powerpoint would behave.

How different things would have been had I had this rather nifty and compact home projector from Epson.  It’s light, portable, easy to use, comes with a remote and is a breeze to set up.  And I speak as someone who is not tech-savvy in the slightest.

Epson Home Printer EH-TW650

In fact, the kids have given up asking me to switch on the Xbox or even Netflix because we seem to have 72 different passwords and everything is connected to everything else in a way that only my techie husband could configure.  (And yes, he has uttered the words “switch it off and switch it back on again).

The Epson EH-TW650 Home Projector

Epson sent us the the Epson TW-650 home cinema projector, the ideal projector for creating a cinema experience from the comfort of your own home.

We have previously reviewed the Epson ET-2500 Ecotank Printer so were expecting good things from the TW650 from both a design and a technological standpoint.

Given that it is rugby Six Nations time, the husband was only too happy to watch Wales v Italy last Saturday in glorious technicolour on our white lounge wall.

The husband uses the exact same model in his London office but whilst it’s great for presentations, it’s also great for supersizing your family’s TV and gaming if you have a plain wall to project on to or, of course a screen.

Instead of casting a dark shadow over your living room in the way that a giant plasma inevitably will, this projected display will disappear at the mere touch of a button, so you have more space and less clutter.

It has 3LCD technology that can create a 300-inch display, and a long lamp life providing up to 11 years’ worth of entertainment.

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 features

Focusing the projector is simple and is done by a sliding mechanism on the front of the machine. You’ll also find an easy to navigate control panel in addition to the remote which is clearly marked.

Epson’s 3LCD technology delivers a clear image that doesn’t have the ‘rainbow effect’ you get with some 1-chip DLP projectors. It produces a high White and Colour Light Output of 3,100 lumens and the full HD 1080p projector delivers exceptionally bright yet colourful images with clear details even in bright rooms.

The sound quality from the projector’s own speakers is acceptable (it’s what you can hear on the video) but of course you can plug it in to your TV or other tech equipment to boost the sound for the full cinematic experience.

The projector also has built in Wi-Fi and features such as:-

  • AV mute slide
  • Automatic keystone correction
  • Built-in speaker
  • Horizontal and vertical keystone correction
  • MHL audio/video interface
  • Quick Corner, Split-Screen-Function

It also comes with a handy remote with the battery supplied.

The Epson Home Projector is a great buy for a home cinema experience

Rather than everyone hunched around the TV struggling to see, we were able to stretch out in comfort whilst the husband shouted “knock-on” and “numbers” and other rugby terminology I haven’t got to grips with.  (Apparently knock on is to illegally drive the ball with the hand or arm towards the opponents’ goal line).

Caitlin and Ieuan loved playing Minecraft on the ‘big screen’ – they play multi-player and sit side by side arguing. Sadly the Epson projector is unable to quell tween-ager bickering!

If, like us, you struggle to find babysitters, the TW-650 is a decent substitute for a date night and great for a family movie or gaming night. Since it costs us around £50 for a cinema trip with the kids you can see how the savings from a home cinema will add up!

You can also buy accessories such as a soft carry case and a ceiling mount on the Epson website.

The Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 retails at £599.99 inc. VAT and it’s compactness, ease of use and crisp projection make it a great addition to your home entertainment equipment.  To find your nearest dealer visit the Epson website.

If I find this projector easy to use, trust me, anyone else will!

 

*We were sent an Epson Home Projector for the purpose of this review.