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Pooky73

Pooky73
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Member since: 31.07.2009

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      18.09.2009 09:26
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      Ideal as a standby but you can taste the difference.

      Asda Smartprice Hot Chocolate Drink

      I'm not a huge fan of hot chocolate drinks, preferring my chocolate fix to come in the form of a large bar. However on days when I simply need that fix and can't get out to the shop I have to make do with hot chocolate.

      This is the first time I've brought this power, normally aiming at the higher end brand names variety; I decided it was worth a try.

      This powder needs to be mixed with boiling water rather than milk and it's estimated that you need around 28g (3-4 heaped teaspoons) per cup. Personally I find it's not quite chocolately enough unless I use 5 good size spoonfuls. There's no need to add sugar, it's more than sweet enough although a splash of fresh milk does add to the richness.

      I can taste the difference between this and some of the more expensive powders, but that said I have managed to use the entire jar. It's a product I'll use again, but it won't be top of the list.

      400gms of powder per glass jar, suitable for vegetarians is around £1.20 (depending on offer/store)

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      • Asda Passata / Sauces / Soups / 15 Readings / 13 Ratings
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        09.09.2009 15:54
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        A great tasting store cupboard basic.

        Asda Passata - 500gm tetra pack, on average around 42p per pack.

        Passata is up there with the top ten store cupboard items for me. Whilst tinned tomatoes have their place, they are often bitter or sour. Passsata is the sweeter, more flavourful alternative.

        Traditional Italian sieved tomatoes are the main ingredient in the pack with a content of 99%, the other addition being citric acid. This is fantastic; so many other ranges contain high levels of salt.

        Obviously suitable for vegetarians, a quarter of the pack contains one of your five a day, always a good thing.

        I use passata in all manner of dishes, from the humble spag bol to tomato soup. Add some herbs and use as a sauce for topping pizzas or mix with browned meat for a shepherd's pie; it really does have all manner of uses.

        Stores well in an air tight container in the fridge for a week or so and freezes so no more wasting small portions, I pop it into ice cube trays until frozen and decant into bags, handy if you just want a small amount for a salsa or pizza topping.

        A good quality standard item.

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      • Asda Cheesy Wiggles / Snacks / 15 Readings / 13 Ratings
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        09.09.2009 13:56
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        A far from exciting snack.

        Asda Cheesy Wiggles - The name suggests a wiggly, giggly maize snack experience.

        A gloriously orange packaging lures you into to this snacks orbit. A multipack of Cheesy Wiggles containing 8 packs is currently in the 3 for £3 offer in my local store. Each single bag weighs in at around 21 grams and is suitable for vegetarians.

        It's always hard for a snack food like this to compete with the original leading brand but this one doesn't even come close. The maize "wiggles" are a pale, insipid colour, fairly long and straight (not what I'd imagine a "wiggle" to look like") They have a very mild, synthetic cheese flavour which leaves a strange aftertaste and a rather soggy feeling with little crispness. I was hoping for crunch, for cheese, for that lovely almost fizzy quality that this type of snack normally has but it was sadly lacking.

        A disappointing snack that left me more than a little "cheesed" off.

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        22.08.2009 12:28
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        A value, frozen meat product that does the job well.

        I'm not on the "free range" bandwagon and am happy to try the value meat cuts. Some I'll buy again, some I won't, but that's the same across the board, be it a top of the range or mid price item. If I like it then I'll buy it.

        Asda smart price chicken breast fillets are found in the freezer aisle. Each bag contains 1kilo of breast which have added water, salt, dextrose and stabilisers. Generally a bag costs between £3 - £4.50 depending on what offers are available.

        I find they normally contain around 6 fillets, a mixture of sizes and shapes but even the smallest is a good size. I defrost over night in the fridge in a sealed container to prevent cross contamination. The pack size is ideal for my family of four, we use 3 fillets per meal so always get 2 meals worth from a pack making them good value.

        The meat does let off some water when cooking, this is to be expected and doesn't impair the flavour of the meat. The breasts generally have no skin or fatty bits left on and are easily chopped, sliced or bashed out. I've always been happy with the flavour of the meat, be it in a curry or pie or just as a grilled breast for a salad or wrap.

        An ideal freezer staple that's versatile and cost effective.

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        22.08.2009 12:10
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        A pretty poor attempt at curry sauce.

        Asda Smart price Curry Cooking Sauce.

        Another Asda smart price product that begged to be tried. I've tried most of the major supermarkets value range of curry sauces, all being between 3p - 20p so was eager to see how this one measured up.

        The 400gm jar is currently 5p in my local branch but it really is hit and miss as to whether it's in stock or not, sometimes I don't see if for weeks.

        On opening the jar you're met with a mild curry smell, not strong enough to be off putting but maybe not strong enough to get the taste buds watering either. The sauce looks fairly sloppy and contains small chunks of onion and sultana. The jar states it's suitable for vegetarians and needs to be consumed within 3 day once the jar is open.

        I've tried it with meat and I've tried it with vegetables, each time I was disappointed with the flavour. There seems no depth to the flavour and I find myself adding more cumin, curry powder and chilli to pep it up, which really does defeat the point of the sauce. There's a fairly strange aftertaste too, slightly bitter and quite unpleasant. I really wasn't impressed.

        I've still got a jar sitting in the cupboard which no doubt will be donated to this years Harvest Festival as I just can't bring myself to use it.

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        17.08.2009 12:47
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        Does the job well.

        Every year, we throw away or recycle tons of glass in the form of bottles and jars. Not in our house; we make jams and wines!

        With any food-making process, cleanliness is paramount. You also need to remove the taint of any previous foodstuffs that have been in the bottles and jars you want to reuse.

        Asda "little angels" sterilising tablets have proved to be an effective agent for this. Supplied in a pack of 56, the tablets can be found in the baby section. Average price seems to be about 76p, but it seems Asda always put the price of things up just before they have a "special offer" and knock 3p off.

        Chlorine based, the tablets dissolve within minutes. One tablet will:
        * make up to 4 pints of baby bottle sterilising solution that is reusable over a 24 hour period,
        * sterilise 6 75cl bottles for wine,
        * clean 8 jam jars or 4 curry jars (it even gets rid of the curry smell),
        * purify 25 litres of water,
        * when dissolved in a sink of water, create a solution to disinfect the kitchen surfaces.

        Once we've used the solution, we dilute it in a large bucket and use it to water the garden!

        The cardboard box the tablets come in can be recycled and the tablets are stored in 8 tablet blister packs marked with their "use by" date, so storage out of the way of children is easy. Their shelf life is about 4 years, so you are likely to run out of tablets before you run out of time.

        Asda "little angels" sterilising tablets are a multipurpose product and a cheap, simple solution to disinfection.

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          14.08.2009 19:33
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          Just as Dolly Mixtures should be - glorious.

          Asda smart price Dolly Mixtures.

          I've always been a big fan of dolly mixtures, one of my top ten sweets of choice so I was really keen to try Asdas smart price version.

          They come in the standard smart price, green and white packet and contain 175g, currently priced at 30p, what a bargin!

          They contain no artificial colours, flavours or aspartame which is always a good start and the pack in question had a long "best before" date, although to be fair it's unlikely they'd have lasted to the end of the week let alone next year. There is a chance of nut or seed traces which could be an issue to those with allergies.

          Contained within are the sweetie mix of sugar coated jellies, multi-coloured layered sugar paste lumps and tubes and the crunchy coated sugar bites. There's a good mix of colours, green, orange, pink, purple and chocolaty brown and each colour has its own unique flavour. They have a pleasant texture, no sickly aftertaste and are extremely moorish.

          The only problem is that as the pack is slightly larger than a standard shops own brand, this leads to the issue of either pigging out completely or sharing the pack.

          A fabulous example of how a smart price product is just as good as the leading brand.

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          • Philips QT4020 / Beard & Hair Trimmer / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            14.08.2009 18:14
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            A great product that does the job well.

            It may sound strange, but I wanted a beard trimmer that I would be able to use. My husband has recently injured his back and shoulders so finds it difficult to shave himself and the task of taming 6 weeks worth of growth on his chin was left to me.

            Researching the market on beard trimmers was a minefield; all I wanted to do was cut my husband's beard and was surprised to find that there were more devices marketed as all over hair clippers than simple trimmers. For some reason, hubby was somewhat reticent about letting me loose with a trimmer anywhere other than on his beard and the Philips QT4020 proved to be the answer.

            Designed purely as a beard trimmer, the length of the cut is adjustable by a "twist" control that moves the comb attachment up and down between 9 settings so there is no need to switch between attachments. Fitted with self-sharpening blades, there is also no need to oil the blades before using the trimmer; you simply twist the control to the required length turn it on and start trimming.

            The cut of the trimmer is even and clean. The device is light and easy to use, either to cut your own beard (according to my husband) or on someone else. Being rechargeable, there is no need to hunt for replacement batteries every 5 minutes. Build quality seems good and with only the one attachment, there are no small pieces for you to lose.

            The only criticisms I can make about the Philips QT4020 are there is no storage case and the on/off switch is positioned for a right hander (both my husband and I are "lefties" so this is a minor annoyance).

            Overall, if you are looking for a simple beard trimmer that just "works", the Philips QT4020 could be the product you are looking for. Purchase price is around £20/£25 depending on where you go.

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          • Oxo Beef Cube / Meat / Fish / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
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            13.08.2009 11:55
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            Beef stock cubes from a trusted household name.

            Oxo - Beef Stock cubes - box of 18 - A widely known and trusted brand name.

            Beef Oxo is a staple in our house, where as I make my own chicken and vegetable stock, beef stock is more illusive. I normally buy a box of 12 to decant into my Oxo storage tin (yes, I'm that sad). So imagine my surprise last week to find my local supermarket now selling packs of 18 cubes. To be honest they may well have sold them before but the offer price of £1 a pack drew me in.

            Once home I opened said box to decant into my tin, only to find that inside the box was a further 2 boxes, one containing 12 cubes, the other containing 6. What's that about? Talk about a waste of packaging, albeit 2 small cardboard boxes, there's just no need...Sort it out Oxo!

            The stock cubes, as I'm sure you're all aware are versatile, crumbled into boiling water for stock, to be used to enhance gravy or make soup, added to browned meat for body or dusted over a joint of meat for a fuller flavour. Handy little foil wrapped parcels of yumminess.

            The overall weight of the box of 18 was 106gms and the box states that they do contain wheat and gluten, obviously something to look out for if you have allergies.

            The outer cardboard boxes are fully recyclable and the tin foil wrapper is recyclable in some areas, sadly not mine.

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            • Timotei Golden Highlights / Hair Care / 9 Readings / 8 Ratings
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              12.08.2009 18:32
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              A wonderous conditioner that does everything it claims, smells great too.

              Timotei golden highlights conditioner, containing camomile flower and amber extract.

              A conditioner that claims to accentuate the golden hues and tones in your hair leaving it gleaming and looking sun kissed. A brave claim and one I've heard before from other products that haven't delivered. Amazingly though, this one did deliver, superbly. After several uses a couple of people commented on how "blonde" I was looking, after establishing they weren't being derogatory I suddenly realised that it must be down to the conditioner. I got the rest of the family involved in the experiment and noticed a real difference in everyone's hair after just 2 uses. It leaves your hair remarkably soft and shiny and eliminates the issues I have with static.

              The conditioner is thick and creamy with an almost pearlescent shimmer, this would have been easier to see if the bottle was clear and not the dense gold colour plastic it's packaged in. It smoothes into wet hair easily and only needs 1 minute to do it's job before washing out fully leaving no residue or slimy feeling. It smells divine, a really sweet, almost fruity smell that lingers on your hair for hours after use, utterly pleasant and worth a sniff.

              Like most people, I'd imagine, I only tried this new brand of conditioner as it was on offer at £1 for 400ml in my local supermarket. It's a real winner, one I'll definitely buy again and again.

              New packaging differs from picture shown.

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            • Timotei Shampoo / Hair Care / 4 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              12.08.2009 18:30

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              A good all round shampoo offering a delight to the senses.

              Timotei Revives Shampoo with cherry extract and cotton, for coloured hair.

              After finding a hidden gem in the Timotei range of conditioners I decided to try the shampoo too.

              This comes in a rather boring green plastic bottle with a cherry red flip top lid, easy to squeeze and fully recyclable, contains 400 ml of the shampoo which claims to restore softness and shine to coloured hair. The shampoo itself is a glorious cherry red colour with a pearlescent shimmer which would have been all the more attractive had I been able to see it through the bottle.

              This shampoo smells good enough to eat, which isn't advisable. It lathered well with lots of thick creamy feeling suds which washed away quickly and easily leaving my hair feeling soft and clean and not seemingly not weighed down with any residue. This clean feeling lasts all day and after several uses I can really see an improvement in the condition of my hair, it appears to be far more moisturised than I'd have thought possible from a shampoo alone.

              Over all a fabulous shampoo and I'm hoping the rest of the range is just as good.

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            • Optrex Eye Wash / Medicine / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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              12.08.2009 18:26
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              A great bathroom cabinet must have.

              Optrex eye wash with eye bath.

              Optrex is a trusted brand name in the eye care market. It's a specially formulated liquid that contains natural plant extracts that can be used to revive tired eyes, rinse foreign bodies from the eye or just sooth irritation.

              I always keep a bottle of Optrex eye wash in the house, it comes in a 110ml bottle with it's own little plastic eye bath. It has the clean almost medical smell of witch hazel and is a completely clear liquid.

              The eye bath is great for bathing the eye but can be a bit tricky to master, blinking whilst your eye is effectively immersed in liquid isn't a natural feeling but hugely beneficial if you suffer from dry and sore eyes. Alternatively a cotton wool pad soaked in Optex and laid on the closed eye will help to refresh the area. Ideal if you've suffered the issues surrounding chopping onions and chilli's and extremely soothing on swollen, puffy eyes that result from allergy or hay fever.

              As with all medications and liquids of this nature you need to read the instructions and pay attention to best before dates. It's not suitable to use with soft contact lenses.

              A great bathroom cabinet must have.

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              07.08.2009 12:17
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              Not worth the money

              The Harry Potter franchise has done very well for itself. Unfortunately, it appears that no one at EA Games had ever read Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince before writing the game.

              The plot is buried so far beneath the repetitive "go here and find that" tasks (most of which require you to waste time speaking to anyone you pass, just to get hints of where you are supposed to be going) that it would have been more aptly named "Harry Potter And The Half Written Cash Cow".

              The graphics are laughable; Hermione Granger appears to be a zombie. The interface is terrible; when you try to walk it casts a spell and when you want it to cast a spell, you end up walking.

              The only reason to buy this game is if you are a complete die hard Potter fan. Without the name, this is simply another poorly planned and shoddily executed game, so much so that it's already been relegated to the bottom of the pile as far as my kids are concerned.

              Age restriction on the game is 12+ and like other DS games of this nature it's priced around the £25 mark.

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              • Asda Jelly Beans / Sweets / 13 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                03.08.2009 20:34
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                I love them...................lots.

                As a child I couldn't abide jelly beans, there was something sinister about the "jelly" part of the name that I couldn't suss. Jelly was wobbly, jelly sweets were soft, yet "jelly beans" were almost crunchy.

                My love affair with the beans started when I was pregnant and craved anything sweet and green, various types of sweets were tried to fit the craving but jelly beans came out on top. Of course there was never enough green ones to beat the craving so I struck out and had to eat the other flavours too.

                Over the ensuing years I've tried most brands, even dipping my toes in the high end market with the all flavoured variety, of which I'm not a huge fan. I came to the conclusion that Asda brand Jelly beans were the beans of choice.

                They have just the right amount of fruity flavour to convince you that what you're eating is good for you, with a fantastic texture. The crispy outer shell melts after first bite and leaves you with a good semi-firm jelly bite.

                A 100gram bag (part of the seemingly constant offer of 3 bags for £1) will provide you with around 360 calories. The ingredient list isn't pretty reading but it's what you'd expect from such long established family favourite.

                I'd like to point out that to date, I've not seen any side effects of the green bean craving in either of my daughters, but time will tell.

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                • Specsavers Opticians / Health Product / 11 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                  02.08.2009 18:46
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                  I won't bother going back, I expect so much better.

                  That time again for an bi-annual eye test. A new branch of Specsavers has just opened in my town, a special offer inticed me in.

                  After a rain soaked walk, I popped in an hour early on the off chance that they'd have some cancellations and be able to fit me in early, which after much tutting and sighing, they said they could.

                  I was taken to the pre-test area where several tests were done, these were carried out with the use of some space age looking machine into which I was asked to "place my face". I was told to expect "a small puff of air into each eye, please try not to blink or move", easier said than done as it's not the most natrual feeling in the world. Several other tests were carried out where I was told to "look there" or "don't move", nothing was explained and I really did feel as if I'd inconvenienced the entire work force by arriving early.

                  The eye test itself was a breeze, the optometrist was chatty and polite, he explained each and every thing that he did and made sure I was comfy and relaxed throughout the entire time, full marks to him.

                  A prescription was needed and I was asked to choose some glasses, in the mean time all 5 members of staff stood around discussing their evening plans, I had to actually wait for them to stop their conversation before I could ask for further help. The glasses I'd chosen were from the £25 range and boasted "£25 for frame and lenses", I was happy with that, or so I thought.

                  I was taken to another area of the shop and was told that the glasses I'd picked, mixed with the prescription I needed would be too heavy and that I'd need thinner lenses, ok I thought, here we go. The thinner lenses were £30 but they wouldn't be good enough and it was suggested that the extra thin ones would be better at a cost of £60 on top of the £25 for the frames (which did include lenses at the start but no discount could be made for the fact that I only wanted the frames as I needed different lenses ) Before I knew it I was told that the whole thing would only be £125 including lens treatment and eye test. I asked to see what the size difference between lenses would be so that I could compare for myself, after much huffing and puffing the member of staff reluctantly went to get sampels of each for me to see. She came back with one...not great for comparison.

                  I explained that I'd have to go away and have a good think before spending that sort of money, to which I was told "but it's only......."

                  So to sum up the experience.

                  The shop was clean and tidy, all the displays seemed full and the prices were clearly visable at the top of each stand. Lots of mirrors, all clean. The seating area was tidy, as was the desk.

                  The staff all seemed to be wearing different variations of the uniform, some had name badges, some didn't, none of them looked particularly well groomed and I had to quell the urge to take a comb to one young blokes hair. The optometrist was very smart in a suit.

                  The pre-test checks felt rushed and I really wasn't aware of what I was doing or why. The after test sales patter felt tired and bored, I wasn't informed of any other offers that were available and really felt as though I was being pushed through quickly so that the member of staff in question could get back to the discussion about the evenings shinnanigans.

                  Over-all a real let down from what is supposed to be one of the big players in the optical industry.

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