Are you an own brand snob?

Don’t immediately take offence; by brand-snob (patent-pending) I really mean, are you too embarrassed to push your trolley up to the till packed with Tesco value or Asda Smartprice? I don’t know about your local store but mine is packed full of trolley-watchers. I have to admit, I was once a brand snob. I cowered under the trolley-watchers gaze, hiding any own brand goods under “normal” packets.
Now… I really couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle! We use a lot of own-brand goods, margarine, bread for toast, pasta, rice – all sorts! The majority of basics products are just as good, sometime better, than their more expensive counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, some are hideous, but some branded goods aren’t much cop either!
By debranding a little you can save an absolute fortune! I can do a weekly shop, all in with fruit, veg, meat, cleaning products, the lot for three of us for £50-£60 a go. This is a packed to the rafters shop too, no need to do a top-up shop, apart from the odd fresh item.
So give it a go, chin up and brand-down, just see what swapping a few items a week can do for your bills!
Those of us that do buy own brand, from whatever store…. do comment and tell us which products you recommend and which ones you would poke your own eyes out before trying again!

For me:
Do: all baking goods, basics such as bread, milk, cheese, yogurt, pasta noodles etc, fruit and veg, sandwich meats, loo roll (it’s loo roll!)…
Don’t: Value curry or sweet & sour sauce (hell no), value cereals – with the exception of Tesco own muesli (which we add more raisins to) the rest (to us) taste pretty vile!

Trolley-watchers: people who will risk neck injury craning to see what you have in your basket/trolley.
Brand-snob: Someone who isn’t able to be out and proud with their own brand shopping due to real or imagined social pressures.
Top-up shop: Where you go for 2 – 3 items and spend £20 on crap and dubious bargains you really didn’t need.

REVIEW: Seamless Maternity Bra & Smock Dress/Top – More4Mums.

More4Mums – Maternity, Pregnancy & New Mum Essentials.

When I was pregnant with Kieran (now 4yrs) I didn’t bother with maternity clothing, underwear or aids. I was firm in the belief that such things were unnecessary and that I would be better off saving money to spend on my beautiful child-to-be. What a fool! Certainly in the later stages of pregnancy I was pretty uncomfortable (understatement) and to my dismay there is ONE photo of me pregnant as I felt frumpy and horrible and either wore Roy’s oversized work t-shirts or just bought everything bigger.
You cannot imagine my joy when Lynn from More4Mums contacted me to ask if I’d like to review something. I think I gave my wrist whiplash answering so quickly!
I was sent two items, a Carriwell maternity bra and an Old Navy Smock top/dress and my findings on both of these are below.

Carriwell Seamless Maternity Bra – £11.99
Oh my! Comfortable isn’t the word. Gone are the four breasts, squeezed into my pre-maternity bra, that seem hell bent on visiting the area around my knees! The two girls are much happier now, back where nature intended them to be! Being ample of breast I usually wear an under-wired bra for extra support, so didn’t expect this to have quite the same result but it does. I feel (yes I am wearing it still and will shortly be ordering another one in a different colour!) so comfortable, supported and yes, womanly (which seeing as I’ve been the pregnancy “I’m a fat frump” mood for a few weeks is quite an achievement!).
This bra, much like a sports bra, only more supportive, has wider straps, is seamless therefore perfect for under t-shirts and tops and is hookless, being a slip on/over the head bra so no fiddling about. It is also suitable for sleeping in. Available in black or white, S, M, L and XL (see the size chart on the website for a more information on appropriate sizing) and for a mere £11.99 with £1.50 P&P this bra in my opinion, despite not being a “name” is an absolute pregnancy must.
I highly recommend it and rate it 5/5.

Old Navy, Loose Fit Smock dress/top £12.99.
Old Navy Embroidered Square Neck Loose Fit Fully Lined Smock Dress.
Old Navy is the American division of Gap, and this square necklined, loose fit dress, available in Pink or Chocolate brown is just £12.99 (+£1.50P&P).
The neckline is very flattering with a delicately embroidered pattern and the chocolate brown which I trialed is a gorgeous colour. I have washed this item which is 100% cotton at 40 degrees and it washes very well.

Now being American sized, these are very generous. I am size 18-22 dependant on make and clothes type so I opted for Large. Unfortunately this dress didn’t do an awful lot for me, the top and sleeves are well fitted however I found the body less so (I know it’s loose fit!) but it made me look bigger than I am (not in a good way lol). I am 24 weeks pregnant with a nice bump, but I think this would be more suitable for further on in pregnancy when you are much bigger in the front as it just hung loose on me. Had I gone for a smaller size it would have been too tight on top and on the arms. It could be that as sometimes happens with bigger sized clothing, after a certain size the cut seems to get lost in added inches, but I do think this would be more suited for either much further on in pregnancy or perhaps for the daintier of pregnant ladies who would order this in a smaller size.
That said, this is insanely comfortable and perfect for around the house, as a dress or over jeans/leggings
My rating: 2.5/5

More4Mums – The website.
I have to add a quick note about the website itself. M4M’s is very well set out and easy to navigate. There are plenty of product pictures available and a useful “enlarge” tool so you can view each item in more detail. When my items arrived (very quickly from “order” to arrival), they were very well packaged and at £1.50 P&P for an order (UK), it makes home shopping for maternity wear (etc) that much easier.
More4Mums have a comprehensive returns policy that states; “At we want you to be 100% satisfied when you shop with us. If you are not entirely satisfied with your items or have changed your mind then please return your goods unworn within 10 days of receipt for a full refund of the item purchase price or FREE exchange – (UK customers only)” so you can be confident when purchasing items from this online store.

As for Lynn, the owner of More4Mums, she is a complete joy to deal with, nothing is too much bother and she is always on hand with advice and to answer any queries.
I will most definitely be shopping here in future and will not hesitate to recommend to friends and family.

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