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We've all had the conversations with friends and family, you know the ones. They always begin with "If I won the Lottery" followed by either wild fantasies or a down to earth well constructed plan.
I'd like to think mine is the latter, but we'll see. Lets assume that money is no object and it was a multi-million win;
1) I would employ a financial advisor to source the best investment for a lump sum.
2) I would pay off my Mam and Dads mortgage and give them enough money to take a VERY comfortable early retirement - they have worked so hard to create a beautiful home yet they work too much to enjoy it. My Dad would be able to spend as much time as he wanted on Photography (his passion) he did all our Wedding Photo's and they are top-notch. My Mam would be able to follow her dream of making soaps, body butters and facial creams - she wants so very much to begin her own unique home made brand but doesn't have the time or money.
3) My Grandparents pensions would increase - They'd never take it if they knew it was from me.
4) I would buy an old farm 'out in the sticks'. I would be bored to death if I stopped working and I have always said that I would have a Livery Yard in keeping with my love of horses. Probably no more than 20 stables, both an indoor and outdoor ménage and at least 100 acres of land.
5) The farm would also be for hubby of course, he is a dog walker and he grew up on a farm - he misses it dearly. It would enable him to offer holiday boarding in a home from home environment (not kennels) as he would also be very bored with nothing to do.
6) Charitable Donations - Predominantly local animal rescues as they are always riding a thin line between being in the red, or being in the black.
7) Good friends. There are a select few that I love dearly and I would give them anything they needed, whenever they needed it.
8) I would not succumb to media coverage!
9) As for cars, I have one thank you as does hubby. They're both about 15 years old, but they get us from A to B - if it aint broke, don't fix it. As far as clothes are concerned, I would like some socks that haven't been darned multiple times and some pants that haven't been eaten by the dog. Ooh, and I would grow all my own veg.
That's about it really. The rest would go into a bank account and pay out a monthly 'wage'.
Tesco produce two very good value for money Body Sprays; 'Lilac' and 'Pink' which cost less than £0.50 each.
As 'Lilac' is the Body Spray currently residing in my handbag, it seems sensible to review this as opposed to 'Pink'.
Tesco's 'Lilac' is described as a 'Fruity, Floral Fragrance' which is pleasant and not overpowering. I am inclined to add that the scent has slightly musky overtones to its 'flavour' - it reminds me a little of potpourri and I'm sure I can make out some Geranium in there too. It lasts well too - I tend to mist it around between two to four times during a 10 hour shift at work, depending on how hot the office is. I last sprayed it about an hour and a half ago, and its scent is still lingering subtly on my jumper.
'Lilac' is suitable for all over body use, it is NOT tested on Animals and all of the packaging is recyclable (the latter two points are always a winner with me).
'Lilac' comes in a standard slim-line body spray type container measuring 16cm in height (including lid), 3.5 cm wide and containing 75ml/47g when full. The container itself is a delightfully decadent shade of purple which is accentuated by the Tesco logo in a lilac shade (very apt) and the product name 'Lilac' in simple, easy to read capital letters across approximately 2/3 of the canisters length - again, this lettering is lilac in colour. The product type (Body Spray) is written across the lower portion of the canister, in less prominent 0.5cm high white capital lettering about 1.5 cm from the base of the canister. 'Lilac' features a 4cm high pull off/push on, slightly see-through plastic lid which has the appearance of being frosted and through which the white in colour 'push to spray' pump can be seen - although the colour of the lid makes this look lilac too!
All in all, a very nice body spray to keep in your handbag for day to day use.
My Mam buys the 'loo roll formerly known as Charmin' (I have the teddy bear to prove it) and my Mam-in-Law buys Andrex (probably a decision solely based on the cute puppy adverts).
I buy Tesco Value Toilet Paper. And no, it's nothing like the 'sandpaper toilet paper' commonly found in public toilets. It's simple no nonsense see through packaging with Tesco's trademark blue and red Value Range branding which is an apt visual description of it's contents.
I'm not going to waste your time describing the packaging in further detail - we can all see the picture (I am also very no nonsense).
Tesco Value Toilet Paper is white in colour and comes with the standard cardboad roll insert so you can pop it on to your loo roll dispenser. It doesn't waste time and money with bathroom matching colours (white goes with everything) or with cute teddy prints, lavender scenting and claims of being 'super soft'.
* EDIT* As a kind reader has pointed out - I omitted the fact that the tissues are 2-ply.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to MONEY, and this is value for it. A 12-roll pack of Tesco Value Toilet Roll costs £1.60 (or 13.3 pennies per roll). When you compare this with a 12-roll of cute puppy Andrex at £5.11 (or 42.6 pennies per roll) it really speaks for itself. You can purchase three 12-packs of Tesco Value toilet rolls for less than you would spend on a 12-pack of Andrex and still have £0.31 change in your pocket. With the current economic climate as it is, it makes a massive difference.
Of course, I understand that Value toilet roll may not be suitable for people with sensitive rear-ends or for very young children, but if all you want to do is wipe your bum then this one's a winner!
After the Hubby and I moved in to a place without an Oven, I thought we were doomed to an eternity of Stove-Top cooking. Pizzas, Jacket Potatoes, Casseroles and the like were well and truly off the menu - until my wonerful parents surprised me with a Microwave as a birthday present.
* * * My opinion of the Product * * *
This is not just any old Microwave, it doesn't just 'nuke' your food, leaving it rubbery and insipid, it does pretty much everything except clean itself and wash the dishes. It Ovens, it Microwaves, it Grills and it 'Combi's' using alternating blasts of Microwave power and Oven heat, meaning you can cook a tasty jacket potato with a crispy skin in a little over 15 minutes.
It's Chaos Defrost function is brilliant as I always forget to take meat out of the freezer for the evening meal. Pop in your defrostables, pick from three types of food (bread, mince and meat) and use the up and down arrows to enter the weight of what you're defrosting and off you go! It will beep at you every few minutes to remind you to turn or rest what ever it is you're defrosting.
I use it's three setting Grill (low/medium/high) to cook everything from bacon and sausages to cheese on toast, and it's Fan assisted Oven for Baking, Casseroles, Oven Chips and it makes a mean Toad-in-the-Hole!
Also it's straight forward and simple to use, even for a technical dummy like me.
* * * The technical stuff * * *
- Slimline - fits on a 50cm worktop - Check!
- Power output 1000 watt - Way better than my old 900 watt-er
- Quartz grill output 1300 watt - Simply put, it makes cheese on toast in 2 to 3 minutes
- Fan assisted convection oven 100 to 220°c - Just remember to set it 20°c lower as with all fan ovens
- Heating category E - Categories go from A to F; A being the slowest to heat food, F being the fastest-
- Capacity 27 litres - It's not the biggest but it's plenty big enough
- Stainless steel interior lining; easy to clean - Check!
- 34cm diameter rotating turntable (just over a foot), maximum dish height 20cm.
- 6 power settings - 160 degrees to 220 degrees (or there-abouts) 3 grill settings - low/medium/high
- 10 auto cook programmes - pizza/potatoes/fish etc (I've never used them)
- 3 auto defrost programmes - never used them
- Chaos defrost for fast and efficient defrosting - Oh yes; it'll defrost a chicken breast in about 8 minutes
- Inverter system for fast and even cooking - Fast? Check! Even? Check!
- Scrolling automatic guide - Tells us technophobes what button to push next!
- 9 hour 99 minute timer - Set your casserole to start cooking while you're at work.
- Child lock - No children, never used it... although I may test it on the Hubby ;)
- Round wire rack and round enamel tray - great for the afore mentioned cheese on toast and for pizzas
- Size (H)30.5, (W)51, (D)39cm. Weight 15kg.
After two years of 'Blackberry bliss' and having managed to navigate my way around a Smartphone, I felt it was time for a change. I wanted a better camera with a flash, and a QWERTY keyboard was still a must-have.
A friend introduced me to the X10 mini pro's 'little sister' the X10 mini. It wasn't its small stature that caught my eye, nor it's sleek black exterior, it was the fact that my friend was using it to read a book! I'm an avid reader - most of my E-Books open with Adobe which is not supported by Blackberry - it completely grabbed my attention.
The X10 mini pro has almost everything I want in a phone. Perfectly pocket sized, a QWERTY keyboard with very generously sized buttons, simple navigation, media player, 5 mega pixel camera WITH flash and settings for Auto, Macro, Twilight and Sport, a video recorder with a direct upload to YouTube option. Email, SMS, MMS... oh, and it makes and receives calls too!
The easily searchable Android Market has everything you could possibly need. I'm sure there's a winning set of lottery numbers in there somewhere. Don't like the phone book? download a different one. Winamp is your favourite media player? Just download it. Facebook, Twitter, IMDB, YouTube, Ebay, PayPal, Wordpress... the list goes on.
The only downside is the battery life - It's terrible and needs to be charged every day to keep it going - but I'm not going back to my Blackberry any time soon.
I think pretty much every dog with a big enough gob to fit a tennis ball in to has had one (or several) of these toys at one point or another. Whether or not any part of the toy actually survived the experience is completely dependant on your dog(s). I won't go in to how a Tuggy is assembled etc; as I'm sure we all know that anyway.
Cass' previous Ball and Rope Tuggy was exactly that - a ball on a rope. While it lasted, numerous rope burns were incurred by both me and the Hubby from vigorous tug-of-war sessions, so when I found a Tuggy with a rope burn preventing plastic handle I practically cried a flood of joyful tears at the very sight of it.
To say that Cass loved it would be an understatement. Tugging on it, 'Killing' it (vigourously shaking it around herself like a ninja on speed) and laying on her back, playing with it with her paws - just like a cat with a ball of wool. It kept her occupied all afternoon. We had to keep checking it was still in one piece - this new pain free Tuggy experience was fantastic, it didn't even produce so much as a blister, it was great!
Until the chewing started.
"Hang on, what's this? There's a THING on the other end of my Tuggy! I wonder what it tastes like..." Cue gnawing on the precious hand-saving plastic handle - so we turned the Tuggy around, placing the ball in to the line of chewy, slobbery fire. The little beggar went straight back to work devouring the handle... so we hid it in a drawer whenever it wasn't being played with (in an effort to prolong it's life, you understand, not in an act of cruelty to Cass). All was well until the day we forgot to hide the Tuggy and left Cass to her own devices while we went shopping.
We returned to a pile of vomit on the floor. Dog vomit packed full of green chewed up plastic. SHARP green chewed up plastic. It's a good job she threw it up as it could have easily caused internal damage or obstruction. Cass of course, completely oblivious to the dangers of plastic consumption continued to play with her Tuggy. The tennis ball bit the dust in minutes - she's only a Border Collie (and a small one at that) but has a bite with the destructive powers of an Atom bomb. She broke it in half in one chomp and proceeded to dismantle it even further with incredible gusto (I think I still have a bit of it floating around the bottom of my handbag somewhere).
We've given up on the rope-ball Tuggy toys now as they're just too dangerously edible, and we would not recommend a Tuggy with a plastic handle simply for this reason, as a dog could easily chew and ingest the plastic. The rope on it's own is just as fun - we still play Tuggy with it, and it is a runner-up to the KONG in the 'favourite toy' department.
The packaging for the KONG 'Wobbler' says "World's Best Dog Toy". I'm always dubious of things that make these claims of incredible prowess, but this time it's 100% true.
Our 18 month old Border Collie Cass is a destructor-dog. Socks, pants, shoes, boxes, de-stuffing sofa's and of course destroying every single dog toy we have ever bought her. She even chews bricks! Last Christmas I scoured the internet looking for a toy that would last longer than a week and I found the KONG. I watched youtube videos of happy dogs 'KONG wobbling' and coupled with it's sturdy no-nonsense appearance my decision was made. The KONG was on it's way.
Cass loves it, she never tires of it! It's like a weeble; it wobbles but it doesn't fall down (unless you over fill it). It's movements are unpredictable, keeping her focused and on her toes as it skitters across the floor spilling goodies in it's wake. Be prepared to teach your dog how to use it if they don't suss it out (cue looking like a nutter, nudging it with your nose, batting it with your hands etc.)
Seven months down the line, it is still her favourite toy, it doesn't have a single tooth mark in it, and looks as good as it did the day it arrived!
A total must-have for any dog owner!