I’ve only gone and done it….I’ve got my feet out, funny what a little sunshine gets you braving!  It’s always a pinnacle moment of the year, the one where I pack away my trusty boots for the season and bring out the sandals. Being a Devon living, seaside gal it’s pretty much flip-flops all the way for the next few months bar a few plimsols wearing days, only this year I’m going a little different with something a little more supportive.

I’ve got quite an over pronation and while those trusty flip-flops may be super comfy but I fear I may have done a little damage over the years, so this spring and summer I’m hoping to correct my step by wearing some podiatrist designed footbed sandals from Vionic Shoes .


The great thing about the Jura sandals which I’m stepping out in (see what I did there!) is I’ll be working on walking with the correct alignment and that over pronation I’ve developed will be no more. <crosses fingers > I’m also hoping the foot pain I experience when out on long walks will stop. (They’re also great for helping with Plantar Fasciitus which is explained in more detail over on the website

But aside from all the sciencey stuff going on, they look really good! I’ve opted for an on-going animal print theme which I know have a growing collection of footwear in, with the hope they’ll go with anything and everything. They can be dressed up or casual-ed down and break up an all black outfit and add a sassy edge to denims and whites.


I’ve got quite narrow feet so having an adjustable strap means I can adjust them to fit perfectly and as leather tends to give a little over time, I can tighten them so they’ll always fit. This is a must-have on my summer sandals tick list as I didn’t fancy a pair which I ended up having to toe-grab them into place each time I walked, in an effort to keep them on my feet. The double strap should put an end to any of that annoying business.

And best of all, now I have some fabulous shoes, I can start some serious summer shopping for my holiday wardrobe and book myself in for a must have summer pedicure.

Disclaimer

I was gifted a pair of Vionic Jura sandals for my honest opinion. All words and photos are my own unless otherwise stated 

 

 

Follow:
Share:

Change of seasons always catch me out when it comes to clothing. Take spring for example, the slightest hint of sunshine and I’m ditching to the dark wooly jumpers in favour for cool pastel cottons and end up a shivering mess cussing my perpetual predictability and lack of learning from all the previous years mistakes. I’m just an eager beaver ready to step into the next phase of good ol’ english weather I guess. It’s even worse when you’ve applied the same thought process to kids. They end up whingey that they’re cold or you run the risk of WORSE PARENT EVER syndrome for letting the kiddos out unsuitably dressed. Nothing scorns harder than a whispered “tut, tut” from another well prepared adult.

Not this spring as I’m on it, on it like a car bonnet with bells on as the kids step out in spring proof (and autumn / winter) coats from the new Berghaus range. Dressed in the cutest Fourstones  and Ancroft  parkers with super soft hoods, they’ve had a thorough testing. Despite being warm and practical ( we’ve survivied a rain soaked dog walk ) they’re quite light and look pretty cool. The 4 external pockets came in handy for storing daisies, sticks and shells too and are long enough to cover bums when picnicking. (or even handier when covering up a toddler potty training accident!)

 

 

It wasn’t all about the parkers though, this Carrock  3 in 1 jacket is a fabulous all-rounder. The outer layer is fully waterproof while the warm and toasty thermal inner layer can be zipped away for cooler sunny days. The roll away hood proved a big hit (and limited any chance of getting caught when tree climbing) while sporting my own personal fave on a kids coat; reflective piping. Once kids are walking about on their own on dark evenings this feature comes into its own and has been a deal breaker when choosing kids coats in the past.

 

Zipped pockets mean there’s no chance of loosing precious items and in the summer you can remove the fleece layer so you have a lightweight waterproof. Just a heads up, these seem to come up a little small which is perfect so they aren’t stuck with bulky heavy coats, but if you’re choosing a size I’d suggest bigger. My toddler is nearly 3 and wears a 3-4 comfortably with room to go for next winter.

So happy days all round and even happier, suitably dressed kids ready to tackle whatever the weather throws at them and carry on with even more out and about adventures!

Disclaimer 

This is a collaborative post for which I have been gifted these jackets 

Follow:
Share:

Sitting in prime location, a short walk from the car parks in the Princesshay area of Exeter you’ll find the relaxed dining experience of an evening at  Giraffe World Kitchen. I’ll admit straight away that wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a restaurant being described as a world kitchen but as a pescetarian (the only meat I eat is fish) who tries to stay on the healthy / clean eating side when it comes to food, I had an inclining it would be my cup of tea.

First Impressions

The evening atmosphere is very different from the busy vibrant mood which I’d witnessed during the day. Greeted by friendly, happy staff we were shown to our table, a booth style lit by funky subdued lighting and somewhat informal vibe. (Party dress and high heels not essential here unless hitting the town afterwards.)   I’m a stickler for how a restaurant lighting determines your mood, harsh bright lights are a real bugbear resulting in a not so relaxed evening, so first impressions were just perfect.

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

We were given our menus and offered table water,  with well-informed staff willing to help you through your choice. There’s plenty of choice and deciding was really difficult so I took all the advice the staff offered. It was great to be able to try some foods I’d never had before, that world kitchen status is no lie!

Giraffe on the menu?

Starting with salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli jam and fresh lime prawn, Prawn Saganaki – King prawns cooked in tasty garlic, chilli, white wine & tomato sauce with crumbled feta, served with toasted flatbread and Sweetcorn Fritter Tacos washed down with a very palatable Malbec red wine, we were ready to sample all The Giraffe had to offer. All getting th thumbs up, portion sizes were perfect and a special mention to the squid, I’m so going back for that someday soon.

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

Hoping on to mains we opted for Blackened Salmon served with brown rice & kidney beans, corn on the cob and mango salad, Sirloin Steak and Katsu Chicken; Breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy,  broccoli and wok-fried vegetables. All hitting the spot and portion sizes perfect. Although we didn’t manage to clear plates as the desert menu looked waaaaaaaaaay too tempting, forward thinking meant we needed to leave room!

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

After much discussion and a recommendation from our final waiter, the very chatty Milan, it was on to a  Whoopie Cookie – Speculoos ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies with chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels, Salted caramel ice cream sundae, layered with caramel popcorn and pretzel pieces and for me, a White Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cheesecake Drizzled with fresh passion fruit.

And yes, they all tasted as good as they sound.

In a Nutshell….

So to sum it up, if you’re looking for a relaxed dining experience with happy, friendly staff, a great variety  of food with a lean to the healthier side then I’d totally recommend an evening at Giraffe World Kitchen. Not bad prices too! I totally credit my lack of hangover the next day to the fresh food the night before. Well that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!

 

Disclaimer

I received a complimentary meal in return for my honest opinion. All words and photos are my own unless otherwise stated. 

Follow:
Share:

I love a challenge, it keeps life interesting and gives you something to aim for. Luckily I’m not too competitive so if I don’t succeed then it’s all down to experience with very few tears and minimum sulks.  So how does that  fit into a review of the latest Mercedes C-class saloon you ask?

My challenge was to see how it fared as a family car.


Now as challenges go, this was pretty luxurious; a high-end, top of the range car with all the mod cons a gadget loving mum could wish for. Pretty lush as challenges go, I totes admit. My only worry was the abundance of older gentlemen I’d seen driving around my Devon roads, it’s retirement central down here, which has a big baring on my observation so I did have a niggling doubt it wouldn’t suit our needs completely.

So there lay my challenge…. would a Mercedes C-Class Saloon suit a mum, teenager, tween and toddler.  We cover the whole age range right now so this was going to be a thorough test!

First Impressions

Ok, this is serious eye candy. End of. The front styling catches your eye straight away, it’s a long car but don’t for one minute let that put you off. (Keep reading and you’ll find out why.) There’s no mistaking the Mercedes quality as soon as you see it. Stepping in side, you’re greeted by a cockpit feel as you sink into the leather seats. My toddler was straight in the back, having a gander, the door depth meant no problems asserting his independence a making his own way into his seat. Time saver and toddler tantrum diverter all in one manageable lump!

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

Gadgets Galore!

First off was to get my seating position right. At 5’3″ I needed to notch the seat up and forward quite a bit. The controls are on the door and really easy to get the hang of, as well as those I’ve just mentioned, you can also adjust the depth of the seat which I could pull it back so it rested at the back of my knees supporting my thighs and still giving me plenty of room to move my lower legs. Next was to adjust the steering wheel height so I could see over the dash without it obstructing my view. Then we were good to go! Nearly.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

There’s a central touchpad which controls the tablet style screen which sits in the centre dash and gives everything you need at the click of a button; radio, telephone, navigation and car settings such a colour and brightness of the ambient lighting. (I chose a cool blue which radiated from a lighting strip on the door to light up the door controls without being a distraction which was sooooooo chillaxing while driving in the dark.)

So with the toddler strapped into to his seat via the isofix settings, teenager commanding front seat position, tween reluctantly sitting in the back, Radio 1 selected, I’m cool like that <cough, cough>  directions set and temperature adjusted it was ready to drive.

The Drive

You select your (automatic) automatic gears  from a stick (is that the correct term?) just behind the steering wheel. A simple up for reverse and down to drive then push the button in the park. Theres no hand break so it’s foot on the accelerator and go.

Smooth was the word for the journey, smooth with bells on!

You can barely feel the gear changes and it gets up to speed in no time. We started in comfort mode but as we hit the twisty Devon lanes it was time to test it out in sport mode. The suspension dropped slightly and my god did it handle the corners superbly. I’ve never driven anything which felt so in control of the road. Barely touching the accelerator, every turn and brake gave the most comfortable car ride I have ever had. The toddler dropped off without so much as a murmur and the leg room was ample for my leggy 12-year-old.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
Now anyone who’s had the pleasure of driving the narrow lanes going out of Beer and Branscombe in East Devon will understand my apprehension of taking a sparkly new, larger car on a jolly down roads where you often have to stop and reserve into a dug out pull ins. But I needed to see how this car would handle every situation I might find myself in, and this is where the reversing camera came into it’s own.

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
With guide lines helping you adjust your turn and giving you a much better view of what’s behind you than looking over your shoulder could ever do, I had no problem reversing to let traffic through. The same went for parking. Nothing phased me and that was where the real joy of having a large family car didn’t compromise on the possible difficulty you’d face in everyday situations.

And as a Family car?

I like to avoid any cries of I haven’t got any room, any whinging really, but the leg room thing is a concern, and the leg room in the back seats and passenger seat of the Mercedes C-Class was spot on. Comfort was at a premium with temperature adjustments for each passenger and scuff marks from the toddler’s feet on the back of the front seats immediately wipeable thanks the hard plastic back.

The doors open wide enough to get a toddler or baby into a car seat without any difficulty and if attaching via an isofix in the front seat, the air bag is automatically disabled. The isofix connections allow you to use the outer and middle seats so there’s plenty of options for positioning. It really passed the toddler test on several levels/

What really surprised me though, was the size of the boot. I managed a weekly shop and a pushchair with ease and hand bags / changing bag sat on the floor by my toddlers feet. The boot shuts by the touch of a button on the inner edge and opens via the key so no getting your hands dirty too.

Been there, done that, got the smudge marks on my face.

Avoiding dirty hands is a bonus, believe me!

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.
School picks up were a dream. With the boys having no hesitation at being seen in such a cool looking car, I was able to find and park in a spot at the busy school road thanks to the parking assist. The stereo is crystal clear too, so with a Spotify playlist set up on my iPhone, I linked it to the media settings using the touchpad and we were off. There’s also 2 usb changing points as well as the cigarette lighter style charging point so plenty of places to keep devices topped up on long journeys.

Volume and telephone answer and hang up buttons are on the steering wheel but you can also select the stereo volume from a dial in the centre. With everything to hand it meant all my attention was on the road. I didn’t find the information screen a distraction, incase you’re wondering, as you can change radio channels with your left hand on the touchpad at a position which doesn’t feel at all restrictive.

As an added extra, we were lucky to have the sun make an appearance during our weekend testing out the Mercedes so I opened  up the panoramic sunroof  and let the fresh air in. It’s probably the closest I’d like to get to a soft top while still appreciating all that nature has to offer while driving!

Is It Fuel Efficient?

This is a big car, so I naturally thought I’d pay the price in fuel. Wrong! The information panel records how much you’ve used and relays it in a graph style and as you drive the information panel shows how much you’re using. I cruised along at 50 – 60 mph on the A roads & 70 mph on the motorway with an average fuel consumption of 80 mpg. You do see if dive down to the 30 mpg mark when knocking the accelerator into touch to get up steep hills and over taking but generally it sat at the 80 mark.  As a money savvy mum those stats made me smile.

And the bad……

Ok, I’ll level with you. I wanted to find a fault to make this a full and honest review so I dug deep and found it. Yes it, Just 1. There’s no rear wiper. For the best part of 2o minutes on the second day I tried every control and consulted the car manual to find where the bloody thing was. The back window needed clearing of morning dew and despite the large side mirrors giving me a clear view of what was behind, (which I noticed drop down when in reverse so you can a good view of everything around, so cool!)  I still wanted that window cleared.

Then I flicked on the rear demister and hey presto, problem solved! So no, there’s no bad points. I lied.

The Mercedes C-Class In A Nutshell

I’ll go as far to say that this has been one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve ever driven. It’s comfortable for all passengers, the drive is unbelievably smooth, it corners like a dream and it’ll get you out of trouble taking over the odd tractor or cyclist. Once behind the wheel you don’t feel like you’re driving a big car and with all the seat adjustments you can comfortably  manage long journeys with ease.

It looks good, it feels good and I felt safe. So would I suggest it as a family car?

Does a bear……….

Would I recommend the Mercedes C-Class as a family car? I tested it out over a long weekend with a toddler, tween and teenage. Find out how I got on.

Follow:
Share:

Damp around the house aint no fun at all. Last winter was a real wake up call that I need to stop drying clothes on the clothes airer and start looking at extra ways to clear the damp air from my house. I opened windows every morning but despite being fully double glazed (admittedly pretty ancient double glazing) my poor little home suffered from condensation and areas of yukky black mould. So I started researching dehumidifiers. Concerned we’d be having another unseasonably warm and wet winter this year, I wasn’t taking any chances. Not only was it bad for my family’s health, it looked bloody awful.

For those not fully totally clued up on what purpose they have,a dehumidifier removes excess moisture from your home , reducing condensation, damp, mould and mildew for an all round healthier home environment. And these last few months I’ve been testing out the Vax Power Extract 16L Dehumidifier  and can confidently say  that it’s been a complete game changer. Why I’ve waited so long to get one is beyond me.

Sitting at knee height (for 5’3″ me) the rectangular box type device measures the humidity level in the room then gets to work. You can hear the fan whilst it’s in action and this is the first one we’ve ever tried so I don’t have much to gauge it on how it compares to others but it’s not anything which bothered me.

The features of this Vax dehumidifier include;

  • Fast and efficient moisture control
  • Reduces damp and condensation fast
  • Reduces the growth of mould and mildew for a healthier home
  • Digital display and humidity indicator light give real-time feedback
  • Automatic mode controls humidity
  • Suitable for rooms up to 25m2
  • 24 hour timer
  • 2 automatic fan speeds
  • Frost protection for long-lasting performance
I’ve been moving it around my home each day so each room feels the benefits. It’s quite heavy but not too much that I couldn’t carry it up and down stairs. It’s actually quite shocking when you see how much moisture it does pull in, my poor teenager’s room seems to be the biggest sufferer but it’s meant that we no longer wake up to wet windows and have yet to see any of the dreaded mould return.

I’ve also tried it out next to wet clothes drying on the airer and it’s been great knowing I’m not making the damp situation any worse (the joys of living in a valley which doesn’t get a great deal of sun in deepest darkest winter.

So, in a nutshell; totes loving my dehumidifier and totes loving the fact that I’ve eradicated the return of any nasty black mould patches and have a happy, healthy home.

Disclaimer

I;ve been sent this product in return for my honest review. As always, all words and photos are my own.

Follow:
Share: