Kelp Salad A Natural Weight Loss Food

I do like seaweed and I’m not talking about that crispy impostor that you will get at a Chinese restaurant which is actually made from spring greens.  I’m talking about the real stuff found on seashores with a briny flavour and crunchy texture such as Kelp.  Kelp is actually very good for you and can be found around the coast of Ireland, Japan and the USA.  It is regarded as a superfood due to its nutritional content.  Kelp contains a mix of vitamins and minerals although it should not be eaten in excess.  The fibre in kelp is though to be able to support weight loss by reducing fat digestion and absorption.  The iodine in kelp has been shown to remove free radicals from the blood which would otherwise cause ageing, therefore it is believed to have anti ageing properties.

I love trying different seaweed salads in sushi restaurants and decided that I would attempt to make my own.  Off I headed to my local Chinese cash and carry to get my hands on some seaweed and manged to find some that had been pre cut and dried and just needed hydrating.  It said on the pack to soak it in water for 20 minutes but I ignored this and left in for a few hours rinsing it every so often to remove any sand and dirt that might have attached itself.

Ingredients

1 50g pack of dried shredded kelp

35ml rice wine

3/4tsp caster sugar

3/4tsp salt

15ml soy sauce

1tsp sesame oil

1tsp chilli flakes

Method

Soak the kelp in water for a few hours.  Rinse every so often.  I rinsed mine about 8 times to remove any traces of sand and grit.

The kelp is already shredded which is handy as it saved me the trouble of cutting it finely.

Combine the rice wine, sugar, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil and chilli flakes together and stir so the salt and sugar dissolve.

Strain the kelp and squeeze out excess water then pour the dressing over and mix well.

Place in the fridge for about half an hour to an hour to chill the salad.

Give the salad another good mix and then serve.

Enjoy!

 

QP LDN (Mayfair) Restaurant Review

We all love Italian food, hell it’s one of the most popular foods around.  Italian food doesn’t merely consist of pizza and pasta, there is far more of a variety in Italian cooking than some restaurants would have you believe with the limited selections they have on offer.  Don’t get me wrong I love pizza and I love pasta and have written recipes such as my Fig, Mozzarella, Balsamic onion,  Parma ham and Rocket Pizza and my Lobster and King Prawn Pasta and of course enjoyed many meals out consisting of these types of foods but many restaurants seem to offer the same thing.

There are so many gorgeous meals that you can try and where better than at a good quality Italian restaurant located in Mayfair.  The QP LDN restaurant nestled in the heart of London offers patrons a taste of the Amalfi coast without them needing to leave the country.  Perfect for foodies such as myself this restaurant offers diners a choice of menus including their A La Carte, Express Lunch and Early Evening menus.  The lunch and evening menus change regularly making it one of those places you will want to visit often to sample the various delights they have to offer.

On arrival we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  The seating is very comfy and there is also a bar area with seating where food can also be ordered from the bar menu.  The atmosphere was relaxed and the decor sophisticated.  I loved the addition of the palms and the dimmed lights added to the atmosphere.

The restaurant is far larger than I initially thought when I first arrived.  It was only once I had finished my meal that I decided to have a little nosey around and I discovered a whole second section to the room I was in.

There is even a bar downstairs which is very popular on certain evenings and looks great.  I hope to visit it sometime with friends.

I was booked in for the QP X Early Evening Meal by their lovely PR lady.  At £32 per person this is a bargain for what you get as it won’t leave you hungry.  Just like other Mediterranean’s, Italians are not only very hospitable they also enjoy their food and believe that guests should not leave until they are full.  Anyone who has been to mine for a meal will know this is very true.

Below is the menu we chose from on the evening of our visit which was prepared by Michelin starred chef Antonio Mellino.  He has 2 Michelin stars to be precise and is famed for his freshly made pasta.  He uses finest seasonal ingredients in his meals which are shipped daily from Italy.

EARLY EVENING MENU

Upon arrival, a glass of Champagne will be served along with some Panzerotti and Pizzette

STARTER WITH A CHOICE OF

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE Q.P.

Aubergine Parmigiana Q.P.

OR

CALAMARO RIPIENO DI PROVOLA E FRIARIELLI CON CREMA DI PATATE

Squid Stuffed with Provola Cheese, Broccoli and Cream of Potato

OR

ZUPPA DI ZUCCA, RISO CROCCANTE, PANE AL PEPERONCINO

Pumpkin Soup Served with Crispy Rice, Bread and Chilli

MAIN COURSE WITH A CHOICE OF

PASTA MISTA CON FAGIOLI BORLOTTI E PECORINO

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

OR

OSSOBUCO, PUREA DI PATATE, ARANCIA E LIMONE

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

OR

SALMONE SCOTTATO CON SCRAROLA E ACCIUGHE

Seared Salmon Served with Scarola and Anchovy Dressing

DESSERT WITH A CHOICE OF

PROFITEROL AL CIOCOLATO

Chocolate Profiterol

OR

MILLEFOGLIE DI AMARENE E CREMA CHANTILLY

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

OR

SELEZIONE DI FORMAGGI ITALIANI

Selection of Italian Cheese

OR

TAGLIATA DI FRUTTA

Fruit Selection

GELATO AL PISTACCHIO (supplement di £10.00 per persona)

Pistachio ice cream (supplement of £10.00 per person)

Mark was our server for the evening and I must say he did a fabulous job.  He was able to advise us as to which dishes were popular with others and also which he liked and would strongly recommend.  Of course I observed him to see his interaction with others and he was very good.  There was no favouritism towards anyone (meaning us as we were reviewing), all were spoken to in the same manner with the same professionalism, he did an exceptional job.  I loved that he knew our glasses needed filling before we had even noticed and he would appear all of a sudden to make sure we were topped up.  His level of service was equivalent to that that I had received during my afternoon tea at Harrods from the lovely Loretta.  If I opened a restaurant I’d want both of them in it!

The menu we were booked to enjoy included a glass of champagne on arrival but the staff there kindly let us swap this for a bottle of sparkling water.  With our drink was served a selection of breads including wholemeal bread, foccacia, white bread with quinoa and potato, crisp Italian flat bread, grissini with polenta.  Just to note this was not on the set menu but an extra.

These were delicious and we were given a plate with fabulous quality olive oil and a blob of what must have been a balsamic vinegar reduction as it was nice and thick and packed full of flavour.  Still on the olive oil I must say I have not been served one as good as this in a restaurant before and I know good oil as we have freshly olive oil sent to us from Cyprus.  You can tell the good from the bad by the colour and the richness in flavour and if you do get to try this at QP LDN you will love it I assure you.  The breads were all lovely and we were pleased that there was a selection with a range of flavours and textures making it that quite exciting.  My favourite was the crisp Italian flat bread with it’s moreish saltiness.

Next up we are back to the menu.  We were served a panzerotti (stuffed with ricotta) and pizzette (like a pizza) each.  These were served warm and the moment I bit into each I was in heaven.  The bread was gorgeous.  It was soft and light with plenty of flavour of its own.  Within the panzerotti was a deliciously divine ricotta filling that was mouthwatering.  It was extremely smooth and creamy and fabulous!  The pizzette was also delicious and was topped with tomato, cheese and some fresh basil.  Again perfection.  What can I say these were fabulous examples of Italian cooking at it’s best and we hadn’t even gotten to the starters.

The Starters

These were beautifully presented with a variety of colours making them a feast for the eyes as well as our stomachs.

Stuffed Squid

This sure was a winning dish packed full of flavour with tender squid, perfectly cooked greens and a great contrast in texture from the beetroot crisps.  This was lovely and a dish you won’t want to share.  The potato cream worked well with the dish adding moisture and additional flavour but at the same time but not overpowering the flavour of the other ingredients.
Aubergine Parmigiana

A great interpretation of the dish this was not only rich in flavour but it wasn’t as oily as the dish baked version found in many restaurants.  The light fluffy cheese sauce on the side was lovely and was almost like eating a flavourful cloud.  The portion of this and the other starter was quite substantial and at this stage I was not sure if I would be able to finish the whole meal.

Having enjoyed everything so far we looked forward to tucking into the main dishes.

The Mains

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

Wow, this was a big portion and I was relieved that it was my friends dish as I knew the second it arrived I would never have managed to eat the whole thing.  The meat was tender, it literally melted in the mouth and was rich in flavour.  The meat fell of the bone instantly and combined with the sauce and mash made for a very tasty and hearty meal.

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

Simple yet tasty I had to try this to see how good the pasta really was and to say I was impressed was an understatement.  The dish combined a mix of perfectly formed pasta shapes which were Al dente (firm to the bite) with cheese and beans and had a fair amount of flavour.  The sauce was nice and creamy as you can see from the photo and this dish was nice and tasty.

With the meal we also had one side dish suggested by Mark – the fried zucchini and what can I say other than I was thankful he was there that day.  These were delicious, crispy and nicely salted giving them that additional favour and making them rather moreish.

By this stage we were pretty full.  But of course we were not going to skip dessert it’s the best part of the meal as my friend and I both have a sweet tooth.  Unable to decide what to have we were rescued by the lovely Mark who helped make the decision for us suggesting the Millefoglie and the pistachio ice cream.

Pistachio Ice Cream

This was placed on a serving table next to ours prior to presentation.  Anyone that likes pistachio ice cream will be in their element as this was truly magnificent.  The ice cream is akin to some authentic Italian ice cream I tried in Las Vegas years ago and I can honestly say we hadn’t been as quiet all evening as we were at that moment.  We wanted to fully savour the moment and enjoy the velvety soft and smooth ice cream as it gently melted in our mouths revealing small chunks of pistachio.

Note the colour of the ice cream indicating that this has been made with natural products and that colouring has not been added.  Honestly if I can make pistachio ice cream as good as this I know my friends would be over everyday.  I have yet to experiment with this having barely survived half term with all our tutors and out of school clubs.  The ice cream was so good we were not sure whether the Millefoglie could measure up to this but sure enough it was just as fantastic a dessert.

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

This is the Italian version of the French pastry Mille-feuille meaning 1000 leaves / layers.  The pastry itself has a delicate flavour but is lovely and crispy.  The Chantilly cream and cherry combination works perfectly and this should not be over looked as a dessert nor should it be left in the shadow of the ice cream.  These are both desserts that I would highly recommend for their different textures and flavours which really do excited the taste buds and each is a heavenly dessert in its own right.

This really is a gem of a restaurant that serves gorgeous, great quality meals that are a cut above many others.   I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with your local pizzeria but for those looking for something a bit more authentic in relation to Italian food this is the place to try.  The quality of their dishes surpass most and the service is just as good.  This really has to be one of the best Italian restaurants in London and I am looking forward to visiting and trying more of their delicious meals with friends soon.

If you do go make sure you take a look at this work of art.  It’s a chair consisting of aluminium tubes dipped in gold and worth a staggering half a million pounds!  The chap sitting on the chair was lovely and just like me is a hugger so of course I got a big hug on my way out.

This is a great restaurant and they have got everything spot on.  If I was to make any suggestions then I would maybe add another dish or two to the options available in the main dish selection on the menu we had but other than that these guys have it all covered.

If you do pay them a visit make sure that you bring your appetite!

Have you tried any Italian dishes other than pizza or pasta?

Glossy Lip Liner (Ruimio)

I know I haven’t written many beauty posts recently and it’s one of the things I plan to feature a bit more this year, well we all love great new products or at least ones that are new to us and that work well.  I have been doing a little shopping and wanted to share the news of some lovely new products that I was fortunate enough to come across.  Today I wanted to feature some lip liner pencils that I recently discovered and thought would be of interest.  These are lip liners are by a brand called Ruimio.  These guys appear to do a whole range of different cosmetics and I am hoping to try a few different products eventually.

The Ingredients

Elaeis guineensis, Elaeis guineensis (palm) oil, hydrogenated coconut, Copernicia cerifera (carnauba wax), bees wax, tocopherol lanolin, petrolatum and zinc stearate.

Not too bad as some products go although anyone with allergies to lanolin should probably avoid these.

The Product

The pack of lip liners features 12 different colours ranging from a gorgeous nude brown which is my favourite to pretty pinks, purple and an orange.

In the box aside from the pencils you will also find a small leaflet which includes the ingredients, written instructions and diagrams on how to use the product.  The range of colours is great as it has enough to suit all and also to allow for a bit of colour mixing and experimentation.  Each lip liner has it’s colour at the end on the pencil so that it can be clearly seen without needing to remove the lid.  There are no colour names or numbers.  The pencils are decorated nicely although I would probably remove some of the writing as the design would look better simplified in my opinion.  The pencils themselves are simple to use.  There is no need to press excessively for the colour to show, a simple soft touch trace around the lips will suffice.  The lip liner can also be used as a lipstick if you fill in the lip with colour.  These pencils can also be used as eyeliners although I have yet to use them in this way.

The Results

The instructions said to hold the tip of the pencil between your fingers to warm it to soften it a little and make it easier to use.  I found even with applying the product directly it was easy to use and it seemed to be softened by direct contact with the lips anyway.

On application the pencil nib did not break apart but stayed firm but soft.  The lip pencil had a silky soft texture.

The lip liners are well pigmented so it doesn’t take long to get a good coverage.

The colour didn’t take long at all to dry which was great so no matter how many double checks I did it didn’t come off on my fingers.  I will admit to have checked it about 5 or 6 times to check and no colour came off!!!!

The colour stays in place and doesn’t seep into any creases around the lips (not that I have many!)

When filling the lips with these colours – using them as a lipstick, they looked great as they were and with a light lip gloss application.

My lips didn’t seem very glossy when the lip liner was applied but then my lips were very dry and I had applied the lip liner to the whole lip so a touch of lip balm / face cream helped add moisture and made my lips look great.

The colour lasted for a fair amount of time and it didn’t really need much reapplication after food and drink although that depends on what you eat.  The instructions say that this is waterproof so I tested this by licking my lips and noticed when I did touch my lips some colour did come off on my fingers but on the whole this did seem to preform quite well.  After about 7 hours with no touch ups the inner lip had lost colour and really was in need of another application but the outer parts of the lips were still as coloured as they were when I had applied the colour.  I would suggest checking after meals and every 3 or so hours just in case although I doubt many touch ups would be required.   Considering the price of these products they do seem to be good value for money.  The price varies from £8.99 to £13.90.

For any of you that fancy getting some of these I found them on both ebay and Amazon, but Amazon has them on special offer.

Have you tried any Ruimio products before?

Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise (includes a FAB competition)

A little while back we introduced you all to Lalaloopsy.  Lalaloopsy have a range of fun, brightly coloured toys for little ones and one of them that you may have seen advertised on children’s tv recently is Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise.  Now of course the second my girls saw this they wanted to have one, who wouldn’t it’s a doll that poops!!!!!!  I’m really excited about this particular toy because it has arrived at around the time that the mini man is more conscious about trying to go to the toilet and this has coincided with him actually using the toilet.  I think that seeing the doll and his sisters go to the toilet and not wearing nappies has really spurred him to wanting to be a big boy and using the toilet.  My little man has started stripping and running bare bottomed to the toilet although he can’t quite get on it without help just yet.  It’s hilarious, he has totally perfected the stripping part it takes him seconds and before you know it you have a toddler running starkers around the house, it’s pretty hilarious I must say!  Not so much when we have an accident on the floor though but we will work through that.  Anyway back to Lalaloopsy.  As you can see this doll is cute with her large dark button eyes and my girls love her.Lala1

 In the box you get the doll, 3 different coloured foods, a bowl, a spoon and a potty.  And of course importantly it’s super easy to use.

Using the spoon to portion out some food.

There are various shapes and the kids loved discovering new ones in the potty.

Both my girls and Mr Squishy love playing with this and the great thing is that no matter how many times they have left the lid open the food which is like kinetic sand does not seem to dry out, good to know as we all know what children are like.  The food pot lids and the potty are all nicely decorated which I liked and this is one of those super toys that you don’t need to get batteries for making it a great gift as that’s one less expense and thing to remember, bonus!  A lot of thought that has gone into this toys presentation which is great.  When we were first playing with this I did notice when the doll wasn’t used properly the poop didn’t form a shape so be sure to follow our instructions above or via our YouTube video:

How much fun is that!

Now like all parents, grandparents, loving aunts and uncles we want to get our hands on these great toys but also where possible want to save ourselves a few pounds in the process.  With that in mind I did a quick price comparison and found the doll being sold by numerous shops for over £30 except for one!!!!  I am pleased to tell you I have found probably the bargain of the month for those needing to by something like this as a gift.  I found Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise was being sold for just £14.99 in Argos stores so if you want one hurry and get ordering online as once the deal sites get wind of it this they will sell out!!!!  You heard it here first lol.

 I am going to add some more good news to that.  We have a super duper competition for one of my lovely readers to win a Lalaloopsy Potty Surprise Doll!!!!!

Isn’t that fabulous!

Entry is super easy just enter via the rafflecopter form.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

http://melaniesfabfinds.co.uk/competitions/how-to-enter-rafflecopter-competitions/

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Want to receive Melanie’s Fab Finds posts once they are live?  Why not subscribe to be the first to have all my recipes, reviews, competitions etc. delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t worry I won’t spam you.

https://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=MelaniesFabFinds&loc=en_US

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!

Mango Swirl Pavlova

Over the years I have written many recipes.  Some of these recipes have been featured on my blog, others in magazines and on other blogs and for the first time I have a recipe being featured in an e- cookbook.  How exciting!!!!!!  Various bloggers were approached and asked to write a budget recipe and I decided to rise to the challenge with my Mango Swirl Pavlova.  This is not only super simple to make but also tastes great and costs just 27p per serving!

The pavlova is large enough for 6 portions, unless you are my friend Jane and then probably enough for 3 or less.  She does love my pavlova and was kind enough to help me with the tasting and has helped with tastings of numerous others over the years.  Why does she love my pavlova?  Take a look below:

This has the most gorgeous light fluffy centre with a perfectly crisp shell.  I normally love to combine my pavlovas with vanilla cream and fresh cut strawberries but I thought I’d be adventurous and had wanted to try and be a bit different.  With my Mango Swirl Pavlova I actual swirled in some freshly made mango coulis into the pavlova base prior to baking so it’s actually cooked into the pavlova.  After this I added my toppings as seen in the picture above and voila you have an amazing dessert that is inexpensive and delicious!

Fancy trying to make it yourself?  Pop over and check out my budget pavlova recipe as well as some other great budget recipes here:

https://www.voucherbox.co.uk/blog/free-cookbook-low-cost-recipes/

Enjoy!

Spaccanapoli Covent Garden

Those of you that read my Blogging Goals for 2017 post will be aware that one of my goals was to eat my way around more London restaurants.  I have of course be revisiting old favourites but now have a new restaurant under my belt to tell you all about.  My friend and I recently braved the cold weather and ventured out to a restaurant located in Covent Garden called Spaccanapoli.  There seem to be a cluster of restaurants in the area where this particular restaurant was which all had large floor to ceiling glass windows making them look very inviting.

Spaccanapoli2

The restaurant we visited had two tables occupied on our arrival and during the time we spent there only one other group of guests come along to dine.  The seating was comfortable, roomy yet the restaurant was small and there was a nice relaxed atmosphere.

This particular meal was prepaid by us online, it was a deal found on the groupon site.  The offer was for the following:

Choice of starters includes: platter of Napoli prosciutto and salami | Toasted bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil | mixed grilled vegetables.

Choice of mains includes: gnocchi | lasagna | penne Siciliana | pizza margherita with tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and oregano | pizza Americana with salami, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil | pizza vegetariana with tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, courgettes & mozzarella).

Apolina, a white or dark chocolate Italian treat will be served as a dessert.

Deal also includes a glass of house red or white wine each.

The waiter seemed friendly enough and flitted from table to table assisting the customers before vanishing off into the kitchen.

The menu was varied enough for the price and should you prefer you can swap your wine for a soft drink.

The House White

Spaccanapoli5

This wine was palatable and went well with my meal although it did look more like a half glass than a full one.

The Starter

Platter of Napoli Prosciutto and Salami

Spaccanapoli1

The cut was very thin and the Prosciutto was pretty fatty as you can see from the picture.  The bread was warm on arrival which was nice.  I would have preferred if the salami used looked a bit more appealing and less anaemic the picture gives the salami a redder colour then it actually had.  You can get such a lovely range of salamis that are not expensive from the supermarkets that look more appealing than those we were served.  The portion size for a starter was more than adequate.

The Main

Lasagna

Spaccanapoli3

The lasagna came out sizzling and looked very nice.  The portion size was good and there was plenty of mince inside but the lasagna itself needed more flavour.

Dessert

This was extremely disappointing.  We would have liked something a little more substantial and we were not given the option of white or dark chocolate.  Instead we were given a glass that had something that we were told was caramel dessert which tasted a big like angel delight but with a thinner runnier consistency.  It was edible but I would have preferred a glass with tiramisu.

Spaccanapoli4For £19.95 for two people this wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t venture there again for this particular meal but the pizza did look good so maybe I just chose the wrong thing.  The price is reasonable and I think that if I was to venture there again I would probably go for the Bruschetta and a pizza.

Have you tried Spaccanapoli yet?

Holidaying In Europe with Your Pet

Pet2

I have always loved animals since I was a child and apparently animals seem to love me as I am one of those people that animals seem to get excited on seeing (I have this affect on children too which is useful).  On numerous power walks I have made new friends who have then decided to follow me on part of my walks.  It’s not just me though we are a nation of animal lovers.  Our pets don’t take long to become an important part of our daily lives.

They are our loyal companions who see us through the ups and downs and make great listeners.  The comfort and love they show us daily is unconditional.  They become family from the first day they arrive at home, and you want to spend every second playing with them and cuddling them.  It’s not always easy to leave them at home while you go to work but worse still is to have to leave them with someone whilst you go on vacation.  Fortunately travelling with pets has become much easier over the years and the steps to enable them to be able to come with us are simple and straight forward.

I am sure some of you would love to take your pets abroad but in some cases not knowing the process involved to allow you to do so puts you off so in this post you will find all the information you will require.  Make sure you check out the various links for further details on the topics in bold.

The Checklist for Your Pet

 Before travelling with your pet it’s important to make a checklist of the steps that need to be fulfilled before departure.  First of all, your pet will need a pet passport plus a super cute picture to go with it.  Your veterinarian will be a fundamental part of this process.  Before any vaccines, or paper work, remember that your pet should be micro-chipped (in many countries it is required by law).  The chip serves as a permanent ID, in case of emergency situations so for example if your pet gets lost and then found thanks to the chip he/she will be recognised and linked to the respective owner.  A common vaccination that may be required is for rabies.  After having this your will need to wait 21 days before they can travel.

Don’t forget their favourite toy(s) and a blanket to help keep them calm during travelling and settle into the new surrounding better.

If your pet requires medication / special shampoos, creams these will need to be packed too.

Don’t forget too pack a spare leash and muzzle in case they are needed.

Choosing the Right Means of Transportation

Pet1

Once you go through your checklist, and get your pet the appropriate jabs you then have to choose your mode of transportation.  Whether you are going near or far, the way you choose to travel is important for both you and your pet.  One of the best, and more efficient ways is travelling by air.  Travelling by plane is, as we all know one of the safest forms of travel and picking the right service provider that will care about your pet’s comfort is important.  One company that provides international transportation for pets by air is Bliss Pet Service.  Bliss Pet follows your loved one from start to finish and ensures their trip goes as smoothly as yours.  Started in 2011 this company has a 98% satisfaction rate.

After dealing with all the paper work and veterinarians visits, comes the fun part, deciding where to go.  You will need to make sure you do a little research into where your little furry friend will be accepted without any problems.  The world is your oyster obviously, but some of the best problem-free places to visit include Italy, Germany and Switzerland. These countries are known to be extra pet-friendly and do not mind when you want to bring pets along with you.  You and your pet will be able to do almost everything together.  In fact, your 4 legged friend is welcomed in places such as shops, restaurants and hotels.  Bringing them on public transport is also possible, as long as you keep them on a leash and have a muzzle with you just in case.

It is far easier to travel with pets than you may think and lovely not to have to leave them behind.

Have you ever travelled with a pet(s)?

Love Songs for Feb 2017

I love music.  I listen to music and sing on a daily basis and if I wasn’t so shy I probably be singing somewhere – not just in the shower and to the kids.  I love listening to a range of music and have noticed that there are some great love songs being played at the moment which is of course very appropriate with Valentine’s Day coming up.

Love1

I know not everyone is a fan of Valentine’s Day but I am sure you are all fans of good music so I wanted to share my favourite love songs that I have been listening to on the radio and YouTube recently.

James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go

Apparently I am not the only person that likes this, check out the number of views on this video!  It’s a great song and one you can sing to quite easily in the car on the way to work or on the school run or even when doing stretches after a power walk or workout.  I can see this one being used at quite a few weddings this year.

Ed Sheeran – Shape of You

This is pretty catchy and one of those songs you can enjoy with youngsters too without worrying about loads of naughty words popping up.  The beat is pretty fast so great to dance and exercise too!

Little Mix – Touch

I’m not too keen on the video on this one but the song is still very catchy.  I didn’t realise this was a Little Mix song until I saw the video.  Is it just me or are there too many gyrating men?  I think that they should have ditched most of the men and made something a bit more watchable it probably would have saved them a little on the cost of the video too having less men to pay for.

JP Cooper – September Song

I love this, it’s sweet and non offensive with NO swearing.  This song has been around for a little while but it’s going strong which really isn’t surprising.

John Legend – Love Me Now

What a great voice!  Love the lyrics in this one and the message.  I bet many of you love this song too.

There are so many great songs at the moment I couldn’t feature them all but these are some of my favourites to get you all into the mood for snuggling up to a loved one whether they are your partner, child(ren), a pet or teddy.

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Do you have a favourite love song in the charts at the moment?  If so why not let me know in the comments.

Introducing Dubble Trubble Plus a Giveaway

Bath time is a pretty fun time for the little ones at our house.  They love to splash about and get lost in their own little imaginative world.  The girls love to bathe on their own so they can stretch out and pretend to be mermaids where as Mr Squishy loves to fill up jugs and toys with water and pour it back into the bath.  Of course bath time is not just about playing it is also about washing the little ones so they smell great after running around at school or at home and building up a sweat.  No one likes a smelly child now do they.  My little ones love fragrant fruity products to use when washing their body and hair and so were extremely excited to be sent some Dubble Trubble products.  These award winning organic (over 70% organic ingredients) shampoos and body washes come in a range of aromas including Cherry Bomb, Cool Cucumber, Strawberry, Watermelon and Bananaberry.  You will also find a Cool Cucumber Detangling Conditioner Spray.

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The products do NOT contain SLES, SLS or parabens.  SLES and SLS can cause skin irritations and SLES are often contaminated by a carcinogen (1,4 Dioxane – cancer causing) which is a by-product of manufacturing.  The products are NOT tested on animals which means we can buy the products in good conscience.

Dubble Trubble products have been created by celebrity hair colourist and Prince’s Trust Ambassador, Daniel Galvin Jr.  His collection of five pH balanced Hair & Body washes and Detangling Mist all contain organic botanical extracts to ensure that our children’s hair is in safe hands.

These are available in Tesco and most Asda stores, as well as online in Ocado and Daniel Galvin Jr’s stores.

As we all know children love to unbox items no matter what they are it’s the excitement of seeing what’s inside so I thought it might be fun to do an unboxing video.

So now you’ve seen the unboxing what did the children think???

It was hardly surprising that the children had whipped off their clothes in minutes and were excited about getting into the bath after filming.

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The children loved the range of aromas and wanted to try them all so we have been having extra baths to get through each.  Their favourites were the cherry bomb and strawberry although they did like them all.  The combination of the shampoo and the detangling spray made the children’s hair easier and faster to brush through which was good as we can spend ages sometimes.  I liked the range and aromas and would like to see a few more of the aromas of the shampoo and body washes available in the detangling spray range.

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These are lovely products and ones we are sure to use again.  If you would like an opportunity to give them a go for yourself why not enter our competition to win some Dubble Trubble goodies.  One lucky reader will be sent the selection of hair and body washes and also the detangling spray.

Entry is super easy just enter via the rafflecopter form.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

http://melaniesfabfinds.co.uk/competitions/how-to-enter-rafflecopter-competitions/

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

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Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Contains pr samples.

Philip Kingsley Re-Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

I naturally have curly / fizzy hair which generally means that the second there is any moisture in the air, ping!  It starts to frizz up like a puff ball and my perfectly glossy straight beautiful mane begins to resemble a really badly put together birds nest (insert crying emoji here).

The weather seems to enjoy playing havoc with my hair and taunts me with rain, drizzle and humidity especially over the Spring, Autumn and Winter, we may as well throw summer in there too as that isn’t much better.  My hair naturally has a curl to it which would be great if I could manage to style it nicely but it always seems to turn out looking more like I’ve been pulled through a bush backwards when left to its own devices and allowed to dry naturally.  Adding products to help tame the unmanageable curls also termed frizz make it look better briefly but any height there is soon lost due to the length and therefore weight of the hair making it look like a drooping disaster.

For me this is pretty controlled hair.  Would you believe my hair is wilder / frizzier than this:

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For those that can imagine wilder, shocking I know!!!!!  Quick eat a small square of dark chocolate it’ll make you feel better.  My defence mechanism is to straighten it and I love it straight but it’s nice to have a change once in a while.  I normally wash my hair, let it air dry and then straighten it as my hair is pretty long and takes a while to dry even with drying and styling tools.

Recently I was sent some samples of Philip Kingsley Re-Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner to try.

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The Shampoo

This is perfect for coarse hair which mine is so I expected this to have some sort of impact on my hair.  The shampoo had a really nice floral aroma which I really loved.  It’s a shame you can’t get a body wash too with the same scent.

What the site says;

“Delivers moisture to transform coarse hair from dry and frizzy, to soft, smooth and shiny. Adds control and weight to aid styling making it perfect for coarse hair that does not hold a style. Reduces breakage caused by snapping – Re-Moisturizing Shampoo contains the same ingredient as Elasticizer, Hydrolyzed Elastin, which increases hairs ability to stretch, meaning less breakage occurs.”

The Conditioner

The partner product to the shampoo I thought it made sense to try them both and get the best possible results.  Again a lovely floral fragrance which is not quite as strong as the shampoo fragrance.

What the site says;

“Deeply penetrates the hair strands to leave coarse, frizzy hair smooth and shiny. Contains Oat Proteins to improve hair texture, making coarser hair types easier to manage. Increases moisture retention so hair is left nourished and glossy throughout the day.”

 The Results

On the first use of the shampoo I will admit I had left my hair to get very greasy to see how well this could cope.  It does suggest a repeat wash where required on the bottle and on doing this the second wash seemed to lather up very well where as it hadn’t really the first time around.

The second use – I didn’t allow my hair to get as greasy but I still seemed to need to use it twice to get a lather going.

The third use, I wash my hair the first time around with a cheap supermarket shampoo and then for the second wash used the Philip Kinglsey shampoo.  This seemed to work just as well which was good to bare in mind.

I used the conditioner each time and left it for a minimum of 5 minutes before rinsing off.

I noticed that with each wash the condition of my hair when left to air dry improved so we had progressed from a crazier version of the picture above to a more manageable:

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My hair was just a little wilder than this after three washes.  I also noticed that straightening the hair was far easier and faster which was handy as my schedule is jam packed and I never seem to manage to do everything that I need to so a few extra minutes here and there can mean a lot.  My hair looked much more nourished too and seemed to look smoother, healthier, glossier with no frizz to be seen!  It also felt lovely and soft to the touch and did not leave my hair feeling greasy.

Would I use it again?

I sure would, I love this duo.  They seem to be doing great things to my hair and I must admit I am a little worried about what will happen when it runs out if I don’t get any more in time.  This really is a Fab Find and one that I think you would love too.

Contains pr samples.