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The wooden activity cube is available from Toys 'R' Us and is aimed at young children from 18 months and over. The purpose of the cube is to help in the development of various skills in the child, and of course, to keep them entertained!
The beauty of this item is that it has a different activity on each side of the cube so there is plenty to keep the children occupied.
The top features wooden jungle animals than can be moved around the surface, as well as a wooden bead and wire puzzle. Round the sides of the cube you get a xylophone with wooden sticks, a magnetic board with magnetic shapes, a wooden maze puzzle, and a wooden abacus. The top of the cube can be easily removed so it can be easily stored.
The cube is made from wood and is very sturdy, it certainly withstands a lot of punishment from my little ones. It currently retails at £39.99 which I think is fair value for money when you consider the different bits it has to it.
This product is aimed at children from 18 months and over, however, my daughter got great enjoyment from it from when she turned one year old. The xylophone has proved very popular and the good news for parents is that it's not too loud!
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a classic book aimed at children under five years old. First published in 1982, this book has proved a firm favourite with kids over the years and remains popular to this day.
The story is told through the eyes of a child who writes to a zoo requesting a pet. The zoo send a number of different pets that prove unsuitable and are revealed on each page behind flaps in the form of crates. These animals are all sent back to the zoo for being unsuitable except for the last one, a dog, which is ideal!
The pages are made out of thick board making it ideal for curious babies and toddlers who can grab at pages and often rip pages in paperback books. The youngsters love to lift the flaps on each page to see whats underneath and find this little book truly engaging.
The simple story and lively animation used in this book make it ideal for children from birth right up to pre-school age. As well as being entertaining, it also helps with their development.
This title can be picked up at most stockists of childrens books and retails at around 4.99 GBP.
When it comes to single malt whisky the selection and variety is huge, with many of them having fine reputations. I've sampled many a fine malt whisky and this is one of my favourites.
The Highland Park distillery is situated in Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It is actually the northernmost distillery in the world. The distillery was founded in the 1790's and would have operated illegally at the beginning.
The 12 year old malt has a reputation for being a good 'all-rounder' with a balance of attributes found in other whiskys. It is perhaps a good starting point for people who have not experienced single malt before.
When poured into the glass you can see the colour of it is very light amber and the smell is rather striking. I like to serve my drink with some chilled Scottish spring water.
The taste of this whisky is very smooth, mellow, spicy, with a light taste of peat. A fruity after taste is experienced and lingers long in the mouth. In my opinion this drop offers a complete well rounded flavour that can't be found in many other malts.
A 70cl bottle of this liquid can be purchased from all the big supermarkets and whisky outlets and is priced at around 20-30 British pounds.
The Vtech tiny touch phone is an interactive baby toy aimed at 1-3 year olds, but my daughter is 9 months old and loves this toy already.
The aim of this toy is to develop the language and phonetic skills of the baby and specifically teaches shapes numbers and colours.
The phone has several modes of play that feature various melodies, sounds and flashing lights. In addition to the flashing keypad, there is also a light up display screen that displays many shapes and characters. The various features help your baby to develop their skills, and of course keep them entertained!
This toy requires two AA batteries that are inserted in the back of the unit and secured with a screw fastener. The toy will also automatically switch itself off after a short period of activity which is very useful for any baby toys.
The phone is widely available for most of the big toy retailers as well as supermarkets such as Tesco. The retail price of the unit is 9.99 GBP.
Little singing Alfie, I curse the day this this toy entered my house! Possibly one of the most irritating toys my baby has had, though there is plenty competition!
So, what exactly is little singing Alfie?
He is a little singng teddy bear with a soft head and limbs, and a plastic torso. He is aimed at babies from 3-18 months and is meant to aid their language development.
Little Alfie has three numbered buttons on his front as well as a heart shaped power switch. The numbered buttons each reflect a different mood and play different sound effects or songs when pressed. The buttons also light up and flash to grab the youngsters attention.
Alfie has a velcro strap on his head so he can be hung from a pushchair, cot, or bouncer to allow baby to play with him. He can also be given to baby to snuggle up to.
Alfie costs around ten pounds to buy and takes two AAA batteries which are supplied. He can be picked up at any Vtech stockist including Argos, Mothercare, and John Lewis.
The Vtech magic moves baby ball is an interactive toy aimed at babies from 6 months old up to 2 years old.
The ball is manufactured with a special motor inside that makes the ball roll in a random fashion. The purpose of these movements is to encourage the infant to crawl or move to catch up with the ball. Each movement is small so the ball does not move far from the childs reach. The ball also has a number of chunky buttons that when pressed, prompt a number of annoying tunes and flashing lights to keep the kid entertained and interested.
The purpose of the ball is to aid the childs movement and also to teach them the various shapes and colours as well as numbers. In practice this appears to work well with my baby as she certainly has great fun playing with it.
The retail price of this ball is 13 pounds GBP and is available from all the usual outlets such as Boots, Mothercare, Argos, ELC, John Lewis, Woolworths, etc.
Now I'm not a regular smoker, but on occasion I enjoy a tab, and it's the Marlboro Lights that I go for.
What is it that makes people choose a certain brand of cigarette? Well I think it is the taste that appeals to me, this cigarette has a nice smooth flavour. However, I also think the image is important. Everyone knows that smoking makes you look cool, but when I puff on a Marlboro light It's easy to imagine myself as a cowboy or a Russian spy, pretty flashy.
The packs are typically sold from all tobacco outlets in boxes of 10 or 20. It seems inappropriate to list the price of these tabs as they seem to go up so often when the government imposes it's regular increase in duty.
Lets face it, smoking is a bad habit and is becoming socially unacceptable. You have to be a current smoker to try these.
I would recommend this tab to any smokers out there who puff on other brands. I would not advise any non-smokers to buy them though, as they are a little unhealthy.
The Quavers potato crisp snack has been on the UK market for around three decades. This probably demonstrates how popular the snack has been.
The original flavour is cheese although a variety of flavours are also available. The snack itself is made from reconstituted potato shaped into curly shapes and flavoured with cheese.
I would describe this as a light snack, it certainly wont reduce your hunger by a great deal. What it does provide is a tasty unusual little snack, ideal for kids or as a supplement to your regular lunch meal. Each bag only contains 84 calories, so may be an attractive option for those on a calorie controlled diet.
The crisps are fairly tasty but it's the texture of them that really attracts me. As you place a crisp on your tounge it melts slowly in your mouth, it doesn't require much chewing like other snacks on the market.
Each bag can be bought for about 40p for a single snack pack, various sizes of multi-pack are also available.
The Nestle Rolo is a long standing member of the confectionery shelf, in fact, it has been on offer in the UK since it was created by Rowntrees in the 1930s. Nestle is a strong brand name and the Rolo is one of it's flagship products.
The Rolo sweet comes in a tube like packet as pictured above. Each pack costs about 45 pence and contains 10 little cup shaped sweets made from creamy caramel and delicious Nestle chocolate.
The chocolate is very creamy in taste and blends well with the sweet and sticky caramel filling. The two ingredients fuse well in the mouth and create an outstanding flavour. The taste of each sweet encourages you to dive in and take another from the pack!
For many years Rolo carried an advertising campaign that suggested that you would only part with your last Rolo to someone very special that you loved. It was painted as the ultimate sacrifice. While this light hearted message was clearly exaggerated, it does illustrate how difficult these treats are to share!
The Bounty Bar is a popular chocolate snack bar manufactured by Mars and marketed globally. Although not the most popular or well known product from Mars, this chocolate bar is a big player in the snack market.
The bar comes in two seperate but identical halves. The inside of the bar is made of coconut which is covered in chocolate. The contrast of ingredients works well together. There are two versions of the Bounty, a milk chocolate bar which has a blue wrapper, and a dark chocolate version which is sold in a red wrapper.
The top of the bars have chocolate with a ripple effect. The taste of bounty is very sweet, but the beauty of this snack bar is that it comes in two halves, so you can easily save half the bar for later consumption.
The adverts for this product use images of tropical islands and beautiful people to project an exotic image.
These bars are price in line with other snack bars at around 40 pence for a 57 gram bar.
The Topic may not be one of the most high profile or popular chocolate snacks manufactured by Mars, but that's not to say it's not a good one.
The Topic is currently made in France and is marketed all over Europ as well as the USA. The bar itself is rectangular shaped and consists of a bed of nougat mixed with hazelnut bits covered in caramel and wrapped inside a delicious coating of Mars chocolate.
The Topic is probably quite similar to another bar made by Mars, the Snickers bar, but would not be as popular as that heavyweight.
In my opinion, the topic is a cracking little snack and the mix of ingredients makes for a bar with a great texture and taste. A single bar will set you back around 40 pence and is available from all the usual confectionery retailers.
Perfect for chocolate fans that like a light and smoky treat.
The Wispa bar is a chocolate snack bar made by Cadburys for the UK and Ireland market. The Wispa was originally launched in the early 1980's, but poor sales say Cadburys bin it 2003. However, some nostalgic campaigners put pressure on Cadburys and the bar was re-launched in 2007 for a 'limited period'.
The bar looks pretty standard from the outside; it is just a rectangle block of chocolate with rounded edges. It's on the inside where this bar makes its name. The chocolate is full of tiny bubble shaped spaces giving it an unusual texture, perhaps it can be compared to the texture of a Nestle Aero. As with any Cadburys bar, you can be assured that the chocolate will be consistent with their usual standards of fairly decent milk chocolate.
The original adverts for these bars featured a number of third rate actors performing in front of a black background.
The re-launch of Wispa was intended to be for a limited production run of 23 million bars. However, sales of the snack proved to be strong and it was recently announced that the Wispa would be back on a permanent basis from October 2008. In addition to the standard Wispa bar, a limited production of Wispa Mint and Wispa Gold will also commence. The standard Wispa bar can be purchased for around the 45 pence mark.
The Walnut Whip is a chocolate snack manufactured by Nestle that I believe has a traditional or old fashioned image. And with good reason too, as this fondant filled treat first hit out shelves in 1910 after its launch by Duncan's in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The snack has a rather unusual appearance. A whirl shaped cone of thick chocolate is filled with delicious vanilla flavoured fondant and as half a walnut stuck on the narrow end of the 'whip'. There have been several flavours of Walnut Whit on the market over the years including my favourite which was the coffee flavour, but we currently only have the vanilla one on the market just now.
The unusual shape of the Walnut Whip means that the style of eating it varies between consumers. I personally like to eat the walnut first then bite a small hole in top. I then rim the hole with my tongue before scooping out all the fondant then finishing off with the chocolate cone.
The Whips are available in single units for about 40 pence each from all the usual confectionery outlets.
They say a Walnut Whip is eaten every 2 seconds in the UK, though I'm not sure how they co-ordinate this.
No, not a medieval bard, but the delicious chocolate snack made by Mars!
Minstrels are little button shaped discs of chocolate encased in a hard sweet shiny shell. It is this crispy shell that lets the old adverts boast that the chocolate will only melt in your mouth and not in your hand. Though why anyone would want to hold chocolate in their hand for a prolonged period of time is beyond me.
These chocolate snacks come in rectangle shaped bags and are retailed the length and breath of the British Isles.
In recent years this product has been re-branded, and they are now known as 'Galaxy Minstrels'. This lets the public know that they are made from the same creamy chocolate that is used in the Galaxy bar. A new advertising slogan was coined this year and the tag line is 'Sophisticated Silliness'. Quite what type of image they are trying to create with that is not clear to me!
The standard bag is 42 grams and the Minstrels will set you back in the region of 45 pence and will furnish you with approximately 500 calories per 100g serving.
One of the more unusual offerings from the Cadburys chocolate snack range is the Twirl.
The snack is made up of two Flake style fingers of chocolate smothered inside a generous coating of creamy delicious Cadburys chocolate, and is presented in a beautiful purple packet with yellow text.
The bars are produced in Ireland though are enjoyed in many countries and cities from Wexford to Wellington. The Twirl actually originated from the Irish market in the 1970's as a single finger snack before being repackaged as a twin finger snack some time in the 1980's. By the time the 1990's came round the rest of the world demanded to have access to this amazing chocolate snack, as from that day it has been marketed in many countries outside of Ireland.
Although the bars are made only of chocolate, the magic of this bar is the blend of the two different textures of chocolate. This creates a contrast between the soft crumbly inside core and the crisp solid coating.
The Twirl can be purchased from most grocery stores and cost in the region of 40 pence per standard two fingered pack.
An unusual twist on Cadburys chocolate.