Monday, 30 December 2013

One for the beauty geeks!

Today I just want give a big SHOUT OUT to one of my new favourite social media goddesses - Beauty Geek. Whenever I try to create the 'smoky eye' look I usually end up looking like a panda or a goth but this lady is a veritable whizz with all things make-up, as well as being just gorgeous herself, and her You Tube tutorials have showed me how to create the perfect smoky eye and going-out-face in simple steps (yep I used it that one time I went out and you know I rocked it - hey you've got to make the most of a babysitter, right?)

I've embeded one of the tutorials below so take a look - if you're into make-up and beauty and you're looking for some great looks for New Year's Eve then she's definitely one for your to-do list.

You can watch Beauty Geek on  and follow her on ,  and of course 

Monday, 23 December 2013

My favourite product reviews of the year

Yesterday twas the Sunday before Christmas, when all around the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. Although hubbie had been up since 3am throwing up and Little Man had woke up screaming at 5.30am. Henceforth I was up too. Of course by the time I was showered and dressed both of them had gone back to sleep *sigh*. So what to do with this gift of time that had been given to me? Well after considering all the many things that have happened over at Bod towers this past couple of weeks (Little Man has taken his first steps, Curly Girl tread the boards in her first Nativity Play, I have wrapped my own body weight in presents and almost garotted myself trying to string the lights on the Christmas tree)  my mind turned to thinking about the year gone by and all the lovely things that we have reviewed here at Bod for tea. And lo, a round-up was born...

My in June was very interesting and showed me that sometimes new isn't always best - definitely worth a read if you're looking for a new carrier.

In July we had an aborted holiday to Spain but did manage to review the quite comprehensively. Hubbie still uses this on a daily basis and it's stood up to lots of abuse. In Spain we also had a chance to use the fab products that we'd reviewed. Still my favourite suncream and one I'll buy again next Summer.

In the Summer my thoughts turned to losing my baby weight and thankfully I got the chance to review an that can help. This one was great fun because it got me moving. I love the scenery in the videos too - sort of like a mini holiday without the jetlag.

Another online programme I LOVED reviewing let me indulge my ongoing desire to learn to speak Spanish fluently. I guest posted in the Spring about my experiences of the Rosetta Stone TOTALe course on their Milestones blog. If only there were more hours in the day to play in this fab online classroom!

I was a bit perturbed to be sent a new version of our to review in September but thankfully it was a pleasant surprise!      

Curly Girl loves reading and we've had the chance to review all sorts of children's books from David Walliams' to ' new adventure and the fab and very original by Drew Daywalt. I think my favourite has to be  because I didn't know the answers to all the questions posed by our nation's primary school children so I learned something new too!

Going wheat-free in December was a shock to the system but made much easier by the arrival of a from the friendly peeps at Nakd. I thoroughly reviewed each and every one of them (yum yum!).

Finally with 2014 heading towards us at an alarming rate it's the perfect time to think about getting organised again for the New Year and in my search for the perfect planner I've found my two favourites from and .

So there we have it, my favourite reviews of 2013. There's nothing left for me to to say now except THANK YOU for joining me in our adventures this year and I wish you and yours an absolutely spiffingly Merry Christmas with all the presents and joy that Santa can squeeze into his considerably large sack. With the hoards joining us here at Bod towers it's unlikely I'll have time to do much posting but I will see you here again in 2014 and in the meantime you can follow the madness of our festivities over at and on .

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Bod for tea's books - stinky socks and multicolour vests

Ho Ho Ho! It's part two of Bod for tea's festive book review and today we're looking at two very different books that are both full of the spirit of Christmas. I say 'we' because really it's Curly Girl who's opinion counts here and she's given both of these a big thumbs up. (Nuff said.)

 by Jan Fearnley is a fabulously festive tale about how the robin came to have a red breast. It's actually a reincarnation of Little Robin Red Vest by the same author which sold over 43,000 copies. And I can see why as it's a lovely book that I really enjoyed reading with Curly Girl.

The book starts the week before Christmas and the little robin has seven vests to wear. Through his kindness his other animal friends, who are cold or poorly, borrow a vest each to stay warm - leaving him without one for himself! A certain someone in a red suit and big black boots rewards his festive spirit by giving him a very special red vest that will keep him warm forever. This would make a lovely pre-Christmas book to share with a child in the run up to the big day. The illustrations are lovely and the story is really very sweet.

Curly Girl enjoyed the Little Robin's Christmas

Our second book is  which is the latest in a series of books by Kristina Stephenson. If you're not familiar with the series, Sir Charlie Stinky Socks is a bold, brave little knight with a heart of gold. Together with his faithful cat Envelope and his good grey mare, Sir Charlie likes nothing better than adventures with colourful beasties, ghoulies and ghosties.

We already own so Curly Girl was very excited to see that another of Charlie's adventures had arrived.  In this, the sixth book in the series, Sir Charlie takes on his most fearsome quest yet as he must venture along a treacherous track, through a spooky wood and into a deep, dark cave to retrieve a mysterious black sack. Ogres and scallywags (love that word!) are lying in wait for him and he has to use all his guile and wits to complete the task.

The illustrations are just wonderful, very colourful and detailed and Curly Girl particularly loves pulling up the four giant flaps to see the story continuing underneath. It's written not in rhyme but with a rhythmic style that makes it lovely to read. A definite new favourite in our house - as you can see!

Disclaimer: We were sent one copy of each book to review and received no other compensation. All opinions are entirely our own.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 - Chapter eighteen

What is ? (This will hopefully explain the plot flaws and typos...)
Read the previous chapters in 


Present day

‘Well I’ll be damned.’ Robin Wimpole rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he gazed at the strange carvings in the base of the wooden box that he’d just managed to open. ‘Fifty two moves to hide this?’

Alexandria and Ryan peered into the box themselves and were just as puzzled. Etched deep into the wood were a series of letters and numbers that covered the whole of the base.


531113113151 1144 234241411351345135 21113352

215132423341 1343244134 443224433351

2 12244323 443251 254233414325 + 443251 1213434324

‘Looks like my old maths homework,’ chuckled Robin.

‘Clearly this was a hoax,’ Ryan said, picking up the open box and putting it back into the cloth bag. ‘Thanks so much for your help Mr Wimpole, we won’t take up any more of your time.’

‘Damn shame someone defaced it like that,’ Robin continued. ‘It’s worth a lot less now.’

Ryan ignored Alexandria’s confused expression and lifted her up gently by the elbow so that they could walk back to the front of the shop.

‘Let me know if you find any other boxes like that one,’ Robin said as a parting remark, ‘oh and please give your best regards to your Uncle from me.’ Ryan shook the antique dealer’s hand and ushered Alexandria out of the shop.

They walked around the corner where Ryan spotted an empty table at a coffee shop that was doing brisk business with all the tourists around. He positioned the chairs so that he was facing towards the window and away from the surrounding shop fronts while Alexandria was facing outwards. He asked her to get them a drink each and a few minutes later she returned with two regular filter coffees, milk no sugar.

‘Ok, can you tell me why we left there in such a hurry? I thought Mr Wimpole might have had some more information about those strange carvings.’ Alexandria asked Ryan as she blew over the top of her coffee, trying to cool it to a drinkable temperature.

‘Firstly, our time is short, we only had twenty-four hours before Stephen Charles calls you again and it’s already late afternoon. Secondly, whatever those letters and numbers mean, the fewer people that know about them the better. Remember, just knowing about the box has placed your family in danger.’ Ryan replied. ‘And thirdly, I think we’re being followed.’

‘Followed?’ Alexandria started looking around the antique market.

‘Just act normal!’ Ryan snapped at her. Then more gently; ‘I don’t know for sure, but if we are then I don’t want them to know that I know.’

‘This is like something out of a James Bond movie,’ Alexandria muttered under her breath. ‘Don’t forget that I’m the one who’s family is being held hostage.’ Her voice caught as she pictured her daughter’s face, the same face that she hadn’t seen for what felt like days already. ‘If time is so short then what are we doing drinking coffee?’ She said, changing the subject to refocus her attention. ‘Why don’t we just head back to the Major and wait for Stephen Charles to call us?’

‘I need to see if I’m right.’ Was all Ryan said, but she noticed that the whole time he was speaking he was looking in her direction but not actually at her. He was looking past her into the shop window, where the rest of the antiques market behind him was reflected. The minutes ticked by while they both drank their coffees and neither of them spoke. Then abruptly, Ryan said, ‘We need to leave, now.’ He stood up and slung the rucksack onto his back leaving both hands free. Alexandria stood up too and managed to knock her coffee mug off the small round metal table onto the floor, splashing both her legs and the legs of the lady sitting at the next table. She apologised profusely and tried to wipe her own legs with a napkin but Ryan was already pulling her away, walking away from the entrance that they’d originally used and towards the back of Grays where the toilets were.

‘You clean yourself up and I’ll meet you back out here,’ he said loudly as they reached the metal fire door that led to the toilets. Then they were through the door and Ryan closed it behind them speaking much more softly; ‘We are definitely being followed. There’s one at least. I saw him walking past Wimpole’s place when we were inside and then again when we stopped at the coffee shop.’

‘Are you sure?’ While the events of the past day were certainly the stuff of movies, she couldn’t quite believe that Stephen Charles would have had her followed. After all, he had Ary and her Mother. What did he need to have them followed for?

‘Yep, I’m sure.’ He walked past her into the men’s toilets and checked the stalls for a window. Then he checked the women’s causing an elderly lady who was applying too much rouge to her cheeks to drop her make-up brush. ‘Sorry, Mrs.’ He said with a convincing cockney accent. ‘We’ve had a report of rats coming up from the sewers.’ Within seconds the woman was gone leaving them alone in the toilets.

‘Here,’ said Ryan entering the last stall and pulling open a window. He stuck his head out to check the road and then stood to one side to let Alexandria go first.

‘You’re not suggesting…’

‘Look, all that chat about cleaning up the coffee on you will wash for a few minutes but they’ll be in here like a shot if we’re not out soon. We need to get out of here so I’ve got some time to think about those carvings.’

‘Do you know what they are?’ Alexandria asked, intrigued.

‘Not exactly but numbers written like that are usually a code. And codes can be broken, given time.’

Alexandria climbed up onto the toilet and through the window, jumping down lightly onto the street below, glad she’d dressed practically that morning. Ryan jumped down behind her and hailed a passing taxi. While they rode back to Canary Wharf to collect Ryan’s Land Rover, Ryan used his mobile phone to call his Uncle Max. He might not have seen him much in the last few years but today he needed to see him again.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Copyright belongs to the blog owner 2013.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Going wheat free and *gasp* Nakd

So a few of weeks ago I had a well-woman check up at the hospital. I was weighed measured, prodded and poked, questioned and analysed. Oh and I had an examination of the rectum interstinum which was somewhat of a surprise but apparently 'necessary for a woman of your age.' Yeah, thanks for that, doc. Anyhoo, to cut a long story short I'm fine but I was advised to cut out as much wheat from my diet as possible.



*sob* *sniff* *sob*

Picking myself up from the soggy puddle of tears on the floor I decided that the only way forward was to find some healthy snacks that were wheat free and tasty enough to satisfy my bready cravings. Luckily I'd already bought the odd pack of Nākd Berry Delight bars and gobbled one down when I felt the urge to raid the little's snack stash. I checked the back of the packet and yes they were completely wheat free *tick*.

Then something rather miraculous happened. The nice chaps that make the Nākd range dropped me a note out of the blue asking if I'd like to trial some of their range. After I'd checked the kitchen for hidden cameras and made sure that Jeremy Beadle* wasn't hiding in the larder with a microphone I contained my excitement and wrote back with a cool 'sure, why not'.

A few days later this arrived...

...a veritable plethera of wheat-free delights! I of course set my mind (and mouth) to testing each one - in the interests of scientific study of course - to bring you my review of each and every one. I know, it's a tough job but as the saying goes, someone's gotta do it *licks lips*.

The Nākd range is made by Natural Balance Foods, a young British company (hoorah!) that's devoted to making healthy snacks. The bars in the Nākd range are made using a wholefood approach with minimal processing and no added sugar, syrup or additives. This is quite different to a lot of other so-called healthy snack bars -
"It only takes 35 minutes to make a Nākd bar, from mixing all the yummy ingredients to popping it in the pack – compare that with a baked cereal bar which is so processed and ingredient-laden that it takes 3 hours 45 mins to make. That’s 6x longer! We think this just goes to show that making foods with a wholefood approach is much better – both for you and the planet." (Nākd website)

Ok, so all this healthy eating stuff is important but let's be honest it has to taste good too, right? To be honest my taste expectations of healthy snack bars are pretty low - they often taste of cardboard and raisins - but in the most part I have been pleasantly surprised by the Nākd range...

My tasting notes...
Berry Delight - yuummmm!! Delicious berry fruits taste and just enough tang. My joint favourite.

Cocoa Orange - Just like a Terry's Chocolate OrangeTM ... but healthy! These should be available on prescription.

Caffe Mocha - really expected to like this one. The biscuit and flavour tasted kinda separate - a bit like eating a fruit biscuit and drinking a cafe mocha at the same time.

Strawberry Crunch - the crunch bars have quite a different texture from the others, with a satisfying snap that I thought came from rice but turns out comes from soya crunchies. You can really taste the strawberry in this one - lovely flavour.

Banana Bread - a bit artificial tasting even though it's natural flavouring.

Cocoa Delight - OMG!!!!!!! This is delicious! My joint favourite with Berry Delight. If eating one of these a day with a cup of coffee is healthy eating then I'm converted!

Rubarb and Custard bar - just like those hard boiled sweets from the penny jars. Yummy and only 128 kcals.

Banana Crunch - nice texture but I didn't like the banana flavour as much as the strawberry version.

Tangy Lime Raisins and Cola Raisins - both a bit weird and remind me of a taste from my childhood....cola cubes! (Couldn't eat the whole packet, bit too tangy)

Cherry Infused Raisins - a bit like chewing a Cherry Cola.

So overall the two winners in my taste test are.... *drumroll*
Final thoughts...
Ok, so I'm not keen on the raisins and not all the flavours of the bars do it for me but my two favourites are delicious and the fact is they are just squished fruit and nuts with natural flavourings. No added sugar. No nasties. And the bars count as one of your five-a-day. Yes really! What's not to love about that? I'll definitely be recommending my favourite flavours to my friends - wheat-free dieters or not.

*Jeremy Beadle hosted the UK equivalent to 'Candid Camera'.

Disclaimer: I was sent a box of Nakd products to review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bod for tea's books - Does my goldfish know who I am?

In a world, my world actually, where to-do lists function as a way to navigate through both the here and now and the coming soon, I've been feeling something tugging urgently at my sleeve. Throughout November I've been working on my and putting aside other pursuits as mere trifles (except actual trifle of course). Unfortunately I didn't cross the finish line by writing 50k words in a month *sniff* but don't be too sad for me, I'm still working on it and hope to get there at some point over the next few years. Anyhoo, now that isn't my number one priority, I realise what's been trying to get my attention...


So without further ado, Bod for tea's books is going all mistletoe and wine and in the season of giving I'm bringing you not one but three reviews - all guaranteed to be welcomed by the little ones when they descend on their presents like locusts come Christmas morning. Of course it would be greedy to have all your cake at once so in this edition I give you your first bite... oh and keep reading, there's a giveaway coming up!

Do your kids like to ask questions? Not the usual ones like 'are we there yet?' or 'why do I have to go to bed before my brother?' but the sort of questions that leave you scratching your head or consulting Wikipedia? Questions like these...

Why can’t we drink wee?
Do spiders speak?
Why does Daddy never win the lottery?
How does the lady in the satnav know where to go? (I admit this one has always stumped me too...)

Yes? Then (RRP £12.99 hardback) is the stocking filler for you. These and hundreds more real children’s questions, gathered from primary schools across the UK have been answered by some well known (and not so well known but super clever) experts of our time with short and accessible answers that idiots like me children can understand. So, David Attenborough tells us whether monkeys could ever turn into men and Miranda Hart ponders why it’s funny when someone farts. There are celebrities aplenty from Bear Grylls (Why can't we drink wee? - naturally) to Sir Paul McCartney and from Adam Hart Davis to Heston Blumenthal.

Still not sure if this is the book for you?
Click on the image above to consult the
flow chart (and have a giggle too!).
This is the second book in the ‘Big Questions’ project by Gemma Elwin Harris and we absolutely loved her first - Big Questions from Little People (now out in paperback *taps nose*) - so we were keen to review this one and see if it matched up. And I'm pleased to say that it does. I knew the answers to some of the questions (ok, one) but most of them I didn't. While my little people are too young to read it themselves yet I now feel that my arsenal is stocked with answers to fire when they start throwing questions at me from the back of the car. I'll also be dipping into the book for some after-dinner fun around the Christmas table as there are a further fifty pages of quizzes at the back for the whole family to join in. 

Most importantly, both of the books benefit the NSPCC and to date over £100,000 has been raised to help fund the charity’s vital work with vulnerable children and young people which in my book (if you'll pardon the pun) makes them even better value.

This is a great little stocking filler and Santa has left me an extra copy of Does my Goldfish Know Who I Am? to give away to one lucky reader. Ho Ho Ho! To be in with a chance of winning just enter using the Rafflecopter widgety thing below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer and all important small print: We were sent one copy of Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am? to review and offered one copy to give away. I received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random using Rafflecopter. 

Win competitions at

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Silent Sunday

Newer Posts Older Posts Home