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carcraig

carcraig
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Member since: 19.03.2008

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    • Caterpillar Colorado Boots / Shoes / 99 Readings / 98 Ratings
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      03.02.2013 22:58
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      I love my Cat boots - almost as much as I love my Dr Martens!

      These boots were bought for me by my ex-employers many years ago as a practical footwear solution for a site visit to the Falkland Islands. I have continued to wear them on a regular basis and they have now given me over 13 years of faithful service.

      *** FEATURES/DESCRIPTION ***

      The Colorado boots come in a variety of colours and in both leather and nubuck finishes. I have the honey-coloured nubuck boots. They have a leather cushioned collar at the ankle and the Cat logo on the tongue and at the heel. They are lace up with three eyelets and three hook fastening. They have a thick rubber sole with really deep grips and stitching detail where the sole and upper meet. They come with really good long, strong laces. Please note - these are WORK boots and not SAFETY boots.


      *** FIT ***

      These boots fit on the large side for me, presumably because they are unisex/men's boots so I have to go down a size. I usually wear a size 7 but find a 6 fits me perfectly in these. They are quite a wide fit, but I like the fact that there is space to wear thick socks - or two pairs if necessary on really cold days! The laces allow you to keep them tight and comfortable right up to the ankle.

      *** COMFORT ***

      These fitted perfectly from the off - no having to break them in and no blisters whatsoever. I really like the added comfort that the cushioned collar at the ankle provides. (I do know of someone who attempted to walk the West Highland Way wearing these and suffered somewhat - but these are work boots and NOT walking boots. They are not designed for that purpose!)


      *** WEATHERPROOFING ***

      These boots do seem to be, if not waterproof, certainly water-repellent to a point. Whilst I wouldn't recommend standing in a puddle for an extended time wearing them, for normal wet-weather wear they are ideal. And as I have worn these out and about on many a farm in my time, they have also been tested and passed as far as mud and other such *ahem* muck is concerned. Clean and dry socks regardless of the terrain!


      *** GRIP ***

      Really good. Thick rubber soles with industrial-looking grips. Good in icy conditions and in the snow, mud, muck etc. 13 years and counting and the soles still show very little sign of wear. The deep grips do tend to trap small stones however, which tend to end up on the floor of my car frequently.


      *** WARMTH ***

      Pretty good. I don't think these are quite as warm as my Tartan Dr Martens with a single pair of socks but with two pairs of socks they are very toastie and are often my choice of footwear for winter football watching. I have read in the technical details that these have a "Poliyou" sock lining - I have no idea what that is, but that must be what stops my toes from freezing during our Scottish winters.


      *** WEAR AND TEAR ***

      Well the fact that I still have them after 13 years speaks for itself, really. They don't look like they do when they were new, but to be honest I think these boots look better when worn in a bit rather than pristine from the box. The soles show virtually no wear at all and there is no fraying on the cushioned ankle collar. These were, for many years, my staple boots for wearing with my jeans for the football etc, as well as being worn for worn for work purposes on site visits.


      *** WHERE DID I GET THEM? ***

      These were bought for me from Arco, for approximately £60. They are widely available online and on the high street. Prices do vary widely depending on the colour, size and time of year, it would seem! At time of writing (Feb'13) they are available on Amazon between £50 and £100. It's definitely worth shopping around.


      *** SUMMARY ***

      These are great utility boots. They are comfortable, practical and great with jeans. The look is icon. I love my Cat boots!


      Recommended. Five stars.

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        24.01.2013 15:35
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        An effective exfoliator with a perfect texture for me!

        I like to use an exfoliating face wash of some sort 2-3 times a week and when this one was on special offer in the Avon catalogue, I thought it would give it a try.

        **Packaging**

        It has a flip-top lid which I find so much easier to use with wet hands, particularly while in the shower. Squeeze the plastic tube and you can ensure you use last drop of this product. The white and green colourway of the packaging suggests to me a more medicated-type face wash than cosmetic, but not overly so.

        **Use**

        Apply to a damp face, avoiding the eyes. More is less, only a small amount of product is required - a little goes a long way!

        **Product Appearance**

        Sage green in colour which hints at the menthol properties.

        **Texture/"Scrubinicity"**

        I like an exfoliator to feel like it is actually sloughing off those dead skin cells (yuck!), somewhere south of sandpaper but something that does feel like it is actually doing something "scrubby" to my skin and not just washing it. This product has the texture of gritty clay, thick enough to be easily applied to the face and neck without dripping off your fingers and going straight down the plughole, but so thick as to resemble a face-mask. The scrubbing particles are like fine sand and, for me, give just the right amount of exfoliation. If you like something VERY gentle, then this is probably not for you.

        **Scent etc**
        This scrub has a minty menthol aroma and almost gives the impression of heating up on the face in a weird thermal-sensation type way and it definitely feels like it is penetrating those sinuses - ideal when you have a bit of nasal congestion and by no means unpleasant.

        **Effects on Skin**

        Positive! Helps keep my skin bright and clear and feeling super-cleansed. I don't suffer from breakouts and I look 20 years younger than I actually am (joke!)

        **Availability and Price**

        I think I paid £3 from Avon but it doesn't seem to be in their current catalogue. On Amazon it is currently available for £5.99 with free delivery.

        Recommended. Five stars from me.

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          17.04.2012 14:20
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          Budget, bargain, plastic toy with good educational benefits - recommended!

          This is another toy box staple which comes in many different versions. My personal preference would be for a wooden version (Ikea do a nice one), however Santa, being canny with his pennies, bought this cheaper plastic set for Liam last year.


          The Asda Play & Learn range has a good selection of predominantly plastic toys at pocket-money prices. This one consists of five hollow plastic rings which nest in order on a central pole to form a cone-like shape. The central pole screws on and off the base and is also made of hollow plastic.


          This is a lightweight toy and I was concerned that, being plastic and hollow, the base and pole would end up squashed and mis-shapened, but both components have proved fairly resilient to date and are still in good shape.


          The rings are colourful and three out of the five are textured on the surface to give added interest to the toy. They are graduated in size so as to require them being slotted on the pole in the correct order for them all to fit. Again, they have so far resisted being squashed despite the boisterous treatment they have been subjected to in the past year.


          Educational possibilities with this toy include learning about colours, relative size, hand to eye coordination, counting, memory, shapes as well as teaching persistence and trial and error when the rings won't all fit on the pole at the initial attempt!


          The hollow rings do have small holes in them so I would not recommend them being used as bath toys as I imagine that it would be difficult to ensure that all the water had been removed from inside them. It is a good set to take along on holiday or on day trips etc, as they are light, difficult to damage and reasonable compact.


          Being plastic, they are easily wiped clean with a damp cloth or a baby wipe, and there is no worry of paint flaking off or the like, if they are chewed on by a teething toddler.


          Liam loves this wee toy and can be absorbed in it for quite some time. He loves stacking the rings in the conventional manner as well as sliding the rings across our laminate flooring at some target or another across the living room floor. He is already showing some early DIY promise as he unscrews the base and pole and then screws them back together again and again and again and again..... The largest of the rings also seem to make a very nice bracelet - and of course they are good for target practice as we take it in turns to try to fling them into the toy box from distance.


          I recommend these as a versatile toy with good education benefits at a bargain price. If you are looking for something that is going to stand the test of time more and be handed down through the family, you would probably be better to invest in a more durable and classic wooden version of this but if it is a cheap stocking filler type toy this is ideal.


          Currently £2 in Asda, but I have seen them on promotion at 3 for £5.


          Recommended - four stars.

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            16.03.2012 15:05
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            Whitelee Windfarm - miles of outdoor trails, a FREE educational exhibition area and a coffee shop.

            Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre is brilliant on several counts:

            * There is lots of outdoor space and loads of fresh air
            * It's both educational and fun
            * It's FREE!!
            * The coffee shop makes a more than adequate hot chocolate

            But rewind....what is it and where is it?

            ***Where?***

            Whitelee Windfarm is situated about 20 minutes from Glasgow on the B764 Moor road that runs from Eaglesham to the M77. You really need your own transport as the nearest bus and train connections are East Kilbride and Eaglesham. Their own website has a good link for giving directions (http://www.whiteleewindfarm.co.uk/about/location) and if you are Sat-Nav reliant, their post code is G76 0QQ.


            ***What's There?***

            Apart from the 140 wind turbines that make it the largest windfarm in Europe, there are 70km of trails, an exhibition room, a small shop and a coffee shop.

            The trails are accessible all year round and the Visitor Centre housing the interactive exhibits, the shop and the coffee shop re-opened on 1st March after being shut over the winter months.

            There are also seasonal bus tours round the wind farm (£3 for adults, £2 for children) with a duration of 45 minutes. We have not done this but I am led to believe that they are both interesting and informative.


            ***The Trails***

            First of all a top tip - don't assume that the weather in Glasgow will necessarily be the same as that which you encounter once you get to Whitelee. East Kilbride and the surrounding area seem to have their very own weather system and this area is at a higher altitude than Glasgow itself. Take extra warm clothing, hats, gloves, scarves etc., if you intend to explore the trails. It's a windfarm - it's pretty exposed and it tends to be WINDY. (A no brainer, really, given that it is a WINDfarm!)

            These are not lovely smooth tarmac paths either - they are a bit on the rough and stony side, so no to flip flops and yes to stout footwear or trainers at a minimum.

            Also on that point, the trails are good for bikes and fine for pushchairs and prams, but a bit on the rough side for scooters and toddler-type trikes. I would advise against bikes/scooters for very young children unless they are extremely proficient on two wheels. Horses are welcome and the area is extremely popular with dog walkers.

            The turbines are MASSIVE up close. And you can indeed get right up close to them. They are all numbered so your walks can be varied to try to "bag" new turbines each time you visit.

            The trails tend to be undulating rather than hilly, but some slopes would possibly be a bit challenging for wheelchair users.


            ***The Visitors Centre***

            The Visitors Centre has a small exhibition area with half a dozen or so hands-on interactive educational activities. Can you select the six turbines and the weather conditions for optimal power production? And find out how much you know about wind power technology with the TV-style quiz show.

            On our most recent visit there was an Arts and Crafts table where children could design and decorate their own cardboard windmills.

            There is an information film showing on one wall and an interesting display of the winners of a recent photography competition - some of the pictures are very innovative and inspiring. (A selection of entries and the winners can be seen here: http://www.whiteleewindfarm.co.uk/about_windfarm/photography_competition?side)

            This area of the visitors centre also houses an Education Hub for visiting school trips etc.

            The visitors centre is run by Glasgow Science Centre and, in my experience, the staff have always been very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic.

            The toilets and baby-changing facilities are clean, spacious and well appointed. They adopt eco-friendly practices where possible including using rainwater collected on the roof for toilet flushing and the energy-efficient Dyson hand-dryers.


            ***Shop***

            This is a small area adjacent to the cafe which sells some scientific and educational toys, resources and books as well as the bog-standard souvenir pens, pencils, postcards and other stationery. Prices are on a par with those normally charged at these sorts of establishments and I have occasionally spotted some unusual and quirky gift ideas.


            ***Coffee Shop***

            Positioned with a panoramic view of the turbines and trails, it's just the place to enjoy a reviving and refreshing snack and drink after a bracing walk out on the moor.

            There are about a dozen tables seating four and a highchair is available.

            It's generally well-staffed and the tables are cleared and cleaned in an efficient manner.

            The fare consists mainly of light snacks, hot and cold drinks, cakes, biscuits and crisps. We tend to stick to hot chocolate (lovely!), tea and fruit shoots but I did spot a very appetising-looking panini and salad on the next table the last time we were there. I can't remember the exact prices but I would say that it is average value for money for this sort of facility.


            ***Other Information***

            Further enhancing the eco-friendly credentials of the place, there is an electric car charging point just outside the front door and there are display boards round the foyer detailing the various energy saving initiatives and techniques that have been adopted in both the design, construction and running of the site. There is ample bike-parking and I believe that there are also showering facilities available.


            ***Our Experience***

            We love going out here at the weekends. Although we are not short of parks and green spaces closer to home in Glasgow itself, this is a convenient place to meet my in-laws who live in Ayrshire. The girls like the open-ness of the trails where they can get a good run on their bikes and our in-laws' dog seems to enjoy the interesting smells and the muddy bogs that are there to be explored.

            I find something quite hypnotic about the windmills themselves and that "swoosh" their enormous blades make as they slice their way through the air.

            Yes, the weather can be a bit on the "fresh" i.e. Baltic side but as my Dad is fond of saying "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!" So layer up and get out and appreciate the freshest of fresh air. (Nothing quite like it for ensuring your children sleep for 12 hours a night...)

            I know windfarms are not welcomed by everyone and that many do consider them to be a blot on the landscape; however I do feel that this facility has done its best to put a positive spin on the issue by opening up the area to the public for recreation. The visitors centre with its free educational attributes is a huge bonus - and they sell great hot chocolate!



            Highly recommended - FIVE stars.




            Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre
            Moor Road (B764)
            Eaglesham
            G76 0QQ
            0141 614 0851

            Open 10am-5pm, 7 days a week, March to November

            Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre is managed on behalf of ScottishPower Renewables by Glasgow Science Centre.

            www.whiteleewindfarm.co.uk

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              08.03.2012 14:19
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              Good first garage with two cars - but will appeal for a limited time only. Four stars.

              This was a gift that Liam received for his first birthday and which he still pretty much plays with on a daily basis.

              It's consists of two roller "cars" and a plastic garage which is really just a zig-zag of ramps. The cars roll and flip down the zig-zag ramps, hit the pressure pad which activates a noise and then roll out the bottom. Repeat over and over and over - forever.....

              It also has a plastic shaped petrol pump on one side which has a rolling cylinder which also produces various sound effects when spun.

              It's a simple concept but one that does seem to captivate Liam and which he does really seem to enjoy playing with. His big sisters will sometimes play with it with him too, although they don't really find it that interesting. They are sophisticated six and a half year olds though!

              Liam loves the noises produced when the cars are rolled down the ramp - there's a "vroom, vroom" car sound, some funky little tunes (which we, naturally, do our own funky wee dances to), "glug, glug" petrol-filling type noises and, of course, tooting-type "beep, beep" sounds. The volume is at an acceptable level, but is not adjustable. There is an "Off" position though (thank goodness.)

              The red and yellow cars, by themselves, are not great as being used as just cars, as they don't really scoot properly across surfaces as they rest on the ball that they have in their centre rather than on their wheels. The wheels are moulded plastic and part of the body of the cars and don't actually revolve anyway. They tend to "skate" across surfaces more than drive and Liam does tend to only use them with the ramps, favouring other vehicles for playing with on the floor.

              The cars, on the whole, do roll and flip down the ramps fairly efficiently, although they do get stuck occasionally. Standard cars are not really compatible with the ramps as they don't really flip over, although they can slide down on their roofs in a Starskey-and-Hutch-esque manner..... Liam does also experiment with sliding down his wooden blocks and other bit and bobs, and I have also clocked him trying to get the cars to slide back UP the ramps on occasions.

              It's a shame really that the petrol pump does not have a hose and nozzle so that the child could pretend to fuel up the car, but it is possible that the introduction of small components would mean that the toy would be deemed unsuitable for younger children. As it is, I can see that this toy will have limited shelf-life and that by the time Liam turns two, we will really need to consider getting him a more sophisticated car and garage-type combo.

              The whole thing is plastic so it is durable, lightweight and easily cleaned with a damp cloth or a couple of baby wipes. I won't recommend immersing it in water due to the battery compartment.

              This has been a good toy for what it is. It can be used by a child who can sit independently, but not necessarily move around too much. It is colourful and the whole thing is good and sturdy. Being Fisher Price, it comes from a well established brand and certainly seems to be of good quality construction. Unlike some "first" garages, it is reasonably compact and only has a small footprint (approximately 11cm x 21cm) and the whole thing is about the size of a showbox.

              Suitable for 6 months and over, currently £16.99 in Argos, £12.00 on Kiddicare.com.

              Requires 2 x AA batteries (supplied)

              Four stars - recommended but it will have appeal for a limited time only.

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                19.02.2012 16:22
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                A decent, colourful, plastic activity toy with added shape sorter fun!

                This was a present that Liam received on his first Christmas last year and which has proved a pretty popular occupant of the tox box.


                This is described as a shape sorter, but for me it is more of an activity toy with a shape sorter as one component as there is so much more going on with it. Visually it is a very appealing toy - it's very colourful and bright, with lots of shapes and textures and it is of a good quality construction.


                It's a vaguely cylindrical toy with a shape sorter on one end and six spindles, each with something for little people to explore. Because of the shape it is designed to be rolled across the floor and is good to encourage crawling babies to move about. It makes plenty of noise too, as the shapes and beads and rings rattle against each other.


                The activities include a mini-rainmaker, spinning paddles, rings on a squiggily stem and a revolving mirror.


                There are lots of different shapes for baby to investigate and the mirror is perfect for peek-a-boo (and ideal for admiring how handsome you are!)


                The shape sorter element consists of four basis shapes - circle, triangle, square and hexagon - and the hatch, which just clicks down into place and is very easily lifted up. This, I feel, is a small flaw in the toy and I would prefer if it was slightly more difficult to open. Liam just "cheats" if he doesn't immediately master the shape sorter and I think he would persist with it for a bit longer if he couldn't just lift the hatch and tidy the shapes away the easy way! However I suppose the upside of this is that he doesn't come running for me to open it for him everytime he wants to get the shapes back out again though.


                The whole thing is made of plastic. I do prefer wooden toys on the whole, but gift horse, mouth etc and, to be fair, plastic toys do tend to be easy to clean and on the robust side generally. This has proved very durable, despite the battering that it receives on an almost daily basis; it has been kicked, chewed, thrown, rolled, chewed, dribbled on and sat on - and it still looks pretty much as it did when new.


                This toy is easily cleaned with a damp cloth or a baby wipe.


                This cost approximately £15 from Amazon last Christmas but seems to be priced at £17 on various websites currently. I consider that this is reasonable value when compared to similar toys.


                Recommended from 12 months up.


                I'm giving this four stars - it keeps Liam busy, it has reasonable educational benefits and it's colourful and robust.

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                02.02.2012 13:53
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                A great ride-on toy - but only recommended if you can get it for less than the full RRP

                **Tow Mater Race 'n' Go Ride-On**

                This was a gift Liam received for his first birthday and which he scoots around the house on at high speed, showing scant regard for pedestrians and a pitiful knowledge of the Highway Code. (He gets that from his Dad.)

                **Design**

                It's a ride-on plastic car which can also be used as a baby-walker. It has rotating gears, a squeaky horn, an ignition key, a seat which lifts up so you can hide stuff (like one of the Mula stacking cups or Mum's car keys) and moving eyes. It also has a tow bar/hook to the rear.

                **Colourways**

                It's a rather dull browny-orange colour but it does have colourful details on the "engine" area and a gawky-looking face at the front with buck teeth. I am not familiar with the Cars film, but a little Google-research shows me that it is pretty true to the original character.

                **Performance**

                This has been a very popular toy with Liam. When he first got it, he could already walk quite competently but he would still push it round the room using the handle at the back of the car. His cornering wasn't great but the radiators, doors and skirting don't seem to have come off too badly from the inevitable collisions.

                He took a wee while to coordinate his movements sufficiently to manage to sit on the seat himself. Initially either his Dad or I, or one of his sisters, who lift him on to the seat - he could "dismount" by falling sideways without any help though!

                Once his balance improved and he could climb into position himself, there was no stopping him! He would jump on and off his vehicle all day long, transporting himself around the house. At first he found scooting backwards easier, but thankfully, he soon mastered going forwards too.

                **Storage and Boot Space**

                The seat lifts to reveal a decent-sized cubby-hole, ideal for concealing and transporting toys, snacks and anything else you want to hide from the rest of the family! This, I feel, adds considerably to the play-value of this toy as there is scope for imaginative play as you pack for your holidays or load up your passengers.

                **Additional Specifications**

                The Tow-Mater, naturally, comes with a tow hook, which requires to be attached to the rear of the vehicle with two small screws (which are supplied, but which were very well concealed in the packaging and had to be salvaged from the bin in our case!) It is a wee bit fiddly to fit and you do need a slim screwdriver.

                Liam hasn't really used the tow hook much to date, but I can envisage a day when I find him dragging all manner of things round the house tied to the hook in a unorthodox manner.

                **Safety**

                This toy is recommended for children aged 12 months+. It is pretty sturdy and stable on its wheels and we haven't had too many accidents with it to date. I did, just today, discover Liam trying to manoeuvre Tow-Mater on to the kitchen bench - I can confirm that poor Tow-Mater bounced on the kitchen floor and suffered no ill effects.

                **Price**

                Tow-Mater can be yours on the road for £39.99 from Amazon just now, although I have seen him in the local supermarkets for considerably less. At full price, this seems pricey to me and I think that you are paying a premium for the Disney branding. That said, it should last Liam for a couple of years at least, if my experiences of the ride-ons that the girls had are anything to go on.

                **Summary**

                Liam loves this and it was a great present. The steering wheel does actually turn the front wheels and the handle on the back means it can double up as a baby walker (or can be used by one child to push another child - under careful supervision!)

                I like the fact that it doesn't need batteries and is reasonably quiet other than the squeaky horn! The face on it is pretty cute in a gawky, goofy way and the storage space under the seat is a great bonus for added play value. The moving eyes are a little understated but the rotating gears make a very satisfying clicking noise.

                **Recommended?**

                I would recommend this but I'm not sure that the £40 price tag can be fully justified. If you were going to get extensive use out of it by handing it down from one sibling to another, or by using it in a nursery/daycare environment, then go for it, otherwise I would shop around and see if you can snag a bargain!

                I'm going to give this four stars; it's a great toy but I'm taking one star off for the high price.

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                  25.01.2012 20:51
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                  Brilliant toy - brilliant price.

                  Stacking cups are one of those versatile toys that every small child should have.


                  This particular version from Ikea is highly recommended for both its design and its excellent value for money.

                  There are seven cups in the this set and they are brightly coloured with a variety of patterns and textures. The smallest cup is red and is dome-shaped which gives the completed tower a lighthouse-like shape.


                  The cups have a lip which, along with their regular circular shape, makes them easier to stack for a smaller child increasing their confidence and encouraging them to continue building. Liam has another set of stacking stars, but he found these trickier when he was younger, and he much preferred the Ikea version.

                  Several of the cups have a single hole in their base and the green cup has a perforated sieve-like base making them ideal for playing with in water too.


                  Because they nest inside each other, they take up very little space and are extremely portable. We have taken these on holiday and I have been known to fling them in my handbag to keep Liam occupied on various outings (and even sitting on the pavement waiting outside the school during the finer weather.)

                  Made of plastic, these are durable and easily cleaned. Hot soapy water does the trick, although baby wipes have sufficed on occasions too.


                  I think these are just brilliant. Liam seems to love them and looks so delighted with himself every time he successfully builds them. He tends to celebrate with a self-congratulatory round of applause.

                  These were a good distraction for Liam when he could sit up independently but not really move about and, because they are made of plastic, they have (so far) failed to cause any damage to property, other people or himself when he has chucked them about the room.


                  The educational possibilities of this toy are numerous - counting, colours, patterns, comparative size, hand to eye coordination, patience and memory. But more importantly building a tower gives a child a real sense of achievement - and knocking it down is great fun!

                  Suitable from six months, these are an ideal stocking filler.


                  Our set was bought for £1.69 in Ikea.

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                    01.07.2011 23:40
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                    Comfortable, Faff-free, Hygienic, Moisturising Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

                    I am an occasional contact lenses wearer. I wear my glasses on a regular basis and my contact lenses when I am going out, if it sunny and I want to wear my sunglasses and for going swimming etc.


                    When I was prescribed contact lenses originally, more than 20 years ago, it was gas permeables that I was lumbered with. All that faffing about with building up your tolerance to them, cleaning fluids, de-proteinising and remembering to remove them - without losing them - after a night out on the lash (excuse the pun) - it was only really worth the hassle if wearing them on a daily basis.


                    So, ten years ago, when my lovely new optician suggested that daily disposables were suitable for my eyes, I experienced liberation of the ocular kind.


                    My current disposable lenses are CibaVision Dailies AquaComfort Plus. I've been wearing them for three or four years now.


                    The lenses come in single blister packs in strips of five, in a saline solution.


                    They have a blue handling tint - these are not designed to change the colour of your eyes but just to make the lenses easier to see! They are very thin - just a bit thicker than cling film, but are strong enough to withstand my clumsiness and cack-handedness in handling them. It is only very rarely that I have torn or damaged one.


                    According to the blurb on the website, these lenses have a 69% water content, "triple action moisturising agents" and "blink activated moisture release" properties. I don't know about all that, but I do know that I can wear them for 16+ hours in total comfort. I have been known to forget I am wearing my lenses and automatically push my glasses up my nose - which does look a bit daft when you're not actually wearing said specs!


                    (Pssst, don't tell my optician but I have fallen asleep wearing these and they still felt comfortable next morning!)


                    In the years I have been wearing them, I have only experienced discomfort on a couple of occasions. This has transpired to be operator error rather than product malfunction, however, as it transpired I had torn the lens while inserting it.


                    Vision-wise, they are superb. I find them equally effective during daylight and at night - even while driving. I use the laptop for hours at a time sometimes, generally in the evenings, and find that my eyes do not fatigue any quicker wearing my lenses than they do with my glasses. I don't work regularly in an air-conditioned environment so I can't comment on their effectiveness under those conditions.


                    My prescription is -3.00 and -1.75 but these lenses are available in +0.50 to 6.00 and -0.50 to -6.00 in 0.25 steps and from -6.50 to -10.00 in 0.50 steps.


                    Cost-wise, these are expensive if you are wearing them every day. I pay £23 for 30 pairs and £6.80 per month for my contact lens care contract. A spot of Googling has revealed that they can be purchased cheaper on the internet - in some cases under £50 for 90 pairs. Even so, you are still looking at approximately £200 a year.


                    While travelling they are brilliant as I just bung the required number of blisters (and a couple of spares) in my wash bag, and I am good to go. And I can go several weeks without wearing them and there is no having to "break in" my eyes again.


                    For me, the cost is completely justified by the convenience and comfort that they give me. Ciba Vision Dailies AquaComfort Plus lenses are the ultimate in comfortable, faff-free, hygienic lens wearing as far as I am concerned.


                    Five stars from me.


                    All technical information, features and benefits about these lenses can be found on http://www.cibavision.co.uk/eye-care-professionals/dailies/dailies-aquacomfort -plus.shtml

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                      26.05.2011 23:16
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                      A Great Day Out with Fun and Farm Animals near Perth

                      Active Kids Adventure Park, just outside Perth, is a great day out with lots to keep your children occupied and entertained. We popped in for lunch and ended up staying for over four hours - and we would have stayed for longer if we hadn't had to get home to Glasgow.

                      It's at Stanley, north of Perth, on a working farm and is well signposted off the A9.


                      **So What's There?**

                      There's a large outdoor play area, farm animals, a smaller indoor soft play area for under sevens, a toy shop, a coffee shop and an outdoor play equipment shop. There is also a facility for hosting birthday parties.


                      **The Coffee Shop**

                      We had lunch as soon as we arrived. The coffee shop was very busy (it was a Saturday during the Easter holidays) and there were plenty of staff in attendance clearing tables, tidying up, serving at the counter and preparing the food. It is a self-service type set up but any food that has to be prepared is brought over to the table for you.

                      The staff were friendly and obliging - asking if we wanted our coffee at the same time as our soup, or would we rather they were brought over once we had eaten, for example.

                      There are loads of high chairs and the toilets and baby change areas are conveniently placed, clean, tidy and well equipped.

                      We had sandwiches, delicious homemade soup, cakes and coffee. It was very good and reasonably priced. I note from their brochure that they have won a Healthy Eating Award.


                      **The Outdoor Play Area**

                      At first glance I thought the adventure park was expensive. It cost us £21 for a family of two adults and two children (Liam was free, as are all those under two years old.) However we could have spent all day here. There was loads for the girls to do and we were lucky that it was a sunny and dry day. It obviously wouldn't be quite so much fun if the weather was rotten.

                      Once in the adventure park all the activities are free. There are no coin operated rides or other sneaky ways of trying to fleece you for a few extra quid. Your hand is stamped once you pay and that is it. You are free to go in and out all day and all the activities inside the park are free.

                      There are two of those giant "jelly belly" bouncy inflatables - one is restricted to those under seven years of age, but one is for everyone, mums and dads too!

                      There are pedal-operated go-karts and a nifty wee track complete with a viewing bridge. I felt like I had had a proper work out after pedalling round a couple of times with our daughters on the back of the kart shouting "Faster, Mum!" There are smaller go-karts and a smaller track for younger children too.

                      There are ground level trampolines and sand pits complete with mechanical diggers.

                      We had a great game of hide and seek in the big Wild West-style wooden fort which has numerous steps, walkways and climbing nets. Great for all wannabe cowgirls!

                      And, I confess, I couldn't resist a shot (or six) on the Astro Slide. I really am a big kid at heart still....

                      And then it was my turn to supervise our number three child while Dad played a couple of games of Crazy Golf with number one and number two. What they lacked in skill, they made up for in enthusiasm and it was one of their favourite activities of the day.

                      Dotted round all the larger activities are swings, climbing frames, a zip wire, football and rugby posts, target football and seesaws, as well as plenty of picnic tables and a large covered wooden tent area.

                      Everywhere was clean, litter free and there were staff in attendance. All the equipment seemed to be well maintained and operational. There are clean and well equipped toilets and baby change facilities within the adventure park. Children MUST be supervised in the adventure park. There was a birthday party group there when we visited and all the children were identifiable by the hi-viz waistcoats that they were wearing.


                      **Farm Animals**

                      To one end of the Adventure Park are the farm animals. There are ponies, pigs, hens, donkeys, Highland Cattle, ducks, geese, llamas, a Jacob sheep with her lambs and the cutest pygmy goats I have EVER seen. There are information cards on the fences with details of the animals and their names and there are hand-washing facilities by this area. The animals all seemed to be well looked after and healthy and had good sized enclosures, shelters and plenty of grass beneath their trotters. We spent quite a lot of time in this area.


                      **Indoor Play Area**

                      We didn't use this area but we could see it from our vantage point in the coffee shop. Although it is restricted to under sevens, to my mind it did look like it was more geared to pre-schoolers. It is right by the coffee area with a safety gate so you could happily supervise your child while enjoying your tea and scone in the elevated café. Priced at £3 per child, it would be a good option on a wet day, or if you wanted to catch up with friends over coffee and lunch while the little ones occupied themselves for a while.


                      **Toy Shop**

                      This is under the same roof as the coffee shop too. Again, we didn't really spend much time here (the sun was shining - a novelty! So we were outside making the most of it!) but from what I could see there was a great range of toys for all wallet sizes. There were smaller "pocket-money" toys as well as the top of the range quality toys. I did spot some brilliant scale model tractors and other agriculture vehicles which I may have to investigate when Liam gets a bit older....

                      The toy shop, as well as the coffee shop, can be used by all without using the adventure park.


                      **Outdoor Play Equipment Shop**

                      Adjacent to the adventure park is a display of outdoor play equipment by TP and Berg which can be "test-driven" before being purchased. They offer a delivery and installation service. Again, this wasn't something we used although we did see the display of equipment for sale.


                      **Would We Go Back?**

                      Absolutely - yes! Although £21 seemed expensive at first, this gives hours of entertainment and is great value when you consider it would cost us more than that to go to the cinema for 90 minutes. I would maybe take a picnic next time and just buy ice creams from the coffee shop, which would make it a more economical trip.

                      Liam loved the swings and the farm animals, and because the grass was litter-free and clean, I was happy to let him crawl around and have a wee explore to himself. Zoë and Amy had great fun playing crazy golf and would have spent all day on the astro slide and the jelly bellies. I quite enjoyed releasing my inner child on the astro slide too!


                      **The Facts and Figures**

                      Active Kids Adventure Park, Burnside Farm, Stanley, Perthshire, PH1 4QB
                      01738 827286
                      www.activekidsadventurepark.co.uk

                      Open daily from Mid March to Christmas
                      Outdoor Adventure Park open this year from 1st April to end of October
                      2011 opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 11am - 5pm

                      Adventure Park: £6.75 per child, £4.50 per adult, £21 per family, under 2s free
                      Indoor Soft Play: £3 per child (under sevens only)
                      Adventure Park & 1 hour Snack & Play: £7.75 per child, £4.50 per adult
                      Annual Pass Valid for 1 year - All Areas £65 per child, Adventure Park only £45 per child, £30 per adult, Indoor Soft Play Only £45 per child


                      **Summary**

                      I think this is a great place for a day out. There is plenty to do, it is in a safe environment, it is clean with hygienic toilet and washing facilities and there is lots of fresh air and fun to be had. Obviously, like all outdoor places of its type, it is weather dependent, but if the sun is out (or it's not raining at least), and you are in the area, I recommend it highly.

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                        29.03.2011 22:35
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                        Disappointing Grill Cleaner. Lacks Punch. More Chump than Champ.

                        Let's Get Ready to GRUMBLE!!!


                        We use our Foreman Grill regularly and usually cleaning it consists of a quick wipe down with some kitchen roll while the grill is still warm, particularly if it has just been used for a wee toasted sandwich or the like.


                        Recently, however, cleaning it has become slightly more challenging as it is beginning to lose some of its non-stickness and OH has, on occasions, used it first thing in the morning, before heading off to work, leaving me to find burnt on black pudding and sausage when returning from the school walk. Hardly grounds for divorce, but annoying all the same.


                        My Mum-in-law, always one for kitchen gadgets, gimmicks and widgets, bought us a box of these specially designed George Foreman Grill Cleaners. They are available from Amazon for £2.99 for a box of three but I think she bought ours in Boyes in Northallerton for considerably less.


                        Coming in a box of three, these sponge and scourer combos are handily ridged in a similar manner to the grill itself, ideal for cleaning the hills and glens of your fat-reducing appliance. Or are they?


                        A little bigger than a normal-sized scourer and approximately twice as deep, this two-sided cleaning sponge is quite funky to look at, being bright blue and black.


                        The blue sponge part is reasonably substantial and does seem to clean quite effectively on non-burnt-on grease and "soft" bit of food.


                        The black scourer part is less harsh than a brillo pad, and made of a kind of polyester "wool". Yes, it won't scratch, mark or damage your grill but only because it will disintegrate immediate you exert any kind of pressure while using it to actually clean. It unravels, it collapses and it almost seems to dissolve on contact, leaving you with a very insubstantial blue ridged cleaning sponge which is next to useless on its own.


                        In short, this product is rubbish. The majority of the black scourer will end up in bits on your grill or rinsed away into your sink following one use. It's a great concept with the ridges echoing those of the grill, but sadly the reality is of a product with a complete lack of durability which ends up in the bin after one use.


                        In the interests of a balanced review, I also asked Mr Carcraig for his opinion on these cleaning sponges. "Totally rubbish, a complete waste of time" was his considered response.


                        From now on, we'll be sticking to standard cleaning sponges and damp kitchen roll (and cleaning the grill immediately after use!!) and I would recommend you do the same.


                        I hate to slate a product, but I really can't award it any more than two stars.

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                        • Tesco Breadmaker / Bread Maker / 172 Readings / 166 Ratings
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                          13.03.2011 22:21
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                          My bargain breadmaker is exactly what I knead

                          When our trusty Morphy Richards breadmaker gave up the ghost last December, I was loathe to spend too much on a new one, particularly at that most financially-challenging time of year. Sadly no-one seemed to be having a clear-out of their kitchen cupboards in our area and a Freecycle "Wanted" appeal fell on deaf ears, so a purchase was necessitated. My husband did offer to buy me one for Christmas - but one stern look from me reminded him that kitchen appliances of that sort are not acceptable gift options...


                          Amazon was, as always, my first thought, but while doing the grocery shopping in our local mega-Tesco (or whatever they call those stores the size of a small village), I spotted the Tesco BMS10 Breadmaker for a mere £35.


                          Now this is not one of your all-singing, all-dancing, bells, whistles and flags breadmakers, but then, I'm not one of those kinds of cooks so this fitted the bill perfectly. As did the relatively small price tag.


                          This particular breadmaker is of the oval-ish shaped variety and has a relatively small footprint - ideal for not hogging too much precious worktop space in your kitchen or utility room. The approximate measurements are 35cm deep, 28cm wide and 30cm high. It comes with a pretty stingy 70cm flex which might be an issue depending on your socket placement. It does have a handy handle for toting it about if you wish to store it away and only bring it out for occasional use. It's predominantly black and silver and looks pretty smart in the kitchen, to my mind.


                          The operation of this appliance is pretty much idiot-proof. Measure in your ingredients; fluid first, dry ingredients and yeast last, select your programme, loaf size and crust colour, adjust the time if required and you are good to go.


                          This breadmaker has a choice of 12 programmes. I won't pretend to have used them all but I have extensively used the basic, wholemeal and dough programmes as well as dabbling with the quick option. Also available are French, Sweet, Jam, Cake, Sandwich, Ultra-Fast I, Ultra-Fast II and Bake.


                          There are two loaf size options - 900 grams and 700 grams, and three Crust Colours to choose from - medium, light and dark. The machine defaults to the basic programme, large loaf with a medium crust when switched on.


                          The delay timer can be used to delay the start of the machine by up to twelve hours. Perfect for waking up to the glorious aroma of fresh bread in the morning!


                          This machine does not have a fancy application for adding ingredients (such as dried fruit or chopped nuts) half way through the kneading process automatically; however the machine does give a series of beeps during the relevant programmes to indicate when this can be done manually.


                          The breadmaker comes with a measuring cup, double-ended measuring spoon and an instruction and recipe leaflet.


                          ***My Experience***

                          I have found this breadmaker extremely reliable. It consistently produces excellent loaves; well risen, evenly baked, very tasty and with good colour.


                          The timer is a boon for me as I can assemble the ingredients in the early evening and we can wake to fresh bread in the morning. I also use it in the mornings to bake a batch of dough to be ready in the afternoon for making either pizza bases or naan bread.


                          Although the spare room is in close proximity to our kitchen, no-one staying overnight has complained of their sleep being disturbed by the breadmaker kicking into action in the early hours. It is obviously not completely silent, particularly during the kneading stage, but it is certainly not unduly noisy either.


                          After more than a year of use, the pan and paddle have not lost any of their non-stick-ness. I obviously take care not to use any abrasive cleaners on them, but they still show no signs of wear.


                          The instruction booklet is comprehensive without being excessively detailed. The recipe booklets may be a bit restrictive for some but I supplement with the recipe booklet from my previous breadmaker as well as with recipes gleaned from books, friends and other sources.


                          I find it easy to clean (always a bonus to my mind!) The paddle and pan just need a dunk in some hot, soapy water, a wee swoosh round with a sponge and a rinse in clean water. The machine itself gets a sporadic wipe over with a clean damp cloth.


                          There is a clear glass panel in the lid so that you can, if so inclined, observe your bread or dough as it is baked. My machine tends to be shoved away in a corner of the worktop while working its magic so I don't tend to sit and watch it work, but it is handy to have a wee peek just to reassure yourself that all is well with your creation.


                          I use the breadmaker mainly to make loaves - white, wholemeal and seed and grain - rolls (we like to make them in all different shapes and sizes), pizza bases and naan bread.


                          I like the fact that my children are eating fresh bread with no additives or preservative and I (and they) know exactly what is in the bread we are eating. Liam is already chewing on the pizza edges and is quite partial to a piece of naan bread given the chance.


                          The loaves have the inevitable wee hole in the base from the paddle, but this is not unique to this particular breadmaker and is merely cosmetic.


                          It's true that the bread doesn't keep fresh as long as shop-bought loaves, but it doesn't normally last that long in our house anyway. Batches of rolls freeze well and, when popped in the oven to warm for a few minutes after defrosting, taste almost as good as fresh made.


                          When I make pizza bases, I freeze half the batch, thus making dinner for two nights in one fell swoop. Likewise, I make a double batch of naan bread dough each time and I find I can either freeze the dough split into individual portion sizes or I can grill the dough to make the naans and THEN freeze.


                          Both the pizza bases and naan breads work out extremely cost effective and are very popular in our household. Our girls have been known to request fish fingers and naan bread when asked what they fancy for dinner of an evening.


                          In conclusion, I have been very pleased with my bargain breadmaker. It is used at least three or four times a week, sometimes more. It might not be the fanciest of models but it fits the bill perfectly for our household needs, at a great price.


                          Currently available from Tesco Direct for £39.97 (http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.208-4218.aspx) - I would also recommend checking in your local Tesco-gigantic and you might snag a bargain as I did.


                          For great performance and a fantastic price, I am going to give it five stars and recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone looking for a bargain breadmaker for all basic baking needs. Or should that be "kneads"?

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                            08.02.2011 14:46
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                            Durable boots that will last me for years, comfortable and good value for money.

                            I rack up a fair number of miles each week, walking to and from the school with the girls, as well as to the local shops, parks, supermarket and Post Office with Liam in his pushchair. During the summer months I tend to wear trainers or walking sandals but as the autumn months started to approach, I felt needed something a bit sturdier and warmer.

                            Now I have a bit of a tartan fetish. I think I may have been a bit of a repressed punk in my early years (I desperately wanted a pair of those tartan trousers with all the zips, but my Mum said no) or it might be just because I am exiled Highlander living in the Central Belt.

                            So when I stumbled across the Dr. Marten Red McTartan 1460W boots while browsing the internet, I could see them fitting the bill perfectly and I had to have them.


                            *** FEATURES/DESCRIPTION ***

                            The 1460W come with the classic AirWear Bouncing Soles. They are ankle-high with eight eyelet lacing and the trademark yellow stitching round the base of the boot. Mine are red tartan patent. The "W" signifies that these are women's boots.


                            *** FIT ***

                            These fit me perfectly in my normal shoe size (7), with enough room to accommodate thicker socks if required, but snug enough that I can wear normal sports socks also. There is obviously some scope for adjustment with the laces. I do own the 1460W which are specifically women's boots, and in my previous experience with unisex boots, I often have to go down a size as they tend to be slightly roomier, wider in particular. They have strong fabric loops at the back of the ankles to help pull the boots on to your feet. I don't tend to use the top eyelet when I lace my boots, but that is just a personal thing.


                            *** COMFORT ***

                            I fully expected to have to break these in; to limp around with blistered ankles and generally suffer to get used to these boots, but I am delighted to report that from day one they were a joy to wear and my tootsie suffered not a jot of discomfort in the least. Only on one occasion were they less that slipper-comfy and that was when I had over zealously tightened the laces so that the tops of my feet were a tad squashed.


                            *** WEATHERPROOFING ***

                            I have yet to get damp feet wearing these. Now bearing in mind the weather we have had to endure this winter, this has been a revelation. Completely rain-proof, my feet have been fully protected against the elements. I reluctantly switched to my wellies when the snow exceeded ankle-depth, but this was to keep the hems of my jeans dry as much as anything.


                            *** GRIP ***

                            These have excellent soles on them. I found my footing far surer when I was wearing these in the icy conditions that when I was forced into wearing my wellies. Watch when you have been in the mud though, as they do tend to retain dirt and small stones. The driver's footwell of my car is full of that red grit from the roads this winter...


                            *** WARMTH ***

                            Toastie. Even when there has been ice under foot and the other folks waiting outside the school for their offspring have been stamping their feet to keep warm, I have been quietly smug as my toes have been as snug as the proverbial bug in a rug. On very cold days I have used thermal socks, but even with standard socks, I have been impressed with the insulating properties of my boots.


                            *** WEAR AND TEAR ***

                            I have worn mine on an almost daily basis since I bought them in October. They have been worn in all weathers, through mud, fields, parks and on heavily salted pavements (God bless Glasgow City Council gritters!) The soles show no wear whatsoever, and a quick wipe with a damp cloth or a baby wipe and the uppers are as good as new too. The patent leather shows no sign of cracking or creasing. I fully anticipate getting many years of wear out of these (probably until my kids deem me too old to be wearing tartan Doc Martens!)


                            *** WHERE DID I GET THEM? ***

                            I bought my boots online from Jamesandjames.com for £58.95 (including P&P). They don't seem to have the tartan boots currently but do have a good selection of different colours and designs. Dr Martens are available extensively on the High Street as well as many online retailers. The tartan ones do seem to be harder to track down at the moment, however.


                            *** SUMMARY ***

                            These are my favourite boots. I love them! Comfortable, practical, eye-catching and stylish (to my mind anyway!), I wear them almost daily. I normally wear them with my jeans, but on occasions with black leggings and a wee denim skirt. I anticipate getting many years of wear from them and getting my full money's worth from my purchase.


                            Recommended. Five stars.

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                              14.01.2011 22:40
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                              An excellent first book for baby that will remain a favourite well into toddler-hood!

                              Pet's Tails is a soft, cloth book that Liam was given when he was born. It is from Jellycat, a British company specialising in luxury soft toys. Founded in London in 1999, their products are sold both online and through various retailers. I believe that Liam's book was purchased in John Lewis in Glasgow.


                              The book consists of a front and back cover depicting all the animals featured and four double pages, each with two pets. For each animal there is a short sentence mentioning the name of the animal and describing their tail e.g. "I love my mouse - his tail is long and squirmy" or "I love my bunny with his wobbly bobbly tail." The front cover contains a wee "press me" feature giving the sound of a dog barking. The front and back covers both produce a crinkly noise when handled too.


                              The front cover measures 12cm x 21cm (4½" x 8½") and it has a small Velcro loop for attaching to pushchairs and the like.


                              As the name suggests, the book features various pets with the tails of the animals on the sides of the book in a good variety of textures, shapes and colours. There is an imaginative diversity of fabrics and materials to stimulate the "reader".


                              Liam is particularly fond of chewing the fluffy blue parrot's tail but prefers to be tickled by the fluffy bunny bobble tail. And he loves the fact that he can make the crinkly noise all by himself just by crumpling the outer pages with his chubby wee fingers!


                              The text is simple, short and bold. Liam's big sisters like to have a go at reading it to him (and because there is no "story" as such, they can just make up what they aren't able to actually read yet.)


                              There is plenty of scope for discussion about colours, animals, shapes and textures for toddlers and, as you would expect with a book like this, it is all highly tactile and the noises of the crinkly pages and the dog barking just add to the experience.


                              The communal picture of all the animals on the covers gives an opportunity for recognition and identification games e.g. "Where's the budgie?", "Can you see the fish?" etc.


                              Although the animals tend to be staggered on the pages so that the tails are at various heights on the page, the bunny does appear to have a long blue fluffy tail, as well as the traditional white bobble tail - which I find slightly amusing (and a little disconcerting.)


                              Jellycat recommend surface washing and drying with a hairdryer for their products, although I had to glean this information from a website as the labels on the product do not contain washing instructions.


                              This book is suitable from birth.


                              Like Liam, this book is almost exactly 6 months old, and it is still in excellent condition. It has been chewed and gnawed, toted about in the pushchair, the car seat and in the change bag and still looks great.


                              The only downside; I do find myself fretting about the positioning of that apostrophe...I'm sure it's right but for some reason it just looks wrong... That aside I love this book and more importantly, so does Liam.


                              It is so important to get children interested in books at an early age (even if they do want to chew them) and I feel this is an excellent and very welcome gift for any new baby. I imagine it would also be a valuable resource if working with children with learning needs due to the tactile nature of the materials used.


                              I predict this book will remain a favourite with Liam for quite some time.


                              Recommended - five stars!



                              Other information:
                              Available from various online retailers including www.justjellycat.co.uk for £8.75, www.trustytoys.co.uk for £9.99 and www.mailorderexpress.com for £8.50
                              Made in China
                              Made from Polyester Fibres and Cellophane

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                                28.11.2010 12:43
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                                A tasty offering but could be so much better....

                                One Saturday we decided we fancied a wee aromatic duck and pancakes while driving back from a wet and very muddy walk in one of Glasgow's many parks. One of the girls had fallen asleep in the back of the car, so I said I would run into Tesco while Hubby sat in the car, listening to the football and chatting to daughter #2.

                                Trying to get and out of Tesco as quickly and unobtrusively as possible with my muddy wellies (not even Hunter's I'm afraid, but Matalan zebra-striped) and my wet and windswept hair, I probably rushed my purchasing decision and, for that, I only have myself to blame.

                                I saw "aromatic duck", "pancakes" and "hoisin sauce" and thought "That'll fit the bill" (if you'll pardon the pun...)


                                WHAT IS IT?
                                Part of the Tesco Takeaway Range, sold in a brown Chinesey-design cardboard box and found in the chiller cabinet.
                                The box contains a plastic tray with a film lid containing shredded aromatic duck, a cellophane bag with shredded spring onions, a plastic pouch of hoisin sauce and 12 cellophane wrapped pancakes.


                                HEATING
                                Duck in oven for 16-18 minutes or microwave for 1½ - 2 minutes
                                Pancakes can be heated in microwave or can be steamed
                                The packaging actually recommends the microwave for best results, but I don't really like cooking anything (other than my porridge) in this way, so I opted to use the oven.


                                AROMATIC??
                                I'll be honest - I wasn't knocked sideways by overwhelming, gorgeous aromas emanating from the Rangemaster...but it did smell appetising after the allocated cooking time.


                                THE FIRST TASTE IS WITH THE EYE...
                                The duck looked grey/brown and was shredded quite finely. The spring onions were bright green and fairly fresh looking, the hoisin sauce thick and glossy and the pancakes looked, well like these kind of pancakes usually look - pale yellow and virtually translucent.


                                EATING
                                My previous experience with supermarket duck and pancakes has been the half duck from Asda which comes on the bone and requires to be cooked for 30-40 minutes. Because this particular offering from Tesco is already shredded (and this is the vital piece of information my brain failed to register as I made my hasty purchase), you don't get those tasty, crispy, fatty bits that are usually so delicious in aromatic duck. The meat in this case was slightly bland and lacking in the variation in textures that I normally enjoy so much. Disappointment No.1.

                                In my opinion, there also a total disproportionate comparative quantity of the ingredients - too many pancakes, not enough duck and a tiny portion of spring onions. Disappointment No.2.
                                Realistically there was probably enough spring onion for 4-6 pancakes and enough duck for about 8 pancakes. Half the fun is rolling up your pancakes and trying to eat them without the contents falling back on to your plate. In my book, you are not supposed to fill them with a tiny quantity of duck so that you can roll them up to the size of a small cigar. (or is that just me..?)

                                The hoisin sauce was good though and there was enough of that to go round - hurrah!

                                SUMMARY

                                Tasty enough, but Tesco should address the disparity in the quantity of duck and pancakes. Next time, I'll go the extra mile (quite literally) and return to Asda! I'll give it 2½ stars, rounded up to 3 as the hoisin sauce was delicious and it is reasonable value for money. And I suppose because you are just getting duck meat without the skin or fat, this is probably a lower-calorie version.

                                OTHER INFORMATION

                                Price £4.19 for 410 grams
                                Contains Duck (44%), Pancakes (27%), Hoisin Sauce (20%), Spring Onions (5%), Soy Sauce, Szechuan Pepper, Ginger, Salt, Star Anise, Cinnamon Powder, Clove Powder.
                                Contains sesame seeds, wheat, gluten, soya
                                No nuts but not guaranteed to be nut free
                                May contain bones
                                100g contains 225kcal, 7.6g fat
                                No artificial preservative, flavours, colours or hydrogenated fat


                                (This review has been previously posted by me on Ciao under the same username. If the title means nothing to you, ask your Mum (and congratulate yourself for being too young to remember the legend that was DLT....))

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