- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
In my opinion the Co-op own brand dark chocolate is one of the best and most delicious dark chocolates available. And I've tasted a lot of dark chocolate.
Their range includes a few varieties. There's 70% cocoa solids, and 86%. There's also one with little pieces of hazelnut and one with orange oil in.
The 70% is delicious and my husband's all time favourite chocolate.
The 86% is good but I'll take the slightly sweeter 70% over it on most days. When the 70% is sold out I'll definitely buy and enjoy this though.
They nutty one is my favourite, I love the texture and extra crunch.
The orange wild card option is lovely too.
Their packaging is nice and simple in dark elegant colours and design. It has a cardboard outer sleeve with a foil inner sheet for freshness.
The chocolate is flavoursome and creamy. All the above chocolates are suitable for vegans which is good news for me. I like my chocolate to be cruelty-free.
They come in 150g bars and I've seen the orange one in a smaller size too. It has nice large squares to break off that are fairly thin.
The price is around £1.50 which is on a par with Tesco own brand and I would definitely prefer to eat this chocolate over the Tesco Finest range. It has lots more flavour and seems of superior quality.
The Co-op varies in what they stock from store to store so it's good to stock up on these if you're lucky enough to see them for sale.
This was a gift for my daughters second birthday. The box of beads are beautiful and she was immediately taken with them when she opened them. I thought that she would need a chunkier bead set before being able to lace these as the beads are quite small but she got the hang of it quickly. There are a number of brightly coloured laces with this set that have hard ends like shoelaces which makes for easy threading.
The set contains one large wooden tray which has been useful for playing with the beads and has become multi purpose and used with other toys too.
It contains lots of brightly coloured wooden beads in lots of different shapes and sizes. My daughter enjoys sorting them into colours and shapes as much as threading them. It contains long laces as mentioned.
I had one issue with this set, it did not contain the clasps that it was supposed to, so my daughter was unable to make necklaces properly. I emailed the company explaining it was a gift so I couldn't return it to the shop and requested they send me a pack of clasps. I didn't even receive a response, which is obviously terrible customer service. Disappointing as this brand is associated with good quality.
The beads don't cone with a container other than the open tray so we use a tea tin for storage to avoid having beads everywhere.
I would recommend this set but hope I was just unlucky on the quality control!
My daughter had this grobag for age 6 - 18 months and she has now outgrown it but it was a well used and much loved purchase. I feel comfortable using the gro company for her sleeping bags as they are well established and provide a guide to safe sleeping on their website. They also provide a guide as to how warmly you should dress your child for bed and even enclose a disposable thermometer. I didn't use this as we had a thermometer already for her bedroom so I cannot comment on how well this works.
The bag was a nice cosy 2.5 tog which was good to use for most of the year except for the warmest part of the Summer. As it got colder I dressed her in more layers rather than use a thicker tog. The bag is soft and comfortable with a cotton lining and outer layer. It is easy to take on and off with poppers at the shoulders and zippers along the sides.
This particular pattern is interesting enough without being so bright and distracting that it's too much fun to get her to sleep. However on those occasions when our sleepy child was not happy about having her hair dried or whatever the dogs and cats on the front were useful to talk about and she enjoyed pointing them all out to us.
My daughter is a quite active in her sleep so I much prefer the use of a sleeping bag like this to contain her and keep her warm to a blanket which would be kicked off within minutes.
I highly recommend this sleeping bag and I bought the next size up from the same gro company.
I have bought quite a few different toothbrushes in all shapes and sizes for my toddler since she cut her first baby tooth and these turtle ones are my preferred ones. For a start they are inexpensive, at £1 each I can afford to buy them regularly as they get chewed up quite quickly and need replacing on a regular basis.
They come in a range of bright colours of pink, yellow, green, blue and purple and my daughter enjoys choosing which colour to buy.
The bristles are soft but they do a good job of cleaning her teeth.
The shape of the brush makes it comfortable for her small hands to hold the brush and clean her own teeth. Equally, it is easy for me or her Dad to hold and brush her teeth for her. The handle has a turtle shell pattern on it which gives a nice texture to hold which doesn't slip around and also is interesting for her to look at. In fact she gets quite excited about getting a new toothbrush and usually insists on holding the packaged brush all the way around the supermarket while we do the rest of the shopping. This enthusiasm is much appreciated when it comes to persuading a toddler to brush their teeth, as a less attractive and child friendly brush would make this twice daily ritual much harder work I am sure.
I highly recommend these toothbrushes for little people. According to the Tesco website they are BDHF approved.
I like the body shop products but usually my purchases there are limited to their make up range. I received this blueberry body butter as a gift and as gifts go, it was a nice one.
I love blueberries anyway so this was a good choice for me. It was a nice big tub with a good amount of cream in it - 250ml I think so I felt happy to use it generously. The cream applied really nicely after a shower and felt quite luxurious, not greasy at all. I really dislike moisturising cream that doesn't absorb into the skin quickly so I was pleased that this was good to use even straight out of the shower.
The smell was delicious, as with most body shop products, and made it a pleasure to use. I would happily purchase this or buy it for someone for a gift. I have looked at the prices of the body shop body butters and they normally retail at around £14 but it seems they often have special offers on. I have to say I wouldn't spend the full amount on this product, not because I don't think it's nice enough, just that I wouldn't spend that much on a moisturising body cream full stop.
The tub has a twist / screw lid and is large and flat and easy to store. It has a picture on the lid of fresh blueberries, which is nice. I would definitely recommend this product, its lovely. It is also suitable for vegans.
I'd really love it if my child ate nothing processed and happily ate all the fresh whole foods I offered her on a daily basis but sadly she prefers things that come out of a brightly coloured packet. As processed foods go, you could do worse than the Organix brand because they don't contain too many horrible ingredients. Also they are widely available which makes it easy to find a snack for your toddler when you're caught out with no food if you're as disorganised as I sometimes (usually) am.
My toddler likes many items from the Organix range but her total favourite is the carrot cake oaty bar, or as she calls them, 'flapjacks'.
The ingredients are:
Wholegrain Oats 46%, Raisins 32%, Sunflower Oil 12%, Carrot Juice Concentrate 7%, Apple Juice Concentrate 2%, Cinnamon
Pretty much all of the toddlers I know are also fans of these bars, so they are obviously popular. I find them to be quite an expensive food product at around £2.50 for a box of six bars but Tesco often have them on special offer at two boxes for £4 which is a little better.
The packaging is nice a bright and the individual wrappers make it convenient to carry one in your bag for a handy snack for your child. They are a substantial snack for a small person and seem to fill my little girl up for quite a while. She really does enjoy them and I think they are quite tasty too.
Other than just a straight up chunk of dark chocolate, this is my go to after dinner vegan sweet treat. These desserts are delicious. They are made from soya beans, and are produced by Alpro, the Belgian company who have pretty much cornered the market on soya based products in the UK.
These desserts come in packs of four little pots with a peel back aluminium lid covering. There is a cardboard packaging around the plastic pots. You can choose from a range of flavours including 'milk' chocolate, vanilla and gingerbread but I think the dark chocolate wins hands down. These desserts are available for around £1.50 in major supermarkets in the UK and are occasionally on special offer for £1 each.
These desserts are suitable for vegans, they are low in fat and don't contain gluten or artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives. Having said that they are obviously still a highly processed product and I only indulge in one of these once or twice per week. At 94 calories per 100g they are pretty much average for a sweet treat.
Alpro claim to be environmentally friendly as a company which is nice to know, because I plan to continue to buy their products for a long time! The chocolate mousse itself is lovely and smooth in texture. It is rich and sweet but not overly sickly. I find the amount to be comfortable after a big meal - I always crave something sweet after a meal even if I'm quite full.
This is a really good granola. Which in my opinion means it's not overly sweet like the Jordans country crisp style cereals, it doesn't contain raisins or other dried fruit, and it's very crunchy.
I like dried fruit but I'd rather buy a plain granola and add fresh banana and berries.
The oats and grains aren't bunched toget her in large clumps like some granola, they are quite small and you can see the individual oats.
The bags of Lizi's granola have a nice packaging with a good quality feel to them. You would expect no less considering this is an expensive product. Lizi's granola are priced at £3.69 in Tesco for a 500 gram bag, so are an ocasional treat for me, although I would love to buy these every week and eat them most mornings. In fact, I really like granola as a snack before bed.
Lizi's granolas come in a range of flavours, I have bought the begin chocolate one before, which was just delicious and seemed really decadent. I was impressed that their whole range is suitable for vegans.
When reading the ingredients of this range of granola it's clear they are intended to be a cereal with good health in mind. As well as oats they contain a variety of nuts and seeds, including linseed,pumpkin seed, cashew,hazelnut, and walnut. They also contain vanilla for extra deliciousness.
Granola doesn't have to be just eaten with milk poured on, Lizi's has a serving suggestion of added to ice cream. Sounds good to me.
Everyone should see the documentary Blackfish in my opinion. This powerful film documents the captive Orca Tilikum at the sea life animal park, Sea World in San Diego, USA. More widely it documents the policies and practices of Sea World itself, which are shown to disregard wellbeing.
There have been three high profile deaths of trainers working at Sea World, involving Tilikum, who the film argues has a tendency to violence following his captivity in 1983 and subsequent mistreatment.
The film includes footage of trainers working with Orcas and footage of some of the attacks. It makes it point very powerfully via insightful interviews with past trainers. Sea World is accused of being highly negligent not only in its treatment of the animals it keeps captive but also towards its staff. Dawn Brancheau, for example, was blamed for her own death in 2010 because she had worn her hair in a ponytail.
For me the most moving scene was an interview of an ex employee of Sea World describing the capture of Orca babies from the wild, chasing them, and taking them from their families. This man breaking down in tears of regret and shame was unforgettable.
Blackfish received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics for its passionate style of documentary making. It was released in 2013 and directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
Blackfish has sparked controversy over the ethics of keeping Orcas in captivity and following the film's release Sea World's Chief executive resigned and Sea World has experienced a drop in profits.
Tiana extra virgin coconut oil is available for around £12.50 in Holland and Barrett for a 500ml jar. You can sometimes get this product in their penny sale, where you buy one and get another for one pence, which is really worthwhile as it's a fairly expensive product.
Coconut oil seems to have grown in popularity in the UK and USA in recent years. Of course it has long been a staple in Asia, even being used as an alternative to fuel to run motor vehicles with.
Despite its high saturated fat content coconut oil supposedly has some amazing health benefits. In fact there seems to be some controversy about the pros and cons of coconut oil for our health.
I do like to cook with coconut oil as it has a lovely subtle nutty flavour and is particularly good in curries, which I make a lot. It also works very well in making raw snacks instead of baking as it is solid at room temperature. Well, the usual room temperature in the United Kingdom, anyhow.
There are lots of ways you can use this coconut oil besides cooking or eating it. I use it directly on my daughter's skin at the first sign of dry skin or eczema and it has fantastic results. I know it has no added strong chemicals either so it is a great choice for babies and children, it also doesn't matter if they happen to swallow some either. I have used it as a massage oil to relax my little girl before bedtime too.
Other uses apparently include a low spf sun protector when used on the skin, to make soap, use as hair conditioner, to treat insect bites and as a lip balm.
The very busy spider is a children's book by Eric Carle, of the very hungry caterpillar fame.
I have bought quite a few Eric Carle books for my daughter as I knew and loved the very hungry caterpillar from my own childhood.
The very busy spider also has beautifully charming illustrations in Eric Carle's trademark style.
The book shows a spider spinning a web. Each page sees a different farm animal invite the spider to go and to something fun with them. For instance the horse asks if she wants to run in the meadow. Each time we find, 'the spider didn't answer. She was very busy spinning her web'. We meet a dog, a pig, a cat, a cow, and a rooster, among others. This gives babies the opportunity to learn the names of different animals as well as the sounds they make, as each animal opens with 'neigh' or 'moo' and so on.
The spider web itself is textured, adding a nice sensory element to this book, and we can see how it grows as the pages turn.
This is a board book, and can be enjoyed from a very young age.
At the end of the story the Web is complete and the spider falls fast asleep after such a busy day. This makes this a perfect bedtime story. Exciting books are great but all parents need ones like this in the collection to help with winding down for bedtime.
I like this book, and my daughter has had it from a very young age and is still entertained by it now.
The Cabin in the Woods was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard and was directed by Drew Goddard and produced by Joss Whedon. I was excited to see it because I'm a bit of a Joss Whedon fan, having enjoyed Buffy, Angel and most of all Dollhouse.
I wasn't disappointed with The Cabin in the Woods, it retains Whedon's clever teen dialogue and was an original take on the horror/ slasher genre - no easy task.
The action takes place in a cabin where a group of college students are holidaying. They are unknowingly being watched and manipulated by a group of lab technicians in a high tech bunker who are evidently controlling an annual ritual to appease some unspecified higher power. This seems to involve creatively sacrificing some teenagers around the world. The stakes are high as we hear that other nations have failed in this year's task.
The teens play a part in their own demise, their actions can trigger different monsters and we see the workers at the facility taking bets on which monster it will be this year.
This is all done with a lot of dark humour which I really enjoyed. The cast are solid, with stand out performances by Fran Kanz who plays the intelligent consipracy-theorist stoner Marty and by Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins who are the duo we follow at the facility. This pair have some very funny scenes.
The Cabin in the Woods was released in 2012 and received a positive reaction from critics.
I bought one of these sleeved bibs for my Daughter when she was approaching six months and I was starting to think about offering her solid foods. I knew it was going to be a particularly messy process as I was skipping the spoon feeding of pureed foods and was planning on letting her get stuck in to baby led weaning. This meant she would be given a variety of food that she could pick up, mash up, taste if she wanted and generally play with and explore a range of different foods.
In my excitement I bought this massively overpriced bib - what was I thinking? I hadn't yet discovered the sleeved bibs available at the pound shop that would become my go to shop for bibs in future. Jojo Maman Bebe is a relatively expensive high street store but I do admit that their products are very pretty, and this bib was no exception. It was a soft plastic in yellow with a print of little pink birds. The sleeves had elasticated wrists and the neck fastens with velcro. There is a plastic pocket on the front of the bib to catch spills.
Apart from looking pretty, I didn't actually rate this bib that much. Poundland bibs don't have elasticated wrists but food and drink never seemed to go up my daughter's sleeves anyway. Plastic is wipe clean, but the towelling bibs are better for mopping up, in my experience. Also my daughter found it more uncomfortable than other bibs. Maybe it would be worth having one of these in your collection if you are planning to go to a posh function where you need to feed your six month old and you know it's going to get messy.
The Way Way Back is a lovely, funny coming of age movie in my opinion.
Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, this was new territory for me as the only part I was familiar with of their previous work was Jim Rash's Community.
The Way Way Back brings us a shy teenager Duncan who is spending the Summer at with his Mum, her arrogant boyfriend and the boyfriend's obnoxious Daughter, at their seaside vacation home.
The opening scene skillfully introduces everything you need to know about the dynamics of this family and the subtle bullying taking place. The pace is slow but steady with this movie, and there is a lot of low key humour as we follow Duncan in his self development over the Summer.
Duncan finds himself a job at a local run down water park, and here he finds a place to belong. The park's owner, Owen, is brilliantly played by Sam Rockwell and becomes an unlikely father figure for Duncan. This friendship enables Duncan to develop confidence and there are some really touching scenes between them.
As well as Sam Rockwell, the rest of the cast are also very good. Steve Carrell is perfect at the mean boyfriend, but not too heavy handed. Toni Collette is great as the passive but loving mother, this could be a really two dimensional role but she has depth.
I would definitely watch this movie again, I really liked it.
The Way Way Back was released in 2013 to a mostly positive reception.
I use rice a lot in cooking, it is one of the staples in our household. Usually therefore, it makes sense to buy in bulk and cook the rice from scratch. However, in the interests of convenience and to save time I sometimes buy these pre cooked steamed rice packs from Tilda.
This 250g pack makes a good serving for one person at lunch, or as a side at an evening meal. I would never normally have time to cook rice at lunchtime, so this is a really handy product to have in the store cupboard.
The pack is super easy to open, it has a handy strip to tear off at the top. The rice is kept fresh by the packaging and I've never had any problems with this rice packet.
I usually add other ingredients to the rice. Brown basmati is a nice grain and does have a good nutty flavour as stated on the front of the packet, but when fried in coconut oil with some soy sauce and a handful of chopped spinach and some spring onions it really comes to life.
Tilda make a variety of these rices and I have tried a few of these including lime and coriander, brown basmati and quinoa and sun dried tomato basmati. They have all been tasty.
As a convenient pre prepared food item I would expect these rice packs to be on the expensive side, but they are often on special offer for two for two pounds so I tend to look out for these offers and stock up a little.