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Now first off......I never in a million years thought I would be writing a review about a shopping centre as unusual though it may seem for a woman, I detest clothes shopping! Needs must though, and as I had money to spend and clothes that have seen better days, it was time to go face the music! We live on the other side of the country but were staying in Marple for a few days which is twenty minutes away from the Trafford Centre. On arrival by car, it was great to find a huge car park and with 11,500 spaces you need to remember where you left it! The outside of the building is really impressive due to its size and the beautiful white and gold figurines dotted around the roof top. Waterfalls and marble steps add to the opulent look of the building. The entrance hall is also breathtaking with wide sweeping staircases and beautiful painted ceilings. This is also where the food mall is situated and this in itself is probably bigger than our shopping centre at home! Everyone is catered for with most of the high street names featured. Just a few are: Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, Nandos, Giraffe and Zizzi. There are that many eateries that none looked too busy at any one time. The shopping mall is laid out brilliantly across two floors and you can walk round without missing anything. As I said at the start of my review, I don''t like the shopping experience (usually) but I have to say I quite enjoyed the four hours I spent here. Yes!! Four hours, which for me is a miracle. The place is spotlessly clean, air conditioned and well spaced out with a good mixture of shops to suit everyones taste. All the high street names are here: River Island, Monsoon, Marks and Spencers and my favourite, Next to name but a few. They seem to have thought of everything. There is an Odeon cinema, Legoland and Sealife Centre for the little ones. Creche and play area, fun buggies and Pushchair hire is also available. If you are a real shopaholic, there is a Premier Inn two minutes away from the doors which would enable you to make the most of all that the centre has to offer. All in all, I would recommend a visit to this huge shopping centre if only to look at the beautiful building and design of the eating mall! we ate at the Pizza Express and thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Staff everywhere were polite and everywhere seemed so spacious and airy! If you are visiting by car, the postcode for Satnav is M17 8AA. Worth a visit if you are nearby!
~~Surely it's just another nail file?~~
Well that's exactly what I thought, despite reading rave reviews about this product time and time again.
It has been voted as "Best beauty product" and comes in two sizes. There is a large one at 195mm and a smaller one at 135mm which is the one I have. It is advertised as suitable for handbags, but this size is similar to an emery board and I think the larger one would be too big for me.
~~~Who is Leighton Denny?~~~
The Leighton Denny range was launched in 2005 and the manicure and pedicure products received great praise from beauty journalists and fellow professionals. He was awarded "technician of the year" so many times , he was asked to sit on the judging panel!
~~So what do you get?~~
The nail file comes in a plastic pouch with some information on the cardboard insert telling you all about your new nail file.
It tells us that the "Rolls Royce" of nail files is made of the finest lead crystal and has been specially treated to create a superior nail file with a filing surface guaranteed to last a life time.
It also advises that crystal can break so to use the aluminium case it comes in to store it.
The aluminium case does the job adequately but the plastic lid is a little flimsy, and so not sure if that will last the lifetime that the nail file is promised to do.
The case is 16cm in length and 3cm wide so will only take up a small amount of space wherever you decide to keep it.
~~Why is it different?~~
Anyone that has been for a manicure or read on how to file nails will know that you are told to file in only one direction to prevent splits in the nails. Not many of us stick to this advice though. The beauty of this product is that you CAN file backwards and forwards with no splitting of the nails. The file can be run under water and left to dry after use to bring it back to top performance. The manufacturers are so sure that the product is good that they offer a lifetime guarantee and if the surface of the file loses its filing abilities, they will replace the product free of charge!
I'm not one for expensive make-up or any particular brands but when I visited Ragdale Hall Spa a few years ago, I had a French manicure and they use Leighton Denny products there. My French polish lasted for weeks and I was really impressed! I have really strong nails and they grow really quickly. I don't get to paint them very often as I work in catering and can't keep it on for work so rather than putting on, and taking off all the time, I just don't bother. I do like my nails to have a nice shape though and was getting very frustrated with the tatty old emery board I was using to file my nails. I had seen several reviews on here for the Leighton Denny file and put it in my favourites on the Amazon site. It has been sitting on there for about six months and I finally decided to go for it after my nails getting too long, cutting them and not really getting anywhere with the tatty old emery board.
It was delivered a couple of days after ordering and I had it out of its case and nails filed withing ten minutes! I love it! Love it, love it, love it!! Wish I had bought one years ago!! It was so easy to use and shaped my nails really easily. It is light weight and left no snags or rough bits like the emery board did.
It left nails really smooth at the edges with just a couple of filing moves. My nails will never look overgrown and shapeless now that I have this gem of a product.
The price is what probably put me off buying this product sooner. I paid £12.50 for it on Amazon with free delivery but you can buy direct from the Leighton Denny site or other reputable on-line sites.
When you compare the price to a pack of emery boards, it will seem extremely expensive but I can guarantee you won't be disappointed and when you consider it should last a life time, it's really quite good value.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!
Thanks for reading and hope this review has been useful.
Libraries have always been a big part of my life and I vividly remember walking to my local library on the estate where I was a child, (probably aged 7 - 10) with my 3 books bundled under my arm, excitedly anticipating what treasures I would be able to find that week!
I was probably the biggest Enid Blyton fan going at the time and think I read all her books over and over again. Imagine my delight when I started the junior school and found that their library had some that I had not read! Oh what joy! I must have read other authors as I have always had a book on the go but Enid Blyton was my all time favourite as a child.
As a teenager my mother got me into Catherine Cookson style books and I think I have read all of hers as well.
Fast forward forty years...(jeez I feel old writing that!) and I am still an avid reader. Whether it be a newsapaper, magazine or a good book. Nothing beats getting lost in a great story.
Being a bit of a tight wad, the library is perfect for me. I don't go looking for any specific titles or authors. I just love having a browse and seeing what takes my fancy. It has been great for my hobby which is growing fruit and veg on my allotment. Lots of informative books which would cost me a fortune if I was to buy! Most hobbies are also catered for. One can find books on cookery, gardening, knitting, crafting.....anything that takes your fancy. A good way to see if something new takes your fancy.
There are also lots of factual books which I can't say I have made use of and I would imagine don't get so much use since the internet coming on the scene.
Libraries offer so much more than just books though!
Having just had a quick look on my library site on the internet, even I was surprised at just how much they offer.
Weekly talks...my local library is doing a talk on Macmillan Cancer information and Support this week.
Reserve an item......cost is 35p
CD hire £1 per week
DVD hire £1.50 per week.
Talking book hire £1 for 3 weeks Not just for the partially sighted or blind. A friend of mine would use these while walking the half hour to work and half hour home every day.
A fax service
PC use with the first half hour being free and £1 for each hour afterwards. (I have made use of this when my internet has been down at home.)
Photocopies ..10p per page for an A4 black and white
Meeting Room hire
Research such as researching your family tree. First half hour free and then £15 per hour with the assistance from an experienced librarian.
Story time for little ones and of course a childrens section.
Many libraries have newspapers available for anyone to read.
I have to say that I am guilty of missing my date for returning books and often build up a small fine but this really shouldn't happen! I get so annoyed when I realise I am overdue! I can log in at home and renew books with the click of a mouse. I just need a more prominent reminder to do this!! lol
Many libraries are having to close to save money so I would say to everyone.......please make use of this very special service or we will lose some, if not many of the branches.
Who knows, you may find a new hobby or a book that could change your life! I really enjoy a browse at my local library and seem to find something new each time I go. It's pure me time.
Thankyou for reading
I feel like I have grown up with Chris Evans, which is possibly because we were born in the same year, 1966.
He came to most peoples attention, when he was the male presenter of "The Big Breakfast" which was Channel 4's rival breakfast programme beginning in 1992. Prior to this he had much success in radio as a presenter and writer.
More television success was to follow with shows such as "Don't forget your toothbrush" and "TGI Friday", but his love of radio took him back to being a DJ for Radio 1 and 2.
I guess he is a little bit like marmite, you either love him or hate him. I like him and think he is a very talented man.
The biography is written in a very witty style and Chris is very self depricating which is refreshing to read. He is proud of his success and admits when he has gone wrong, which he has done spectacularly over the years. I think it shows just what a talented man he is that he has bounced back from his career lows and is the success that he is today. He currently has the Radio 2 flagship breakfast show which he took over from Terry Wogan, much to the disgust of many of Wogan's listeners, but he has made the show one of the most popular radio shows of the moment and most deservedly in my opinion.
Chris starts off his biography with his young life and tells us how his working life started off with a paper round. Seeing an opportunity, he made sure he was the quickest and best at even this level and made quite a bit of money for a young boy. Whilst listening to his trusty radio, he fell in love with the style of Timmy Mallett and that set him on his voyage to be a radio star.
I love the way Chris tells a story and I liked how each chapter started with a top ten. e.g. Top ten memories of going to school and top ten things that make a successful radio show.
Chris is very methodical and plans his shows meticulously.
The title of this review came about because as I was coming towards the end of ther book, I was thinking, "There has been no mention of Billie Piper yet?" as that is one of the times I remember being in the papers all the time. Chris had married Billie and they seemed to spend all of their time on one long bender.
As I came to the end of the book I realised it was because we were only part way through Chris's life and there was much more to come, which obviously means at some point there will be a second or even a third book.
This one ends with Chris having major negotiations with Richard Branson ending with him signing a contract to become the proprietor of Virgin Radio. "What could go wrong?" is how Chris ends the book.
Whether you are a big fan or not, I think this biography is a good, fun read and would recommend it to anyone. I look forward to reading the next installment!.
Where I live, we don't have many chain restaurants so when we visit somewhere new or different, we always look out for a Pizza Express and if we know there is going to be one, we exchange some Tesco Vouchers in advance to use.
This gives us a relatively cheap night out as then we only have to buy drinks which aren't included in the deal.
We have visited various outlets including, London, Liverpool, Harrogate, Blackpool and Lincoln so it's safe to say we like the brand.
The one I am reviewing today is in Durham which we visited during the first heat wave of the summer. It is based on Saddler Street and looks quite narrow and small from the outside but once inside seems much bigger due to it going quite far back and its high ceilings. Like many other Pizza Express restaurants, it gives off a nice ambience with Italian music, marble tables and the aroma of good food.
On the Thursday we visited, it was just so hot outside that it was unbearable. (A distant memory now we are well into winter) Luckily the restaurant wasn't too busy and we got a lovely table in front of the bar which was near to the open door and in the direct line of the air con unit which was a blessing!
Our waiter John, was very efficient and looked after us excellently throughout the evening. I like the way that one waiting on staff looks after a certain amount of tables as you feel it is more of a personal service. They also get to keep any tips their tables leave which encourages good service. John explained to us that he had worked in the kitchen which was for better pay but decided to go back to front of house as he could make more in tips than the increase in wages!
We decided to go for a bottle of Grillo Chardonnay Sicilean £14.25) to accompany our food which offered better value than Peroni which I think was far too expensive at £3.65 for 330ml and a whopping £6.05 for 660 ml!! The wine was served promptly and chilled perfectly.
For starter I chose Bruschetta con Funghi (£4.85) which is roasted mushrooms, béchamel sauce, red onions finished with parsley and balsamic syrup. One of the nicest starters I have ever had! Served piping hot and was so tasty! John, my husband had butternut squash risotto £5.45) and said his was lovely too.
You can't go to Pizza Express without ordering pizza so being the predictable person that I am, I ordered a Romano Pizza Padora (£9.60) which I have eaten at other Pizza Express and thoroughly enjoyed. It is goats cheese, mozzarella, spinach, caramelized red onions and garlic oil. It didn't disappoint! Was just as tasty than others I had eaten.
John had Calzone Prosciutto Pesto (£12.50) which is a folded pizza that has a filling of ham, roasted red onion, spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, gruyere and parmesan cheese and pesto sauce. From the noises he was making, I assume he liked it.
We had forty pounds worth of vouchers with us so we worked out we had enough left over to indulge in some puds. I always like something lemony after a meal so went for Lemon Torta (£5.15) and John went for Raspberry Sorbet (£4.25) Both cleansed the palette and rounded off a lovely meal.
We took our time and finished our wine and had a bit of banter with our waiter John. I have to say it is one of the nicest meals in a chain restaurant I have had. I'm sure that was helped by feeling like the food was free by using our Tesco Deals but I honestly would recommend this place. The toilets were very clean, service and food was excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to go again if we were in the Durham area. John the waiter there is an asset to the place!
A table can be booked on line or you can ring direct on Durham 0191 383 2661
The restaurant is open from 11.30 - 11 pm Mon - Sat and !2 pm to 11 pm Sundays
When I first started earning Amazon vouchers on various sites about eighteen months ago, I was spoilt for choice as to what to spend my "free" money on.
Having just had my bedroom redecorated in neutral colours, I needed something to store my bits of jewellery so I could find at a glance what I was looking for.
On searching for jewellery boxes, I came across this clever little system where you can buy different layers, with different compartments which stack neatly together. I chose the cream top box as featured in the picture but mine has pink and brown striped lining. This particular part of the stacking jewellery system is intended for the top layer and is the only one to come with a lid and clasp. It fits neatly with other boxes in the set as I have since bought another layer that suits ear rings better and can confirm how neat looking it is!
The measurements of the top box are: 25 cm X 15 cm with a height of 3.5 cm.
When the lid is opened, a ribbon stops it from falling backwards and keeps it open without holding the lid.
It has eight compartments in total. Two sections along the top are ideal for watches or necklaces and are 4 cm wide. There are five smaller square compartments suitable for ear rings or bracelets (8cm X 6 cm) and one compartment with material ridges that could hold up to twelve rings.
When I first sent for this, I intended hiding it on one of my new concealed shelves behind sliding wardrobe doors but was really impressed with the look of it. It's not leather but has a good quality covering and looks really nice taking centre place on my dressing table.
I love the fact that you can add to this over time as you increase your jewellery collection and there is no limit to how high you can stack them. There are various different colour options you can go for including powder blue, grey, black and purple, so something to suit everyones colour scheme. Various storage options with different sized compartments to suit all your jewellery needs.
I paid £15 for mine eighteen months ago and I have just looked on Amazon and it is priced at £17.12.
A lovely looking jewellery system that can be mixed and matched to suit your needs and added to over time as required.
These have been about for years! Probably since I was a student and that's going back for longer than I care to mention!
In those days gone by, I probably consumed far too many of these little pots of convenience, but then I wasn't on a review site and studying the label quite so intently. I picked one up the other day, as I vaguely remembered enjoying them in the distant past.
Well nothing has really changed. It is still in the plastic pot with a peel off lid and a tomato sauce sachet sitting on the top of some dried up powdery stuff. Sounds really appealing, doesn't it? Ha ha.
When I got home, I boiled the kettle and filled the pot up to the exact line marked on the side of the pot. I remember I used to be quite pedantic about this as if you put in too much water it is too watery and not enough , the consistency is too thick.
I left it for a few minutes as instructions, gave it a good stir with my fork, making sure I got all the bits mixed in from the bottom and left for another few minutes. Then I added the sauce and mixed again. I find that a little more tomato sauce makes this a tad tastier.
Then I got stuck in. Mmmmmmm The taste and consistency was just as I remembered and wondered why I hadn't picked up some before now. Well, when I studied the ingredients list I realised why! The pot noodle was a lovely beef flavour with the sweetness of tomato sauce. Small bits of dried pasta, peas and carrots can be seen once ready.
Being someone who has to watch saturated fats as my cholesterol is a little on the high side, this product is probably best avoided.
It wasn't half tasty though and I would probably have another if I was really pushed for time and couldn't get any thing more healthy prepared.
They are on sale in Tesco at a £1 at the moment but are available in most shops and I guess they can be got cheaper than this if you buy in a four pack which I have sometimes seen available.
I would buy this product again but only as a very occasional quick lunch, it's not the healthiest product but better than going with out food and I find it the tastiest of the pot noodle range.
Not quite sure if this is in the right place but couldn't find anywhere that suits it better so apologies if it shouldn't be here and good will to all men.
Ok..........so let me get this straight from the start. I am not against Christmas altogether, and I know most people love it so I am probably in the minority.
What I AM against is what Christmas has become. For me personally, I think it's a lovely time to spend with your loved ones and to eat and drink and be merry. So what's the problem you may ask?
1. The first thing that winds me up is that it starts as soon as the kids go back to school in September. I'm sure we would all enjoy it more if the first you heard of it was the 1st of December. It's not like you can avoid it either. The shops are full of crap, oops sorry, lovely things, that you just must have to have the perfect Christmas. Radio D.J's tell you how many shopping days there are left, and drag out Slade and Wizard and you can't watch anything on the telly without being bombarded by adverts for the latest must have perfume, c.d, sofa (Who actually buys a new sofa just because it's Christmas?) Makes my blood boil!!
2. Presents. I think Christmas is lovely for children especially for small children who still believe but presents for brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, parents, husbands, wives, the dog, the teacher, friends, friends children, the boss. Forget it! I don't have a huge family but we made an agreement a couple of years ago that we will only buy for children and the adults will all get together for a slap up meal and to spend time with each other. Works brilliantly and let's face it, you buy your mother- in -law a voucher as you don't know what to get her and she does the same for you. What's the point of that? And even worse is the one where someone buys some novelty gift tat for you that gets put in a drawer and binned a few months later and you do the same back. Who gains from this? I'll tell you who! The shops and businesses who rely on all us sheep buying tat year after year and lining their pockets.
3. Which leads me onto commercialism. I hate it! I hate shopping full stop, especially for stuff I am brainwashed into thinking I must have for a great Christmas. This list includes: mince pies, nuts in their shells, tangerines, a real Christmas tree, the right baubles and tinsel to go on it, a big fat Turkey, mistletoe, Christmas pudding, crackers, a box of Quality Street, a CD with all the same old Christmas songs on it, some outside lights, a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of sherry (just in case), sprouts, some fancy cheese, a new outfit, special cards for family members and a box of special biscuits.
Don't get me wrong, I shall probably buy all these and more as my husband seems to think that we should have them in the house along with more booze than is necessary, but why should we feel that we need it? Again, one winner as anyone who has been in a supermarket on Christmas Eve will tell you. It's chaos and you would think the shops were shutting for a whole week, not just at most, two days.
4. Spoilt children. If you have a dog and walk it on Boxing Day, you will see mountains of cardboard and waste from Christmas Day stuffed in the bins and over flowing. Mine was probably as bad when the kids were younger and some people are worse than others. They will spend hundreds and hundreds on their kids to make sure they have a great Christmas. It just seems wrong to me. The real meaning of Christmas is lost in a sea of greed and gluttony. Oh heck, I sound like a right miserable so and so don't I? lol
5. Christmas cards. Who actually likes sitting and writing a mountain of cards? It's a chore to get out of the way but we all do it to some extent. I had to laugh a few years ago. I was at my mam's house around Christmas time and spotted a card to my parents from my nanna. Nothing unusual about that you may say but she had been dead for eight years! My mam said she kept all her nice "special cards" and put them out every year and wished we would do the same instead of giving the shops money every year so that was another job knocked off the list. Tried it with the in- laws but they were having none of it though.
I bet we all think we have written all the cards we need to and then through the letter box pops one from someone you had forgotten to do one for and you go to find your box of cards and find there are none left so back to the shops you go. Oh what joy!
6. Putting the trimmings up too early. I think this shouldn't be allowed till December. Christmas lasts for a couple of days not two whole months! Can't wait to get mine put away on New Years Day and get back to normal.
7. The financial strain. Many organised people save all year round to afford the Christmas they want and that's great but a lot of people go into debt and are still paying for last Christmas when the next one comes around. Is it worth going into debt for? Not for me but for some it must be, as lots of people struggle. But then everyone seems to find even more money for the January sales to go and buy even more stuff that they possibly don't need. Crazy. Actually, just thought, they aren't all spending. Some are returning some of the tat to exchange for something they DO want which kind of proves my point don't you think?
Ok so I am going to stop there. I could probably go on and on and as I said before, I know a lot of people won't think the same as me and love Christmas but I will wish you all a "Happy Christmas" even though it's not even December yet and don't expect a Christmas Card! lol
I am old enough to remember this brand when it was just Ulay Beauty fluid which I used as a teenager when I suffered with spots as most of us did (If you didn't, you were lucky!)
Over the years though, the brand changed it's name to Olay and the different products in the range is massive. The price of it in various outlets also varies hugely and is often on offer so definitely worth shopping about for.
There are two products in this particular range. One has an SPF of 15 included which is always useful in the summer months and a fragrance free option.
~~What are the claims?~~
The box says it is 7 in 1 anti ageing:
1. Line minimisation.....visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
2. Nourishing moisturisation...for a radiant healthy glow.
3. Tone enhancement...balances colour and visibly reduces appearance of age spots.
4. Gentle exfoliation...smooths and evens skin texture.
5. Pore refinement....minimises the appearance of pores.
6. With anti oxidants ...helps prevent free radical damage to skin's surface layers.
7. Subtle firming...hydrates fo fimer skin appearance.
When removed from the box, the moisturiser is in a pump dispenser containing 50ml of product with a clear pop on lid covering the pump action top.
~~What does it look and smell like?~~
The cream is the usual cream colour with little fragrance at all which suits me!
I have used this for years which obviously says how much I like the product. I pump a small amount into my hand, dot it all over my face and then massage in with my finger tips. Immediately my skin loses that tightness that you get if you wash your face. Whether it lives up to all its claims is a matter of opinion. I think for a 47 year old, my skin is in fairly good condition but the best cream in the world won't stop wrinkles and laughter lines altogether. I would say that all the other claims have something going for them though and until I feel my skin needs something more, I will carry on using it.
As I said previously, it really is worth shopping about for this. I have seen it on sale for full price which is £18 and I smply refuse to pay this! Most of the big supermarkets have it on offer at some point for £10 which is much more reasonable and I even got my last one from superdrug for £7. I should have bought a few! It lasts me about five weeks with daily use.
There is only one, which some may find a problem. It is not clear how much is left in the pump action container so could be annoying if you run out unexpectedly as has happened to me once or twice but now I make sure I always have one in reserve, and means you can make sure you pay the lower price. As this is a non problem for me, I won't knock a star off. I have been tempted a couple of times to try one of the other main stream moisturisers, but each time have come out in spots so I must have very sensitive skin.
My skin type is combination but I am sure this cream would suit most skin types.
Hope this has been helpful and thank you for reading.
Well here I am at my 50th review! Whoo hoo!! I joined this wonderful site at the end of April and only wish I had discovered it years ago!
I first took interest in the site after hearing some members of Money Saving Expert talking about it.
Actually I am highly impressed with a lot of reviewers on this site. A lot are of a very high standard.
~~~So why do I like the site?~~~
Firstly, it's a great community and very soon after joining, if you spend enough time reading others' reviews, you find some great reviews of some great products and get to know some interesting people from all walks of life.
I love the fact that you discover products you never knew existed and peoples views on products you are familiar with.
Very soon after starting to read reviews, I got to recognise people more from their picture than their names and I would encourage the few people that DO change their pic regularly to think twice about this. I sometimes pass them by and then realise they are in my circle of friends.
I would recommend that new Dooyooers take a good look around the site and read and read and then read some more! It gives you a good idea of what makes a good review and people are more likely to rate you back when you do finally get your first review up.
~~~Any room for improvement?~~~
Much as I like the site, there is one thing in my opinion that would improve the site. It would be great if there was some way of marking the reviews that you have read. When I am rating back, I quite often find myself getting to the bottom of reading a review and find that I have already rated it. Would be so much simpler if it was marked on the review before you even clicked on it. I often go through several reviews when I am trying to find one I haven't looked at and get frustrated as I have already read a lot of them.
There is nothing like the feeling of seeing that first golden crown next to one of your reviews! Subsequent crowns are also great of course but that first one is just magical. A big thank you to anyone that has ever nominated one of my reviews to be crown worthy! It is really really appreciated! The only thing I don't like about the crowning system is that sometimes it tends to be the longer the review, the more likely it is to be crowned. I'm not saying they don't deserve a crown as obviously they have lots and lots of info in the review but if I was reading a review to actually buy a product, I wouldn't want to read an extremely long review.
~~~Nominating a review for a crown~~~
I don't say when I nominate and prefer it if it is done in secret. Some people will say that they have nominated a review but I feel uncomfortable seeing it on my own or others reviews. I always feel like it could be looked at as if "I have nom'd you if you will nom me back." I'm sure in all cases it's not meant that way but still doesn't sit right with me.
I guess everyone has their own way of working but I always look at the last people to rate me when I first sign on and rate back if I can. I will then take a quick look through new reviews to see if there is anything to take my fancy and finally I will go through my circle of friends to see if I have missed any of their latest reviews.
Dooyoo is a great community that is rather addictive. At first I thought I would soon run out of things to review but now I'm realising I never will. There are infinite books to read, restaurants to visit and places to visit or stay as well as all the products you buy. I love writing and can write for England when I'm in the mood. It's great to read others comments on my reviews and even greater that I earn a little extra money from it which I convert to Amazon vouchers. Love it!
My husband bought this nifty little gadget for me about five years ago when I was in my curry making phase.
Curries need a lot of ingredients that need a lot of preparation i.e finely chopped garlic, ginger and spices. This little wonder does the lot with ease.
I would absolutely love a food processor that does all this but on a grander scale, but I just don't have the room for one and to be honest, my little chopper is so easy to clean and takes up so little space, I would probably still use this even if I had a bobby dazzler food processor!
~~~So what do you get?~~~
Ken is less than 20cm in length and about 10cm wide and he tucks neatly into one of my gadget drawers. Mine is different in colour to the picture shown. Mine is white with a grey button to activate.
He has a cable which is about a metre in length which is quite sufficient, and he sits on four little rubber legs so he won't scratch your worktop.
There is a little plastic bowl that sits on a metal prong in the centre of the base unit with a plastic central unit on which the blades sit. Lastly there is a lid with a little arrow on it to line up to a mark on the base unit. I found this quite tricky initially but you soon get used to it. The machine won't work unless it is lined up properly.
The bowl has a 150ml chopping capacity and the chopper has a 300w motor.
Ken can be put into the dishwasher quite safely but you must wash the blades by hand. This is not a problem for me as I don't possess a dishwasher.
I have read some reviews on this little machine that say the blade has broken early on in it's life but again, I haven't had this problem. If you did, you can get a replacement blade from good old Amazon for £9.99.
Whilst I was into making curries, this saved me a lot of chopping by hand! Not just the onions, garlic and ginger, but the spices and herbs as well. ( No smelly fingers either)!
To use, just chop up your ingredients really roughly and place them in the bowl. (Don't over fill it)!
I usually then just hold in the button on the top and pulse it till things are at the chopped state I require. Be warned, if you do it too long you will get a puree!
Obviously, if you require large amounts, you will have to keep repeating in batches but it really is so much quicker than doing by hand.
I wish I had purchased one of these when my children were babies as I can see it would be great for making home-made baby food by just blending what the adults were going to have.
Another thing I regularly use it for is making breadcrumbs. Yes I have done it with a grater, but always seem to grate my fingers as well. My chopper eliminates that problem.
It's great for chopping nuts as well.
In summary: I can't praise this little gadget enough and would miss it enough to replace it, if and when it ever does stop working. At the £20 mark it's a lot more purse friendly than an all singing, all dancing food processor. You can buy this from Amazon or any high street retailer.
Thanks for reading.
Earlier on this year in May, it was my daughter's 18th birthday. She isn't your usual 18 year old. She had a major anxiety problem when she was in her first year of senior school which developed into a school phobia and to cut a long story short we ended up home educating her.
She has gone on to do 2 years at college but still is very much a home bird and isn't the booze swilling party girl that I was at her age. Not such a bad thing really when I look back at what I used to get up to but that's a different story!
We asked what she would like to do for her 18th knowing full well that a party would not be what she would choose and she said she would like us to go away as a family and maybe hire bikes or something. So we planned a visit to to Dalby forest where bikes can be hired and decided to find accommodation nearby for two nights.
We decided we would like to take our chocolate lab Max with us, so John my husband set about finding accommodation that would take dogs. This narrows your choices down slightly.
I left it to him and he booked us in for 2 nights at the Ganton Greyhound.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I had never been in rooms where they allowed dogs but I was very pleasantly surprised!!
The Greyhound is a former coaching house which was taken over in 2010 by the current owners. It has 17 rooms which are housed in a separate building to the pub and 2 of the rooms are used for people with dogs. Dogs understandably aren't allowed in the main pub or restaurant but I have no problem with that.
I shared with my daughter and John shared with our 20 year old son. Max came in our room. The room was a good size with two pine beds, matching dressing table, chest of drawers and wardrobe. The décor gave it a lovely country feel with everything in shades of brown and cream with a contrasting green carpet. A very adequate bathroom with bath and shower facilities. The usual tea and coffee making facilities were available and a small but adequate telly. All in all, for a room that allows dogs, I was suitably impressed!
Breakfast is served in the main pub conservatory 7.30 - 9 Monday to Friday and 8 - 9.30 at the weekend. Full breakfast is served with waiter service which was excellent and cereals and juices are also available for self service.
I think the best part of the pub is the evening meals. We dined in the restaurant on the night of Laura's 18th and oh what a choice! Not cheap but very good quality food. Starters ranged from £4.95 - £6.95 and included Deep Fried Brie, Chicken Liver Pate and Prawn Cocktail.
Mains were offered on the menu but a specials board was also available. These ranged in price from £11.95 - £15.95 and included Pan Fried Lamb's Liver, Seabass, Sauteed Cods Loin and Seared Duck Breast. Many steaks and various sauces were also offered.
Desserts were £5.25 each or a Trio of desserts was on offer which we shared: Pavlova with berries, Strawberry Shortcake, Apple crumble and Cream . This was delicious and rounded off our meal superbly.
I get the impression that the restaurant is popular with locals as well as people staying in the accommodation.
The dining room is very quaint and the ceiling is adorned with rows and rows of old fashioned jugs! Not for the modern or minimalistic diner but I love this kind of thing!
A very pleasant meal with good friendly service. We then spent some time in the pool room playing against each other in doubles whilst having a few drinks.
My only negative about his accommodation is that it is close to a main road and you can hear cars whizzing by when you are trying to go to sleep. Maybe a problem for some but wasn't for us.
The Ganton has free wifi and is ideally situated for various local attractions all of which are in a booklet in your room. Apparently it is close to many golf courses with 1 championship golf course on the doorstep! It is within driving distance of Scarborough, Dalby Forest, Flamingo Land, Castle Howard, York and Whitby.
Ganton is a small village with not much going on so a car is a necessity but to find somewhere as clean as this place was with the added bonus of an excellent restaurant and dog friendly rooms was brilliant for us and just what we needed.
The 2 night break cost us £282 for 2 twin rooms with dog allowed in one and full breakfasts included both mornings which I thought was a good price. If I was looking for somewhere to stay in this area again, I would not hesitate to go back here!
You can find the Ganton Greyhound on the A64, main Leeds to Scarborough route in the small village of Ganton.
When I was a child, I would stop at my Nanna's house quite a lot and come rain or shine, at this time of year we would go brambling. Yes "brambling"....you can't very well call it blackberrying can you? Or can you?
Not sure if it is a north/south divide but I have always called them brambles and posh people call them Blackberry's. Which camp do you fall into?
My Nanna was a fantastic pastry maker and she would make the most beautiful pies with the brambles but first she would sprinkle them with lots of sugar and this would encourage any creepy crawlies to surface. Yuck!
Fast forward to many years later, a work friend knew that I was making my own wine from kits and for my birthday one year she brought me a demi-john of home-made bramble wine that her husband had made. I was blown away!! It was delicious and when I got the chance of using a friend's allotment keys to pick as many brambles as I could lay my hands on, I set out to have a go myself.
The results have never seemed to be quite as good as that first demi-john I was given but it started me off with the bonuses of picking your own fruit and veg. Not long after, I took possession of my very own allotment and I have whiled away many contented hours in the autumn sunshine picking buckets of brambles. Some go in crumbles which are delicious with an oaty, nutty topping but the rest go in my yearly batch of homebrew. I tend to mix them with elderberries and you get more of a deep flavour. You do have to be patient as the flavour gets better the longer it is left to mature.
I think the health benefit of these wild growing berries is very often over looked! They are an excellent source of Vitamin C which is a powerful anti-oxidant. They also contain Vitamins A, E and K.
Brambles also contain a good amount of minerals such as copper, magnesium and potassium. Copper is required in the production of white and red blood cells. Moderate levels of B - complex vitamins can also be found. So all round, very good for you! (Well I keep telling myself this as the home-brew glides down my gullet)!
As I have already said, they can be used in pies and crumbles and making wine. You could also make jam with them, make a puree or sorbet or even just eat them as they are!
Some people think of them as weeds and I have to agree, if you don't keep your eye on them and keep them cut back to where you want them to be, they can soon take over, These are obviously the ones that grow in the wild but you can also buy cultivated versions. There is some debate to whether these taste as good as the wild ones but with the amount that from the allotment that is free and abundant, I won't be paying for a cultivated version any time soon.
Even if you haven't got an allotment, there are many places with wild brambles growing in the hedgerows and I would recommend anybody to go pick some and treat yourself to a yummy crumble or two!
Spatone is a liquid iron supplement which is easier to absorb than iron tablets. Many years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, I was given iron tablets from my doctor and they were horrible! They made me constipated and when I did manage to go, my stools were very black!
Years later I discovered these liquid iron supplements in Boots. I had recently been to Blood Donors to give my usual pint of blood and they wouldn't take it as my iron levels were slightly below the standard they require.
Spatone comes in an orange and white box with 28 sachets in a box. One sachet should provide your daily iron requirement but if you know your iron stores are low, it is safe to take two sachets.
The liquid has quite a strong metallic taste so is best if you can either put it in fruit juice or with water. I find choosing the right time to take the supplement quite difficult as you shouldn't take whilst drinking tea or wine. I have tea in the morning and wine more often than not on an evening so mid - day is good for me. But then it is best taken on an empty stomach or 30 minutes after eating food. I take mine to work and have 30 minutes after my lunch trying to remember to refuse all offers of cups of tea during this time. (Quite difficult as there is always a brew on the go)
Taken with fruit juice (not grape juice) is probably best as vitamin C helps the body to absorb the iron.
A leaflet is included in the box of sachets and gives quite a lot of information. Apparently the iron rich water comes from Snowdonia and is collected at the Trefriw Spa.
~~~Why do we need iron?~~~
Iron is an essential for the transportation of of oxygen around the body. A deficiency reduces oxygen delivery to blood cells and can cause decreased immunity, fatigue and general feelings of lethargy. On the other hand, too much can cause toxicity or even death!
~~~Where can we find it naturally?~~~
Obviously it is better if you can get all your nutrients from food if you can and iron can be found in red meat, eggs, fortified cereals and dark leafy vegetables, Spinach as recommended by Popeye!
~~~Who needs to use supplements?~~~
There are many groups of people that may suffer with iron deficiency. Vegetarians, pregnant women, people suffering from diseases such as cancer or arthritis, women of child bearing age who suffer with heavy blood loss, and people with gastro problems such as coeliac disease who do not absorb iron properly.
~~~Did it work for me?~~~
I have to assume that my slight iron deficiency is due to quite heavy periods as I do eat plenty of red meat and eggs or maybe my body just doesn't absorb iron as well as it should. Could be all the tea I drink that interferes with it!
I took one of these religiously in the three week run up to me next due to give blood and was amazed to find it had worked! My iron levels were satisfactory and and I had a general feeling of having more energy so a supplement that in my eyes is well worth taking rather than iron tablets. The taste is not so bad that it is horrible to take and can easily be mixed with another drink to make it more palatable. The sachets are neat and individual so easy to slip a few in my work bag so I remember to take one around the middle of the day.
These can currently be purchased at the price of £8.25 for the 28 day sachet box from Boots but if you keep looking in the Boot's stores, you can often find them on the 3 for price of 2 offer.
Reasonably cheaper at £5.50 the box can be bought on Amazon but you need to spend £10 on Amazon to get the free delivery option. Quite easily done I'm sure you will all agree.
I think this supplement is one that is definitely worth spending money on and even worth using at the time of the month when us ladies can often feel wiped out.
There has been a Lidl just a five minute drive away from where I live for about the last five years and I am so annoyed that I have just discovered the savings that can be made!
Due to working almost full time, I usually do the weekly shop on line with either Sainsbury's or Tesco but due to having had no wage rise for three years, every bill possible going up and the price of the weekly shop just getting higher and higher, drastic measures are called for.
I started seeing the bonus of Lidl initially when I dropped in for bread. Similar loaves to which I often pay up to £1.50 for in Sainsbury's are a pound. I refuse to pay £1.50 for a loaf of bread especially as a family of four we get through 4 loaves a week. So this in itself is a saving of a couple of quid a week.
Whilst going in for bread I would take a look at other bits and pieces and found there was quite a lot we could make savings on. Took quite a while to get my husband on board with shopping at a no frills shop as secretly he is a bit of a label snob but he now spends more time dawdling round the aisles than I do! He finds it hilarious that you can be looking at tinned stuff one second and then very close to the tuna there will be random bottles of beer or some hardware item like garden tools next to it. Its a bit like a car boot grocery store! It often stocks his favourite cider Rekorderlig though as well as other good value alcohol at much cheaper prices than the regular supermarkets so I think that swung it for him. Tesco express has lost out big time. If we need milk or the odd bits he is straight there in the car.
~~~So why is Lidl different to the main supermarkets we all know and frequent like zombies?~~~
Its back to basics. There is no fancy shelf lay out and costs are kept to a minimum. There are some brands of things that you may not recognise and its a matter of trial and error to see if the taste or quality is for you. There are also branded things in store and sometimes these are cheaper. Sometimes not.
One of the main differences is at the checkout and this is something you need to be aware of or you could be caught out.
Carriers are charged for so take your own!
No credit cards are accepted so you must have cash or debit card.
The cashiers go very fast so if you are doing a big shop, just shove everything back in your trolley and go to the back of the store where there is an area you can take your time loading your purchases into your bags.
~~~An idea of prices~~~
Potatoes 2.5Kg £1.99
3 pack of Pizzas £2.69
Garlic Bread £1.15
4 pint skimmed milk £1.00
Hovis wholemeal 99p
Hovis thick white 99p
Luxury Mueseli £1.49
Vanilla ice cream £1.99
Plain flour 45p
Peppermint tea 99p
Sunflower seeds £1.19
Cien handcream £1.25
This is obviously just a few items that I have bought. I can't really comment on the meat as i use a local butcher for all my meat but will occasionally buy chicken breasts at Lidl if I have run short and they are fine.
I can't always get everything that I need at Lidl but each time I go I am finding something else that I can add to my regular shopping trip there. There have been a couple of things that I wouldn't buy again like their own brand chewing gum and basic tea bags but there are some things that are regularly saving me money. Wine, bread, beer and basics such as sugar, pasta, flour and passata are good buys.
Fruit and veg is good and I wouldn't hesitate to buy these.
The bread section is especially good as they have their own in house bakery and you can get freshly made buns, croissants and paninis etc.
The kids (grown up kids) prefer their pizzas to Sainsbury's!
It's worth having a look at their offer leaflets or on line as they regularly update offers on various items and run themes like Bathroom items (coming up this Monday 9th September, dressing gowns, slippers shower heads and leisure wear on good offers. Told you it was a bit random!
I have noticed in the short time that I have been shopping at Lidl that it is slowly but surely getting busier and busier. I can probably knock £20 - £30 a week off my weekly shopping bill and will continue to do so.
My days of thinking of my clubcard points alone are long gone when I can make those kinds of savings!
Thanks for reading.