Monday, 18 October 2021

What I read in May 2021 {Monthly Reading Round Up}

(This post contains a book that was gifted to me it has been marked with a *

Inclusion and reviews are entirely my decision and any thoughts are my own.)


I am just a little behind on my reading round up posts at the minute. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will have got caught up and shared all the books I have read so far this year. I'm just starting where I left of which was back in May when I hit my highest amount of books read in a month with 11 whole books finished! 

I think it really helped that I loved every single book and several of these books kept me hooked right in from the beginning. Which has made it hard to choose my favourites this month. It's these favourites that I will be sharing a more detailed review on in this post. I will also write the outline story for all the books included, my more in depth reviews are all over on my GoodReads if you want to see what I thought more closely. 


Northern Spy- ★★★★★

by Flynn Berry

When I first picked this book up I had prepared myself to see a different view on Northern Ireland or missing pieces from the story that you would only notice or find if you actually lived here in NI. I however was very pleased to find out just how wrong I was and the American Author has done an incredible job telling this story.

Tessa is Northern Irish woman who works as a producer for the Belfast office of the BBC, A very British TV service. It is set in 2019 and Northern Ireland has regressed back into the conflict that was supposed to be left behind after The Good Friday Agreement. The latest news on a new IRA raid is broadcasting in the evening news. An armed gas station robbery in Templepatrick, that's when Tessa's sister Marian, is suddenly on the screen wearing a balaclava over her head. 

Now Tessa is force to face questions of herself, her mother, the police and she must find out if her sister Marian joined the IRA. How did she do it, when did she do it and most importantly, at least for Tessa is Why did she do it? Tessa must find the answers and she will have to make some big decisions, the biggest being which is more important to her, what she really believes in and her values or her family. Is she willing to risk it all to keep her family?
I ploughed through this book, I just couldn't put it down. It's a fast paced story which keeps you wanting to find out what comes next. I really had the impression this storyline would follow along with some of the more publicised events of the troubles but I have to hand it to Flynn Berry it was very much different. 

 Tessa's story, her back story and her beliefs are all modernised, she isn't someone who has no desire to mix the cultures of Catholics and Protestants together. She is a Catholic woman with a good standing job in the BBC, British TV. If your from Northern Ireland or just have a good understanding of the troubles then you will know that is a huge deal for a character in a book with the events that Northern Spy has. The most impressive part for me is how well Flynn Barry created a timeline of really plausible events. 

I live in Belfast, I have been to many of the places this books events are set in, I have swam inside Anderson Town Leisure Centre and stood inside St George's Market. I can effortlessly place myself in the shoes of each character, follow their footsteps and feel their surroundings with my own experiences. The effect of this experience is that I know just how real every word of this book can be. It may have been set two years ago but the IRA very well could lead a fight for Irish Independence in the modern age. This story could still one day be a future that Northern Ireland faces which makes reading this all the more incredible, heartbreaking and terrifying in good measure. 

I highly recommend you read this book if your from here, even if your not it's a gripping read that will keep you turning the page. One of my favourite books this year.


Asking for a Friend - ★★★★☆

by Andi Osho

Three best friends start playing a dating game after Simi (the one who's always falling for the guy on the first date) gets her latest "it's not you, it's me" speech. The game is born in the hope that Simi will see the reasoning of her friends and date so that she finds someone she is really happy with and not just settling for it'll work because I really want it to. 

Simi has her own ideal ending for the game, she wants Jemima (the one who had her heart broken and has sworn off men forever) to get back in the dating game and to start finding her own happiness again. Not to mention she's on a deadline to add some romance into her latest book or risk being fire all together. 

Jemima isn't so convinced the game is for her. That's until Megan (the one with the 10 year plan and her friend with benefits) suggests that the game will give her the inspiration her novel desperately needs. Jemima is also hoping Megan will ditch her 10 year plan that she has been religiously stuck to for years now and find someone that doesn't fit inside her perfectly constructed box. 

The dating game? Well that's the best part, they must all find perfect dates for each other, plus they have to ask them out for their friend so that no woman gets left behind. 

But will it all actually go to plan?

This is a really enjoyable read with lots of friendship drama thrown in, the fact the main characters are all women of colour just added to the story for me. 

A Deadly Influence - ★★★★★

by Mike Omer

A hostage negotiator for the NYPD, Abby Mullen is highly trained in how to deal with a crisis. She doesn't think anything can phase her now, She's an expert in getting everyone out of a situation safely. When she gets a call from Eden Fletcher however, things begin to change. Eden's little boy has been kidnapped and the ransom has been set to $5 million. An impossible amount on a waitress salary. 

Abby and Eden know each other, they happen to be two out of three survivors from the Wilcox Massacre which was the end of the infamous Wilcox Cult. Since then their lives couldn't have been more different, one grew up in the care system while the other in the arms of a loving family. The past is something that Abby has hidden inside her own mind, locking away the awful memories of her time inside the cult. She just can't seem to escape from them when things start coming up and reminding her of her life before. She's growing more and more sure that Eden just isn't sharing the whole truth with her.

Will they find Eden's son and uncover the truth behind his abduction?

In my opinion this book is a must read! It involves elements of over sharing on social media and delves into the darker side of what can go wrong. The inclusion of cults just makes it all the more secretive and the added layer of drama keeps the story moving in a great way. I loved this book and have just discovered the second in the series has been released, it's now on my must read list! 

The Girls In The Attic - ★★★★★

Marius Gabriel


What would you do if you had been a German soldier in WWII and returned home, injured to find your mother has taken in two Jewish girls, she's helping to hide from the Nazi's?

That is the scene a wounded soldier called Max found upon arriving home. He had suffered a severe head injury and been discharged from service. Of course Max immediately wants to report the two women to the SS in his town. 

Despite his great desire to rid himself of the two Jewish women, Max simply can't do it. Through living with the two bright young women Max is forced to really start questioning the Nazi Regime. He had joined up the army to try to atone for the sins of his father, an Anti-Hitler fanatic who died for his beliefs. The tale of The Girls In The Attic follows Max, his mother and the two women as they navigate through their lives in Nazi Germany with two hidden Jewish women while being a decorated Nazi soldier. We follow them through the final stages of the war when the fighting itself is brought straight to their door steps and is happening on every side of them. The Nazi rule is coming to it's close. 

Surely this will be the end of their plight? 

I have to say that this was an incredible read, I simply couldn't put it down once it got going! We've all at some point learnt about the Nazi regime in schools as part of history. We focus on the long facts about how Germany became the Nazi state, the soldiers, the war, the concentration came and we even learn of a few famous Germans who saved countless Jewish people from Hitler's grasp. There is however much of the fear, the hiding and more left out, we don't learn of the daily life of hiding Jewish people. We don't think about the long periods of time without being outside these people suffered through. All of this is shown in detail throughout The Girls In The Attic, it's a heart-breaking read that contains some incredibly joyous moments at a time in the world when life was controlled and fear ruled. There is a love story hidden within this story, it's beautiful, poetic but most of all it's a reminder that all people are people, nobody is worth less than anyone else. This is a lesson we still need to learn today. 

Another must read!

This Time Next Year - ★★★★★

by Sophie Cousens


Would you have an answer if someone asked "What do you want to be doing this time next year?", it's a question Minnie's best friend Leila asks everyone she is with one New Year's Eve each year. A fairly simple question of what you want in exactly one year's time.

At the end of 2019 Minnie has no idea what the world will look like for her in the future, she's expecting her pie business to finally hit it off and move forward. What she wasn't expecting was Quinn, his mother and the rest of the year that came with it. Minnie made plans to end her year at a New Year's Eve party with her boyfriend's friends. She was prepared for her yearly curse to rear it's ugly head once again. You see Minnie has the worst luck on New Year's Eve, which happens to be the day before her birthday. 

It all began when she was born 1 minute after another child who happened to be the first one born in London in 1990. This baby was Quinn, who's mother had stolen Minnie's name!  Of course Minnie never expects to be stood watching the sunrise on January first with the one and only name stealer Quinn when the night starts to go horribly wrong. 

This was another book I really enjoyed reading, it was a feel good, rom com and I loved it! This book got quite a lot of hype last year and I can certainly see why! I was laughing, crying, getting frustrated, sad and every other emotion you can think of along the way during this read. 


Dead Inside, Dead Wrong, Dead Perfect and Dead Secret - ★★★★★

by Noelle Holton


Please be aware there is a trigger warning of Domestic Violence and Murder in these books.

One of my favourite series this year! DC Maggie Jamieson is the lead character, in the first book Dead Inside she has joint a brand new task force to deal with the ever increasing amount of Domestic Violence in the area. The dead bodies of abusers start showing up and without any leads the taskforce is searching desperately for the answers.

During the second book, Dead Wrong DC Maggie Jamieson has been called back to her old team, when a murderer behind bars after confessing his crime to her. It's been two years and the new murders are just the beginning of this story! 3 women have been missing without the police realising for the last 2 years. Can they finally answer the unanswered questions from the original case? 

By the third book, Dead Inside DC Maggie Jamieson investigates a murder with some eerie circumstances. The victim has been disfigured, had an outfit change and looks remarkably like someone she knows. Can they figure this case out and get the person responsible before more people are hurt?

In the final book (so far) Dead Secret, We follow DC Maggie Jamieson as she tries to figure out a confusing case. A young man has been found murdered with a constellation of black dots drawn on his cheek. Right around the same time a Domestic Violence survivor has shown up at a new refuge in the Domestic Violence task force's area. She won't speak but is desperate for help. Just days later, DCI Hastings still hasn't shown up for work and DC Maggie Jamieson uncovers a connection that sends the case in completely different direction.

I have been purposely vague in the description of these books, I read them all together because I simply had to know what came next. They are a wonderful read and I enjoyed every single word! I was shocked, happy, sad and everything in between. The characters all feel like a huge family which I'm being given the inside scoop on! They are fantastic and I recommend the series if you enjoy detective based books. 


Love Locked Down - ★★★★★

by Beth Reckles

*This book was gifted to me in turn for a review on GoodReads .* 

In the Beginning of a new virus outbreak, a whole apartment block goes into lockdown. The world outside just keeps on going while those locked inside the apartment block might just be about to have their lives changed forever.

It all begins on a Sunday morning when all the residents of the apartments in London Lane wake to find a notice posted under their doors, informing them that the building is on a 7 day quarantine and nobody will be allowed to come inside or leave the building. Love Locked Down follows the lives of those inside 5 of the apartments. Ethan and Charlotte are a new couple who end up locked on either side of the door Charlotte had been packing up her childhood home for her parents to sell, she returns to find she's no longer allowed inside. 

While Imogen and Nate have had a one night stand, only to wake and find that it's going to be repeated for another 7 days! Imogen had been sneaking out when she discovers she locked inside with the man she tried to leave asleep in his bed.

Isla and Dan are another new couple who are going to be putting their relationship through some hoops that neither was quite ready for.  It wasn't what either of them expected one month into their relationship. 

Even the longer of relationships of 4 years can be put to the test in quarantine. One pineapple pizza sized test reveals that Zach and Serena have a few things they can't hide away from any longer. 

Which leaves just Liv who tried to call off the wedding prep weekend she had planned for her best friend. Now she is stuck inside with the bridezilla and two complete strangers for an extra 7 days of wedding preparations in her tiny one bedroom apartment. Can the four women survive a week inside the small, messy apartment together. 

It was a hilarious read which had be in fits of giggles! This one doesn't release until next year and was originally called Lockdown on London Lane, this has now been changed. I think this book makes a perfect way to look back on the year 2020 when life for everyone was literally turned upside down. 

I really liked that there was so many diverse characters, each with different jobs, lives, wealth, abilities and the fat their lives have just been put on pause. It was wonderful that the author included a range of employers who had differing opinions on working through lockdown or not too. 

I highly recommend this read when it comes out in 2022! It is a great Rom-Com

The Mixtape - ★★★★★

by Brittainy Cherry

Oliver has lost his twin brother and band mate. Now he's trying to please his fans and trying to find himself. Oliver is trying to drink away his problems, along with his grief. The problem is he's not good at it, his problems follow him where ever he seems to go. Not to mention the paparazzi who are determined to catch him at his lowest low. He just happens to walk into Emery's bar on that lowest night.

Emery is feeling totally alone, she is raising her daughter as she struggles to hold her job bartending at night to pay her bills and not lose their home. Emery has no support system to fall back on, any unexpected expense or added bill will throw their whole world upside down on them. 

While drowning in her own problems, Emery helps Oliver to lose the crowd of fans and paparazzi. The two are each scared by their own loss. Can the two navigate the world around them and find a love that will outlast it all?

This was a true feel good read, there was so many moments of sadness but it was also full of equally joyous moments too. I loved all of the characters, especially Emery's daughter! A great read.


I do realise how lucky it has been during the month of May to read 11 books that have been incredible, so much so that I still remember each in October! I haven't managed to read as many books since then but I will be doing another update to hopefully cover the months between June and August soon.

Monday, 11 October 2021

A day full of autumn - Our Ordinary Moments

Life seems to now be settling into a routine of being busy, there's always something that needs to be done. Our school days are longer and twice a week there's after-school club to add on. It's often dinner time before we even have time to stop. It's this time of year, when the routine is new and We're still figuring it all out to work for us that some things slip, mostly the longer chores like organising the toys, going through the junk that's building up or doing the jobs we put off. That does mean that by the weekend we will have things that need done at home. 

This weekend we decided to ditch the chores and get ourselves outside. We really needed to blow away the cobwebs after 3 weekends of being ill or catching up on chores. 

We decided to head out in hunt for autumn treasures of leaves, pinecones, sticks and conkers. Which of course meant we definitely had to stop off for hot chocolate along the way too! 

On our way we also came across my favourite building to visit at autumn! This is a church which we pass by quite regularly on our walks and the ivy during Autumn is incredible. We love watching as the colours change to this deep red colour. It's also surrounded by big trees which change the same colour. The children all loved getting the leaves that had fallen in all their lovely red shades. 


What is your favourite place to visit during Autumn? 

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Coloured Worlds - Our Ordinary Moments

 It's been a while now since I shared one the Our Ordinary Moments posts. I'd always intended to share this post weekly but sometimes like just kind of gets in the way. Recently we've been ill, Scarlet picked it up from school and since it's made its way round the house. So we've not actually done anything or been anywhere in over a week now!

We did however head out just before everyone got ill and we had gone to visit somewhere new. It was a request after they'd been learning and talking about cities in school. We'd been asked to go visit somewhere new and if you know us or even just read the blog regularly then you know we've been most places that are child friendly here. Instead we decided to go see something cool! We are really lucky that Belfast has a huge array of architecture and art built into the buildings around the city. 

One of those amazing pieces of architecture is The Computer Sciences Building for Queens University, the whole buildings front section is covered in these long thin coloured glass panels and I think you will agree, the effect is stunning! 

We had intended to come and get a good close up view of the panels and walk around exploring a little. I knew I wanted to take a photo of the children with the building as the backdrop because seriously it looks so cool. 

Within minutes the exploring around had turned into a game of coloured worlds, each glass panel was a portal into another world and standing behind it took you there! Never would I have imagined up the fun my three children created simply using the glass panels attached to a building. 

The glass panels also created a beautiful effect when we took photos, so when they played the coloured worlds game I took some photos of them behind the glass panels. Which I absolutely love, they are very unique and we'd never have found all the colours of glass to create this effect elsewhere. 

I have no doubt they will request to visit the coloured glass building again. It's also opened up a whole new perspective on what we can do to make our exploring more exciting. I've realised that we don't need to only go to places that are for children. We can explore and visit the various unique buildings and places of our city too. Which opens up a literal (and imaginary) new world to discover. 


Have you got a really unique building or place in your town or city that you love to visit?


Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Get rewarded for shopping more Eco-friendly with SaveMoneyCutCarbon's PlanetPoints {with Giveaway}

 * AD - The items featured have been gifted to me. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *




When it comes to shopping, especially for essentials I always check if the shop offers any benefits for customers. Most of the time shops will have their own Loyalty schemes which you can sign up for with just a few details. On a rare occasion they will have an additional service available just like SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Home Club which has many benefits but is exclusive for those members. I shared earlier in the year about all the benefits Home Club offers it's members. However it's very different to a normal Loyalty Scheme which is why I was absolutely delighted to hear that this month is the launch of SaveMoneyCutCarbon's own Loyalty Reward Scheme which will be available to all their customers!


What is a loyalty scheme?

I've said the words loyalty scheme quite a lot already in this post, so I'm starting with explaining the basics behind a loyalty or reward scheme for anyone who doesn't know. When you shop with a retailer they will often have a scheme to reward their loyal customers, sometimes this is heavily promoted and even mentioned at the till upon checkout, other times it's not. Signing up to the scheme is usually easy and just requires your email address, name and a few details like your date of birth, or you may need an online account on their site. Once signed up you will get a reward card, use your email to input a code from your receipt online or sign in to your account to get the benefits while you shop. 

Each retailer usually has their own system of points or they offer certain benefits like savings when you shop, free delivery etc. The most common that we have found and use regularly while shopping is points systems. A point system will give you a certain amount of points for every pound you spend with the retailer. The points are exchanged and will be able to be used to give you money off products you buy in the future. There are of course differences between retailers and there will be rules around purchases using points unique to each.

However loyalty reward schemes always have a benefit for the customer, which usually centres around saving you some money while you shop. 


What is SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Planet Points?



Planet Points are brand new to SaveMoneyCutCarbon and they are a benefit that all their customers can benefit from. The Planet Points are of course a Points based loyalty rewards Scheme that has been introduced this September to give customers an added benefit to shopping more eco-friendly with SaveMoneyCutCarbon. 

To start benefiting from Planet Points while you shop you need to sign up for a SaveMoneyCutCarbon account on their site. The sign up process is really quick and easy. Once signed up you can use your email and password to sign in before you check out and you will automatically get planet points. 

How many Planet Points do you earn?


When you shop on SaveMoneyCutCarbon you will now earn Planet Points, normal customers will earn one point for every pound you spend. While HomeClub members will earn two points for every pound you spend on the site. 

Your Planet Points all add up, each one is equal to 1p. Which doesn't sound like much but when your purchasing regularly to get the eco-friendly products you love, it will start equalling larger amounts before you know it. The Planet Points you earn will stay in your account until your ready to use them. 

You will also have the opportunity to earn more Planet Points every once in a while if you are signed up to (and read) SaveMoneyCutCrabon's email newsletter or you keep an eye on their social media. So you'll get benefits even when you're not ordering!


I'm ready to spend my Planet Points, how do I do it?




Once you've saved up your Planet Points you can choose any product on the SaveMoneyCutCarbon site to purchase. To use your points you just add your item (or items) to your basket and press the button to apply points. You can see the button above in the images from my order purchase which was done entirely with the new Planet Points system. It really is that simple and the button will be there for you as long as you have Planet Points to spend.

You are able to spend smaller amounts of points on any order to give you some savings or save them up and get a product(s) covered completely by Planet Points, the perfect reason to try a new eco swap you've had on your list that is just out of your budget or something you've just discovered. 

If your wanting to make a big order but only use your points on some of the order, you can. Add the items you want to use your Planet Points with (if you have more points than the item costs) and apply your points in checkout then continue shopping and your items will add on to your cart without using any more of your Planet Points. I personally love this benefit as I often save up points on our loyalty reward schemes for particular times of year like Christmas and will purchase extra things around that time with normal orders using the points when we need them. 

As you can see the Planet Points from SaveMoneyCutCarbon offer you full control of your own loyalty points use and give you a reward for being more eco-friendly and shopping responsibly to help the planet. I think that is a win all round. 


What would my Planet Points look like if I just purchased my normal products? 


As I mentioned I got to purchase my own products for this month Planet Positive box. It mainly focused on products I've loved so far from SaveMoneyCutCarbon but also had 2-3 new products which I wanted to try. So I thought it would be good to show you how many points I would have got for the products (if I hadn't used Planet Points to make the order).  Below you will see the products numbered in the photo, these numbers are listed underneath with the names, links, costs and Points information. 

Do take note that I am a HomeClub member so I have shown this for both HomeClub and non HomeClub members separately. Also since planet points are added up at check out your whole order total will be used to determine your points total. I have added this information underneath for my order too. This will only be your total if you purchased the same order as mine. 



For Non Home Club Members: 
  1. Waste Not Compostable Waste Sack 10 pack (x2) - £2.85 each - 2 Planet Points each
  2. Stasher Bag Sandwich Bag in Rose - £12.00 - 12 Planet Points
  3. Soda Stream My Only Bottle in Pink Blush - £11.95 - 11 Planet Points 
  4. The Cheeky Panda Biodegradable Bamboo Handy Wipes 6 pack - £8.95 - 8 Planet Points 
  5. ecoLiving Wooden Dish Head - £2.25 - 2 Planet Points
  6. Patch Biodegradable Bamboo Plasters - £6.95 - 6 Planet Points
  7. Soda Stream Syrup Classics Cola Drink Mix - £4.95 - 4 Planet Points
  8. Rainbow Compostable Sponge Cloths 4 pack - £4.00 - 4 Planet Points 
Total: £ 56.55 - 56 Planet Points

For Home Club Members 
Includes reduced prices exclusive to HomeClub Members. 
  1. Waste Not Compostable Waste Sack 10 pack (x2) - £2.45 each - 4 Planet Points each
  2. Stasher Bag Sandwich Bag in Rose - £7.92 - 14 Planet Points
  3. Soda Stream My Only Bottle in Pink Blush - £9.10 - 18 Planet Points 
  4. The Cheeky Panda Biodegradable Bamboo Handy Wipes 6 pack - £6.95 - 12 Planet Points 
  5. ecoLiving Wooden Dish Head - £2.01 - 4 Planet Points
  6. Patch Biodegradable Bamboo Plasters - £6.08 - 12 Planet Points
  7. Soda Stream Syrup Classics Cola Drink Mix - £3.71 - 6 Planet Points
  8. Rainbow Compostable Sponge Cloths 4 pack - £3.60 - 6 Planet Points 
Total: 44.27 - 88 Planet Points


What I think about SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Planet Points


I have already made it clear that I am a fan and regular user of loyalty reward schemes in general, they are great if you do regularly shop at that retailer. So of course I love that SaveMoneyCutCarbon have started Planet Points, the scheme offers a benefit that will reward customers. I particularly love the Planet Points more than some of the reward schemes other shops offer as it benefits you and the planet too. SaveMoneyCutCarbon have said they hope the scheme will encourage people to use the points to make even more positive changes in their habits. Which of course is a great idea, being able to use a new product without the whole cost of the initial outlay is a huge benefit. The bigger outlay is always a negative that comes up when we talk about eco alternatives and this can help combat that. 

I also really like that the Planet Points from SaveMoneyCutCarbon puts you in control of how you use your points. You not only have the option of saving up your points and using them to purchase products but you can also use them as money off your order. This is a benefit we don't really see in reward schemes so it's really great SaveMoneyCutCarbon have made that possible, sometimes the difference between something fitting in your budget or not can be a few pounds so Planet Points could save the day. 


One of my favourite perks is that Planet Points means I am being rewarded for making eco-friendly choices. In my order I got a second Sandwich bag size of Stasher Bag which I got in the rose colour, we needed a second one so both my children can take packed lunches now that school is back on. It made me realise how much we will regularly buy the products we love again and now we will save even more on the purchases. 

What do you think of Planet Points from SaveMoneyCutCarbon? 
Let me know in the comments below. 

The Giveaway


When I was placing the order for this months Planet Positive Box I wanted to add something into the order that I could offer to you as a giveaway. I love a giveaway and we have previously discovered some of our favourite products from something I have won, like my Soda Stream machine which I got a few things for this month from SaveMoneyCutCarbon. 

So I decided that was what I wanted to offer one of our readers, choosing a product we loved and that would be a great eco-swap for almost anyone was actually really easy. I knew immediately I wanted to giveaway a pack of Patch Biodegradable Bamboo Plasters. We got these in our August Planet Positive box and I love them! They are honestly amazing and a must have for every household. 
When I placed the order I also noticed that The Cheeky Panda Biodegradable Bamboo Handy Wipes are only available from a 6 pack or more, I really only needed one or two packs as that would last us through the end of the year. I did consider not ordering them as they would most likely dry out before we used all 6, instead I thought it would be good to add the extra 4 packs on to the giveaway prize as we have found them really handy to have in our Grab and Go bag over the summer. 


So you will be able to enter to win one pack of Patch Biodegradable Bamboo Plasters and four packs of The Cheeky Panda Biodegradable Bamboo Handy Wipes using the Gleam widget below. Good Luck!

Please read the terms and conditions below:

Terms and Conditions:

  • Entrants must be aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition is open to UK residents only.
  • The giveaway is open from 28/09/2021 and will run to 27/09/2021 at 11.59pm GMT.
  • Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  • The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time.
  • All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise. 
  • There will be one winner.
  • The winner will have 30 days to respond to claim the prize. Failure to claim will result in a redraw. 

Win Patch Bamboo Plasters and 4 packs of The Cheeky Panda Bamboo Handy Wipes
Thursday, 2 September 2021

7 Eco Swaps You Never Knew your Bathroom Needed from SaveMoneyCutCarbon (AD)

(AD - This post features gifted items. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.)

Of all the places where you can make eco conscious changes I think the bathroom is one of the hardest, most things in the bathroom involve our skin. Which if your like me involves sensitive skin and a whole host of worries about reactions. However, many people don't realise just how many other bathroom products can be made more eco-friendly.


Which is part of the reason why I have been so excited for August's Planet Positive box. (I am a little late posting this one) We're now way past half way through the year and I can honestly say that our SaveMoneyCutCarbon boxes always inspire and surprise me with their contents. This box was certainly no different and made me aware of products I didn't know would help make an environmental impact, along with some switches we regularly use too. So I am going to be sharing 7 swaps you and your bathroom will love. 



Serious Tissues Toilet Paper 



One of the most use pieces in any bathroom is toilet paper, it's probably one of the areas where your ditching a lot of plastic packaging too! Which is why swapping over to serious Tissues Toilet Paper will help you leave the plastic behind. 

This toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper, you know all that paper you put in your recycling box? Well Serious Tissues have recycled some of our waste into a new product that benefits the environment by being biodegradable and completely plastic free. In fact they've even left our all the perfumes, chemicals and dyes too. Giving you a product you can trust

Each roll of Serious Tissues Toilet Paper contains 280 sheets and comes in a cardboard box pack of 36! This means your leaving the plastic behind and you don't have to remember to grab Toilet Paper every time you shop. Plus this is a product that benefits from SaveMoneyCutCarbon's regular, reliable deliveries, get them delivered as often as you need without having to remember to place your order again. 

A 36 pack of Serious Tissues Toilet Paper is £30 from SaveMoneyCutCarbon and has extra Savings of £5 for all Home Club Members! 


Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Toothbrushes 




I've talked about ditching plastic toothbrushes before but there are shocking statistics surrounding the use of plastic toothbrushes. Which is why it's honestly one of the best swaps we made, it was also one of the first. Now with a few years experience I thought I wouldn't be surprised by the Bamboo toothbrushes by Non Plastic beach, I of course was wrong! 

The bamboo brushes from Non Plastic Beach is made of Bamboo and BPA free Nylon bristle, which match it's coloured bottom, yes it contains plastic. There is a reason for that, this brush is vegan friendly, so everyone can use it and the bristles are really soft. The bamboo and bristle  are recycled separately when your replacing your brush. They can go in your green compost waste or your wood recycling.



However the biggest plus for me and my family with the Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Toothbrushes is the shape! As I said we've been using bamboo brushes for a good few years now and this handle shape is my favourite. I love it! The rounded shape feels more natural and comfortable in the hand, it also offers a better grip for smaller children. The shape plus the coloured bottom section is cute but also functional in protecting the end of the brush if you use a brush holder in a pot style. This means the bamboo itself stays dry and doesn't change colour or expand on the end which is a problem we've had before. 

The final perks of the Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Brushes is that they are available in adult and child sizes, which is another game changer with small children. I especially love that they come in a family pack of 2 adult sizes and 2 child sizes.

The family pack of Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Brushes is £12.52 and the single brushes are £3.50 plus they are also eligible for SaveMoneyCutCarbon's Regular, Reliable Deliveries so every 3 months you will have new brushes without having to remember. 

Metal Tube Squeezer by SaveMoneyCutCarbon




I have had a Metal Tube Squeezer by SaveMoneyCutCarbon on my must buy list for much longer than I care to admit. It is a must have for every household, We've had one before but I don't know what happened to it. However they are genius. 



To use a Metal Tube Squeezer you place the end of a tube between the two prongs and roll the tube around them. This creates a perfect holding place for getting everything you can out of your tube, which saves you money, makes your products last longer and helps the environment since your not using as many plastic tubes. 

What I really love about this is how versatile it is, you only need one as it can easily be swapped to other tubes. We mostly use it for our toothpaste but I have used it to get out everything from the last of my moisturiser to helping me use the end of the tomato paste for homemade pizza!



DryPlanet Save a Flush Water displacement bag



Have you ever heard of DryPlanet Save A Flush Water Displacement Bags? I hadn't and I was astonished to know that this little product could help us reduce our water usage when flushing the toilet. It will actually help you save thousands of litres of water every year, thousands! This is because the Water Displacement Bag will reduce your flush by one whole litre every time, which will help you to save around 13 litres every day. 

It is made possible by it's design, A save a flush bag contains an environmentally safe and non toxic polymer which is called Potassium Polyacrylamid. This polymer is really absorbent and it will expand to create an area in your cistern which will reduce the volume of water needed to flush your toilet. The polymer will naturally biodegrade to nothing over it's several years of use so you will need to replace it eventually. 

Now you may think this would reduce your toilets flushing power but it's made for toilets with over 7 litres cistern capacity so really your flush won't be affected, ours certainly wasn't. This swap is one which will be really easy to do because you simply forget about it and the environment still benefits.



Bambaw Reusable Make-up Remover Pads




The most under rated swap is Make-up remover pads, using flimsy, scratchy, disposable cotton pads to remove your make-up is not only uncomfortable but it also takes forever. Which if you do it every single day will quickly add up. Making the switch to a reusable option will always have benefits. 



I will admit that Bambaw has been another personal favourite, I already switched to reusable pads this year (that post is coming up soon) but I use them for much more than just make up removal. I love the Bambaw Reusable Make-up Remover pads because they are both absorbent and soft on the skin. Plus these pads allow you to easily push the liquid back out, which makes them perfect for your skincare routine. I love how well my toner, eye creams etc all sit on these pads, they are very relaxing for eye cooling gels in particular as they can simply be placed on the eye and folded in half afterward to remove the gels or product used. I'm sure you could even use these to help remove things like nail polish although I would recommend keeping those pads separately from ones used on your face. 



A must have for all make-up and skincare users. Inside the pack from SaveMoneyCutCarbon you get 12 soft pads which are perfect for the sensitive areas of the face, 4 terry cloth pads that are ideal for exfoliating or more stubborn scrubbing. You also get a net wash bag to keep them safe in the washing machine. The pads themselves are made with both bamboo and cotton. The great news is they are really easy to clean, simply put them in their wash bag after use and wash when ready. I do mine once a week. 
You can get your own Bambaw Reusable Make-up Remover Pads for £11.30 from SaveMoneyCutCarbon. 


Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Cotton Buds



So we have all seen the viral photo taken of a little baby seahorse carrying a plastic cotton bud along in the ocean by Justin Hofman. It's a shocking and sad reminder of how our use of a product continues to affect the creates of our world for much longer. Which is why I think if you only decide to make one change that you have seen from this post for your bathroom, choose this one. 

Non Plastic Beach Bamboo cotton buds are  made with bamboo sticks which means they are completely recyclable or compostable. They will return to the earth and not cause harm to any creatures when they do so. Plus they are strong, you won't need to worry about bent tubes of plastic in cheap cotton buds. In fact they even come in a lovely card box which is practical and looks lovely on your bathroom shelves at the same time. 



We actually don't use cotton buds as a beauty or health care product, we mostly use them for cleaning so knowing we can ditch the plastic while still cleaning our the seals in products. They are also super handy for cleaning keyboards, as you see above that's a regular use for us. 

They even come at the perfect price of £3 for a box of 200 Non Plastic Beach Bamboo Cotton Buds


Patch Bamboo Plasters 




Another product we traditionally just use without thought is plasters. Something you may not know about plasters is that about 25% of people are sensitive to the chemicals and materials used inside them. There are even those who are allergic and rendered unable to use them at all. However Patch Bamboo Plaster will solve all those problems! 

Patch Bamboo Plasters are a bamboo based plaster that is hypoallergenic, that means these plasters are natural, allergy free and they are sustainable too. You can leave behind all the nasties with this product too because Patch Bamboo Plasters are free from parabens, sulphates, latex, plastic and even merthiolate. 

You will be surprised to know that unlike traditional plasters these bamboo plasters from Patch are certified as a class one Sterile Medical Device and they help to treat injuries and ailments to promote healing. So they even succeed the ability of the traditional plaster while helping save the planet.

I particularly love how soft they feel when on your skin, we've used these several times during August and am still surprised every single time. They also come in a lovely round tube that has a removable lid, it means they are perfect for popping into a bag without them spilling everywhere! 

You can pick up a pack of Patch Bamboo Plasters for £6.75 

Let's talk favourites and why!


Now that we've reached the end of the 7 bathroom swaps you need to add to your bathroom I wanted to talk about my personal favourites. It's a hard choice because this month I have not found even one product we don't get along with or enjoy, even ones we don't use often are wonderful. However I do have two favourites which are right up near the top of my favourite swaps for the whole year!  



The first of which is the Bambaw Reusable Make-up Pads, they are so versatile and it feels much more enjoyable to do my skincare routine using these compared to the disposable ones I've now ditched. I think it helps to make the whole experience feel more luxurious and less like a chore I must remember to do every night. 

The other favourite from this months SaveMoneyCutCarbon Planet Positive box is the Patch Bamboo Plasters, I will be honest with you, this is a swap I had on my list, they have actually been in my online basket for 2 months before this box. I just couldn't decide if they would be worth the cost because our usual plasters cost half this and they aren't a reusable product.



 However I am completely converted now! They may cost twice as much but even when my children have running around on beaches, in the sea and doing everyday summer things with these plasters on, they have lasted! We only had to change one of the plasters before it was time to remove it altogether and that was after an entire day in our pool. 

The feel and look of the Patch Bamboo Plasters is really good, they blend into the skins appearance (a perk for us adults) while being soft and flexible (a bigger perk for little ones) so there is comfort all around. After a whole summer month we have use 5 plasters and normally we'd have used at least 4-6 times that with any other plasters from falling off daily. These will now be our go to brand. 


Reminder: If you are a SaveMoneyCutCarbon Home Club member you can get all the products featured in this post at an even better price thanks to their home club discounts! 

Monday, 30 August 2021

The end to summer {Our Ordinary Moments}

 


This last week has really signified our end to summer, although Dylan has been back to school for almost two weeks now. This week was Scarlet's first day at school and so our summer has officially ended with school resumed (somewhat) and life already starting to find a familiar routine again. I decided not to use this week's ordinary moments to share about starting school because it's a big moment, one which will have its own post sometime in the next week or two which will mean I can share lots more about it for both Dylan and for Scarlet on her first day ever at school! 


With both bigger children in school this week was also the time for mine and Simon's annual first day coffee date. We started this tradition when Dylan first started nursery, he was in for an hour and it seemed pointless to go all the way home, sit for 20 minutes and go back. Instead we enjoyed a nice coffee outside in the last days of summer time. The following year we did it again, with a little baby Scarlet in her pram. Now it's been 6 years and every first day we find a coffee shop to enjoy the beginning of the school year and just talk, because it's been a whole summer without time to just sit and talk without several little people wanting conversations too. 

This year of course is also going to be our last yearly coffee date which involves Avery being with us because next year he'll be off to nursery! He got to enjoy his Babychino and cookie from Starbucks which he happily sat eating until it was time to go. I think he enjoyed being the only one around again too. 


This week also held the only thing we'd not managed to do from the children's summer days out list, which was going to watch The Paw Patrol Movie. I honestly think this has been Avery's absolute favourite outing this summer as he is a huge Paw Patrol fan now!  I can't believe it took us so long, we've had this one on our list since the trailer released but we waited for a time when the cinema would be very empty and not near the opening. Turns out we left it right until the final week to do it! 



Which of course had to be followed up be donuts on the way home, along with the most rubbish cup of coffee I think I've ever had. It was such a shame as we usually love their coffee. This time however it was totally undrinkable. Ah well! The donut on the other hand had been perfectly delicious and fueled our walk home. 


How was your week? 

Did you do anything exciting? 

Friday, 23 July 2021

Great Eco Swaps you can make during Plastic Free July {Review with SaveMoneyCutCarbon}

  * AD - The items featured have been gifted for an honest review. *

*All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. *



I'm sure by now you already know that it is Plastic Free July, it has been all over social media and I have seen a whole lot being shared about huge steps like plastic free shopping lists that are spilling over with swaps. However being Plastic Free in any part of our life is almost always an initial higher outlay with the savings coming over time so it's not always possible to make huge changes in one go. That is why I am a firm believer that being eco-friendly can be something you do one small step at a time, because one small swap can have a very big impact. Which I think aligns with the accessibility of SaveMoneyCutCarbon and their products.


I feel like this month in particular our SaveMoneyCutCarbon was full of products that are all items perfect for the summer season and will see the most use over the next few weeks. Which of course makes them the perfect swaps to choose from during Plastic Free July. 

Inside our box we had:


As I said these small swaps can help cut down your plastic use in big ways, by choosing one swap to change during Plastic Free July you can find that it leads to you finding other swaps you can make. When we first started making better eco-friendly choices it began with reusable cups for coffee and drinks when we go out, we slowly added to our swaps list and now it's been around 4 years. In those 4 years we've tried many eco swaps and changes in our lives. Most have stuck and been loved even more than the products we left behind. 


What is Plastic Free July?


This is the question I have seen most on social media this month, the name seems to give the idea that we should ditch all plastic during the month of July. The problem is we live in a plastic centred world, almost every product is available as a plastic or with plastic packaging included. The reality is that Plastic Free July is a movement that wants to encourage people to reduce their plastic use. A whole month dedicated to raising awareness of how easy and how much better eco-friendly products can be. It is this ethos which I want to highlight with the products we have been sent from SaveMoneyCutCarbon this month.

Why should I try swapping something to be plastic free?



It's no secret that right now our whole world is drowning in plastic, quite literally. Studies have found plastic is now in our air which we breathe, microplastics are in our water, soil and even our food. It is a problem, one which is helping cause the environmental crisis we now find ourselves in. By cutting down our plastic use, less plastic products are used and that in turn tells big companies that they shouldn't make as many or hopefully at one point, any at all. This cut in single use plastic particularly will impact more than  microplastics not reaching our oceans, it reduces the carbon used to produce more and more over time. We need to be conscious of our own carbon footprints more than ever before and plastics push our carbon usage up with every use. As you can see above we have recently had a reduced plastic picnic, it only included two products with plastic packaging which are crisp packets and coconut roll snacks. This was thanks to many of our previous and current sustainable swaps including some from SaveMoneyCutCarbon! We ditched a whole bag of plastic waste by using alternatives which we can reuse over and over again. 


So where do I start?


Making the decision to ditch even just one single use plastic from your life is easier than you think. When you have decided to take part in Plastic Free July you can take a look at the products you use regularly, it can be anything from toothbrushes to anti-bacterial wipes or ditching plastic shopping bags for a reusable bag instead. 

I recommend choosing something you use in your daily life which you can easily swap for an alternative without having to change your habit of using that product itself. Of the products from our SaveMoneyCutCarbon July planet positive box I would say the best option to begin would be any of  the three Cheeky Panda products. 


Starting with the easiest switch which I think would be the Bamboo Kitchen Paper. We have all seen the ads of paper roll brands claiming they can absorb more than the others, ones which claim to do better for longer at cleaning up. However we never see the claim to be plastic free, better for the environment without compromising on absorbency. That is what you get with the Cheeky Panda Kitchen Paper, the quality and absorbency levels are better than other brands we have used, they come wrapped in a recyclable paper packaging which is better for the environment and ditches the usual plastic packaging, helping you to ditch a bit of your plastic waste without any effort at all. 



Another great swap for people who prefer to use wipes over kitchen paper is the Cheeky Panda bamboo anti-bacterial surface wipes and the handy wipes. We all get how easy it is to grab a wipe and clean up a surface, no added bottles needed, no additional cloths. However not everyone knows that wipes are generally made of up to 90% plastic! Each wipe contains plastic, the packaging is plastic and they are a single use product. This is not the case with Cheeky Panda wipes at all, they are made of sustainable bamboo and even come in biodegradable packaging. We have found these wipes to be super soft and they even smell fantastic so your not giving up any quality or convience by making this swap, your simply choosing better for the planet.



I particularly love the Cheeky Panda handy wipes which have made it into our summer grab and go bag, full of essentials we need out and about with three children during the summer. They make the perfect addition to allow me to quickly and effectively clean busy touch points or even tables when we stop outdoors or on public transport.


What if I don't use these products?



Not everyone uses kitchen paper or wipes in their homes or daily lives, if you don't then that is great! There are still some really good swaps you can make to cut down your plastic use, one we used right from the start of our plastic free journey is reusable shopping bags! The Kind Bag reusable compact bag is just perfect for keeping with you in your car, handbag or near your front door. By keeping the bag handy you will be more likely to remember to grab it when your off out. The extra great thing about Kind Bag's is that the brand use recycled plastic to make up their bags, this means your not only saving plastic from being used at shops but your also stopping plastic waste going to landfill and reaching our oceans. Two wins from one small and handy swap, perfect!



Another big area of plastic waste in most households is cling film, I find that particularly in summer I see many people using cling film since taking packed lunches on days out becomes more normal. The same is said at BBQ's and of course the warmer days mean we eat later or less than during colder months. SaveMoneyCutCarbon have two products which are the perfect swap to help you ditch the cling film this summer, the first is one we already love and shared lots about earlier this year. That is Stasher Bag's, we have recently used them on a picnic to help ditch the plastic waste we created on our day out. 



The other is a product that I simply love the name of, it sums up how I wish I could tell people to be more plastic free and that is Non Plastic Beach's Boll**ks to cling film which are silicone food covers. They come in a pack of 6 sizes. These silicone covers are perfect for cups, pots, small plates and so much more. We used them on our picnic to cover over a small glass pot we reuse after eating the cheesecake it contained along with a bowl that contained some pasta. We also used both to bring back food that wasn't eat which meant we could put it in our compost bin instead of the already full bins at the park.  



There is one final product which came in our Planet Positive box from SaveMoneyCutCarbon which I can honestly say I had never thought too much about, natural sustainable firelighters from Fire Up. Now we don't have a fire, fire pit or even a BBQ so we are actually passing this pack onto a friend who is always looking for better eco products too. However I wanted to share how little thought I have ever put into what we use to light BBQ's or create a fire, many people use firelighters but I have never had a conversation about if they are sustainable or even natural. In fact I haven't even seen either mentioned on packaging before. Making the choice to use a sustainable and natural product over the readily available products we see commonly used will always impact the earth. 

So what is the benefit of using Fire Up natural sustainable firelighters? 
  • There is no petroleum
  • Fossil fuel free
  • Non toxic
  • They can be used indoors and outdoors
  • No added chemicals 
  • Made with FSC certified wood mix
  • No plastic
  • Have a low odour
  • They are compostable 
  • They are safe to cook food with
  • Carbon Neutral (they produce no carbon emissions)  

We have loved all of this months swaps without question, in fact there hasn't been one that we have found difficult to use or that we haven't used regularly. Which is why I feel they would all make the perfect summer swaps for anyone who uses these products regardless of if they have made eco-friendly swaps before or if this is their first experience through Plastic Free July. 

I would love to know if you have made any swaps this month? 
Or if your now planning to make a swap which of these products would make a great swap in your life?



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