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Sainsbury's value tea bags are incredibly good value. The price ranges between 27-30p for a box of 80 tea-bags. In addition, you do not need to choose between good value and good ethics as they are Fair-trade. The Fair-trade mark guarantees farmers have been paid a set price for their products, that they are grown in decent conditions without child-labour and a social premium is also paid to their local community to support schools etc.
The most surprising thing about the tea-bags to me is that they are Fair-trade at such a low price. I pondered how they could do this, and wondered if perhaps they are a loss-leader to get you to go into their stores (they only sell these tea-bags in their larger stores and not in their smaller convenience stores). Or perhaps the middle-man is not getting such a big mark-up as usual. The other explanation is that they are using a system called mass-balance. In the same way that you don't get the exact same bank notes that you paid in to your bank when you withdraw money, you're not guaranteed to get the actual fair-trade tea leaves, but you know that somewhere a farmer has been paid a fair price for the same amount of tea. This cuts out a lot of the administrative costs in tracking the tea and keeping it separate.
So, how do they taste? I and my family really like the tea they make although I suspect that they are on the weak side. However, this makes them ideal for brewing in a mug ? I find many other makes of tea too strong when I do this. The tea-bags do come in pairs attached to each other and have to be torn apart so if you like very strong tea then you could just use them two at a time. We generally use a pair of tea-bags if we're making a tea-pot full.
In terms of packaging: the tea-bags come in a basic card box which can be recycled, which is wrapped in cellophane. The tea-bags are not wrapped further inside, as tea-bags from other manufacturers are, but that's fine by me as I think that's overkill ? we just transfer them straight into our ceramic tea caddy (which has a rubber seal to ensure the tea-bags stay dry).
My daughter was delighted to be given the pink version of this rocking horse for her first birthday by her grandparents. She played with it a lot over the next year - she has been very active her whole life and love active toys. It is very safe to use and proved very good value.
What type of rocking horse to choose?
In an ideal world I would have chosen a more traditional rocking horse with complete with wooden rockers, reins, stirrups, fur and a mane that can be brushed - the kind of thing that you imagine in a perfect nursery. In the real world however, this rocking horse is more suited to the way my daughter plays with toys (circus style bareback riding whilst standing up and holding on with one hand anyone?), a lot safer as it is designed not to tip, and a lot more affordable.
Our version is all pink except for the eyes, which are a conventional black circle within a white circle and the small 'Little Tikes' logos on the sides. Apart from the logos, it is made from single continuous moulded plastic.
You would need to be careful if you had a crawling baby around that the fingers didn't get squashed underneath the rockers - other than that it's about as safe as a toy of this kind can be. Also, because of the minimal design there is nothing to get entangled with and very little to break because it is designed in moulded plastic, with the handles being part of the same structure as the rest of the horse and not added on separately.
Does it last?
I have always found Little Tikes toys to be strong, reliable and well designed. Happily this horse is no exception. The one part moulded design helps to account for its strength and durability. Being plastic it is easy to cope with any spillages (why do children think a rocking horse is a good place to leave a drink?) again making it much more practical than a furry rocking horse. It has endured vigorous play from my daughter - which is very high praise - she is an excellent tester of toys because so many break when she plays with them! She certainly gives her toys a thorough test! It has also been out in wind and rain and been covered in snow for long stretches and is still in good shape.
The downside of this toy is that it takes up a lot of room just being there and it needs even more room to be able to be of any use and be ridden, and so after a year, pink pony was put out to graze in the garden.
Are there any other versions?
It comes in several colours other than pink. There is also a police version with added sounds going for around £40, and rocking cows and rocking zebras which come with furry covers but I would say stick with the original design - there are still plenty of new ones available on Amazon and ebay if it is tricky to find in the shops.
Now, five years on from that, the pink pony is moored in the garden next to the trampoline and is still in good condition despite having been . However, she is not played with any more so I need to be looking for another young rider to pass her on to. She has given sterling service and we are very pleased with her. This horse has proved a winner although she's never been in a race!
The typical price for this toy now is around £25, which is not much more than it was going for when we received it. I think this is good value for the use we have had from it.
When I was a teenager in the sixth form I had a cleaning job that comprised doing an hour's hoovering every weekday evening. I had a big upright hoover to do this with and it was great at eating up the dirt in the big spaces I was using it in. I was impressed and hoped to buy something similar one day. Meanwhile, in the real world, my first home was a one bedroom flat. So a kind Auntie carefully looked up the Which reviews and bought us a compact Electrolux, which could be easily pulled apart and stored in a small cupboard.
When we finally managed to move to a house I examined the reviews myself and selected a red Samsung bagless upright - more affordable and not quite as heavy as a Dyson, but which I hoped would do a great job. We gave the little Electrolux away (it was still going strong after more than eight years). But the Samsung was a big disappointment - too heavy for me to carry up and down stairs (especially when pregnant!), it didn't work well in a crowded family home and when it broke beyond repair a few years later I wasn't sad but had seen the light and went out and bought a Henry!
Henry has been described as being just a bucket on wheels. In some ways this is true - the beauty of Henry is that there is not very much to go wrong and any difficulties can be usually sorted out. He is very robust but it is still easy to carry upstairs, unlike most uprights and he has a fold up handle for easy carrying. The long hose can reach all the way up the stairs for easy hoovering from top to bottom. This is essential for us as our stairs are one long run of fairly narrow steps without a landing halfway between floors. I also like the free moving wheels - just a small tug brings Henry whizzing along after you with minimal coaxing.
We have wooden floors, cork floors and carpets and Henry works well on them all. I find it easier to use on the rugs than the upright, especially the thin rugs as you can just place a foot on the end of the rug to anchor it and vacuum away, whereas the upright tended to try and suck them up and then leave them in an uncleaned pile on the floor.
I do find it extremely irritating when vacuum cleaners don't store their cable in a tidy way - our upright just had places for you to loop the cable on. I'm glad to say that Henry has a retractable cable - the kids love winding it in so it's one small job to pass on to small children in the hope that they'll take over the whole thing when they're big enough!
He arrived with a canvas bag full of his luggage - all sorts of accoutrements and different nozzles. This is one slight downside, as many other vacuum cleaners have places for these to be clipped on to the body and carried around. However, we use the basic version most of the time so the only issue is where to store the bag and how to remember where it is! (We keep the spare bags in here as well).
Unlike our previous upright and certain other famous uprights, he does require bags, but this is a small expense in the scheme of things and is much nicer to swap a bag than clean out the inside of a vacuum that has rotting food in it. I tend to use a dustpan and brush to deal with large spillages and mess downstairs, with hard floors, so the bags don't fill up very quickly. We only notice a difference in suction power if we've let the bag fill too full - and that is easily sorted out with a new bag.
Furthermore, he's a local lad, made in the UK (in Somerset) so you're not buying something imported from the other side of the world.
The children climb on him and try to ride on him and he has survived intact. We've had a few blockages and malfunctions over the years but we've been able to sort these ourselves with a long stick or by just fiddling about with it - the simple design makes it straightforward to sort out most problems.
I had been thinking that we would never get rid of our Henry but then I looked at their website and saw the new, improved, greener autosave model which uses around half the energy of the one we have. I was momentarily tempted to trade up! However I don't think the amount of hoovering I do makes up a big part of our energy bill and so we're keeping our current Henry until he completely stops.
Power consumption: 1200 W
Weight: 6.6 Kg
Capacity: 9 litres
Manufactured by Numatic in Somerset
Price: around £100 for the basic model
When the rules changed on car seats around ten years ago children who had moved on from using car seats suddenly had to start using them again and parents with three young children had to go out and buy bigger cars because they couldn't fit three car seats alongside each other in the back of a normal car. It's all a far cry from the days when I was growing up and kids used to be crowded into the back of estate cars to make space on the back seats for the Grandparents.
So, we had car seats for our first child - the rear facing first stage one and then the front facing big boy's seat. But we stored our son's old car seat in the shed once he had grown out of it and the cover had gone a bit mouldy by the time we needed a second stage car-seat for our daughter. We kept her in the rear facing seat for as long as possible, having heard from a road safety officer that rear-facing seats were the safest of all, but it was clear that it was too small and she could hardly fit into it much longer. The mould on the old seat washed out, but that car seat had been moved from car to car, carried from place to place and used in many coaches and taxes so we knew that really we needed to buy a new one. I generally try to reuse things for as long as possible but risking a compromise to my child's safety trumps that issue!
Dear daughter and this car seat
We've had a lot of challenges persuading our daughter to stay in her car seat - she's very active and does not like sitting still - so we were looking for one that she would really like (enough to not wriggle out of it whilst travelling down the motorway!). As a result, the version of the Graco Junio Maxi car seat that we went for has a pink design for the padded material cover (to make it even better, I think the design was called Sweetie) and, of course it has cup-holders. These really sold it to her! She loved the idea of being able to store small toys, bracelets and sweeties in these cup-holders. And it was one thing that her brother did not have and indeed had never had! One of the downsides to these cup-holders however is that she has also used them to store food like grapes and biscuits: not very nice when you discover it a month later!
The seat also has little arms - like a miniature armchair - but which fortunately do not get in the way of the seat-belt. It can be easily used with seat-belts on either side of the car. We haven't needed to transfer it between cars very often, only taking it out when we need to put the back seat down to extend the carrying capacity of the car, but it has proved robust and is still in very good condition several years later.
Our daughter seems very happy with this seat. We will be thinking about removing the back of it soon, now that she is seven and growing fast. Luckily this seat can be used as just a booster seat - and even more luckily, the seat is the bit with the cup-holders so our dear daughter will still be happy.
This seat is for Group 2/3 i.e. Children who have grown out of the first stage rear facing seats. It is the sort that uses the car's seat-belts rather than it's own straps.
It is advertised as being suitable for age 4-12, so it will cover you legally the whole way, although your child can stop using it sooner than age 12 if they are tall enough.
We bought this car seat from our local Asda in person rather than online after searching the internet for the best price. This meant that we were able to check immediately that it fitted our car. I think this is one are where buying online is not the best option.
We paid £25 for this seat around four years ago. The current price for the latest design of this seat at Asda (which still seems to be the cheapest of the well know retailers) is £35. Online it states that it will take £10 off when you add it to your basket, but it would be worth checking if there is an equivalent deal at your local bricks and mortar store.
Wandering through Toys R Us a couple of months before Christmas my daughter spotted this Playmobil set in the sale and expressed a strong interest in buying it. I explained that it was a bit more than a pocket money toy but, having a weakness for Playmobil (I have fond memories of laying with it myself when I was a child) I sneaked back later and bought it and hid it until Christmas.
So great excitement on Christmas day when it was discovered amongst the pile of presents. Her big brother was soon happily occupied in putting it together - it's a little time consuming but quite rewarding to do and perfectly within the abilities of a thirteen year old to assemble.
Once complete you can fill the pool up with water. There is a little pump mechanism, consisting of a rubber tube and squeeze box that pumps water over into the poolside shower - this caused great excitement and much relief when we realised that it refilled from the water in the swimming pool and didn't need the lid constantly being removed to top it up.
The Sylvanian Families Fish and Chip van soon rolled up next to the pool and the Playmobil people were able to enjoy the full holiday experience (the Playmobil figures fit the Sylvanian Family chairs quite well).
In terms of figures, it comes with a man, a woman, three children and a baby. It also comes with some cute accessories - a sun lounger and a ghetto blaster for relaxing by the pool and even a plastic toy animal (a manatee I think) for the toddlers' paddling pool.
The most popular part however is the slide and it is great fun dropping the figures on the top and watching them splash into the water!
Of course Playmobil figures don't stay long with the toy that they came with and it is a little strange to see the Playmobil helicopter being piloted by a woman in a bikini and the cars being driven by guys wearing nothing but their trunks (they all have removable sandals to wear but they don't stay on for long in our house!)
This toy has been played with a lot and is, I think, a worthwhile spend. No real issues!
The current price at Toys R Us is £29.99 (we bought it in a sale for about £25)
We love Mick Inkpen's books and we especially love Wibbly Pig (but Kipper the Dog is great too). We also have the excellent flap book "Everybody Hide from Wibbly Pig" which is along similar lines to this one.
"In Wibbly's Garden" is a beautiful lift-the-flap picture. The gently humour and colourful pictures combine fantastically with the imaginative flaps to make bedtime stories enjoyable rather than being a chore.
The flaps and cut-outs reveal the story bit by bit with many different variations on the basic flap - the flaps go up, sideways and some pages have flaps within flaps to reveal special secrets.
I hope I'm not spoiling the story by revealing that the plot is (very loosely) based on Jack and the Beanstalk except that the giant in this case turns out to be very friendly.
The book uses a friendly but still easy to read font that makes it easy for children to read themselves.
The book is suitable for a wide range of ages as it can be read to babies; toddlers will enjoy the interaction of revealing the flaps to join in with the story and slightly older children can learn to read it for themselves (and then enjoy reading to younger brothers or sisters). The plot is fast moving and there are not a lot of words on each page - which helps to stop impatient toddlers from getting bored (and saves parents from having to do impromptu precis of the page!)
The RRP on the back of this hardback book is £10.99 and as a special present for a small child it would be worth this amount (the work that goes into sticking, folding and cutting each flap must add substantially to the cost of producing each copy) although I have to admit that I bought it from the Book People online for considerably less than this. (They are my favourite source of picture books.)
It can now be bought second-hand extremely cheaply from Amazon, although with this likely to have been a much-loved toddler book with vulnerable flaps, you would need to be careful about the condition of the book. (Having said that, ours has lasted well - perhaps because it was particularly treasured.)
I would really recommend this book to any parent with a small child looking for a fun book to read with/to their child that will interest you both.
Although everyone in our family apart from my daughter usually tries to leave the room as soon as a Barbie DVD is playing on the TV, the Barbie Princess and the Popstar film is surprisingly good and one of our favourites. Princess Victoria (Tori) and popstar (Keira) both think the other has a cushy job and long to swap places but find the reality rather different when they actually get the chance to swap. We also like the fact that Tori and Keira are the heroines and save the kingdom while the well-meaning handsome prince tries to catch up with them!
The Princess Victoria doll comes in a ballgown but can transform into a popstar - Buck's Fizz style with the popstar's miniskirt underneath the ballgown.
Her hair transforms from being blonde to being pink and back again. I was intrigued as to how they could manage this on a doll and it's because the top of her head swivels round to allow either the blonde or the pink hair to be at the front. It seems a little gruesome to me but my daughter is very happy with it!
The doll sings when you press the necklace and we got a bit fed up with the same song over and over. We were very pleased when we found the plastic tag next to the battery had not been properly removed and discovered that she actually sang two songs when it was removed. She sings "Princesses wanna have fun' (to the tune you might expect) and also the catchy popstar song which summarises the ethos of the film: 'Here I am, being who I want, Giving what I got, Never a doubt now'. Happily our daughter now just gets on with playing with the doll and not pressing the button every five minutes.
The Tori doll comes with a microphone (the one that's the magic microphone in the film) and pink boots (which ar now lost). She is also wearing a pink tiara which is permanently attached - meaning it can't be lost :)
Please Note: This review is for the transforming doll and not the cheaper Tori doll that comes with a guitar rather than a microphone but doesn't transform.
The standard price is currently just under £25 although you can get it slightly cheaper if you shop around (e.g. at the time of writing is was available from Amazon for a little less than £20)
UPDATED: March 2014 - doll is still going strong and unfortunately, so is the battery!!! :)
My daughter discovered Barbie dolls at school where the children are rewarded for good behaviour during the week by being allowed to play with toys on Friday afternoons. As my daughter's favourite things to play with on Fridays are the Barbie dolls (and their car), when it came to her sixth birthday I decided to buy her the Barbie Camper Van to play with at home. Although I was a Sindy girl myself I was quite looking forward to playing with it alongside her!
I very sneakily found the Barbie episode on YouTube that was made to promote this bus (Barbie: A camping we will go) and loaded it onto the computer for my daughter to watch on the day before her birthday to ensure she was still feeling enthusiastic about the toy she'd been asking for the week previously.
Her 12 year old brother put it together and added the stickers while we were busy getting ready for her birthday party so I would say that it should be pretty easy to assemble for an adult (although the hammocks are a little tricky).
The van is designed to accommodate Barbie and her sisters and their dog. Inside the camper van is everything that a gal like Barbie would need including a toilet! (Although I'm rather surprised by the way it rotates so that the occupant is suddenly outside: it is on a rotating platform alongside the shower and I haven't yet worked out why!) It also has a small kitchen: the sink and cooker swing out to reveal a fold down bench; a fold out table and there is also the ultimate luxury - a small swimming pool (or is it a large hot tub?) The driving seat at the front of the campervan unfolds to be a bed - this sort-of works but doesn't really feel very bed-like. There are also a few little cupboards to open and shut. It may be possible to store the little bits of cutlery in these but we don't seem to manage it.
The roof extends upwards to create space for the hammock etc from where Barbie can lie and watch the flat screen TV. I was worried about the concertina mechanism for opening the roof up and down but so far it's all in one piece and still working - which is one of the main criteria I use to rate my DD's toys! I do like the fact that the smaller side door to the caravan opens and even has a flap for the dog to get in and out.
It does seem a bit flimsy and some of the bits (especially the doors) frequently become detached but can be clicked back into place.
It is bigger than I'd expected and I got a bit of a shock when I saw DH come home with the gigantic box but it does need to be that size to accommodate the dolls.
Dimensions (when closed up): approx 23 inches long, 9 inches wide and 13 inches high
The full price is £80 which for me is a little too expensive but I managed to get it from Argos in a half price toy sale so it was just £40, which I think is a reasonable price
This camper van contains everything a girl needs to 'play house' with Barbie and is cheaper than buying the Barbie Dream House - and despite what I've said above, takes up a lot less space than the dream house!
UPDATED: March 2014 - this is still going strong although a few of the bits have got lost and my daughter insists on trying to balance her drink on the collapsible Barbie table!
What are Lalaloopsies?
The real Lalaloopsies are apparently rag dolls but these figures are the mini-lalaloopsies, the size of my finger and made of hard plastic. They have big heads and a funny jointed waist which makes their very narrow legs wobble and means that they can't stand up. This doesn't bother my daughter though who received two of these buses for her sixth birthday (she had been lobbying hard - perhaps too hard!)
What do you get?
The bright yellow bus comes with a Lalaloopsy called Bea, a miniature traffic cone, suitcase and a strange sort of owl creature, all made of plastic.
What is the bus like?
The bus has orange and pink wheels (in that two are orange and two are pink), with molded 'pencil' shapes along the side of the bus (the sort with the eraser on the end that always gets chewed off). The seats have little bits of elastic attached to act as seat-belts - and the Lalaloopsies, with their funny legs, do need these to stay on the seat. It also has a STOP sign which swings out from the side of the bus (and I'm impressed that it's still attached to both of our buses). The entrance of the bus is at the back - the door swings down to make a little slide for them to come out of. I like this idea and think it should be introduced (but from the top of double-decker buses to make it more worthwhile!!) The down side of this is that it comes off very easily and the doors can usually be found at the bottom of the toy-box. However, they clip back on very easily so this isn't an issue.
My daughter only has three of these mini-lalaloopsies - not enough to fill one bus - but the buses are usually seen traveling around our living room in convoy with the first filled with Sylvanian Families and the second with wooden dolls house dolls (The Playmobil figures also get the occasional ride!)
How well does it last
My daughter is a very robust tester of toys - they do have a tendency to break when she plays with them - so I am very pleased to report that after two months both buses are still going strong. The buses look as though they might be flimsy but I'm very glad to report that they are not.
The usual price for this bus is £14.99 although if you shop around you can usually get it for about £10.
This is a lovely toy that can accommodate all sorts of passengers and is likely to last and be played with for a long time.
My son is in Year 8 and has been studying the Second World War at school in his history so we decided to make the trip to the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms in Central London. (Part of the Imperial War Museums but less well known)
The cabinet war rooms were constructed out of the basements of several large government buildings in Central London to give a secure place for the Prime Minister, his cabinet and generals to run the war.
You are given a phone type device - there are separate ones for children. My son found this commentary a bit patronising so I swapped with him but my 6 year really enjoyed keying in the number at each stopping point and holding it up to her ear to listen to it.
You see the best known part of the exhibition - the cabinet war room straight away with the square of tables and seats around the outside, map on the wall - but there is a lot more to come. The bedrooms - illustrating the rank of the occupants (whether they got a bit of carpet or just lino) the kitchens, the typing pool. The secretaries lived underground - sleeping in the cramped and rather unpleasant space on the floor below the museum of which you get only a glimpse - probably due to health and safety restrictions! They were provided with sun-lamps to try and make up for the lack of sunshine and there were small signs to tell you what the weather was like above.
The original BBC transmitters have been brought back to the transmission room - illustrating the essential communications purpose of the place.
One of the highlights is the map room - with maps still on the walls, desks and chairs and all accessories intact. They even found a paper packet of sugar in a desk drawer, neatly labelled, containing the general's sugar ration. The whole place was sealed up and left once the peace was declared.
The Churchill museum is a very large room in the middle of the cabinet war rooms - the nature of the place means that they couldn't choose where to put the rooms and obviously they had to just use what was there. There is a tremendous amount of information here including a giant interactive computerised table big enough for a dozen or more people to use at the same time - allowing you to page through many fascinating documents from throughout the war.
You can find the door of 10 Downing Street (a good photo opportunity), various uniforms, pistols and all sorts of things that belonged to Churchill. Interactive exhibitions displaying such things as the houses he lived in and comparing him with Chamberlain. I was surprised to find out for the first time about his involvement in the Boer War (at the start of the twentieth century) -escaping when a PoW by climbing over a wall and then jumping on a train - not something I expected from my image of him as the stout, cigar smoking gentlemen that he was by the time of the second world war. It was also fascinating to hear why Churchill was out of favour at the start of the second world war, due to having going against public opinion in the 1930s arguing against independence for India (he was very keen on the British Empire) and in favour of the King marrying Wallace Simpson. It is interesting to ponder how things might have gone differently had he been in charge from the start of the war!
I would recommend this museum to anybody with an interest in history and it will be especially useful for students studying the World War II as part of their history GCSE.
Unusually, the cafe is inside the museum - about two thirds of the way through - this was very pleasant and fairly quiet when we visited mid-afternoon. The tea and scones were very nice (they also do cakes and sandwiches).
There is a small but densely packed gift shop with the expected assortment of collection of postcards, books, toys, mementos etc.
Cost (UPDATED March 2014)
Cost: £17.50 each for adults but children are free.
Students & Senior citizens: £14.00
(Admission prices excluding voluntary donation: Adult £15.90, Concessions £12.70)
It's well worth checking the 2for1 London offers as this is included in the 2for1 scheme if you travel that day by train (not underground) and some coaches (it's within walking distance of Victoria)
Clive Steps, King Charles Street, SW1A 2AQ
By St James Park
Open 7 days a week
The nearest tubes are St James Park or Westminster
This doll caused much amusement the Christmas my daughter received it because she undressed the doll, gave it a bottle of water and then handed it straight to her brother - who ended up with a damp patch on his trousers!
If your child is using this doll a lot then I'd recommend buying cloth nappies to protect from the leaks (even though it's only water) and to give the whole experience of 'caring for baby'. I found some very cute shaped blue towelling velcro ones on Amazon. (They did pink ones as well) . The doll comes with a couple of nappies but they're not designed to be re-used (as the manufacturer wants you to buy more) and the tabs give out on them quickly. I found the towelling nappies cheaper than buying lots of Zapf Creations nappies and it means I don't need to stress about how often my daughter gives her doll drinks of water.
After hearing from other families of the difficulty of cleaning out the internal tubes of the food (and having to throw away the doll when the food inside went mouldy because it couldn't be cleaned completely) we decided to hiding the sachets of food powder that came with the doll. Luckily our daughter didn't notice as she was too busy trying out the ice cream. This does mean we haven't tried out that particular feature.
The ice cream works - it causes pink marks to appear on the dolls cheeks without causing any mess, but you do need a supply of icy water to dip the ice cream into. The pink marks on the dolls face when 'eating' the ice cream are caused by the cold temperature. There's nothing special about the little flannel that comes with the doll - it works by warming up the doll's face so there's no problem replacing it if (when) it gets lost.
For some reason my daughter insisted on getting the boy version of this doll but the basic way they work is the same and the ice cream and accessories are the same (pink ) for both dolls.
My daughter has now had this doll for just over a year and it is doing well. Toys (and other things) often seem to break when my daughter plays with them but this doll is looking pretty close to new so has lasted very well - despite riding the scooter and being dragged around on the sledge. I would recommend this doll (and the similar follow ons) to any little girl who wants to get involved with caring for her 'baby'.
When going round the supermarket last month my daughter spotted this on the shelf and insisted that she wanted to get it. I was less certain because she isn't very keen on the Strawberry Nesqik and hasn't really liked hot chocolate in the past but I gave in and bought it. It turns out she was right because she loves it!
You can use it at least two ways:
Mix a couple of heaped teaspoonfuls of the powder with a small amount of milk to make a paste and then top it up and mix with more milk. Having a straw makes it extra special (and avoids the chocolate moustache look!). This is a great way of having chocolate milk and is a particularly good way to get calcium into kids who don't want to drink plain milk.
You can of course heat it up to make hot chocolate - we use the microwave to heat it after it's been mixed (you don't need to do the paste thing if you're heating it up). I actually really like to drink it myself - it's a very nice hot chocolate. The children particularly love it with some tiny marshmallows sprinkled on the top (you can cut up some larger ones to sprinkle on top).
Apparently a 15g serving with 200ml semi-skimmed milk contains 156 Calories (almost 10% of a child's guideline daily amount - depending on the size of the child). That's quite a lot, although some of it is coming from the milk.
Typical Price (UPDATED MARCH 2014)
£2.99 in most supermarkets for the 500g tub (this is the cheaper option)
£1.99 for the 300g tub
Updated March 2014 to say that I've discovered Goody Cao from Lidl is just as delicious, also makes great hot chocolate but it costs a lot less for a bigger pack, so I've downgraded the Nesquik version!
We started getting Strawberry Nesquik after my son got hooked on the strawberry milkshakes at McDonald's. The Nesquik is of course much cheaper than going to McDonald's and although sugary is probably a lot more healthy as there are no added vegetable fats.
To make the drink just mix a couple of heaped teaspoonfuls of the powder with a small amount of milk to make a paste and then top it up and mix with more milk. The Nesquik is a lot thinner than a proper strawberry milkshake but using a straw to drink it makes it more like the McDonald's experience (and is a pretty good idea as it helps keep the sugar away from their teeth).
We call these strawberry drinks Pink Milk in our house - as immortalized in the Charlie and Lola books - this helps to make it feel special. Despite this, my daughter is not very keen on the strawberry Nesquik although she loves the chocolate flavour. Luckily I have found another excellent way to use it - Pink Icing. Just mix some Strawberry Nesquik with a little icing sugar and a few drops of water. It's really easy and great for using on cup-cakes or for icing biscuits when you want to entertain a small child.