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since 12/07/2006


Compeed Cold Sore Patch 28/10/2007


Compeed Cold Sore Patch I suffer from cold sores whenever the seasons change, if I am run down, if I am stressed or just because Mother Nature feels like a laugh! I have spent many a year trying to find the best solution to this unsightly and painful condition. Up until very recently I have been happily using Zovirax cream with great success (if I use it when I feel the tingle, 9 times out of 10 I don't get a cold sore and if I am too late and the blister has appeared, then it cuts down the healing time hugely and they are usually gone within three days) however, as many people find, the cream is a bit messy and you can find yourself feeling paranoid that people think you can't eat yoghurt properly as you have a big, white blob on your face. Also, a big downside of Zovirax is that you can not kiss your loved ones while using it for fear of a) transmitting the virus and b) transmitting the big, white, yoghurty blob onto their face! As a result of this, I was overjoyed when I saw the advert for Compeed. So, how did the ad seduce me? Well, it promised a swift, easy and practically invisible treatment that also provided a barrier between the cold sore and the rest of the world thus allowing you to wear make up and kiss with confidence! What did I get? A handy box 10cm by 5.5cm containing 15 of the so called 'discreet' patches. This opens up to reveal a mirror inside to aid application (I will admit that this was useful), an instruction leaflet and the patches in individually sealed pockets ...

Strawberry Huller 04/09/2007

The world's most useless gadget...or so I thought!

Strawberry Huller Strawberry Huller I recently acquired one of these little kitchen gadgets from my friend Alex. She actually gave it to my daughter in a bid to encourage her to eat strawberries (this has not entirely worked as she is now more interested in strawberries and will happily use the little gadget to prepare them but then won't eat them! Oh well, will have to think of a plan B!) but I have now officially stolen it! So, what is a strawberry huller? Well, they come in a range of styles but they are all essentially the same thing - a teeny, tiny pair of tongs! You use the tongs to grip the stalk of your strawberry, twist and pull out the stalk and the hull leaving the strawberry intact and ready to eat - no fuss, no muss! It really is as super-simple as that! For those of you who are interested I put 'hull' in to see what the official definition was and found that a) what I thought was the hull, was not and b) the definition of hull is: 'The calyx of certain fruits, as the strawberry.' So, this obviously led me to put in 'calyx' as I had no clue as to what that meant and found out that it is: 'The sepals of a flower considered as a group. The calyx is the outermost whorl of a flower.' So…you get the gist…in went 'sepals' as, you have probably realised by now, I didn't pay much attention in GCSE Biology! So, the definition of sepals is: 'One of the usually separate, green parts that surround and protect the flower bud and extend from the base ...

Moral Dilemmas 29/08/2007

Shame on me...

Moral Dilemmas This is a set of moral dilemmas that jillmurphy and LostWitness have compiled in the expectation that we will wrestle with our consciences. Conscience...what's that?! *************** *************** *************** *************** ******* *************** *************** *************** ******* Q: You've just cooked dinner for your four friends, when disaster strikes and you drop the chicken on the kitchen floor. Before you can stop him, the dog dashes in and licks it, but you get it away before he can do anything else. You have nothing else to cook. Do you own up, or do you serve the chicken up for tea? You're vegetarian anyway. A: As it goes, I am vegetarian! On reading the first part of the question, I thought it would just be a dropped on the floor trauma, in which case, it would be picked up, bunged in the oven for a bit longer to kill any germs (of which there would be none anyway because I always mop my kitchen floor ten times a day...honest!). However, the dog bit is almost too much to deal with...however, if I truly loved my friends I would confess, but if it was someone who tended to get on my nerves a bit, then I would try and chop out the licked bit, chop up the rest and serve my delicious 'shredded roast chicken' Q: You're in the supermarket car park, when in a momentary lapse of concentration, your shopping trolley scrapes somebody's new Mercedes down the side. Nobody appears to be looking. Do you own up? A: for your life!!!! If you have ...

Tesco Greek Feta Cheese 26/07/2007

Tesco Greek Feta Cheese - Yuuummmmyyyy!

Tesco Greek Feta Cheese Day 1 - Perfect! Crumbly, yet still firm enough to cut into chunks if required. Salty, but not over powering. Creamy texture when eaten without being sticky. Would be a crime to cook it! Have it fresh in a simple salad of tomatoes, lettuce (I prefer Rocket and/or Lambs Lettuce) and thinly sliced salad onions (you know, the purple ones), and a drizzle of olive oil (extra virgin, of course!) Day 2 - Very nice. Not so crumbly but will be coaxed! Still nicely salty but with a slightly sour undercurrent which is sharp but not unpleasant. Not so creamy. Still nice enough for a salad but probably better in a warm dish. I love to cube it, add it to a dish with halved cherry or fresh baby plum tomatoes, olive oil and black pepper. Mix well. Add some freshly cooked and drained pasta (its better not to use spaghetti or other ‘long’ pastas) and mix again, thoroughly covering the pasta. Serve in a dish and top with some freshly steamed asparagus tips and a grating of cheese (I prefer Cheddar but I’m sure Parmesan would also be nice and a bit more sophisticated!). Day 3 - OK. No longer crumbly. Seems more salty and sour undercurrent has risen to the surface and is quite sharp. No longer creamy which probably explains the lack of crumble and the increased sense of saltiness. I don’t like cold by day 3 as I find it too sour. However I do use it (in cubes) to stuff halved red peppers, along with halved cherry/baby plum tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil or spotted over with ...

Dirt Devil DD109 21/07/2007

Dirt Devil Pet Patrol...what a (fallen?) angel!

Dirt Devil DD109 UPDATE 2: The love affair is over! :o( It has started to blow the dust it is sucking up out of the back, thus spreading it even further! I have not thrown it out, as I fell so deeply in love when I first got it and can't believe it will ultimately let me down. Apart from moving into the dustiest house in the world (see below) we have now ripped out the kitchen and are just completing it, which has involved extra dust and general mess. I am hoping that once the kitchen is in, building dust reduced and normal, everyday dust resumes, the affair will once again blossom... On the positive front, I can confirm that the charge lasts a long time. I do keep it in the holder and switched on all the time (not entirely sure about the environmental consequences of this) but it is always raring and ready to go and lasts for ages...just what every self respecting girl wants!! I have reduced my overall rating as a result of the above but am hoping to return in due course and re rate - fingers crossed! UPDATE 1: I am loving this little devil a little less now! I don't think moving into one of the dustiest/dirtiest houses has given it the best opportunity to shine but there are a few niggles that have arisen. Firstly the crevice and brush tools don't really seam to be able to suck up much at all (the super-dooper double motor tool is still great though!). Secondly the bagless dust container fills up in about two seconds which drives me mad (please refer to earlier ...

Great Little Trading Co. Juice Box Holder 19/06/2007

GLTC. Juice Box Holders - So simple!

Great Little Trading Co. Juice Box Holder GLTC have updated this handy item by adding handles to each side which I guess must make them even more practical. They now come in assorted colours and the plastic is clear. They also now state that they are dishwasher safe as well. Should you not wish to pay £4.99 for two you could go to Perfectly Happy People who also sell a similar version of the juice box (they also come in a variety of colours, the plastic is not clear but it does have a fetching star burst on the front) individually. They are £2.65 each or you can buy two for £2.00 each. Finally, still a great product that I love and use all the time! ORIGINAL REVIEW: Inspired! That is what these are! My daughter is a very independent little girl and she grabs (literally) every opportunity to demonstrate what a 'Big Girl' she is, sometimes with disastrously messy results! Having seen one of our friends children turn into some psycho whirling tornado following three or four sips of a Fruit Shoot, we decided early on that water, milk and natural fruit juices where the way to go with Daisy. This didn't prove to be a problem while she was little as she just had water and milk in her bottle. But once she got older and we decided to try fruit juices we found that she wasn't ready, at that point, to drink out of an open cup. So we turned to cartons of juice and straws. Oh the excitement! She loved them but we had to be really strict about Mummy or Daddy holding the carton and Daisy holding the straw which ...

Everything that starts with V ... 11/11/2006


Everything that starts with V ... **WARNING** I must warn you that this is rather a long and somewhat self-indulgent review but I am not going to apologise for it as it is something that I hold very dear and feel important enough to warrant my ramblings! As a teenager and then a 'young person' I was pretty much of the opinion that volunteering was boring and something that our parents forced us into to ensure we had some 'character building' experiences. More often than not, I thought it would be run by dull, lifeless people and would ensure that your afternoon or weekend was the biggest waste of time ever. Well, I am now older and much wiser! I have discovered 'The Joy of Volunteering' and found it to be a life enhancing and seriously worthwhile experience. There are obviously hundreds, if not thousands, of voluntary organisations and opportunities available to you. The trick is, is to find an opportunity that suits your skills and your available time. There are many ways to find out what opportunities are available in your area, or further a field. I have put some web site details of volunteer organisations that you may find useful at the bottom of this review. Alternatively you could contact your local council, look at adverts in newsagents windows, ask family and friends if they know of any opportunities or, as I did with most of my voluntary work, look at articles in the local free paper. So why volunteer? Well, for me, it has given me the opportunity to get to know my local community and to ...

Rymax Family Toilet Seat 04/11/2006

One seat or two..?

Rymax Family Toilet Seat I have been meaning to do a review on this innovative product for ages and, for once, my procrastination means that I should now be able to give a more complete review as during this time a couple more 'problems' have arisen which may be of interest to you. The family toilet seat is a standard toilet seat with a smaller, trainer seat for toddlers/young children in the toilet lid. When you lift the toilet lid, the trainer seat can be easily released by turning a little knob and, hey-presto, a smaller version of the adult seat folds down! When I first saw this product in 2003, I was so impressed by it that I bought it - before I was even pregnant! We were trying for our first baby and after another month of no success I decided to cheer myself up by buying a lovely crib that I had had my eye on for ages and while flicking through the Jojo Maman Bébé catalogue, I spied the family toilet seat. Having encountered a range of toilet training devices in my siblings and friends homes either cluttering up the bathroom or giving me a big shock as I placed my delicate derrière on some wonky contraption, I thought this simple, yet ingenious idea was one too good to miss and ordered it as well. When it arrived, I was disappointed as the laminate used to provide the beech effect was rubbish, all folded and not smooth at all. I contacted customer services and they collected the duff one and sent out a replacement (free of charge). I was much happier with the replacement. I fitted it ...

Fifteen-Firsts 24/10/2006


Fifteen-Firsts JulietBravo started this one off, and I thought I would give it a go! 1. FIRST KISS ************* Was with a boy, Tom, in our class who was not all that popular (or attractive) and I had spent the whole evening trying to kiss another boy, Charles, who was more popular (and I thought very attractive) but somehow ended up with Tom! I was about 13 and came straight in after and brushed my teeth! 2.FIRST TIME YOU HAD YOUR HEART BROKEN *************** *************** *************** ******* At the time, I thought it was broken but with hind sight, I realise that I was just embarrassed and feeling rather foolish! I had been going out with a bloke, Noel age 26, from my Saturday job. I was 17 at the time. He was quite good looking with a great body and he was my first introduction to the joys of adult relationships (if you get my drift!). I thought it was so exciting and romantic that he wanted to keep it all quiet from his friends and the people at work but then he stopped calling and would arrange to have different shifts, so I didn't see him on Saturdays. I eventually found out he had had his eye on another woman for ages and was just 'filling time' with me. When she became available he started to see her and waited to see if she was really the one he wanted before 'finishing' it with me! Nice guy! 3.FIRST JOB ************* Jessops Photo Store. It was ok, it paid well enough but due to the above nightmare, I ended up leaving! 4.FIRST LOVE ************** As ...

Pudz Sticky Toffee Pudding 20/10/2006

STICKY TOFFEE PUD - Yummy, yummy, in my tummy!

Pudz Sticky Toffee Pudding After a rather stressful day of mothering, I found myself on an emergency milk sourcing trip to our local Tesco Express store. While standing in the queue clasping a four pint carton to my bosom, I looked longingly over at the dessert freezer and spied something new! I was feeling in the need for some comfort and this looked like it could fill the void!! So I stepped out of the queue and considered whether to buy one or two but in an attempt to be a little virtuous, as we are both supposed to be watching what we eat (NB: I find this a very strange phrase…surely if you watched what you ate, rather than actually ate it, you would loose weight like there was no tomorrow?!), I decided to buy one and split it with 'him-in-doors'. Obviously, you can't have sticky toffee pudding without vanilla ice cream, so I bought a (small) tub to go with it! So why did it catch my eye? Well, it was new so it stood out from the usual small selection on offer of apple crumble, toffee meringue and ice lollies. It comes in a square box (about four inches) and the image on the front is divided in to four smaller squares - one with the logo, one with 'sticky toffee pudding 210ge', one with a inviting pile of lumps of toffee and the last with an image of the pudding with a bite taken out of it. It is in a brown, white and orange colour scheme and generally looks modern and sleek. It also caught my eye as I am a total sticky toffee pudding addict! It comes frozen and is prepared using a microwave. ...

Samsonite pop-up travel cot deluxe 12/10/2006

Samsonite Pop Up Travel Cot

Samsonite pop-up travel cot deluxe This is the first of two products in the Samsonite Travel Cot range and it leads on to the Samsonite Pop Up Bubble Travel Cot (which I have also reviewed). It is a brilliant, pioneering product and was the first of its kind on the market when I bought it while still pregnant with my first child in 2003/04. The Samsonite Pop Up Travel Cot is available in three colours - pink and blue in the standard model and stone in the deluxe model. The standard models are made of cotton and nylon, although the baby only lies on cotton, with the main outer body being made of the easily cleaned nylon while the deluxe model is all cotton except the nylon mosquito net - this does seem to make it slightly cooler but more difficult to clean any stains. I chose this travel cot over more traditional ones based purely on it's size when folded up - its only 27cm in diameter! Being the size of an average dinner plate when packed away it was so handy when our daughter was small (it is suitable from birth to when the child can sit up unaided, which was just over 8 months for our daughter). We could just sling it in her changing bag or over the pram handle and off we went! When set up it measures 88 cm long by 54 cm wide, which is brilliant for a young baby as they often get upset in huge beds (or at least my daughter did), allowing the child to sleep comfortably. It comes with a soft , cotton covered mattress that just sits in the base allowing you to tuck in a standard crib/cot sheet to ...

Fowey, Cornwall 05/09/2006

Fabulous Fowey

Fowey, Cornwall GENERAL: I first found fabulous Fowey, pronounced Foy (like toy) rather than Fow-wee, back in December 2001. Our friends Alex and Claire had come to stay. Claire was pregnant with their first child and was feeling a little uncertain about going on holiday the following year with a small baby. I suggested a UK holiday together (we had been to Spain together previously) as you, generally, know what to expect from the accommodation, you know you can get your usual brand of nappies etc and, should you need one, you know how the health system works and would have no stress regarding language problems. Al and Claire were up for it, so while the lads discussed important issues (ha ha) downstairs, Claire and I spent an hour or so on the internet looking at various cottage rental sites. As we both fancied going to the Eden Project in Cornwall, we looked at areas around St Austell. After much searching we found a lovely looking place near Fowey (Penventinue Manor Farm - review to follow in due course. Note this is pronounced Pen-tinney and not Pen-ven-tin-u!) and booked up for a week in early September 2002. We chose this date as it was the first cheapest week after high season and we thought we would have a chance of good weather. So nine months later we found ourselves travelling down to glorious Cornwall from Essex (this is my only gripe - it takes ages to get there but it is worth it!). When we arrived at our accommodation we were warmly greeted and given details of local ...

Innocent Smoothie 24/08/2006

Innocent Smoothie sending me straight to...HEAVEN!

Innocent Smoothie When I took my virgin sip of an Innocent Smoothie I was sure I was going to be sent straight to hell for enjoying such decadence, delights and unashamed desire for more, more, MORE!! However, upon reading the ingredients I found that it was not the smokey bowels of hell that I would be frequenting but the glorious gates of heaven, for Innocent Smoothie are packed full of fabulous fruit and nothing else! I knew I just had to write a review as soon as possible to spread the word but when I came to my new found love that is Ciao, I found that I was a bit behind the times as there were loads of reviews already! Alas, alack! No need for a review after all :-(. But wait! On reading some of the reviews I found an angle that others had not yet mentioned, so here it is - my review! What seems to have been overlooked by other reviewers is the fact the folks at Innocent are a really funny, innovative and ethical bunch of people! I have found, after drinking one of their scrumptious smoothies, that not only were my taste buds tingling and that my stomach was feeling tum-tastic but I was inspired to look further at recycling and filled with a bubbling sense of fun! I am not sure about the packaging on the rest of their range, but if they are anything like the packaging on the 1 litre cartons then you are in for a treat! Each carton is a journey through a bright, colourful, informative and very giggly world! So, "What is she ranting on about?", I hear you cry?! Well, I ...

Everything that starts with T ... 23/08/2006

Tag - you're it!

Everything that starts with T ... After much heartache as to who to choose, here is my tag review. For those of you, like me, who are new to this challenge and want a bit more info on what it is all about please read the instructions below from Mickie26, who originated the challenge: "Tag A Friend Challenge" (Revised Version) I am going to do the tag a friend challenge slightly differently as it has not worked the way I wanted it to. So rather than tag one person at a time you need to tag 3 people and then ask them to tag 3 more people and so on. "Write a short few paragraphs about the people you have chosen who may or may not be in your CoT then tell them in their guestbook that you have tagged them and get them to carry on the challenge and tag 3 more people. In a way it is a bit like a chain letter, but with no strings attached and nothing happens if you don't carry the challenge through, but it would be nice if you did because then the challenge can carry on. Sadly last time one person did not carry the challenge on so I am hoping if more people are tagged it should escalate." (© 2006 Mickie26) Please note you are free to use these instructions in your review as long as you properly acknowledge it's source. So on to the review, proper! As I have not been a member of Ciao for that long (I joined on 12.07.06), I am still struggling to find my way around the world of Ciao. However, I don't think I would have hung around for long had it not been for all the support, advice, constructive ...

Superdrug Clean & Dry 08/08/2006

New and improved - I think not!

Superdrug Clean & Dry I loved this product. Note, past tense! I am very sad to report that the love affair is over. My marvellous Mum introduced this product to me when visiting a family member in hospital. With MRSA and other hospital germs in mind and the knowledge that the hospital we were visiting often had no soap in the loos, she had spotted this inexpensive, only 99p, little bottle of magic in Superdrug and bought some for all her children (there are four of us). I fell in love with it straight away as it was easy to use, small enough to fit in my handbag or even just in my coat pocket and left my hands feeling clean, fresh, dry and soft. A big plus point for me was that it did not have a strong scent ain the bottle and this faded to almost nothing once the product was used. I used it all the time when visiting the hospital but also when out and about as well, as it was so handy to use and requires no water or towels. Shortly after getting it, I started to potty train my daughter and the 'magic soap' went down a treat and meant that no matter where we were there was never a reason not to 'wash' our hands - brilliant! So what did it look like (note past tense again!)? Well, it was a small, clear bottle about 13 cm high which held 100ml of the product. The product came in a blue colour which had no particular name…I suppose original is the best for it…and in lemon yellow which was citrus. I stuck with original as, as mentioned above, I don't like strong scents and would rather no ...
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