Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Balance Me Skin Brightening Body Polish Review

If you've never tried a bath or shower with a product made with mint oils - you haven't lived!  There is something phenomenally invigorating about washing with a body product that contains mint oil.  This Balance Me skin brightening body polish is a natural, exfoliating body wash packed full of natural ingredients and scented with spearmint oil which gives is a really fresh scent and makes the whole experience refreshing and renewing.

I tend to use a body exfoliant about once a week to help brighten the skin and bring out the "new" me but I'll admit, I do like a really good scrub to help me feel as good as new.  The Balance Me body polish helps exfoliate through its main ingredient - natural sea salt.  I find it most effective when I use it on dry skin but you can use it as a more regular body wash if you apply it to wet skin.  Because the product comes in a squeezy tube, the lotion has to fit through a small hole, which means that the salt crystals can't be that large...I think this limits its ability to give a really good scrub!

However, I do LOVE the minty zingy smell when I use it in the bath - it gives an instant cooling feeling after a hot run!  The polish does also leave the skin feeling good afterward - perhaps not as exfoliated as I'd like but certainly you can feel the effects of the moisturising ingredients such as Shea Butter, sweet almond oil and coconut oil.

If you have dry skin on your feet, Balance Me body polish makes an awesome foot scrub as the combination of exfoliation and cooling mint is the perfect pedi-combo!

The Balance Me Skin Brightening Body Polish costs around £18 for 150ml.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Children's Book Review :: Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere!

I must say that I've very rarely seen Halloween-themed pictures books so I was really interested when the girls received Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Everywhere! which is written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by  Lorena Alvarez.  Lara and Holly have a bedtime story every night and we always like to tie it in withe the seasons, where possible.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere is a picture book which follows a set of young trick-or-treaters as they make their way to the pumpkin parade.  Each page features carved pumpkins of different sizes that the girls enjoyed spotting.  

To be honest, there isn't much of a story to the book but it does make a good first reading book with simple sentences such as "pumpkin happy" or "pumpkin sad" and it allows you to sit with your child and look for the pumpkin that the text refers to.  Towards the pumpkin parade at the end, the story gets a little more adventurous but in general, I'd describe this as a picture book rather than a story.

The illustrations are fun with lots of darks to contrast with the bright orange of the pumpkins but I don't think the pictures are enough to keep the girls interested in the story.  I'm not sure this is a book that Lara and Holly would choose to go back to at any time of year other than at Halloween itself.

You can follow Parragon Books on twitter and as @parragonbooks on instagram and pinterest.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Orchard Toys 3-in-1 App Review

Gosh, it feels like a lifetime since I last reviewed a kid's app! Orchard Toys, home to some of our most treasured kids games and jigsaws have just launched their first iOS app for iPhone and iPad and Holly has been trying it out. The app features 3 games in 1 app - Matching pairs, jigsaw puzzles and colour/shape sorting.

In our house we own a fair few Orchard Toys games and puzzles so Holly instantly recognised most of the characters in the app. From the iconic red dog, blue dog, through to the cakes from Where's My Cupcake, you'll find lots of familiar illustrations hiding among the different elements of this kids app which gave it instant appeal to Holly. I would say that, over the past couple of weeks, the Orchard Toys app has been the only app Holly has chosen to play with. Even her older sister is attracted by the familiar characters (even though she is now, aged 6, far too old for most of the games in the 3-in-1 app).

Each game has different difficulty levels so you can tailor the experience to your child's level. In the iTunes app store, the Orchard Toys game is rated for children from age 4 upwards but I would say that I would be happy to introduce it from 2 upwards. There are no in-app purchases or advertising so there is no distraction or temptation, just simple games that practice basic skills such as sorting, matching and remembering.

In fact, at 3 years old, I think that much of the app is actually a bit too easy for Holly, even in hard mode.  I do keep reminding myself that Holly is very advanced for her age but, even so, I think that the matching pairs and jigsaws in easy mode are suitable for a much younger child to practice simple app skills.  I'm worried that the game will quickly cease to provide enough to interest Holly.  The jigsaw game has so many wonderful pictures with lots of different themes, but they are just too easy for Holly to want to explore more than one or two.

We like Dotty Dinosaurs the board and counter game from Orchard Toys and so Holly very much enjoys playing the same game in the app (it saves us having to find all of the small counters which have a habit of disappearing under the sofa).  This game allows you to match coloured dots, shaped counters or patterned counters with those on the dinosaur's back.  The different levels have different numbers and ranges of things to match.  This is a great example of the Orchard Toys app building upon a pre-existing game idea and adding a little more depth and variety.

Whenever your child gets something right in the app, a little fanfare is played.  If they get something wrong, a cheeky character will commiserate with you!  Lara seems to enjoy this, but interestingly, her younger sister gets frustrated at the interlude and just wants to be moving quickly onto the next task without having to wait for a yay or a nay!  She is an impatient one, that one.

I think that the Orchard Toys 3-in-1 app is a wonderful introduction to the iPad for a toddler to learn key skills and I'll admit that it is cheaper (it currently costs only 99p), and more convenient that buying all of the equivalent board games.  However, there is a little part of me that feels that actually the girls get a lot more out of playing with the physical counters and pieces of the "real" games.  Is that wrong of me?
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