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When my daughter turned three she was so eager to learn...but it seems she was struggling every time someone asked her ..'so what comes after so and so number...' so I taught her several number songs but that didn't seem to do the trick...and finally her nanu(my mom) had a brilliant idea... she promptly ordered this fantastic wonderful dot-to-dot colour in book from Dover's publishing for her. Guess what I have since re-order 5 more of the same and one more a level harder to go in as stocking fillers of kiddies next month.
A bit about this dot-to dot book:
Where to buy:
Well I have seen them in stock in Amazon and in WHSmiths.
I paid £ 1.53 for it but you can get it for anything between £1.25-£3
This animal activity book has a lovely bright cover with the interesting picture of a kangaroo with a joey in its pouch on a thick glossy cover .Roughly there are 27 pages of fun filled activity.
I hadn't expected the quality of the paper to be that good...but I was pleasantly surprised to see how thick and white they were(unlike the recycled greyish-yellow paper I had expected..hence it makes an ideal gift book too).
Every page has the outline of an animal that the child can draw by interconnecting the numbers in the ascending order. Once done they can colour it in The numbers usually go upto 10 or 15 but one picture near the end did have numbers going upto 20 , which my daughter didn't find that hard but needed a little help with..but then this book has been recommended for children between 3-5 . The animal picture/scenery is according to the alphabets from a(alligator) to z(zebra) and below each is a small educative description of the animal and the alphabets in both cases..which made it all the more fun . They also need to fill in the name of the animal in the blanks provided . Towards the end the children are supposed to fill in the names of all the animals they can remember seening in the book.
Our Opinion for those who care to read :) :
Nanu is still an expert ...and apart from that well we do not fumble voicing out our numbers any more .oh and yes I would definitely recommend this book for all pre-school children whether they know their numbers or not.... Specially to be kept for the half-term cold rainy days .
This book has loads of fun-filled activity and is educational and helps children learn and their numbers quickly serving as a visual aid .
Like I have mentioned earlier ,as the paper is of good quality ..when naughtily coloured in the sneak with felt pens ..the next page wasn't ruined with colour leak .... For some reason my 3 year old thinks colouring in with felt pens is better than any other options out there for her.
It serves as an excellent gift book to add to other presents for a kid.
I would say that the book is ideal for children between 3.5-5 years of age ..the number part being easy enough for beginers ..but the alphabet part would be ideal for the above 4's ..when they start spelling really.
My daughter liked it so much ..I had to go online and order a few more from the same publisher from amazon ... will I ever be able to buy myself something with the dooyoo miles I make...well perhaps a few hours of bliss while the kiddies are busy with whatever I have bought, specially if it is this good and that reasonably priced.
Thanks for reading and voting.
This last summer it was my turn to look after a few of my friends 5-6 year olds for some days and I was absolutely panicking as on how to keep them entertained. I finally had the brilliant idea of buying some activity books for the kids and this dinosaur mazes pocket book seemed like an ideal buy .
Being priced at £1.25 at Amazon I really didn't care if they were that great or not, though I was hoping they would be entertaining for the kids.
The best bit about this book is that it's a pocket book , about 14X6cms in size and has about 64 mazes in total, so it can be taken even when travelling . It is a Dover publication hence very reasonabley priced as most of their books are and is educational while being fun too.
The pictures are all in black and white , but the quality of the paper was really good in my opinion.
It turned out to be a very good buy as all the kids enjoyed them a lot ...I think its best suited for the age 5-7 years . The last few pages has the tips and hints in case anybody needs a bit of shove in the right direction, though most of the kiddies I had didn't need the reference.
Here I was sat thinking I would write so much about this tiny book but thats all folks I don't have much else to say.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has a child who is into puzzles and mazes or even as a stocking filler for Christmas .
The last time we went shopping at tesco we decided to buy a few packs of lollies , as my little girly has a few almost everyday . My 3year old just picked some packs randomly and dumped them in the trolley and one was a tesco value pack , which I ws about to put back in the freezer ..but while my little one clung to it chanting ' yummy new lolly' I remembered a review of this productI had read sometime back of I-am -joy and I let her have them..after all 8 lollies for 76 p wasn't going to burn a hole in my pocket.
The lollies came in the typical non-fancy tesco value pack and each lolly(of generous size) was individually wrapped in a clear plastic wrap . There were three flavours chocolate(which tasted more like frozen cold coffee really) , strawberry (of which I didn't get any as my daughter devoured both (2 in the pack)before I had a chance to try it but I am not a big fan of strawberry to start with) and vanilla. I enjoyed both the chocolate and the vanilla flavour immensely ... these lollies made me extremely nostalgic of my childhood , and a brief spell when I had lactose intolerance and how I craved ice-creams then.
My home is a good 5 miles from the store and hence the ones we had in the car on the way back tasted very nice as it was around 25 degrees outside that day..however after they were in the frezer for a while they came out a bit hard... easily rectified by placing them in the fridge for 5-10 mins the next time we had them.
I won't make the mistake of comparing them with any other lollies, .they are a different type in themselves ... they are yummy and refreshing in themselves and a 9p apiece is something I would easily part with for these. They were a hit to start of with , with my and my neighbours kids who don't really have the perception of money or brand yet and thats good enough for me.
Regarding the content of the lollies..well they have the usual milk and flavourings , natural colours all other lollies have , maybe a little less of cream/fat content than your average more expensive ones , I didn't find any chemical additive in the ingredients list that particularly jumped out at me.
Regarding the calories/fat conscious issues..well my motto is-- eat well and exercise enough - to keep fit and burn off excess blubber , hence I haven't really bothered to see if it is suitable for people who don't follow that motto. All the ingredients are suitable for vegetarians though . Tesco was thoughtful enough to add the warning note that the beetroot juice used for colouring may stain clothings .
I think if the price for these doesn't go up much there will always be a small space in my freezer (provided they don't get eaten on the way home) for them.
I was impressed by the fact that a child's ticket cost more than that of the parents..which is usally the reverse in most such places..as if the parents even use any of the kiddy stuff..
While talking about the entrance fee, these were something like
Child 1 year £1.50
Child over 2-16 years £5.80
Adult 16+ £3.50
There are some group discounts available too. I think one needs to pre-book barns and rooms for a party or gathering before hand to avoid reaching there and finding them all booked.
At the ticket booth they give you a map of the area and the directions on-site are large and child-friendly. Usually you don't have to queue for more than a few minutes to get your ticket .Its open all year around and mostly from 10am-6pm in the summers.
Bags of animal food are 50 p each and sold at the lovely farm shop selling reasonably priced gift items, mostly farm-oriented.
Several cafes within the area..but most people tend to bring picnics as we did , but its nice to know all the same that you can buy cold and hot drinks and food too on site. There are loads of benches and tables spread all over the place both under shades of trees , under gazeboes , in barns and on grassy patches under the sun too.
Included in the huge farm were several area of farm animals, horses, Shetland ponies, birds, mice, ferrets, llamas., we missed seeing the cows , by the looks of the empty shed it did appear that there once were some cows and they might bring some in again. There are loads of hand washing/disinfecting area , all placed at the level of children.
My daughter was quite taken in by the very young hatchlings which were being nurtured in a large incubator room. There was this little down covered duckling that was pacing around as if it was on an army patrol.
Scattered over the place are several toilet areas that have baby changing facilities and wheelchair facilities.
There were some places were kids could enter into an enclosure with rabbits or lambs and play with/feed them, so they actually get a chance to interact with these animals without being told off. There was also a lady who would place a week old chick into a child's hand and let them feel the animal. My little one absolutely loved this.
The area also has kids toboganning, two huge enclosed sand play areas with free toys like tractors, wheel barrows, spades, shovels , diggers and the likes . Several outdoor play areas with all sorts of climbing frames and slides etc. and 4-5 soft play area.. this really keeps children of all ages occupied for ages at a stretch.
There are special barns that can be reserved for picnics and parties too and have lovely names like donkey barn, rabbit barn and so forth.
The place has hiking trails, mazes, ride-on areas(age restrictions apply) and even a paid tractor-ride.
The area is well maintained and there are loads of staff going around who are friendly and polite and take time to chat up with little ones and make them special.
The one thing I noticed about this place is that like most farms it is located in a somewhat remote area, accessible only if you have a car , the train stop is quite far away (around 3-3.5 miles) and the bus-services are not that adequate.
All I could say is we had such a lovely day and at such a reasonable price too. Though I wouldn't recommend going on a rainy day, but if you have a good pair of wellies and a raincoat why not muck in the mud with the pigs ?
PS: I have used bits of this reveiw in another reveiw on helphound under the same username. Thanks for reading and voting.
I love wearing ethnic Indian clothings , specially when I am going to a party or an evening out with my friends who come from a mixed cultural background. I often mix and match casual kurtis (flowing mid calf-length tops) and wear it over a trouser when going out.
Initially it was hard to find decently tailored such wear which were both in fashion and looked great too... I live miles away from anywhere which sells such clothings and was thrilled to discover the online shop rupalionline.
At this point let me assure you, even people who do not wear ethnic wear might find this site great for shopping for a dazzling and unique evening wear or a fancy dress or just cotton garments,special ocassion jewellery , or everyday wear or even a dressing up costume for their little one.
What impressed me was that the site is extremely easy to navigate and the quality of clothes is extremely good .
Since the clothes are manufactured in India..the sizes are not based on uk sizing..however the sizing guide provided is excellent and easy to use as the measurements are in inches. If you are someone who goes to India often , then these clothes would appear very pricey to you , but they are quite reasonable if you buy them here and are competetive to other such garmets readily available in the markets in asian area. I was aprehensive about the size as there was noway I could check before I ordered , but was well pleased with the cut and fitting when the items did arrive.
The shippig cost of the items however big or small the pacakage is £5.99 for an order below £50. The clothes are usually delivered within 5 working days and I have alwasy received them on the very next day. You can order via mail, or the phone or their website by card or cheque and they are prompt in replying to any e-mail queries.
For those who are interested in ethnic clothing..the good news is that there is loads to choose from, from mundane casual day to day easy wear to elaborate jazzy bridal/groom/wedding outfits. I have this friend who ordered all the bridesmaids dresses from rupali.
Most clothing start from a £3 and go upto £1000ish depending on what you are looking for. These include footwear ,traditional sarees, designer lehengas, shalwars, patiyalas, churidars, kiddy wears , mens and boy's wear too. Once in a while there is a clearance sale going on too and I have been able to grab myself a good bargain.
I love browsing through their jewelley section , which has a vast stock available to choose from , both traditional and chic .These are again very reasonably (starting from 50p) and pretty.
Some of my friends have had the opportunity now to order from them and have had a good experience with them. One such friend has allergies on wearing synthetic fabrics and she has had the luck to buy some lovely cotton on cotton embroidered work-wear from there too.
Their site is secure and the checkout is secure certified .
The only thing I found disadvantageous was that their return/refund policy is a bit stringent ..and I think you need to pay postage to get something replaced , however they have two stores as well located somewhere in leiscester and london too and you could buy directly from them.
So if you are trying to dazzle someone in future and want to look unique why not have a peep at whats in store at rupali, if nothing else the range of colours out there are sure to impress you.
PS: I have posted a small part of this reveiw on helphound too , under the same username. Thanks for reading and rating.
I first read of gumtree on dooyoo and thanks to the dooyou member I have recently had the opportunity of using this online website to search for and then buying a used car for myself.
I have previously bought through autotrader and cargaints and wasn't at all impressed when I first went on the site. I had a feeling that anything thats free can't really be that good..how wrong was I .
This is a site where any buyer or seller can post his ware/want after registering(more like a free adds site )..which is a simple enough process requiring just a valid e-mail id and the county/city of residence of the person.
The home page is easy enough to navigate through and has such a lot of options to choose from like..houses, for sale, dating , blogs, chats, freecycle, cars and job vacancies too. The name gumtree is a great name..as if itâEuroTMs a tree/network gluing people together . You just have to click on to the city/county of your choice and start browsing from there.
Initially I advertised in order to specify what sort of car I was looking for under the automobile section and as I didn't really have many great replies ,I just started keeping an eye on the cars that were being advertised for sale near my area. When you search for a car you can't really look for one in your area but have a list of all available cars in the whole county/city..which can be a pain, but as there are only around 25-30 people advertising per day it isn't that hard. You could also add photos or a video of the product you are advertising. You could also just leave an e-mail id or a contact number for people to contact you.
I had used a rubbish e-mail id but still I haven't received any spam through joining yet.
Also I was impressed that there are no dodgy/spam/sleazy adverts/links on the site as is typical of such web-pages, except for a few travel/holiday adverts.
To be really honest it isn't worth looking at old ads which I quickly learnt that people update their advertisement almost everyday ( at a nudge from the gumtree moderators through your e-mail) . Your ad gets a unique number and you can bump up your ad whenever you want and as many times you want .
I gathered this much as well that if you want your ad to have a highlighted/classified position you need to pay something nominal for it..but i can't remember how much it was and for how long.
At the top of an advertisement page there is a little counter that shows how many views the item has had ..which is great from a sellers point of view.
I haven't used any of their other sub-sections so I am not sure how good those are, but I am hoping they are ok too.
A word of advice would be that as a seller you do need to be wary of time wasters and tyre-kickers and also be vary of hoax paymets etc via paypal ..this site really isn't a secure site like e-bay or some other popular auction site. As a buyer you would need to check that an item is as described before purchasing I would guess.
Well and all this is for free...so if you are car-hunting (or hunting for something else) and are clueless where to start from, why not just have a peek at gumtree.
PS: I have used some part of this reveiw on helphound under the same username.
When I thought of setting up my 3year old daughter's room, I wanted it to have some elements of fun in it that would make her want to sleep in the room and spend a lot of time in there as well. I had a lot of ideas but most of those seem to be quite pricey and if not then it needed a whole huge lot of space.
I had already bought the wall decorations and curtain and rug and what I needed was a bed and some storage bits and while looking through a littlewood catalogue I was quite happy to discover a nice storage bed that would be suitable for a 3 year old and at the same time have a bit of funk to it.
To be really very honest on seeing the picture of the bed and its name... 'charlie mid-sleeper ..with a little boy lying on it ..you wouldn't really think of it as serving as a girl's bed at the first glance... however since its in beech effect , it didn't really matter to me and I went ahead and invested on it after reading through a few reviews.
_+_Where did I order it from and for how much _+_
In the past I have mostly ordered home furniture only after having a look at them and trying them out (for instance sofa), before buying, but as I don't have a littlewood nearby I had to rely on the reviews on the littlewood website. I ordered it from Littlewood direct and it can be bought from any of the online store's sharing the same catalogue... Kays, Marshall wards, Additions direct , empirestore and the like.
It cost me £175 as there weren't any discounts or offers on at the moment and I wanted that bed badly. Being a heavy item I needed to pay the typical delivery charges of £5.95 as well. I think one could get this bed for around £150-£215 and should have a good look around before commiting to buy it.
_+_ The Package _+_
Ah well there were three of them and another fourth one for the hypoallergic mattress I ordered with it .
All three packages were extremely heavy all over 35kgs and it is recommended that they should be carried by at least two people. I didn't want the delivery people stomping on the new carpet with their muddy boots and asked them to leave the stuff downstairs and that was a big mistake.
I had to go through all the three packs before I could get the instruction leaflet in the packet 3 of 3 ... I do understand Arabic..but I am sure they don't know that... one would expect it to be in the packet 1of 3.
I have to give the company a 5/5 for the instruction manual though as it was very easy to read through the booklet and assemble the bed. I have assembled two different beds from two branded places before this and their instructions weren't anywhere as precise as this one. The user-friendly 3-D diagrams were really comprehensive and self-explanatory. It had a list of items that would be required before starting on the bed and this was great for a not so organized person like me.
According to the instructions I had to first see that all the parts had come through before starting assembling , as the company made it clear that the wouldn't take it back if it was opened.... Great.. all the bits and pieces were well labeled and it took me around 5-10 mins to work through the parts.
+_+ Assembling +_+
Like I have said the manual was a god sent in being as instructive as it was . There weren't many tricks involved, it was straight forward if you followed every line/step of the instructions. I needed to call my hubby to help me with some of it as some of the parts that went on were a bit too big/fiddly for a single person to assemble . Proves that I am not really the supermom I believe myself in being.
It took me around 5 hours with a bit of help from my hubby to assemble the whole setup.
It would have been quicker had my daughter not pitched in to help. According to the manual it should take two people around 2hours..well I would say 3 hours would be a more accurate estimation .
+_+ End Product _+_
There after 5 hours of loads of effort I had this really impressive storage bed standing 4 feet(119.5 cm) tall in front of me. It is around 97cms in width ( I fit in easily with my daughter hence it is as wide as a single bed, hence easy to get bedding ) and is about 197cms long ...if it lasts would see her into her teens.
It has a pull out computer desk on rollers on the left, a set of two steps (steel) in the centre ,a large drawer , two shelves with a door on it and a lovely little den at the back with a little door that opens outwards, two little shelves for books on the extreme right . The gap over the steps is adequate for an adult of size 8-10 to sit at.(not sure I if that makes sense, I sometimes sit wedged in there while reading my little one her book).
There are steel railings next to the mattress on the outside for security.
+_+ Our Opinion+_+
I had loads of qualms about how the migration to her own room would be for my daughter as I had left it for too long (not on choice) , I shouldn't have worried , she never sleeps anywhere else these days , thanks to the bed. She loves to play in the little den at the back..we have put in most of her little toys there and the room really remains tidy. If the computer desk isn't pulled out it can be a bit dark and stuffy in there , but when pulled out my daughter uses it as a tunnel .
The little door to the den bangs shut and isn't that ideal for little children as they might slam it shut on their fingers. When I was looking at the item description online no age recommendation was given , however the pack said over 6years...and truly this bed would be ideal for slightly older children .
If anybody does make up their mind to buy this bed I would suggest that they should measure the space they have and then add a foot and a half extra to the space (lengthwise) as the door to the den opens outwards and needs that much space to open fully.
The door to the shelves came off even while we were setting the bed up and that is a drawback . The bed in itself is very sturdy and stable and hasn't creaked or croaked yet , even though every night one of us adults lie on it and read her , her books. The outer layer is a different story altogether..the beech effect covering easily chips off . I need to pussyfoot around it while hoovering , well this really should have been more tenacious as it is meant for kids (and boys ?), however I can't really complain as it isn't really an expensive bed .
I went for the hypoallergic mattress as the reviews for the mattress that actually go with the bed showed how low quality they were. I am happy with the quality of the mattress , however a normal single mattress should fit easily.
I am using it for my three year old , who sleeps very nicely but I am still apprehensive that she might fall off through the gap for the steps... however this would be ideal for slightly older kids.
It is a very sturdy and compact bed with that extra oomph that should hopefully provide us with loads of years of use in my opinion and would be ideal for anyone who has a smallish box-room which they want to convert to a kids room as it has such a great deal of storage space .
I am not into much makeup as my skin is a bit sensitive and hence haven't had the chance of using Avon products that much before , except for an occasional one I might have received as a gift.
There is a new avon- representative in our street and when she dropped the latest catalogue through the door I was tempted to buy something from the £5 for three make-up items from the colour-trend range . Of these one is the colour-trend lip duo in glam berry , which I finally received last week and here is what I felt about it.
The product came in a nice black package and usually sells at £4, though I have heard they are often on offer . The actual tube is however a bit tacky , plasticky and lacks maturity in some ways .
First I opened the lipstick part , which has a small clear plastic cap and was well pleased with the nice smell that it had .
I was expecting something slightly bigger for something that retails at £4 I think , but to be honest the lip-gloss bit of the lip-duo is of ok size but the lipstick part is roughly 1"X1" and will definitely not last as long as the lip-gloss . This size is perfect for keeping in the handbag and would be very handy for an evening out for re-touching your lips with.
The Glam berry shade has a nice browny-pink colour with a shimmer and looks nice on its own during the day-time , however tends to smudge easily , had to rub some off my little one's cheek when I saw her off at the school on the first day of application. See that is one reason I don't like make -ups much.
As for the lipgloss part, it is of a shimmery light goldeny cream colour... cream colour base with golden shimmering bits , that would look nice if it was glossy. However this is not so, the gloss is very dry and powdery ..in fact it is nothing like any gloss I have so far used . It has a small plastic applicator with a foam head that prevents one from over-applying . The lip-gloss wears off very quickly in my opinion, but that might just be because it is drier than most ones out there. It leaves a shimmery mark whenever the lip touches anything.. like a glass/cup which is disgusting. I am not sure if this is how latest glosses are supposed to be , but I like my lipgloss to serve as a moisturizer for my lips too while it adds a touch of colour.
The lipgloss can be applied over the lip-stick too .It doesn't have any smell as far as I can tell.
So in my honest opinion I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone out there at full price , however if I had a teenage daughter/niece I might buy it for her to keep in her handbag for a quick touch up or buy it as a stocking filler when I get it on an offer of perhaps £2 ish. The product comes in three other shades too , but like I said its lacks imaginations and is an example of a shoddily thought up piece of cosmetic . If the lipstick were to be a bit more bigger and the container a bit more sophisticated , it would sell a lot more.
I always have this squabble with my husband . He thinks good things... ok to be fair ,better things always cost more . That's the dumbest thing I have heard and the best example is me, he has been married to me for the past 7years and I am sure I have made him spend so much less than many other women would have made him do... hahaha but that's just my opinion. These days I am trying my best to prove him wrong and have done so by buying Tesco's own brand of strong white bread flour.
In the days I believed him blindly I used to buy just Allisons or hovis or homepride brand of bread flour which are all very good in their own way but the price of the tesco flour bag is one-thirds that on any of the other brand out there.
Once I started getting decent white bread everytime with my Panasonic bread-maker , I decided to play around and experiment different types of flour and yeasts out in the market. Hence I bought this bright pink 1.5 kg paper pack of tesco strong white bread flour , usually sold for 65p per pack( 99p for 1kg Hovis and £1.78 for a same pack of Allisons).
Like all recyclable paper packs of flour this bag won't replace your punchbag and its best to use a reinforcement poly-bag or a tin it( no not bin it). On an average I get three medium sized loves from that amount of flour hence 22p on an average flour -wise for a decent loaf.
Now for the nutritional information bit--Well it has wheat and contains gluten .
Per 100gms it has 340Kcal energy, protein 12.1 gms,carbohydrates 68.6gms,fat 1.4 gms , almost negligible amount of salt and the fun bit it does gave 3.1gms of fibre too(ahhh great , it being white and all, loaf points here ).
I haven't been able to discern any difference between a loaf made of this flour and of a more expensive brand one , the bread comes out equally soft , moist and tasty. I do have to say though the bread is not as white (the white parts) as those from Hovis or Allisons, but then this flour doesn't have any bleach or preservatives either incorporated into it(more loaf points). I can say this with conviction because , I have had leftover loaf made from one brand of flour and slices from the bread from this flour on the same sitting and it doesn't even seem as if my taste buds and palate have played tricks.
So if you want to save up some money and still don't want to compromise on taste just buy this flour and give this poor cousin of the bigger brands a try , you won't be disappointed . My poor hubby was disappointed , his theology fell face flat. I think I should make my hubby pay more and withhold his bread .
I often need a layer of moisturiser after a bath and most of the more expensive brands out there seem to be quite thick and sticky when it is a bit hot. I had tried using Tesco's own brand of Aloe vera body butter last year and had quite liked it and so I decided to try the cocoa butter one this time .
This body butter comes in a 400ml plastic bottle and lasts absolute ages . The price is around £1.49 per bottle.
Like I have said it is not thick at all hence one needs to be very careful while pouring it as it literally gushes out of the bottle. Luckily the flip top is very tight and the bottle doesn't leak and and hasn't opened up even when I accidentally dropped in the bath tub from some height. Being very runny you only need a little amount to spread on your whole body and it gives a very good coverage and protection and readily gets absorbed. It washes off readily with water like any other moisturiser would.
Hmm now about the fragrance...well you will have no problem if you like the smell of cocoa butter and the smell itself is mild , but I don't like it much (could never use Palmer's stretch mark lotion ) but its tolerable, I preferred the smell of the Aloe vera lotion much more , though my husband prefers this as it is richer and more effective(according to him). My skin feels nourished and cared for after application.
I have used this lotion on my child who is eczema -prone and she hasn't shown any extra sensitivity , so it might be ok for people with sensitive skin too . It is stated on the label , that the products and ingredients are not tested on animals by or for Tesco but has been dermatologically been tested . This product has added Vitamin E , which is good for the skin too.
This cream/moisturizer/lotion is excellent value for money and lasts forever(though you have to finish it in a years time after opening I think). So if you need light protection during summer you could give this lotion a try.
I have spent several years of my life living in Assam (India) so it is needless to say that I prefer a nice cup of tea at least twice a day . The closet I have come to a good Indian cuppa would be a home made brew from a home made blend of Assam , Ceylonese and Darjeeling. Though to be honest I don't always have so much time in my hand to brew tea in the traditional way and then scourse and clean the sauce-pan and the teapot as well, so I had reached out for the teabags available .
I was quite happy with pg tips classic till we bought a new home some three years back. The water in this new region is very hard and pg-tips just had lost its taste , well I did try a new pack just to be sure that the old pack hadn't gone off or had absorbed moisture or something like that. Then I tried Yorkshire's speciality for hardwater area and nearly all supermarkets own brands and a few twinnings too.
Tetly classic is slightly expensive compared to most brands and supermarkets own around so it took me a bit of time to get around to buying a pack of the 40's of these. I was surprised that these tea-bags actually did the trick , finally I had a cuppa that pleased my senses well. Tetley classic is a balance blend of Assam tea for body and liquor ,African for the distinctive taste and red colour and Ceylonese and Darjeeling for the aroma .
I do like my tea a bit strong with boiled hot milk and sugar , but I have to say that even I don't leave the tea bag in for more than a minute as it tends to make the liquor bitter, so in a way this tea bag is ideal for people who drink tea stronger than me, at the same time I have served this same tea , having dipped it for a 30 secs or so , to my British friends and they have said it did taste lovely , so there ..an ideal cuppa for everyone.
The classic tea bags aren't the cheapest in the market but they are cheaper than many speciality teas with the 40 piece teabag costing around 2.6p per bag (ie around 87-90p per pack ) but these are often on offer (mostly 50% extra or so)... the are other bigger packs too. I usually buy the 240 pack for £ 3. 89 or something like that and each tea bag comes at 2.2p ish.
The thing I hate about the bigger bags is that unlike other tea packs, all the bags lie in a single plastic bag with a resealable tab which quickly loses its stickiness . Would be better if stacks of 40 bags could be foil-wrapped separately (and although this means its less environmentally friendly but the tea-bags wouldn't lose their freshness quicker as they are repeatedly exposed to air and moisture) .
So if you live in a hard water area give these tea-bags a go and see if you like your tea any better.
A month back I intended to take my little one to Broadstairs beach but finding the tiny parking-space completely filled I tried parking a bit further afield and accidentally sumbled across Stone Bay some 750 or so yards away.
**About the Beach**
Eastern Esplanade, Broadstairs , Kent.
Situated within 10 min walking distance from the Broadstairs town-centre , which has a train station.. This bay is sandwiched between Viking Bay and Broadstairs beach . Broadstairs can be reached through M2 and is about 76miles from Central London by road .
This is a lovely 200 metres golden sandy beach , walled by high limestone cliffs on one side. The promenade is set at a slightly higher level than the sand itself runs all the way to the main Broadstairs beach . What surprised us was that unlike Margate or Broadstairs beach ,(although this is very near to both of them ) this was nearly deserted and my little one had a gala half a day of frolicking in the sand quite undisturbed .
Two sets of pathways made on the cliff walls run down to the sand , one a set of steps and another a pram/wheelchair ramp on the other side, there is an ice-cream van stationed on top here and the ramp lets in vehicals associated with trailers carrying boats and of owners of the deck-houses.
Just below the wall sits a row of those wooden shed-like beach-houses/sheds and from one of these you can rent the usual deck-supplies at reasonable too...or even rent one of those.
There are several natural rock-pools in the area and my little one loved dragging out seaweeds with her rake , not my idea of fun , as the sea-weeds let out a fishy smell , but apparently she thought it was entertaining.
There are toilet with baby changing facilities too, only two ladies ones . I did not find the toilets that clean, there was water everywhere and no toilet paper, overflowing bins maybe this was because loads of people staying in those beach-sheds were using only those 4-5 toilets for all their daily needs. There are no shower or separate changing facilities other than these .
On reading later on I learnt that Stone Bay was also the setting for John Buchan's book 'The 39 Steps' which further adds to the romanticism of the place
Parking is free and off-road and in plenty and as several ramps and steps lead down to the water front one can park a bit further down really. The area is mostly residential , with loads of beach front apartments and quaint guest-houses.
When walking along the promenade towards Broadstairs you can see a huge parking area for trailers of motor/sail boats so I am assuming you can keep your yatch or motorboat here .
**Food and Restaurants **
As for food..hmm that is a bit tricky , you have to trek a bit (about 750yards or so) towards Broadstairs beach and there you can choose from the a whole list of cafes,ice-cream parlours , resturants and chippy shops .As the eating places are somewhat far away the place is somewhat devoid of screeching gulls and this makes it somewhat tranquil.
I have eaten at some of the places here on previous occasions and most are quite reasonable and serve some excellent food and drinks .
**Miscellaneous Information **
In the summer-times usually 1st May to 30th September dogs are not allowed in the sandy part of the beach .
The above reminds me , the walkway around the car-park is full of dog-poo so it's a good idea to keep a sharp look out or you could land on one.
You have to keep a keen eye on children though as this beach is not guarded by lifeguards as the other nearby ones are but there are loads of emergency supplies harboured around .
The sea-water temperature remains quite low around this area even in the height of summer as is true for most beaches in the UK.
Along the sea-front on the cliff are loads of houses/rooms/chalets and apartments on rent.
Other than the inadequate toilet facilities I didn't find anything to complain about and we enjoyed our stay immensely. On top of everything everything was free except a few ice-creams and a meal...what more can one ask for.
So if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place to go with children this summer I would definitely recommend going to the picturesque Stone Bay.
I have used a part of the same review on Helphound too under the same username.
My three year old daughter is fast asleep and as I was tidying the remaining bits and bobs of her toys up when I came across this small purse..my daughter's first designer purse in fact ... she has had for some 2 years now.
My friend had given this to her when she was around 18 months old as she had started showing loads of interest in our handbags by then , but my friend hadn't noticed that it was actually the zipper that she was interested in and not the bag itself.
The little purse is about 4 "X2"X3" I would say and is made of soft, hardy , pink, washable velor/fleece fabric and has a nice purple border and a blue handle . Like I have said the flap doesn't zip up...well nobody would make a first purse with a zip that could pinch a fnger would they ?... but it has a velcro patch. Embroidered on the flap is 'My first Purse'. My daughter quickly lost interest in the purse once the novelty of hearing the 'crunching' sound from opening the velcro bit wore off and I had to put away yet another forgotten toy.
The little purse came with a miniscule blue powder/compact case that produced a crinkling sound on squeezing , a small purple coin purse (again with a velcro tab) and a small mobile phone with a tinkley ringing sound. Now these were some of the things that greatly attracted her.. she used the compact case to chew on as a theether (glad it was washable), the mobile made her laugh and she would chatter endlessly on it and thus not disturb me when I was on the phone, as for the little money bag ..well she used it as her toy monkeys arm band.
So all in all they served whatever they were meant to for a year and a half old, in my opinion she was already past the gae to play with it.
However, last week they had a fair in their nursery (she is now 3+) and the bag has at last has served its purpose. I put her six 20p coins in the little coin bag and into the purse and when she came home it was stuffed with small toys and uneaten sweets. The handle had just room enough to be carried worn over her arm and it did look girly and cute without being too young.
The price of this purse is around £10-£13 in most of the places .. just researced and found it being sold on Amazon and ebay and lots of online shops, not sure which stores stock them . I don't think I would personally buy this as a toy for any child if I had to pay over £10 as its size is a bit of a disappointment , though quality-wise it is fabulous and fun too.
I think it would be ideal for a child below a year old as it has all those basic sound producing toys in it , but then a child wouldn't really undestand what a hand bag is.. the hand bag itself is ideal for girls around 2-4 years in my opinion. If a little girl below a year is obsessed by purses and mobile phones and you want your child to have a designer bag then I would say this is the toy to go for , but otherwise just wait till the child is older and choose something a bit more older.
Last night I had some guests over for dinner and for the hundredth time someone complimented on the small home grown dried braid of garlic, thyme and red-chilli I keep hung in my kitchen as a reminder of my last years hard effort at gardening. Not surprisingly they were the only plants that were left untouched by the slugs and snails which ran riot in my vegetable patch when I was away for a few days.. hmm mustn't forget to herb/spice up the garden this year too.
A little bit on the History :
Garlic is native to central Asia, but its use spread across the world more than 5000 years ago. It was worshipped by the Egyptians and fed to workers building the Great Pyramid at Giza, about 2600 BC. Greek athletes ate it to build their strength. Garlic came to the Western Hemisphere with some of the first European explorers, and as we can see it became popular quickly. While I am writing this my mind keeps drifting back to one of the Carry-on series ...lol..
Garlic is a member of Alliacea or the onion familly , with a term Allium sativum, and was named speared leek ' gaerleac ' by the Germans as its shoot has a close resemblance to leek too, a skinnier version perhaps.I think garlic is a modified version of the same name.
China is the world's largest producer of garlic.
Tips on planting:
~~Getting the soil ready~~
Garlic loves loads of organic material in the soil , so a rich mixture of loam is ideal for garlic. The soil shouldn't be too heavy as is true for most bulbs, so its best to add a bit of grit to any heavy soil before planting for easy drainage. Garlic doesn't like standing in puddles so good drained soil is an important criteria while preparing the area, waterlogging also rots the bulb over winter.
The area chosen should receive full sun for most part of the day. I often add a top coat of wood mulching once the cloves are in..its looks really nice.
~~Planting and harvesting time~~
There is a saying that garlic are best planted on the years shortest day and harvested in the longest. So roughly its best to plant just before the grown starts to freeze thereby giving the root-system ample time to develop properly before the ground freezes, say uptill November beginning . Again you can harvest whenever the summer heat kills of the green shoots, roughly from June end to early august.
The easiest way to go about obtaining garlic seeds in the UK is to just break up a healthy large garlic bulb into its cloves making sure that the base(stem disc ) is free of any fungus(green powdery coating) , you could also dust it with a brushing of Sulphur powder to be extra sure . This is the cheapest source to seed-garlic.. Garden centers and nurseries do sell quality seed garlic with their winter/spring bulbs too. The third way would be is to use the seeds produced at the tip of the plants of the last years crop , if you grew and stored any. The fatter the cloves the better the end product you will harvest, so just stick to cloves over 1cm in thickness .
Plant in well prepared area about 2 inches deep and leaving a gap of 6 inches from the next clove on all sides. Care should be taken that the pointed tip is towards the top while planting. Water the area just after planting and withhold any more watering unless it is very hot and the land gets parched , till the shoots start poking out of the ground.
Can be grown in containers. Plant one clove each in a 9cm large pot containing a reliable compost mix , water lightly and place it on a sunny window sill.
~~Pest and diseases ~~
Aha !! bye bye slugs and green flies. Only pulled up occasionally by curious pesky birds once they have started growing. Sometimes attacked by white onion rot, causing the stems to wilt prematurely and the symptom appears in the form of white fluff. Its best to dig up and incinerate the affected plants.
~~ Care ~~
Garlic needs very little after care , just a bit of watering in long dry spells , arduous weeding and a little initial feeding with general purspose fertilizers particulary around spring (march through may ) .The greener your plants the fatter your bulbs is your motto here.
Like I have mentioned above , in the height of summer when the tops start to yellow just lift up the fully formed bulbs gently with a fork . The they should be left in a dry place(possibly in the shed ) out of moisture/sudden rain to dry up completely . The cloves can be eaten in dishes or left braided in bundles.
If the summer is a damp/wet one and the plants have strted yellowing but haven't fully browned..it would be necessary to pull out a bulb and assess if the bulbs are ready to harvest. At tis stage if the outer papery sheath on the bulb are three-layered the bulbs are ready to harvest and should be pulled out without delay... if the crop is not harvested at this time , the bulbs tend to get diseased quickly in the damp soil.
** Garlic like other bulbs tend to spring up again in the same spot the nest year(as a sentiment I have left a little patch in my garden where my mum first planted some garlic some 3 years back) , but like with most crops its best to change the place where you want to grow them every year(sort of crop rotation) otherwise those minerals that garlic use from the soil alone will get depleted otherwise.
Eaten for strength and vitality . Is a well known aphrodisiac... be sure to fore warn your partner .
Shots can be eaten as onion greens in stir-fries.
Widely used to flavour curries and other dishes .
The oil obtained by broiling crushed garlic cloves in hot oil , when rubbed on the feet and chest of people with cheasty cough ..serves as a powerful expectorant ... provided one can live with the pong, I have often used this on my little one who often suffers from cold and coughs.
There are endless uses really , but these were the only 4 I could think of.
Advantages of growing garlic:
Even if you are a beginner you simply can't go wrong with this as garlic is a very easy plant to grow.
When planted interspersed between roses and other shrubs that are likely to be attacked by green/black flies(which further lead to fungal infection) ... they deter these pests.
They tend to grow back in the same spot every year from damaged/broken bits of those cloves that remain in the soil .
They take up very little space in the garden , the arial bit being an upright and neat single shoot with slim leaves.
You get a very smart looking patch of plants.
They are not attacked by slugs and snails.
It requires very little care or even watering.
Wet garlic, ie that has come straight out of the soil and the outer sheaths are yet to dry are not only sweeter but less pungent than the dry ones so you can enjoy these.
You could just poke cloves that start getting green shoots into the soil and have new plants from it.
As they are one of the crops that grow in winter it is a good way of using garden/allotment space when nothing else much would be growing, thus adding the much needed green to the otherwise brown and grey.
Though perishable their shelf life is about a year long..well how many other plant produce can you keep stored that long. They look so pretty braided alone or with dried chilies and herbs.
You get around 15-20 cloves by growing just one clove.
OOOUUUCHHH!!!! The intensity of pain from Mastitis is out of the world nearly if not as bad as labour pain .
Along with the pain you develop other symptoms like sore throat, a cold , headache and even veneral-conjuctivitis. In all events when mastitis strikes it needs to be treated quickly.
I won't go into the details of what it is and other such things as someone has already written a very informative write-up earlier on but just want to restrict to saying it is a severe breast inflammation caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus that leads to the blockade of the milk-ducts and hence pain of severe nature. I would like to spread the word of effective management/cure which would come handy for some poor affected person out there instead.
When the pain strikes all you want to happen is for it to get lost and never come back again.
Some of the things you could do and might just do the trick are:
1. *Expressing :
Mastitis usually occurs if there has been a change in the routine/duration your little one feeds , and usually strikes just after the babies have had their first set of immunisation and hence are drowsy or feverish and don't feed as much as they were.
If you have an electrical or manual pump the job is very easy for you, otherwise just try to hand-express every hour or so and remember to freeze the milk that has been expressed as the milk itself is pure.
If however the milk is blood-streaked you could throw it away but breast feeding counsellors do say that this doesn't give your baby any indigestion .
2. *Using moist heat:
Just prior to feeding take a towel and dip it in very hot water(as much as is bearable to touch) wring it quickly and wrap it around the breast that is affected.
3. *Massaging in the Shower :
Gently massage your breast with some nice soap under a warm shower ( only if it is summer otherwise you might catch a cold).
4. *Feeding frequently:
Agreed that it hurts the most when you are feeding however feeding often is the best method to drain the breast out of all that milk.
5. *Feeding on all fours ( for once we can be the four legged mammals)
To be honest I think though this is one of the toughest treatment , this definitely works the best specially if you have a breast size anywhere above 34dd and those lumps are on the lower side of your breast.
To do this comfortably settle your little one on the bed and then feed on all fours with your breast dangling over the baby's face... milk drainage will take place from the lower parts of the breast as well due to gravity . It might be a bit uncomfortable if you've recently had a caesarean-section but it is definitely worth a go.
6. *Stuffing cold savoy cabbage leaves in your breast :
Have heard that other cabbages work as well but not to the extent savoy helps...
To be honest I am not at all convinced about the science behind this method of treatment though a cold leave in summer over the red hot breast might really be soothing.
7. *Pain -killers:
Have something strong like Neurofen 400mgs upto four times a day at an interval of 6hrs.
This will not only soothe the pain (as if) but will also make the fluey feeling go.
8. *Get rid of the nipple blisters:
The first thing to look out for as soon as you have mastitis is to see if you have tiny white pimple -like spots on the teat. Nipple blisters will soon form a hard covering if not burst quickly and will leave to further blockage of the ducts and OMG!!! So much more pain(wince).. and finally a pus/blood filled abscess , which would need a small operation to get rid of.
The best way to get rid of them is to first have one neurofen (meltable) about 15 mins prior to when you would start feeding . Use moist heat(see above) and immediately even as the teat is damp and warm let your baby suckle for 2-3 mins. Sorry this bit does sound ruthless but while your little one is fighting to continue with the feed quickly do another moist wrap and then let the baby feed again immediately... hopefully this should do the trick but if not repeat again an hour later(just express from the other breast in the mean-time.
If the above home remedies do not work then ..
9. *Try catching hold of a breast-feeding counsellor and get them to have a look whether the baby is latching on properly or not and to give you some tips on how to go about this.
10. *Go to the gp and get some anti-biotics prescribed , though in my opinion this should be the last resort as the baby does get a minor dose of the anti-biotic through the milk.
Most of the methods I have mentioned above have worked wonders for me for the three months of continued mastitis I had had though I haven't tried no 6 as I didn't know about it then and anyway it was winter then and I was too sick to go out and buy a cabbage.
It is a good idea to keep your breast/teat clean after every feed and change breast pads every 8hr/when soaked through. And whatever you do don't let the pain coax you into giving up the good work you have done so far, have faith in yourself.
I have received several comments regarding the star rating I have awarded to this reveiw .... the rating was meant for the content of the reveiw and not Mastistis in itself. However as so many of you were concerned ..I consulted the respective guides and they have assured me that this is one of those reveiws where the rating system doesn't really work , so its up to you to decide really. Thanks for reading and leaving comments all the same.