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since 18/11/2006


The One You Really Want - Jill Mansell 29/04/2012

One you will want to read

The One You Really Want - Jill Mansell I had not come across Jill Mansell before I read this novel, I selected it at random along with another book just because I wanted to do a bit more reading, but nothing too heavy. I bought “The One You Really Want…..” in Sainsburys on a two books for £7.00 offer. Overall I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others. The story evolves around the lives of Nancy, Carmen, and then Mia and a circle of other characters that connects the main characters and keeps the story going. We are firstly introduced to Nancy, who is married and lives in Scotland, we come across Nancy at Christmas when she is talking on the telephone with her best friend Carmen, and they are discussing a very strange present that Nancy has received from her husband for Christmas. I did find this quite a funny start to a novel and wasn’t quite sure where it was going to develop from this beginning, but it did surprise me and it did engage me. We are also introduced to Nancy’s mother Rose. Despite beginning in Scotland the story moves quickly to London and this is where it is mostly centred.Although the story begins with Nancy the main character, in my view, is Carmen and everything and everyone leads from and to her, she is the pivot to the story. Carmen is the widow of a pop star and although it is a few years from her husband’s death she still has not addressed her grief and so is living her life in a kind of insulated bubble, not really interacting with anyone or actively partaking in her own ...

Kelloggs Coco Pops Cereal & Milk Bars 21/09/2010

No monkeying around with this cereal bar

Kelloggs Coco Pops Cereal & Milk Bars I buy these snack bars for my seven year old son, he eats Coco Pops for his breakfast most days and was keen to try the snack bar. I buy the bars in a box of six, you can also buy them singly. Each bar is 20gs and is packaged in an individual wrapper, within a yellow cardboard box. The wrapper is very distinctive, it is bright yellow with Coco Pops Cereal and Milk Bar written on it, there is also a picture of Coco the Coco Pop’s monkey. Each bar contains 84kcals, 2gs of fat and 0.1g of salt, they are made from Kellogg’s Coco Pops, which are a rice based cereal and they have cocoa powder and calcium as well as other ingredients but these are the headliners. The bar is basically a rectangular shape and is made up of compressed Coco Pops with a white layer, the milk. The bars are crunchy rather than chewy, although the white layer is a bit chewy. Personally I don’t eat these bars, it is my son who eats them, but I have tried them and they are not too bad. I don’t really like Coco Pops but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of these and I could eat them if I had to. They taste chocolaty but surprisingly they are not overly sweet, I have eaten sweeter supposedly healthy cereal bars. They a have a good texture and are not sticky but chewy and the individual Coco Pops have retained their crispness. My son eats these as a snack and if he was allowed he would eat two or three at a time, he really enjoys them. I haven’t bought these as a breakfast replacement but ...

Haribo Maoam Stripes 08/09/2010

Chewy, fruity Maoam.

Haribo Maoam Stripes There is always a supply of sweets in our home, I have three small children who love sweets and a husband with an even sweeter tooth than the children. I try to buy bags of sweets that the children can have one every now and again without eating a whole packet. Maoam Stripes are made by Haribo, we buy the 180g bag and in the bag there are a number of different flavour chews: strawberry, orange, cherry, raspberry and apple. The chews are individually wrapped in a sealed coloured wrapper, indicating the flavour of each sweet, a green wrapper for the apple flavour, a red for the strawberry, orange for the orange flavour etc. Each chew is rectangular in shape and measures approx 5.5cm long and 2.5ccm wide. The packaging has cartoon characters of the different fruits having fun such as surfing. The packaging is quite eye catching, mostly red with a transparent panel through which you can see the sweets. It is very obvious from the packaging that the chews are made by Maoam and they are called "Stripes". These chews are very fruity, quite tart in taste but each flavour is very distinctive. The chews are white in colour with little flecks of flavour through them, they are not stick to the touch. They are definitely very chewy and flexible, they are soft, they taste of the flavour they are supposed to be and they kind of make you screw up your face when you first put them in your mouth. I find the chews are quite tasty, they make your mouth water when you are eating them and they ...

Always and Forever - Cathy Kelly 19/08/2010

A very readable story

Always and Forever - Cathy Kelly I have just finished this Cathy Kelly novel and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t a “can’t put down” novel but it was a very good read. It has good characterisation, a decent plot and the story is well developed. The story centres on three main characters Cleo, Mel and Daisy, although all three are from the same Irish town their paths do not cross until they all have reason to go to a newly opened Spa and health resort, Cloud’s Hill. At Cloud’s Hill they come in contact with and are influenced by the mysterious Leah. Leah is an American who comes to Carrickwell, the town of the story, in search of the ideal property in which to open a Spa, she discovers a run down large house in the hills above Carrickwell. The story opens with a prologue and finished with an epilogue given us both an insight into the background of the story and a little bite more information on the characters after the story finishes. The writing style of the novel is very laid back and conversational in places. The structure of the novel is that it is set into chapters, the different chapters deal with episodes in the three character’s lives and how they come to needing to go to Cloud’s Hill. The three main characters are very likeable, all female with slightly different lifestyles and are of different ages, Cleo the youngest in her twenties, Daisy in her mid thirties and Mel just into her forties. The main characters have other minor characters around them and we are introduced to some of ...

TY Peppa Pig Buddy 14/08/2010

Peppa Pig Beanie, Oink! Oink!

TY Peppa Pig Buddy This Ty Beanie, from The Beanie Babies Collection is Peppa Pig from the cartoon series. It is basically a soft plush cuddly toy made by Ty. The swing tag on Peppa reads "Peppa Pig. Peppa likes to play in muddy puddles!" In the cartoon series Peppa and her brother George spend much of their time jumping in muddy puddles. Ty are famous for their series of Beanie toys and in this collection there are other characters from the series that can be collected, such as George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig and some of the other characters. Peppa is about six inches in height she has a red dress on, the dress is not removable, the toy can only be surface washed. Peppa is holding her own teddy bear in her hand/trotter. Peppa is smiling and she does look very cute, she does have a good resemblance to the cartoon character and is easily recognised as such. Like all Beanie babies, Peppa is filled with little beads/beans and is quite cuddly, if you don't mind the odd bump. The snout and face are soft to the touch as they do not contain any beans. Peppa has a curly tail that can be extended then it springs back. This toy was bought for my two year old son. To be honest it doesn't get played with all that much, but occasionally it is dragged from the toy box to get played with. The toy doesn't do anything but children can use their imagination to act out scenes, my son often talks to his cuddly toys. Personally I don't really get the whole Beanie thing but it is a pleasant enough little toy. It ...

Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs 10/08/2010

Which came first........?

Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs I have three children the oldest is nine and the youngest is two and all three have thoroughly enjoyed playing with our Tomy Hide ‘n’ Squeak eggs. Basically the toy is a plastic egg box containing six toy eggs, the toy is dual purpose, it is a shape sorter and a discovery toy. The egg box is similar in size to a real egg box, it is plastic and is bright yellow, and it has TOMY embossed on the lid. There is a little catch to ensure the box stays securely fastened when it is closed, it can be a little hard for children to open the box but mine were able to master it quite quickly. Inside the egg box there are six individual eggs, each about the size of a real large egg, on the flatter part of the egg there is a little shape that helps fit the egg into the egg box. Each egg has its own shape on the bottom, heart, square, triangle, cross, circle and star. Children can have great fun sorting the eggs into their correct place. The outer “shell” of each egg is white, and each one has a little face with different individual expressions, eyes closed, one with one eye open as if winking, another with eyes wide open. The eggs split in two, so when they hatch, inside each shell there is a little chick, there are 2 blue chicks, 2 purple and 2 yellow. Each little chick can be pressed down and as it does so it lets out a little “cheep”, my youngest son finds this little cheep very amusing, his favourite game is to press down the little chick behind you so as to surprise you and make you ...

Hilton London Paddington, London 31/07/2010

Only 3 stars for this 4 star hotel

Hilton London Paddington, London I recently had a one night stay at the Hilton, Paddington in London, it was a celebratory weekend with 3 ladies I have been friends with since primary school. We had all turned 40 the year before but this was our first opportunity to celebrate together. As this was a special occasion we thought we would come to London for the weekend and have a real treat, somewhere nice to stay, some shopping, eating and drinking and more shopping. Hence we decided to book a suite at the Hilton, it was the most convenient for us as we were flying into Heathrow and also we were meeting up with a friend who was travelling to London by train. We booked our suite for Saturday 26th June 2010. We specifically wanted a suite as it advised online that there were suites that would sleep four adults. I have to say that getting to the Paddington Hilton was a breeze, we literally flew into Heathrow, got the Heathrow express to Paddington and walked about 4 minutes through Paddington station and into the hotel just off the concourse. The hotel has its own direct entrance/exit from the station and it was so simple to get to, this was very important for four women travelling to the big city for a visit. Our first impression of the hotel was very good, we arrived from the Paddington station entrance which is at the back of the hotel so we walked through the bar area and found a table to sit at to wait for our friend. The bar area was pleasant, clean and the seating was comfortable. We ordered some drinks, ...

Morphy Richards 44082 17/07/2010

Raise a toast to this kitchen appliance

Morphy Richards 44082 In my kitchen I have the usual array of kitchen appliances, large and small and one of the smaller ones is perhaps one of the most used. There are very few days that pass in our home when our Morphy Richards 44082 toaster is not in use. I have three young children and at some point in the average day I will make toast, or toast pancakes or muffins so our toaster gets a good deal of usage. The Morphy Richards 44082 is a good all round toaster it is a dual slot toaster that can do four slices of bread or two slices at a time, thick or thin slices, it can also take muffins, pancakes, bagels etc. My children usually have pancakes at bedtime and the toaster heats them quickly and mostly successfully, as long as I have set the heat to the right setting. The toaster is sliver in colour, it is not a stainless steel or aluminium toaster, I had these previously and couldn’t be bothered with the constant having to wipe finger marks off the shiny surface. This toaster is sliver coloured, kind of sparkly and the outside is made of plastic, it does not get hot to the touch when in use. The settings are easy to adjust and it is very simple to operate, plug it in, put in your toast, choose your setting and just push down the handle. There is an oval digital display panel on the front of the toaster, the display lights up when the toaster is switched on, the toaster defaults to a standard setting when it is turned off then on again, it automatically defaults to heat setting three for ...

Sensodyne Pronamel for Children 15/07/2010

Even children can have sensitive teeth

Sensodyne Pronamel for Children I am a mother of three children and I want to ensure their teeth are looked after to prevent cavities and the resultant fillings. I take my children to the dentist every six months and have done since they were about two years old. My two boys have very good teeth and hopefully with a good dental regime their teeth will remain strong and healthy. However my daughter has inherited a problem with her teeth meaning that the enamel is patchy on her teeth, in some parts the enamel is very thin or even non-existent so we have to be extra careful with her oral hygiene. My dentist has coated by daughter’s teeth to try and protect them by reinforcing the enamel but we also need to ensure she brushes her teeth regularly, avoids sugary foods and fizzy drinks. I have sensitive teeth and my dentist recommended I use the Pronamel range from Sensodyne, I noticed they also have a children’s’ Pronamel toothpaste so I have been buying this for my children for about a year. I spoke to my dentist about using this toothpaste for my children and he was very much in favour of doing so. My children brush their teeth twice a day with the Pronamel for children and so far the results have been positive, my sons have not had any cavities and my daughter’s teeth have not deteriorated. None of my children have complained of toothache nor had any episodes of sensitivity over the last six or eight months. The toothpaste is quite minty but not overpowering, the children find it quite pleasant, and it has ...

Hobby Club Apartments, Pollenca 12/07/2010

Turn a hobby into a holiday

Hobby Club Apartments, Pollenca We recently returned from a family holiday to Majorca, we stayed in Puerto Pollensa in the Hobby Club Apartments. There were 4 adults and 3 children in our party – me, my husband, my mother and father, and our 3 children aged 9, 6 and 3. It had been a number of years since our last holiday abroad and as our children were off school for the last few days in May and the first few at the beginning of June I decided to book a break away. We went on holiday from 29th May to 5th June. I booked the holiday in March and it cost around £2100 for the 7 of us for 1 week self-catering at the Hobby Club Apartments. I booked online with Falcon Holidays, part of the Thomson Group. Finding and booking the holiday was very easy, I searched the internet and found what I thought was suitable and booked it. The booking process was very straightforward, just basically an electronic booking form. I paid an initial deposit on my credit card and then paid the outstanding balance 3 weeks before we departed. I had no problems with any aspect of the online booking. The ticket book for the holiday was sent to me about 10 days before departure. We had been to Majorca previously, both before we were married and shortly after I had my second child but we had not been abroad with all 3 of the children. I decided to book Majorca because the flight is relatively short, approx 2 hours 45 minutes and I thought for the time of year we were going the weather would be good but not too hot. I also wanted ...

Piz Buin Allergy Sun Lotion Spf 30 06/07/2010

You won't break out with this cream

Piz Buin Allergy Sun Lotion Spf 30 As part of the preparation for my recent family holiday I needed to buy sun protection creams for the whole family. We all needed strong protection but two of my children suffer with quite bad eczema and I get really bad prickly heat, even when at home. I needed to buy sun protection that would suit all of our skin types and that would also provide the required level of sun protection. I did a lot of internet research and finally decided I would try the Piz Buin Allergy Range. The range is advertised as being effective for those who are prone to skin allergies and with sensitive skin. I bought a number of the Piz Buin Allergy products ranging from SPF50 to SPF 15. I bought the lotion as I thought it would be easily applied and also because it seemed to be the most reasonably priced. The products range from around £11 to £15 for a 200ml bottle, when I bought ours it was on buy one, get one free in Boots. The Piz Buin products are quite distinctive they come in brown plastic containers with very distinctive orange lettering. I don’t know anything about the science behind sun screens so I assume the levels of protection are as described on the bottles, my main concern was that they would do their job without any of us having a reaction to the product or coming out in the dreaded prickly heat. I also wanted something that wouldn’t have an overpowering smell, I always find sun care products have a very strong smell and it always makes me feel quite nauseous. I can confirm that ...

Belling IDW604 03/07/2010

No more dirty dishes

Belling IDW604 I have absolutely no technical expertise or ability, I have written this review purely from how I have found the dishwasher over the past year. The technical specification etc is available on the product description, or can be viewed at the manufacturer’s website I have had this model of dishwasher for 12 months now and to date I have no complaints. I have found the machine to be reliable and delivers on its promises. We are a family of 5, that is 2 adults and 3 children so we do generate quite a large amount of washing up during the day. Generally I use the dishwasher each day for the dishes from the breakfast and dinner, we are usually at work during the day so there are not too many lunch time dishes, except at the weekends and I still do only one wash a day. This is a fully integrated dishwasher from Belling. I bought this as a replacement for the original dishwasher that was installed with my kitchen. My husband installed the appliance himself and had no problems with connection or with the attachment of the external door, the external door slots onto the front of the dishwasher. There are two shelves in the dishwasher, both are retractable and the cutlery holder sits in the bottom shelf. I have found the machine very easy to use, with the controls located inside the top of the door. I usually use the economy cycle, this lasts just over an hour and have found my dishes to be satisfactory when the cycle is finished. The only slight quibble I have is ...

Decleor Nourishing Comfort Hand Cream 19/06/2010

Not hands up for this cream

Decleor Nourishing Comfort Hand Cream I received some Decleor nourishing and soothing hand cream as a Christmas present from my sister-in-law. I am at an age when my skin is beginning to change and I need to take care of it to avoid it looking too old too soon. I have noticed that the skin on my hands seems to be showing signs of ageing – dryness, wrinkles and pigmentation changes. I use the Decleor hand cream at night before I go to bed, perhaps I should use it more often. I haven't really noticed much difference in my hands, but perhaps the secret is that it will slow the signs of age rather than reverse any existing signs. The information on the back of the packaging states that the cream will “nourish and smooth”, “helps reduce signs of ageing” and helps “reduce excessive perspiration”. The ingredients include: • Meadow foam oil; • Shea butter; • Parsley; • Dyer’s weed; • Bearberry plant complex; • Vitamin E Ester; • Cypress essential oil; and • There is a host of other ingredients and chemicals, but I will not list them all. It only takes a little of the cream to cover the hands, it is quite a fluid cream, not runny but has quite a wet feeling. It has a very distinct smell, quite a manufactured smell, not natural, this is pleasant in small doses but could be a little overpowering if you apply too much. It could be the Shea Butter that gives it the distinctive smell. The cream soaks into the skin very easily and it doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy. The directions advise to apply everyday, and I ...

Wibbly Pig Is Happy - Mick Inkpen 11/06/2010

You will be as happy as a pig in .... with this book!

Wibbly Pig Is Happy - Mick Inkpen Wibbly Pig is happy, but what could be the cause of this joy? This delightful little board book written by the celebrated children’s author Mick Inkpen finds us enjoying the beach with Wibbly and his pet puppy. My youngest son got this lovely book as a present at Christmas, he is only 2 so cannot read on his own yet, this is very much a read aloud sharing book. He is now at the stage where he can enjoy the story by himself as he can follow the story through the excellent illustrations. This is a very simple story, in a very simple format. The book is only 14 pages long, on each set of facing pages one has text and illustrations and the other only illustrations. The illustrations are very clear and well defined, it is very obvious from the picture what is happening in the story. The language is very straightforward and to be honest there is very little text, many of the pages with text have only four words. The story opens with Wibbly skipping along with his bucket and spade in his hand. This is a wonderful opening image for my son as he absolutely loves going to the beach and building sandcastles. Each set of pages shows Wibbly engaged in an activity, building sandcastles, eating ice-cream, being splashed by the water. My son is fascinated by the expressions on Wibbly’s face and the emotions he is displaying, my son empathises with Wibbly at each different stage of the story. Wibbly does suffer a minor set back and is indeed upset for a little while, but the outcome of the ...

Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel 08/06/2010

Green is for go with this gel

Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel We have just returned from a one week break in Majorca, myself, husband and the three children, it was half term so decided we would look for a holiday. My children are young so I didn’t want long flights, Majorca is just long enough for them not to get tetchy. As part of my preparation for the holiday I bought the usual assortment of sun creams, all high factors as the children are young and also my husband and I are both fair and don’t tan easily, just burn so I wanted to keep us all safe. I also purchased some Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel, basically an after sun moisturiser. My husband and I had come across Banana Boat a number of years ago, we had purchased some sun cream on holiday and it had the Banana Boat Aloe Vera as a free gift. Because of my hair colour, ginger, and my skin colouring I do try very hard not to get burnt and generally don’t expose my skin too much however even if not burnt I do find my skin requires some extra moisturising when on holiday. Since coming across the Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel is has become a holiday staple for us and is always purchased along with the sun creams. The Banana Boat Aloe Vera is very distinctive, it comes in a plastic bottle with a yellow top and yellow writing on the front, the gel is bright green, and it reminds me a bit of the colour of original Fairy Liquid. The gel is not runny, it is quite solid but comes out of the bottle very easily when the bottle is squeezed. I have seen 2 sizes of bottle, the smaller 230gms bottle ...
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