Back To School Guide 2017

It's the start of the school holidays and with 4 children I am already planning the back to school items. I have been gathering items for the past few months to construct this guide for you, it will contain some essential back to school items for your little and big ones. 
First up is this protector spray from Excilor which protects from verrucas, warts, athletes foot and nail fungus. All sounds pretty grim, but with a little one due to start swimming lessons its a must for the school swim bag. It provides a water resistant barrier that lasts for a whole 8 hours and it is moisture resistant.
Whilst on the swimming topic how cool is Cody's new swim bag from Bags of Love. I was able to design the whole thing using the clever online design tool on their website. You can customise colours, text and add pictures. He definitely won't get lost in the crowd with this funky bag.
The sun always puts in an appearance when the kids go back in September, usually after at least 5 weeks worth of rain! The children school will not apply suncream due to heath and safety, so the kids have to do it themselves. This new Nivea caring roll-on is ideal for kids to do it themselves, they can screw the top off and it just rolls on. They will be able to safely apply it themselves and it rolls out just the right amount of cream, they just need to rub it in.
These Googly Fruit products are the ideal solution for the kid's lunch boxes, Googly fruit are on a mission to make fruit fun for kids. The range consists of fruit pouches which are great to keep in the fridge and pop in their lunch box to keep everything cool. The kid's school is a healthy eating school so no crisps and chocolate are allowed so the fruit crunchy and corn snacks are a great alternative. The best thing about Googly Fruit is they all count towards your 5 a day, they're additive free and made from 100% fruit.
We were sent some fab Bic products which will be winging their way into the kid's pencil cases. I love the felt tip pens, they have 2 white pens that erase the colours you have drawn. They are great for making funky patterns. If you are going to have pencils in your case then why not go for some bright neon ones, I love how cool these look. We also got some lovely crayons, they don't have the pesky bit of paper on them and they are smooth to hold. We will make good use of the glitter glue during the summer holiday, the kids love to craft and who doesn't love glitter. The pen we were sent is going to be ideal for Mr D, he struggles with grip and this pen has built in rubber strips to aide his grip and assist his writing.
Thermal drinks bottles are nothing new but there is something clever about this design from Judge. What makes them different from all the others is the wide pouring lip. It also has a unique locking system, which only releases liquid when you want it. The stainless steel bottle is double walled so will keep your drinks hot or cold for 6 hours. These will be perfect for the boy's lunch bags and come in 2 different sizes, 180ml for £11.75 and 360ml for £13.75.
These Piccolo pouches are a great inclusion for your younger children's lunch boxes. They come in a whole variety of sweet and savoury flavours. The fruit pouches are great for adding to Cody's lunch box, they are all 100% organic and count towards one of the children's 5 a day. They are available to buy in most major supermarkets.
As some of you know Skye goes to a specialist school and has to take a lot of things in with her for her personal needs. This means she needs a large backpack to fit it all into. The team over at Room To Grow sent us the Spiketus rex multi rucksack from MadPax. It has a bold and multi coloured soft spiky design and is a real eye-catcher that says you are one-of-a-kind. The full pack is a traditional sized backpack, perfect for school books and sports. It has great wide padded straps, I love the funky colourful spikes, this bag is available in 3 different colours too.
Everyone knows and loves Smiggle and how cute are these products they have sent to us. The kids love them! I'm loving the scented Besties pencil case, it really smells like strawberries. The buddies notebook it fab to, the kids are really gonna turn heads with their scented pencils. Check out my Youtube video for a details description of each item.
Dj is going to be pretty chuffed with the DC Comics back pack from Paladone. Packed full of all your favourite heroes and villains from the DC Universe, this DC Comics Backpack is the perfect gift for comic book fans and the best way to carry around the latest issues when on the go! A custom print polyester backpack with PVC backing, the bag features custom fabric zip pulls and a separate front pocket, all adorned with classic DC Comics characters, artwork and logos. 
See the world like never before with this ingenious Smartphone Microscope. A brilliant microscope lens that is compatible with most smartphone cameras, the Smartphone Microscope captures images in microscopic detail for a fun new way of looking at the everyday world. Study nature and wildlife, or even everyday objects in your home, and view your surroundings in ways never previously considered. 
I've been buying Regatta coats for the children for a few years as I love the design and quality. The Regatta team sent me the above 2 jackets for the kids, which will be perfect for September. Both jackets are waterproof, breathable Isotex 10000 polyester fabric, they have taped hems which really keep out the water. I love the bright colours on the jackets, especially Skyes, I love the funky yellow floral design. The hoods can roll away and the jackets can have a fleece added underneath which will make them the perfect winter coat. What I love about Regatta is no matter what time of the year it is there is always special offers, both the above jackets start from £24.99, which is a great price for a jacket to see you through all seasons.
I have 3 boys and they are so heavy on their feet, we literally went through around pairs of shoes per school year. In September I swapped to Kickers and haven't looked back. The guys over at Jakes Shoes sent us these Kickers Kick 3 Strap boots for Dj, he's really heavy on his feet so boots are a great option. He's not great with laces so Velcro is the ideal solution. The boots are really well made and have a great tread, they will look super smart with his uniform.
I mentioned earlier Skye goes by bus to school, her journey takes around an hour so it's recommended she takes a drink. This cute ladybird bottle from What 2 buy for kids is perfect. She loves the design and its aluminium so will keep her drink cool. The nozzle is really easy to pull up and down so she will be able to use it herself easily.
How super cool are these, they are not only amazing for back to school, but they are the perfect for all you Star Wars fans. The 4 coloured classic bic pen has been jazzed up with a storm trooper. I love the 4 pack of biros, they will be sneaking into my stationery collection. The Tipp-Ex mouse has made its way into my teen's school collection, its a high school essential apparently!
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Astonish Cruelty Free Cleaning

Last year I reviewed the Astonish range and I have been using them ever since they are fab and available in the Poundshops, so a bargain price for a cleaner for your whole house. Astonish has received a bit of a makeover, It's got a shiny new look for their household, laundry and cruelty-free cleaning products. They still offer the same astonishing results, just with a new fresh look, you will see the funky prism shaped bottle on the shelves and they really stand out. Cruelty-Free International and the Vegetarian Society approve of them and they are Vegan Society registered, they don't contain any animal derivatives and have not been tested on animals.
Astonish sent me 3 of their products and I have been testing them out the past week and I am absolutely loving them. I had the preconception that being cruelty-free would mean that they didn't have the same cleaning power as before how wrong was I! The mould and mildew blaster was the one that most impressed me. I always have trouble getting rid of the build up behind my taps, the shower leaks down and water gathers behind and that creates a mould build up if you don't wipe it every day. I sprayed the mould and mildew blaster on the back of the taps and left it for about 5 minutes while I cleaned the rest of the bathroom. I then went back and wiped it and was amazed (or should I say Astonished!!) that the mould build up had gone. I have since been using this in my kitchen and the shed outside, it's a fab all round cleaner.
I haven't been able to get a good picture of the window spray, but it leaves the windows sparkling and streak free. The antibacterial surface spray kills 99% of known bacteria, it has no bleach or odour so it's completely safe to use on food preparation surfaces. I'm loving the new design and will continue using my favourite Astonish cleaning range.
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Mandy

Skintifique Skin Care

I am now the wrong side of my 30's and I am terrible when it comes to my skin. The most my poor skin gets is a wipe with a skin care wipe, even when it's been wearing makeup. I am quite fortunate that I have relatively good skin, I don't get spots very often, but I know as I approach 40 it's time to take care of my poor skin. I have been sent a bundle of skincare products from Skintifique to see what I think, now I am in no way a beauty blogger but I figured it would do my skin no harm.
The cleanser p will effectively remove makeup and is great for anyone with sensitive skin. Most cleanser have lots of ingredients and these can be harsh on your skin, Skintifique cleanser has only 5 ingredients, Aqua, polysorbate 20, poloxamer 184, 1,2 hexanediol and chlorphenesin. You simply add some onto a cotton wool pad and cleanse your face, I was astounded and the dirt that came off my face! I had previously used a face wipe to take off the bulk of my make up and still, the cleanser pulled off so much grime! My face really wasn't clean at all, my skin felt really squeaky after a good cleanse.
The hydrating gel plus hs is a face and body moisturiser that gives an intense and lasting hydration. I opted to make this part of my evening routine as I thought it would be lovely on my skin soaking in over night. It formulated from demineralized water, enriched in castor oil and bisabolol which combined provides a moisturising level of 40%. I was impressed with how little you need to cover your face, a little goes a long way. It really soaks into your skin and leaves it feeling silky smooth. I really liked that it didn't leave my skin feeling greasy and the moisturiser is a nice thick consistency.
 The moisturising lotion is an ideal everyday moisturiser and works perfectly following the cleanser. It moisturises your skin deep down and provides protection from pollutants. It's great for anyone with particularly dry skin and it's really hydrating. It absorbs really quickly and again I was surprised at how non-greasy the formula was. I opted to use this as part of my morning skin care routine and am really happy with the results and how smooth my skin feels.
For the past week, I have used the cleanser twice a day, the moisturising lotion hp in the morning and the hydrating gel in the evening. I have quite combination skin which makes skin care dificult, but this Skintifique collection has been no problem. It suits my dry skin perfectly and it now feels lovely and smooth. It glides over my oily forehead and has really made it feel less oily.
My skin has a lovely glow to it after just a weeks use and it looks much healthier, shame about the black bags under my eyes, but sleep is the only miracle cure for those bad boys. I have used very little of the product in a week and I expect the product to last over a month, so it's a great investement. You can see all of these products on the Skintifique website.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Stunning Storage From Rattan Direct

In a house of 6 people storage is an issue, we have a good sized house, but 6 people equal lots of stuff! I have storage of all kinds from shoe storage to outdoor storage, but there is always room for a little extra. The team at Rattan Direct sent me the stunning 5 draw rustic storage unit and I knew instantly it would be specifically for me! I have a lot of girl stuff, makeup, moisturiser, hair stuff, well just lots of stuff and it's all usually just in a box on top of the draws in our bedroom. I have always dreamed of having my own set of lovely tidy draws that I can open and find specifically what I am looking for, without having to root through a large box. The draws are the perfect size and I managed to get some little draw inserts from my local shop that fitted my male up in perfectly.
You can see my Youtube video, which gives a full detailed look at the fab draws and exactly how I am using them. I loved that the draws come fully assembled, me and flat pack don't have a good history! I simply had to unwrap them and they were ready to use. I was kept up to date with the status of my delivery by the courier and even given a time slot on the day of delivery.

I like how versatile these draws are, they would look at home anywhere in your home. They also have a very similar set with fewer draws in which would be perfect for my lounge. You can these and all the others beautifully hand crafted piece of furniture over at Rattan Direct, make sure you go over and check out their fantastic summer sale, with up to 70% off some ranges.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Sun Safety On Holiday

I can't believe a week today I will at this very moment be lay on the beach for 10 whole days! It's a trip I have been planning for a year and I can actually hear the sunshine calling my name. My plan is to lie n the beach and get a good tan, followed by a few cocktails in the evening. The team over at Holiday Gems create the post The Lobster Look: Tips On Sun Safety This Summer, which has some top tips for enjoying the sun safely. I thought pre holiday I would share some of my top tips for safety in the sun.

Get A Good Suncream 
Pretty self-explanatory, if you are going to be in the sun for any amount of time. Reapply regularly an always reapply after you have been in the water, even if it's waterproof. Make sure you get the right level of protection for skin type.
Take A Break From The Sun
Most of the Spanish Islands take a siesta, take one too! Enjoy a little nap whilst the sun is at its hottest. It really does refresh you.
Stay Hydrated
A hot sun really dries your skin out and a loss of moisture makes you dehydrated. Make sure you drink at least your recommended 2 litres a day, especially when you are in hot sunshine.
Use A UV Tent
If you have little ones and you taking them along to the beach a UV tent is a great idea. It offers them a place to shade from the sun and they are protected whilst in there.

While we are taking sun safety, how would you like to win a lovely Nivea sun care set? For your chance to win just enter via the widget below. Do read the terms and conditions before entering.
nivea
Terms and Conditions
Open to UK & Ireland residents over 18years. 1 prize for 1 winner, chosen at random via Gleam. All entry methods are optional. Make sure you complete each entry correctly or you will be disqualified. Come back each day for extra entries. Winner will be contacted within 3 days of the giveaway ending. If they do not respond within 28 days a new winner will be chosen. Your details will be passed to the PR/Company and nobody else. Delivery is the responsibility of the PR/Company. Raising the Rainbows is not responsible for any damaged or missing prizes. Please allow up to 28 days for the prize to arrive. The company reserves the right to substitute the prize for one of similar value if the original isn't available. Bulk or automated entries will be disqualified. Giveaway open until 11.59pm July 30th 2017
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Skinny Coffee From The Skinny Caffe

I have been collaborating with The Skinny Caffe for a few months now, I tried their skinny tea and loved it and I have just recently been trialling their skinny coffee. The Skinny Caffee believe in a healthy balanced lifestyle. The understand the importance of eating properly and remaining active every day. They want as many people as possible to enjoy their products so they have strived to ensure they are suitable for vegans/vegetarians and contain no extras such as gluten, egg, dairy, soy and contain only safe and natural ingredients. 
The coffee does have an unusual look about it, but it instantly smells like coffee when you open the bag. It's a fine powder and you make it exactly like you would a normal cup of coffee, however you take it. I thought it had the slight aroma of coconut to it. I'm not a big coffee drinker so the fact this is medium roast coffee appealed to me greatly.
When I added hot water it had the same look and aroma of any other coffee, the ingredients include roast coffee, coconut milk powder, un roasted ground green coffee, Acai berry, Goji berry, juniper berry, Garcinia cambogia, L-carnitine and raspberry ketone powder. They all work together to help aide weight loss and reduce bloat. Everyone's body works differently so no guarantees can be made about how it ill work for you. But there are lots of positive reviews of this product. I definitely have noticed I am significantly less bloated and feel like I have lots more energy since I have been drinking it. I am happy to add it to my daily routine as I genuinely love the flavour and it helped me lose 5lbs last month, which is a great amount considering I wasn't particularly watching what I was eating. I can imagine how much difference I would have noticed if I was following a healthy eating plan alongside. You can get a 1 month supply of Skinny Coffee for £24.95 and at the moment if you add code CAFFE20 you get 20% off. There is also 2 fab new products in the Skinny Caffe range, yummy hot chocolate and Vanilla Latte available to try, pop over to The Skinny Caffe for a look around today.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy

Holiday Essentials Guide

It just 3 weeks today till I go on holidays, 10 days of pure bliss and respite. Being a parent is hard work and being a parent to 3 children with autism presents its own unique challenges. So, we really relish our time away. I have been collecting up holiday essential items for our upcoming break and have compiled this guide for all our holiday essentials.
If you are heading to the sun you want to be smelling and feeling fresh and Dove is great for both. They have just announced a brand new formulation to its spray and roll-on antiperspirant collection which will provide more softness and superior care than the previous formulation. The pear and aloe is currently my favourite out of the collection.
Eucerin is a brand new to me so I am excited to give these lotions a try when we hit the beach. They help protect your skin from sun induced skin damage and have a great non-sticky formula. I love that they instantly absorb into your skin and they are water resistant. I love that there is a separate formula for your face as I always find the regular lotion too much for my face.
The team over at theye sent me a lovely bundle of items that are great for travelling. The compact beach and sports towel is made from highly absorbent microfibre and comes in its own pouch. I love microfibre as it dries off so quickly in the sun. We are travelling to mainland Spain so mosquito repellent is a must. These mosquito bands are the ideal solution to covering yourself in lotion. You wear it like a watch and it lasts for up to 2 weeks. The fab multi-pack of micro sprays are ideal for popping in your hand luggage, the triple, packs comes with sun lotion, mosquito repellent and a hand sanitizer.
These items from Phil Smith are also great if you are hand luggage only as they are all under 100ml, so safely allowed on board. No matter what your hair needs I have you covered here, the curly lock is great for popping on your hair after a day on the beach and allowing your hair to dry naturally curly. If you're looking for volume then treat your hair to the big it up mousse. The last 2 items really give your hair a treat from being dried out by the sun, the argan oil transforms your hair and makes it feel really soft and silky.
UltraDex have you covered oral hygiene on your travels, the low abrasion toothpaste is only 75ml and doesn't mask bad smells in your mouth, it neutralises them and stops the build up of bacteria. The mouth rinse is perfect for on the plane, if your going long haul you just want to freshen up and you can with this 100ml bottle, you can rinse on the go and keep your mouth fresh. Lastly for freshness on the go you can use the fresh breath spray
Aldi is well known for their fab special buys and currently, you can get some fab holiday/summer clothing and footwear items in store. I'm loving the black ladies comfort sandal, they are so stretchy, ideal for the hot weather. They have a really good grip on the sole too. My Mum always tells me to protect my head so this hat is the perfect solution, they have a whole host of designs to choose from. I love the design on this hat, I think the hubby may nick it off me though! I love a good pair of flip-flop and ones with a bit of sparkle are right up my street. These gold ones are super comfy and there are a few designs available instore. As with all special buys hurry whole stocks last.
I was really excited when JDWilliams got in touch and offered to send me a few items to review and it was perfect timing to fit with this post and my holiday. It was a tough choice as the range is so vast and they do a lovely selection of summer maxi dresses. I managed to narrow down my choice to the stunning Joe Browns maxi dress, I love how soft and stretchy it is, perfect for the larger lady like myself. I love the wider shoulder straps and gather middle it makes it flow well. It's made from jersey material so it's really breathable and comfy and will be perfect for the evenings in Spain.
How stunning are the jewelled Clarks sandals, they will easily transition from daytimes by the beach to night times dressing up. They are really comfortable and fasten on the side with velcro, they also have a really great tread on the sole. I have worn them around the house and they are super comfy, they will add just the right amount of sparkle to my outfit, the sun is going to catch the diamonds beautifully.

You can't go wrong in the style stakes wth a capsule denim skirt and this one os super lightweight. It's not heavy denim, which is great for the sun in Spain. It has a comfortable drawstring waist, 2 large pockets and a nice frayed hem. It's really comfy and it's a nice just above the knee length.
Increasing the beneficial bacteria in your gut can help maintain a healthy digestive system, going abroad it's even more important to keep your tummy healthy. These Bio-Kult Advanced multi-strain tablets are the perfect option, there are 60 capsules in the box so perfect for taking in your case.
I'm a huge Baylis & Harding fan and have used loads of their products in the past. I was super excited to discover their new hair care range. These fantastic hair care duo leaves your hair feeling  and smelling gourgeous. The jasmine and apple blossom hand gel is ideal for your holiday bag. It's only 50ml so it can even go in your flight bag. Subtle notes of jasmine and apple blossom make it the perfect hoiday scent. Its a gel and not a lotion, so it goes on really nicely and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy.
Are you going away this year? What is on your holiday essentials list? 
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
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