06-02-12 Love Reviews Weekly Showcase

Five Golden Rules of Reviews

Writing reviews is a hugely popular activity among bloggers, and why not? Writing about new products and services is lots of fun, and can mean your family benefits from some extra treats from time to time.
Reviews are also a great way to build your blog’s site traffic – as visitors looking for information on products will often find your blog via search engines.
But there are downsides. Your regular readers may get turned off if there are too many reviews on your site (most of them want to read about you, after all) and when life gets busy it’s a lot harder to take a break from blogging if you have obligations to brands and PR agencies to write reviews.
To make the most of writing reviews on your blog, here are some tips based on my experience:
– Only review products you’re genuinely enthused about. Nothing is harder than trying to find the energy to write about a tin of beans. Especially if you don’t eat beans.

– Always be honest about products. Smart PR agencies know that not everyone likes every product. It’s okay not to like something. But always be constructive – tell me if you don’t like something, but suggest who it might be suitable for, or what you did like.

– Balance reviews with other content. Unless you’re writing a blog about products, I would suggest publishing one review a week is about right.

– Be clear with readers about how you’re being paid or compensated. You don’t have to label posts in the title (unless you want to), but somewhere in your review you should state whether you received a payment, or a free product sample to review.

– Use your own photos where you can. Take photos near a large window or door for the best light, but your own photos almost always give a better idea of what something looks like than a publicity photo – and it reassures readers that, yes, you did actually try this before writing about it!

Introduction kindly written by Sally Whittle from  Who’s the Mummy? ,  Tots100 MAD Blog Awards and  BlogCamp.

In A Bundance – On reflection – an excellent idea for a walk in the dark

On reflection - an excellent idea for a walk in the dark

It’s winter in Scotland so we don’t see much daylight. Weeks can go by when we scamper around with our pupils dilated like pit ponies in perpetual gloom.

So if we want some fresh air we have to put up with dark air. On several occasions we’ve got booted and scarfed and trotted out under the night sky for a walk.

We were out one beautiful clear evening, watching the stars “you know where the Dog Star is because it’s near Orion’s Belt and it’s serious (Sirius)” and jumping in puddles.

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Bod for tea – Fexibath toys from White Step – review and 15% discount offer

Fexibath toys from White Step - review and 15% discount offer

As soon as I unwrap the Flexibath™ toys parcel and open the box, the brightly coloured tea set – a flexible jug, two small pots and sieve with a lid – disappear from my hands and play commences. Who needs water? DD is clearly smitten and with an extra fifteen minutes to make and actually drink a mug of tea (while it’s HOT people) frankly so am I.

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Me He & Them – The RAF Museum

The RAF Museum

If your husband is in a bad mood and frustrated with the children, then send him to the RAF museum in Hendon!

Seriously, the RAF museum is all about boys, little ones and older ones.

They have an extraordinary collection of planes and planes engines, and real bombs in amazingly huge hangars. You could spend the whole day in there, watching and reading about all the planes, watching movies showing the planes in action, and even going on a simulator.

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Older Single Mum – CBeebies Justin Fletcher – Hands Up – The Album.

My children are young – nearly seven and nearly three. The excitement in our house when this arrived for a (non-sponsored) review was an eye-opener. Seeing as our TV is presently not fit to watch, thanks to littlest ones Kung Fu Panda manoevres, it has come at exactly the right time.

It is properly available March 5th and if I haven’t lost half a stone by then, it’ll be very surprising.

Obviously you don’t have to jump around the kitchen, but I’ve joined Liz Jarvis’ The Mum Blog’s New Year, New Body) and I really must, because …

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Romanian mum in London – My carry potty review

This potty promises to be the toddler best friend and help them with the transition from a nappy to a real toilet. Unfortunately my daughter likes to play with it but when it comes to use it for other reasons she just don’t seem interested! She is almost two at the moment but i guess she is not ready to be potty trained ??

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A matter of choice – Games night

Officially my idea of a brilliant evening includes lots of drinking dancing and coming home at silly o’clock in the morning but coming in a very close second is a good old games night, it’s much cheaper, and you’re not likely to lose your handbag and get sore feet. (although it doesn’t guarantee you won’t still have a fuzzy head in the morning!)

Saturday night was BBQ and Game night, and we had some games to try out courstesy of TACTIC games.

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Who’s the Mummy – New Playmobil 2012 Ranges

New Playmobil 2012 Ranges

I’ve been ranting (I know – big news, right?) recently about toys.

But that’s only because I think toys – and play – are so important to children. In a world where everything is measured and so many products, services and activities are geared towards capturing our kids from the earliest ages and turning them into tiny consumerist worker bees, I’m always looking for toys that just let children be.

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Mumofthreeboys – Baby Zilli Food

Zilli Baby was created by celebrity chef Aldo Zilli and entrepreneur Dean Dunham, after working together for 2 years, combing their efforts and knowledge of children and food they set about researching and creating nutritious organic baby food.

The logo on the baby food pouches says

“Good enough for mamma and papa to eat”

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Me and My Shadow – Love is in the air with Love Hearts

Love is in the air with Love Hearts

Love Hearts are a national institution are they not? Remember giggling at school over the cryptic messages, the twang on the tongue of the sherbety taste?

As an enterprising sixth-former, me and some friends fleeced everyone in the common room set up a valentine’s messaging service one year. We made the infamous red ‘love box’ where spotty faced teenagers could post anonymous notes on heart shaped papers, then charged 50p each to wrap said note around a tube of Love Heart Sweets and deliver them to the appropriate pigeon-hole. Dragon’s Den eat your heart out!

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The Princess and The Pickle – Charlie the Clown – Children’s Party Entertainer

Charlie the Clown - Children's Party Entertainer

We have just celebrated The Princess’ 6th birthday and wanted to do something a little bit different for her party. Most of her friends are having discos or sleepovers (no thank you!) and after a bit of searching on the internet we decided we’d take the pressure off ourselves a bit this year and get a children’s entertainer. We did a bit more searching, viewed a few video clips, some bad and some good, before getting in touch with Children’s Party Entertainment and booking Charlie the Clown.

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Here come the Girls – The Land of Sometimes

The Land of Sometimes

When I was a child I would have loved listening to The Land of Sometimes as I would always fall asleep listening to story tapes and music. I’m sure it has something to do with my love of storytelling now. Sometimes it feels like all those words have got jumbled up inside my brain and that is why I have such a compulsion to write. The only problem is sometimes the stories wake you up. I remember listening to Bambi and sobbing for hours over the sad parts, probably not the best idea just before you go to bed.

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No-one But a Bloghead – Suits vs Eternal Law

This new year I’ve been watching two new lawyer based programmes – the American import Suits, and new ITV and Kudos show Eternal Law.

I’d been putting off watching the beginning of Eternal Law, as the concept of angels acting as lawyers seemed a bit gimmicky, and it was only the involvement of Kudos – creators of Hustle, Spooks and Life on Mars – that convinced me to put aside my reservations.

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WAHM-BAM! – Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found Pop-Up

Oliver Jeffers' Lost and Found Pop-Up

The Lost and Found Pop-up book has all the magic and emotion of the story and illustrations, with the addition of houses popping up, tabs to push and pull and flaps to open up. Both RoRo and LaLa are enchanted by the book – in particular the house that pops up at the start. Corina Fletcher has been stunning with the paper engineering.

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Trouble Doubled – Honeysuckle Farm – East Yorkshire

Honeysuckle Farm - East Yorkshire

This is our favourite farm and we go a couple of times a year. It is open seven days a week from Easter to September, and for a family of two adults and two over 3’s it cost us just under £14 including four bags of animal feed. Cart rides cost £1 extra per person, which are recommended if only for the comedy value when the horse inevitebly farts or poops for your child’s entertainment.

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Little Lilypad Co – The GroBag Review – more than just compost?

If you said the words Grobag to my parents, they would go off down to the greenhouse and start telling you the benefits of compost ….. I assure you this review isnt about THAT kind of Grobag.

Now I have to admit that I love sleeping bags for babies, my children have both liked to wriggle in their sleep and it becomes a battle of wills over the blanket so a sleeping bag is the perfect solution. Baby can wiggle all they like, whilst I have peace of mind that they are not getting cold.

So why the Grobag?

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the gingerbread house – Yummy Plum Products for babies and toddlers

Yummy Plum Products for babies and toddlers

We’re big fans of Plum and I relied on ready made food a lot when I started weaning Big Brother as I wasn’t confident at all! Plum have recently introduced some new products which we were happy to try.

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Multiple Mummy – Choo choo! Thomas in charge DVD review

Choo choo! Thomas in charge DVD review

Chilled out boy is the Thomas the Tank engine train expert in our house (he is however outdone by his cousin who adores Thomas!) but loves them and has even stolen borrowed Noah’s Thomas annual so that he can name all the trains. We are already planning to book the next Thomas visit at the Colne valley Railway.

So when I was asked to review the new Thomas in charge DVD I could not refuse as I no at least one little man in this house would be happy.

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Mammasaurus – Big Jigs Building Site Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

Big Jigs Building Site Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

I underestimated the size of this jigsaw before we started putting it together and I soon realised we needed a bigger table!This puzzle is a impressive 600 mm long and it’s chunky pieces are perfect for little fingers to grab hold of. Oz loves jigsaws but he is now too old for the puzzles that have pegs in the pieces to slot into different shapes – but he is too young for his big sister Beans puzzles which are too thin for his little fingers to grasp. This puzzle is a perfect stepping stone from toddler puzzles to pre-school puzzles.

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