Product reviews

Product reviews

Le Gros Book photo book from Printic is a fun and unique way to display your photos. Every page of the book can be personalised to suit your style.

I love taking photographs. The consequence of this is that I have memory cards and hard drives that are full of photographs. When I want to find a specific photo it is not easy. I have great plans to organise the files into a system that makes sense but the reality is that I never find the time. Digital photographs are fine on memory cards for storage but nothing beats having them displayed in a photo book. It is a great way to look back at memories and share them with others. Recently Printic got in touch to tell me about Le Gros Book. This is a new type of photo book which allows you to add a personal touch to each page with stickers, colourful paperclips, felt tip pens and tape.

Le Gros Book Photo Book from Printic

If you want a fun and unique way to display your photos Le Gros Book could be what you are looking for. This DIY photo book is really easy to create. Go to  Printic and choose the Gros Book option. You then get the option to upload the photographs you want to include. The minimum number of pictures is forty and the maximum is fifty. Once the photos are added you can crop and customise them the way you want. Choose from a range of emojs, text or filters to add different effects to each photo.   Finally you can add a frame.  There are three different frames to choose from, vintage, funky and fancy which add different coloured borders.  Once you are happy with your book just order it and wait for it to arrive.

Printic Le Gros Book

A little while later a colourful box arrives with the contents of Le Gros Book. Inside the photos are printed on glossy sheets with colourful borders. The border has holes so you can assemble the book as you wish. There are two thick covers made with thick card which have metal borders and eyelets as well as a selection of cards that you can use to separate your book into sections. The fun part is the selection of pens, stickers, paper clips, tape and other things to allow you to customise the book.

Le Gros Book from Printic

Customising Le Gros Book

Customising my photo book was a lot of fun. First I put all the photos into sections and used the card dividers to separate the sections. I then put the covers on and joined the book together with the rings provided. This made a sturdy book which will fit nicely on the shelf. I then set about adding some customisation. First I added some tape and stickers to the front cover to show exactly what was in the book. I am not the most artistic person in the world but I was happy with the bold statement the cover made.

Le Gros Book from Printic

Inside the photographs are nice quality and really glossy. I could have added stickers to the borders but I thought they looked lovely on their own. The brightly coloured border really sets the photos off.

Let Gros Book from Printic

Where I had the most fun was customising the pages that separate the sections. Using the photo corners, cards, stickers and different styles of paper clip I could make different unique pages for each section. It adds a unique quirky style to the book.

Le Gros book from printic

I am really happy with my Le Gros Book from Printic and at £34 it is a good price as well. If you know someone who loves crafting they would love this as a gift. It is fun creating the book and it is a lovely way to show off your photos.

If you are looking for ways to improve your photography why not check out my photography hints. How do you display your photographs? Do you use photo books or something else? Let me know below.

Discount Code

For a discount of 20% off Le Gros Book use the code: DRAGONSANDFAIRY20 at the checkout. The code is only valid two weeks until the 12th Dec but will give you time to order a photo book for Christmas.

Why not pin for later?

Le Gros Book from Printic is a photo book which you can customise yourself. Add stickers, tape, paper clips and other things to make it your own

I was sent Le Gros Book in return for an honest review. My opinions are my own.




Why not create a personalised cushion from Mr Nutcase? Turn a treasured photograph into cushion to make a lovely and unusual centrepiece for your sofa. Different sizes and shapes are available.

Isn’t it amazing the way that digital photographs can be turned into all sorts of different items. It is a really lovely way to get creative with your photos. You can create statement pieces for your home or beautiful gifts that others will treasure. I remember the days when film was inside the camera and had to be developed. You didn’t know what the photography was like until it was developed. Now the process is much easier and you can edit your photos before you print them.

Recently Mr Nutcase got in touch and asked me if I would like to review one of their personalised cushions. I was more than happy to do so. I have lots of lovely photographs of my dog, Eddie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and thought this would be a great way to show them off.

Personalised cushion from Mr Nutcase

Personalised Cushion from Mr Nutcase

I chose a large 22″x 22″ cushion in swede with a photograph of my dog on one side. I am really pleased with it, the quality of the photograph is excellent. A couple of times I have thought that Eddie was really sitting there, until I looked again. You can see how true to life it is when you see him sitting next to it.

Personalised cushion from Mr Nutcase

A few days after I got the cushion Eddie was taken ill. He was yelping in pain when he moved and just lying around looking sorry for himself. When I took him to the vet they found out he had pancreatitis and he had to be hospitalised for treatment. It was so strange not having him in the house but having a personalised cushion with his picture on was a great comfort.  He is back with us now and making a slow recovery. Hopefully he will be back to normal soon. Eddie loves the cushion and has taken to sitting next to it on the sofa.

Back of the cushion

The cushion is made from swede and is very soft to the touch. The back shows how well it has been made, even the zip has been hidden in the fabric.

Creating my personalised cushion

It was really easy to create my personalised cushion, the only hard part was choosing which photo to use. Once I chose I just had to choose the size and style of the cushion I wanted. The material can be either linen or swede and the cushion can be rectangular or square. The square ones are in different sizes, the smallest is 12″x 12″ and the largest 22″x22″. Once you decide which you want then you can upload your photo to the site. The photos can come from your computer, facebook or instagram. You can then design your cushion.

Personalised cushion from Mr Nutcase

There are options to add text and clipart to the cushion and you can also add a background colour to the cushion. I just used the photo. Once this has been done it is easy to make an order. Just log into the site and fill in your details and payment details. Delivery was really fast, I had the cushion within a few days. Information about the progress of the order was sent via email so I knew when it had been dispatched. Making a personalised cushion from Mr Nutcase was very simple and the final result is stunning. These cushions would make an ideal gift.

If you are looking for other gift ideas then why not have a look at Toxic Fox who have a great range of gifts for ladies.

Have you ever created a personalised cushion? What photo would you use if you did? Let me know below.

A personlised cushion from Mr Nutcase. These cushions are a great gift idea. Choose your photo and the cushion is created from it

I was sent a cushion in return for a review but my opinions are my own. I was not obliged to say anything nice.



Holster brand products are handy portable storage pockets that stick to a surface ensuring that your materials are close to hand when needed.

Have you ever been in the middle of doing a crafting activity or a sewing activity and lost the item you were using? That happens to me all the time. There is nothing more frustrating than having to search for a pair of scissors, pins, glue sticks or pens. It is almost as if they have a mind of their own, knowing you need them and hiding. Recently  I have been trying out a couple of Holster Brands products and they have really been making life much simpler.

What are Holster Brands products?

Holster Brands products are simple silicon storage pockets  which make life easier in the home.  There are a variety of designs to meet different storage needs. The holsters can be stuck to any surface around the home which makes them an easy portable storage solution. This works because they are made from a specially formulated silicon which clings to non-porous smooth surfaces. Think marble, glass, wood and plastic. Once you have finished using the holster you simply peel it off and take it elsewhere.The holsters can also be worn in your belt if you need to carry tools around.

Holster brand products

There are three types of holster brand product. The hot iron holster which is designed for use with hair straighteners, the hobby holster which is for crafting and other projects and the Lil’ Holster which is for miscellaneous storage. All the products are designed to be heat resistant. The hot iron holster is resistant to 500F, the hobby holster to 400F and the Lil’ Holster to 250F. It is a good way of storing materials safely and protecting yourself from burns. The hobby holster can be used with glue guns.

Holster brand products

How did I use the Holster Brand Products?

The question should be how did I not use these Holster Brand products? They were really handy and I found lots of different uses for them. One thing we are always losing in our house are the TV remotes. Adding a holster to the side of the coffee table soon resolved this problem. The remotes sit in it nicely and are always returned to the same place. It saves hours hunting for them.

Holster brand products

Another brilliant use I found for the Holster products was for keeping my sewing stuff in. I am not keen on sewing but every so often I need to take school trousers up or sew on buttons. When I do this I always find that the pins and scissors disappear. Putting them into a holster meant they were easy to find and grab hold of. It made things much simpler.  The Hobby Holster also has a handy measuring tape on the side which is very useful when you are sewing.

These products would also be great for holding sponges and brushes in near the sink. They have drainage holes in the bottom so the water can drain out and can be kept at the side of the sink for easy access. Stick them at the side of a desk and they make great pen holders.  They stick well to the surface and are convenient to use.  Would you use a Holster brand product in your home? What would you use it for? Let me know below.

Holster brand products

You might also be interested to read five DIY Locker storage ideas.

I was sent the Holster products to try out in return for a review. I was not obliged to say anything nice and my opinions are my own.




Last week saw the start of a new school year for children all over the UK. A new term is always emotional for parents. Seeing your child start school for the first time or enter their final year are steps along their journey to adulthood.  Each school year brings new adventures, learning and new friends.  This year I am going back to school with NCC. The NCC offer a range of home learning courses. These allow you to study at your own pace and in your own time, essential when you work full time. The courses are all accredited and when you complete the course you get a certificate. The courses provide tutor support to help you on your journey.

NCC on line courses

As you get older your mental abilities can start to decline but learning a new skill helps to keep your mind active. Studies have shown that taking on a mentally challenging activity will help improve your memory. I love learning new things and often take on courses like the Wildlife Photography course.  I am hoping that by taking on a new course I will learn lots and keep my mind agile.

Going back to school with NCC

The first thing I had to do was choose a course. The NCC have a wide range of courses from A-levels and IGCSE’s to SkillsFirst and TQUK qualifications. Some of these will help you get started in a career. Maybe you fancy being a child minder or a healthcare worker, there are courses to help you do this. Other courses are interest courses like photography or Genealogy. There is bound to be something that appeals. The NCC have their own range of courses, called PI courses. These cover a wide range of areas from Special Education Needs to Forensic Science.

I am taking a course in Creative Writing and I am hoping it will improve my writing skills. Writing is something I have always loved since I was at school. It is a way to tell a story or describe a scene. When words are used correctly they can convey powerful emotions. How often have you been swept up in a book, keeping turning pages until you reach the end? Writing is something that should hold your attention and grip you. When reading a good book you should be able to see the story in your mind’s eye. I hope this course will help me to achieve this.

Creative Writing Diploma

The creative writing  course aims to help people the skills to write both factual and fictional accounts. It covers the different genres of writing and also the editing and creative process. The course contains fourteen modules in all. Although I have just started the course it looks to be well set out and easy to follow.  You can enter the course on-line at any point by just entering your credentials.

NCC online courses


The start  pages shows all the modules in the course. To go into a module just click on it.  The main page is always available to go back to at any point.  The course looks like it will be interesting and I am looking forward to learning more.  Even better at the end of the creative writing course I will get a Level 3 / NCFE Certificate.  This may be useful in the future.

ncc online courses


Have you ever done an on-line course? How did you get on? Let me know below.

I am being given access to the course without tutor support in order to review it. My opinions are my own.




I love the Autumn, it brings out the child in me. When I walk along a path covered in fallen leaves I get the urge to kick them as I go, delighting in the shuffling rustling noise. I still get a thrill when I discover a conker and release the shiny brown nut from its prickly shell. I love watching the colours in the leaves on the trees as they change from green to red and cold and finally fall. The evenings are starting to smell of smoke and it will not be long until fireworks and bonfires light the dark nights. I love coming home to warming stews and hot soups of an evening, while the wind blows outside. One thing I find hard in the Autumn and Winter is getting up in the morning. It is so dark that all I want to do is to stay under the covers and go back to sleep. I would love to hibernate but unfortunately that is not an option. It does not feel natural to be up in the dark and it is getting harder to drag myself out of bed. It also takes longer to wake up and get going.

Lumie BodyclockRecently I have been trying out a Lumie Bodyclock starter light. The idea behind Lumie is that instead of waking you with a beeping alarm, it will wake you with a gradual sunrise. The idea is that waking up with light will adjust your body clock to help you feel more awake in the mornings making your day more productive. The Lumie Bodyclock also has a sunset feature to allow you to wind down at bedtime and go to sleep naturally. I was looking forward to finding out if it worked.
Lumie Bodyclock
I installed the Lumie Bodyclock on my bedside table. It was really easy to set up, just plug it in and set the right time. The time was easily set using the plus and minus buttons on the display and it took no more than a few minutes. I liked the size of the Lumie Bodyclock, it fitted nicely on my bedside table which can get a little crowded at times. I still had plenty of room for the pile of books, box of tissues and other stuff that gets stored on the table.
Lumie bodyclock
As well as acting as an alarm clock the Lumie Bodyclock can also be used as a bedside light. It emits a soft gentle glow and I love the sunset rays that appear on the wall behind the clock. It makes the room feel warm and cosy. The light is ideal for reading and not too bright.
Lumie bodyclock
I set the Lumie Bodyclock to wake me up at 6.00am. This is done by pushing the middle button once you have set the alarm time. The sun symbol on the clock tells you that the alarm is set. The idea is that the Lumie Bodyclock will start to light up gradually thirty minutes before you need to wake. This will make you think it is morning and wake you naturally. You can also set an alarm on the Lumie Bodyclock but I chose to use my phone as I normally do. I wasn’t at all sure that the Lumie Bodyclock would work but was surprised to find that I actually woke up naturally ten minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I felt much more awake and ready to face the day than I do when my alarm sounds. It was much nicer to wake naturally rather than be dragged out of sleep by a beeping alarm.

I have been using the Lumie Bodyclock for a few weeks now and have been very pleased with the results. It is lovely to wake up naturally in the mornings and I am much more able to cope with the stresses of the day. It is not so nice having to take the dog out in the dark and cold after waking, but he loves his walks and would be upset if I did not take him. At least I am now more awake when I go out instead of feeling like one of the living dead. The dog is always full of the joys of Spring in the morning and was not able to comprehend why I did not feel like playing first thing. Lumie lights are intended to help treat SAD so if you are suffering from the winter blues it may be a worthwhile investment. They are not cheap, at around £60, but they are very effective and I have definitely found my energy levels have increased since using it.
I won the Lumie Bodyclock in a competition and wanted to share my experiences as I have found it so helpful on these dark days. I was not obliged to say anything nice.

Have you got a Lumie Light or are you considering buying one? Do you find it makes a difference?