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We have just returned from an amazing trip to Copenhagen. One of my husbands 'must dos' was to visit the Carlsberg Brewery.
The brewery is easy to find from Central Copenhagen, we took a normal bus however Carlsberg have a free shuttle bus running every hour from the heart of the city. It is about a ten minute ride from the centre of town.
As you walk through the giant iron gates onto the cobbled pavement of the brewery's courtyard, the place just feels full of history and even my 11 year old son commented on how he could imagine the people working there in the old days.
Tickets cost DKK 85 for adults which is about £9 and this includes two tokens which can be exchanged for beers or soft drinks. Children aged 6-17 cost DKK 60 and include two soft drinks. Children under six are free.
We got in free with our Copenhagen card which are fabulous value for money.
You are given a map and then set off on your own self guided tour, the signs and information are in both Danish and English.
Based on my 16 year old daughters perceptions of the brand through it's advertising, she was expecting the whole place to be sleek and modern with a sci fi feel, you can imagine her face as we trundled through a rickity old musty building where they used to make the beer, The Jacobsen brewery. In this building you can taste the original Carlsberg recipe, it is a really strong dark beer. You can also learn the history of the brand and view the largest collection of beer bottles in the world.
As you move through the building you can see old machinery and there are videos comparing the brewing process from the 1940's to present day.
You then arrive at some beautiful gardens with their own mini 'little mermaid', there are plenty of benches to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
When you are ready you head towards the stables, and can see the old vans and carts.
The final part of the 'tour' is a large bar upstairs, where there is astro turf, football tables and oversized bean bags, much more what my daughter had in mind. This bar offers a much wider selection of beers.
From here you can see a very limited area of production, where they were bottling and labeling the beer. It was really interesting to see, I wish we could have seen a bit more of this kind of thing.
There is also a bar outside which serves food, such as burgers and sandwiches which were pretty reasonably priced.
There is the shop, where you can buy everything Carlsberg, from Pens to Pjs. You can also book extra activities such as guided tours, tasting and carriage rides if you wish.
Husband was like a kid in a sweet shop, for the rest of us it was nice but probably not the best thing to do in Copenhagen.
I bought this backpack as my 14 year old daughters school bag in August ready for the new school year ahead. She picked it out and I agreed it would be a practical bag and much better than some of the 'handbags' she was looking at. Unfortunately she came home from her first day at school with a letter saying it was unsuitable due to the brown trimmings and brand logo. I knew her bag had to be blue, I never imagined the trimming would be a problem. Anyway I bought her a different bag and adopted this one for myself, here is what I think of it.
The main colour of the bag is a deep navy blue, the straps, handle and piping are a tan colour in a fake leather material.
The bag is made of a canvas material, it is not that rough rigid canvas it is much more softer. There is a large front pocket which would be great for school planners or I tend to use it for my essentials, phone, keys and purse. This section has a magnetic press stud and is also secured by a strap that comes from the top of the bag. The main bag has a drawstring closure which I really like and keeps things from falling out, it is also doubly secured by the main strap.
It is a nice size about 35 CM deep and 40 CM wide, it is perfect for my gym clothes or if I am just nipping into town.
The straps are adjustable so you can have the bag sitting comfortably. I like them quite tight and secure but it seems the kids like them half hanging down their backs. Whatever your preference you can adjust it to fit.
It has a small metal Bench logo on the top of the bag which is sitting on a small brown rectangle.
The bag still looks as good as new which is great because it gets regular use, at least four times a week is squished into lockers and carries my shopping home. I have washed it once after a fruit picking trip, it was a bit muddy. It can go in the washing machine at 30 degrees or less. I was pleased that the bag retained it's shape and the leather look material was not at all damaged.
I bought this bag in House of Fraser for £20 which was in the sale the normal price was £35, it was also available in a nice coral colour. I think at the price I paid it is good value. It would make a good school bag, in fact it is probably more suited to teens and young adults but hey ho I am young at heart and don't feel uncomfortable using it.
I had seen this banana bag in Lakeland on previous shopping trips and had nearly bought it several times but I thought it was likely to be a bit of a gimmick and the £5.99 could probably be put to better use. However after throwing away yet another bunch of mushy brown spotted bananas I decided I would give it a try.
The bag is a bright yellow and slightly larger than an A4 piece of paper with a white draw string closure at the top.
It is so simple to use, you simply put your bananas in the bag and keep it in the fridge. The bag provides the right amount of light and ventilation to keep your bananas fresher for longer.
IT WORKS !!!!
I was actually a little bit surprised that it actually worked, I had bought a bowl of bananas from my local market, these usually only last two to three days at the most so I didn't hold out much hope.
When I took them out of the bag the skins looked a little bit weird and green and it was initially disappointing, as I thought it hadn't worked but once peeled they were firm and creamy and delicious as if I had just bought them. They lasted for about seven days, however if I buy the bananas from the supermarket they last about 10-11 days in the bag. It is like magic.
I have had the bag for about six months now and it has easily recouped the money it cost as I now only need to buy bananas once a week or less often instead of three times a week.
The only problem I have found is that the skins can mark the inside of the bag and it doesn't wash off easily. The bag is wipe clean only although I might risk putting it in the washing machine as it is getting a bit grubby, although it still works perfectly.
You can buy this bag from Lakeland stores or online. It costs £5.99. I think it is worth every single penny.
I have been a juice convert for about two years now, my friend was throwing away her juicer as she never used it, so I thought I would rescue it from the tip and give it a go. I loved it and have been juicing ever since. Sadly the rescued juicer gave up just before Christmas and so with some Christmas money I treated myself to this Cuisinart one. Here is what I think of it......
The look - Well I think this is the Johnny Depp of juicers, it is sleek with a stainless steel finish. It looks good on the worktop, which is by the way one of my golden rules of juicing - keep it on the worktop. As soon as it goes in the cupboard it will become a chore to lug it in and out and you will stop juicing.
Whilst the machine is a bit of a chunkster, it doesn't take up to much room which is absolutely essential in my teeny tiny kitchen. It just sits neatly in the corner waiting for me to use it.
The machine comes with three main sections.
The body - this is where all the action happens, it has a 850 watt motor set in a die cast stainless steel casing. It has a stainless steel mesh disk which the motor spins at speed to separate the juice from the pulp. The juice is pushed one way and the pulp the other.
It comes with a large wide spout of 3"diameter this means that you won't have to chop your vegetables and fruit before hand. It can take the biggest of apples, pears, beetroot, oranges etc. The only things you will need to chop would be things like grapefruit, melon or cauliflower. It comes with a pusher to push the food down the tube onto the spinning disk (sorry for my lack of technical words).
The machine has a five speed setting which is just a dial on the front. For most hard veg and fruit I have it on four or five, I only turn it down for soft fruit like berries and tomatoes.
At one end of the machine is a little spout, this is where the juice pours out from. An amazing feature of this spout is that it can turn on and off, so you can stop the flow and no drips will splash on the worktop. The lid is see through plastic so you can see the fruit and veg turning into juice right before your eyes. It clips into place with a pull down lever that locks and unlocks it.
The Jug - a one litre little jug that fits perfectly under the spout, it has a lid that manages the foam and also avoid spillages when pouring. It is made of clear durable plastic with a grey lid. It also has a lovely big handle which makes it easy to grip and even big man hands can handle it with ease.
The pulp container - this is made of black plastic, it can hold up to two litres of pulp. I would highly recommend placing a food bag into the pulp container before juicing, this makes it so much easier when cleaning the machine (more on this in a minute). Some people I know use the pulp to add to cake mixture or soups and stews however I have never tried this and just put mine in the compost bin.
Using the machine - This is so easy you would be hard pushed to go wrong. All the three sections slot in together. The machine lid clips into place with the lever, if this is not locked the machine will not work which is a fabulous safety feature.
You simply push your fruit and veg through the chute, the machine will work it's magic and delicious juice will pour out from the spout, the rest of the pulp will go into the pulp container.
The machine is about ten times quieter than my old juicer which sounded like an air raid siren, having said that it is not that quiet and can still be heard in other rooms of the house. However you only need it on for a few seconds so it doesn't really matter.
I find the juice in this machine is also far superior than my other juicer, the flavors are more intense, the juice is thicker and the pulp is so much dryer. This shows that it is extracting far more juice out of the fruit and veg than my other one.
Cleaning the machine - This is what puts a lot of people off juicing, I am always trying to make people buy juicers and this is what they always say "but it's awful to clean", " I haven't got time to spend ages cleaning". Well for those of you with a dishwasher all the removable bits so the jug, pulp container, mesh disk, lid and pushing tube can be put through the dishwasher, the main unit doesn't get that dirty anyway and just needs a wipe over. For those of you who do not own a dishwasher like me I find this really simple and easy to clean. My top tip along with the bag in the pulp container would be wash it as soon as you have finished juicing, run it under the tap and all the debris will just fall off, if you leave it then it will stick to it and this is when it is a chore to clean. The trickiest part to clean is the mesh as the pulp gets ground into it, the juicer comes with a little scrubbing brush to combat this, again run it under the hot tap and give it a scrub and the pulp will easily fall off. Yes it does take a few minutes to clean, but I whole heartily say it is worth every second of cleaning time to be able to have the delicious fresh incredibly healthy juice to drink.
Few words on juicing and how it has helped me - Juicing I would go as far as cliche 'has changed my life' ! Since juicing I have reaped so many benefits, firstly I have lost over three stone in weight, this is not by going on a juice diet but I have a juice in the morning as my breakfast and then the rest of the day normal food, I was pre diabetic and had high cholesterol - I am 32 !! I had a blood test in May and both were within normal range. My energy levels are absolutely through the roof I feel energetic and grab life with both hands. My skin is better although that is partly due to my Elemis cream. I just feel alive.
I mainly juice vegetables but really whatever I have in the fridge. This morning I had broccoli, cucumber, celery, apple, spinach, watercress and carrot. Sounds awful, tastes delicious.
The kids love it too, I can give them a glass of juice that has their five a day in one shot. You can really experiment and go to town there are loads of recipes online.
If you want to find out more about juicing I would recommend looking at the Jason vale or Jay Kordich websites they have lots of information on the benefits and tips etc.
1) Keep it on the work top
2) Get all your fruit and veggies ready before you start
3) Put a bag in the pulp container before juicing
4) Clean as soon as you have finished juicing
5) Drink as soon as you have made it, fresh juice starts to loose it's nutrients straight away so the sooner you drink it the more benefits you will get.
This machine currently costs £118 on Amazon which is £30 less than I paid at Christmas. At this price it offers amazing value for excellent quality.
Whether you are thinking about starting juicing for the first time or are already a convert this machine will be perfect for you, easy to use, easy to clean and makes delicious juice in seconds.
I have never had a tan, with my pale Irish freckled skin and auburn hair I am the one you will see smothered in sun cream hiding under a tree. I love my natural coloring's but can't help feel a little twang of jealousy as my friends all catch the rays and I run from them ! Once we went on a girly holiday to Turkey, they all came back a beautiful golden colour and I was as pale as ever due to my factor 50 ! Well this year I decided I too will be a golden girl and the only way for me to do it was fake it !
I went to House of Fraser and spoke to the lovely ladies there, I was quite worried I didn't want to look orange or chocolate I just wanted a sun kissed look. They recommended Fake Bake as they said it adapts to your natural colourings and prevents any tangoness.
There were a lot of different formats to choose from mouse, sprays and lotions, but as I was a beginner the consultant recommended the lotion, she said it is 'fool proof'. So I bought the Original self tan lotion, it cost £27 which was a bit more than I was expecting to pay, however I was in the moment and the sales lady said it was brilliant and I was thinking of having it done at the salon which cost £30 so thought hey why not.
The lotion comes with some disposable gloves and a big set of step by step instructions - make sure you read them. It is easy when it comes to things like this to think 'how hard can it be' but believe me there is little tips and techniques in the instructions that will help you get your glow.
My five quick steps.
1) First of all exfoliate, then exfoliate some more and then just a little bit more for luck especially around your knees, ankles and elbows. The first time I did it I didn't exfoliate properly and it showed in the end result.
2) Body lotion yourself up, again especially around the knees and elbows, make sure the body lotion you use is oil free otherwise the Fake bake will just glide off and not soak in.
3) Time to tan, put on your gloves and squeeze a little lotion in your hand, starting at your feet rub the lotion in using a circular motion. The best bit is the lotion comes out brown so you can see where you have been and avoid any streakyness. Remember to do all the nooks and crannies like behind your knees etc. I always get a friend or my hubby to do my back, as I find I can easily miss patches.
4) Time to bake - by now you will be looking like you have had a mishap with a chocolate fountain (that's on my bucket list BTW) don't worry you will not be this brown when you wash it off. You should now leave it for about six hours to develop. I always do it before bed, so then when I wake up I just have a bath. It takes about twenty mins to dry but then after that it doesn't come off on the sheets or anything.
5) Wash it off - after the six hours or so hop in the shower or bath and wash it off, I promise you will be amazed at the result. A natural tan with no streaks. The lady in the shop was right, it really is fool proof.
One application is all I need to give me a subtle golden glow, which is the look I like and seems natural on me. For darker complexions or people who like a darker tan they recommend a second application.
Once your happy with your colour, make sure you use a nice lotion to stop it drying out. My colour lasts about a week before it starts to fade. It will not wash off so you can still bathe and swim as you would usually.
The Fake bake does not have an SPF so it will not protect you from the suns harmful rays. On the Fake bake website they say if you use in conjunction with a sunbed or sun bathing you will get a more deeper satisfying tan. I would say this defeats the object for me, Fake it instead of baking your skin in the sun. But if you are fully aware of the dangers of Skin cancer and skin damage that sun beds and the sun can cause and still wish to do so then that is your choice.
I love having my glow, it makes me feel better and I think look better, it is very natural and my freckles still show through, I wouldn't want it any darker but I expect most people would.
You can buy Fake bake from most department stores, salons and on their website. This lotion cost £27 and I would say it lasts about 3-4 applications. I think this is pretty good value considering the natural look it gives and that it lasts for a week.
I would recommend this for anyone who wants a natural looking tan with no streaks. It is so easy to do and as long as you follow the instructions you will get a lovely glow.
We are a family of pack lunchers, I make four sets of sandwiches in the morning to be taken of to school and work. For as long as I remember I had been using cling film to wrap up our sarnies but I found if we had a 'juicy' filling like tuna and mayonnaise or coronation chicken it would sometimes splurge out of the sides so when you unwrapped the sandwich it would be all messy. It wasn't a major problem for me and I wasn't actively looking for a solution but when I came across these paper bags in Lakeland I thought they might just do the trick.
The bags instantly reminded me of my school days when on school trips or sports day we would be given a sandwich in a bag just like this, it was always corn beef ! Slightly off topic but I can't remember anyone having a packed lunch when I was at school, my little son who has school dinners is only one of four out of his class of 30. Anyway back to the bags they are a light brown in colour and are made from 100% unbleached, chlorine-free greaseproof paper.
They measure about 6" by 8" which is perfect for one sandwich but too small for two so hungry husband has to have two bags. They are also great for things like sausage rolls or pasties as they are greaseproof and very absorbent. I also use them for bringing a slice of pizza to work, they are brilliant for this as I can microwave it in the bag and so it saves loads of mess and no washing up.
The bags do not come with ties or anything but the paper is fairly rigid and so will stay closed when folded or rolled.
I think my sandwiches taste fresher in these than when using cling film, the bread is still springy and not at all dry.
The bags are really strong and survive being just chucked in a teenagers school bag (it's apparently not cool to have a lunch box !) They do not tear easily and can withstand a good bit of rough and tumble which is perfect for my family.
The bags are made by a company devoted to saving the planet, the range is called 'if you care' and every product in the range is made from either recycled or recyclable, or renewable, sustainable resources, there were things like grease proof paper, cup cake cases and foil. I must admit that this wasn't my motive for buying these bags, I just didn't want soggy sandwiches but as an additional bonus I am very happy that my family and I are reducing our carbon footprint even just a tiny bit.
The bags come in a box of 48 and costs £3.59, this is a quite a bit more than I was spending on cling film as I use about one and a half boxes a month. However I think they are worth this extra money, they keep the sandwiches fresh and contained no more soggy splurges, they are tough and easy to use and as a bonus they are good for the environment.
You can buy these from Lakeland stores or on their website.
A great little bag for cakes, sandwiches, pizza and pasties. I wish they would come in a bigger size though.
I was bought this Watch as a birthday present last year, it is certainly not like anything I would have picked out and my initial reaction was a bit more 'oh ?' than 'oooooooooo!'. It wasn't that I didn't like it, it is just it is not very 'me' . Obviously to my very generous friend I said I loved it, and when we went out for my birthday drinks the next day I wore it and this is where our love started to blossom (me and the watch not my friend.)
What it looks like - If I had to describe the watch in one word it would be elegant, it is very dainty. It has a gold plated bracelet with a ivory colour face. The watch bracelet starts of wider at the face and then gets narrower as it reaches the clasp. The widest point is about 2 cm and the narrow strap is about 0.5 cm. The wide section of the bracelet are encrusted with three rows of five tiny gem stones that look like diamonds.
The face is about 2 cm in diameter. It doesn't have numbers it has little lines to represent each number. It has Sekonda in black between the 11 and 1. Instead of the twelve it has a tiny 'diamond' gem stone.
Wearing it - The bracelet has a clip close clasp, it was quite stiff at first but it soon loosens up with a few uses.
When I first put it on, it felt tiny compared to my usual chunky style of watch, but I was surprised to find it actually made my arm look a lot more slender. I know this will sound dramatic but I actually did feel more elegant and ladylike. I got so many positive comments about my watch that first night and I felt great wearing it.
I liked the fact that it was gold in colour so it matched my wedding ring which is the only ring I ever wear.
I started off keeping my watch for nights out or lunchtime meet ups mainly because I didn't want to ruin it but also because I thought it looked better with prettier and smarter outfits than jeans and a jumper. However within a month my new watch on the side became a full time occupant on my wrist and my chunky swatch was relegated to the bottom drawer.
The technical things to know - It is water resistant which means it is OK to get splashed by the rain etc but should not be immersed in water. The plating is PVD which means that the gold is penetrated into the metal so it shouldn't rub off. It is powered by battery.
Hard wearing ? looking at the watch you would think it would easily break, this is not the case and it is a tough cookie. After nearly seven months of almost continuous wear it has been bashed and dropped, trodden on and trapped in a door but there is not a scratch on it. All the gems are in place, The gold plating is perfect with no discolouration. The clock is ticking along nicely and there has never been any problem with it's time keeping.
Any problems - Well the only problem I have found is that I get the clasp caught on things which can sometimes cause it to open. I have always spotted it but I am conscious of loosing it in this way.
It is a Sekonda watch and is available in most good jewelers. I did a quick search and found the prices vary from between £30 and £60.
I would say it is worth every penny of this. It would suit so many people and a wide age range. If it doesn't look like your usual watch, perhaps you should still give it a try you might just love it like me.
Final words - A beautiful elegant watch, that I have grown to love.
My eight year old son is a typical boy, as in he is always swinging off lamp posts and climbing up trees, he goes through shoes so quickly that I had reverted to buying really cheap shoes, but my friend suggested that instead of buying a new pair of cheap shoes every month or so, I buy some trainers from Clarks as they are really hard wearing. So I bought these trainers for just after Christmas. Here is what both he and I think of them.
The style - They come in red like the picture and also a bright electric blue, which is the ones we bought. They are styled to look like 'real' football boots, with a large tongue and stitching detail on the front. They have a good thick sole. The shoes have velcro fastening and 'fake' elastic laces. My son was immediately drawn to these, they were the first ones he picked off of the shelf, I tried to persuade him with some less bright ones but he was adamant he wanted these.
The fit - In 'normal' shops my son is a size 11 with these however he was a size 12G. Clarks are brilliant at measuring childrens feet, they use a machine to get a approximate fit and then when your child tries on the shoes the trained staff check if they are a correct fit for them. These shoes come in a size 8 - 2.5 in width fittings F, G and H.
Hard wearing ? Very ! As mentioned we bought them about five months ago, they have been worn very frequently and are still looking great with no holes or tears at all. They are a bit scuffed around the toes but they are still in excellent condition. The insides are still great with no fading or bobbling, they have special Agion antimicrobial linings to help keep feet fresh, I have to say they work great no smelly shoe smells that usually happen with trainers.
Where to buy and how much ? You can only buy these shoes from Clarks stores or on their website. They cost between £26 and £28 depending on what size you buy.
Final words - I was a bit dubious about paying £28 for a pair of shoes that from past experience would last little over a month, but I have been so impressed with them. My son loves them for two reasons one because they look 'cool' and grown up and secondly they are super easy to put on and kick off due to the fake laces and Velcro. I love them because they are so hard wearing and easy to clean.
I think the price is very reasonable considering how long lasting they are. I have always bought my childrens school shoes from Clarks but hadn't really considered there for casual shoes, until now that is !
Whilst I was away a few months ago on a girly weekend at Centre parcs we decided we would treat ourselves to a treatment at the spa. Whilst most of the girls opted for a massage I chose an Elemis facial and all I can say is WOW.
I suffer from a very red flushed looking face especially on my cheeks, I also have several small broken capillaries on my cheek area, these have gotten worse over the last year or so and although they can be covered easily with some loose powder they were becoming a bit of a concern. After all I am only in my early thirties.
My therapist said that my skin would only get worse if I didn't do something soon to prevent the capillaries, she said the cream could not 'cure' the ones I had but it could reduce them and also stop any new ones forming. I decided I would buy it despite it's hefty price. Here is how I have got on with it.
The cream comes in a sleek silver bottle with a pump action top. It has a see through lid to prevent any accidental 'pumps'. It contains 50ml.
What the product claims to do - reduce the daily appearance of redness and high colour. It also says that is will help reduce the flushed appearance of broken capillaries. Whilst acting as a soothing moisturiser.
How to use it- there are two ways to use the cream, you can either use it direct on your face as your moisturiser or you can mix it in with your normal moisturiser and use it as you would normally do. My therapist recomended that I use it direct due to the severity of my skin (I didn't think it was that bad !!).
It is advised that you use it morning and night after cleansing your face.
Ease of use - The pump is smooth and easy to use, it dispenses just the right amount for about half a face application. It has never got clogged up despite using it twice a day for two months.
First impressions - The first thing you will notice is the glorious smell of roses, it is very heavily scented and my friend who tried the cream found it a bit too much. I love that rose smell and so it is perfect for me.
There are other scents in the cream which are honey and meadow sweet, but these are way over powered by the rose.
The cream is a fairly thick consistency when it is pumped out so it doesn't run or slip. But when it is applied to the skin it just glides along and doesn't need any rubbing in at all. My skin feels smooth and soft almost instantly after applying it, some creams make it feel tight but not this one.
Does it work ? YES !! I was quite sceptical and after I bought it I felt like perhaps I had been swept up in the whole spa experience and sales pitch, but I had nothing to loose as I had already bought it and so used it as recommended twice a day. After the first three or four days I noticed my skin was less blotchy and more even. Then after about two weeks my face was noticeably less red, it was much more even and the blotchiness had gone. Two moths later, it is like a new face, it is smooth and even. There is hardly any redness at all except a couple of very tiny pin prick sized capillaries, my loose powder is no longer necessary before I go out. Another side effect is that I am so much more confident, I didn't realise how much my skin was effecting my self esteem.
How much ? Well this magical cream is not cheap, it costs £51 for the 50ml bottle. You can only buy it from authorised salons, QVC or on the Elemis website. Or there are several on Ebay going for anything between £25 and £45, but of course this is a bit of a risk.
I bought it along with another item (an enzyme peel) so got a free gift of loads of little goodies. There are often free gifts if you buy two items on the Elemis website.
Is it worth it - It's a non hesitant yes from me, the price is huge for me, I would never usually dream of paying that for a cream but when I look at what it has given me a beautifully smooth and even face and a fabulous confidence boost, it is worth every penny. My therapist said the cream should last approx four months as you only need a tiny amount. Although because the bottle is silver you can't see how much is left and so I can't say for sure it this is true.
I also like the fact that it is made in England and Elemis is a British brand, I will always be happy to pay a little bit more for this. It is also not tested on animals again this is important to me.
Final words - A superior product that actually does what it claims to do.
I am constantly on the look out for water bottles that won't leak in my children's school bags, so when I came across this water bottle whilst doing my shopping in Asda, I thought I would give it a go.
The main feature of the bottle is that it has an ice cooler stick that keeps your drinks cool for hours. The idea is that you freeze the stick then attach it to a ring at the top of the bottle and drops down into your drink to keep it cold. It is about three inches long so won't take up much room in the freezer. It is really easy to fit and detach from the bottle. I found that it works brilliantly and keeps the drinks cold for at least four hours.
The bottle also has an easy pull up drinking spout, this is essential for my son who has some problems with his co ordination and so finds opening bottles a bit tricky. He can use this one with ease. You just pull up the spout to drink and push it back down to close. I do find he chews this kind of lid and also forgets to push it down but this is not a fault of the bottle at all, and my daughter uses her one with no problems.
The bottle has a great contoured shape which makes it comfortable and easy to hold even when it is wet and slippy.
I like that there is a large loop on the lid as you can hang it on to bags on days out to save the space inside the bag. My daughter however finds that the loop gets in the way whilst she is drinking.
The leak test - They are great, my son leaving the lid open aside, I have not had one soggy school bag since I bought them two months ago.
The bottles are really easy to clean, all the parts come apart and the neck is a lot wider than normal drinking bottles so I can fit my washing up brush in there are give them a good scrub. You can also put them in the dishwasher.
I have had the bottles for two months, they have been used daily and been out on many picnics and day trips, they bottles are still in great condition apart from a few bite marks on my sons drinking spout.
The bottles cost £4 each and are available to buy from Asda stores or on asda.com. I have only seen them in blue but my friend said she got a green one so other colours may be available..
Final words- I think the bottles are such a good buy, not only do they not leak but they keep the drinks cool. This feature has meant my children are drinking more water at school than they used to as they say it tastes nicer colder.
Ok I realise this is long, but I hope it will help someone planning a trip to chessington, don't feel obliged to read it <3
We are lucky enough to have Merlin passes and so enjoy Chessington World of adventures on a regular basis. I know planning a day out can be hard work, especially when you have to think of children. It costs a lot of money and you want to make sure you are choosing the right place and that it will have all the facilities you need and want.
I thought it would try and write a review to help you decide if Chessington is a good choice for you and how to make the most of your day if you do go there.
What is Chessington World of Adventures ? - Well it is a unique mix of theme park and zoo, there are so many rides and attractions I really feel that whatever your age and adrenalin junkie status you will find something for you.
The Theme part of the park is divided into 9 'lands', each land has it's own theme and is decorated as such. There is also the Zoo and Sealife centre. I will go through each section of the park in a little more detail at the end. But wanted to do the facilities and my top tips first.
First my top ten tips.
1) Get there early, the park opens half an hour before the advertised time, there are a few rides that start early too, usually vampire and Dragons fury but check when you get to the gate. Even if the ride you want is not open go to the queue line so you will be first on. The big rides queue times go from 0 -60 mins in seconds.
2) If you are thinking of buying the rides photos, don't buy them as soon as you get off the ride, take the number at get them at the end. You get a better deal for buying more than one and also it will save you from carrying them around.
3) Don't miss Lorikeet lagoon - it is hidden and easily missed but it is one of the best bits of the park.
4) When you get there get a map with the show times, so you don't miss a thing or if you are not into the shows you can plan to go to a 'big' ride at that time as the queues will be shorter.
5) The ride close time is when the queue line closes not when the ride closes so get there a few minutes before the close time and you can still ride.
6) Get your parking ticket when you arrive, the queues are huge at the end of the day.
7) Don't pay gate price for tickets. There are always buy one get one free deals, money off vouchers going around or at the very least book online for a saving.
8) If it rains keep your ticket - if it rains continuously for more than an hour whilst you are there, they will give you free entry another day.
9) Measure your child either before you go or as soon as you get there so you can plan what rides you can go on and ignore any unsuitable rides.
10) If Driving leave a bit early or a bit late otherwise you will just be sat in the car park waiting in a huge queue to leave.
Right facilities are fabulous in Chessington -
Toilets - Throughout the park you will find plenty of toilets and baby changing areas, they are all in pretty good shape and looked after with the exception of the ones by the log ride, these are always pretty disgusting so avoid if you can.
First Aid - There is a main first aid centre in forbidden kingdom, but there are plenty of mobile first aiders, if you need one just ask any member of staff and they will radio for one. I have seen first hand how quick and capable they are.
Drinks - There are loads of places selling tea and coffee and it is not overly priced for this sort of venue around the £2 mark. If fizzy drinks are your thing I really recommend buying an unlimited cup, it costs £6 for the day and you can fill it up as much as you want for the whole day and keep the cup at the end. Make sure you keep the reciept as you will need it. If you have an annual pass there is a similar cup for £16 which lasts the whole year.
Eating there - They no longer have a burger king or any branded food outlets, however there really is an abundance of eateries and you will not go hungry. There is a noodle bar, fish and chips, Pizza buffet, sandwich bar, general cafe selling jacket potatoes etc, Burger palace, mexican, a fried chicken place and main restaurant selling chicken, burgers, lasagne etc. There are also many 'stalls'selling popcorn, sweets, waffles, ice cream and donuts. I have not eaten in all of them but I have tried a few, the vampire burger kitchen, this is basically a glorified Mcdonalds for the four of us, three adult meals and one childs it cost in the region of £20. It was OK, nothing special and quite small portions. The sandwhich bar is nice but quite expensive for a sandwich. Our favourite place is the pizza bar, it is a help yourself, eat as much as you want salad, pizza and pasta and endless fizzy drinks. It is £9.99 for adults (over 11) and £5.99 for children. You get 20% if you have an annual pass.
Picnics- There are plenty of places for a picnic throughout the park, so if you want to save some money, don't really like eating out or have fussy eaters you will not find it difficult to find a spot to pitch up and enjoy your lunch. If we drive we leave the picnic in a cool bag in the car and pop out to get it when we are ready. If you don't have passes they will stamp your hand. There are lockers if you don't want to carry it around the park. For a small locker the prices are, £1 for up to 1 hour or £5 for the whole day.
Big lockers are £2 for up to 1 hour or £10 for the whole day. You can go back as many times as you want during the day. We sometimes use these when we take the train.
Guest services- Here is where you would go for lost children, wristbands with your details on, buggy hire etc. Also if you have a disabled or person with certain special needs in your group, make sure you go to guest services where they will give you a wrist band which will allow you to enter rides without queuing. I haven't used this facility so am unsure of the full details.
Fast track - you can pay for a fast track pass which will allow you to get on certain rides without queuing, the prices vary but it costs about £5 per person per ride or you can buy a one day unlimited fast track which costs £60 per person.
Seat sizes - This is something that genuinely worries me, I am a size 18 -20 and I have in the past avoided rides through fear of me not fitting in the restraints. I have been on every ride at chessington and can safely say I fit with ease even the kiddie rides, I have seen much much bigger people on the rides too. The guideline for most rides is that they will fit people with a torso under 51".
The zoo -
Like the park the zoo is split into sections, it is all very close by with the exception of the Wanyama Village & Reserve this is based next to the Zufari ride and you can see Zebras, hippos, giraffesand meerkats.
The rest of the zoo is all in one part of the park, it includes
Monkey trail where you will see spider monkeys, Tamirins and marmosets.
Childrens zoo, where you can stroke the goats and pigs.
Trail of the kings- you will all the big guns of the wild, lions, gorillas, tigers and leopards.
Penguins and otters - This is split into two spaces. There is two talks a day at the penguin pool.
Sea lions - Our favourite show there are four sea lions at the zoo, they are beautiful. There are two shows a day the content can vary depending on what sea lion does the show.
Creepy caves - a small walk through cave with all the usual creepy crawlies, spiders, snails, lizards etc.
Sealife centre - lots of underwater fun here there are loads ofgorgeous fish including Rays, jelly fish, star fish and amazing sea horses. There are loads of daily talks and feeding. Which are well worth a look
The lands and rides
Mystic East - This is home to the famous log ride, it is very oriental with lanterns, buddas and dragons decorating the pathways. In this land you will find two rides.
Dragon Falls - Log ride, with two 'drops'. This is one of my family's favourite rides. You don't get sopping wet so it is fine to go on at any time of day. They can fit five to a boat and children have to be 1.2 metres to ride.
Peeking heights - This is a big wheel. Beware they only fill three cages at a time, so a short queue doesn't necessarily mean a short wait. Any height can ride this but children under 1.1 metres need to ride with an adult.
There is also a arcade, digging for gold, a climbing wall and those big zorbing balls on water. All of these are all payable, I know the water balls are £5 for a five minute session. We do not do any of these things as I think it is expensive enough as it is.
Pirates cove - This is not a big land it is more of a gap filler, you will find two rides here.
Seastorm - This is little boats that go around like a merry go round but much faster. It looks like a 'baby' ride but is actually quite fast. Children nee to be 0.9 metres tall.
Black Buccaneer - Oh my life, this ride is stomach turning, it is a traditional 'mary rose' swinging boat, it goes high and fast. Minimum height is 1 metre but under 1.3 need an adult to ride.
Transylvania - This is where you will find two of the parks most famous rides -
Vampire ride - This is where you will fly through the air like a vampire. It is fast but not really scary and I am a bit of a scaredy cat. Minimum height is 1.1 metres, under 1.3 need an adult.
The Bubble works - My favourite ride, You sit in a tub which can seat up to five. Then ride through professor bubble works factory, see the ducks hard at work and play. Eventually end up in the waterfall lagoon, you will get a little bit wet. This is really a family favourite suitable for all and lts of fun- No height restriction but under 1.1 need an adult to ride with them.
Transylvania is where you can have you face painted or hair braided, there is also caricatures. I know a full face paint is £7. You can have eye designs for £5.
Mexicana - This is wild west with cowboy shooting and dusty paths. Home to two rides
The runaway train - this is a wild train that flies through the mountains, really quite fast,so hold on to your hats. This is my second favourite ride. It is good fun without making you feel sick. Minimum height 0.9 metres, so even younger children can enjoy this.
Rattlesnake - This is the scariest ride in Chessington, it is a fully fledged roller coaster with dips, twists and turns. I don't like it one little bit, but my husband and daughter love it. You need to be 1.4 metres to ride so not for little ones.
Wild Asia - This is the biggest of the lands, actually it is not the biggest but it has the most rides and attractions. You will find.
Monkey swingers - This is a great ride, you sit in a swing and fly high and fast around the park. I always feel really dizzy for about ten minutes after. Min height 1.2 metres.
Tuk tuk turmoil - This is traditional bumper cars, always great fun. Minimum height is 0.9 but anyone under 1.3 needs to be with an adult who has to drive.
Jungle bus - This looks like scooby doos magic bus, it is fairly slow and just goes round in a circle, my son says it makes his tummy jump. Ideal for little people. Min height 0.9 metres.
Temple of Mayhem - This is just for little kids, they can gather up lots of little foam balls and shoot them across the 'temple' using the cannons and guns. It is great for a bit of respite from queues and the sun.
Lorikeet Lagoon - DO NOT MISS !! We had been to Chessington about six times before we saw or noticed this attraction, it is amazing. It is hidden behind 'temple of mayhem'. Rainbow lorikeet birds just flying free. You can buy a pot of nectar for £1 and they come and feed of your hands. It is totally amazing and the best pound you will spend all day. You don't need to buy the food, you can walk through without feeding. They say when you buy the food that they may not feed, but we have been about ten times and they have always fed.
Kobra -This is a big snake ride, where you sit in a circle and it spins round really fast like a round about, then it goes up and down. When you look at it you would think it would be terrifying but it is actually not scary just fast, it is not stomach churning.
I will mention the shop here as it has real snakes in it, which are worth a look if you have a spare minute of two.
Land of the Dragons - This is the best land for little children with every thing suitable for very small children except the Dragons fury ride. Here you will find
Dragons play house - a soft play area, great for taking the little ones whilst bigger ones are queuing for the fast rides. Maximum height is 1.4 metres
Canopy Capers - This is a big tree house with slides and rope bridges, again only little children are allowed in and they are strict on this, which is great as they are safe from teens racing through etc. Max height 1.4 metres.
Sea dragons - little boat merry go round, very slow suitable for very small children, although under 1.1 need an adult.
Dragons Fury - This is my eight year old sons favourite ride, it is a roller coaster with so many spins and twists that it makes you feel like you are going to come of the track. Not for the faint hearted. Min height 1.2 metres.
Griffin's Galleon - this is like the Black Buccaneer but not as fast or height. Great for little children minimum height is 0.9 metres.
There is a cafe here which has talks on animals about three times a day, the animals are things like snakes, snails, spiders etc and last about twenty minutes. They are really interesting and worth going to if you are in the area.
This is home to the main stage and Madagasca live. There are meet and greets with most of the characters throughout the day.
Madagasca live - I won't give the story line away but it is a great interactive show with songs, dancing and all the characters from Madagasca, lasts about fifteen minutes and is shown three times a day. There is one at one o'clock and if we bring a picnic we sometimes go and watch it whilst we eat our sarnies.
Toadies cars - A fab little car ride around Mr moles garden. two children can 'drive' at the front and two adults sit as the back as passengers. - No minimum height.
Jungle Bouncers - This is a great little ride for children - they sit in and it jumps up and down. Not really suitable for adults. minimum height 0.9 metres.
Forbidden kingdom -
The Egyptian themed land which is home to my daughters favourite ride - Ramses revenge you will also find.
Tomb blaster - this is a great laser shooting game ride where you go through the tunnels and pyramids to fight the evil mummies. It is good fun and can be quite competitive as it shows you your score, I am the family champion at the moment - whoop whoop !!
The big first aid centre is here too, should you need it.
Zufari - This is the newest land in chessington and home to the brand new safari ride.
Flying Dumbo - The original flying elephants, great fun for all the family, you control how high you go by pushing the button. No minimum.
Zufari - ride into Africa - Well this is really hit and miss and as it is a new ride the queues are extreamly long even at the start of the day. We queued for 75 mins one day and we only saw some giraffes in the distance, but other times we have been we have seen hippos, zebras and flamingos, it obviously depends on if the animals are close or in their huts etc. On a good day it is a brilliant safari ride but on a bad day it is really bad and a waste of time queuing for so long. So I would suggest asking people who have just got off what animals they saw so you can decide.
Market Square -
The central hub of chessington, it has the main shops, resturants, toilets and a few rides
Tiny truckers - A car ride for small children, they don't actually drive but it makes them feel like they are. No height limit.
Carousel -A magical lovely experience for all the family,choose from the traditional horses or a princess carriage, lasts a good five minutes.
Hocus Pocus Hall - you are given 3D glasses as you enter and then take a disorientating walk through this weird house there are mirrors, glow in the dark and spinning walkways - you will be dizzy when you come out.
Safari skyway - I think this is a must, it is a sky tram ride around the park, it goes over the zoo so you will get to see the animals as you go past. There is a commentary as you go round but it is very quiet. -No min height.
Ticket prices - there are plenty of ticket choices from family, student, child etc. Gate prices at present are
Family Saver for 2
1 Adult + 1 Child £60.00
Family Saver for 3
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £90.00
Family Saver for 4
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £120.00
Family Saver for 5
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £150.00
Family Saver for 6
Minimum 1 Adult + 1 Child £180.00
12+ years £43.20
Young Adventurers (Child)
Aged under 12 and taller than 0.9 metres. £31.20
Valid Student ID card required £31.20
Aged 60 years and over £31.20
Includes 1 free helper £43.20
Includes 1 free helper £31.20
Additional Disabled Helpers £21.60
But if you book online at least 7 days in advance you can save 25%. They also accept Tesco Vouchers.
Where is it -
Chessington is situated on the A243, just two miles from the A3 and M25 (junction 9 or 10).
It is about a ten minute walk from Chessington South train station, we often go by train and it is a really straightforward walk. There are also lots of bus stops right outside the gate.
Final words - I would say Chessington world of adventures is aimed at families with young children, as said previously there is something for everyone to do but I think the majority of the rides are aimed at children. My children are 8 and 13 and love it, we go a LOT and they never get bored, sometimes we don't go on any of the rides but spend our time going to all the animal talks and shows and other times we don't see any animals. I would say if your child is under 0.9 then apart from the play area and animals there isn't that much to do for them. Equally if your child is a thrill seeker I think nearby Thorpe park would be a better option. I would say it would take more than a day to enjoy everything Chessington has to offer, but if you are clever and use your time wisely you should get all the main attractions done.
For the last year or so my 13 year old is really getting into painting her nails and of course 'needs' a nail varnish to match every piece of clothing and pair of shoes that she owns. I usually buy mid to high end varnishes such as Nails Inc and OPI, but at over £10 a pot , I couldn't keep buying her those brands. When I was in Superdrug I came across MUA. I couldn't believe that the nail polish was only £1 a bottle.
The bottles are a square shape with a clear glass base and a black plastic lid. The bottles have 6.2 mls which is a few mls less than most brands of nail varnish, however it makes them nice and small to fit in your make up case or handbags.
There was a great range of colours, from subtle shades of peach and pinks to very bright oranges and green. I thought it was exactly what I had been looking for, cheap and cheerful for my little girl to use.
I bought three colours, a navy blue, yellow and a salmon sort of colour, three bottles of nail varnish for £3 it seemed to good to be true, but was it ? .........
Application - Well the first thing I noticed was the texture of the polish is a lot runnier than most others I have used, this made it a bit messy when putting it on as it kept dripping of the brush, especially when painting my daughters little finger nails. I now put a tiny bit on the brush which means I have to keep topping up but saves the mess. The brush itself it pretty good, it is not shaped but it is sleek and not too long so you have good control over it.
Coverage - All of the colours needed more than one two coats, even the navy blue needed three. They go on very see through and you have to keep building up the colour. This adds quite a bit of time to the nail painting process. However it was quite a good point for the yellow as I put it on with three coats and wore it as a lemon sort of colour but my daughter put on six coats and it was more of a custard yellow.
Drying time - these seem to take forever to dry, well about five minutes which is quite long when you have to apply another two of three or six coats.
Chip resistant ? - one word no ! I put the salmon coloured one on just before I left for work, by the time I had got there two of my nails had chipped and one was almost completely gone, not the look I was going for. I have used them several times on my fingers about 10 in total and every time they have chipped very quickly. My daughter uses them all the time and whilst they don't seem to chip as quickly by the end of the day they are considerably chipped. She uses them a lot to do patterns and dots etc rather than her nails all one colour.
However on our toes they are a little more hard wearing and I can even get a couple of days out of them before chipping.
I think for the the purpose of my daughter using them and for toes they are good and great if you just want a colour for fancy dress etc where you wouldn't usually wear that colour so don't want to pay a lot.
But for me who doesn't really have much time and likes a longer lasting colour it is just not worth the money, even though it is only a pound. I would rather pay more for better coverage and chip resistance.
If you would like to try them for yourself you will find the range at superdrug or on MUA (makeup accadamy) website.
My daughter is 14 this year but has tiny size 1 feet, this makes it very difficult to find suitable school shoes that are not according to my fashion conscious teen 'sad' 'babyish' 'granny shoes' or 'embarrassing'.
When I was walking through Asda doing my shopping, I came across these bow shoes, I thought they looked perfect for her and as they were only £6 I took the chance that she would like them.
I was in luck, she really liked them and couldn't wait to wear the to school.
Design - The shoes are generally flat apart from a very tiny heel approx 3mm. The sole is rubber and the main part of the shoe is a fabric, I want to say it is canvas but it seems a lot softer than canvas usually feels. On the website it just says 'textile'.
The inner sole is stripey black and white with a soft inner sole, my daughter was strangely really impressed with the stripy design.
The outer 'canvas' is totally black with a twisted bow on the front in the same material. They are stylish whilst suitable for her very strict school uniform code.
Fit- At first my daughter said they were a little tight at the sides, she doesn't usually have wide feet or problems with the width of shoes. She said otherwise they were really comfy with no rubbing or pinching.
She wore them around the house on and off for a few days and said they felt much better at the sides.
She wore them to school the next day and said they were really comfortable. They remained comfortable until the end which wasn't that long....
Quality - Well this is where the shoes failed, yes I know for six pound I couldn't really expect much but I was expecting a little longer than a month. My daughter only wore them to school, she didn't wear them for anything else. Only after a week the sole on one of the shoes was showing signs of wear, nothing major but some hairline cracks. By the end of week two the other shoe had similar cracks. But by end of week four both shoes were unwearable they had deep cracks in the sole and the fabric had lots of snags.
I was a little disappointed, I thought they would have at least lasted half a term at school. I think that despite the style they are designed more for occasional use like parties.
Value - At six pound they are very cheap shoes, we got 20 wears for that price tag. Which I suppose would be acceptable if they were being used for occasions as they would seem to last longer ( if that makes sense). But personally I would rather pay more and have them last longer, when my daughter had Clarks shoes ( when cool meant not warm) even though they cost about £40 they would usually last all year.
It is funny writing this review as when I started I thought it would be terrible and they would get one star but in fact they were not a terribly bad buy for the price I paid, I would recommend them for occasional use but not for everyday wear.
Since Christmas I have been looking after my gorgeous nearly three year old God daughter for two days a week whilst her mum goes to work. As my youngest child is nearly nine and a boy, I didn't really have much for her to play with and so she was arriving with bags of stuff each time she came. I decided to buy her some bits to stay at my house and save all the hassle of packing up a bag of toys.
Off I went to Early Learning Centre in search of some toys that were both reasonable, good quality and most importantly that she would enjoy playing with.
Her favourite things are her 'babies', so a dolly was first on my list, I found 'Cupcake Bath time Bella' she was so cute so I bought her and I also bought this 'cupcake magic milk bottle'.
To be honest I bought the bottle for my sake really, I absolutely loved these when I was a child, I remember I used to have one with milk and and one with orange and I would spend ages feeding my baby doll Rose, trying to work out where the milk actually went.
The bottle is made of a thick acrylic plastic, it has a white liquid in it that really resembles milk. When you tip the bottle upside down the 'Milk' disappears. When the bottle is returned upright the 'milk' magically reappears.
The bottle appears to have a pink screw top lid, but it doesn't actually unscrew, the whole bottle is one unit.
It is a nice little size so mini hands can grip the bottle easily and feed their babies.
Well I wish I had filmed my little Goddaughters reaction to the bottle, she had obviously never seen one before and was so impressed with the bottle, it was so funny to watch her little puzzled face as the milk disappeared she really thought her dolly was drinking it.
This bottle has kept her more entertained than any of the other many toys that I had bought, sometimes she just sits there with the bottle turning it upside down and then back up again. Five months after I bought it she still asks for it every time she comes.
The bottle is hard wearing, as said above it is often played with but it still looks like new. With no scratches or anything.
The bottle costs £4 from ELC and is part of their Cupcake range, but of course you do not need a cupcake doll to use the bottle.
It says suitable from ages 3+, however my Goddaughter has used it since two and a half, I never leave her alone so she is always being watched and she has been absolutely fine with it. I can't see what the dangerous parts would be, maybe if the bottle broke ? .
I would highly recommend this to any little girls and boys who love their babies, such a great buy.
As I am getting my garden ready for the sun that is just waiting to burst out into the sky, I decided I needed to do some major weeding, cutting and planting. I popped along to my local pound land for some little pots but came across these whilst I was there, here is what I thought.......
Well to look at they are not very attractive, the picture shows grey and green but mine are grey and blue, I also saw grey and red. They did have some pretty ones with flowers and another pair with little butterflies on but these seemed much harder wearing and I decided to protect my fingers over fashion.
They only come in one size which is actually very big, I have big hands for a girl, when I was growing up my mum always said I would be a brick layer, but these are still quite big on me. I think they are aimed at big man hands and the pretty flowery ones are for the ladies. It didn't matter too much that they were big, they didn't fall off but they didn't keep all the dirt out so my hands were still a bit grubby after my gardening.
Having said that the reason I wanted them was to stop my fingers being cut up by thorns and stinging nettles and they did that job well.
They are made of a thick material that to look at looks like suede but it is a faux version, I am not sure what exactly.
I could pick up stinging nettles by the bunch and wasn't stung once, also cutting my roses back and no thorns hurt or scratched me at all.
After the first use of quite a heavy session in the garden they were filthy, the light grey was now black however they were fully in tact with no tears. I have used them at least ten more times for gardening bits and bobs. I have also used them when I was putting up a fence to stop me getting splinters and they worked a treat.
They are looking a little worse for wear but they are still perfectly in tact and doing their job great.
For one pound you really can't go wrong, I have had expensive gardening gloves in the past, my dad bought me these bionic ones that cost about £20 and I threw one out with the hedge cuttings by accident :-0. Yes they are not the best looking or most comfortable but I bet the are the cheapest and they do the job just fine.