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We visited Sygun Copper Mine last week while on holiday in North Wales. As it was raining that day it seemed a good place to go, we had our six-year-old Cocker Spaniel with us and were happy to find he could come in the mine too. He'd been in some caverns in Derbyshire in the past so we knew he'd be ok being in an enclosed enviroment. The leaflet boasted that the mine was a fun day out for the whole family so we thought we'd be there some time.
On arriving we found a large, quickly-filling car park which we thought was a good sign. There's a short incline to the shop, cafe and museum, which is all in one building. We asked the lady at the till if the mine was ok for dogs to which she replied "yes, as long as he's ok with a few steps", so we paid the £8.75 admission price each, donned our hard hats and set off to find the entrance to the mine. We found a very long and narrow tunnel to walk through which was very wet underfoot and there were drips coming off the roof. The tunnel seemed to go on forever and we were constantly banging our heads (or hats) on the roof. When we finally reached a space tall enough to stand up straight we were faced with several small exhibits behind bars with a button to press to hear a story of life in the mines. The photos in the brochure are distorted, it looks like massive caverns when in fact you're just looking at 6-foot wide mini caverns through railings. Unfortunately we couldn't make out much of what was being said on the audios so we gave up on those quickly and just carried on.
After a short time we came across a flight of steps - well, an open metal step ladder to be honest. I went up first with our dog who didn't seem to have too much difficulty in getting up by himself. However, when we reached the top of the first stairway, where there was a small platform to stand on to recover, we were faced with yet another stairway, and another, and another. Halfway up the second set our dog started crying, the open steps were hurting his feet and he was exhausted from the climb. We couldn't go back as neither of us could have carried him down and he certainly wouldn't have made it himself so we pushed on, thoroughly miserable and tired. To be honest I can't remember much of what we saw after the steps as we just wanted to get out! Apparantly there's 186 steps - I didn't count them but I can believe it. I really don't know what good the hard hats would have been if one of us were to fall. And if you were on your own you'd probably be lying there for some time before anyone found you. Finally we were back in the open air which was such a relief!
It was still drizzling with rain when we came out so abandoned the mountain walk, we probably wouldn't have done it anyway as the path looked very narrow and dangerous. After looking briefly at the nice view of the valley we turned around and were faced with a very rough, steep, downhill path back to the car park. This path was very long and we were worried about slipping on the rocks. We passed the small gold-panning site which was basically a trough filled with dirty water. By the time we were back at the shop we were soaked.
We went back into the shop to take our hats back and had a quick look around the museum, most of the exhibits appear to have come from other places in the world and the "dinosaur eggs" look like lumps of rock, they could be anything. After five minutes we'd seen everything in there, had a very brief look around the shop and came away. On getting back to the car we looked down to find orange splashes all over our trousers and shoes. We were covered in copper! I was glad to have put a towel in the car for the dog as he was also covered. When we got back to our holiday cottage I have to wash the dog, his towel and our trousers, then scrub our shoes! Luckily they all came up clean.
I don't know how Sygun Copper Mine managed to obtain a Prince of Wales award as, quite frankly, it's dangerous. We were there for around an hour and were glad to get away. There's not many places where we can take our dog with us so we were looking forward to visiting the mines but in the end we felt as if we were being cruel towards him! We made it up to him the next day by walking to the summit of Snowdon and back which was free and well worth it!
I bought this water jug as the water where I live is very poor, I can smell chlorine quite strongly and I always have sore, tingling lips - sometimes they peel and bleed. I thought maybe the water was to blame so looked into the many water filters on the market, eventually settling for this one.
I bought my Aqua Optima Water Filter Jug from Argos two months ago for £14.99 which included a pack of cartridges to last six months. Each cartirdge last for two months so it seemed like a really good deal and much cheaper than the Brita equivalent. The jug was very easy to assemble, the cartridge just slides into the holder and turns slightly to hold it in place. You then need to fill the jug with water and empty it out a couple of times to clean the cartridge out. There is a clever dial on the top of the jug which you can set to remind you when the cartridge needs changing - which is very easy to do.
The handle is very comfortable to hold while refilling and the lid where the water comes out opens automatically when the water pushes against it so it can be done one-handed - great if you're a multi-tasker!
The jug fits perfectly in my fridge door and to fill it up you just hold it under the tap and allow the water to hold down the flap on top. The jug holds 1.5 litres of water, it probably gets refilled 4/5 times a day - I am at home all day while my fiance works from 8.30-5.30. We also give the filtered water to our dog who seems to be drinking more now. The water filters through quite quickly, I haven't timed it but I would guess a full chamber (about 500ml) takes around a minute to filter through completely.
On first taste we couldn't believe how different the water was - so clean and pure, just like bottled mineral water. It's got me drinking more which is always a good thing, knowing that all the nasty chemicals are taken out. I don't think I could drink the tap water again! And the good news is my lips have really improved, they feel so much better :)
Well I'm going to get straight to the point on this one - don't bother buying Tesco Strawberry Bon Bons. Unless you don't like your teeth that is. I bought these sweets as they were on offer in Tesco at three bags of sweets for £2.00. I only saved about 13p as they were around 68p per bag, but I was planning on buying some sweeties anyway so I didn't mind about the seemingly pathetically poor offer.
The bags are quite nice, made from plastic but it is kind-of matt which gives it an old fashioned feel. It has pink vertical stripes with a picture of bon bons at the top as if they are bursting out of a paper bag. The bag opens quite easily by ripping a corner off, this saves the all spilling out all over the place if you try to open it like a packet of crisps. The bags weigh 227g and it states there are no artificial flavours or colours - which is great! The nutritional information is clearly displayed on the front, each five bon bons is 105 calories, which isn't bad - only 20 calories per sweet. The fat contect per five sweets is 2.8g, again not too bad. I bought this bag of sweets in July 2010 and the best before date is January 2011 so with only six months to go it's not one to be shoved in the back of the cupboard and forgotten about.
On the back of the bag is the description "Strawberry flavour toffee with a fine sugar dusting". Well they sound tempting anyway! So, delving into the bag we find a nice quantity of sweets, there must be around 30 in there, each one about an inch in diameter. I popped one in my mouth and instantly licked my fingers, the sugar coating is delicious! So having sucked my bon bon for about 10 seconds all the flavour had gone and I was left with a ball of VERY hard toffee. I tried chewing it and a piece broke off instantly, this worried me as it would be easy to choke on these little pieces. The other thing that worried me was chipping a tooth! So you're left with no other option but to suck on this piece of toffee - which doesn't taste too bad, just don't try talking to anyone until it's a more managable size...
Ten minutes later and I'd finally got rid of it, and gone straight back for another... I know I'm contradicting myself but now I know to just suck it I'm feeling a bit more positive towards these bon bons. I don't think I would buy them again though. They certainly taste of strawberries at first, then the toffee taste isn't too bad. They would be good for anyone trying to lose weight as they do last quite a long time and don't taste like a diet food. Just don't give them to kids or your grandma!
We bought a Wii in November 2009 about six months after I said it would be a great thing to have as we'd only got a PS2 and were getting a bit bored with those games. My boyfriend brought the subject up again and has since taken credit for having the idea to get one - well he's not about to admit it was someone else's idea, is he?
Anyway, I bought Just Dance from Amazon for about £18 and think it was well worth the money. You don't need a dance mat, just a Wii Remote in your right hand and off you go. Now, it's not terribly accurate. You can be doing exactly the same as the character on the screen and it doesn't register but for me it's more about the exercise. It takes some practise to learn how to hold the remote for the different songs, just try tilting you hand a bit and you should find you get a better score. Experts say you can burn around 400 calories per hour by using this game which I think is brilliant. Obviously the more effort you put into it the better.
The 30-plus songs are fantastic, there's something for everyone. There's probably only a couple that I don't like, one of them being Mashed Potato Time. My favourites are Pump Up the Jam and Jin Go La Ba. To play you just follow the character on the screen and you get rated by how well you're doing. You score bar goes up as you go, the more correct combos you get the more score you get.
There are various game modes and you can play with up to three other people. You can choose each song as you go or opt for the automatic song selector. There's also a game mode where you have to stop when it tells you too, holding a pose which is fun.
The only problem I have with this game is the lack of a scoreboard. It does record the best score for each game but doesn't tell you who got that score which, for us, leads to arguments :D
Just Dance is also helping me to lose weight, since having it I've lost almost two stone by counting calories, walking and using Wii Fit and Just Dance.
When I got my puppy five years ago he was being fed Pedigree puppy food. We went and bought some so he was having the same but he had awful stomach and bowel problems. Over the next year we spent lots of time and money trying to find some food that he liked and could actually eat without any unpleasant side effects. We eventually settled on Winalot as it is competatively priced (around £3.50 for a pack of six tins) and easy to get hold of. It is widely available and is very often on offer, last week we found it in Morrisons for £2.50 for six tins.
There are many varieties of Winalot tinned dog food but we usually get the ones with chicken, duck and rabbit, tuna, Cod and plaice etc. in. Benji, our Cocker Spaniel, cannot eat the ones with gravy in as that affects his stomach. The fish and tripe flavours are a bit stinky, you don't want your dog sitting on your knee when he's had that for his dinner!
Winalot treats are also very good, we've bought all of the ones shown in the picture above and Benji has enjoyed them all. Some are low in fat too which is an added bonus. They are soft, chewy treats which are great for older dogs too.
Winalot is part of the Purina group which is well know for producing pet food. Benji enjoys all the range and most importantly it is gentle on his sensitive stomach. If he enjoys it I'm more than happy :)
All dogs enjoy a treat - or ten! And what better way to reward them than these tasty Bakers Allsorts? Bakers is part of the Purina group which is well known for producing quality pet food.
These treats are available from supermarkets, pet shops and various high street stores such as Wilkinsons and Poundland. A 140g bag costs between £1.00 - £1.50 and contains quite a good amount of treats for the price. The packet is plastic and has a tear off piece at the top which can be resealed so the treats don't go hard and yucky. This is really handy if you don't give the treats regularly.
These treats are around one and a half inches in size and come in various shapes; bones, circles, triangles and ovals, and different colours and flavours; chicken, lamb, beef and rabbit. The recommended daily intake is:
Small Dogs (Chihuahua, Westie and others up to 15kg) - 7 treats per day
Medium Dogs (Border Collie, Springer Spaniel, Labrador and others 15kg - 30kg) - 11 per day
Large Dogs (Great Dane, Rottweiler and others over 30kg) - 13 per day
The treats are quite soft so they don't take the dog long to eat at all, about five seconds for my Cocker Spaniel! But this means older dogs can chew them easily and not be left out. Benji loves them and is always ready for more, when out on walks I take a few of these treats to give to him. The can also be easily torn into smaller pieces which is good to use when training your dog.
It is recommended on the packet to reduce the amount of your dogs main meal if you are feeding them treats and to always provide clean drinking water.
All dogs enjoy a treat - or ten! And what better way to reward them than one of these tasty Bakers Allsorts Whirlers? Bakers is part of the Purina group which is well known for producing quality pet food.
These treats are available from supermarkets, pet shops and various high street stores such as Wilkinsons and Poundland. A 150g bag costs between £1.00 - £1.50 and contains quite a good amount of treats for the price. The packet is plastic and has a tear off piece at the top which can be resealed so the treats don't go hard and yucky. This is really handy if you don't give the treats regularly.
The Whirlers measure around 10cm long by 1cm round and are twisted ham and cheese flavours which are low in fat so great for anyone trying to watch the weight of their dog. The recommended daily intake is:
Small Dogs (Chihuahua, Westie and others up to 15kg) - 4 treats per day
Medium Dogs (Border Collie, Springer Spaniel, Labrador and others 15kg - 30kg) - 6 per day
Large Dogs (Great Dane, Rottweiler and others over 30kg) - 7 per day
The treats are quite soft so they don't take the dog long to eat at all, about five seconds for my Cocker Spaniel! But this means older dogs can chew them easily and not be left out. Benji loves them and is always ready for more, when out on walks I tear a few of these treats up into smaller pieces to give to him, that way he's not eating too much at a time. This is also a good tip for training use.
It is recommended on the packet to reduce the amount of your dogs main meal if you are feeding them treats and to always provide clean drinking water.
Tesco Whole Wheat Couscous can be found in the pasta isle of Tesco with the pulses. It comes in a see-though plastic packet weighing 500g and costs around 90p. On the front of the packet you can clearly see the nutritional values and on the back tells you how to prepare it.
It is extremely easy to prepare, all you have to do is weigh out 50g per person and add some boiling water, (250ml for four servings) then cover it and wait for 5-10 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork and serving straight away. You can also prepare it by warming some water in a saucepan, adding the couscous and leaving to stand for 3 minutes. Then return to the heat and simmering for 3-4 minutes. I would say this is the better method doing it the other way the couscous tends to cool down quite a bit (which is fine when having it with salad)
Being wholewheat this couscous is much more filling than the plain, white couscous and healthier for you, much like white versus wholemeal bread. A 50g serving give you just 180 calories and 1g of fat so it can be part of a healthy lifestyle just like rice or pasta. You have the choice of adding a little butter or oil if you prefer but I like it just made with boiling water.
As couscous has a very light taste it can be served with a variety of food. Chicken and fish are my favourite, you may want to have some kind of marinade or sauce to give it flavour or add herbs. A favourite lunch of mine is couscous, half a can of tuna chunks and some salad. This gives around 300 calories and is a nice, healthy meal. Couscous is also very filling, I find it's much more so than bread.
I've always been overweight. I was a big kid and got bullied for it. I carried on putting on the weight through my teenage years and into my early 20s. This was due to having a sedentary lifestyle and enjoying my food too much! Eventually, after much begging I was allowed to have a puppy. At that stage I was at my biggest - a whopping 22st.
Benji came to us on January 2005 and I started playing and walking with him. Losing weight never entered my mind until after having him for a year I got on the scales and found I was 20st 7lb. One and a half stone lost in one year just by walking a bit and playing! In 2006 I got serious, I started watching what I ate and doing exercise dvds as well as walking further. I kept this up for two years, when I met my boyfriend in late 2007. My weight floated between 15st and 16st for the next two years while we were doing up our house ready to move in.
Six months after moving in together I realised I had put on half a stone, I was eating like a pig and doing no other exercise but walking Benji. Time to change! I started counting calories, sticking to 1800 a day and got the old dvds out (as well as buying some new ones and Wii Fit Plus). In three months I lost two stone and have just two more to lose. Everyday I write down what I have to eat and make a note of the calories which I've now reduced to 1500 a day. I'm hovering around the obese/overweight BMI category now and saving furiously to get loads of new clothes when I'm at my goal weight.
At 22st I was probably heading for diabetes, heart attack or worse. I was lonely, never had a boyfriend, didn't go out at all, just sat and felt miserable. Losing weight gave me the confidence to go out more and talk to people, I met my boyfriend and we're now living together and very happy.
I was a size 26 at my biggest, I'm now a 16/18. My ultimate goal is to be a size 14. Just being able to buy clothes from any shop is incentive enough. Big girls don't have much choice and larger sizes are often much more expensive than smaller cothes, stuffed away in the corner of the shop.
There's no need to join weight loss classes, spend loads of money on meal replacement drinks or going to the extreme of have a gastric band. Losing weight by counting calories is easy, low calorie/fat meals can be cooked for the whole family even on a budget. I can even have chocolate as long as it is within my calorie limit.
A typical day for me goes like this:
Breakfast - sweet cereals (Frosties etc.) with unsweetened soya milk (150 calories)
Snack - banana or breakfast bar (100 cals)
Lunch - Sandwich (300 cals) Weight Watchers yoghurt (50 cals)
Snack - banana/Kit Kat/breakfast bar (I usually snack 2/3 times in the afternoon) (200-300 cals)
Dinner - fish or chicken with rice and veggies (400-500 cals)
Evening Snacks - low cal jelly with ice cream, biscuits, fruit (250 cals)
Which takes us to around 1500 calories a day :)
I walk Benji for nearly two hours most days, walking at a pretty fast pace to burn more calories. Every day I try to do 30 minutes of exercise, either an aerobics dvd or Wii Fit Plus. I'm looking forward to going for longer walks in the summer. I'm pretty busy every day with housework too which helps to burn calories. Even writing reviews helps as typing can burn 100 calories an hour :D
It might have taken me five years so far to lose eight stone but it's coming off. I hope this is the year I will reach my goal and finally find peace with my body. I hope you've enjoyed reading my review, thanks for taking the time to have a look.
Through junior school I was always much taller and heavier than everyone else but I can't really remember any bullying going on. At that age kids accept everything and don't care what you look like, everyone's welcome to play. Going into senior school was another matter. Almost from the first day I was bullied for being overweight. I admit I was big, just under 14 stone at the age of 12. My parents tried all sorts to help me lose weight but nothing seemed to work.
There wasn't just one or two bullies, it seemed to be everyone I came into contact with. Nobody backed me up either because they were too scared. The teachers were just as bad, I was sent away, accused of "telling tales" all the time. Thankfully there was only one incident of physical bullying, a girl kicked me and got away with it, saying she was practising some karate moves. It was mainly verbal bullying I endured. "Fatty" being the favourite word, people laughing at me in the corridors, passing around rumours and telling the teachers I'd done something I hadn't to get me into trouble.
I was a quiet girl with very few friends. Physical Education was the worst class, I'd always be last to get picked and laughed at because I couldn't do some things or was always the slowest. One day I just sat down and refused to do anymore. The bullies ALWAYS get away with it.
On my last day at school at the age of 13 I was followed home by some older girls who were taunting me. I was so scared, I couldn't turn round and see who it was. I just kept going. I refused to go back to school, teachers kept coming round trying to get me to go back but I couldn't. Even the thought of going to a different school filled me with dread. Eventually it was decided I should have a home tutor until I was 16, provided by the local council. She was great, really friendly. But she could only come for four hours a week! I only studied English, Maths and Science and the limited hours meant I didn't learn enough to take any GCSEs.
The bullies had won. They'd taken my teenage years away from me, any future career was a no-go and my self-esteem was nonexistent. It's only just now, at the age of 28, that I've got some self-confidence, I've lost a lot of weight - eight stone so far, and I'm now living with my fiance. I'm happy but I know there's always going to be that self-doubt, body issues and a fear of it happening again.
Parents are to blame mostly for bullying, lack of parenting skills are the norm these days. Teachers secondly, although they have no authority now to take control of a student. In my opinion kids should be taught in schools about respect and encouraged to help those in need. Not being allowed to use their mobile phone in class and wander around doing whatever they feel like.
Perhaps the only positive thing that came out of being bullied is they was it's made me respect others. I hate to think if I've upset anyone in any way. I always put others before myself. Those bullies ruined my life, luckily not for good but it will always stay with me whatever I do.
I've been a homemaker since March 2009 and to be honest it's sooo boring! I hate cleaning, ironing, washing, and just generally sitting around waiting for the other half to come home! I'm eternally grateful for having a dog as it's my excuse to get out of the house and see some life! It's not quite so bad during the summer as I enjoy gardening and sitting out there on my swing seat enjoying the flowers, knowing that I've planted them all and looking after them.
I do enjoy cooking though, I like experimenting with different ingredients. The bottom line is that someone has to do the housework. My fiance works 8.30-5.30 so I can't expect him to come home and start doing the hoovering or anything! I always make sure the house is tidy when he gets home but I don't think he really realises how much work goes into keeping a house clean and tidy. It's very easy for him to think I don't do anything, just sit watching tv all day. I dread to think how the place would look if he were living on his own!
Before we moved in together I had loads of hobbies but now I feel guilty for doing them as I'm looking around seeing things that need to be done!I think I just need to come to terms with being a homemaker and try to enjoy it, I can't work for a couple of personal reasons so I think I'll just grin and bear it.
I wanted a dog all my life, I was sooo jealous of my older sister having two! I started going out with her to walk them and really enjoyed it so I begged and begged my parents until they said yes. I got Benji on 2nd January 2005. He's a golden Cocker Spaniel and has been my best friend ever since. We've been walking twice a day every day, he loves running over fields, swimming, climbing, chasing cats/rabbits/birds but doesn't like strangers, he tends to bark or growl at them, although he's never tried biting anyone!
Benji changed my life, before I had him I was living with my parents, never had a boyfriend and weighed 22 stone. Five years later I'm living with my fiance, I've lost 8 stone and I've got so much more confidence. As I don't work he's my excuse to get out and exercise, talk to new people and visit new places. The only draw back is not being able to leave him on his own in the house as he howls for us to come back!
Benji goes everywhere with us, he loves going on holiday and day trips, he's even been in some caves in the Peak District! He makes us laugh with all the funny things he does, the other day he tried jumping over a ditch and ended up belly-flopping on the other side! We've got so many photos of him, nearly every single one features his cute face.
We've decided not to have kids so I suppose you can say Benji is our child, we're not sily with him though, no outfits or pushchairs - he's a proper dog who has a real zest for life. We hope to have him for a good many years to come and are not looking forward to the inevitable. No other dog could replace Benji, he's an enormous part of our family life.
Thanks for reading x
The bag I'm using at the moment was a Christmas present from my Mum and Dad. It's black leather with a flap over the front with a buckle detail which has a little butterfly keyring attached. The fastening is a magnetic press stud. It's got one long strap which I prefer as I like to wear it over my head and across my body for extra safety.
So what's inside? Well it has a little "secret" pocket inside where I keep a pair of nail scissors and an emery board, some plasters, painkillers, sanitary towels and a lip balm. In the main part I have a little notebook and pen, a small tape measure, packet of travel tissues and usually a snack bar of some kind and bottle of water. There's also my purse which was also a Christmas present, in there you'll find all the usual stuff, cards, coins, lists of stuff to buy, oh, and if I'm lucky some money :D
I don't keep my mobile phone or house keys in my bag, they stay in my trouser pockets as I'm paranoid about losing them! I like to clear my bag out quite often as I tend to had food wrappers, receipts and bits of useless stuff appearing!
These soft bake bars from Kelloggs are extremely tasty and filling, either for breakfast or as a snack in between meals. They come as a pack of eight in a recycleable cardboard box which has a shaped perforation along the front for easy opening. The boxes are quite eye-catching with a large picture of the bars themselves.
The bars are individually wrapped in plastic (like a multibag of crisps) with the flavour clearly labelled. The calorie content is also clearly displayed on the front of the box and bars. There are 130 calories and 3g of fat per bar which is quite good for something like this.
The blackberry and apple filling is a nice dark purple colour and very tasty indeed, this is wrapped inside a crust which holds it all together. The crust is sweet but not over powering. The sweetness comes from the filling. You get probably four bites from a bar and it doesn't crumble at all so is easy to eat.
I highly recommend these bars as a snack, even for anyone trying to lose weight. They are tasty, filling and easy to carry around with you. There are also many other delicious Nutrigrain Bar flavours to descover. They can be found in the cereal isle at Tesco and usually cost around £2.00 for a box of eight, sometimes they are on offer at £1.50 per box.
With only 103 calories and 0.1g of fat in this HUGE 190g pot this low fat yoghurt really is worth a try! If you're watching your weight you can easily fit this yoghurt into your diet on a daily basis.
The foil lid peels back easily to reveal a light yellow coloured yoghurt which is smooth in consistency, I was expecting lumps of banana for some reason but glad there weren't any!
The banana taste really comes through, however, the custard is a little more vague. But still, I love banana flavoured yoghurt so that's not so bad. If you really want banana and custard it's best to have the real thing. Muller seem to be trying to make the impossbile at the moment with all the different "dessert" styles they're trying to concoct.
All in all it's a very nice, smooth yoghurt which is kind to dieters and is very filling. Great to have as an afternoon snack or with your lunch.