Everlast Rocketbooks – Review and Giveaway

I don’t know if all writers feel this way, but I am totally in love with stationery. My house is full of it. I probably have way too much. One item in particular that I completely obsess over is notebooks. You can never have enough in my opinion and I’ve tried so many different kinds, from the budget ones, to cutesy fashion notebooks to expensive artisan types. They’re all good in my opinion. Since becoming a student and starting to take blogging seriously, I’ve been looking for notebooks that offer a little more than just a piece of paper to write on. I’ve tried some smart notebooks before and been quite impressed, so when I was given the chance to try the Rocketbook I was intrigued. This is a post reviewing an item I was gifted in exchange for an honest review. I’ve also been given a Rocketbook to share with one reader of my blog as part of a giveaway. I haven’t been paid any money for this post and all opinions are my own.

Rocketbook smart notebook reusable scannable

So, firstly I think I should explain a little bit about what the Rocketbook is. It’s a Smart, Cloud connected, reusable notebook. Yes, you read that right. It’s reusable, which ultimately saves you from buying dozens of notebooks in the future and therefore, saves the environment. So, that’s that box ticked. I’ll take you through how to use it based on my own experience.

First, you have to download the app. It’s available from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Once it’s on your smartphone or tablet, you set up your destinations. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. The notebook itself is fairly thin with 36 pages of really smooth, shiny paper that almost feels like plastic. There are grey dots on the pages and a QR code in the bottom left hand corner of each page. At the very front of the book, on the inside of the cover, there are seven symbols. A tree, a diamond, an apple, a bell, a four-leafed-clover, a star and a horseshoe. Each of these symbols can be set up to lead to a different destination. So, for example, the tree can lead to Team Meetings folder in Google Drive and the star can lead to Conference Notes in Dropbox. An apple could mean it is an email to your other half. You can set it up to mean anything you like. It’s totally personalised.

Rocketbook with cloth and pen

Once you’ve done that, you get cracking with writing things in your notebook with your Frixion Ball Clicker Erasable Pen, which comes with the notebook. When you’re done, you mark the symbol at the bottom of the page with the special pen, scan it with your smartphone and send. Rocketbook then automatically stores those notes in the right place for you to retrieve later. You can then use the cloth to wipe the notebook clean. You have to dampen it first, but when it is dampened, it works a treat. The pages aren’t spoiled because they’re made of that plastic-ish material that I talked about earlier. Voila! You’re ready to go again.

What I liked about this was that the notebooks look really slick and well-presented. They are really easy to use and the instructions that come with the book are clear. It’s easy to set up and connects to all the relevant apps without any hassle. The uploads themselves are clear. I also like that it’s possible to wipe the pages clean and re-use them. This notebook could last for ages. Plus, because you’re scanning everything and wiping it ready to go again straight away, you’re not having to carry around several notebooks, or even a huge heavy notebook.

smart notebook

If there are any negatives to this, I’d say that the notebooks have quite soft and bendy covers. I wouldn’t say they’re flimsy but a hard-backed option would be great. Could it also do with having more pages? I initially thought so when I opened it up but now that I’ve seen it working and used it a few times, I don’t think so. The number of pages in it already seems fine to me.

Another thing that I wanted to mention is that I’d use the pens again even without the notebooks. I’ve actually just purchased a pack. They come with a special eraser on the end that completely rubs out the ink from the pens, without a trace. That’s going to come in really handy because I’m always doodling over things when I shouldn’t be! However, you shouldn’t use the eraser on the Rocketbook because it takes off the special coating apparently. So, keep the eraser for regular paper use.

If you want to find out more about the Rocketbook, you can check out their website. You can also purchase the Rockbook or the pens on Amazon where they are priced at £34.95 for the Rocketbook and £10.39 for a pack of 6 pens.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning a Rocketbook, pen and cloth so you can try them for yourself, simply comment below with the word WIN. Remember to enter your email address, otherwise I can’t contact you if you win! This giveaway closes at midnight on 4th July 2019 UK time and the winner will be selected at random and contacted on the 5th of July.

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What Will Your Kids Be Doing In Summer 2019?

It’s approaching that time again when the schools are finishing up for summer and up here in Scotland, that’s going to be happening very soon. In fact, it’s going to be next Friday! I can’t wait to spend more time with my son. That’s one thing I don’t understand about other parents and can’t relate to; they complain about the summer holidays and are desperate for their kids to go back to school. I don’t feel that. In fact, I’m really excited about all the fun things that we’re going to do together over the seven week break. Despite starting a new job, I’ll still have plenty of time to spend with him. So, here’s my list of things to do to keep you and your kids busy over the summer break.

Cook Something

As if my family need an excuse to eat?! One of my favourite things to do with my son is to bake. He’s allergic to egg so that limits our choices when it comes to what recipes we can make and he’s not a huge fan of cakes etc. anyway. However, we do have a great recipe for low-fat scones that we got from a Weight Watchers book a few years ago. Once a week, we like to make scones together and that’s definitely something we will be doing over the summer break.

little boy baking scones

Picnics

Yep, food features heavily on this list of top 5 things to do with your kids during summer break. We’re a little short on money this year, but thankfully we do have a bus pass that we can use to get around and neither of us need to pay. We’ll be using that to visit various different parks and gardens around Ayrshire and we’ll be taking a picnic with us. Our favourite things to have on picnics are cold pizza wedges, scones (obvs!), little juice boxes, bread sticks, crisps and raisins. Neither of us are into sandwiches. It’s so much cheaper than eating out and helps those with food allergies to enjoy eating out without worrying about cross contamination.

mother and son on picnic

Geocaching

This is like a treasure hunt, but you use your phone’s GPS to find the treasure. It’s fun to do and doesn’t cost anything. Or alternatively, you could play augmented reality games that get you out into the fresh air. They’re a real hit with my son because he’s very much a visual learner and he’s more likely to learn valuable life skills if we bring technology into the games.

Find a new batch of characters

You know what it’s like. Kids can get a little bit bored with the same characters. For example, Luke was crazy for the Numberjacks once, but he soon got bored with them. Then it was Angry Birds and then Minions. They go through little phases. The best thing to do to keep them occupied during the summer is to introduce them to a new batch of characters and keep a supply of toys in the “going out” bag. For those wondering, we have a bag filled with toys, games and things that Luke isn’t too familiar with and doesn’t get to play with at home. We bring this bag out at restaurants and stressful situations where he needs something to do or something to play with. Yes, we have at times used a tablet or phone to help him through that kind of situation but he tends to zone out with those and it’s useful to have a bag of toys that he can really enthuse about and might use to play with other kids.

Top Wing Mission Ready Track

Top Wing Rod toy

I’ve kindly been gifted a few Top Wing items by Hasbro which I’m adding to this summer’s bag. Top Wing a new show on Nick Jnr. and I have a sticker activity book, a hardback book and some Penny and Rod figures, complete with their vehicles! We’ve also been gifted a Top Wing Mission Ready Track, which I think we’ll keep at home because it’s so big. I would highly recommend discovering some new characters like the Top Wing ones and introducing them into your child’s play set to combat summer boredom.

Top Wing Penny Toy

Top Wing Meet The Cadets Book things to do with your kids during summer break

And last but not least… A pillow fort!

You can’t beat a good pillow fort. And you’re never too old. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In fact, I sometimes think I enjoy building pillow and cushion forts more than Luke does and I am not ashamed to say it!

What will you be doing with your kids this summer? Drop your ideas in the comment box below!

Getting Organised Again!

Yesterday, I started a new job. It’s a new chapter in my life. I don’t know exactly how long this chapter is going to last. It might be a short one, or it might last a bit longer, but for now, all I can do is go with the flow. Going from being a work-at-home mum to being a working mum again is a bit of a culture shock though. I’ve had to start wearing make-up during the day again, even when I don’t want to, and wearing heels. My legs are aching in places I had not expected today and it’s all down to the tiny two-inch heel I was wearing. But there are a few things I need to do to make the transition smoother for both myself and my family. If I had to sum up though, I would say the most important thing to do is GET ORGANISED. Here are some of the things I’ve done to help myself.

Meal-Prep

Pre-planning meals was something I used to do regularly. Towards the end of last week, I bought loads of meat and sauces and started cooking up a storm. My freezer is now full, which means that on the days when I’m working, all I have to do is take something out of the freezer before I leave in the morning, or the night before, and let it defrost, ready for re-heating when I get home from work. It means we can stay healthy and have home-cooked meals while I’m shorter on time. We really felt the benefit last night when we sat down to a tasty lasagne after I’d been working all day. Disclaimer: the food pictured is obviously not my lasagne because my presentation skills aren’t great. Plus, we were too busy enjoying it to take photos.

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Outsource What You Can

I’ve never been one for asking for help. Even today when I’m snowed under with blogging work and also trying to fix a stupid fraud issue (yeah, thanks to Apple for leaking my card details), I’m still trying to do it all myself, even though I know I’m not superwoman. However, I had flu for a couple of weeks at the start of this month and it was proper flu. I mean, if someone had told me there was a million pounds at the end of the street, and all I had to do was get out of bed to go and collect it, I couldn’t have managed. It was intense. So, I ended up with a massive pile of ironing and I called on a lady who lives close by who has an ironing business. She did three huge bags of ironing for £30. Now, I could probably have saved that £30 and I maybe should have, given that I’m now struggling financially thanks to the fraud issue, but under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have been so broke right now and the £30 would have been a great investment. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re struggling for time.

Keep Everything Tidy!

If I ever can’t find something I need, the first place I look is at the bottom of all my old handbags. Failing that, my next step is to tidy up and the lost item usually appears. I am resolving here and now to keep everything in my house more tidy from now on. That will save me so much time! It’s going to be a blanket approach, from the big areas like my spare room, which is more like a junk room these days, to my car (or the mobile skip as I now call it) to my make-up drawer. A little while ago I was gifted a make-up case by Beautify which was gorgeous. It’s pink, with rose gold edging and handle with a luxurious black velvety interior.

make-up case beautify

rose gold make-up case

Shamefully, I was still using an old toolbox that I bought with my pocket money from Woolworths back in 1988. I kid you not. I used to put my little Avon rouges and Cover Girl lipsticks in it. It’s all cracked and dusty. Now, I’m going to keep everything in a proper case so it doesn’t get spoiled or lost. I’m also going to invest in some ottomans for my dining room. We have very little furniture and all Luke‘s toys are just piled up, making a mess of the place. I saw a good deal on silver velvet ottomans that match my couches in one of the discount shops recently that wouldn’t just be storage space. They’d also double up as seating.

So, for all the working parents out there, what are your top tips for managing your time so you can maximise the precious family time that you have?

Love Your Tummy With Rennies

DISCLAIMER: This post is an advertisement for Rennie but is based on my own story and opinions.

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I’m not one for oversharing these days, but some bodily functions are worth discussing and today I want to write a blog post about heartburn. It’s a complaint that I’ve suffered with occasionally over the years. Most episodes of heartburn have been brief and mild but in 2010 I had a pretty lengthy period of indigestion that lasted a few weeks. I did a lot of reading up on the topic then and learned how to look after my digestive health. It’s honestly really important because having a stomach complaint can seriously impact on your happiness. When I was asked to collaborate with Rennie and write a post about heartburn, I jumped at the chance.

Rennie tummy health

What is heartburn?

For me, heartburn feels like a burn in my throat that doesn’t clear by drinking water. It can feel like heat or pain and can be anywhere from my chest to my throat. Some people refer to it as acid reflux because that is usually the cause. There’s a ring of muscles, called the sphincter muscle, that should stay tight at the entrance to your stomach. When this ring of muscles doesn’t do its job properly for any reason, stomach acid can pop up into the oesophagus, also known as the food pipe. If that sounds unpleasant, that’s because it is! There are a number of things that can cause heartburn and most of them are harmless and can be treated with over the counter medications. I want to add that you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have an extended period of heartburn or if you’re not sure what’s going on.

What causes it?

When I suffer from heartburn, it can be for a number of reasons, but they’re usually quite obvious. Eating too much spicy or acidic food can be a cause, but it can be something like fatty foods, onions or dark chocolate too. You might need to look for alternatives to your usual choices. It will be different for each individual. Another cause can be lying down with a full stomach or lying flat too soon after eating. There’s also pregnancy. Any woman who has been pregnant will tell you that the hormone changes added to the position of the baby can cause almost unbearable heartburn. Personally, I was really lucky that I didn’t struggle too much with heartburn during my own pregnancy but I’ve known a lot of women who did.

*Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicine in pregnancy.

There’s another cause that is a trigger for me and that’s stress. In 2009 I experienced a traumatic incident and a few months later, when my brain got round to processing that incident, I had sudden, unexplained and prolonged heartburn. Over the counter products should not be used for prolonged periods of time, so I had to tackle the route of the problem. I visited the pharmacist and GP who were pretty sure it was not related to a physical problem. I had to tackle the problem with diet changes, address the issues that were upsetting me and I consulted a healthcare specialist in stress who provided massage therapies to help me relax.

Abdominal pain

How to Avoid Heartburn

I’ve found the best way for me to avoid heartburn is to take care of my stomach. I can’t tell you how miserable I was for the time that I was living with almost constant heartburn, caused by stress. It was a nightmare. It’s important for me to eat well, keep my stress levels low and listen to what my stomach is telling me. If certain foods cause heartburn, I cut them out or restrict them. If I have any problems with stress, it’s usually my stomach that tells me I need to slow down before I have any other symptoms. I also try not to eat too late at night.

There are loads of diet tips on the Rennie website that tell you what to avoid and it suggests alternatives. For example, if you suffer from heartburn, avoid smoothies with citrus in them for breakfast and try a blended fruit and yogurt ice-lolly for an on-the-go breakfast instead. What a clever idea! Now that summer’s here, I think I might try that.

What treatments are out there?

If your indigestion is mild and you’ve already consulted a healthcare professional, you might choose to take an antacid like Rennie Peppermint. I personally find the taste of Rennies quite pleasant, so I don’t find them difficult to take. There’s also a ©Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension in their range and ©Rennie Heartburn, Indigestion & Wind Relief Chewable Tablets. Obviously, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist if you’re pregnant too or on medication because over the counter remedies aren’t suitable for everyone and always read the label.

Have you suffered from heartburn? I’d love to hear other people’s stories and how they address the complaint. Share in the comments below!

This post is in conjunction with Rennie® but is based on my own personal experiences and all the opinions in this article are my own.

Get Ready For Father’s Day With Moonpig

I’ve inherited a lot of things from my Dad. My nose, for one. My black hair. Unfortunately I also inherited the early-greys from him. Thanks Dad.  There’s also my IQ score, my tenacity and my sweet tooth. So, I wanted to write a Father’s Day post in advance of the big day, which is 16th June this year. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been given a few ideas. My Dad has his eye on a DVD box set of an old 1960s TV show that I had honestly never heard of so it’s going to be easy this year but if he hadn’t put that idea in my head, I would have struggled. I was lucky enough to be invited along to a special Moonpig Father’s Day event in Edinburgh with my Dad, but I wasn’t able to make it because I had no childcare for the day. My Dad basically IS my babysitter, so if he’s not around, I’m a bit stuck. Instead, I was kindly gifted a hamper of goodies from Moonpig which I’m going to feature here in the pictures so you can see the kind of gifts Moonpig offer and also, so you can see the quality. I should point out that I haven’t been paid any money to write this post though, and receiving the item hasn’t affected my opinions of the Moonpig brand or the items I received.

So, firstly, a bit about the gifted hamper. The hamper itself is by Thornton & France and is really cute and it’s also quite sturdy, so it’s not going to fall apart in the post! Inside was a box of clotted cream shortbread rounds, a little mini box of Lily O’Brien chocolates, some really nice tea and a bag of fudge. So, it’s all treat items that you wouldn’t buy for yourself and they’re beautifully presented in the hamper, which the recipient can use again once they’re done with the gifts inside. It’s a great idea to gift something like this for Father’s Day, or even a birthday or anniversary. I was impressed with the quality and with the fact that there was a brand name I recognised in there (Lily O’Brien) and there were also some brands I didn’t recognise. The item I received is currently out of stock on the Moonpig website, so I can’t show it to you on here or link to it, but there are some pictures below which you might like to see!Moonpig Hamper Father's Day gift review

Moonpig Father's Day hamper

Lily O'Brien chocolates

Vanilla Fudge Moonpig

Moonpig have got loads of different choices for Father’s Day gifts. There’s far too many to list here but the ones that caught my eye were the chocolate pizza, condiment selection (which is something that my husband would be all over) and a cheese lover’s hamper tray. There’s tons of non-food gifts too like personalised clothing/mugs etc and a selection of novelty books and puzzles or games. There really are too many too list, but my favourite (and it’s at the top of the page so it’s clearly a lot of other people’s favourite too!) is the Retro TV Games gift, which is around £14 so it’s quite reasonably priced.I obviously can’t give an opinion on these items because I haven’t tried them but they did catch my eye.

If you haven’t tried Moonpig before, I would say give them a go. My step-daughter lives down in the Midlands so she’s not around for birthdays or special days like Father’s Day now and we often see items arriving for Alex from Moonpig. It’s a good option because they can send the items directly to your chosen recipient and cut out the middle man – which would be you. You’re only paying one load of postage. They have a huge range of Father’s Day gifts and Father’s Day cards available which you can check out on their website.

Are you organised for Father’s Day this year? What will you be getting for your Dad?