Caseapp Review

Caseapp are a Swedish brand who make custom phone cases and laptop skins. They asked me if I fancied trying out their site to make a phone case and a laptop skin and after having a look round their site it wasn’t difficult to say ‘yes please’.

casepp-landing-page

The landing page is easy to navigate to the product you want. I chose a case for my Iphone 6 first, I always keep a case on my phone – unlike my teen who’s managed to smash the front and back of his – as I’m worried about dropping it. You can either design your own from scratch as a collage or just some of your favourite photographs or you can use one of the premade ones available.

 I chose to use Golden Dreams and Marble as my background for both my phone case and laptop skin as I thought it was very pretty. I then looked through the clipart options to add to it and picked ‘don’t forget to wear your smile’ as I thought it was lovely and positive. You can fiddle around with where you want the clipart to go and it also shows you guidelines of where it should go so that you get the best finished article.

 

The case is made from thick sturdy plastic and does feel like it will keep your phone safe. The printing is high quality and all over. The case snaps onto the phone easily and fits just right. I really like the new case and it gives my phone a little glamour whilst protecting it.

The laptop skin I chose to match came as a ‘giant sticker’ to be placed on the top of the laptop lid. It had backing paper so you can just peel it off before sticking to your laptop.

 

The skin was really easy to apply, it didn’t scrunch up or bubble and it was done in seconds. I really like it as it takes my laptop from being a bit boring to being far more appealing to look at. It has high quality printing and looks just as good as the phone case.

I was really pleased with my Caseapp experience as the ordering and delivery were really simple and quick and so too was adding them to my phone and laptop. If you’re looking to jazz up your phone/laptop/ipad I’d definitely recommend having a look at their site.

julie-x-2

*I was sent the items free of charge for the purposes of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

Feel Stress Free App Review

Feel Stress Free  is an app created by Thrive which:

  • Keeps track of your mood over time
  • Enables you to train your thoughts so you can manage how you feel about different situations
  • Trains you in 4 relaxation techniques that give you control over your stress

which can help over time to make sure you some time out, de-stress and forget about the world for a little while. I was offered a months trial to see what I thought of it.

I downloaded the app from the App store and it’s a very user friendly appealing app with a lovely beach theme aptly named ‘Calm Isle’ which immediately makes you think of a relaxing holiday with waves lapping on the shore and some calming music complete with sounds of water and seagulls. All you need to use it is sound headphones and a quiet room somewhere.

stress-free-app-menu-page

There are options which are open and some that unlock as you go along. My favourite was the breathing because it made me sit in a room by myself without distractions and just relax whilst the main focus was on my breathing instead of worrying about everything just for a little while. I felt refreshed and ready to take on anything ( usually the kids pummeling the hell out of each other).

feel-stress-free-app-calm-breathing-menu

You can choose how long you want to do each activity for, which is great if you don’t have an awful lot of time or if you do have a bit of ‘me time’ you can use it for longer. The little dude you can see in the top left breathes along with you so it’s visual as well as being able to hear the instructions from a very calm sounding voice. It did take a bit of getting used to as I felt a bit daft to start with but then I realised I was doing this for me and no one else could even see me anyway so it didn’t actually matter!

There are lots of options if you move around the Isle by swiping left or right including:

  • Breathing
  • Meditation
  • Deep Muscle
  • Self Hypnosis
  • Message
  • Progress
  • Mood Meter
  • Zen Garden

The mood meter is handy as it can suggest activities based on how you’re feeling, the more you use it the better it gets at suggestions. The Zen garden lets you make your own little garden on the beach. It just makes you relax and forget about the days stresses for a while.

I found that this app worked well for me after a long day either with the kids or at work as it just gave me a chance to stop, relax and chill out a bit. Something I wouldn’t really have done before.

Each time you use the app you need to log in so your progress is saved and there’s a subscription fee of £4.99 a month for full use and cheaper options if you sign up for longer periods.

Thrive also do an ‘Arachnophobia Free’ App which I’m sure many people (including myself) would benefit from. Been finding the mini beasts all over the place lately!

 

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*I was given a month subscription for free for the purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

 

 

Skippy Peanut Butter Review & Giveaway

The Summer Holidays went by so ridiculously quickly and it’s back to school runs and lunchbox filling already. Skippy offered to send me some peanut butter in Smooth and Extra Crunchy to see whether it would go down a treat. According to the American Peanut Council, every serving of SKIPPY® Peanut Butter is a good source of protein, providing 15% of the recommended daily intake in just two tablespoons.  Made from high-oleic peanuts from the USA, they’re proven to be both healthier and better tasting.

skippy-peanut-butter

They both come in a brightly coloured 340g plastic jars. Both peanut butters spread really well and don’t “smash the bread up” as my partner so eloquently put it! As you can see below on toast the bread is still intact and covered all over and this was straight out of the fridge. Whilst both were lovely and everyone was expecting to prefer the smooth the overall opinion was that the crunchy one was the resounding winner.Lots of crunch mixed with the smooth made for a really lovely spread for a snack and for sandwiches.

 

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We have tried other peanut butters and we really do think this is one of the nicest we’ve ever had. They are also very nice when mixed with jam, banana and honey for a little twist. Not necassarily all at the same time mind you😀

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter has a RRP of £2.25 per 340g jar and is available in Smooth and Super Crunch varieties, which are currently available in major UK supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Further information, plus more recipe ideas from SKIPPY® Peanut Butter, can be found at www.peanutbutter.com.

I’m giving 3 of my lovely readers a chance to win a jar Skippy Peanut Butter along with a Spreader! Enter via the Rafflecopter below:

 

Enter via the Rafflecopter here!

  1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only.
  2. There are 3 prizes which are non-transferable, cannot be exchanged and no cash alternative will be offered.
  3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above.
  4. The winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries.
  5.  The giveaway will run until Midnight 09/10/16
  6.  Once the giveaway is over the winners will be contacted for their details to arrange postage of their prize :-)

 

 

Julie x (2)

 

*We were sent the items free for the purpose of this review however all opinions are honest and my own*

Dear Diary #1

As I no longer keep a ‘proper’ diary – well I do but it’s at the bottom of my handbag with pen marks and a random raisin stuck to it – I’ve decided to start a blog version instead. It won’t be as interesting as my teenage one then again my teens weren’t all that exciting if I’m honest I was a bit of a goody two shoes.

Dear Diary…this week I have realised that you should never get complacent and think that now she’s 4 your daughter will stop being quite so mischievous. Big fat metaphorical V sign behind my back to that one from her. Once I start running that washing up water it’s like a red rag to a bull and she’s off on her next adventure.

She covered her face in SuperStay 24 hour foundation that did NOT bloody want to come off.I had to take to Twitter to ask for help with removing it. How on earth do you shift something that doesn’t want to come off and you don’t have makeup remover? Coconut oil that’s how. Learn something new everyday. I Googled ‘on top of roof storage’ but the prices were sky high. Turning into my Dad I am. I swear.


Just when I got over the shock of her making herself biscuit coloured she goes and does something worse. It’s a Saturday afternoon, I’m sat at work having just got myself a coffee and thinking how amazing it is that I can drink it in peace. Pahaha. Pahahahahahahaha. Phonecall from the other half. “Little lady’s hair is falling out in handfuls, what the hell do I do?” So coffee gets poured out and I get home as quick as you like to find that the ‘hair that’s fallen out’ looks suspiciously neat and tidy. Like it’s been cut. Oh god…vague recollections flood my brain of a half listened to conversation with darling daughter about how she was playing hairdressers. “You know Mum, cut, cut, cut.” Only she wasn’t pretending was she? She’d found that pair of hairdressing scissors I bought on impulse and hid in my knicker drawer goodness knows how long ago.


It didn’t end there. Ohhhh no. She covered her whole leg in red glittery nail varnish the very next bloody day. Next time you think she’s with the partner and the partner thinks she’s with you? Check. For the love of God check. It’s highly likely that she’s painting her face with the eyeshadow you bought for best. Only it’s not ‘best’ now is it? It’s like the mashed up poo coloured Play – Doh version of eyeshadow. Not sure that’s gonna cut it at the party on the weekend.


I have a party to go to. Not a horrific softplay, kids battering crap out of each other on a massive sugar rush kind of party. An actual real life adults party. Not a swingers jobby mind you, just a fun Birthday party. A PARTY? What the frigging hell am I meant to wear? What do people wear to parties these days? Oh, this could all go so horribly wrong. What if I underplay it and everyone thinks I’m a scruffy cow and ask where Wayne is? What if I overplay it and get looks from everyone wondering who ‘the slag in the corner’ is? So many things to think about. Do I wear heels and risk falling on my face or wear flats and feel as though I couldn’t be arsed really? I’ll wing it. What could possibly go wrong…

 

 

 

Julie x (2)

Back To School with Hartley’s Jelly Pots

We’re all excited and excited in equal mix about ‘Back  to School’ for me my littlest one is started Reception, proper school. I have no idea where on earth the last 4 years have gone but it’s time for her to take that HUGE step.

As part of the back to school preparations there are lots of purchases to be made, goodness I realise now why my Mum used to look so disappointed when I scuffed yet another pair of shoes! We always had new lunchboxes too – mine was My Little Pony and my brother’s Mask! Hartley’s offered to send us a very cute bright yellow lunchbox and some yummy jelly to try as part of their Back To School campaign we excitedly said “yes please!” My little ones are massive jelly fans and I was delighted to see they were the Sugar Free variety. Hartley’s have been making jams and jellies for 140 years. The little jelly pots come in standard and no added sugar varieties.

 

The lunchbox is the perfect size for my little lady to take her lunch in and we were also sent a great pack of stickers so she could decorate the box with. The first thing she did was to spell out her full name on the back, something we’ve been working on lots over the summer holidays!

Our school has a reasonably strict policy on not taking sweets etc for lunch and they ask us to send the children with more healthy options where possible. We tend to give a sandwich, in triangles – always triangles! A piece of fruit, some cheese and a yoghurt. We now have the great idea of being able to send jelly pots instead of yoghurts though!

The jelly pots we received were Strawberry flavour and went down a storm with the kids. I’d like to say there are some left to go in said lunchbox however they disappeared so we need to buy more before they go back to school.

The Hartley’s No Added Sugar jelly pots have no artificial colours and flavours and are fat and gluten free. Stocked in all major retailers from only 49p, they are a tasty treat that will be sure to raise a smile. Selected retailers will also be offering the pots at 25p throughout September so an additional reason to give them a try.

Hartley’s are running an on pack collector scheme offer for their  consumers. By collecting 12 promotional green Hartley’s Jelly Pot lids , you can redeem for a special edition Hartley’s lunchbox along with an assortment of fabulously fun stickers on their website .

Julie x (2)

*We were sent the items for free for the purposes of this post however all opinions remain honest and my own*

18th Birthdays

My eldest ‘child’ has just turned 18. I can’t believe where the time has gone and I certainly don’t feel old enough to be the Mother of an 18 year old – crow’s feet tell me otherwise however.

It’s made me think back to when I turned 18 and what I was doing at the time. For my 18th I had a party in the local Community Centre, with friends and family. Getting ready for said party I remember spending hours choosing my outfit – a toss up between black PVC trousers – they were ‘in’ at the time, I swear! – and a short checked skirt complete with those horrible shiny tights which everyone wore. I teamed my fave crushed velvet top with the skirt before coming down the stairs to my Dad’s ‘I’m not in the slightest bit bloody impressed face’ before telling me I looked like a tart and to go and change. Off I went upstairs and changed. Actually, that’s a lie because I went upstairs and faffed around for long enough for it to be too late for him to make me change and off we went with me in my tarty skirt. Luckily enough we didn’t have a long walk!

 

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Much hilarity and alcohol ensued including dancing with my late Nan to Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. We even had the obligatory punch-up that happens at all the best parties. I wasn’t involved mind you! It was the weirdo Uncle and 300 times removed knobhead cousin. I was more bothered about my laddered tights making me look less than glamourous. Nevermind that I had lipstick smeared across my face.

I don’t really remember an awful lot else apart from being put to bed by the then boyfriend (who dumped me shortly after – dick) and waking up several times to be sick,scooping up cold cider & black covered lumps of vol-au-vent in the morning isn’t up there on my list of favourite activities I must admit. To this day I can’t drink cider and black. Bleurgh.

The next night I joined a few of my friends at the local nightclub, in my 18 badges and got a few raised eyebrows from the bouncers who’d been letting me in on a Saturday night for months. Oops!

Since my 18th wasn’t all that exciting I decided to ask some fab bloggers what they did for their 18th and this is what they said!


Chantele from Two Hearts One Roof:

“I had a big party in a local hotel. But I couldn’t touch a drop of alcohol as i was on special antibiotics and painkillers that would have caused me to vomit if i drunk even a drop, I had a bad root abscess in a front tooth 4 days before that caused half my face to swell, cue panic! the extra strong meds were in the hope my face would get back to normal before the party!”


Jenna from Then There Were Three:

“Mine was awful! Hired out a function room of a pub for all my friends and family. Ended up leaving at 10:30 after arguing with my boyfriend at the time who had a go at me as he thought my cousin was coming onto me 😂😂 I ended up throwing a pint over him and pushing him into a bush before leaving 🙈”


Sarah from The Parenting Trials:

“I made it a 18th birthday weekend, consisting of meals, a trip to the pier, a drunk night out and then a hungover family meal urgh haha was so ill couldn’t eat it, my family kept trying to get the bday cake brought out to sing happy birthday to me, however i kept running off to be sick so they had to keep sending it back lol 🙈🙈”


Laura from The Unsung Mum:

“I went to Newquay with a group of friends including my now husband. He invented a friend who had just broken up with his long term girlfriend and they decided to get drunk then throw up all over our bed. Safe to say I gave him the cold shoulder the next day, found every pot and pan I could to smack around and made him make it up to me for a week after!!”


Jodie from Life With Pink Princesses:

“My friends hired a stripper and we had alcohol at home for a house party and Ann Summers party 😂”


Maddy from The Speed Bump

“I got engaged! We went on a family holiday, my boyfriend came along and he asked me to marry him at sunset! We went back last year for my 21st birthday with our toddler, it was so lovely 🙂 “


Steph from Mental Parentals:

“I went to my local pub that had been my local for two years…”


Cathryn from A Cardiff Mummy Says:

“I had my last A-level exam on my 18th birthday! English Literature. The joys of a June birthday! A group of us went straight to the pub after our exam, in our school uniforms! After much persuasion and showing of ID, they let us buy alcoholic drinks.
I then had an awesome house party that night. Even though having an A-level exam on my actual birthday was pretty rubbish, I’m very grateful the exam wasn’t the day after my birthday so at least I could celebrate.”


Carla from Random Thoughts Of A Twenty Something:

“I was 6 months pregnant with my second child. I was surprised with a meal with all my friends and family and an awesome TARDIS cake! :-D”


Lauren from Blogger Mummy Lauren

“I went in to Newcastle for my first legal drink then invited a group of close friends over to my house for a ‘quiet house party’. I woke up the next morning with no recollection of my night, covered in all kinds of phallic shaped permanent marker drawings all over my body. Had to go for an interview for my foundation degree with the outline of something quite rude on my face the next day 😂”


Michaela from Two Little Paines

“I decided I’d never had a birthday party before so I was going to have one …adult bouncy castle, pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, vodka jelly, baileys ice cream etc”


Hannah from Hannah Spannah

“What if it was nearly 20 years ago and you can’t actually remember? 😂😂😂
I know I had some friends over for cake and champagne but I must have done something else. I probably went out to Harrogate and drank so much that I have permanent memory loss.”


Zoe from Mama Geek

“I was taking part in the International Air Cadet Exchange and was visiting Canada for 10 days. I spent my 18th birthday visiting Niagara Falls, including a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat. I didn’t have any alcohol though as I couldn’t legally drink as where I was staying the legal drinking age was higher than 18. An absolutely amazing birthday though!!”


Helen from Casa Costello

“I spent my 18th with the most boring teacher ever searching through clearing to get a place at uni (Daft August birthday!) I did secure a place at uni about 3pm though (and then went to the pub)”


Jessica from BabiAFi

“My nan died not long before so it was very subdued, really. As I remember on the day itself I went to a local pub quiz – which we lost massively – and because I was a total prig in those days I only drank orange juice anyway!”


What did you do for your 18th? Was it all fun and games or a more sober affair?Julie x (2)

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Home Learning with NCC

Having my family young meant that I was limited to the kinds of jobs and hours that I was able to take. I have been thinking for some time about furthering my education but have been unable to do this whilst still earning money to feed the little ones. My partner and I both work so without paying for childcare going back to college would be nigh on impossible and all the money we earned would go straight back out again which is then totally pointless.

Then an opportunity came up with NCC Home Learning who asked if I’d like to study a home learning course and it was a lightbulb moment as it means I can learn from the comfort of my own home without the need for juggling childcare, the kids, my job and a college course.

I chose the Human Resources Diploma Level 3 as my current job is office/admin based I thought this would be a great course to compliment the skills I have already gained from the jobs I have had over the last 20 odd years.Showing my age there!! This covers modules including Recruitment, Selection and Induction of Staff Producing and Maintaining Personnel Records Staff Management and Relations Staff Support and Development Disciplinaries, Grievances and Disputes Staff Terminations.

I’m actually very excited to find out what it’s like to go back to learning and see how I get on with it as it’s been a long time since I’m done anything as formal as this aside from various in house training courses for work.

I will update later on when I have completed the course to let you know how I got on, I’m confident that I will thoroughly enjoy it though. Who could want more than to better your learning whilst sitting on the sofa with your feet up?

Startup Stock Photos

Julie x (2)

Nurture Fruity Water+ Review

Nurture Fruity Water+ is a yummy,still fruity water which contains 7 vitamins, beta glucans, calcium and zinc to help support little ones immune systems. We were asked to try the 2 flavours – Cherry & Strawberry and Orange & Pineapple. I found them interesting as a lot of kids drinks are full of sugar and that tends to be the ones kids aim for unfortunately, however these drinks – aimed at children from 1+ are slightly different in that they are healthier yet tasty despite not having any added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives it only contains naturally occurring sugars.What’s not to like?

nurture-fruity-water

Nurture is the story of parents Lucie and Derek Sanders. With three children of their own, they were on a mission to create a children’s drink that not only tastes delicious but is healthy, thanks to its natural goodness. Driven by a firm belief that if children consume less sugar from an early age, they will be less inclined to develop a ‘sweet tooth’ and more inclined to make healthy consumption choices later on, Lucie and Derek have focused on flavours that kids love. Nurture Fruity Water+ is all about nurturing our little ones’ healthy habits for life. Out with sugar, and in with flavour!

The water comes in a really handy 200ml pouch which can be resealed, which is great for taking on days out or even in a lunchbox for school as it also meets the school standards government guidelines for England. It contains 45% juice and 55% water so there’s plenty of fruity flavour.

My children, 7&4 tried them and liked them a lot. The Orange & Pineapple one went down the best, they said it tasted just like fresh pineapple. They didn’t dislike the Cherry & Strawberry one, they just preferred the Orange & Pineapple. They have lots of flavour and you would definitely be able to tell what flavours they were if you didn’t already know.

I think the kids  expectation was that they were going to be a lot sweeter so you could see the ‘oh’ on their face but they were very happy to drink them and they are something I would buy again if they were to be stocked at my local supermarket as I tend to give my children sugar free flavoured water for school anyway because their school does not allow squash type drinks to be taken in.

NURTURE Fruity Water+ is available in 200ml pouches with a RRP of 99p to £1.49. Retailers include: Ocado, Whole Foods Market, and Holland & Barrett.

Julie x (2)

 

*We were sent the products for purpose of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*

To My Teenage Son

TEXT HERE (1)

As I sat there on the bathroom floor sobbing quietly to myself wondering where on earth I’ve gone wrong. I thought I was doing ok,not perfect but who is? But it’s so much harder than I ever imagined it could be. Being the parent of a teenager is bloody hard, when that teenager wants to be treated as an adult yet the behaviour they display is that of a child just without the high pitched screeching (most of time).

Son, do you think it’s ok that your Mum is feeling worthless because you’ve just told her to stay out of your business again when she tried to engage you in conversation? Or your Step-Dad is in the shed trying to calm down because you’ve told him to eff off when he asked you to clear your mess?

Us parents who gave up years and years of our lives, took meaningless jobs so we could provide food to go in your mouth because we wanted a family, children to love and care for who would love them back, only to find that years down the line said child would throw it all back in our face and fight against every rule they’ve made to keep you safe. Every suggestion to help you get on in life. Those parents that scrimped and saved and went without just so you could get the things on your Christmas list.Sacrificed their social lives and stopped going out with their friends, some of which lost them a friendship or 2 because those friends stopped asking after a while, fed up of being rejected.

Replaced the phones you lost and/or smashed so you can communicate with your social group even though we could ill afford it. Moan that we take away your essential wifi akin to removing all the blood in your body because it seems to be the only punishment that gets through.

Become best friends with slamming doors and huge sighs of irritation at the slightest ask of help, why should we do all the dishes only to find you’ve abandoned your glass on the kitchen counter because it’s beneath you to just swill the damn thing out.

Get out of bed at 12pm and demand a lift to somewhere you should have been an hour ago, hang on – I thought you were an adult – you know, the type who get themselves out of bed and go to work and earn a living?

I was a teenager, I know it’s hell on earth at times but one thing I do remember and remember well is not to bite the hand that feeds. Once you’re out in that big, bad world you’ll know. You’ll see what we’ve been saying all along is true and that really deep down you’re still a little kid who has no idea what they’re doing. I know because I’ve done it. I left home at 17 thinking I was the kiddie and I could rule the world. Til I realised that world was actually full of an awful lot of some quite horrible people. People who don’t care about you and would walk past you if you were on fire. Who do you run to then? I think we all know the answer to that.

Son I love you with all my heart and soul but right now I’m not liking how things are going. I want my boy back, the one who hung off my leg and watched intently everything i did. Where did he go? I only hope that one day we can look back and laugh. Until then we have to ride it out.

 

Julie x (2)

Haymax Kids Allergen Barrier Balm Review

More children than adults suffer from hay fever; around 30% of all children in the UK suffer from the allergy, compared to 20% of adults. HayMax allergen barrier balms provide an effective defence against grass pollen; they can be used by children from birth and are proven in independent studies to trap pollen grains before they enter the body.

With the warmer weather (well sometimes) comes the dreaded hayfever season which we are right in now. My daughter always starts the day around this time of year coughing and sneezing and rubbing her eyes. Anyone who suffers hayfever knows how miserable it can be so when I saw Haymax Allergen Barrier Balm I asked if they would send me some to review as I thought it sounded great for my 4 year old daughter. I hate having to dose her up with medicine every morning which makes her feel a bit sleepy.

Haymax Kids Balm is an award winning organic drug-free allergen barrier balm based on beeswax and sunflower oil which is designed to trap pollen before it gets into the body and causes the allergic reaction. People who suffer from hayfever can only tolerate a certain amount of pollen before they start to react. All you have to do is apply the balm around the rim of the nostrils and the bones of your eyes and it helps trap the pollen.

HayMax is drug-free and the ingredients have been chosen to be suitable for children of all ages, and pregnant and breast-feeding women which is ideal – I wish it had been around when I was pregnant the first time I suffered horribly with it then and felt it would never end when I couldn’t take my usual anti – histamine.

It comes in a little 5ml pot which looks and feels very much like a lip balm. You might think ‘well that’s so small it won’t last long!’ But you only need a small amount to rub on which means the pot will last ages – up to 6 months. It can be reapplied as many times as you like to make sure you have all day/evening coverage. I applied it at night too if the window was open just in case. It didn’t sting or upset my daughter’s skin and she didn’t get any kind of reaction to it. It also doesn’t have a noticeable smell.

I am very pleased with it as it does help to stop the symptoms of the hayfever for my daughter. She’s quite happy ( alright nagged me) to do it for herself so I showed her how to and she does it easily so with her starting reception in September, come next Summer she can pop one in her school bag to use if she needs to.

HayMax organic drug-free allergen barrier balms retail at £6.99 per pot and are available from Holland & Barrett, selected Morrisons, Waitrose and Boots, independent health stores, chemists and pharmacies, on 01525 406600 and on-line at haymax.biz.

Julie x (2)

*we were sent the Haymax Kids for free for the purposes of this review however all opinions remain honest and my own*