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Mum of three young boys. Thanks to everybody that takes the time to read/rate and comment on my reviews. Also on Dooyoo as jo1976.

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since 02/07/2009


Dyson DC 41 Animal 18/03/2014

Doing the Dysoning!

The Snail and the Whale - Julia Donaldson 26/02/2014

Having a Whale (and a Snail) of a Time!

The Snail and the Whale - Julia Donaldson We are big fans of Julia Donaldson in our household and have amassed a sizeable collection of her paperbacks to read and enjoy at home so I was delighted to discover a bargain priced set of Julia Donaldson audiobooks on CD from the Book People, giving us the option of enjoying her work on the go. The collection features several of her most popular children’s stories, including this audiobook version of ‘The Snail and the Whale.’ The Snail and the Whale is a fun story with the unlikely pairing of a tiny snail with a yearning to travel the world and a kindly whale who provides the means for this adventure, allowing the snail to hitch a ride on his tail. Eventually, the snail is able to repay the whale’s kindness, when the whale becomes stranded on a beach and the quick witted snail manages to save his friend. My six year old and three year old sons are already familiar with the paperback version of this story so enjoy having this in CD format so that we can listen along in the car. This isn’t their favourite Julia Donaldson story but it is still one that appeals to both boys, despite the age difference, and it is a popular choice for short journeys. This audiobook version of the popular story is read by Imelda Staunton (perhaps best known for her role in the Harry Potter films and Vera Drake.) I feel Staunton is a good choice to narrate this unabridged story, given her well spoken accent and her clean enunciation. Her voice does full justice to Donaldson’s work and follows ...

Mookie Mini Street Cruz II Tri-Scooter 07/10/2013

Cruzing for a Bruising!

Save with Jamie: Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less 05/10/2013

Jamie Oliver On The Cheap?

Save with Jamie: Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less Jamie Oliver is one celebrity chef that it’s impossible to avoid. If he’s not fiddling with school dinners, he’s all over the television claiming he can rustle up a dinner within five minutes, or something along those lines. His latest cookbook ‘Save With Jamie’ claims to help us to ‘shop smart, cook clever, waste less.’ To be honest, this is one area of our household budget where I do appreciate some guidance. As our household has grown, so has our expenditure on food and, embarrassingly, I am also conscious that we do throw away a lot of food mainly due to poor organisation. With this in mind I decided to take advantage of Jamie Oliver’s generosity to borrow one of the thousands of copies of his latest cookbook that he has donated to British libraries. Layout The book is logically laid out in sections based on the primary ingredient, so vegetables, beef, pork, fish etc form the main topics. Within each section, there is what Jamie (irritatingly) refers to as his ‘mothership recipe’ and, following this, provides a series of recipes utilising some of the leftovers from that initial main recipe. I have seen this kind of concept utilised in books before and, to be honest, I didn’t find this method that exciting, particularly as most of the ‘mothership’ recipes were, essentially, simply roasting big joints of meat. I think he could have covered the same ideas and principles without paying so much attention to roasting meat in this way although, admittedly, the leftovers ...

JVC HA-KD5-P/Y 01/10/2013

'Stick' These Over Your Kid's Ears!

Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat 17/09/2013

Don't Be Scared to Buy This!

Orchard Toys Scaredy Cat Since discovering the British made Orchard Toys range of board and card games via positive reviews, I've grown to love the brand and have come to own a number of different games for my children. I purchased Scaredy Cat for my middle son last Christmas, when he was four years old. This appealed to me as a very compact little set of sturdy cards, designed to encourage basic counting skills in a fun manner. The concept of the game is relatively simple, involving just the cards and no other pieces. The aim of the game is for each player to acquire as many birds on their cards as possible, taking turns to draw cards from a face down pack. There are 41 bird cards in total, with each card featuring a number of birds from one up to as many as six birds. The added extra is that hidden amongst the shuffled cards are three cat cards. If a player turns over a cat card on their go, they lose all of the bird cards already collected and go back down to zero. Needless to say, this adds an element of suspense and tension to the game, particularly when a player has a run of luck and manages to draw quite a few cards with five or six birds on them, only to find a cat in their next go. It is also a source of some potential tantrums and tears for younger players if they felt confident that they were winning, only to have to give up all of their cards! The other element to the game is that they are six scarecrow cards (which together form a jigsaw puzzle type image of a scarecrow.) Once all of ...

How to prepare for the first day of school 05/09/2013

Preparing for School - My Tips For Parents

How to prepare for the first day of school As a mother of three boys, aged ten, six and three, I have had experience of settling youngsters in to a new school and am all too familiar with the anxieties for both parent and child. Earlier this week, my youngest son began pre-school at my older son’s first (primary) school, complete with full school uniform, despite only turning three a couple of week’s earlier! Emotional Issues My younger children had the advantage of being familiar with their future school before attending, simply through completing the school run to pick up their older sibling(s). I do think this made it much easier for them to adapt to the idea of going to school as it was already a familiar concept to them. For the first child in a family, it is really important to take them to see the school beforehand. Most schools are really conscious of this and hold open days or transition days where children have the opportunity to come into school beforehand, which helps to build up their confidence and makes the process of starting school slightly less daunting. I also think these introductory sessions are crucials for parents as it gives you a chance to meet the key members of staff, learn names and the practical details such as drop off times, parking areas and which doors/areas to wait for the children at the end of the day. Knowing all of these specific details can help to reduce anxiety for the parents which is often just as important as a stressed parent is likely to have an impact on the child’s ...

Leapfrog Tag Scooby Doo Book 27/08/2013

Zoinks! Scooby Doo has been Tagged!

McVities Jungle Friends 24/08/2013

The Animals Came in Packets of Two!

Baby Bjorn Carrier Cover City 12/08/2013

Baby Bjorn is Snug and Warm!

Baby Bjorn Carrier Cover City I was heavily reliant on my Baby Bjorn baby carrier when my youngest son was a baby. During early Autumn, my little one was very snug within the carrier, clothed in a warm padded snowsuit but as the weather became colder, I did start to worry that my son was a little too exposed to the elements and might need a little extra protection. The turning point came whilst heading out for the school run one afternoon, with perfectly clear skies on the horizon. And then out of nowhere came this enormous rain cloud and both my little one and I ended up getting absolutely drenched by the time we got home! I decided some form of cover was essential to keep my little one warm and dry whilst out in his sling. Fortunately, a quick search online revealed that Baby Bjorn do offer a product specifically for that purpose, although I found the selling price to be pretty high, with prices around £25-£30 for the cover alone. There are different colours available, to match different colours of carrier, but for some reason the 'City Black' shade was considerably cheaper (and more widely available) than other shades, so I purchased that version, even though my carrier is a navy blue version. Fortunately, when in place, the cover only leaves the straps and back of the carrier visible and the difference in colour isn't a real issue. It certainly looks more stylish, with a simple colour scheme and the distinctive Baby Bjorn logo and reflective silver piping, than attempting to wrap blankets around the ...

Waring WTK17BKU 15/07/2013

Don't Be Wary Of This Kettle!

Waring WTK17BKU I am a huge tea drinker and can't survive without regular cuppas, so it was something of a catastrophe for me when my kettle died on me one evening - especially as it was less than twelve months old and made by a brand (Tefal) that I'd previously had good experiences with. My husband offered to pick a new one up from Argos for me the next day as I was at work all day and the prospect of returning home without a hot cup of tea to welcome me back was more than I could bear. Unfortunately, that did mean that I didn't have any input into the choice of kettle and was greeted with this shiny black Waring model (WTK17BKU). I must admit that this isn't the style of kettle that I would have chosen. It is a very traditional design, with a rounded dome shape and an overarching handle. My personal preference would be a slimmer, more modern design as these tend to have a smaller footprint on my worktop. The surface area taken up by this Waring kettle is slightly larger than its predecessor which is an issue when space is limited. I was also unsure about the Waring label as this isn't a brand that I've ever heard of, let alone purchased, previously. It certainly has the appearance of being a premium kettle, rather than a budget brand and the price tag (£59.99 from Argos) suggested that this was a quality brand. My husband mistakenly believed that this was a brand created by the chef Marcus Wareing and confidently informed me that this was a good quality product on that basis. Turns out ...

Swan Teasmade 04/06/2013

I Wake Up to Something Hot and Steamy!

Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Cookie Nut Crunch 29/05/2013

Truly Marvellous

Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Cookie Nut Crunch Cadbury's Dairy Milk has to be one of my favourite brands of chocolate bar so it was pretty inevitable that I would try their new range of 'Marvellous Creations.' The range comprises of two different chocolate bars; one with 'Jelly Popping Candy Shells' and this 'Cookie Nut Crunch.' In the interests of making a fair comparison, I felt obliged to try both varieties. (There really are no limits to the sacrifices that I am prepared to take for reviewing purposes.) Price and Availability I picked up two of each variety in generous 200g sizes, although smaller 50g bars are also available for anybody with a little more willpower than I possess. Fortunately, for my purse, I found the new range on offer in Morrisons where I paid just £1.24 per bar. Whilst this doesn't initially sound anything out of the ordinary, it is when you consider that some supermarkets have been selling these bars for well over £3 each! For anybody reading this, I recommend making a quick dash over the Morrisons and stocking up whilst this generous offer is still on. (That's if there are any left on the shelves after I make a return trip!) Packaging and Design Sporting the traditional trademark purple colouring of Dairy Milk bars, these bars are easy to distinguish with 'Marvellous Creations' printed clearly across the front and a rather enticing image of the chocolate inside. The packaging is easy to rip open and Cadbury have rather thoughtfully designed the pack to be re-sealable, although that it isn't ...

Making Mirrors - Gotye 21/05/2013

You Can Get Addicted to a Certain Kind of Sadness

Making Mirrors - Gotye It's quite rare for me to buy albums nowadays, much less to purchase a CD on the strength of just one single but that is exactly what happened when I bought Gotye's 'Making Mirrors.' I think I had only listened to the hit single 'Somebody That I Used to Know' when I placed an order for the album online. I paid £8.99 for this album, containing 12 tracks, back in March 2012. Rather gallingly, it is currently possible to pick up a new CD for just £2.93 which seems an incredible price. The album is also available to download, although I'd personally recommend just downloading a few of the tracks rather than the album in its entirety. Although Gotye only really became known in the UK back in 2012, thanks to the instant success of the aforementioned 'Somebody That I Used to Know' this is actually his third album release. Belgian born Gotye emigrated to Australia as a young child and had considerable music success in Australia before becoming a name in the UK. I haven't listened to any of his previous albums and I haven't been tempted to seek them out on the strength of this album either, which might give some indication of my ambivalence towards this album. Unfortunately, despite my high expectations, this album opens really weakly, with a whimper rather than a bang. The opening track 'Making Mirrors' is one of the poorest on the album as a whole so a very poor choice as an introduction to the rest of the album and one that made me doubting the merits of my purchase from the ...

E45 Dermatological Moisturising Lotion 26/04/2013

Simply Soft Skin

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