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Lego is a pretty innovative company, and has introduced lots of new sets over the years to their already extensive collection. Lego Friends collection is aimed at young girls, suggested between age 5 and 12, although I don't think this should be suggested, because their non-branded sets seem to suggest the age range from 4 to 99 years and I cannot see much difference to be honest, maybe the mini doll figures don't appeal above this age and to be fair I do prefer the usual mini figures rather than the mini dolls, but I enjoy building the Lego friends range with my daughter, but clearly I am far to cool to be buying this set for my own use, or at least up until 12 years old I was. Heartlake City, the home town of Andrea and her friends; also their pets, numerous businesses and hangout spots including the high school, mall and even a water scooter, apparently. One clear thing about Heartlake City is it lacks the male population, and features a lot of pastel shaded bricks and tiny little accessories. For some reason nearly every set comes with a banana, I'm unclear why there are so many but we have six from the sets we have and whilst I think it is great fruit is included, a better range between the sets so we could make a fruit bowl at least would have been better.
==Lego Water Scooter Fun==
Water scooter fun is one of the sets that doesn't actually come with a banana, disappointingly.
What you do get with this set is one mini figure doll, and it is nice that it's not Andrea as many sets seem to have the same dolls or at least ones which look identical and it's nice to have a range of all of the girls, because my daughter likes to change their clothes and hair which is a bit boring if they all wear the same or have the same hair. This doll is Kate and I quite like her, I think she adds value to the set because I'm struggling to find another set that has her! This set also comes with water scooter, or speedboat as I would recognise it, I think perhaps as they have a bigger set called speedboat this is why it's named scooter. There is also the edge of the beach with 'wooden' dock to park your 'scooter'. The set is very limited, and contains only 28 pieces, the accessories in this set are the flippers which are a nice detail to add so that Kate can go scuba diving, but sadly no snorkel, I suppose it may be getting a bit tricky to functionally work the pieces hence why it was only flippers added.
I read reviews before buying this myself, or should I say, giving Father Christmas a few hints and an open cheque. It seems that most of the complaints relate to the docking port for the 'scooter' being slightly pointless, boring and the wrong colours. I can appreciate this, but I also understand the Lego Friends range are based around certain block colours so that the base plate for the docking port may be turquoise, it fits the range nicely, and whilst a see through blue plate may have been more accurate or desirable it doesn't take away from our Lego adventures, if anything we just have to use our imaginations more, which is the beauty point of Lego. To be fair, I had to explain what the random docking point was, because it isn't the most obvious because we don't really see sandy beaches with wooden docking points. Other bad points people have mentioned is that it is such a basic set that it is pointless. I disagree, the Kate doll is not a common character, and whilst I appreciate it is a fairly basic set, the amount of bricks you get in comparison to other sets that make up the brick quantity by tiny silly accessories, bananas come to mind, the flippers from what I can tell doesn't come with other sets so is a nice addition.
I wouldn't have mentioned the packaging on this product as it is very much the same purple, pastel colours that demonstrate how the set should look when followed the instructions. However, it's the packaging which made me buy the set. The box is very small and comfortably can be carried in the palm of one hand without fear of dropping it. Father Christmas was getting stumped for ideas and this coincidentally happened to be the perfect size for my daughters stocking. To be fair, the stocking effect does make anything in it seem somewhat more impressive than it would be sat on a shop shelf but met our needs nicely. It's a small cardboard box and I believe the smallest packaging of the cardboard kind that Lego do, besides the grab bags which aren't boxes. Easy to open, not much point in keeping as it's so small that the wear and tear of opening will wear it out quickly. Inside there are the bricks in a plastic bag and the instructions on how to build the scooter, very simple and straightforward.
The general consensus is that the Lego Friends range starts from the age of five and goes up to the age of twelve years. I think it's a case of your only as old as you feel, I sometimes admittedly feel reluctant to start a Lego project but once that packet opens and you follow instructions there is something quite satisfying about building a Lego project with your child, I can't see why there would be an upper age limit, I can't see that people over ninety-nine years would suddenly feel the urge to eat the bricks or accessories but I'm not really qualifies to comment on whether that holds truth or not. I understand the younger age limit is perhaps more aimed at cognitive ability and the fine motor skills aimed at that age level. My daughter is four and a half, and that half matters apparently, and she does find it tricky adding the little flower, the light and the flippers to this project herself and does need adult guidance. I would think a younger child would struggle with following the instructions as they can be a bit disorientating for younger children and they may be slightly too young to have built up the fine motor skills to put the tiniest of bricks in place. This sidesteps the obvious danger of young children swallowing Lego, but I'm sure the children would ask for help before resorting to eating it, or at least be supervised because it's a choking hazard.
==Price and availability==
Generally these are sold at £5.00 from anywhere that sells Lego Friends sets. This set appealed to me as it was bought in the 75% toy sale at Boots and was also still going through as 3 for 2. The set cost me £1.25 plus 3 for 2 so fantastic value in my opinion, as Lego is rarely reduced past 50% at best.
You have to look out for offers which are generally around summer sales or Christmas sales if you want a good discount. I probably wouldn't be willing to pay £5.00 for this set but £3.00 or under I would be happy enough and my daughter would feel like she had been bought a treat. As far as stocking fillers go, you can buy a lot worse for a lot more I think you could agree.
In my view, I like this set, and I liked the price I paid. In general I think that the Kate doll is included makes the set worth the money, but also my daughter enjoys riding the water scooter through the school or into the vets and she wouldn't have had that pleasure without this set. We found it fun to build
you have a whole new dimension of fun. I wouldn't recommend buying this as a product to use without any other sets, as it is very limited, but as an addition to other sets, adds value in my opinion. I would recommend this.
This review is also posted on Ciao under my username, mandyplatinum.
Lego introduced a new range to their collection aimed towards girls called Lego Friends. Before Lego have mainly focused on other themes such as Lego City and Lego Chima which do not have many girl figures or many pastel coloured bricks. Lego Friends is set in Heartlake City and is the pastel coloured world similar to Lego City except its prettier, and has more lady figures. I think it's a nice addition to other sets and allows a bit more variety when you mix and match. We do have the brick tower and sever Lego buckets but none of which had the little extras that the Lego Friends sets included such as pets and professions such as magicians, soccer coach, karate classes and vets. The Lego Friends sets do not include the traditional figures, they include the ones that are shaped more like people, which I think is slightly a shame because although they look more like dolls or people than the original style figures do, it really takes away from my nostalgic memories of when I was a kid playing with Lego, there seems to be so much more choice these days.
====Olivia's Beach Buggy====
Olivia's beach buggy set revolves contains an Olivia mini doll figure, a surfboard, the beach buggy, a palm tree, a spanner and what I think is supposed to be a fruit stall. I am unsure how the fruit stool made its way into the set but I suspect it was put in there to bulk it out a little and give the character a chance to interact with other items aside the spanner and beach buggy.
My daughter received quite a few of these sets at Christmas so we spent some time putting them together not long afterwards. The instructions were very simple and gave easy guided directions that my four year old was able to follow very easily by herself, but with little pieces such as the lights and wheels she needed a bit of help as they are a bit tricky for little fingers to correctly place and secure on. We enjoyed building the set together and she especially enjoyed putting the palm tree together and placing the coconuts on the palm leaves. She wasn't able to put the flower heads on the flower stalks they were tricky even for me and would need an adult to help put them on for younger children. My daughter especially enjoyed the buggy, which later she modified to being a foot tall by stacking up other bricks and dubbed it a doom buggy. I think the set does encourage children to use their imaginations to create the world in their own vision instead of sticking to the instructions. Since the first use the bricks have merged with the rest of her sets and she prefers to freestyle with the pieces but when it was a beach buggy she did enjoy pushing it around and creating adventures for Olivia.
The packaging is a pastel purple box with an image of the set and an idea of the way it could be used and set up. The box itself wasn't the easiest to get into as it was quite strong and the flaps well and truly glued down so we did end up ripping the box which is a shame as it seemed sturdy enough to keep the bricks in. The bricks inside were in clear plastic bags, separated into the items they were for which was handy so we opened the bits we needed when we needed them to help prevent any brick loss early on.
Age from 5 years
The box says suitable from 5 years of age. My daughter is 4 and supervised when playing with Lego so I am not concerned about bits of Lego being swallowed, which I would think, is the reason why this age range is stated. I don't think the age range reflects the enjoyment or imagination as my daughter has enjoyed sending Olivia on lots of adventures, none of which were box suggestions. I also think the instructions are simple enough for a 4 year old to follow as the steps are very basic and it's not a large set which could be trickier.
====Price and availability====
I bought this set from Argos, the set was £9.99 and included in their 3 for 2 mix and match toys event before Christmas. This is widely available in most stores that sell Lego sets for around £9.99.
The set itself is good, easy to build and a nice addition to bigger Lego sets and stands up well enough on its own to not need the bigger sets. It's not too difficult to build and can be built quite quickly so it keeps my daughters interest. I do feel that Lego is quite expensive and the set is a bit sorry looking for the price tag, but Lego is expensive and your money doesn't go too far if you're buying the sets at full price. I probably wouldn't have bought it at full price but the 3 for 2 offer swayed me and I'm glad I purchased them, provides lots of fun and keeps my daughter busy for hours when combined with her other bricks too. The Lego Friends range has been well received and my daughter has requested some of the bigger sets for her Birthday.
I have also posted this review onto Ciao under my username, mandyplatinum.
Lego Friends sets are part of a range that revolves around Olivia's world of Heartlake City, and her best friends. The sets contain Lego mini dolls instead of mini figures which give them more lifelike features and there a range of sets with different professions and adventures. The sets typically are in softer colours than their other ranges and most sets contain pastel coloured blocks, and unique accessories which are only available as part of the Lego Friends sets.
====Hedgehog's Hideaway set====
The hedgehogs hideaway set is a small set which was released as part of their series 2 animals range. These bag sets came in three different variations, the hedgehog, the poodle and the bunny. We have all three but the hedgehog is the most unique as it is a wild animal as opposed to the other two being pets. The set contains one hedgehog, enough bricks and leaves to create a hedgerow, a pitchfork which is supposed to be a rake I believe, a bow, an apple and autumn leaves. The set is quite unique to the other boxed sets because there are two ways this set can be set up, as a hedgerow with what looks to be a pile of autumn leaves so that the hedgehog can hibernate, or it can be rebuilt to be a little garden wall with a spot the hedgehog can sit at the top. Also this set can be combined with the other two sets which then can be built into a bigger garden play set for all the animals to play in. It really is quite clever that you can combine them like this and that the sets are so versatile.
This set has 35 pieces which I think represents great value for money as the bigger £9.99 sets offer approximately 70 pieces a box, and as these retail at £2.99 you seem to get a slightly better deal, especially as the bigger sets give you little accessories to make up those 70 pieces rather than bricks. You don't get a mini doll in these sets but you do get the animals, and a lot of the mini dolls are very similar so having the animals to interact with adds another dimension of fun.
My daughter who is four did find it difficult putting the set together as it is quite a small fiddly set to construct, so we built it together. She enjoyed it most being set up as a hedgerow as the leaves swing around to conceal the hedgehog so it can hibernate, she thought the idea of a hiding hole was brilliant and it wasn't just the hedgehog that enjoyed hiding in there, the other animals from the two other sets also enjoyed it too but there is only space for one animal at a time but as we have lots of other Lego bricks and some imagination we managed to expand it to fit all three animals in and she pretended it was their house. She wasn't so keen on it being set up the alternative way, but she used it as a slide for the hedgehog, and made a little playground with our other bricks. Setting up the three sets together was a little tricky because you have to go online to get the instructions so we would have to keep referring to the laptop each time we finished the previous step. It was easy enough to follow with adult supervision but not so great because you do need to have the computer right there to refer to, I would have preferred the instructions to have been included so that we wouldn't have to get the laptop out. We don't have a printer otherwise it is possible to print the instructions for the combined playground, just sadly not something we could do.
The three sets set up as a playground is brilliant, out of all the Lego Friends sets we have purchased, this one has been played with the most set up this way. My daughter loves letting her little hedgehog playing with her friends and hiding in all the little nooks and crannies that the combined set has, and when one falls off the playground she brings out one of the mini figures to be the vet to make them all better again. The set does spark my daughter's imagination and holds her attention for a good half an hour and it's the set she always wants to build first.
The series 2 sets come in a sealed foil bag which contains the bricks loose. The bags follow the usual Lego Friends lilac design and show the set setup as the hedgerow play set and you can clearly see which bricks and accessories the set contains. I prefer the foil bag design because it's the perfect shape to fit into Christmas stockings and because they bring out a new series each year they are the perfect stocking filler for a Lego Friends fan. The downsides to the packaging is lack of the playground instructions because I imagine if you are going to buy one set, you would buy the rest anyway especially if you realise they can combine. Also because the bags do not reseal, and they contain lots of little pieces it does pose a problem for storage, as we have a lot of Lego it can be a nightmare searching a big box for the little pieces for these sets. We get around the problem by using sandwich bags with zip lock seals to keep all the correct bits together and label them with which set it is, and they get added to our bigger Lego storage box.
This set is recommended for age range 5 to 12 years, although my daughter is 4 years old she enjoys the set as much as a slightly older child would, and probably more so. The age guide probably relates to the motor skills required to be able to fix all the little tiny pieces onto the bricks correctly and to follow instructions. My daughter did need a little bit of help following the instructions for these sets and to correctly fit some of the pieces together but I do enjoy playing Lego with her so I don't think it is a problem. Some of the pieces are the size and shape if swallowed would be a choking hazard so I would recommend that the younger side of the age group to be supervised, especially as this set contains an oddly shaped apple piece which may look inviting to younger, more curious children.
====Price and availability====
I purchased these sets during the Sainsbury half price toy sale, usually Lego sets aren't often reduced down to half price but these were included and we paid £1.49 per set. We bought the three sets at the same time, so the combined set worked out as £4.47 which is excellent value for money. These sets can be purchased most places that sell the Lego Friends range, currently they can be purchased at Argos at half price of £1.49 per set. New sets are released each year so it is likely this series will be continued when the new sets are released.
I initially picked up these sets on a whim because the bigger sets did not contain many animals and I knew my daughter would enjoy her mini dolls having pets. I have to say I am impressed because these sets do offer quite good value for money if you are looking at the amount of bricks and price compared to other sets, but it also gives the Lego Friends range another way of playing too because just the mini dolls can be a bit repetitive. These make brilliant stocking fillers or pass the parcel prizes because of the packaging. I am very pleased with these sets and will be buying the new animal sets when they are released this year, my daughter enjoys them very much and beyond how much I would have expected. I thoroughly recommend these sets and my daughter does too.
I have also posted this review under my username mandyplatinum, on Ciao.
My family and I enjoy days out with my daughter very much, the more engaging and educational the better as it helps us all get involved and makes the day more memorable and exciting. My daughter is on school summer holidays and each year I like to buy an annual pass for an attraction so we can have big days out which work out as good value for money over the twelve month period. Last summer (2012) I chose Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex which is a small zoo with a variety of activities which are varied and similar to some of the bigger theme parks, it was aimed perfectly towards my daughter's age group (three years old). Some of the other themed parks I had considered didn't have a lot of choice or variety for younger children which made Drusillas a tempting option. We purchased standard yearly passes, standard for the adults and a gold member annual pass for my daughter in 2012 and we have averaged a visit each month over the year so far and felt it has been fantastic value for what is included. Our most recent visit was on 20/07/2013 and as always, we were not disappointed with the experience.
====About Drusillas Park====
Drusillas Park was founded in 1922 originally as a family run tea room in Alfriston, East Sussex. The family decided to expand their business to include activities and attractions that would help boost business and attract customers, since then the park has grown with the family's investments and has recently won 'Visitor Attraction of the Year' in the Tourism South East Awards (2010).
10.00am - 6.00pm Summer Time (BST)
10.00am - 5.00pm Winter Time (GMT)
The park is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Ticket prices vary for standard day passes to the zoo, depending whether it is peak season or off peak, whether you book online in advance or buy at the gate, you can exchange Tesco Clubcard tokens for day passes, you can buy annual passes which can be standard or gold membership, the gold membership has extra activities included in the price and discounts for onsite use.
Booking online the prices for adults peak season a single adult or child above two years is £16.99 (VAT inclusive) under two years is free admission. Off peak, adult or child over two years is £15.99 (VAT inclusive) and free for children less than two years old. There are reduced prices for senior citizens and disabled visitors and their carers. Tickets may also be purchased as family tickets; a family of four peak season would cost £63.99 (VAT inclusive) and £50.99 (VAT inclusive) off peak.
As a family of three, one three year old and two adults our ticket price would be £47.99 for us all peak season and £44.99 off peak. I chose to buy the annual passes; two standard adult passes (£59.00) and one gold child pass (£74.00) which set me back £148.00. This meant we needed to visit the park four times or more to make savings on the online advanced booking prices. Having averaged twelve visits our average cost is approximately £12.33 per visit which is fantastic value considering how much there is to explore and see, but also the activities included with the children's gold pass it makes for a family friendly, cheap day out. I live around an hour drive away from the park but I would not hesitate going several times a month if I lived closer, there is so much to do that you could easily go often and find different activities to do and areas to explore each visit.
So the annual gold pass costs £25.00 more than a standard pass and is only available for the children. So what does it include? Well, the most prominent benefits are the activities that your child can take part in for free. When you present your gold pass at the admissions booth your child receives a gold wristband that gives them access to the following activities which are available at weekends and school holidays.
Panning for Gold
Jungle Adventure Golf
Are the activities worth the extra money? Without a doubt. Each of these activities cost around £3.50 per child, per activity and they are located in the central picnic area, which you pass on the way to the toilets, pass the stage where the characters do meet and greats for the event days, in the same area as Thomas the Tank Engine ride and of course you have to pass through to reach the exit, it is (almost) unavoidable.
Other nice little extra's that are included for both standard annual memberships too include 10% off the Explorers café, a 20% renewal discount if you renew your membership within 30 days of your membership expiring and 20% off animal adoptions. You also receive membership emails including offers; recent offers have included free adult entry with each adult annual membership card holder days.
This is based in a large cave shaped, sand pit area in which children are armed with a bucket and spade are sent on a mission to find three fossils in the large sand pit. Once three dinosaur bone fossils have been found, children can exchange their precious finds for a small dinosaur figurine reward. Whilst the activity sounds simple and not very exciting, the children have great fun becoming explorers and digging away. My daughter does find it a bit tricky to locate the large pebble sized bones, it is a large pit and it is just as fun filling a bucket up with the spade and burying your legs in the sand, which is refreshingly cool on warm days and best of all there is no time limit to this activity. No child leaves without their reward too and I have on occasion jumped in to help dig those fossils up myself. I think it is a good activity but I am unsure if we hadn't had had the gold pass if it is something we would want to pay for each time we visit.
Panning For Gold
With a pan and a pot to hand to search for golden treasure nuggets, children have a choice of two large, deep, water troughs which have heavy sand in the bottom mixed with fool's gold. Children do get an apron but the younger children (and enthusiastic older children!) do have to lean in quite deep to get a good scoop and swishing the heavy tray about to reveal the gold is a messy affair, it is good fun and on a sunny day those wet clothes will dry in no time. Again with this activity there is no time limit, you can stay panning as long as you wish or until the gold runs dry then you can exchange your fool's gold for a medal. As my daughter declared 'I am a winner!'. I think it is lovely to have activities where every child is rewarded for their efforts, it also softens the cost to the wallet adding extra value and smiles all round.
This is one of those enormous inflatable slides that looms high above onloooking parents, quite colourful and possibly the most prominent and eye-catching activity due to the sheer size. The climb does look steep and I do feel my child is a little too young to take part in this activity, not from a safety perspective as there are lots of reassuring safety measures like padded mats around the plunge area, metal railings to keep the landing area clear and staff monitoring this at all times, on occasion rescuing the tot that wasn't quite as brave at the top as he was at the bottom, but more that the inflatable steps are quite vertical and imagine a toddler may not have the strength to hoist themselves up. Like a majority of the activities it costs approximately the same price as the other activities in this area and ideally suited to the older children if they are brave enough. Again, another activity that has no time limit, or limit on the amount of goes you can have.
Jungle Adventure Golf
Crazy golf is another activity for children to participate in, it's a nice calm activity which is located not far from the exit and makes an ideal winding down activity. The crazy golf has a simple layout which makes it easier for the younger children to enjoy too; it is bright and colourful with lots of interesting features to see along the way. This activity isn't generally very busy, as it is tucked away near the exit which allows players to take their time and relax whilst playing. It is one of the last activities we will do before leaving and has a calming effect on my daughter which makes the car journey home pleasant. This activity is due to close in July for renovation; this is either delayed or completed as it was open when we visited on 20th July 2013.
We haven't taken part in the vertical limit challenge as this is aimed at older children and teens. This is a rock climbing oblong with strategically placed footings to challenge kids, but not so much that it is a struggle to complete. Unfortunately I am unaware of the price of this particular activity but similar to the others I would think it would be around the £3.50 mark.
Thomas The Tank Engine Ride
Choo choo! Thomas the Tank engine is at Drusillas and wants to take you on a Thomas tour of the park. This train ride is a short ride that lasts around five minutes, it takes you around a track through the park, past the llamas and alpacas, the adventure playgrounds and lots of signs with questions and answers about Thomas and friends as you go along whilst playing the happy little theme tune. Coming back to the station you go through a dark tunnel and then past the fat controller's office (and his huge plate of biscuits!). The train goes every fifteen minutes and has plenty of carriages to ensure short queues on busy days. This is a free ride and is very popular, it also has a buggy parking bay so parents with young children do not need to try and fit buggies into the carriages which is a nice touch.
Every good park has somewhere children can let off some steam and burn off some energy; Drusillas is no exception and in fact can boast three large play areas. The three play areas are 'Go Bananas' which is for six years and under, 'Go Wild' for children over six years and 'Amazon Adventure' an indoor air conditioned/heated soft play centre. My daughter is in the Go Bananas! Age group and the facilities are quite good for her age. There is a large wooden adventure playground with slides, bridges, nets, and even a snake helter skelter slide for those who are brave enough to cross the rope bridge. There are two double sets of swings, aimed at different age groups, a trampoline built into the floor with cushioned edges, zebra rockers, a large lion rocker and lots of interactive displays and features. We haven't ventured into the older children's outside play area but it looks like a bigger version with more complex adventure playground and activities such as the zip wire.
Indoor Play Centre
I adore the indoor play centre as it can be very quiet, it is tucked away behind the outside play centres and at first glance looks like a small café until you enter and see the enormous soft play area. The soft play has two sections, one for toddlers and one for older children but they aren't closed off from each other so it is very easy to find your way into trickier territory. Due to this I went in with my daughter and it is huge once you get inside, there are areas I had to help my daughter climb up and through but it is tiring for an adult. My daughter enjoyed the soft ball guns and the hall of mirrors corridor which left me guessing where she had darted off too. The slide is fantastic, a very long, wavy slide that delivers you back to the café with some speed! The play area does require children to wear socks, this catches many parents out with children wearing sandals but the café do sell pairs of socks for 80p which I think is quite reasonable. The food and drinks menu is very limited to tea, coffee and hot chocolate, canned or bottled beverages and either animal bottled fruit juice or slushed ice drinks for the children. Large coffee and hot chocolate was £1.80 each and the crushed iced drink was £1.10. These are reasonable drinks prices for the size as I would expect to pay more from a coffee shop at home; the slushed ice drinks were extremely sweet and were not drunk by my little one. The café has an inside and outside seating area, the outside seating area out the front is a sheltered seating area with picnic tables and lockers to store your personal belongings, these take £1 coins and are refundable. There is an unsheltered outside seating area next to the llamas and alpacas with picnic benches too. The Amazon Adventure area has free Wi-Fi too.
The Explorers Lagoon is open during the summer months and does get quite busy as this is a free activity. This is a paddling pool and sun lounge area which is best suited to smaller children to paddle in during the warmer weather although every now and then it is commandeered buy the older children. The water is only a few feet deep but makes a welcome respite on hot summer days. There are water guns on the edge of the pool for children to playfully skirt other paddlers. The sun loungers fill up quickly when the lagoon opens so if this is an activity you wish to take part in, it may be best to go as soon as it opens to ensure some paddle time. There are benches dotted around the lagoon in shady areas. There isn't any changing rooms however the toilets are across from the lagoon with a large cubicle in the baby changing area which is acceptable, Make sure you bring a towel and a spare set of clothes just in case!
Dotted around the park are various character ride-ons such as Hello Kitty, and Thomas the Tank engine rides at 50p each, tin can alley style gun games and water squirting to hit target style games. Luckily there is so much to see and do that these don't stand out too much from the rest of the scenery but are unavoidable to pass whilst you venture through to different areas.
====Zoo Trail and Farm====
Drusillas Park houses a small zoo which focuses on exploring and learning about the animals and their environments. This is a small zoo which does not house larger, dangerous and endangered animals such as gorillas, tigers or elephants but personally I feel this adds to the zoo's charm. There are other zoo's which do house larger animals but does not have a focus on learning, I feel that Drusillas balances these aspects well. The zoo does have many animals that children may not have seen before and have a wonderful zoo route to follow that allows you to explore the different types of animal with learning activities along the way. The zoo route takes you through the following areas.
The zoo homes over a hundred species of animals, some of our favourites include the Chilean flamingos who can stand on one leg much longer than my daughter can, stunning rainbow lorikeets, flappy Humboldt penguins, binturongs (which are very large!), stunning red pandas, the rather hairy kune kune pigs and Rodrigues fruit bats. There is such a wide array of animals that you are sure to find something for the whole family to enjoy. They have a lot of exotic animals which children will love to learn about. As you explore the zoo trail, there are signs to indicate each animal and some interesting facts about their habitats and diets. There are lots of learning activities along the way which including milking a cow (not a real one I may add), putting your hand in holes to try and guess which animal the fur/skin/spines belong to and weighing yourself to see which animal you weigh as much as, my daughter weighed as much as an otter!
The farmyard area has the kune kune pigs which are little smelly, donkeys, ponies, chickens and little chicks, cows and goats. You can also see a display which explains how a cow digests it's food, milk a free standing cow display, see which products we see in the shops that come from the farm, they have giant egg shells that children can pose in for photos as well which are brilliant. At the entrance of the farm attraction there is some mechanical chickens clucking and singing away to a slightly irritating tune but with so much to see and do you won't have to listen to it for long, it is right above the area for washing hands for when you have finished petting the animals which has hand sanitizer available.
There are walk through exhibits that are optional, these are Lemur Land where you can get up close and personal with the Lemurs, Lory Landing where you can hand feed the lorikeets and the Bat Cave which is home to the sleepy sloths, violaceous turacos and the Rodrigues fruit bats which often can be seen munching upside down on a banana! These are all open daily, however the Lory Landing and Lemurland which open at 11.00am and close at 3.30pm GMT and 4.00pm BST and are open daily from half term in February until the end of the half term in October, then just at the weekends outside of these times. It is lovely to get up close with the lemurs, they can be a bit daunting for younger guests as they can jump quite high and startle them but if you have adventurous toddlers they will be amazed by these fantastic little creatures. The Lory Landing is quite good, the lorikeets might just land on your shoulders, I think the only downside is they do try and upsell the food (nectar) which is £1 but makes for a wonderful encounter as they come darting over for a nibble.
For some of the animals, they have feeding times where you can watch the keepers feed the animals and if you pay the extra you can have a one on one animal encounter. Extra activities include being a keeper for the day, this does cost quite a bit extra but if you have a budding zoo keeper in the making this may be a priceless experience for them. If you find that you fall in love with the animals you could consider an animal adoption, the price varies depending which animal you wish to adopt but include guest passes to come back and visit them again another time, an adoption certificate, a plaque by the animal to say you have adopted it and a picture of the species you have adopted. Animal adoptions start from £40.00 and can be bought online or at the park. If you are an annual pass holder you get a 20% discount on adoptions.
When we plan a trip to Drusillas we tend to bring a picnic with us which can be eaten in the spacious and well seated picnic bench area. We like to keep costs down and making some sandwiches, a salad, some snacks, nibbles, drinks and treats can be much better value if you are trying to save money. The Drusillas kid's lunch boxes are approximately £5.00 and consists of your choice of filled finger roll (cheese/marmite/jam) etc., some crisps, a cake, a drink and an animal mask (If bought from the Explorers café). In my mind it isn't good value or particularly the most nutritious meal. I am disappointed that although the roll fillings are vegetarian friendly, there aren't any lunch box options for children with allergies such as gluten or wheat intolerance
The Explorers Café does offer a variety of food options including sandwiches, salads, jacket potatoes and hot food such as fish and chips as well as lunch boxes and a menu for younger children. We had fish and chips at the Explorers Café on our visit before last, and unfortunately despite the generous large portions which were freshly made in front of us, the fish had a lot of bones in it which did hinder the enjoyment of the meal somewhat, it also made it difficult for my daughter to enjoy as we had to break hers apart searching for bones leaving her with a flaky fish mess. The fish was slightly slimy and the chips were soggy. We haven't eaten there since as our meal cost close to £20.00 with drinks. Having said this, the Explorers Café has undergone a menu overhaul since we ate here, although the menu has generally the same meals as it had before they have improved the quality of the ingredients and variety. They now sell Starbucks coffee and Ben and Jerry's ice-cream. The Explorers Café does have a variety of options for vegetarians and gluten intolerant guests and offers a selection of baby food and warming facilities for babies.
We have also eaten at the Oasis Café; my daughter had a kid's packed lunch box which was mildly disappointing similarly to the boxes at The Explorers Café, except these ones had a small plastic toy animal gift instead of a mask. I would have preferred for the gift to be substituted for a piece of fruit or a more substantial filling in the finger rolls than marmite or cheese. We had burgers and chips and surprisingly these were quite delicious and filling, we had expected them to be sloppy and cheap tasting but we were not disappointed, the £4.50 each we paid was reasonable for the meal we had. The food served is generally fast food classics such as burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, ice cream etc., they have vegetarian options such as veggie burgers, salads and jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings, and they also sell organic food which is a nice touch. I think the food is reasonably priced for the quality and portion size.
There is the Station Buffet which caters for the sweet tooth, serving up mouth-watering sweet treats such as doughnuts, waffles, cookies and ice cream. We haven't had any treats from here as it's situated right next to the Thomas train ride but the smell of waffles and doughnuts around lunchtime is almost hypnotising. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the prices but we will be trying some freshly made doughnuts on our next visit.
====Shops and Facilities====
There are several shops on site, there is three gift shops, Teddy's Jungle Safari which sells soft toys of the animals you will find at the park and a selection of animals not at the park too and is located at the end of the zoo trail, Mungo's Trading Post which sells more traditional souvenirs ranging from animal masks and snow globes to branded stationery and commercial toys that you would find in most high street toyshops such as Hello Kitty and Thomas the Tank Engine sets. There is a gift shop tucked away near the exit called The Really Useful gift Shop which sells branded character toys such as Peppa Pig which is nice for Event days when children can come and meet and greet their favourite characters amongst other things and refreshments, being located at the exit good for supplies for the car journey home. There is a shop that sells sweets called Candy Land, luckily this is hidden well between the various food outlets and as we tend to picnic we have not noticed it as yet. I am a bit disappointed that the gift shops stock a wide variety of gifts with no connection to the park such as alien eggs and Slinkys (the coils you push downstairs) although to be fair they are branded Slinkys with Drusillas printed on them. The prices are fairly reasonable; we picked up a penguin snow globe and a Slinky for £5.00.
There are toilets located on the zoo route just by the bat enclosure which is about half way through the zoo route; there are two toilet cubicles which are not very roomy, I would think this is for younger guests who might not make it the full way around without needing a toilet break. There is no baby changing facilities that I could see at this set of toilets. There is a much larger toilet area opposite the Explorer's Lagoon which has four cubicles, and sinks for both adults and smaller ones for children. There is a baby changing area with a changing table top and a cubicle unit with a soft bench for older children in nappies and changing out of wet swimsuits. I thought that the inclusion of a child toilet seats as well as adult sized toilet seats was brilliant for toilet training/trained toddlers and negated the need to bring a travel toilet seat. Top marks for Drusillas for thinking family friendly.
There are designated smoking areas set away from but in view of children's areas and eating areas in little hut styled gazebos. Generally people do keep to these rules and there are a couple of these huts dotted around the park, but not in excess.
Parking is plentiful at the park; there is a large car park at the entrance, which leads on to an overspill car park for busier days. We have always been able to park in the main car park but have always arrived before midday. We usually leave around 3.00pm and have only once seen the coach park used as an overspill car park, this was on an event day where Captain Barnacles from the Octonauts children's programme was doing meet and greets. There is coach parking separate from the main car parks making this a great school trip site for children too.
The only thing that perhaps could be improved, but definitely not an essential would be a little shop that sold things that parents may have forgotten such as towels, swimwear, nappies and swim nappies, sun hats and sunglasses, sun cream, formula, clothing (in case of splashes or accidents), hand sanitizer etc. Whilst they do not sell these I would recommend making sure you have anything you may need kept in the car or backpack just in case they are needed.
====Staff and Atmosphere====
One of the parks most redeeming features are their staff. They are friendly, helpful and are always happy to help you out. The several times we have been there we have never seen a member of staff without a smile or being unhelpful, all of the staff are great with the children and parents and engaging them in the activities really well. I quite liked that when we last visited the park was quiet and the staff around the Zoo route would come up to us and point out things we may not have seen and new additions. We saw the red pandas who apparently were really shy and rarely seen together up close looking straight at us, sadly my camera had died at this point but got a lovely up close shot that we hadn't managed during previous visits, we also were shown the baby fennec fox who was adorable. The general atmosphere is friendly, calm yet exciting. I found myself regressing back to childhood wanting to get involved in the activities and explore. We all left with smiles and memories that we will treasure for a long time to come.
Overall I would say this is a great, fun filled day out for families with children of all ages. Whilst it is aimed mainly at families I think people without children would enjoy the zoo route and the refreshments too. The park is very good value for money as there is such a variety of activities and attractions that do not require extra costs, although I think children do get very good value with the gold annual passes which do include a selection of the most popular activities. Every time we have been we have not managed to do everything in one day as there is so much to see and do. I would fully recommend taking a picnic if the weather is nice to save money, it doesn't take away from the experience at all and the picnic area is lovely, there is a bubble machine which gently floats bubbles around the picnic area in the breeze, my daughter loves this, the picnic area also overlooks the stage for character meet and greets and makes an ideal area to relax whilst waiting. The route to the zoo is fairly simple, just off the A27 and clearly signposted. I would recommend arriving at opening time to be able to enjoy the zoo route when it's not busy, when we have arrived around 11.00am- 11.30am the zoo route is packed with visitors and it can be difficult to view the animals, if you do lunch around 11.30am, the adventure playgrounds get quieter around midday when everyone heads for food so this is a good way to be able to enjoy the equipment without it being too crowded. I love this park, the zoo is small enough for little ones to enjoy but not become bored, although my daughter has had days where he was not interested in the animals at all which is fine as there is plenty more to do. The café and restaurants aren't too overpriced like many similar parks and even if the weather gets wet and gloomy there is so much to do inside and undercover. It is easy to see why this small zoo has won many awards; it is a wonderful place to visit.
Please note I have also posted this review on Ciao under my username mandyplatinum - 24/01/2014
I enjoy my toiletries and I prefer them to not contain mineral oils, parabens and just as importantly I prefer products not to be tested on animals, which is a key selling point for The Body Shop.
I ordered a selection of products for my skin, which is naturally dry, dull and lack lustre. I often find moisturisers and day creams too heavy and not very hydrating, leaving a film of stickiness behind.
I chose to buy The Body Shop's hemp hand protector as it is designed for very dry skin; I was initially put off with the word 'hemp' in the title as I am not keen on green scents but I was intrigued hoping that hemp may be the key ingredient that makes alll the difference.
Packaging and Pricing
The hemp hand protector comes in an aluminium tube similar to a toothpaste tube, with a screw capped lid. Ideal to keep the product fresh whilst allowing the contents to effectively be pushed out, this leaves minimal product wastage in the tube. The printed packaging is a neutral silver, green and brown design which fits the brand very well and doesn't over-announce its presence on my bedside table. I purchased the larger sized tube which is £10 for 100ml, which sounds small but is a generous sized tube. This is also available in the smaller sized tube, £5 for 50ml ideal for taking on holiday, handbags, placed on your desk at work or for those wishing to test the product before committing to the larger size.
I also like that the packaging is made from recycled material and uses the minimum packaging needed.
Appearance and Scent
Scent is a key selling point for toiletries and I was slightly curious as to how hemp would complement this product. Unlike my previous idea, the scent is slightly musky with a faint scent of leaf which is not overpowering. Once rubbed in the scent does fade slightly but does settle well onto the skin becoming less musky and fresher smelling. This is a fragrance I would be happy to embrace.
The product is a very thick cream which keeps its shape once squeezed from the tube. It is light green and creamy in appearance. It spreads with ease resembling a mousse like texture.
Using the cream on the dry areas of my hands I find the cream glides on with ease and sinks in very quickly leaving a very faint glisten to the skin. The area is slightly greasy but this is expected with any product that claims to tackle very dry skin. I used this product over a five day period on skin that was extremely dry and flaky and I was surprised and pleased with the results. On the first day my skin looked more radiant and the skin felt softer with less flakes. By the third day my skin had almost completely cleared up and by the fifth day I was pleasantly surprised with the baby like softness my skin had from using this product. I have used many creams and moisturisers in the past and found that many products designed for dry skin have for me sometimes aggravated the problem if they contain mineral oils or the mixture is too thick to penetrate the skin effectively.
I feel that the Body Shop have managed to get the balance of a very dry skin cream just right, not only does the hemp hand protector tackle dry skin but it absorbs into the skin easily without clogging up pores I have also grown to like to like the scent and look forward to using this product as part of my night time routine. I have found that during the winter months this can also act as barrier against the cold harsh weather to prevent the causes of very dry skin. I would highly recommend this product to anyone that suffers from very dry skin, if you are looking for the product that is right for you but you have not found it yet then this is the hand cream to try. I also think that it would make an indulgent treat for those who already have hand cream for dry skin.
This review has also been posted on Ciao under username, mandyplatinum.
Soap and Glory, You did it again! Being a big fan of everything cosmetics and toiletries I have cupboards, bags, and hatboxes full of everything skincare, haircare and beauty, Two large totes and a large hatbox to be precise stuffed full of Soap and Glory products alone, except of course the Breakfast Scrub, which takes pride of place by the bath tub.
Ok a bit of history for you. Soap and Glory was founded by Marcia, the creative director, who also founded the popular Bliss brand (Which has very Soap and Glory-esque packaging too).
I was lucky enough to have received the Big Pink Tote Bag this year from my husband, after much hinting and having to colect it myself. Once I got home and started to paw through the contents lovingly, I instantly was drawn to the Breakfast Scrub. It is contained in a 'half a grapefruit' shaped clear jar showing a gorgeous banana bread looking mixture, with the baby pink lid - iconic of the Soap and Glory brand. The Tote Bag retailed at £60.00 including 13 different products but Boots do sell the Breakfast Scrub seperately at £9.45 for a 300ml jar.
So what does this scrub promise to deliver? It is a sugar body smoother, designed to exfoliate the skin, remove dead cells and dirt and to leave the skin smooth and moisturised. If it lives up to the claims, not only will this replace three products I currently use to do the above, but it will save me time cleansing leaving me more time to relax and soak instead.
Fragrance - The smell is absolutely divine, described by Soap and Glory as a mixture of bananas, maple honey, almonds, oats and cupuaco. Personally I feel it has a scent not far off fudge, I can smell slightly bitter accents which is likely to be the cupuaco reminding me of coffee but it is a faint note. Banana and honey is definately in there making it smell delicious. My husband had a quick sniff and agreed that it was almost good enough to eat.
Texture - Like many scrubs and body smoothers they have a sugary grainy texture to get into pores to deeply cleanse, this is definately true of this product however the grains are much smaller than yoiur average scrub which works perfectly on the skin. The scrub is slightly greasy feeling however I am reliably informed that there is shea butter in this formula, the greasy feeling soon turns into a silky smooth to the touch feeling which is fantastic and very unusual for a product of this type.
Result - After using this product during my usual bath time ritual I found that it really did live up to expectations, my skin was clear, smooth and the faint fragrance of the product was left on my skin.
I would highly recommend this product, it truly is a little bit of bathing luxury that can really help you to relax after a hard day, I loved the results and I feel that it is one of the best scrubs I have used. The price does come in a little expensive for a scrub in the grand scheme of things but a little does go a long way so it is very good value for money, I would say a jar could easily last a year and more.
The real question is - Soap and Glory, when are you going to make desserts as good as your skincare range? I would be first in line!
I have also posted this review on Ciao under my username, mandyplatinum.
I am a great love of lipgloss and when I saw Lancome's Juicy Tubes I promptly purchased three shades, 15 Cerise, 33 Pamplemousse and 31 Peche to test ,which I will be reviewing today.
Lancome have been part of the beauty industry since 1935, bringing a new collection of luxury makeup (and skincare) inspired by French elegance, they have worked closely alongside top makeup artists and boasting famous spokesmodels including Mena Suvari and even Mick Jagger (not specifically for makeup I may add).
The Juicy Tube collection was launched in 2000 which created lipgloss history, the first lip gloss in a plastic squeezy tube and still remains a strong favourite in the market for it's long lasting staying power, range of shades and finishes.
The Juicy Tubes are packed in a simplistic yet elegant silver cardboard box with the lancome logo, the shade colour and number and an embossed flower design on the front, which is very typical of the Lancome packaging designs. The Juicy Tubes are made of clear plastic showing the logo and colour name and number. You can clearly see the product inside the tube which has two main benefits; You are able to clearly see the shade before purchasing and you can see how much lipgloss is left in the tube, unlike many other lipglosses. The tubes have a nozzle applicator instead of the brush applicator which ensures quick, clean and precise application.
The three colours are very different in finishes, as well as colour.
15 Cerise - A clear strawberry shade of gloss with very small flecks of glitter. This gloss smells like watermelon and has a subtle shiny pink/red look. This is my favourite of the three as the effect is a light red tint, not as bold as lipstick for those who are shy, but does give a wonderful blush of colour for kissable lips.
33 Pamplemousse - An opaque slightly metallic gloss with small subtle flecks of gliiter, it is a light pink colour similar to blamange. This gloss smells like grapefruit, but to me personally I find it smells like it has a touch of gingerbread to it. It is a wonderful aroma and has fast become a favourite of mine. The effect is a shiny gloss with a lovely nude tint to it.
31 Peche - An opaque slightl metallic gloss without any glitter. The colour is a pinky peach colour (more pink than peach) with a strong peach aroma, The effect is a peachy tint with a lovely gloss finish.
Each of the shades applied very quickly with a quick squeeze and glide action, the gloss was comfortable on my lips and doesn't feel sticky when rubbing my lips against each other. The gloss however is rather sticky to the touch but has incredible staying power. I found it lasted easily for eight hours, even after drinkng and eating.
The Juicy Tubes do come in quite expensive with an rrp of £13, however I feel this is a fair price considering the quality of the product. As it has fabulous staying power, I do not need to re-apply during the day, meaning the product lasts longer than my average lipgloss. I also love the tint of the colours, I am naturally quite pale and find that some lipsticks can drain the colour from my face, these add a 'blush' effect to the lips, enhancing them but not causing them to be overly bold. The Juicy Tubes are also a lip hydrating lipgloss which is an added bonus especially in colder weather conditions where chapping can occur.
I would highly recommend them to those who love lipgloss, those who find lipstick a bit too bold, for everyday, for night's out or just wearing it to feel good. Overall a great buy.
I have also copied this review over to Ciao, under username, mandyplatinum.
On the hunt for a juice not made from concentrate, I stumbled upon Copella apple juice and decided to treat myself to a bottle with my lunch as part of Sainsbury's meal deal. The 330ml bottles of Copella apple juice retails at £1.05 in Sainsbury's, or as part of a meal deal at £3.00 including crisps and a sandwich. Copella is widely available in supermarkets, newsagents, petrol stations and chemists that sell chilled drinks, again retailing around £1.00 for the 330ml bottle.
The bottle itself is rectangular and made from a clear plastic which allows you to see the apple juice clearly, and the dark green label has the logo at the top with an apple shaped window showing an apple tree in a field. Underneath the picture the label proudly boasts that the drink is made from handpicked English apples.
The apple juice is a pale yellow colour, although this may vary from crop to crop, and has a cloudy appearance. Seeing the cloudiness to me shows that this apple juice is packed full of fruit and has great flavour.
A good juice should be thirst quenching and smooth to the taste, crisp and satisfying without being overbearing which is exactly the way I would descrie Copella apple juice. The juice has a good consistency, not too runny unlike many of the juices that are made from concentrates and has depth to the flavour. The cool, crisp, fresh taste is very refreshing and the natural sweetness of the juice leaves a clean pleasant after taste with just a hint of apple.
The ingredients are simply apples and vitamin C, straight to the point and no extra hidden ingredients which is exactly what I want from a juice. There is 155kcal per 330ml bottle and 38.6g of carbohydrates, but this is balanced well as healthy drink by the 0g fat and added vitamin C (99mg). Copella juices are not made from concentrate and contain no artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives and are suitable for vegetarians.
Overall, I love this juice and would personally describe it as a premium brnad, not necessarily on price but definately on quality and taste. I love the fact that they have added vitamin C to their juices as I am always looking at ways to incorporate all the vitamins and minerals I need in my diet and this is a very easy way to get me and my family having more of my five a day everyday. The only problem with this juice is that the 330ml bottles are just not big enough, the sizing is very generous however I found myself drinking it very quickly and wanting more. It did quench my thirst though so I will be giving this juice a five star rating.
Britvic have added a new range to their Drench collection named Juicy Drench. The idea is that this spring water has 8% fruit juice mixed together in a variety of three flavours, Orange and Passionfruit, Cranberry and Raspberry and Blackcurrant and Apple to hydrate your body and give a crisp, delicious flavour too.
As our body is mainly made of water, it seems natural to want to keep up our fluid levels to keep our bodies and brains running smoothly and this is a great way for those who are not so keen on water to stay hydrated. The Drench website gives lots of facts about the body, including our blood is made of 95% water and keeping your hydration levels up means you are less likley to forget things and have much better concentration. These are among many good reasons to drink the reccomended eight glasses of water a day.
I recently bought two bottles of Juicy Drench from Boots, at £1.50 for two bottles, one Orange and Passionfruit and the other Apple and Blackcurrant, working out at 75p for a 440ml bottle of flavoured spring water seems fairly reasonable.
The packaging of the bottles are quite distinctive, with the Drench logo in blue at the top of the label and two circles, overlapping in two contrasting colours, orange and purple for the Orange and Passionfruit and purple and green for the Apple and Blackcurrant which makes identifying the flavours much quicker. My bottles also had a goldfish in one of the circles as these are promotional packs for their 'fish for prizes' promotion.
It probably would not surprise you that this spring water is made of 82% spring water and 8%* fruit (*less than one percent is sugar, citric acid, natural flavourings and preservatives and natural colourings) and their water is sourced from Norwich, unfortunately I have not been able to locate which spring. Drench can confidently boast that they put no artificial colourings, flavours or sweeteners in their spring water drinks. Each bottle contains 95 calories which is a little surprising for a spring water drink, but fairly acceptable for a soft drink.
On tasting the two different flavours, I was pleasantly surprised at how different and crisp the flavours were. The Orange and Passionfruit is strong and flavoursome, the tang of the orange is at the forefront and a softer passionfruit aftertaste compliments the drink well, the water is very crisp and clean tasting and very refreshing. The Blackcurrant and Apple was also a very fresh and flavoursome drink too, with the dryness of the blackcurrants and the juicy sweetness of the apples being carried over the tastebuds with crisp clean water. For a blackcurrant flavour I was expecting the juice to be very bland but I found the strength was just right, not overpowering the water and not too weak. By far the tastiest blackcurrant drink I have had in a long tme.
From the two flavours, I personally would recommend trying the Apple and Blackcurrant first, it is refreshing and not too overpowering. The Orange and Passionfruit is a much stronger flavour in my opinion, much like mixing a squash and diluting 2 parts water and 1 part squash. These spring water drinks did quench my thirst very quickly and I found myself finishing the entire bottle, not being a fan of water or squash it was quite impressive.
These would be perfect to take to work, to put in your children's pack lunch boxes, picnics or even to take to the gym, it has been a very welcome addition to our weekly shopping list.
McVities is perhaps one of the widest known producers of high quality biscuits, from their digestives through to their shortcakes and it comes of no surprise they have excelled again with the addition of Caramel Digestives to their delicious range.
McVities was established in Edinburgh, Scotland back in 1830 and is owned by the United Biscuits group who have many years experience in the snack food market, bringing us some of our favourite brands such as KP nuts and Twiglets.
McVities Caramel Digestives come in a distinctive yellow packet available in 200g and 300g packs retailing at around £1.00 on offer at the larger supermarkets and some newsagents. Prices will vary.
Nutritional information per biscuit -
Kcal - 81
Protein - 1.0g
Carbohydrate - 11.0g
Of which sugars - 5.3g
Fat - 3.7g
Of which saturates - 1.9g
Fibre - 0.4g
Sodium - 0.1g
Taste Test -
The biscuit looks similar to the chocolate digestive, slightly smaller in size with a coating of chocolate on one half, perfect size to fit in my mug, unlike the original digestives (which I also love).
Biting into the biscuit the chocolate covers a smooth rich caramel and perfectly compliments the digestive base which isn't' too dry and just the right crunch. The caramel doesn't leave the digestive soggy but more than a few of these can become quite filling and sickly, everything is good in moderation.
I have eaten three writing this review as they are too tempting. I have come to the conclusion that these caramel digestives may just be one of McVities finest creations for the truly indulgent caramel lover. They also go well with coffee and tea.
With Easter just around the corner, bags of these little chocolate eggs have been popping up over the nation. Single bags perfect for a treat for the kids or multipacks for Easter parties and gift bags. I love the bigger share bags, although it's hard to share them as they are too tasty.
Cadbury started producing mini eggs back in 1967 targeting the Easter market and have been a popular choice since. The egg shape is perfectly suited to Easter and upon further investigation it seems that the yellow egg has a floral flavour which was inspired by spring.
The Mini Egg's are solid milk chocolate egg shapes coated with a crisp sugar coating. The eggs have pastel colours with a speckled effect.
The Mini Egg's come in a large yellow bag which is instantly recognisable to the Cadbury brand, available in multipacks, single packs of 43g and bigger share bags of 200g and 100g, retailing between 40p for the single bags and £3.50 for the giant bag 360g (prices may vary).
Milk chocolate: Milk solids 14% minimum, cocoa solids 25% minimum.
Milk chocolate (milk, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fat, dried whole milk, dried whey, emulsifiers (E442, E476) and flavourings) Sugar, Modified maize and tapioca starches, colourings E150c E122 E129, flavourings.
Cadbury mini eggs are suitable for vegetarians. This product contains milk and may contain nuts and soya.
Upon opening the mini multipack bags there are on average 10-15 eggs inside, which is quite reasonable given they are perfectly bite sized shapes and the eggs can become a little sickly by the time you finish the bag. They smell sweet and sugary but not overpowering. The sugar coating gently crumbles around the chocolate when bitten giving a satisfying chocolate taste and the flavour lingers on afterwards which is quite pleasant.
Cadbury also brought out other chocolate delights in the Mini Egg range for Easter including Mini Egg nest cakes, Mini Eggs treasure egg and the limited edition mini Egg twin pot chocolate dessert.
It wouldn't be Easter without these little eggs on those chocolate flake cakes, I highly recommend them!
Nurofen has been a leader in the marketplace for rapid pain relief for adults. The Nurofen brand has expanded and since brought out a line of products to help the pain relief in children and babies; these include Nurofen for Children in a bottle and Nurofen for Children in the dissolvable powdered sachets in both orange and strawberry flavours which are sugar free. Today I am reviewing the Nurofen for Children 200ml in strawberry flavour.
The active ingredient in Nurofen for Children is ibuprofen, known for its fast acting pain relief. The packet states Nurofen for Children Strawberry is an oral suspension for babies and children from 3 months designed to relieve pain and reduce fever. It is taken by the mouth. Inside the box is a dosage syringe to help effectively being able to give your children the correct dosage visibly and for easy application, this works especially well for babies.
Other ailments you may administer Nurofen for Children for include fever caused by immunisation, teething, toothache, earache, sore throats, headache, minor aches and sprains. You can also use this alongside Calpol, please read manufacturer's instructions before doing so.
Nurofen comes in two sizes 200ml and the smaller 100ml. Both sizes have an orange box with the Nurofen logo as seen on the adult tablet boxes near the top in a silver arrowed shape. The box clearly shows that it is not suitable for children under three months and that it contains an easy dosing syringe inside. Prices vary with the 200ml bottle costing around £6.00 available from most supermarkets and chemists.
Dosing guidelines -
Months Dosage Frequency (24 hours)
3-6 2.5ml 3
6-12 2.5ml 3-4
1-3years 5ml 3
4-6years 7.5ml 3
7-9years 10ml 3
10-12years 15ml 3
I found that the Nurofen worked quickly and was easy to give to our six month old daughter, who tends to get medicine from a spoon just about everywhere except in her mouth, less fuss and she found it easier to swallow. The syringe is simple to use. Shake the bottle well and remove lid, insert syringe securely and tip upside down. Pull back the syringe to the correct dosage.
We found that this is a necessity with young children, especially for teething and earache. My daughter settles much easier at night time when the teething is particularly bad after having a dose and has a settled night's sleep.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a charming award winning children's book written by Eric Carle, illustrated beautifully with brush stroked pictures which gives this story book an interesting twist.
This book was first published in 1969 by the World Publishing Company; the hard copy edition was first published in Great Britain in 1994 by Hamish Hamilton.
Since the books release it has become a firm favourite with preschool children and remains a childhood favourite of many adults. Much loved for the colourful pictures which remind me of artistic children's paintings, give the book an endearing feel whilst remaining very easy to read and the repetitive nature makes it fun and easy for children to follow and enjoy.
The story takes us through the very hungry caterpillar's life, starting as a little egg which lay on a leaf, then eating through fruits such as plums and oranges, and the not so healthy Swiss cheese, lollipop, ice cream cone and salami amongst others. The very hungry caterpillar eats through a week (with a little tummy ache on Saturday) and built a small cocoon house which he stays in for two weeks until he emerges as a colourful butterfly.
Throughout the pages there is a hole punched through each of the foods, where the caterpillar has eaten his way through them. The story was inspired one day whilst Eric Carle was punching holes into paper. The original idea was a book called 'A Week with Willi the Worm', but after a little consideration came up with the classic tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
My daughter adores this book as much as I do, she loves to look at the bright pictures and she loves the holes in the pages. We bought the 40th Anniversary hard back copy of this book with the hope it will last many more years. The cardboard is very thick and sturdy and the edges are rounded which is ideal for smaller children who may take to chewing the corners.
Larger bookstores stock both the hardcopy and paperback version; you can ask your local book shop to order a copy in for you. The 40th Anniversary hardback edition costs £5.99 and the paperback as little as £2.95 from Amazon or EBay.
This remains my favourite children's book to date, and I hope my daughter will cherish her copy for years to come too.
PUFFIN BOOKS Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL.
Copyright Eric Carle
)How old are you?
2) Colour of my eyes?
3) How tall are you?
5.4" I wear high heels to make up for my shortness though ;)
4) Hair colour?
5) Any brothers or sisters?
1 Sister, 2 brothers, 1 older one younger, and family get togethers are chaos!
6) Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Dogs, they truly are mans best friend and make loyal and heartwarming companions. Cats tend to have an 'I'm better than you' attitude but make perfect pets for those who don't have as much time to devote to a pet such as a dog.
7)What job do you do?
I am an accounatant by trade but work in Payroll currently.
8) Do you like your job?
A job is only as good as the people you work with, I am fairly blessed to enjoy my work.
9) Favourite dessert?
Depends on the mood, I enjoy a bit of Ben and Jerry's in the hotter months, chocolate cake if I'm feeling truly indulgent or tiramasu for a comforting moment to satisfy the sweet tooth. Luckily the 'cravings' haven't caught up with me for a while!
10) Food that I loathe?
I eat most foods, I can't stand reformed meats of any kind, including and not limited to pork pies, sausage rolls and hot dogs. I also really don't like meat flavour crisps, they never taste like meat do they?
11) Sweet or Savoury?
Savoury all the way, good textures, interesting flavours and fresh ingredients essential though.
12) The last 3 films I watched?
I don't have as much time to watch films as I would like to, recently I have watched Sister Act 2 again, Whoopie Goldberg is talented in her own unique way and made the film worth watching. Yes Man, not so great second time around, but had me in stitches the first time I saw it. Christmas Do Over, a repetitive Christmas film which does make you giggle and one part cracks me up everytime. Very similar to Groundhog day, but an alternative version I would say.
13) Song I cant get out of my head?
Pudding the monkey, is oh such fun, he topples around with everyone... Unfortunately these are the lyrics on my daughters Starlight Swing and she loves me singing this to her, constantly.
14) Favourite Programme?
15) Next Holiday
Looking at maybe Centre Parcs, haven't quite decided as we have our little girl to consider.
16) Favourite Country?
I'm proud to be British, so England would have to be my choice.
17) Favourite beach holiday?
Not necessarily a beach holiday, Lake Como. Beautiful, peaceful and relaxing.
18) Favourite hobby?
Photography. I love keeping my memories in the albums to look back through on a rainy day.
19) The last thing that made me laugh?
My daughter, she knows how to make me laugh, especially when I'm not too pleased with her.
20) Favourite cocktail?
Kir Royale, anything with champers :)
I was first introduced the Heinz Sandwich Spread last summer when my Husband brought home a jar with the weekly grocery shopping. We had been discussing how to make lunch at work more interesting by introducing new flavours and filling to our sandwiches, amongst other suggestions. My husband has always been a meat and sauce kind of guy and it was no surprise he decided to use my sandwiches as a trial run the next day.
Heinz sandwich spread contains a mixture of finely chopped carrots cabbage, gherkins and red peppers in a tangy mustard, onion and vinegar sauce. The mixture has a thick consistency but unfortunately isn't very easy on the eyes. The smell has a strong vinegar aroma but has a pleasant salad cream smelling base which made me forgive the awful appearance and was willing to give the tasting a go.
I should mention as before, my Husband likes his sandwiches with meat and some kind of condiment, so I became the taste tester of the ham and sandwich spread sandwich on white soft everyday bread, small amount of margarine.
The taste of the sandwich spread is very similar to the Heinz salad cream, but with pickled finely chopped vegetables mixed in to create a tangy crunchy texture. I found the spread to be quite strong in flavour almost overpowering the ham, and the small crunchy vegetables didn't do much to add to the whole experience. I personally do like salad cream, and I do like some pickled vegetables too, but unfortunately this mix is not a winner for me. The overall taste was too tangy for my liking, I would have preferred coleslaw myself to give my sandwich a cool refreshing taste. The flavour of the spread lingered on my taste buds for a while afterwards, if you are trying this for the first time you may want to keep a drink handy just in case.
Having said that, I explained to my husband that I didn't enjoy the spread as much as I hoped I would, I would eat it very occasionally but not on its own. My husband since has tried it with other meats in a sandwich as well as on its own in a sandwich and simply loves the stuff. The mind boggles.
A 200g jar will set you back £0.94 but will last you any sandwiches. The average life expectancy of a jar is over a year in the fridge so you need not worry about it going out of date before you can finish the lot. Per 10g serving there is 22 calories with 1.3g of fat. I would say this isn't bad as far as spreads go, perhaps not the healthiest but would be a good alternative to full fat mayonnaise or fattier spread alternatives. Heinz sandwich spreads are widely available in most supermarkets and is suitable for vegetarians too!
I think the spread fits in nicely with the Heinz brand and for every person that doesn't like this spread I am sure there is a person who loves it. If you like pickled vegetables, salad cream or tangy vinegar sauces I would highly recommend this.