Sunday, 20 January 2013

Groupon Bargain UGG "Style" Boots!

It's been some years now since UGG boots came on the scene. I've never been able to understand how they can possibly be worth £200 but then it's not a bad idea for a Christmas present or something for a teenage girl if you can't think of anything else to buy. For some years now I've been buying cheap alternatives as it can't be denied that they are very warm and cosy. I started off buying some Next ones in 2004 that cost £15 and since then I usually but a pair a year from Sainsburys, as I once read they are real sheepskin (!).

However, since UGGs are rapidly going down in price, and I have terrible chillblains, I wondered if now was the time to invest, or have I missed the boat? Costco often have them at a good place, but that involves going to Costco, which I find pretty terrifying (it's the only place I have EVER had a problem breastfeeding when a youth stared at me menacingly with a stupid smirk on his face in the cafe, I refused to make eye contact).

Anyway, the UGG problem has now been solved. Instead of UGGS, I now have.... Snowpaw Boots!
I'll tell you how it happened. A few months ago I was kindly offered the chance to review the Groupon website. I've never really understood Groupon before as it always seemed really complicated and full of terms and conditions that took ages to read. I also found that there was never anything on there that I actually liked, or the thing I wanted was sold out. However, one day I got an email from them informing me about the Snowpaw boots so I decided to strike. It always pays to do a bit of research and from what I could see the Snowpaw boots are pretty similar to UGGS but a bit cheaper. So basically how it works is that you pay for a voucher, in this case it was £50, and then you redeem the voucher on the website of the item you want for the full price of the item (in this case £165) - so you pay £50 for a £165 item. All I had to do was wait until the deal had expired and then I would be emailed a code to put into the Snowpaw website. I was a bit worried the boots would sell out so considered setting my alarm for midnight just in case. However I forgot.

As it happens, there was no issue with the boots selling out and the next day I easily entered the code, and that was that! I was expecting a long wait for the boots but actually they came in a few days!

Here they are in the flesh! I went for the dark brown ones, I like them because they are ultra warm, look smart and can be turned down or kept as they are!

Snow Paw Boots only £50 through Groupon!

Turned down styley! 
Lovely cosy boots!
So all in all, I was really impressed by my experience of Groupon, I am now a little hooked and am constantly checking the site for bargains. Have you used Groupon and if so, what do you think?

I was offered a £50 voucher from Groupon to review their site but all thoughts are my own!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Best Sale Coats! Desigual, Uniqlo, Joseph and French Connection!

In years gone by I've been pretty unsavvy about coats, just randomly buying one at the end of September, perhaps in a 20% off weekend, and then getting well and truly sick of it by the end of October. There is something about my body that just doesn't suit coats; they always hang off me yet if I try a smaller size I feel restricted. They are either never warm enough or leave me permanently sweating (often the same coat does both at different times), have an exposed neck so I feel cold, the sleeves are a bit short, the pockets don't zip up, they are too long or too short, or worst of all, downright unflattering. At the moment I have quite a lot of "light" jackets in the wardrobe, utterly useless. It's either too cold to wear a light jacket or so warm I don't need one. Aside from that my coats consist of: 1 long brown wool John Rocha one (only looks good in heels), 1 feather/down one from Oasis (exposed neck so I'm cold even with a scarf), a gilet from Crew (I now realise women should not wear gilets unless they are members of the aristocracy, if they do it looks like they are wannabe Caspers/Ruperts, why would anyone give a child a name like that?!), a stripy coat from H&M that hangs off me, a denim jacket from Primark that is a size 14 so too big but I brought it post baby. What I really need is a smart, waist length coat which is padded, zips to the neck and belted. However, on my quest to find one, I am easily distracted.

I was first distracted by this Desigual coat from House of Fraser, was £229 now £34 (in some sizes) utter bargain, but is it hidous? I'm not sure I would ever wear it, but it's a good buy in terms of discounting.

Desigual Coat House of Fraser now £34
A lot of bloggers are talking a lot about Uniqlo these days, though I'm not sure if it's because of sponsored posts or because they genuinely like Uniqlo? I wore a lot of Uniqlo stuff when I lived in Japan as it's very popular over there, especially for winter wear. I would describe it as a sort of cheap gap. I like this Uniqlo Theory Down Jacket which is now £69.90 (from £89.90). I just wonder if it's a bit too masculine for me. They have various other puff styles, starting at £39.90, but I wonder if I buy this if it may become consigned to the back of the wardrobe, like so many other things I've bought online. 
Uniqlo Down Jacket £69.90

This Nylon Maya Jacket from Joseph has really caught my eye and is perfect in every way except one, the price. I'm not sure I want to pay £118 (was £295) for it as it doesn't look particularly warm, what do you think?
Joseph Nylon Maya Jacket
I'm wondering whether to go for this nice looking Penfield coat from ASOS, down to £105 from £175. Not sure if it's a bit studenty looking for a woman of 34..
Penfield Coat £105 from ASOS
ASOS is actually a good place to look, as it has loads of brands as well as its own. I also spotted this French Connection navy parka which is £61.50 from £160. I like the general look though not sure about the draw string belt as I have a strong dislike of anything drawstring!
French Connection Classic Parka £62.50
There are so many to choose from, I really don't know where to start!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Warehouse £12 trousers, Hobbs bargains and the quest for the perfect shirt....

Habits are hard to break, I guess that's why poor brands such as Burtons and Wh Smith have survived so long. I do fear that two of my old fashion habits, Warehouse and Oasis might be on their way out. At the moment, aside from concessions there are NO Oasis stores in the centre of Leeds AT ALL. Warehouse looks like it's on its last legs and the online stores for both are full of recycled sale stock. There doesn't seem to be much sense of doing what's right for the customer, more of a, let's fleece the customer for all they've got while we still can, type philosophy. Thing is, because brands like that have been around for such a long time, its mugs like me who keep them going. Having said that, you cannot argue with these two sales bargains that I admit I have ordered, first of all these zip hem trousers at £12, gets a good review and for that money it's difficult to argue, after all everyone needs black trousers don't they?
Warehouse Zip Hem Trousers £12
I've been looking for some reasonably priced, everyday work wear trousers since September and have spotted these Zip Detail Trousers for £15 (plenty of sizes left) which I have also ordered!
Warehouse Zip Detail Trousers £15
I'm hoping they are going to fit beautifully and go with EVERYTHING. However, so many times when ordering online I've been disappointed, so I'm not going to get my hopes up too much.
I've been searching and searching for months now for the PERFECT shirt. I thought I was going to find it in Karen Millen, until I realised that all their shirts are dry clean only, that was never going to work for me, the shirt would end up owning me rather than the other way around. Anyway, on a chance I decided to order this sheer shirt from Warehouse, it's well discounted at £25 from £70 and I'm hoping it will be decent quality. However there is a little voice in my head saying, "it's a bit young for you", and I actually have no idea what I'm going to wear it with, any tips?
Oh and there's only an 8 left, and I'm a 10, so it seems doomed from the start. However to ease the blow there's a 15% off code SSNEW15.

Still talking about shirts, I've become fully acquainted with the Hobbs website, though annoyingly at this late stage most sizes are sold out, I need to be quicker off the ball next time. Anyway, if you are a size 14, this is a complete bargain at £49, the stirrup blouse, great tucker into skinny jeans or a black pencil skirt.
Hobbs Stirrup Shirt £49
I'm completely in love with this Mr Duck shirt, at £69, though there are only size 6s left, a bit optimistic, but maybe they have them in stores, who knows?
Hobbs Mr Duck Shirt £69
Oh, and while I remember, I normally don't like Boden, as I think the emphasis is not on slimming (a very important word when it comes to clothes) but I'm sick of getting up in the morning and not  having anything to"throw on". Indeed, I recently had a very therapeutic wardrobe cleaning out session where I eliminated anything that wasn't flattering. Unfortunately flattering and tight fitting also go together, as does uncomfortable, so now I find myself in the unenviable position of not having anything completely comfortable in my wardrobe. Anyway, this was a bit of a bargain and looks like something I could wear with any trousers, or even a nice A line skirt, this casual stripe jumper for £11.70 (the website won't let me copy images sorry!). There's also a free delivery code Q235.

Have you found any last minute sale bargains this year?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Top Apps to Keep the Kids Amused!

Top Apps to keep the kids amused
Let’s face it: there are some situations where children get bored. In a restaurant waiting for food the food to arrive, waiting for the bus, waiting for an appointment, and waiting for the car trip to end are just a few of the situations that can be taxing for a young child’s patience. Then they start acting out to try to get attention, much to the annoyance of the adults.
Well, the good news is, “There’s an app for that!” Here are some of the best apps to entertain your children when you’re out and about.
Doodlecast for Kids
This iPhone/iPad app lets kids draw, but also lets them record their voice to provide commentary for their creations. Their work can be turned into a video file and then sent to family, friends and fans.
Disney Pixel’d
This free app for iPhone and iPad lets you take Disney characters and create pixel-art drawings and animated stories, letting kids practice their storytelling as well as their drawing skills.
Toca Kitchen
This digital kitchen helps kids practice their cooking and event-planning skills. The game lets kids prepare a meal by boiling, slicing, frying and microwaving a digital dinner, letting them experiment without making a mess in the real kitchen.
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
This app is more educational. It uses animation to explain how the brain works, and also offers memory games to help kids sharpen their minds.
Playart by Tapook
Playart lets budding artists utilise the elements of famous paintings – those by van Gogh, Monet, and Cezanne to name a few – into their own work so that kids can learn about art history while also enjoying the process of creating.,/p> Little Digits
Another educational app, children can learn to count by putting a certain number of fingers on the screen. It also offers games to teach simple arithmetic, making it an excellent supplement to maths lessons.
Around the Clock This app has a game for each hour of the day, thereby helping children understand how a clock works and follow the concept of time.
The apps listed here are all for either the iPhone or iPad. Many parents report that their children find the user interface on Apple products more user-friendly. To be able to access all the child-friendly apps that are offered for these products, why not upgrade? While an iPhone or iPad may seem pricey, you can raise the funds by trading your old phone in for cash online. All you need to do is find a site that will let you list your second hand items online or buy them from you directly. For example, if you wanted to sell htc desire, you could search the internet for a website that pays cash for old phones and then narrow it down by which one offers you the best price. Then, take your cash and invest it in a device that will entertain your children with engaging, educational games and apps.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Homemade Spanish Hot Chocolate!

A few years ago, in another life, I was living in Madrid Spain. I was masquerading as an English teacher but it could be more accurately termed as "rent a friend" to be quite honest, as most of my English lessons I spent listening to my students problems and helping them with psychological difficulties. In turn, they listened to me too and quite often these lessons resulted in true friendships. I was a very diligent teacher, though I'm less sure about how effective I actually was, though luckily all my students were too nice to care. 

One of the best things about living in the centre of Madrid, aside from the night life, which was amazing (it's the only place I've ever encountered a traffic jam at 2am), I got to experience a totally different culinary experience. I grew to love sherry, squid, thrived on Menu del dia and eventually learned to correctly pronounce "cerveceria", though it took a while. During my ten months living in Madrid, I never really mastered the language, though to say I arrived only saying, "hola", I could hold a conversation and make a telephone call in Spanish by the time I left. As always, just before I left I was just starting to settle down there...

Having lived in Japan the year before, I was desperately craving European fun and food. One of the earliest encounters I had when I started living in Madrid was their amazing Chocolate con churros which is basically a lovely hot drink of pure molten chocolate with lovely doughnuts that are just the right shape to be dipped in. Anyway, my oldest son is a bit down in the dumps today, so I thought I would cheer him up by making my own version of the drink, though obviously adapted to the fact that I never have any ingredients in the house.

1) Heat some milk, do not burn the milk so make sure it's on a low heat. Stir in a table spoon of plain flour.

Heated Milk
Alternative ingredient

pouring the contraband into the milk
2) Ideally you should use milk chocolate, but I decided to raid the cupboard and stole the children's white chocolate packs, break it up into small pieces and stir into the milk. (use about 100g of chocolate for every 200ml of milk).
3) Whisk like mad, keep whisking until the drink has thickened sufficiently. It really needs to be as thick as possible to make it really yummy.
4) Go into the fridge and locate some chocolate coins. Grate them on a cheese grater to make a "cappucinoo" type effect. And there you have it! Spoon it into cool and funky cups, and prepare for great things.


The end result..thick is best.


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