Saturday, October 26, 2013

Set Me Free - a book review and giveaway!

Brisbane author Jennifer Collin may not be a household name in her hometown yet, but she's making a name for herself in literary circles overseas.

Her debut novel, Set Me Free is currently sitting in the top 25 of the Amazon Bestsellers List for both Women Writers and Fiction, and Contemporary Romance, in the UK.
It's getting five-star reviews and a publisher has expressed interest in purchasing the series (Set Me Free is the first in a trilogy about the Evans family).
Set in Brisbane's arty West End, the novel follows quirky gallery own Charlotte Evans and her quest to avoid her growing attraction to apparently devious property developer Craig Carmichael.
Whilst leading feisty tenants on the Battle For Boundary Street, Charlotte drags artist sister Emily and best friend Ben along for the ride, as both Craig and Charlotte risk losing - or winning - everything.
It's a sexy tale of love, friendship, family and community, all set in a backdrop that will be familiar to anyone who has spent more than a bit of time in Brisbane. 
I loved it. It's a fun-loving romp that explores family, friendship, love and community - think feel-good chick lit with a distinctly Australian flavour. 
I was keen to find out more about this fresh new voice in Australian women's fiction whose first novel is doing so well in Europe.
It turns out that Jennifer is 39, and married to Norm Higgins, 41, who is somewhat of a celebrity in the Brisbane skateboarding scene. They have two children Audrey, 7, and Lola, 5. Jennifer took time to talk writing, the midnight shifting and ebooks with MIA. 

Set Me Free is your debut novel. When did you start writing, and when did you start writing the novel?

I've been writing on and off since I was eight years old, when I received my first positive bit of feedback from my primary school teacher. But I've had a fairly tumultuous relationship with my writing, because, like many writers, my ego is fragile, and I have been easily discouraged. Honestly, high school english teachers have a lot to answer for!
I wrote my first angst-ridden manuscript in my early twenties, and while it was a cathartic process, the end result really wasn't fit to be seen. After that I began a whole bunch of books I never finished, including Set Me Free. Then, after having kids, and successfully getting them past the age of five, I went back to writing, and Set Me Free, with a vengeance. After all, if you can parent, you can do anything, right? I picked it up again in early 2012, when my day job was under threat, and I needed to revisit what I was going to be when I grew up. I fell back in love with the characters, and had the mental space and drive to finish their story.

What made you set it in Brisbane? West End is kind of like a character in itself!

Set Me Free is a David vs Goliath story of a small time art gallery owner taking on a property developer. It's a story that could be told in almost any small community, with the neighbourhood very much a central character. It was very important to me to make that character genuine, so that the reader was as caught up in its story as they were in Charlotte and Craig's. I chose West End because I know it, and am fond of its quirkiness and diversity. At times I poke a bit of fun at it, but always with affection.

Did it require a lot of research? Eg, frequenting bars, art galleries and coffee shops?

Ha ha! I love this question! Why yes, I spent many years undertaking research for Set Me Free… Seriously though, in many ways it does reflects my life before kids. Again, I was writing what I know, because I wanted the story to be genuine. I still frequent galleries and coffee shops, though the experience is a little different with small children in tow. Bars on the other hand…
I also spent a bit of time on YouTube, which is a great research tool for writers who do the midnight shift.

With two young children, when do you find the time to write?

Ah yes, the midnight shift. After the kids have gone to sleep (to sleep, mind you, which is different to when they've gone to bed) it's time to turn on the laptop. It's very hard, because at the end of the day you really want to switch off, not on, which is why the drive to write is so important. When I wrote Set Me Free, I was working full time. I reached a point where I realised I was trying to do too much, so I took a step back. I am lucky I have the luxury of working part-time now, and I have two writing days per week…in theory…
There are still times when I have to neglect my husband and children, but they are fewer and of shorter duration now.

It's part of a trilogy. Do you have the rest of the storylines planned out?

I didn't when I started. The idea to do a trilogy came about as I was writing Set Me Free. I found Charlotte's sister Emily had a story of her own developing, and I didn't want to wrap it up by the end of that book, because I wouldn't do the story justice. Emily needed her own voice, her story needed to be told. And then, once I'd decided to give Emily her own story, I couldn't deny their brother Andy the opportunity to tell his.
One thing I learnt from writing Set Me Free, was the importance of mapping the story out before you start. I did it loosely for Set Me Free, and found the story evolved dramatically as I wrote. I did it more thoroughly for Book Two, and found it still evolved, but not as much. I was also much more conscious of setting up the story for Book Three as I wrote. Book Three at this stage has a loose plan, but I will be fleshing it out a little more before I start writing.

Why do you think the book appeals so much to Europeans?

Sometimes I wonder if it's just a bunch of ex-pats buying it up because they are homesick for some sunshine! Seriously though, it is a light read that can be devoured, so it does offer a little vacation to somewhere warm and sunny. People do like to travel within the books they read.
But I think it has more to do with the market for ebooks around the world. While I did do a small print run of physical books, Set Me Free is primarily an ebook. Ebooks are now outselling print books in the UK and US, and buyers over there are familiar with the sellers, such as Amazon, and how to discover new authors online. There are also hundreds, if not thousands, of bloggers (like yourself!) online, who do wonderful things to promote authors. I have found it difficult to find Australian-based bloggers.
The only reason I did a print run of Set Me Free was to ensure my friends and family who don't read electronically could have a copy of the book. Anecdotally, we Australians still have a love affair with the feel, smell and look of a printed book. And rightly so, I might add.

What was your day job before writing and do you still have it?

Yes, I still have it, and dream of giving it up to write full time. As I mentioned earlier, I do it part time now. It's not a very exciting job, but it has helped me keep my writing tools sharpened over the years. Not to mention being fodder for storylines! I am a public servant, which could mean any number of things, so I like to describe it as developing policy to make the world a better place.

How much of you is in your characters?

Apart from the fact that they do things I used to do, and enjoy similar things to me (eg vintage fashion, coffee, Pimm's), not a lot. My characters are bolder and more extroverted than me. They are not afraid of conflict and are sure of their place in the world (see previous comment about fragile egos!). They've got a lot more sass than me! In many ways I live through them vicariously. Running an art gallery, and developing property have both been on my list of things I might do when I grow up.

Set Me Free is only 99c as an ebook. Why is it so cheap?
As a new author, I am an untested commodity for my readers. In an environment as competitive as the book market, I don't expect to make money from Set Me Free, so the audience reach is far more important. I want to ensure I reach as many readers as possible, and making the book accessible, and a low risk purchase, is part of that.
Interestingly though, it seems the Europeans and Americans are much more ready to spend $1 on an ebook than the Australians. From speaking to people, I think there is an assumption in Australia that if a book is that cheap, it must be crap. But most often, 99c price tags are set by writers like myself trying to reach readers, not because someone has determined the book is poor quality. It's the reviews that are the best measure of a book's quality, not the price tag.

Set Me Free is available at  Amazon here , and is available at other ebook retailers.  Limited edition print versions are also available, and its best to contact Jennifer direct at to get one of those.

Jennifer is giving a lucky reader a copy of her debut novel Set Me Free, either as an ebook or as a paperback. To enter, leave a comment below sharing whether you prefer 'real' books, or ebooks and why. 
Entries close at 5 pm AEST on Sunday November 3, 2013. 

The competition has closed, and the winner is Nicole M. Jennifer was feeling generous so has gifted an extra ebook to Magnetoboldtoo for making her giggle. Please contact me so we can send off your prizes. Thanks. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Skylanders get spooky!

Who loves Skylanders?
We do!
In fact,  I don't know any child who doesn't love them. And there are quite a few big kids who collect them too!
My kids love Skylanders because when their friends come to visit - and vice versa - they can bring their favourite characters, and they can all play together on the same console.
Skylanders are great friends with MIA, and to celebrate the spooky season they are offering a lucky reader a Halloween-themed Skylanders goodie pack!
In the pack, you'll find a special Halloween 2013 Limited Edition Eye Brawl. He's so special, you can't even buy him in Australia!
He's from the Skylanders Giants Game.
But the great news is, in the spirit of Skylanders, you can use him in the brand new Skylanders SWAP Force game. Don't have one? That's okay, because you'll find your own copy of this brilliant game in your goodie pack!
The Skylanders peeps are also including a Skylanders character costume to get you covered for trick or treating, 3 Halloween-themed activity pages, and a few delicious treats.
As usual, all the characters from the previous game will work on the new Skylanders SWAP Force game - in fact, they work better, because they have new powers like jumping.
Skylanders SWAP Force will be on everyone's Santa wish list this year.
To win this fantastic pack, just leave a comment below to say if you'll be breaking into the Skylanders SWAP Force game or saving it up for Christmas. The competition closes at 5 pm on October 27, 2013.

The competition has ended and the winner was Gemmie Alliston. Gemmie please message me with your contact details so we can send out your prize.

Your gift pack will look a little like this - but with just one Eye Brawl

The must-have Skylanders SWAP Force Game. The Skylanders peeps know kids so well, they will send the winner one which will match the console you have at home.

A closer look at the Limited Edition Eye Brawl.

Disclosure: Skylanders have also offered MIA a Skylanders gift pack for hosting this giveaway. I wonder who will be making use of it?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our walk for life!

Cancer is - well, every expletive I know, is not enough to describe cancer.
It's cruel is what it is. It's nasty, undignified, painful, and does not play fair. And much more than that.
Everyone has had their lives touched by cancer, that much is for sure.
Can you believe that these days one in two Australians will get cancer? That means it's a concern for all of us.
And if you don't know someone who has died from it, is fighting it, and/or has survived it, then you should probably buy a lottery ticket right now.
The kids and I certainly have known and lost loved ones.
We have admired lovely people who have fought the beast and survived (thinking of you Darren, Karen, Leanne, and Denise, and our more recent friend Rowena).
I met Rowena earlier this year when I interviewed her about her role in the Relay For Life. I was touched that she opened up about her story - fighting and beating two cancers in the space of a few years, and then wanting to give something back by chairing the South Burnett Relay For Life.
And then I learned that the Relay For Life was something that anyone could take part in.
Usually fundraisers like these seem to be for awesomely fit people and cost a lot to join in, Relay For Life involves walking for 18 hours overnight. In our case, it was 18 hours around the Kingaroy Showgrounds. But you didn't have to do it continuously, you could do it in laps, and swap with members of your team when you got tired.
Of course, those who were supremely fit or in training for other events could jog, but the highest fundraisers were actually a 'flock of birds', Birds Of A Feather, from a tiny town called Proston. They were a mix of survivors and supporters, and were all women of a certain age, decked out beautifully in floral trousers and hats.
I thought the kids might just want to go along to support for a few hours, but they were adamant: They were registering, and they were walking!
Chase wanted to relay in memory of his best friend Nick, who died of a brain tumour last year.
Nick has been a continuing influence on Chase's life. He was there when Chase started school in grade one and remained friends with him throughout, until he became too sick to go to school.
Harmonie walked, partly for Nick, and partly for a friend she has made since moving to Kingaroy. Her friend has bone cancer.
She also feels close to my friend Leanne, who is like an auntie to her. Leanne is a single Mum to two lovely boys. She's been to hell and back, fighting breast and brain cancer. Her cancer is terminal. She's the toughest chick I know.
And Leanne was who I was walking for. And I couldn't help thinking about a woman I wrote about in this week's New Idea, Sophie Oudney, who is also fighting terminal cancer. Another inspiration woman. So strong.
Sophie is being supported on her journey by her husband and teenage sweetheart Hamish, and is focussed on living out a bucket list of happy memories for her three children, husband, family and friends.
The relay was amazing and really helped us to feel like we could do something, however small, to help in the fight against cancer. And when we felt tired and cold and hungry overnight, we knew it was nothing to what cancer patients go through when they are fighting this horrible disease and going through the even nastier treatment to fight it.
Our small but passionate South Burnett community produced a record 43 teams who so far have raised an incredible (and another record-breaking) $116,500 for the Cancer Council.That money will change the lives of many cancer patients. Even better, that total will go higher as money raised during the night and since the close of banking last Friday comes in, as people still have time to donate.
Thank you to everyone who donated to the cause, and particularly those who sponsored the kids, as it really made them feel like their efforts were worthwhile.

With Nick's parents' permission, I give some information about him here:

Nicholas had a Brain tumour known as a GBM, Glioblastoma Multiforme. Brain Tumours are the second most common cancer in children, (although Nick's particular type is actually rare in children). He was diagnosed in September 2011 and he died on May 12, 2012. He was ten.
Nick's mother Belinda is now training for the Bridge to Brisbane for Brainchild, a charity set up by Nick's surgeon and nurse to raise money and fund research for children with brain tumours. 
Nicholas was a smart, happy child, who reached out to Chase on his first day of school. Chase has never forgotten that. 
Nick developed strong friendships despite his age, and is still making a difference. 
Belinda has described Chase as 'an inspiration' and says when she finds the going getting tough in her training she will look to him as her motivation. But we find Belinda and her family are our inspiration, and Nick in particular. He was an incredible boy, who was always smiling, and we think of him often. Rest in peace Nick.

So, do you want to know what walking for the Relay For Life was like? This is how it went down for us! 

Luckily, our team, the SS Dionysius set up our tent, but Chase did our blow-up bed, which the three of us shared for sitting on and resting throughout the afternoon, evening and morning. Here he is, pretending to be exhausted before the relay even began!
Fundraising was held throughout the event. In this one, Harmonie hitched a ride in a bathtub for the price of $1. (Adults paid $3).
Anyone for cake? Some Relay for Life fundraising cupcakes. 
A little break for some fun fundraising - Skirmish! $2 for those registered to relay
Of course, Harmonie joined in too! 
The moving candlelight ceremony. After the sun went down, those who were remembering people who were fighting, had survived, or had passed from cancer, wrote their names and a message on a bag. You placed sand inside to stablise it, then lit a candle. The bags were then placed around the track. All lights went off, and in the silence, the people were remembered. A few prayers and poems were said. A little bit of water may have gotten in my eye.
Harmonie met Sid the Seagull the next morning
And won $20 for getting the most balls through a hole and into a hoop in a Bank of Queensland fundraiser! 
Footnote: Chase kept going through the night, managing 249 laps of the showgrounds at last count. He was a machine. When Harmonie napped, I must admitted to joining her for a while. I did not walk for 18 hours straight! We were all very tired the next day - and the day after that!
One team had the fab idea of giving foot massages as a fundraiser on the night, $5 each. I shouted Harmonie and Chase one each for doing such a good job. (I couldn't afford one for myself, my funds running quite low after all that fundraising - sob!) That team raised more than $2000 overnight, just with that idea alone!  
Have you participated in the Relay For Life? Could you keep walking for 18 hours? 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Parties in the country

Since moving to the country, we've found the laidback South Burnett lifestyle very conducive to impromptu get-togethers with family and friends.

Picnics, barbecues and parties are so much easier when the weather is kind and the lifestyle is relaxed.

I try to keep treats in the pantry and fridge for when people unexpectedly pop by, and have ready-to- throw-together snacks on hand. When the weekend approaches, Harmonie warns: 'Mum, we better clean the house. We live in the country now ..." meaning we are getting used to people dropping by on the off-chance we are home.

Healthy snacks. Photo: Chase Baxter 

 An impromptu after school picnic in the backyard ...

 Food tastes better when eaten outside

And shared with a friend ...

Latecomers are welcome

Recently, Wonderful Pistachios sent MIA a fabulous party pack to make our get-togethers easier.

There were cute retro straws and napkins, deco tea light holders and candles, and a stylish beverage bucket.

They also included some packs of their aptly-named Wonderful Pistachios to try: Roasted and Salted, Salt and Pepper, Sweet Chilli, and Unsalted.

Now, regular readers will know my son Chase has tree nut allergies, so we had to save these for a girlie afternoon tea party for when he was away at camp. (Even though he knows to avoid them, we don't even serve nuts when he is around).

They were declared yummy by the nut lovers, who were happy to take home the leftovers so we didn't have any in the house when Chase came home.

Pistachios are apparently a perfect food to serve at parties

* Along with being one of the lowest kilojoule and among the highest protein nuts, a 30-gram serving of pistachios provides more than 30 different nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
* Keeping your leftover pistachio shells might help you eat less. Scientific evidence suggests that leftover shells may serve an important visual cue about the amount that has been consumed.
* Stuck for a party colour to theme the room? Try green! It’s a great colour as it directly relates to nature and freshness. Buy fluorescent green straws to funk up cocktails on arrival, dark green napkins for elegance and have green tea lights scattered around the area to create a natural ambience.
* Wonderful Pistachios are harvested in orchards where they are sun-ripened, 100 percent naturally opened and dry roasted without any added oil.
* Be adventurous with what you pair it with. The green nut may be small but it’s big in flavour. Sun-ripened Wonderful Pistachios match perfectly with other snacks such as wasabi peas, soy crisps, chevre goats cheese and Italian meats. Check out food pairing ideas or make up your own!
* In a rush? Wonderful Pistachios come in premium, stylish packaging, so if you don’t have time to grab a bowl, the 250g package looks great on a party table and there’s enough to share around.

Thanks to Wonderful Pistachios, I have three prize packs to giveaway. These include a groovy pistachio bowl set.  The flavours are Sweet Chili, Unsalted, Salt & Pepper, and Roasted & Salted. To enter, simply leave a comment sharing your favourite party tip. The winner will be drawn on Monday, October 14 at 5 pm. 

The competition has closed and the winners are sapna, Jess Hardy and Amber Boyce. Please contact me so we can send out your prizes. Thanks.

Friday, October 4, 2013

We're watching Big Brother ...

Queuing up at the entrance to Big Brother, the kids could hardly wait as the staff inspected our tickets.
"Silver? Straight up the middle," we were told, as a rope was removed and we were led ahead of the queue.
We thought our seats must be near the stage, but they were up the back, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as we found out later.
Thanks to Ambi Pur we were at a live eviction taping of Big Brother 2013. Why Ambi Pur? Well Ambi Pur is the official odour-eliminator of the Big Brother house
And between you and me, I'm thinking one of the worst things about living in the Big Brother House has got to be the lack of personal space, particularly in places like the bathroom and sleeping areas!
So those Ambi Pur products are probably working up a storm ...
Meanwhile, back at the show, things are getting exciting.
It's the first time Chase and Harmonie have been at the taping of a live television show, and they are pretty hyped.
I've been able to give them an idea of what to expect. When the kids were young, I regularly covered Big Brother for New Idea magazine, interviewing the housemates the morning after their eviction and filing the story a few hours later.
It was an excuse to watch hours of reality television and attend a few live shows myself!
We've been watching some episodes as 'homework' but we're clearly not as clued up as other guests, including some who have dressed up in homeage to their idols. Several members of the crowd wear 'Team Ben' shirts, others have signs bearing the names of their favourite housemates.
The kids quite enjoy the spectacle of live television, including the pre-show warm up with Mike Goldman, dressed in a lairy jacket which bears a striking resemblance to a tablecloth. "Mum, what's this guy famous for?" whispers Chase. Hee hee.
There are practise shots and 'whees' and 'oos' and 'aahs', and I enjoy doing all this a lot more seeing the excitement and enjoyment in my kids' eyes than I did in the old days.
We scream, shout and dance in an attempt to win prizes which are randomly awarded and thrown to the crowd, but miss out.
Everyone loves beautiful Sonia Kruger.
We're told no one is allowed to boo the housemates, or call out when the evictee is being interviewed, or they will face being evicted from the taping.
There is no flash photography, but no one seems to have a problem with videoing or tweeting duing the show.
The night we were there, Tully was evicted, and because we're up the back near the stage where the housemates enter the studio, we get a good look at her and a few waves while she is waiting to go on.
She's very pretty and seems polished and prepared for the interview and photos.

Taking a selfie before we go in to post to Facebook! Just like their Mum ...

So excited to be there! (Bunny came too!)

And while she didn't come with us, favourite Big Brother 2012 contestant Layla Subritsky dropped by to talk Big Brother, smelly homes, and house sharing with MIA. 

The beautiful Layla

Layla is Ambi Pur's Big Brother spokesperson and has been watching the series closely - and a bit enviously. 
   How are you enjoying watching BBAU as opposed to being on it?
Watching Big Brother definitely brings back so many memories and makes me feel nostalgic, I love watching dramas evolve as people start feeling more comfortable around each other and let their true colours show. It’s quite interesting to see that there are more or less the same underlying issues in every season. There is always the strong personality that’s a bit of a tease and likes to work people up and challenge other housemates – this season it’s definitely Tim! I think after having been in the house, I watch the show with a completely different perspective to what “house-virgins” would, as I know how annoying that one messy person is or how gross it is when someone farts! The contestants definitely have more creature comforts this season; I wish we had Ambi Pur as a sponsor when I was in the house because there is nothing worse than BO you can’t escape!
  Did you understand how addictive it was, and how popular you were when on the show? And what about now? Can you relate to the contestants? 
I don’t think I realised how mega- crazy obsessed people were with the show and the contestants until I actually came out the Big Brother house. It was definitely a shock when I saw some girls dressed up as me in the live eviction audience! It’s funny watching it happen all over again this year from a distance, I can definitely relate to the contestants. None of them will know what’s hit them when they walk out as they have no idea what the public thinks about them, it’s unpredictable.
   One of the things my kids always say is that they couldn't share a house with so many people. I'm the same. How did you cope?
Being on Big Brother is all about adaptability, you need to be able to compromise and understand that everyone is different. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen – especially when Big Brother is up to his mischievous tricks! In the house. It’s fair to say majority rules and so it’s important that you get along with most people in the house. This often involved having the ability to let things go. Remaining positive was key. At the end of the day, I always tried to remember that Big Brother was a just a game and not to take anything too seriously such as when Michael burnt all my rollers!           
   How is it different to sharing with just one or two housemates?
EVERYTHING MULTIPLIED! Living in a share house means more unpleasant odours, more mess, more conflicting personalities and more gossip. It’s also harder having any space to yourself.
  The big issues would be sharing personal space, like toilets, showers, and in particular bed rooms. How did you survive that?
It’s about being adaptable and open to the experience. In a way Big Brother was like being on a school camp! At times sharing bathrooms/toilets was pretty unpleasant. Also we weren’t always allowed to wash our clothes regularly so we felt dirty and the house did get very smelly I’m sure you can imagine…
   Did you have Ambi-Pur when you were in the house?
 No we didn’t unfortunately. I wish we had though. The 2013 contestants are so lucky. They must be breathing a lot happier than we ever did last year. The Air Effects Lavender Vanilla & Comfort Air Freshener would have definitely been my best friend!
   Who were the smelliest/most hygiene-challenged housemates? Did you ever hint or ask some of them to clean up their acts?
 Michael, without a shadow of a doubt. He ate with his mouth open and never cleared up after himself. Big Brother also told him off when he proceeded to give all the girls a head massage after he’d returned from the bathroom without washing his hands! Hehe I love him though, he’s a new bestie.  We still joke about his messy ways!While I’m a bit of a clean freak, I hate confrontation so I never dared ask contestants to clean up their acts. I reached breaking point though towards the end of the show when the house got very dirty. I was so nervous about confronting the housemates that it took me a whole hour in the Diary Room to psyche myself up to do it.
  What about this time around? Do you think there have been some challenges for people in the house around hygiene and smells?
 Earlier in the season Jade remarked on the smell of her fake-husband Drew’s hair as being “oily and smelly”, but I think all the boys have a tendency to smell bad - whether it’s from a hot day in the sun without enough deodorant or that they’ve simply worn a T-shirt one too many times. They are lucky this year though, Ambi Pur Air Freshener is perfect for making dirty clothes smell good by eliminating all the bad odours.
  What's your advice on being a good housemate?
At the end of the day, you’re there to have fun. So have fun, be friendly, try to stay out of the drama and most of all pull your weight in the house! No one likes a lazy housemate.
  Do you currently share a home or flat?
I can say for certain that my house share days are over! I’m living with family at the moment until I move into my own place soon. I’m so looking forward to having my own space and not having to worry about cleaning up after housemates.
   And what about being a good houseguest - say if you're travelling and staying with family or friends. What do you recommend to ensure you get asked back?
My pet hate is houseguests not clearing up after themselves! People appreciate you taking care of their things so I always make sure I’m clean and tidy and I try to leave the house in a better condition than when I arrived. I like to clean the dishes and also sometimes help with dinner preparation if I can. It’s the least I can do in return for my friend or family’s hospitality.
  Finally, in our home, there is me, my son, 12, my daughter, 10, a dog, two cats. We cook a lot. The kids have shoes. There are odours. We don't like overpowering smells to cover them up though. What do you recommend to have our house smelling fresh and clean without smelling like we are trying to hide the stench of wet dog and socks? 
I would say, always determine where the odour is coming from and try to organise a daily routine of clearing and airing out your house. I make it a habit of opening my windows as it’s so important to let fresh air into the house every day! I would also invest in a good air freshener like Ambi Pur which eliminates bad odours rather than just masking them for a short time. For kids’ shoes and fabrics that can’t be washed like couches and upholstery, Ambi Pur Air Effects is perfect as it has a formula which neutralises odours while slowly releasing light fresh fragrances as it captures odour molecules. For day-to-day use you might want to try the Ambi Pur Electrical Plug In as it freshens the air whilst also eliminating odours up to 80 days, and there is an intensity setting according to your day-to-day needs. Many of the scents in the Ambi Pur range are designed by the same team behind some of the world’s biggest perfume houses so it’s also a treat! Join the refreshing conversations at
The good news is that Ambi Pur is going to show the love by hosting a giveaway on my blog.

Stay tuned for details ...