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Happymama

Happymama

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since 14/01/2003

53

Henna 29/07/2009

BAQ Henna is perfect for everyone!

Henna I've hennaed my hair for a while. Chemical colouring irritates my scalp something rotten, and henna is so natural and safe that you can do it three days in a row if you want to (but it's not recommended lol). I put henna onto my hair with an inch of my natural mid-brown hair showing through my dark red faded to bright dark red PPD-containing salon colour, the first time. Henna works by adding a translucent red colour to your natural hair colouring. Only Body Art Quality (the stuff for hand decoration for weddings etc) is pure enough to use on top of salon or box colour - there are metallic salts in non-pure henna that will react badly with your chemical colour. The colour you get is added to your normal colour, and you leave it for a certain length of time to get the colour you need. It's wise to research the subject before you start, though. Different mediums with different 'release' times can be used to release the dye from the powdered henna leaf that you will have. Lemon takes a long time to release the dye but fixes the henna very well to your hair - but some hair finds the acid objectionable. Chamomile tea - strong brewed, especially is it's hot - will cause almost instantaneous release - but remember - fast dye release means fast release from your hair too. THere are different types of BAQ henna out there - Yemeni has very dark rich, less orange colour, Pure Pakistani is a sort of a standard and is what I use. Personally, I use lemon to release, leave it mixed ...

Combi Combi Twin Pram 14/08/2007

Combi twin pram

Combi Combi Twin Pram I had one for my twins. This pram is very light and tremendously easy to push. It is a multi wheeler, has lots of load space, and has a comfortable handle height for anyone under 5'7" tall. Anyone taller may have to stoop a bit. The side-by-side shape is suitable for from newborn, as both sides lie flat. The cosy toes are a little difficult, I hardly used mine after the lie-flat time because although thick and warm, the fabric is slippery and they slide down onto the wheels a bit. The waterproof is clear, flat and fits the pram well, keeps things under dry, but feet stick out and your toddlers will need waterproof footwear. The best thing of all about this pram is the folding mechanism. You can unsnap it with a flick of your wrist, and it's light enough for you to lift it out of the car while holding one child. As it unsnaps you find the brake is automatically applied. It's easy to fold once you've got the knack, and it folds extraordinarily small. It folds first as a clam-shell shape, and then over on itself like a book. Brilliant. Comes with a shoulder carrying strap too. Age Group as listed is incorrect, this pram is suitable from newborn to 3+

SEAT Toledo 2.3 V5 06/12/2006

A pussy cat around town, a tiger on the road

SEAT Toledo 2.3 V5 I bought my 2.3 V5 in March last year. A test drive was enough, at the end of a long day and a lot of test driven cars, to convince me. Peel back the interior and you see VW part numbers, which is reassuring. The build quality seems great, no squeaks, rattles or bits coming off in my hand. The big engine is a revelation to me. It warms up quickly, does 25 mpg around town cold, and tows a 4m boat to the South of France at 35 mpg in all sorts of weather. If you want to waft, this car wafts. If you feel like showing a clean pair of heels along winding country roads - this car handles well, with plenty of feel from the steering and all-round balance is great. The brakes are efficient, all the electronic trickery (ABS, EBD, TCS) taking the guesswork out of what should be a simple manoevre but so rarely is. As an update, I've had 38 mpg at 50 mph, and no less than 27 mpg around town in reasonably heavy traffic. I do a LOT of short journeys, and low miles at the moment, but this car warms up enough to provide heat in one mile, and a 6m check on the oil reflected no condensation at all, even through winter so an interim oilchange is unneccessary. Menu pricing at my Seat dealer means that I can project my costs easily. 170 bhp to the front wheels is a lot, however, and perhaps this car would be happier as rear wheel drive. 'Torque steering' is very evident when the power's down (the French have corners on their motorways), so you need to be happy to feel involved. This car is ...

Member Advice on Gout 24/01/2006

It hurts

Member Advice on Gout So why do I have gout! At least, I think this is what the vicious pain in my right toe is. Went to step class this evening. It's been quite a long day, a mystery shop in town, so pushed my twin pram round busy town centre in at best, 1 Deg C and with sore knees and a slightly sore toe. During step, the pain got slightly worse in all the sore bits plus my left ankle - well, if you'd had done to yours what I've had done to mine, yours would hurt too if you spent one hour jumping up and down on it - and I thought 'ah well, we all get old sometime, and arthritic pain is to be expected in this weather'. Woke up at 1am with raging pain in my toe, got up, took 2 Neurophen with NSAID and am now sane again. It's been a while since I had pain so bad I felt nauseous. I do drink quite a bit of red wine, and beer, but the two previous nights have only had 2 glasses of quality red stuff, and the night before that was a night off. Lamb (red meat) for tea the night before, but boring and veggie pizza for tea tonight, no shellfish etc, or any of the other foods supposed to trigger excess urates in the blood. I know a bit about excess urates - I've had twins, and this is one of the signs of pre-eclampsia, also of just being very pg with twins. I had it then, too. I've done my research - drink lots of water, take NSAIDS and see the Dr. Get a blood test to check if it's seriously high, and have BP checked too. Kidney's at risk, apparently. Not to mention serious arthritic ...

Marco Sky Ttwin Pram 18/11/2005

Innovative design

Marco Sky Ttwin Pram I've had my Marco Sky L for about 6 months. It's a tandem-style twin pram with the rear seat offering full lie-back, which I've never used, my twins are currently 22m. It comes with a flat-folding raincover, the two handles are fully swivellable like clock hands, IFKWIM, so can be made to suit just about anyone. The wheels are slightly larger than normal buggies, it's not too heavy, but when folded has to lie diagonally across even my huge Seat Toledo boot. It's umbrella fold is very unusual for a twin pram, making it long rather than flat and wide. It doesn't come with a cosy toes. THis pram has disadvantages as well as advantages. Advantages are lighter than such as Graco Stadium Duo etc, fits certain storage spaces better than the above, very compact to push around busy, overfilled shops. It turns tightly. Disadvantages: Hard to push due to the lack of width across the handlebars, and not single bar to hold. The hood does not cover the front child, and the rain cover leaves the feet of the front child exposed: mine wearing wellies gets wet almost to the knees. Due to the lack of length and the odd weight distribution, it's nearly impossible to pull backward up steps. The front seat does not recline and the back is short - my front baby (the biggest) often sleeps with her head on the bumper bar. Legroom in the rear is an issue, although I understand the most recent model addresses this. Also the hood allows only for a three year old to sit in the back, any older ...

H.M.S. Ulysses - Alistair MacLean 24/08/2004

An epic contribution to British literature

H.M.S. Ulysses - Alistair MacLean In the recent BBC review of public books, Sir Jackie Steward said that this was his ideal of the 'greatest book ever written'. At 12 years old I first found my copy on the bookshelf of my grandfather, who had served on a flower class Corvette, on a couple of North Atlantic runs. He would not speak of his 'Fast Russian Runs' experience, except that it was the only time he had ever wanted to grow a beard, and that they used to dry the blankets on the steampipes. He spoke freely of his time during the 'Freedom of Malta' and of convoy duty in the Pacific, but not of that cold sea. I inherited two of those blankets, woollen, and stiff and felted like tri-wall cardboard by the conditions. Many books have been written about the ill-fated convoy named PQ17, and indeed, this convoy is mentioned in the book, so the conditions of the North Atlantic are nothing new to us. But this book crystallizes what it is like to face these conditions, day in, day out, suffering sleep deprivation, exposure, exhaustion, mental anguish ... I find this book compulsive reading, so much so that that pilfered copy, having travelled across my world and back (a 1970's edition) is falling apart, and I must look for another. It doesn't help that every time I read it, I immediately read it again, in case I missed a bit. This was McLeans first book, written on the back of a response to a Glasgow newspaperman asking him to write a short story for publication, and I think by far his best. A film was made of ...

New Scientist 16/08/2004

Even the babysitter reads this!

New Scientist I first started reading New Scientist when I began an OU science-based degree course, and rapidly became hooked! I quickly took out a subscription, (40% off for new subscribers!) and every Thursday morning all thoughts of housework, study, childcare etc went out of the window as I opened that week's edition. A couple of years later I'm still a regular reader of this emminently sensible science-based nugget. There's something in every edition for EVERYONE, even 11 year olds! Visiting babysitters and teenagers have been spotted with their heads buried in back issues I've left lying around. But especially if you have an interest in the natural world, or science, physics or just - interest - then this is the definitive weekly read for you. Articles are very well written, in very accessible language (nobody who reads mine has even O-Level Science!) , features are interesting and factual, while preserving the quality of being a thundering good read too! As I've already said, the weekly subscription arrived on Thursday, which is the day it appears in the shops, too, so there's no stealing a march on those who buy there. Currently there's a 50% off offer in the latest magazine, on direct debit at £15.75 a quarter There is usually an offer of 40% off on a card stapled in the magazine, too, otherwise it's around £120 a year, which I think is a little scary for a standard subscription fee. However, I do believe that you can get your money's worth out of this publication. ...

Brewsters 13/03/2004

Execrable service, high prices ...

Brewsters Our local Brewters opened for the first time around a year ago. We've only been twice - the first time we (myself, hubby and well-behaved 3 yo son) were sidelined to a corner, well away from 'normal' eating, wedged up against the window overlooking the play area - just because our son was with us. Well, he's been brought up to eat at the table, behave properly, not pick his nose, swear or tantrum, so why on earth can't he sit with the civilised - so called, anyway, - customers too? We were moved, with bad grace. He had a good time in the play area though, after we Q'd for half an hour to register him, and in those days he could only go in the ball pool and on the ride-on (cost money) thingies, but he had a good time, and we sat and digested our ok but nothing spectacular meal while we watched. The next time (and last) we went, I ordered lamb chops. I like lamb chops, and they were on the menu, so you would imagine there would be no problem ... oh, but you'd be soooo wrong. I went to the bar to order the food - and the lamb chops weren't on the till - not 'off', you understand, but not 'on the till' - and the manager was, I found out, upstairs taking an interminable phone call, and she was the only one who could put the lamb chops - sat in the fridge waiting to be cooked, I imagine - back on so they could be sold. After fifteen mins I ordered drinks at the bar, and finally the manageress came down to put the lamb on. Food ordered, I was told that our drinks would be ...

Zagara Nero d'Avola Sangiovese 13/03/2004

I want to live where this is produced.

Zagara Nero d'Avola Sangiovese I drank my first nero d'avola wine in a mixed bunch from a direct wine sales outfit, and it was an instant hit. I do like my reds heavy, though, so this wouldn't appeal to anyone who prefers things the lighter side of beaujolais - at least half of the bottles I've since drunk weigh a ton in flavour and colour. Very dark red, think blackberries and blackcurrants, with mulberrys thrown in for good measure - gentle sweetness, hods of 'nose' and no bitterness whatsoever. Typically, a good Nero D'Avola (that's all of them, then) will set you back over a fiver in a supermarket, many are around £7 and they can be quite hard to find. My local branch of Tesco only does one, and it's Zagara N d'A Sangiovese (luckily for this review!) and it's nice enough to buy in bulk (currently 12 bottles get 5% off at the till) and it's currently £6.00. I drink around 2 bottles of red wine a week, a couple of glasses a night, and use it in cooking too, and, testament to the health-giving efficacy of red wine, have only had three headcolds in 12 years - so something must be working! This wine works well with winter food, and would also suit summer BBQ'd sausage or beef, looks great on the dinner table and is perfect for entertaining. Highly commended - beautiful! ...

Mothercare Urban Detour Twin Alpine 12/03/2004

Whatever the problem, I'm glad i've got mine-

Mothercare Urban Detour Twin Alpine We bought our Urban Detour 2nd hand a little while ago when I discovered I was having twins. Now that the girls are born, the pram is seeing some serious use. As it is a 'lay-flat' pram, it's suitable from birth to around four years. It cost us £90, but the new one is well over £100, and you need the cosy toes seperately. The new one also has a differently padded seat, but the one I have is fine. The essential thing about this big wheeled pram (the new one has smaller wheels, but still not bad) is the low rolling resistance. This means that the thing is an absolute doddle to push, up kerbs, down kerbs, across LONG grass, sand, pebbles, dirt roads, campsites, you name it, this pram can cope. It feels incredibly light to push, especially when you consider that it's a fairly back-breaking thing to load in the boot of your car. The colour is a very sensible black. The colour accents are turquoise, picked out on the cosytoes made for the pram (although others would fit). The sides of the pram prove very sheltering for newborn babies subjected to mum's shopping habits in freezing cold winds, and the hood is effective at keeping the rain off. The cosytoes can be waterproofed with proprietory wash-in waterproofer, and are lined with fleece, the straps thread through this. The brake bar is full length, easy to put on, but quite difficult to get off, and very secure. One very good thing about this pram is the waterproof cover - it's flat folding (no hoops) so you can ...

Fairy Non Bio Liquid Washing Liquid 12/03/2004

Samples were enough to put me off ...

Fairy Non Bio Liquid Washing Liquid I've tried Fairy non-bio in it's liquid form and the tablet form courtesy of Bounty packs. For those of you who don't know, Bounty packs are what are given to mum- to-be or mums-who've-had, full of promotional items, and this year's run had full size samples in, which was nice. Unfortunately, I don't like the Fairy smell, and it's strong and near impossible to get it out! I line-hang my washing as much as possible, and a day and night (when it rained) wasn't enough to get this strong smell out of my washing - so it went in again on a rinse wash - and I had to wash it in a leading competitive brand's offering to get the stench out. So even ten day's free washing wouldn't tempt me to use them again - they went in the bin. Why does industry insist upon making everything smell of something? What's wrong with unperfumed goods? Anyway, at least I didn't spend any money. It's a shame, 'cos Fairy liquid and tablets cost the same and clean clothes as well as the rest of them. ...

Persil Aloe Vera Liquigel 12/03/2004

Non-bio took too long so I jumped ship ...

Persil Aloe Vera Liquigel The Persil range was my favourite washing liquid for donkeys - washed clothes, doormats, nappies - the lot. Always used non-bio, as bio washing aids EAT your clothes if they are made of natural fabrics - wool, cotton, silk etc. Persil, in their infinite wisdom, withdrew their non-bio and gave us Alo Vera instead. I tried it and moved brands. The Alo Vera stinks, and you can't wash the stink out of the clothes. I believe that any liquid that leaves ANYTHING behind is not washing the clothes properly - I expect nothing hanging on my washing line but clothes, not clothes complete with smell. It's not the only product on the market that smells strongly (have reviewed that one elsewhere) but I breathed a big sigh of relief when Persil brought out their non-bio again. Unfortunately, I now have another's non-bio habit, and see no reason to change, as I think most of the leading brand liquids clean as well as each other (I wash terry nappies, I should know!) and there must be some other criteria to assess them on. So, sorry Persil, too late to save this loyal customer. ...

Remington Steam Straightener 19/02/2004

Obstinate roots take a hit

Remington Steam Straightener Since I had my babies, my ringlets have turned to something tameable - less curl! So, after a couple of successful blow-dry's at hairdressers (wouldn't hold for more than an hour B4!) I've finally gone out and bought my first grooming product for years. I like Remington, had one of their hairdryers for 14 years, and replaced it with the same but improved model three years ago. Expect that to last too, so bought this with that provenance in mind! Although I went out looking for a wide iron, as I have very thick hair, and I've been diagnosed as having 'obstinate roots' still by my hairdresser, I was sold on these irons as they have a salon-syle temp. ability (200 deg C) and were demonstrated in the store I bought them from by a very able assistant (Boots). They only need to be swept along my hair, stubborn root to strongly waving tip, twice for full straightening effect. The cord is long, billed as salon-length, but doesn't have all-round swivel, as you would expect in a salon. The irons come with 4 sectioning clips, and a swallow-tail comb, with a cloth drawstring bag. The iron doesn't fit into this bag very well with the cord, especially if you are, like me, reluctant to wrap the cord around the narrow body because it then gets in the habit of looking and behaving like a telephone cord. The narrow body allows me to get close to those recalictrant roots, and the ceramic coated heated pads are smooth, and don't seem to collect grooming and straightening products like ...

A4tech KBS-2548RP 28/01/2004

I'm off Microsoft now

A4tech KBS-2548RP My old (wired) MS ergonomic keyboard started transposing keys, not a problem when there's only 2 keys involved, but more of a chore when there's four or more, so I started looking around for another ergonomic keyboard. Cost is an issue for me, and all the cordless keyboards at first glance (high street) are around £70-100 including mouse(which I don't need). So onto the internet I went. Cue A4 Tech's offering in this market. Firstly, a little upon why this keyboard is especially suitable for me. I get sore wrists, so need the ergonomic keyboard, and they do work! I spend a lot of time at my pc, as I work from home for a newspaper. When my children are old enough I want to return to the real world, and will start with agency work. This will involve a typing test, and I've tried moving straight from my ergonomic keyboard to a straight one - felt like I had twelve fingers! From 70 wpm to 32 in one (or more) stroke (weak pun). So any typing test would be severely compromised. This is where the A4 tech A-shape comes into its own, especially if you would need to move from your own comfortable desk & keyboard to another less so, for any reason. This keyboard has angled keys, but is not shaped too unlike all the other standard keyboards. It's taken my an hour only to adjust from the very styled shape of the Microsoft keyboard to my A-shape, and, believe it or not, a standard keyboard feels no different, or hardly so. Fantastic. The pic. top left shows a black keyboard with ...

Smeg SE3999X 28/01/2004

A-rated oven does A1 job

Smeg SE3999X I've had my oven for a couple of months now. We've had a Smeg microwave for over a year, and the innovations therein led me to look to Smeg for our oven. Firstly the instruction booklet. Printed in more languages than most people would need, there are fitting instructions which are very comprehensive - we fit our own into a space never designed for that oven, easily & without fuss. Then follows a great descripton of the eight functions - upper & lower heating element, (as standard oven), grill element, lower heating element only (quiches & custard tarts etc), upper & lower element & ventilated heating element (hot fan), defrost (fan only, using ambient temp. air - effective if you allow enough time), upper & lower heating element & ventilation (cold fan), full grill & ventilation (cold fan), ventilated heating element (hot fan only). This oven is also available in a 12-function, and a 6-function model. The hot fan & upper & lower heat function reduces a meal cooking time from 45 mins to 30, if it's something which can be heated this quickly. Many pre-prepared meals can. This oven cooks potato wedges - home-made - in 25 mins flat, baked pots in record time - and all at an A-rated power usage. The oven is rated 16amps, having taken advice upon this from an electrician, we are running our oven on a standard 13 amp socket with no trouble at all, and our 16amp Smeg microwave is on the same 30 amp feed from our fusebox. If you would wish to install the oven on a 16a ...
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