JD wiliams coat and boots

People will stare, make it worth their while – Harry Winston

Autumn time, it’s getting colder!

We haven’t turned our heating on yet but I know it’s only a question of days until we flick the switch and move into winter mode, the evenings are darker, the nights colder and it’s time to pack away the summer gear.

This is the time of year when I look forward to getting out my warmer gear, old coats I have grown fond of and can count how long they’ve been in my wardrobe on both hands. The problem lies when you have to come to terms with the fact that they have had their day and it’s time to give it to charity and treat yourself to a new coat.

I’m also in need of new winter boots this year as mine are looking incredibly tatty.

JD Williams have recently got in touch and asked me to choose a couple of items from their website and I struggled to come to a decision as there were so many gorgeous pieces. It’s a very easy website to navigate and the collections are fashionable and reasonably priced. I realised, as I was browsing that, I seem to always go for the same styles and colours. I find this comforting as I seem to have guessed what looks good on me and stay clear of items that just won’t look right. It’s also a great way of replacing a piece that you have loved so much but had to get rid of.

Winter coats

JD Williams winter coats

In my winter wardrobe I like to have a selection to choose from but my winter coat staples are

Anorak  – which is short and warm, this is perfect for walking the dog and ambling through parks, beaches and around town.

Long padded winter coat – Just the coat for the winter school run when I could get caught in rain, sleet or even snow. This is my favourite and warmest coat

Going out coat – This is my fancy pants coat, the one I wear when we go out, my smart coat if you like.

This year I have a new addition to add to my coat collection a work coat! I drive in the car to and from work so it needs to be comfortable, I walk at lunchtime with colleagues so it needs to be warm and of course it must also be fashionable, after all I am wearing it to work. PS It can also double up as a going out coat ;)

I found this beauty in the JD Williams Womens Winter Coats selection and I tested it out last weekend at Centre Parcs. Much to my delight it was perfect on all the above points

Winter boots

JD Williams boots

I love boots, they are like slippers to me and I spend the best part of winter in them. As I was browsing the JD Williams site I came across these beauties with Lorraine Kelly’s signature on them, a woman I admire greatly. I was so pleased when JD Williams said I could have them as they are breaking away from my normal flat boot and are perfect for work.

They have a tortoise coloured heel and are quite high for me so I shall use them for going out and special occasions as I’m not good in heels – my feet ache after a while in them.

My only concern is when I have to go and make the tea for the team … will I mange carrying a tray of 8 mugs in those heels?

Disclosure: I was sent the items mentioned for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

washing on line

Ecoegg. Have you heard of it yet? I hadn’t before being approached by them asking me if I’d like to review their product. I read the email, checked out the website and was curious, very curious indeed.

Ecoegg is so simple and is such a clever design that if it does what it says it does, it will change the way we wash clothes forever.

The fact is current laundry detergents that we use, are packed with harsh chemicals that frequently have adverse effects on our skin and our environment. However, this doesn’t mean that we just have to use them and get on with it. We now have a choice, a very good choice too.

Ecoegg is set to revolutionise our laundry habits. The Egg contains two types of pellets, mineral pellets and tourmaline pellets which work together to clean clothes. The idea is you fill up your washing machine with either a white or a coloured wash and then you add the appropriate egg (white wash or coloured wash) and switch on the machine. You can add softener if you wish but I haven’t tried that yet.

Ecoegg

Ecoegg – how does it work?

Before I started to use my Ecoegg I did one wash on 90C on the longest programme with the Ultimate Detox Tablet. I am hoping this cleared a lot of the residue that tends to collect in the tubes and places we can’t see. Giving the washing machine a good clean every now and then is a habit we should all get into.

I filled up my sparkling washing machine drum with my whites and popped the Ecoegg on the top, I chose a 50C programme and pressed start.

On taking the clothes out of the machine, they all looked clean but there was no heavy scent that usually accompanies my washes.

I hung it all out to dry on the line and later on, ironed it all. There were a few chocolate marks on one of the twins t shirts that hadn’t been washed so I made a mental note to use their stain remover next time.

Whilst ironing the clothes I noticed they didn’t give off the smell I am so used to and I think going forward I may add a bit of conditioner. I also noticed the towels came out clean but ‘rough’ so another reason to use some conditioner.

I repeated the process with my dark wash and was equally pleased with the results.

I can’t fault the wash. It worked. Our clothes came out clean and fresh, ironed well and you wouldn’t know I had changed product apart from the strong perfume missing.

Why choose Ecoegg?

The first thing you will notice is that by investing in one kit you get 864 washes. That is worth 4 years of laundry and it works out at about 3p per wash.

In the kit you will find two holders for the eggs as they have to be dried out after each wash to ensure top quality. These holders also have a counter on them which makes it easy to record how many times you have used it because after a certain amount of washes you then replace your white mineral pellets with a new batch.

 

If you are curious too, then you can get a great deal on QVC today 29th August (Bank Holiday Monday) as Ecoegg will be the TSV (Todays Special Value) a bundle of the Ecoegg products will be promoted on the channel at the special price of £17.97

Just in case you still need convincing, Ecoegg won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation and they now have around 20 environmentally friendly household products.

Ecoegg

Disclosure: I was sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

Weekes family timanfaya

The secret to a long life is an ongoing intriguing matter for me. I find the older I get, the more I consider my body and how I use it, after all I only have this one and ideally I’d like it to last me a very long time. I would love to discover the secret to a long life so I have been doing a bit of research and I thought I’d share my findings with you; then you can keep reading Mari’s World for years to come and I can keep writing. You’re happy – I’m happy.

The fact that my great grandmother died a month before her 103rd birthday has always filled me with optimism that I will naturally follow in her footsteps. Her daughter, my grandmother, will be celebrating 96 at the end of the month and her longevity has added to my faith. However, every now and then the fear of not being around for long grips me and I run a quick check over my lifestyle to see if I could be doing better.

The secret to a long life

Broken into six areas, I get the feeling that if you are doing well in each you can give yourself a slap on the back and a big round of applause. Let’s take a look.

Diet

Most of the food we eat is home cooked from scratch. Occasionally I will get something pre-prepared, like on my work days when I come home bushed but we very rarely have take aways and my cooking has been heavily influenced by my years in Italy, so I’m pretty sure we have a healthy diet.

I am a bit overweight and that needs addressing, middle age spread they call it. I think my metabolism has dropped and I’m not burning the calories like I used to. This is really annoying as I still have the appetite that I used to.

My struggle is cutting back and not cutting out all of my favourite indulgences. I am still searching for the perfect diet for me but cutting out a daily chocolate treat sadly, seems to be a great step forward.

My other vice is wine. Yeah I know, my favourite treat in the whole wide world and it would seem I’m drinking pure fat mixed with poison. So, I only drink at the weekends and then in moderation. No more propping up the bars or knocking back shots and cocktails to the early hours these days.

Healthy heart

I was asked to go for a health MOT a few months back which, of course, I sailed through but it did highlight the importance of a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle.

With some of my birthday money I invested in a Fitbit; a lot of my colleagues have one and the part I love is the community aspect. I can now take part in challenges with friends all over the country. It has inspired me to get up and get walking as I hate days when I have a low step count.

Purpose in life

static caravan

Apparently, having a purpose in life is paramount to living longer. Well I have loads of purposes at the moment, 4 kids and 3 grandkids to start with! A husband I love and we’ve just invested in a static caravan in Birchington.

I also have my job which is no longer shiny and new as I’ll be clocking up a year in October. I love my work and the company I work for, they have given me an extra purpose in life.

I’m not short of purpose for the moment.

Reduce stress levels

I’m not a neurotic, stressed out working mother but I will admit stress can get to me. I notice it most when I have a song on ear worm and on waking during the night I can hear the song over and over again in my head. That’s an annoying indication that I need to step back and relax.

I am very, very good at stepping back and indulging in a lazy day. Only this has been known to bring on indulging in treats which goes against the food point made earlier! Vicious circle, right there.

Be social

That is me! I have a wonderful family who I love to catch up with, I have friends I like to meet up with and of course my immediate family which I love spending time with. When I’m not with them I am online, although I have managed to reduce the amount of time I spend online since starting work which I am very pleased about.

Smoking

Not a problem, I gave up smoking in 2013 and haven’t looked back since. One of the best decisions I ever made. However, I do still worry about any leftover damage I may have caused in my crazier years as I did smoke a lot.

sunlife death clock

For a bit of fun I had a go at the SunLife Death Clock – sounds ominous doesn’t it, but it works out I still have another 48 years to enjoy! I think that’s a great excuse to have a glass of wine don’t you? Oh I can’t it’s a Wednesday!

Disclosure: A collaboration with SunLife

I left BritMums back in October last year when I took up a part time job with James Villas working on the marketing team, specifically the social media team. It was a wise move as I would never have been able to run the two jobs together, there just isn’t enough time in the day plus we have some work days that are completely draining and I need to switch off of an evening. However, I had every intention of going to BritMums Live again. It’s the one blogging event that I know I will enjoy and get to catch up with some good friends too.

It’s a date I pencil in from one year to the next and as the date loomed up I started to think about childcare and organisation. That was when Coca Cola invited me to their symposium on the Friday afternoon. They had a brand new product they wanted to share with me.

Luck would have it that Friday is my day off so off I went for an afternoon tea get together in the Montcalm Hotel.

I learnt that Coca Cola has been going since the 1900’s in the UK and that Selfridges was their first point of sale. I learnt that Lilt, Schweppes, Kia Ora, Dr Pepper and Smart Water are all under the same umbrella and that they have 6 factories dotted around the United Kingdom to make their products, cutting their carbon footprint.

I remembered when in 1983 they launched Diet Coke which has no sugar in it. I have to say this is my favourite of all their Colas and I learnt that since then 27 of their drinks have since been launched with no sugar.

A total of at least 30% of their drinks are mid – low calorie.

We talked a bit about Coca Cola Life, the one in the green packaging, have you tried it? That drink has 45% less sugar in it.

Then we touched upon Coca Cola Zero, launched in 2006 and proven to be very popular only some fans complained the taste wasn’t right. So the scientists and the production team re visited the recipe, and they adopted Stevia to add a sweet taste.

Coca Cola Tasting

Coca cola tasting

Then came the fun part of our symposium; four glasses were placed in front of us each cup holding a different Coca Cola and assigned a letter. We were asked to taste and guess which one was Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Coca Cola Life and Coca Cola Zero. You’d think that was pretty easy right? Wrong. I got two out of four and some of the tasters didn’t get any right.

You see by altering the recipe and including Stevia they have brought the Coca Cola Zero taste incredibly close to the red tin Coca Cola. Go try it and see for yourself. They have a brand new packaging which is very swish and eye catching. you’ll also be seeing TV ads, billboards and lots of online marketing too so if you feel tempted, I dare you to try it and let me know what you think.

BritMums Live 16

I’m so glad I went, I caught up with Jen and Susanna, spoke with Nadine who took over my editor role, and bumped into some of my very special online friends, too many to mention here. But my highlight of 2016 must be a one to one with Amanda Jennings where we sat and spoke about writing, the tricks and tools of the trade but that will have to be another post… she’s working on her fourth book you know.

Disclosure: Coca Cola kindly paid for my attendance at BritMums Live this year, they invited me to their symposium but all of the above is what I learnt from that meeting and my own opinion on the products.

 

Aldi kitchen gadgetsHow many times have you remarked at a friend’s house, ‘What a lovely ….’ only to hear them say, very pleased with themselves, ‘It’s from Aldi Special Buys, only £x and just what I was looking for.’

And you know that if you go into Aldi that very same day they will have run out of that fabulous product?

How many times?

It happens to me all the time and I love our local Aldi. I also love their special buys that can be absolutely anything on the market, from thermal ski socks to garden solar lights, anything. My grandmother is a huge fan too and is a lot quicker off the mark than me, she swears by the milk frother she bought and of course no one else in the family has managed to get one.

For that very reason readers I am giving you an Aldi Special Buys head’s up way in advance but do not sit on your laurels because we all know these products are going to fly off the shelves the minute shoppers see them.

Aldi knives and toaster

This time I can boast of being very fortunate as Aldi have sent some products from their latest range of kitchen gadgets to review and to spread the word so you guys don’t miss out. (Don’t say I never do anything for you!)

Please admire my fabulous kettle and toaster, made by the brand, Russell Hobbs. A lovely red colour that adds a punch of energy to our kitchen in our ‘new-to-us’ static caravan we have recently purchased at Birchington in Thanet – that’s a whole separate post to follow!

We ventured down on Friday, my birthday, as we were planning to eat a celebration meal at Minnis Bay and we wanted to use the occasion to take our 4 bikes down, something we can only do when the girls aren’t with us as we need to put the back seats down.

man in a box

Whilst husband busied himself with bikes and garden storage boxes, I unpacked my new shiny kitchen products and put them in their places, I felt very pleased with them.

Both the kettle and the toaster can be bought for only £14.99 which is gobsmacking amazing value for electrical goods.

Aldi had been kind enough to add a few extras for me to show you, like the set of kitchen knives (£7.99) these stackable storage canisters (£5.99) and a lovely set of tea towels, of which you can never have too many right? (£3.49)

Aldi kettle

I have been shown their press release which includes a Russell Hobbs Grind and Brew coffee machine for only £69.99 and a Russell Hobbs microwave for only £44.99.

There is a wonderful range of products and each piece is priced at a very reasonable, unmissable price but as you all know …

when it’s gone it’s gone!

So be warned this Special Buys sale is available in store from 5th May – that’s this Thursday, put a note on your calendar ;)