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Having baby tomorrow 13th April so will catch up on rates on my return xx

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since 04/03/2011


Lakeland I Can Cook Small Classic Colours Whisk 12/04/2012

I can Whisk

Lakeland I Can Cook Small Classic Colours Whisk This little children's whisk was something we bought from Lakeland a couple of months ago to use when cooking and baking with our son. Lakeland has joined in partnership with the Cbeebies series "I can cook" to produce a range of kitchen utensils especially for children. The whisk itself is nice and small about 20cm long in total. The handle is smaller than an adult size whisk both in length and diameter meaning it is very easy for my son to hold and manipulate as he mixes and whisks things. He finds that as he is able to manipulate the whisk easier than an adult size one that he spills less and is able to control what he is doing better which produces a lighter cake mix when baking. The handle is a made from a nice wipe able plastic that is easy to wipe clean if it gets covered in baking bits from my son's sticky hands. There is no grip marks on the handle meaning it is very smooth and it doesn't matter which part of the handle he holds he is still able to grip it nice and tight. The balloon section of the whisk is made from a silicone coated metal meaning that it is safe to use on non stick surfaces. These metal sections are all brightly coloured and look nice and cheerful to appeal to children. The colours on ours are described as classic and are blue red green and cream. These colours remain nice and cheerful and bright despite many washes so far in both the dishwasher and the sink. We haven't actually used this in a non stick pan as if we need to stir things in hot pans ...

Tooled Up Snow Shovel 11/04/2012

Dig yourself out of the snow with this shovel

Tooled Up Snow Shovel In the bad snow last year I remember feeling quite stuck as it was hard to get out of the house as clearing snow with the garden spade was hard work. So when I finally escaped the house one of my first things to do was to head to buy a snow shovel. Sam Turner's here in North Yorkshire is a real Aladdin's cave of goodies they are a farm's merchant really but they sell garden things and tools and lots of other things to non farm staff too. I choose to buy it from there as I figured they would be selling quality snow shovels as the last thing a farmer needs when digging out a tractor to get too sheep at lambing time is a broken shovel. The shovel itself is a very simple design it has a long wooden handle about 4 foot long that really is like a broom handle. Attached to the bottom is a bright red shovel area that has several groves in it. The shovel bit rests at an angle to allow for maximum leverage when clearing snow. In use **************I think it is fair to say that both last winter and the winter so far has been very cold and snowy and my shovel has done its stuff magically. The handle is very long so I can't really hold it at the end and then clear the snow what I have to do is put the handle under my right armpit curl my right arm around the handle to hold it then hold it a little further down with my left hand. I find this style of holding the handle gives me a lot of leverage to cut into the snow and then lift the snow up ready to deposit it in a safe place. By holding ...

Bodum 1446 Latteo Milk Frother 10/04/2012

Makes wonderful frothy foamy milk

Bodum 1446 Latteo Milk Frother This Bodum milk frother has been part of my kitchen gadgets for many years and is still working as well today as when I first bought it. This works on a simple principle really that you fill the beaker with milk plunge it up and down and it will create lovely frothy foam for your coffees and hot chocolates. To achieve this you fill the jug with milk to the black line on the jug and then add air to the milk with the plunger by frantically plunging it up and down. If you want the milk to be hot and frothy you microwave the milk in the jug for about one and a half minutes, then put the lid on and pump up and down for a about 30-60 seconds then allow the milk to rest for about 1 minute. The froth will thicken significantly during this time so it is then ready to spoon and pour in to your drinks The plastic lid has a deep rim to prevent foam from escaping through the spout. What you do need to do is make sure that the spout is covered as there is a gap in the deep rim for when you are pouring the milk out and if it isn't covered you will like I have on occasions cover yourself and the surrounding surfaces with hot milk. The plunger handle has a comfortable grip which is what you do need when you are plunging it up and down frantically for about 30 seconds to a minute. The jug is made from glass and as such is can be broken or chipped but mine has survived so far. You can actually buy replacement jugs from Bodum without the plunger and mesh but the price they charge from them £10 ...

Yankee Candle Sparkling Angel Wax Potpourri Tart 08/04/2012

A great light scented candle

Yankee Candle Sparkling Angel Wax Potpourri Tart When we got married 5 years ago one of the things that we had was lots of scented candles on the tables as we were getting married at 4 o’ clock at the end of March. One of the things we wanted was for people to eat by candlelight as this we thought was nice and romantic. We picked several of the Christmas scents from Yankee Candles for our tables as not only did they match the red and cream themes but the scents of Christmas and spices is one I love. Sparkling Angel was one of the scents we choose and has now unfortunately been discontinued for reasons I cannot fathom. One thing I still like to do on our anniversary and around that time is burn some of the same candles. Fortunately I have been able to pick some Sparkling Angel up via EBay which has allowed me to satisfy my wishes for this scent however it isn’t as strong as I recall and part of this may be due to the scents fading over time in storage.The company *************** ** In case you're unaware Yankee Candles in a USA based company that has been making candles since 1969 when the company founder Mike Kittredge melted some crayons to make a candle for his mum and sold one to a neighbour. Over 40 years later they are one of the most-recognized names in the candle business with over 150 fragrances scents. The majority of these are manufactured by master chandlers (candle makers) in Massachusetts USA. What is a tart? *************** *** If you don't know what Yankee Candle wax tarts are the easiest way I can describe ...

Lea Marston Hotel & Leisure Complex Ltd, Lea Marston 05/04/2012

A great hotel for family breaks

Lea Marston Hotel & Leisure Complex Ltd, Lea Marston The Lea Marsden Hotel is somewhere we decided to stay on a family short break last weekend. We want to take our 4 year old son away before the new baby arrived and as he is animal mad we decided to take him to Tywcross Zoo near to the hotel as a change from going to Chester Zoo as we often have done. I found a deal for a family stay on the Hotel's own website of a two night stay with breakfast for us all for £174 which I thought was a reasonable price to pay for a 4 star hotel for two nights. Where is it ************** We travelled from York to the hotel which took just over two hours to do. The hotel was easy to find located just off the M42 at J9 and then travelling for about a further 2 miles to the hotel. The hotel car park is barrier operated but you need no codes to get in and out so how secure this is I don't know but we certainly had no problems during our stay there Checking in ************* We had pre booked our family room and check in was certainly nice and smooth the receptionist had all of our details ready and was pleasant and friendly throughout the check in process telling us where the various facilities were located as well as our room. The friendlessness of the staff during this process I found to be excellent and not only did she address my husband and I but also spoke to our son asking him about what he wanted to see and do on his holiday and this level of service I think showed a great first impression. She also took a swipe of our card details should we ...

I can cook spoon spatula 03/04/2012

A great child size spoon for baking

I can cook spoon spatula One of the things I love doing with my son is cooking and baking at nearly 4 years old adult spoons and other equipment are a bit on the large side and a bit tricky for him to manipulate so when I saw this spoon in Lakeland recently I decided to give it a whirl. The spoon is part of the I can cook range at Lakeland which has teamed up with the CBeebies programme of the same name. It is made from a flexible silicone material it is available in many colours but the only one they had left in the store when I bought mine was a light turquoise. My son loves the fact that this is a nice and comfortable size for his small hands and what this means is that now he is better able to hold the spoon he is more able to manipulate it how he likes and is then better able to stir the mixture up which we are making be it cake mixture of rice crispy and chocolate. This greater control seems to make baking a t more fun for him as he is able to do more without my help. The spoon is flexible so unlike a wooden spoon that we generally use for baking it is also ideal for scrapping the bowl of mixture as well. I personally find this great with the spoon as it allows me to finish off emptying the bowl into cake tins with my son so no mixture is lost or wasted. The other thing it does is reduces washing up as the spoon acts as both a spatula and a spoon and it reduces clutter in the drawers as there is only one utensil rather than two. Cleaning the spoon is nice and easy the silicone is nice and ...

Dimplex 3077 14/03/2012

An impressive heater for our conservatory

Dimplex 3077 When we had our conservatory built last year we had to decide did we want to extend our heating system into the room or just go for an electric heater. We decided that we would go for the heater option so spent a bit of time looking round for ones we thought would meet our needs. My husband was familiar with the Dimplex brand with his work and felt they had a good reputation and so we decided to go for a 3077 2kw heater. One of the appeals of this was that there was a turbo function so the room could be heated up quickly in the morning when we came down and so our son could get to play straight away in what is now his playroom and a relaxing space in our house. Features and our thoughts *************** *********** The look *************** ************ As with most heaters the finish is a standard white and grey metal whilst it isn't a thing of beauty it is neither ugly and when it is wall mounted like ours it certainly looks similar to a lot of modern radiators and looks the part in our room. The size is High43.2, Width 57.7, Depth 20.5cm this seems to take up little space in our room and is nice and compact. We have it mounted on an internal wall which means it is nice and flush to the wall and takes up little space and any heat bounces back into the house. The depth does mean it juts out slightly but no more so than the book case nearby so it is not easily bumped into by our young son. Though we made the decision to wall mount our radiator as it was going to be easier to ...

Lego Duplo 5506 Brick Box 05/02/2012

A good introduction set to Duplo

Lego Duplo 5506 Brick Box Why this set ************* We bought this Duplo box set for our son for part of his Christmas present. He had enjoyed playing with some Duplo at a friend's house so we thought this would be a good basic set to get him going. What is it? *********** This is a large block of Duplo construction blocks it comes in its own green storage box to help keep your blocks all tidy. The set includes a small base plate for building on, a chassis to build a car type of toy and one person. There is also a selection of different shaped and coloured blocks for building. In use and opinion *************** ******* We had high hopes for this set and looked forward to our son creating towers, houses and various other building creations. However it fell a little flat and I think the main reason for this is the smallness of the base plate. It can only really take at most 6 blocks which doesn't really give it a lot of scope for building various things. The base plate and using this to create something just doesn't happen very often unless I extend it outwards with some blocks for him to build them on too. The bricks themselves are the wonderful Duplo classics which are all brightly coloured and very easy to manipulate in toddler hands. This set is designed for children 18 months old to 5 years old and our two year old is more than capable of turning them around to attach blocks to one another. At the moment he seems to just build towers but I would expect as he gets older he can use this ...

A Place Beyond Courage - Elizabeth Chadwick 22/01/2012

A fabulous Middle Ages Novel about John Marshal

A Place Beyond Courage - Elizabeth Chadwick Why this book ************** Having read several novels by Elizabeth Chadwick all set in the middle ages when I saw this one on offer at my local library I picked it up full of hope for a great historical novel with a dash of romance. About the author *************** She is a well established historical novelist who has written several awarding wining novels including "The Wild Hunt" which won her a Betty Trask award. If you want to know more about her she has a great website called About the book *************** *** Set in the early twelfth century the book tells the story of royal servant John FitzGilbert Marshal. Marshal is also his title meaning that he has the role of organizing the royal household from the horses to the royal prostitutes. It starts with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period that followed his death where two warring factions fought for the crown of England and Normandy. The two factions are Stephen who was initially declared King and the Empress Matilda. She initially contested the crown for herself and then later on behalf of her son who would become Henry II. The story follows John through this turbulent period and his first marriage to Aline which doesn't does not fare well to their annulment and his second marriage to Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury one of his enemies this marriage though for political reasons ends up being the more ...

Among The Mad - Jacqueline Winspear 20/01/2012

You would have to be mad not to read this book

Among The Mad - Jacqueline Winspear Why this book *************** * Having enjoyed the Daisy Dalrymple mystery novels set in post First World War Britain I was looking for a similar read and Amazon suggested the Maisie Dobbs mystery novels so I picked this one up from my local library and was not disappointed. The author**************Jacqueline Winspear is a British born author that now lives in the US she has written several books about Maisie Dobbs which have won awards. If you want to know more about her she has a great website with information about herself and the books on it. About the series *************** **** The Maisie Dobbs novels are all set in the1920's and early 1930's, with the roots of each story set in the Great War, 1914-1918. Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and private Investigator. She began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Rather than being dismissed as she fears Maisie is shocked that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. However the Great War intervenes in these plans, and after only a brief period of her study at Girton College, Cambridge, and Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas. The first book then takes the story up as years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own ...

Stormy Weather - Debi Gliori 18/01/2012

A Wonderful night time read

Stormy Weather - Debi Gliori This is a book I bought for my son a few months ago when I spotted it in our local supermarket. We have enjoyed two other books by and illustrated by Debi Gliori so I hoped we would be on to another winner with this one and we were. Another reason for selecting this book was to help my son get over some of his fears of the noise of the wind on a night time. Debi Gliori is a Scottish author and illustrator the two most well know and most popular books are "No Matter what" and "The trouble with Dragons". Stormy Weather features the same adult and child fox as in "No matter what". The foxes are actually quite unisex in their look I think and both the adult and child could be of either gender meaning that both boys and girls can relate to them in my opinion. The illustrations themselves are absolutely beautiful. I personally find the different baby and adult animals featured in this book to be very charming. My personal favourite though is the owls. The wonderfully large and full eyes of the young owl as the breeze becomes a gale just show magnificently how a child can be scared of the wind and full of uncertainty. In the next illustrations where the adults wraps them "safely in my wings" is just adorable as the little owl is cosy and snug and has their eyes closed in slumber. The detail on these illustrations is just amazing a few lines of paint seem to capture the downy quality of each feather on the owl's wings. The curved shapes of the leaves show beautifully how they tumble ...

Orchard Toys Wild World Lotto 17/01/2012

A whole lotto fun

Orchard Toys Wild World Lotto Wild world Lotto was a game we got for my son last year for his birthday when he was 3 and it has remained a firm favourite since and he is now four and enjoys playing the game. From well know children’s educational toy manufacturer Orchard Toys it comes as they all do in a brightly coloured box that is designed to appeal to young children and certainly drew my sons attention. The game consist of four boards that represent four areas of the world that you would get animals in. These are desert, sea, jungle and polar environments. The boards themselves have nine brightly coloured animals on in separate square sections similar to adult bingo boards. There are 36 different animal cards that have a white background with the animal against it. I think the white background is specifically designed so that the children have to think which environment it is from rather than merely matching the background colours. As with all the boards in the Orchard Toys range these are well made and robust and show little signs of damage or wear in a full year’s worth of use. They can also be wiped clean with ease and as with all Orchard Toys the quality of the game shines through. In play ********* The game is designed to be played from 2 to 4 players with each player having a board. If I am just playing this with my son then we both have a board each and this reduces frustration I find about not matching an animal to one of your boards and allows there to be several winners each time a ...

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack - Lynley Dodd 16/01/2012

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack - Lynley Dodd My three year old loves having Hairy Maclary stories read to him both during the day and before bed. One of his favourite books of this charming scruffy dog is Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack. This was one of the first Hairy Maclary books we got about 18 months ago and it has remained a firm favourite since. About the author *************** ** According to Penguin who publishes the Hairy Maclary books Lynley Dodd is from New Zealand, she originally worked as an Art teacher but started to illustrate books when she gave up work to start a family she then progressed on to writing and illustrating books. She describes the process of writing the Hairy Maclary books as using her "'ideas antennae' to collect anything that takes my fancy" to then use these ideas to combine pictures and the words from the very start to produce the story. About the book *************** ** This is the story of Hairy Maclary trying to avoid a young yellow duckling called Zachary Quack. The reason he wants to avoid him is that he wants an afternoon snooze in peace. However no matter where he hides the young duckling always finds him. It's a bit like being a parent really if you need five minutes to do something without the children they will inevitably want to find you in that moment. However the ending of the story sees the duckling showing Hairy Maclary how to get out of the river before they both settle down for an afternoon snooze together. Our experience and thoughts on the ...

Goodnight Harry - Kim Lewis 09/01/2012

A charming bedtime story for young children

Goodnight Harry - Kim Lewis This was a book my son got as part of a book bundle for his birthday last year and whilst it isn't his favourite in the set it is still a popular choice with it being read a couple of times a week at bedtime. About the author *************** **** Born in Montreal in Canada Kim Lewis studied fine art at university at degree level she then came to a London Art College to do a postgraduate course in printing. She moved to Northumberland with her husband and then started to written and illustrate children's book based on her farming experiences other books she has written include My Friend Harry and The shepherd boy. About the book *************** * This book tells the story of Harry a soft cuddly elephant toy and his friends Lulu a stuffed sheep toy and Ted a cuddle fluffy teddy Bear. They are all snuggling down to go to sleep for the night and whilst Lulu and Ted fall asleep straight away Harry just can't get to sleep. He then goes through various attempts and antics to get to sleep the final one which wakes his friends and they then help him to fall asleep. Our experience *************** *** This is a very gentle bedtime story by which I mean the language used as well as the illustrations are very soft. The tone of the book is very reassuring and whilst we know Harry can't sleep you do feel and believe that he will eventually get to sleep which is very reassuring. The language used in the book is very calm with the words flowing very easily off the tongue when ...

Zoggs Seal Flips 08/01/2012

Fantastic flying floating seals

Zoggs Seal Flips We have been using these Seal flips with our son for about a year now so I thought it was time I wrote about how good they are and how much fun they bring him when we go swimming. Just a quick note these are in the outdoor toy section and whilst we have used them in an outdoor swimming pool we generally unless it is a sunny day use them in an indoor pool. What are they? *************** These are five little cute plastic seals they really look a lot like a child's drawing of a flying saucer but with seal whiskers, nose and goggles on the top and bottom of them. The two sides of the seal are different colours e.g. blue seal on one side and a yellow one on the other. The seals are designed for them to float on the top off the water in the pool and then for you to dunk your face down into the water and blow on them to turn them over. They are intended to help your child gain water confidence especially with lowering their face into the water In use ******** My son had tried swimming lessons at our local pool when he was about 20 months old but he found the lessons a bit overwhelming and didn't seem to enjoy them. However he loved been taken to the pool so we decided we would try to do some teaching ourselves and wait for a more formal swimming lesson when he was a bit older. When we were looking at things to help him gain confidence in the water these seals kept coming up in the searches so cashing in some dooyoo miles for Amazon vouchers I bought some. The first time ...
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