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As we all know Marks and Spencer's underwear is the stuff of legends. I am guessing that a high proportion of the British population possesses at least one item from their range. Over the years I have purchased my knickers from various places but for comfort, wear and price I have returned to Marks and Spencer's.
They have a wide range from thongs to boxers and briefs to big knickers so there is something to suit everyone. The ones that I currently buy are the Full Briefs as I am getting older and wider in the girth these days and I buy for comfort!
These briefs come in packs of five for £7 and there is a lot of choice as regards colours. There are plain ones, patterned ones and ones with little bows on, so you see that, even though these aren't the sexiest of knickers they can still be pretty.
They are made from stretch cotton / Lycra so the fit is very comfortable and the fabric feels soft against my skin. These briefs are also very hard wearing and last for ages even though they get a lot of wear - obviously! They wash and dry easily and keep their shape and softness.
As the briefs are full, which means that they sit on my waist, there is no visible panty line through my clothes. The other advantage of the full brief for me is that I am never even conscious of wearing them. With ones that sit on my hips I always tend to keep hitching them up!
I have tried cheaper versions of this style of knicker from other shops but, in my opinion, Marks and Spencer's give the best value for money every time.
In conclusion I would have to say that the best place to buy your knickers and, indeed, any underwear is Marks and Spencer's every time!
When we initially set up our company we used one of the rooms at our previous house as an office. We sourced the main things like desks and chairs and then went to Staples to get the smaller items such as paper trays, pen holder and of course a waste paper bin.
We decided to buy the accessories in black and chose the Osco waste bin although I understand that this particular item is also available in grey. To be honest I can't remember how much we paid but it currently retails at £4.99 in Staples.
The bin is almost cylindrical in shape being slightly wider at the top than at the bottom. It stands 275mm tall and is 260mm in diameter at its widest. So you can see that it isn't huge but it is ideal for a home office where there isn't likely to be an enormous amount of rubbish generated.
The bin has a solid metal base so any tiny bits don't drop straight through. The sides are made from a light metal mesh with a solid rim around the top. I only used ours for paper and card so it was ideal as it was but if I was going to use it for tiny items or messy ones it would have been easy to line it with a bag before use. It is lightweight and so easy to move and easy to empty.
We also purchased the pen pot and a three tier letter tray to match but this bin is smart enough to stand alone without having to be part of a set of items.
I would definitely recommend it and it certainly looked very smart in our office.
Having reread this review I do realise that it is rather short but then - what else can be said about a waste bin?
A few years ago I had a rechargeable hand held vacuum cleaner which I found very useful so, when it finally bit the dust (pardon the pun), I decided that I wanted another one to replace it.
When we started to look around and find the best for our needs we decided to go for the Hoover Jovis Corded Pets Handheld which cost £59.99 from Argos.
The cleaner comes in a sturdy box with a plastic handle on the top making it easy to carry your purchase home. The information on the side of the box tells us that this cleaner is the lightest corded handheld, it is 550W, it has a motorised turbo brush bar and six metres of cord.
In the box you will find the cleaner with hepa filter, the turbo brush and a crevice tool together with a brief but comprehensive instruction leaflet.
The cleaner itself has a curved handle which is really comfortable to hold making cleaning very easy. It weighs just 1.7kg and measures 38.6cm by 13cm by 14cm. The turbo brush and the crevice tool fit easily into a slot at the front of the cleaner although it can also be used without either of them.
Emptying the cleaner is also very easy. You just have to remove any tool that you may have been using, grip the cleaner squeezing the buttons on either side and then pull the front dust cup off and empty it. To replace it you just have to push it back into place. The capacity of this cleaner is only 0.5 litres but it is so easy to empty that it never going to be a problem.
So that's what you get for your money but how does it perform?
Well I have to say that I am extremely impressed with it. I have cleaned bits off the carpet, the suite and the stairs. The six metre cable makes it much easier to use to clean the stairs than my heavy, cumbersome main cleaner. It is so light I hardly know that I am carrying it.
It gets the cat hairs off the sofas and the carpet more effectively than my main cleaner too. This is really important as Mew is a fairly long haired cat and he is mainly white and he leaves his hairs everywhere! The crevice tool is ideal for getting into the corners and ridges of the sofa for a good deep clean. The suction is strong and can be set at an 'ordinary' setting or the turbo setting.
You can even clean delicate surfaces such as keyboards by not using an additional tool and retracting the bristles set on the underside of the cleaner. This is easily done by just sliding a panel underneath the cleaner. I can't say how effective this is as it is not something that I have had cause to use.
The instruction leaflet gives lot of basic safety information such as not to use it if the cord is damaged, not to let young children use it unsupervised, not to get it wet etc.
It also has diagrams and instructions for using the tools and emptying the cleaner as well as the cleaning and replacing of the filter. It is very easy to understand and it is only in English so you don't have to plough through dozens of languages to find the one that you want.
In conclusion I would definitely recommend this lovely little vacuum. It has made my life a lot easier and saved me a lot of time too and that will do for me!
Although I use a variety of different cleaning methods incorporating kitchen roll, scourers and sponges I also always keep a dish cloth on the edge of the sink.
Since these are only used for cleaning I don't believe in paying top dollar for them so when I saw a pack of five cloths for 75p in Tesco I decided that, at just 15p per cloth, these would be just the job!
The cloths in question were Tesco Everyday Value Dishcloths and they come in a plain plastic packet with a blue and white label on the front telling you what is in the bag. You can see the cloths through the packet and they looked fine to me.
When I initially opened the packet I did notice that these cloths weren't the thickest dishcloths that I had ever encountered but that doesn't really matter as I don't use them for any heavy work and they are certainly thick and strong enough for the jobs that I do use them for.
The cloths are white in colour so look fresh and clean - to begin with anyway! I use mine for wiping the work surfaces in the kitchen and for general washing up. They are strong enough for the job and they wring out well which is good for me, as I hate a wet dishcloth lying on the side of my sink! They are also absorbent enough to mop up a spill which is good as I am quite clumsy and spills often happen in my kitchen!
When I have finished whatever I am doing I just rinse out the dishcloth, wring it as dry as I can and then hang it over the top of the mixer tap to dry off ready for the next use.
To clean them I either put them in the washing up bowl with water and a squeeze of bleach or I pop them in the washing machine when I am doing a white wash. They don't reappear from the machine looking as good as new but them what do you expect for the price? They are clean and ready for use again and, when they finally begin to deteriorate, I just throw them away and get out a new one.
So there you are dishcloths that do the job for 15p each - what more do you want from your dishcloth?
When we first moved into the cottage where we now live we had a wood burner installed and, although we have perfectly good electricity, we used to use candles for lighting in the lounge as we liked the atmosphere the candle light created. Incidentally I say 'used to' because the regular use of candles gave off a dirty smoke which made the paintwork very dirty so now the candles are lit just occasionally.
When we do use candles we have numerous different candle holders including a couple which take a number of tealights. I also have an oil burner for which I need tealights. We kept our eyes open for good deals on tealights when we were out and about and the best price that we ever saw was in Ikea.
I can't remember how much we paid in the past but currently their Glimma Unscented Tealights cast just £1.75 for 100 candles which is a real bargain - after all each one would only be 1.75p each! In Ikea you will find them in the area where are the bits and pieces are located - the cutlery, stationery, ornaments etc. The tealights come in a plastic bag containing one hundred candles.
We always purchase the standard, unscented tealights as I tend to find that the perfume from the scented ones catches the back of my throat and makes me feel uncomfortable.
These tealights are the standard size of 38mm in diameter and are made from white paraffin / vegetable wax which is held in an aluminium candlecup. Each little candle will burn for approximately four hours.
I have to say that, over the years, we have used a lot of these tealights and have never had a problem with them - apart from the marking of the paintwork but that is true of all candles. They have always burned safely, brightly and steadily and for about the right length of time although I have never actually timed one to see if they do burn for four hours! Even I am not that sad!!
When the candles are finished, extinguished and cold I retrieve any bits of remaining wax which I keep in a box on the hearth near to the wood burner - it makes for an excellent accelerant when the wood is a little slow to catch. I then put the candlecup, which is aluminium, in the weekly recycling and so nothing is ever wasted.
Just as a word of caution - even though these candles are very stable and safe during use they must never be left unattended and they must never be burned near any flammable materials. Accidents can happen and fire can take hold so quickly and do so much damage.
In conclusion I would have to say that I would recommend these candles to anyone who just wants a basic, white, unscented tealight. We have quite a stock of candles at the moment but when we run out of tealights these are definitely the ones that we will be buying again.
I am currently trying to lose some weight and am following the Slimming World eating plan which advocates the use of Quorn instead of meat in order to reduce the amount of fat in the diet,
I have used both Quorn pieces and Quorn mince but today I decided to try a Quorn ready meal for a change. I chose the Quorn Tikka Masala and Rice which cost £2.50 for a pack containing 400g which is a single adult meal.
As this item formed part of an online order from Tesco's I hadn't had the chance to look at the packet before purchasing. I realise that I could have checked the ingredients online but sadly I didn't.
The meal comes in a black plastic tray divided into two compartments one containing the rice and the other containing the Tikka Masala. This is then covered in clear plastic and the whole thing slides inside a cardboard sleeve.
The outer sleeve has a tempting picture of the meal together with the ingredients and cooking instructions. The other information on the sleeve is the now familiar boxes showing the amounts of fat, salt etc. both in grams and also expressed as a percentage of an adult's daily intake. I will come back to this later.
Whilst I was unpacking the rest of my order I decided to pop this meal in the microwave for a quick and hopefully tasty lunch. This meal can either be cooked in the microwave or in a conventional oven for 25 minutes.
To microwave I just had to slip the tray out of the cardboard sleeve, pierce the plastic film a couple of times and pop in into the microwave for two and a half minutes. I then had to remove it from the microwave, carefully peel back the film, stir each section and return to the microwave for a further two and a half minutes. It should then be left to stand for one minute and is then ready to eat.
I followed the instructions and then removed the film from the tray. The rice looked nice and fluffy and was the distinctive yellow colour of pilau rice. The Tikka Masala was made up of an orange sauce with pieces of Quorn although nowhere near as many as the picture on the front of the packet, but I suppose that it only to be expected.
I served the rice and then poured the Tikka Masala on top of it. It smelt very appetising and tasted nice although the rice seemed to taste wet if that makes sense. It was spicy without being too strong which suited me as I don't like food to be too spicy. I found the meal to be large enough to satisfy my hunger.
I will now return to the nutritional information which I only read after eating the meal. Each pack contains 412 calories and 14g of protein which isn't too bad, but then it gets a bit less healthy.
The meal contains 14g of fat - 7.2g of which is saturated. This represents 20% of an adult daily intake of fat and 36% of the recommended intake of saturated fat. I suppose this isn't too bad if this is your main meal of the day but it still sounds a little bit high to me.
There is also 8.8g of sugar which is 10% of the recommended intake and 3.2g of salt which is a whopping 53% of the daily intake! The meal that I had purchased as a healthy ready meal maybe wasn't as healthy as it might have been then!
In conclusion I would say that whilst the meal was palatable enough and served to fill me up it wasn't as good for my diet as I had hoped and, for this reason, I won't be buying it again.
I will give it three stars for the taste and filling qualities!
Before I begin this review I would just like to say that I am one of the few people left who think that mobile phones should be used for making and receiving texts and calls - end of! I have no desire to be connecting to the internet when I am out and about - I do enough of that at home thank you - so what I needed was a good, basis mobile phone for a good price.
My previous phone was a Sagem VS1 from Vodaphone on the Pay as You Go tariff and it had lasted me for many years but was gradually getting less and less reliable so I began to do some research.
I decided to change to a pay monthly tariff as, when my husband is working away, we exchange a lot of texts and I was putting at £10 per month on my VS1. I found that Tesco do a £7.50 per month tariff giving me 250 minutes of calling time and 5,000 texts which is more than enough for me. This contract lasts for 24 months and, as you can see, is already saving me money and I get Clubcard points too.
On to the phone itself....................
There was a choice of a few phones which were available on this tariff and I chose the Doro 611. The phone itself is a clam shell design with a graphite coloured exterior. It comes in a sturdy box together with a charger, a set of earphones and a 'quick start guide'. This is plenty to get you going but for a really detailed set of instructions you need to visit the website and download the user manual. www.doro.co.uk/ProductManuals
My phone was free as I had taken out a contract with Tesco Mobile but they currently cost between £50 and £80 depending on where you buy them.
When I had my Doro 611 from Tesco the gentleman serving me took the sim card from my old phone and put it into the new one thus carrying over not only my mobile phone number but all the numbers that I had stored in the memory too which was very useful.
As I said earlier the phone is a basic one and will make and receive phone calls and texts but also has a basic camera, organiser, alarm, emergency button, calculator and FM radio access too.
When the clam shell is opened there is a display featuring a picture of your choice - I have uploaded one of my cat, Mew - and the date and time. At the top of the screen there is the usual icon showing how much of the battery remains - I find that, even leaving the phone on 24 hours a day, I only need to charge it about once a week. There is also an icon showing the strength of the signal, a little bell showing me that my alarm is set and a musical notation showing me that the sound is set to 'on'. As with all phones it can be turned to silent mode if needs be and this is very simple to do.
At the bottom of the screen there is the word 'menu' on the left hand side and the word 'name' on the right. On the keypad there are the ten digits 0 to 9, the hash key, the star key, two telephone keys (one green and one red), a key with an up and a down arrow on it, a key with a camera on it and two keys - one either side - with straight lines across them. These last two are used to direct the phone - for example if you press the one on the right under the word name you will be taken directly to the phone book.
If you press the one under the word menu you are then taken to the first of the menu screens which is Phonebook. You can then either press the key under the word OK or use the up and down arrows to work through the other menu screens which are Settings, Games, Ice, FM Radio, Calculator, Organiser, Alarm, Image Viewer, Camera, Call Log and Messages. I will now work through these one by one telling you a little bit about them but I won't go into too much detail as you'll be here all day reading this review!
This one is fairly obvious and the numbers are listed with Ice (more about that later) at the top and then the rest in alphabetical order although it is easy to move the ones that you use most frequently to the top so that you don't have to scroll through every time you want to text someone.
This is where you have the options to set the display on your phone together with the sound, the time and date, the language you will be using, favourite numbers, speed dial, predictive text if you want it, assistance (more about that later), Bluetooth, security and file manager to show you how much memory you have used.
The phone has just two games - Tetris and Boxman. They are pretty basic but good enough to while away a bit of time if you are sitting waiting for an appointment.
I have to confess that, before I purchased this phone, I had never heard of Ice. What it stands for is 'In Case of Emergency' and it where you can out all your personal information - name, date of birth, height, weight, doctors number, 2 numbers to contact if you have an accident, the language that you speak, any known conditions, any medication, any allergies and your blood type. You can fill in as much or as little as you like and it provides help to those who would come to your assistance in case of emergency. Clever eh?
This can only be turned on if the earphones are connected. I have to say that I am not really bothered about listening to the radio and so haven't tried this on my phone.
Again this is pretty basic with just addition, subtraction, multiplication and division but could prove useful.
This is a calendar where you can leave reminders and then set the phone to ring in a certain way to let you know about the tasks. You can also set a daily reminder to go off at the same time every day - useful if you need to take medication at a certain time every day.
This can be set on a daily basis so, to give you the idea of it, I have set mine for 7am but only set it to go off on Weekdays and remain silent on Saturday and Sunday. I find that it works perfectly.
This is where you go to look at the photographs that yopu have taken with the camera on your phone.
Again it is fairly basic and there is no flash available, but it works well, It can be accessed via the menus or, for immediate access, you can just press the button on the keypad that has a camera on it. This is ideal if you see something happening and you want to take a photograph straight away.
This is simply a list of the calls made and received.
This is a list of text messages sent and received. When this gets full a little envelope appears on the main screen to remind you to empty it!
The only other thing that I will tell you about is the assistance button. This is a square button located on the back of the phone and can be pressed to summon assistance. You can set it up to dial up to five numbers and send a pre written text message to alert them that you need help. You can have this switched on or off on the phone. I have switched mine off as I find that I inadvertently press the button when I am holding the phone. The alert can also be set so that you have to confirm your need for assistance by pressing 0. As I say I don't use this but I can see that it would be very useful for some people.
The buttons on the keypad are a decent size so, even if you have larger fingers, you don't end up pressing two or three at a time. If you miss a text or a call coming in a green light will flash on the front of the closed phone to alert you to this fact.
Overall I am VERY impressed with this little phone. It is robust which is great for a clumsy soul like me! It is easy to use, intuitive and it is saving me money. I would recommend it with any hesitation at all! I have had mine for over six months now and am very pleased with my choice.
As some of you will know my husband, Dave, is an IT Consultant and he works away from home a lot. If he has a long contract he usually gets some self-catering accommodation to give him more freedom and privacy than he would get in a bed and breakfast or hotel. If he is working in a tourist city such as York or Edinburgh there is plenty of choice of accommodation, but if he is somewhere less 'touristy' he has less choice and has to take the best he can get whether that is ideal or not.
Since the middle of last year he has been in accommodation where there is a dishwasher but no washing machine. This is why we decided to buy the OneConcept DB003 Mini Camping Washing Machine so that he didn't have to keep driving home or to his mom's to do his washing.
The machine is a small twin tub and is advertised as being useful for students, campers and caravaners. It can be purchased from various sites including Amazon where it is currently £104.90 although we bought ours from www.hifi-tower.co.uk through EBay and paid just £85. Incidentally Hifi Tower also supplies this item to Amazon.
Although Dave has taken this with him and it is he who uses it at the moment we did both try it out at home when it first arrived to make sure that it was ok so I feel able to tell you about how it works.
I will start by mentioning the instruction sheet - it is just one sheet of A4 and it is very basic indeed! It has either been translated from a foreign language or it was written by Stanley Unwin (if you don't remember him ask your parents!) A couple of our favourite bits were 'in order to prevent damage or deforming of washings, better to tie up some long washings such as skirts' and 'hairy balls, collars should be turned inside'. So the instructions tend to be better for humour than for their usefulness! Having said that, it is a basic twin tub washing machine not a moon rocket so this wasn't too much of a drama!
The machine itself is 58cm tall, 57cm wide and 35cm deep. It weighs 11kg (the same as 5.5 bags of sugar) and has a handle set into either side so it easy enough to pick up and move around - when it is empty of course! It looks quite smart as it is white with a bright blue band around the bottom and blue transparent lids.
Being a twin tub it has a washing machine and a separate spin dryer. The washing and rinsing side is 250W and the spin dryer is 120W. There are three dials set in the top of the machine between the two lids - the washing machine timer, the drain option and the spin timer. There is a lead with a plug (obviously), a hose with which to fill the machine and a drain hose. One problem that we found is that none of these are very long. The power cable is 1.5m, the inlet hose is 1m and the drain hose is just 30cm long. We had to use an extension lead in order to plug in the machine and we filled it using a bucket as that was easier than trying to manoeuvre the machine into a position where the hose would reach from the tap to the machine.
The machine will take a wash load of 2kg of washing which is a fair amount for such a small appliance. It does not heat the water so the first thing to do is to fill up the maximum water line inside the washing tub with hot water together with some washing powder or liquid. Then you put in the clothes, close the lid and set the timer for a length of time up to 15 minutes. The washing machine will then agitate the washing back and forth whilst the timer counts down to zero.
The next bit is a bit messy as you need to fetch the washing out of the water so that it can be rinsed. The soapy water then has to be drained from the machine by setting the middle dial to drain and remembering to make sure that the end of the drain hose is in a bucket to catch the water! You then refill the washing machine with clean water, put the washing back in and reset the washing timer to the desired time to rinse the washing.
I must admit that, if I were using the machine, I would put the clean washing into the sink to rinse it as I would find that easier, more efficient and less of a faff! Maybe that's just because that is the way I used to do it using mom's old machine when I was a teenager and trying to earn brownie points by doing the washing! Having said all that the washing did rinse easily and thoroughly in the machine.
The next stage is to remove the rinsed washing from the machine, wringing it by hand and then placing it in the spin dryer pushing it down well. There is a rubber disc which then goes on top of the clothes, tucking under the rim around the top of the spin dryer drum to make sure that they don't get caught between the drum and the side of the machine and get damaged. The water must then be drained from the washing machine as before. Then, keeping the end of the outlet hose in the bucket set the spin dryer timer and the clothes will be spun for you.
Once it has all finished it is very easy to wipe the drums and dry them before putting the twin tub away.
When you are draining the washing machine or spin drying the clothes it is wise to keep an eye on the bucket where the outlet hose is emptying to make sure that it doesn't either overflow or become too full to safely empty it. It is easy to switch off the machine using the relevant dial whilst the bucket is emptied and then switch it back on once the bucket has been replaced.
I have to say that I am very impressed at how clean the washing is and how dry the spinning process gets the clothes. I was also impressed that both the washing and drying operations are fairly quiet - I had expected it to make quite a loud noise. Another good point is that the whole thing was very stable whilst it was being used. When the washing machine is at home for whatever reason I would be happy to use it when I only have a few things to wash rather than using the automatic washing machine.
In conclusion I would definitely recommend this little machine. It is ideal for small loads and suits our purposes perfectly.
A couple of months ago we were in our local branch of Homebase and, as we went through the checkout, we spotted a cat laser toy on display. As a lot of you will know we do spoil our cat, Mew, so we decided to buy it for him not really knowing if he would like it or not.
It cost us £4.99 so it wasn't a fortune to waste if he didn't like it. It was attached by shrink wrapped plastic to a small red card and was labelled Laser Chaser Cat Toy. Also attached to the card were the three LR44 batteries which were needed to operate the laser.
When we got home we immediately took the plastic off the card to release the toy and the batteries - if I am honest we were dying to show it to Mew to see how he would react. To insert the batteries we just had to unscrew the end of the laser toy and drop them in with the negative pole facing inwards.
The toy itself is a light grey tube shape about nine centimetres long and just over a centimetre in diameter. It is very lightweight and has a key ring attached.
To operate the laser you just have to press the little button about halfway down the toy and the laser beam is emitted from the end; releasing the button switches the laser off. On the end where the light appears there is a disc which, when turned, shows the five different images that are available - a dot, a butterfly, a star, a smiley face and a mouse. I have to say that I don't really think the mouse looks much like a mouse but it is the one that Mew likes the best!
The toy is advertised as being for cats or dogs and useful for exercise and fun - it doesn't say who gets the most fun though - the cat or the person behind the laser! I meant to take it with us when we visited my sister to see if her dog would play with it but I forgot so I can't say whether it would appeal to a dog. I have my doubts to be honest; I think it is more of a cat thing.
Anyway, getting to the most important thing, Mew loves it!! My husband, Dave, has the patience to play for ages with him and Mew never seems to tire of it. Dave moves the light across the floor and, when Mew puts his paw on it, Dave switches it off making Mew think that he has caught it. Of course, when he looks under his paw, there is nothing there and he looks around in a bewildered fashion until Dave switches it back on and off he goes again.
After doing this for a while Dave rings the changes by moving the light across the floor towards one of the cupboards and switches off the light as it gets to the edge of the cupboard making Mew think that the 'mouse' has run underneath. He then sits on the floor staring under the cupboard (Mew not Dave) waiting for it to emerge.
Dave sometimes moves the light slightly up the wall and then Mew jumps to try and catch it. When it is on the floor we get the whole stalking and chasing routine complete with the bum waggling in the air just before the final run to capture the prey!
Mew doesn't seem to tire with this toy and he is certainly getting his money's worth from it! Mind you, I could say exactly the same about Dave! It doesn't matter how much they paly Mew doesn't seem to realise that, no matter how hard he tries, he can't catch the laser - he is a very determined cat! It does, of course, give him some exercise, which is useful especially while the weather is so bad that he doesn't go outdoors much.
There is just one word of warning about this toy the laser must not be shone into the animal's eyes or anyone else's for that matter as it could cause serious damage. Dave is always very careful to switch it off as soon as Mew starts to turn his face towards it.
In conclusion I would have to say that this is easily the best toy that we have bought for Mew. He loves it and we love watching him play with it. It has certainly given us lots of laughs that's for sure! I would definitely recommend it without hesitation.
As a lot of you will already know we have a gorgeous cat called Mew who adopted us six years ago when we moved into our cottage. He is company for me when Dave is working away and is always doing something to make me laugh (and sometimes despair!) so I like to make a fuss of him and buy nice treats for him.
He loves treats and the mere calling of the word 'treat' will usually get him to come running. He has been enjoying Felix Goody Bags recently which contain crunchy treats - he seems to like the crunchy ones far more than the softer ones that you can get.
Recently I saw another Felix treat in our local branch of Asda and decided to get some for Mew to try. The treats in question were Felix Crispies and I chose the salmon and trout flavour as Mew loves anything fishy.
A bag containing 45g of these treats cost me about £1.16 although I have seen them in the pound shop for, you guessed it, a pound. I also stocked up just before Christmas when I was in Tesco as they were on offer there at 3 packs for the price of 2. There are other flavours in this range including meat and vegetables and beef and chicken but, as I said, Mew loves the fishy flavours best.
The packaging is almost the same as that for the Felix Goody Bags being a plastic pouch with a tear off strip across the top. Beneath this there is a plastic zip type closure that seals the bag well and keeps the Crispies - well - crispy! I can't imagine that Mew would like them if they had gone soft!
These Crispies are in two colours - a sort of beige/brown and a reddish colour - and they are presented in the form of small kibbles in the shapes of moons and stars. As implied by the name these are very crispy and I always know when Mew is eating them as I can hear him crunching his way through them!
Mew's food and treats are all kept together in a drawer and he knows what is coming when the drawer is opened. He sits and watches what I am getting out for him and meows his approval. I put about 10 of these little treats on the floor at a time and Mew begins to eat them straight away! They don't last very long I can tell you! As these treats are dry they can also be easily fed from the hand too without getting messy.
On the back of the packet the feeding guide says that you can feed an adult cat up to 12g of these treats each day - this would be about 80 of these treats and, whilst Mew could and would probably eat this amount, it sounds far too many to me! I would say that he gets about 30 in any one day at the absolute maximum and I provide them in two or three sittings rather than altogether.
One thing that needs to be remembered is the fact that fresh water must always be provided especially when such dry food is being eaten. Eating dry food without taking in enough water could cause a nasty digestive problem for the cat. Incidentally just as a bit of information for Mew's many fans he has recently taking to jumping up onto the small sink in the cloakroom and balancing there whilst I switch on the tap for his to drink from the running water! That cat is definitely spoiled!
At the moment these Crispies are Mew's favourite treats and he definitely knows the word 'treat' and the distinctive rustle of the bag. Mew would recommend these to any cat!
We like to have a kettle in our bedroom so that we can make a cup of tea first thing in the morning and then sit in bed and drink it before we get up. Sadly the one that we had up there died a while ago - I tried replacing the fuse in the plug to no avail - it was terminal!
Now I needed to get a decent, not too large, inexpensive kettle so I began doing some research. I like to take a look around online and then have a look at the reviews on the products that I am interested in to make sure that I make the right decision.
Initially I looked at a slightly more expensive kettle only to find that the £5 one had better reviews so that was the one that I purchased.
The kettle in question is the Argos Value Cordless Kettle at just £5 and, since I have some points on my Nectar Card, mine was actually free so that was even better. At the checkout I was offered 3 years replacement product care for £1.99 but I refused as it isn't really worth it! It is guaranteed for one year anyway.
When we got out of Argos and back to the car we opened the box to check the contents and initially thought that the base unit was missing until we realised that it was stored, along with the flex and plug, inside the kettle. The other thing in the box was a set of simple instructions - there isn't really much you can say about a kettle is there - which were just written in English. I like this as I hate having to sort through a small book to find the one language I want amongst the many.
The kettle itself is plain white with a clear gauge on one side so that you can see how much water is in the kettle. The maximum capacity is 1.7 litres so it was plenty big enough for an early morning cuppa! The lid pulls back and you can either open the lid to fill the kettle or just put the open spout under the tap and fill it that way.
The first thing that I noticed was how quiet the kettle is in operation. I don't think I have even known a kettle so quiet! When it boils and automatically switches off the steam stops immediately which, in my experience, is unusual as well. So that's two big ticks straight away. The kettle also has boil dry protection and will automatically switch off if the kettle is empty.
Before use you need to fill the kettle to capacity and boil it, then throw away the water. This should be done three times in order to clear any residue from the manufacturing process. To boil the kettle you just have to plug in the base unit, place the kettle on the unit and press the switch down on the handle. A light will come on to show that the kettle is in operation and this will go out when the kettle switches itself off. You can boil just the amount of water that you need which saves energy so that's good too.
I have to say that I agree with all the people who had written the great reviews that we read before making the purchase. This kettle is brilliant! It was a great price, it is quiet when boiling the water, it looks smart and it does the job!
I would definitely recommend this product and would be happy to buy another one if it was needed.
Ever since the introduction of the Soap and Glory range in my local branch of Boots I have been trying quite a few of the products and, in almost every case, I have been very impressed with the quality.
I have tried (and liked) the Righteous Butter body butter so I decided to try the Daily Smooth Body Butter as well to see if that was better or different in any way.
Cost and Availability
I bought mine as part of a set called the Butter Suite which contained three 150ml pots of butter - Righteous Butter, Daily Smooth and Butter Up. The total cost for the set was £15 so each one effectively cost me £5. I can't remember what offer was on at the time - I think it may have been buy three products for the price of two - but I never pay full price for this type of thing - I always wait for a decent offer! Of course being a product in Boots I get Advantage Card points too or could use my points to buy the item if I have enough of them.
All of the butters seem to come in either pots or tubes. My Daily Smooth came in a fairly plain, cream coloured plastic pot with a pale pink screw top lid. There is a label on the front which just says Daily Smooth Body Butter and one on the back which gives a bit of information about the product and how best to use it. The label on the top of the pot again gives the name of the product and the tag line 'amazingly effective dry skin formula'.
Since the pot is made from plastic it can be thrown into the recycling bag once it is empty.
When I unscrewed the lid the pot contained a thick, white cream. It isn't as thick as the Body Shop body butter or the Righteous Butter for that matter - it is more like double cream than butter. The smell isn't very strong but what there is has the usual Soap and Glory type fragrance. I find that most of their 'cream' type products have the same light flowery perfume.
The instructions on the back of the pot tell you to 'divide a small plum sized splodge between your shins, knees, thighs, elbows, tops of toes and then everywhere else. Massage around until it sinks in.'
I find that it is easiest to use if I take a small amount at a time and massage it into my skin and then do the same things again until I have finished. The butter, being light and creamy, is absorbed by my skin very quickly and it feels really soft and smooth. The fragrance is lovely but it isn't one that I can smell during the day as it doesn't seem to linger.
I have noticed that, with continued use of this cream, my skin is feeling and looking much better. The areas of dry skin in particular are definitely much improved.
The other advantage with this particular product is that, being in a pot, it is easy to get every last bit out and thus none is wasted.
I tend to use various different moisturisers over time and I have to say that this is one of the better ones that I have tried. It is easy to use, it looks and smells lovely and my skin showed a marked improvement after just a couple of weeks use.
I am so very pleased with this product I have no hesitation in recommending it.
In our home office we have an Epson all in one printer, copier and fax machine. I always buy the branded Epson ink cartridges for use with this as I have heard that the replica cartridges can cause problems and I don't want to take the risk.
The fax facility is very rarely used but the both the printer and photocopier get used on most days for our company work and also for the work that I do as treasurer of our local lifeboat guild. As I say it does get used on most days but it isn't a high use - I tend to print invoices, copy receipts, print RNLI forms etc.
The cartridges that we need to use are the Epson ones with the cheetah on the pack. I must admit I do like the idea of putting a different animal on the packaging of each of the different types of cartridges - it makes it so much easier to find what I want either in store or on line. It also means that there is no chance of me making a mistake and buying the wrong ones.
The cartridges come in four colours - black, magenta, cyan and yellow - and are available either individually or in a pack of four. Currently a pack of four is available in Staples for £36 or, if you buy two at the same time, they are £32.40 each. They are also available from plenty of other places such as Viking for £31.19 or Amazon for £31.39. Tesco also stock Epson cartridges so it is worth keeping your eye open for special offers there. Basically I would say do your homework and shop around. The cheapest site today may not be the cheapest one next month.
The four cartridges come side by side on a strong white plastic (recycleable) pack with a picture of the head of a cheetah on the lid complete with a list of the contents and the compatibility reference numbers so that customers can be sure that they will work with the machine for which they are being purchased.
When the ink is getting low on our printer a warning comes up on the display. Apart from checking that I have the relevant colour in stock I ignore this as there is always plenty of ink left for more copies. I only change the cartridge when the printer actually stops working and tells me to change it - now!
To get the cartridges out of the packaging can be quite a challenge. I usually use a pair of scissors and cut along the top edge and then pull the package open. Each individual cartridge is then shrink wrapped in clear plastic. I use the scissors again to get the cartridge out. All I then have to do is to remove the protective yellow tab which keeps the ink from escaping or drying out and then change the empty cartridge for the full one in the printer.
The quality of the colour and the printing are both excellent and I can print off official documents to a high standard. Looking on the Staples website I found the following information 'The unique pigment-based ink technology preserves the ink particles by coating them in a protective resin. This means prints are resistant to fading and moisture.'
With my regular but fairly light usage I find that the black cartridge will last for a few months although the coloured ones tend to last a little while longer as I don't need to do much in the way of colour printing. The manufacturer's information says that the black cartridge will print about 490 pages and the coloured ones will print about 245 pages each but I have never actually counted to see how true this is!
In conclusion I would recommend these cartridges. They are initially expensive but they last well, are easy to use and provide a high quality result.
Sadly I don't get the opportunity to bake cakes very often. Not only am I a diabetic but I could also do with losing some weight - add this to the fact that I live on my own a lot while my husband works away and you can see that cooking a batch of tempting cakes would not be a good idea!
When we have visitors I do enjoy baking cakes and, depending on the type of cakes that I make, I sometimes need to use baking cases. When I do use them I go for the plain white ones as they tend to be cheaper than the fancy ones and they only get thrown away don't they?
The ones I currently use are the ones made by a company called Dr Oetker (what sort of a name is that?) They come in a clear plastic tub which splits open into two halves in order for you to get the baking cases out. There is a piece of paper inside the top of the tub with the name of the product and a little bit of information about it, and a pack containing 100 cases costs 55p from Tesco.
There are probably cheaper cases out there that do the job reasonably well but I like these because they are smart and strong enough to retain their shape during the cooking process.
If I make little sponge cakes I would out them directly into the hollows in the cake tins as I would with jam tarts and mince pies. The cake cases really come into their own when I make muffins. As you will know if you make muffins you have to mix all the wet ingredients in one bowl and all the dry ingredients in another and then mix the two together just before putting them in the oven. The mixture is very wet at this stage - the consistency of a thick batter - and, as such, it has to be put into cake cases (or even specially made muffin cases which are slightly larger) before cooking. If the mixture was put directly into the cake tins the muffin would be a flatter shape and it would probably spill over the side anyway! So, I pour the mixture into the cake cases, stand the cake cases in the cake tins and then bake for the required time in the oven.
These cases would be really useful if you are baking things like Rice Crispy cakes with children 'helping' you. They would help the children to be able to get their cakes the right shape and size and looking good.
Finally I like the fact that these cases peel easily off the finished cakes whether the cakes are warm or cold at the time. There are never any little bits of paper left behind!
So, if you need to use cake cases, I would definitely recommend these - there is always a tub of these in my cupboard!
I was looking at one of the sites that provide vouchers and money saving ideas the other day and I came across a voucher for a free 30ml tube of hand cream from the Body Shop. Well, 'free' is my sort of price so I printed off the voucher and popped in to get my hand cream.
I do suffer from dry hands, especially in the winter, and I love to have some nice hand cream around. There is some on my bedside table, some in my desk drawer at work and some on the window sill by the sink so I have no excuse for dry hands.
The voucher in question gave me a choice from Hemp Hand Protector, Almond Hand and Nail Cream or Wild Rose Hand Cream. I chose my free gift by fragrance as I love the smell of roses.
The Wild Rose Hand Cream is available in two sizes 30ml for £5 or 100ml for £10 so there are economies of scale to be had here. It is also worth watching out for the special offers which come round frequently. If you have a Love Your Body Card from the Body Shop you would automatically get 10% off every purchase too.
The hand cream comes in a silver metallic tube with a black screw top lid. On the tube, in pink, there is the Body Shop logo, a sketch of a rose and the name and a short description of the product in English and French.
This hand cream is enriched with rosehip oil to give 'much needed moisture to mature skin while helping to reduce the appearance of brown spots'. It also has an SPF factor of 15 although, as we approaching the winter that probably doesn't matter that much!
I hadn't realised when I chose the Wild Rose Hand Cream that it was especially for mature skin but that suits me as I am rapidly approaching my 59th birthday so I guess I have to accept that my skin is mature even if my brain isn't! Remember growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional!
To use the hand cream you just need to unscrew the lid and give the tube a gentle squeeze. I say 'gentle' as the cream does come out easily. It is fairly thick in consistency and is white with a very faint pink tinge to it. I found that I didn't need to use very much to cover my hands well, meaning that this hand cream will be good value for money.
As I expected the hand cream smells gorgeous with a lovely flowery, rose fragrance which is strong enough to remain on my hands without being overpowering or sickly. The cream is light and was absorbed into the skin on my hands very quickly, making it easy to use of you are in a rush, and it left no sticky residue either.
After use my hands felt comfortable and moisturised and, as I said earlier, the smell of roses remained for quite some time. I also found that my hands also felt comfortable when I was outside - they didn't feel dry even when it was quite windy.
As I am lucky enough not to have any age spots yet I cannot comment on how effective this cream would be in improving their appearance but I have no reason to suppose that it would not be effective.
I have found this hand cream to be a good every day cream although for a deeper moisturising effect I would probably use my Soap and Glory Hand Food last thing at night just to keep the moisture topped up.
The other advantages of the Wild Rose Hand Cream is that the container is recycleable once it is empty and that, being produced by the Body Shop, you are guaranteed that the ingredients are ethically sourced and that no animal testing has been used. The a look at the website at www.thebodyshop.co.uk to read more about their Community Fair Trade policy.
In conclusion I would have to say that I am very impressed with this lovely free gift and it has certainly had the desired marketing effect on me as I shall be buying a replacement when this tube finally runs out.