Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tried and Tested Mother's Day Gifts

Product: Simple Radiance Brightening Moisturiser,  Repair Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, Regeneration Age-resisting Night Cream, Kind to Lips Essential Lip Balm                        
Price: £6.63,    £8.12, £6.49, £2.54                                                                                                          
Available from: Boots, Lloyds Chemist, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda                                                 
Initial Reaction: Nice clean looking packaging in cool green and white.       

  • The Simple range of products states that they contain no perfume, no colour and no unnecessary additives.
  • Day creams and lip balms contain sun screen.
  • Lip balm left a bitter taste in my mouth.                                               
Value for money? Excellent value for money. Only a tiny bit of cream goes a long way.   
Overall Reaction: The brightening moisturiser was my favourite of all the products. It felt lovely on my skin. Not too greasy, and definitely made my skin look brighter. I am going to continue buying this.

I used the age-resisting cream and was a bit wary as I don’t like using night creams. This one, however, was not as heavy as most night creams and my skin felt nice and soft in the morning.

I passed on the anti-wrinkle night cream to my Mother, and even though she said it was too late for anti-wrinkle cream it did make her skin feel much softer. She thought the price was a bit high, but after using it for a week, found that she hadn’t used much at all. A little cream went a very long way.

The lip-balm was softening. Not too greasy, but did leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
Overall a very good range of products. Both myself and my mum have sensitive skin and didn’t have any adverse reactions to any of the creams.

By Sarah  

Product: Snapfish Photobook
Price: £29.99
Available from:

Initial Reaction: I loved that we finally managed to have actual photos of Fizz. Usually the snaps go onto the computer/facebook, I haven’t had prints for ages – not even of our wedding!

Pros: All your memories in one place with your own captions. You can select a design to use as a background in the book as well as hard/soft covers.

Cons: The quality of some of the prints was a bit poor; this is probably due to my using a mobile phone to take a lot of pictures.

Value for money? At £29.99 I did think this was quite a lot of money especially as the pictures are printed on the pages rather than actual photographs but it is a lovely gift idea and for us this will go into Fizz’s memory box.

Overall Reaction: A lovely way to have all your memories. This would be a perfect present especially for the Grandma’s for mother’s day!

Product: Assorted Mother’s Day products from Poundland
Price: £1
Available from: Poundland

Initial Reaction: Very pink! And sparkly! And girlie! Living in a house full of boys this was a very pleasant change.

  • The price is amazing for quality products
  • Excellent choice of products – from the practical (handy purse which unfolds to a shopping bag or pink (with lace trimmings!!) rubber gloves to glamorise any washing up moment), to the frivolous (glittery compact mirror and makeup bag) to the sentimental (heart shaped wall plaque and scroll, both with cute poem) .
  • Great way for the kids to spend their pocket money on (let’s be honest) something for mum that won’t go straight in the recycling or to the charity shop.
  • Lovely range of cards and gift bags to make mum feel special.

  • For the price there really is nothing negative that you can say about the Poundland products! They may not necessarily be what you would choose yourself but for the price they are great fun and may even come in useful.

Value for money? Excellent. Poundland offers great value for money practical and fun products.

Overall Reaction: Fantastic! Really pleasantly surprised with the products Poundland have. Great range, not too tacky and worth the risk of letting the kids choose something for you for Mothering Sunday without it breaking the bank.

Price:  £8.99
Available from:

Suitable from:   a mother to her grown-up child

Initial Reaction:  what a fantastic idea.  I’m sure that I’m representative of the population at large when I say that I never commit  enough time to just mulling things over with my parents, so this is a great opportunity to hear more about my Mum, and for her to maybe jot down that are more difficult to say than to write.

Pros:  A fantastic book with some lovely questions, probing into many different aspects of life from Mum’s childhood to mine, and the associated decisions and feelings that are encountered along the way.  Examples of some of the questions are: “Tell me about a special piece of music that you and Dad had ‘just for you’ . . .”,  “Before I was born, what other names had you thought of calling me?”,  “What was the first word or words you remember me saying?”

Cons:  I had worried that it might be a long task for Mum to complete, it is, after all, a whole books’ worth of questions for her to answer and she is a busy lady.  I needn’t have worried though, with my mother being as chatty and literate as she is, and she has been busily filling in pages already.  It probably wouldn’t appeal so much to someone who found it hard to write, especially by hand.  The book had quite a basic feel to it; I’d probably pay more for a more luxurious cover and some pearly-white pages.

Value for money?  Definitely, you can’t put a price on this kind of information and it makes for a great and interesting gift.  It’s a present and a historical journal all in one, and I will be computerising a version for my son.

Overall Reaction:   fantastic and unusual gift.

Product: Mad Beauty Hand and Body Lotion.
Price:  £8.99
Available from: Mad Beauty 

Initial Reaction: Looks like a great product. The design of the bottle is funky and the lotion itself smells great and doesn’t look too runny.

  • Looks great
  • Smells great (strawberries)
  • Lotion isn’t too thick
  • Absorbs into skin really well
  • The lotion isn’t sticky
  • Makes skin smell and look great.
  • Scent can be slightly overpowering at times.
Value for money?  I think this lotion is great value for its money.

Overall ReactionThe lotion is fantastic, it left my skin feeling and smelling great. I used it more as I hand lotion and found that my hands where never dry and the lotion isn't greasy so after its rubbed in our hands its they feel normal.
By Dani

Product: Mad Beauty Rosey Bath Confetti.
Price: £3.99
Available from: Mad Beauty 

Initial Reaction: Something different to make bath time a little more special
  • Smell Good
  • Great Design
  • Easy to clean off bath
  • Didn’t last very long in the bath
  • Didn’t float like petals, sank and dissolved
Value for money?You get a lot of the product for the amount you pay, but the product could be a little bit better.

Overall Reaction: Other then the scent you get from the product I didn’t really enjoy the product. If the petals floated like I expected and didn’t sink and dissolve straight away they could of been good and made bath time a little more special.

By Dani 

Product:  E.L.F starter kit makeup in Fair

"Our Starter Kit will help you on your way to healthier illuminating skin in an easy 3 step process. After following this beauty regime you will noticeably feel and see the pure difference e.l.f. Natural Mineral Makeup can do! All of our natural mineral makeup is 100% mineral based with no parabens, no preservatives and no chemical dyes.

Mineral Foundation-SPF 15  (3.4grams)
Mineral Concealer-SPF 15  (3.4grams)
Mineral Blush  (3.4grams)
Total Face Brush 
Bronzing Brush
Canvas Case"

Price:  £15.00

Available from: Online at

Initial Reaction: It was a new experience for me as I've used the same makeup routine for 20 years and don't like any heavy makeup on. I was a bit wary of piling on 3 different powdered makeups on top of one another. 

Pros: Small compact jars. Easy to use and keep clean. Comes with 2 beautiful soft makeup brushes. Light and barely there feeling. 

Cons: Not heavy coverage if thats what you're looking for. I had to use a cream concealer under the powders  to cover my black bags. 

Value for money?: Good value for money. 

Overall Reaction:  My overall reaction to this make up was good. I loved the fact that its pure with no chemicals or preservatives. Great if you like to keep your skin pure and don't like the heavily made up look. The packaging is extremely pretty and simple.  The brushes are gorgeous and very very soft and the blush was my favourite part. It is a gorgeous shade in the fair range. My teenage daughter is desperate to steal the cute make up purse that came with the set and has her eye on the brushes too. All in all I think it would make a lovely gift for someone or a nice treat for yourself. 

Price: £39.00
Available from: Bella Mama
Initial Reaction: Soft and stretchy material and a good length dress.

This dress fits really well, it is slightly tighter round the top and then looser from just under the bust, this makes it is perfect for when you have just had your baby as it hides your tummy. The opening to feed is really well thought out and the stretchy material means it is easy to pull to one side and you aren’t fighting against the material. 


Value for money? This dress can be used as a day dress or an evening dress with a pretty 
belt and some accessories so it is really good value for money.

Overall Reaction:
I had not anticipated being able to wear a dress whilst breastfeeding but this dress has meant I can with ease. It looks and feels great on and is really easy to breastfeed in, so much so I look forward to wearing it. It washes really well and can be dressed up or down so it is an all round item of clothing.

By Ellie 

Price: £29.99
Available from: Bella Mama

Initial Reaction: The material is very soft and stretchy and it the colour is a lovely dark blue.

Pros: I love this top, the material feels great on and it is quite stretchy which is perfect for a new mum and her changing body. The two layers of fabric are a good length and go all the way round which means your belly isn’t exposed when you lift the top section up (great for when its cold too). Because the material is so stretchy it makes it easier to pull to one side to enable baby to get to the breast. I tried a few tops that were awkward to use when I was breastfeeding my first child. However, these not only look great, they are practical too.


Value for money? This top should last you all the way through breastfeeding as it washes really well and the tie around the neck means it can be tightened/loosened with your changing body shape.

Overall Reaction: If there was one item I was to recommend for a breastfeeding mum it would be this, it enables you to breastfeed discreetly and the extra layers of materials not only keep your tummy warm but offer that extra bit of coverage for those that might be a 
little body conscious after having a baby.

By Ellie  

Price: £36.80
Available from: Connock London

Initial Reaction: It looks really nice and special in a lovely presentation box.

  • Smells Divine
  • Comes is a lovely presentation box
  • Comes with long matches to light it
  • Lovely glass candle holder


Value for money? Expensive for a candle but a lovely treat and gift. Us mums are worth it!

Overall Reaction:  A lovely gift for any mum. I really enjoyed lighting it while I was in a nice hot bubble bath. The scent is really relaxing.

Product: e.l.f. mineral eyeshadow set
Price: £12
Available from:

Initial Reaction: I’m a fan of mineral make-up. I use mineral foundation as I like to keep the chemicals and claggy liquids on my skin to a minimum (because I often fail to wash my face as I rush upstairs and climb into bed with a crying baby, rather than any more noble concerns). So I was pleased to be testing mineral eyeshadow, although I hadn’t heard of e.l.f. (which stands for ‘eyes lips face’) before I received these products.

Mineral make-up contains no parabens, preservatives or chemical dyes. I like it because it goes on evenly (as long as you let your moisturiser sink in first) and because it’s really simple to apply, but also quite versatile.

I was sent the ‘expert eye’ set, which could have more informatively been called ‘pinks’ – or ‘dusky pinks’ if they wanted to sound a bit fancier. It included three eyeshadows in complementary colours, two brushes and an eyeliner pencil. It also included some instructions for applying the colours and wearing them together. I followed the instructions (although I couldn’t figure out the point of the contouring brush and just used the normal eyeshadow brush throughout); here’s the before and after.

Pros: The eyeliner pencil was genius! The lid had it’s own built-in pencil sharpener – you can just pop the lid on, twist and you’re done. It had a kind of purplish/brown tinge, which was softer than basic black and matched nicely with the eyeshadows.

The eyeshadow went on nicely; I found that the matte shadow gave better coverage than the shimmer, but you could build up colour with either by starting with a little bit and gradually building up. The plastic cover over the powder means that you don’t end up with too much on your brush.

I did end up with a little bit of loose eyeshadow on my face, but that’s probably down to my impatient technique rather than the shadow itself – it actually stayed in place much better than other loose shadows I’ve tried.

I found the instructions clear and easy to follow, and thought that the matching set of three eyeshadows would be especially useful if you want to update your look and try something new, but weren’t sure where to start. If you didn’t fancy the whole routine, you could just use a simple dash of one colour with a bit of mascara to brighten up your eyes.

Cons: I sometimes apply eyeshadow around the rims of my eyes, like a thicker, softer eyeliner. Neither of the brushes in the kit were suitable for this (although there’s a great value eyeliner brush available separately on the website).

Also, although I loved the design of the eyeliner, I found the pencil itself could have been a little softer.

Value for money? At £3 a pop for individual eyeshadow colours, or £12 for the set I tested, I felt e.l.f. was really good value. The only issue is that the packaging felt a bit ‘budget’, so I probably wouldn’t buy it as a gift for someone.

Overall Reaction: I really liked these products. The colours were a bit ‘safe’ for my taste, but there’s a wide range on the website including seven new shades at the funkier end of the spectrum. Personally I already use a different brand of mineral make-up that I prefer; if it wasn’t for that then I’d buy these in future.

Price: £9
Available from: Green & Blacks

Initial Reaction: Bring on the chocolate!!

  • Nice size bars
  • Really good chocolate
  • 7 Different varieties


  •  No Maya Gold

Value for money? A think its good value for money, you get 24 mini bars. The chocolate is really good and you don’t need much to get your fix.

Overall Reaction:  I am a big fan of Green & Blacks chocolate and even though my favourite Maya Gold wasn’t in there it’s a great selection.  It lasted me 2 weeks and it was nice to sit down with a cup of tea and a little bar of chocolate for a treat. 

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